Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Greg Kinnear

We change courses a bit for this latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide. Generally, as you know, we like to feature a specific filmmaker that's relevant to an upcoming weekend release. We have, at times, went a different route still, and done Wednesday posts on filmmakers with birthdays on that specific day. Between those two, it's usually pretty easy to find someone to focus on. Well, just in case you're reading this week's post and can't figure out where Greg Kinnear came from, after our CinemaCast recording Sunday night, as we chatted randomly about films, one of our tangents got us talking about Greg Kinnear, of all people. Out of curiosity we looked up his filmography to see when we might be able to focus a list around him (in the process actually noticed that we just missed by a couple of days on having his birthday fall on the correct date). There wasn't anything of note in sight, but as we talked about his career and recalled some of our favorite films, we decided that it didn't really matter whether his birthday was today or not; he doesn't do a lot of movie acting anymore, and since we felt inspired, we just went with it. So this week, for no real reason other than our recent interests, we focus this post on some of our favorite films from this actor's career.

Insert generic photo of Greg Kinnear here.
Greg Kinnear started acting in 1988, but first broke into feature films in 1994. He had minor roles in a variety of films for a few years until nabbing a significant role in the 1997 drama/comedy, "As Good as It Gets". His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor that year, still his only one to date. Since then, Kinnear has probably become a household name, even though he regular hits the big screens in supporting roles. Nonetheless, his filmography has been quite extensive, and provided for a unique blend of roles over the years.

With that in mind, we take a look at some of our favorites and note the more significant roles of this actor's career.
Alex Schopp -

     1. Invincible (2006)

You know I'm a sucker for sports films. I really loved the contrast/connection between him being the really young coach and Mark Wahlberg's character being the really old player (both similarly aged). It provided for a great relationship and great perspective. Kinnear's performance as the risk-taking Dick Vermeil was really good.
     2. As Good as It Gets (1997)
I appreciate Jack Nicholson's performance here way more than Kinnear's, but he's still really good in this. This movie is a really good watch all-around.
     3. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
I really didn't think this film would be on my list, but even though Kinnear has appeared in a lot of films, many of the good ones don't feel as if they were impacted by his performance. This one is.
     4. Mystery Men (1999)
Kinnear might not do much to add the the enjoyment levels of this film, but nonetheless, he's in it. And I don't think a lot of people from our generation have watched this film now as an adult. I recommend going back to it for a refresher. There's more there than you'd expect.
     5. Ghost Town (2008)
Ricky Gervais is the star of this film, but Kinnear helps add to Gervais' comedy. I like the premise of this one, which I completely passed over in its initial release. It surprised me after I gave it a shot on DVD a few years back.

Ben Foutch -
"As Good as It Gets", is his best work IMO. The rest are ranked by watchabillity.

     1. As Good as It Gets (1997)

     2. The Gift (2000)

     3. We Were Soldiers (2002)

     4. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

     5. The Matador (2005)



Derek Clem-
People always tell my Uncle that he looks like Greg Kinnear. Also, the first three selections are ranked by Kinnear's performance; the last two are just great movies that he happens to be in.

     1. Little Miss Sunshine
I love the transformation his character makes.
     2. As Good as It Gets
Fine acting here by Kinnear.
     3. Dear God
Nice and heartwarming. Another character of his making a great transformation.
     4. You've Got Mail
This choice isn't so much about Kinnear, but I do love the confidence in his singing here.
     5. Mystery Men
Again, this isn't so much for Kinnear, as his character is a jerk, but it's still a pretty funny flick.

Nathan Hinds -


     1. We Were Soldiers (2002)
Great war movie with a great all-around cast.
     2. Stuck on You (2003)
Very underrated comedy.
     3. Robots (2005)
I've always loved this animated film. I worked at a movie theater when this came out, and the biggest thing about this movie was it was the first film that had the "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" trailer attached to it. We had to post signs telling people that once that trailer played you weren't allowed to get a refund.
     4. Mystery Men (1999)
Another film that doesn't deserve its bad reputation. There are some really awesome things going on in this movie.
     5. You've Got Mail (1998)
This doesn't really have anything to do with Kinnear, but there aren't many romantic comedy pairs that can match the chemistry of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Andy Schopp -
Honestly, this was a very hard list to weed out. Kinnear has a lot of really great works that I feel should be an integral part of this list but can't be. It's really too bad that he has taken more of a backseat to acting recently. I wish he would get out there a bit more!

     1. You've Got Mail (1998)

     2. What Planet Are You From?

     3. As Good as It Gets (1997)

     4. The Matador (2005)

     5. We Were Soldiers (2002)



And there we have it, a collection of some of the best films from Greg Kinnear's filmography. There was a lot of variety listed above, but still a few films that stood above the rest. Worth noting beforehand, it's always interesting when we have a selection in which no film(s) share the top spot on our lists. It hasn't proven quite as rare as sweeping every list, but nonetheless, having five different films show up in the top spots seems a feat worth recognizing. The most selected film, with four, was, with little surprise, "As Good as It Gets". This was the role that earned Kinnear his first and only Oscar nomination to date. Kinnear impressed audiences and critics alike with his portrayal of a thriving New York artist. His lifestyle choices provided for great contrast and conflict with Nicholson's character. Not only is Kinnear's performance note-worthy here, but the film overall has a good amount to offer.

Otherwise, four different films had three selections each: "You've Got Mail", "We Were Soldiers", "Mystery Men", and "Little Miss Sunshine". Each film offers something pretty different, but all four all enjoyable all-around films. One other film, "The Matador", managed two picks, as the only other film making multiple appearances above.

As always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Greg Kinnear's filmography, and guides you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!