Saturday, November 17, 2007

Muriel Awards 2007 FYC #8

Best Body of Work (new award): Josh Brolin

You may not know this about me, but when it comes to actors, I've long been partial to man's-man types. Nothing against the Cary Grants and Laurence Oliviers of yore, but my kind of star is someone like Lee Marvin- tough, terse, able to define himself through his actions. Guys who always think but never make a big deal about it, and rarely say any more than necessary. Today there are still a few of these guys floating around Hollywood, but they're mostly upwards of fifty now, and Nick Nolte can't play these roles forever, much as I'd love him to. Well, fear no longer, for Josh Brolin is ready to assume the mantle. Previously relegated mostly to straightlaced cop roles, with the occasional foray into bland supporting work in movies like Hollow Man, the son of James and former child star suddenly broke through as an actor, giving vivid performances in three of 2007's most high-profile releases. First came Grindhouse, which found him one of the few bright spots in Rodriguez's Planet Terror, playing the snarling doctor-gone-bad with a ridiculousness that was positively sublime. Then came his sleazy police detective in American Gangster, strong-arming both the criminals and the good cops around him as the embodiment of 70s era NYPD corruption. Best of all was No Country for Old Men, in which he played the tough-guy role to absolute perfection. Lewellyn Moss was a man's man for the ages, a crafty, rugged man of the world with the rotten luck to tangle with the wrong baddie. Lewellyn's a tough cookie all right, but Brolin makes him all-too-human as he reckons with a force that's working on a different plane entirely. Javier Bardem's performance is getting most of the accolades, but as scary good as he is in the role we wouldn't have cared unless his prey were just as compelling. Brolin more than delivers- he was positively revelatory, all the more so because I didn't see him coming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're dead on. I'd never seen this guy before until Planet Terror and then he's all of a sudden in two movies at the same time. I wrote about it in my own blog and had to google "planet terror" and "american gangster" to find out his name (which led me here).