USA Acting Dream Team
LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Pat Riley (the real last third of Miami’s “Big Three”) conspired to manufacture their own dream team, so why not create a dream team of Great American Film Actors? I won’t even announce in it a stomach-turning “Decision” special, although my entourage did approach ESPN with the idea.
Again, these rankings are based on the actors’ recent outputs—roughly the last decade—and not on reputation, awards, box office or past achievements. Ladies and gentleman, your Great American Film Actor starting five:
5. Jeff Bridges (the cagey, unselfish veteran)
Great in: The Door in the Floor, Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski. Even good in crap like: Iron Man, Seabiscuit, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Contender. Couldn’t save: Tideland, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.
4. Sean Penn (the streak shooter)
Great in: Milk, 21 Grams, Sweet and Lowdown. Even good in crap like: Mystic River, The Weight of Water, The Assassination of Richard Nixon. Couldn’t save: The Interpreter, All the King’s Men.
3. Josh Brolin (tremendous upside)
Great in: No Country for Old Men, Milk, American Gangster. Even good in crap like: W., Planet Terror. Couldn’t save: Melinda and Melinda, Jonah Hex.
2. Viggo Mortensen (Scottie Pippen)
Great in: A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Appaloosa, The Road. Even good in crap like: He’s been remarkably crap-lite of late, although I’ve never seen Hidalgo. Couldn’t save: His Aragorn accent from slipping in Lord of the Rings.
1. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jordan!)
Great in: Owning Mahowny, Magnolia, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Punch-Drunk Love, The Savages, Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Capote, Almost Famous—pretty much everything he’s ever done. Even good in crap like: Cold Mountain; Synecdoche, New York; Mission: Impossible III; Along Came Polly—like I said, he’s good in everything. Couldn’t save: Pirate Radio—nobody could.