Friday, January 30, 2009

Siskel & Ebert on ‘American History X’

Today, Gene and Roger discuss one of my favorite Edward Norton performances.

I’d forgotten that Norton was nominated for an Academy Award for this role. It was his second nomination and his last... so far. That was 10 years ago.

Which raises the question: Is Ed Norton still thought of as “the best actor of his generation”? Dude turns 40 this year. Shouldn’t he be snapping off more great performances? (Sean Penn’s pushing 50 and remains in tip-top form.)

Has Norton lived up to his potential?


FunkyHeadHunter said...

He was also really good in The 25th Hour. From my understanding, there were several cuts of American History X and the one he edited was the that wound up on the screen. Since then, he's been dabbling more behind the screen instead of in front of it. So, he might have just found a new direction.

Kellybelle said...

I love Ed Norton. I think he keeps dating women who suck the life out of him--some good (Salma Hayek) some bad (Courtney Love)--and he makes bad choices.

Wanda said...

I agree with Kellybelle. He's still got the acting juice, but he isn't using it properly. It was cool to see him in "The Incredible Hulk", but it obviously didnt highlight his talent at all.

Undercover Black Man said...

I sure hope he makes better use of the next 10 years than he did of the last 10.

Andrew said...

Maybe I'm just cutting Norton extra slack because I like, but it's not like he's been slumming for the last decade. With the exception of The Italian Job, a real piece of shit, he's still been giving it his all in pretty much all his movies. He was great in 25th Hour. Plus, his next film is an identical twin stoner comedy. How could this not turn out to be great?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I was not a "25th Hour" fan. But I did like "The Illusionist."

Now think about "Death to Smoochy." And "The Score."

Goodness gracious.

A decade ago, he did "Rounders," "American History X" and "Fight Club" back-to-back. That's called flexing with your instrument.

Dan Coyle said...

Awww, I loved Death to Smoochy!

Agreed on The 25th Hour, though. But my problem had less to do with Norton than... Spike.

He seems to make really odd choices these days, though. I'd say David's right that he hasn't lived up to his potential.

He wound up cutting AHX himself becausse the director, Tony Kaye, wouldn't deliver a final cut. He kept tinkering and tinkering (at one point allegedly spending a weekend with Derek Walcott brainstorming) until the studio asked Norton to finish it. Kaye threw a public shitfit and tried to take his name off the picture... but you can't do that if you've publicly complained about the film.

Invisible Woman said...

UBM--why didn't you like 25th Hour? (I did a whole long post on it last year)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Well, the fact that I can hardly remember anything about it says something, IW. What I remember is the feeling of not being drawn into the story.

I should give it another look. Have never stumbled on it on cable.

Saphire said...

Norton played a lot of great roles in the last 10 years and did great performances in it. When Hulk was the only movie that made it on the big screen, it´s definitely not Nortons wrong choice of roles.
The Painted Veil was a amazing and also Nortons and Watts´ perfomances in it but they didn´t got any response, why?
Besides even deNiro, Pacino and others did movies which weren´t big hits. Did anyone ask if they are still one of the best? I don´t think that nominations and success in cinema makes the best actors.

Undercover Black Man said...

I don´t think that nominations and success in cinema makes the best actors.

True enough, Saphire. It just dawned on me that he should be having a Sean Penn-type career, and he's not. He's having sort of a Tim Robbins-type career.

Which is cool. It just means the "best actor of his generation" hype of a decade ago was overcooked.