Thursday, September 14, 2006

dbackdad's favorite actors: part two -- ewan mcgregor

Next in line of my favorite actors is Ewan McGregor. The first role I saw him in is perhaps his best ... Trainspotting. One of my top 10 all-time favorite movies, it is a dizzying combination of style, music, humor and homages to other favorite films of mine (Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver). McGregor's performance is spot-on and I've read that George Lucas cast him as Obi-Wan Kenobi off of his performance in Trainspotting. But if you are queasy about drug use or dream sequences involving toilets, you might want to pass.

The strength oF McGregor is his humor. Even in his more serious roles, there is a bit of a spark in his eyes. Plus, he'll generally stay away from the typical Hollywood movies. The exceptions, of course, being Star Wars (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith) and The Island. He can be forgiven for Star Wars because it is basically the dream of any male born in the last 40 years to be immortalized as such an iconic figure. And to his credit, he is probably the only actor in those films that does a decent job. And The Island, despite being a Michael Bay is sci-fi and does have some merits.

Another movie directed by Danny Boyle and written by John Hodge (like Trainspotting) is Shallow Grave. This is a very good dark comedy that also stars Christopher Eccleston (Dr. Who).

There is a wide range of roles he has taken also. British period pieces (Emma), musicals (Moulin Rouge) and war flicks (Black Hawk Down). His role in Emma is small but memorable. I really like Moulin Rouge, a quirky musical with anachronistic modern music mixed into a turn of the century Paris setting. And despite being largely a pacifist, I like a decent war flick -- which Black Hawk Down is. I say keep the violence on the screen and on off the streets. War movies with fairly realistic depictions of the pain and gore hopefully take away a little of the glamour.

Two more unconventional roles he took (with varying success) were Down With Love and Big Fish. Down With Love is a retelling or spoof of the Cary Grant and Rock Hudson type romantic comedies of the 50's but with a little more modern subject matter. The movie tries really hard ... maybe too hard. Big Fish is a much better movie. A Tim Burton Flick, it has the trademark oddity that you would expect from him. But it has a little more heart and a nice acting performance by Helena Bonham Carter (one of my favorite actresses from British period pieces).

All in all, I think he's brilliant and usually the best thing in any movie he's in.

"Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f--king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f--king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f--k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f--king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish, f--ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life...But why would I want to do a thing like that?" -- Ewan McGregor as Renton in Trainspotting


Reel Fanatic said...

Mr McGregor is indeed one of the truly great young actors working today .. I'd have to say my favorite flick of his is Big Fish, because I just love movies about the power of imagination

Sadie Lou said...

Yay! I love Ewan. He was downright amazing in Moulin Rouge and I loved him in Big Fish as well. His singing voice is so good--I wish he'd cut an album (although he'd have to only sing bigger-than-life love ballads.)
Trainspotting was memorable wasn't it? It's like the mashed potatoes of the film indistry--sticks to your ribs long after you've digested it.
I also enjoyed Shallow Grave.
Anyhoo, good choice!