Three years ago my favorite blogger m.brown hosted this blogathon for the very first time and my entry for it was quite coherent and not completely inappropriate.
But that was then.
And this is now.
His guess that I will focus on four favorite Ed Harris movies was not that far off what I'm about to unleash upon you. But it did not feel right because it's not enough focus on him. There needs to be focus on him specifically, you guys. At all times.
I could do 4 favorite performances but that will be covered in the post I am working on, that I'm sure the entire cinematic blogosphere cannot wait for (*sarcasm sign* *self depreciation sign* *my life is garbage sign*). So what else to do?
I could choose 4 hottest characters played by him. But that's too hard. There are too many. He was in give or take 60 movies, of which I saw more than 40. There is not a single character of his that was not hot. Sure, he played a complete psychopath in Just Cause but I have no shame or sense of decency and his bare ass was in it. Also one of those characters that would inevitably be in top 4 is a priest. I live in overwhelmingly Catholic country and I just cannot be burned alive while Westworld is still to have more episodes with him in it.
So that's not the way to go.
But I could do what I am about to do - choose four favorite characters of mine that he played.
Honorable mentions: almost everyone he played not mentioned below
4. Gene Kranz, Apollo 13 (1995)
"With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour."
This is my favorite type of character to watch an actor play. Because this right here is the most difficult character to pull off - simply a good guy. And there are so many reasons why it's difficult - first of, there aren't many good guys out there. I may be cynical or just unlucky but there aren't. So the actor who plays a part like that has to make you feel that people this wonderful exist. And while the actor is doing this, playing a non-flashy part without big screaming scenes etc. he still has to disappear in the role. This is natural acting, this is where charisma kicks in and this is where you no longer think this is an actor you're watching. This is where you see a person. And he does this. This is a character we only see in one setting the entire time, yet the nobility and heroism of his actions is so great and so fierce he may as well be fighting on a battle field. And I do not think there is a scene that is more honest or disarmingly beautiful as his last moments in the movie. The mixture of joy, relief and pride was never portrayed more stunningly than it was here.
3. Seth Frank, Absolute Power (1997)
"Listen....there's one thing...I forgot to tell you. I live alone."
There is a scene in Absolute Power that is so bewildering I actually had to pause the movie, let out a sigh and shake my head. In it Ed Harris as a noble, good guy cop walks Laura Linney's character to her apartment. She was just shot at and is shaken up. He gives her his number, tells her to call him if there's anything she needs and in that scene he mentions he lives alone about four times. And Laura Linney does not ask him to stay over. What. The. Fuck. Ed Harris' character here is one of the kindest and sweetest he has ever played. He played shy guys (Milk Money, Appaloosa), disarmingly lovely in their ignorance guys (Buffalo Soldiers) and hero cops (China Moon, Needful Things, Gone Baby Gone) in other films but here he is both the tough guy who will protect you and the sweet guy who is in the dark about a lot of things that happen around him. And his efforts to woo Linney's character are just so lovely to behold.
2. The Man in Black, Westworld (2016-)
"You have always been a prisoner. What if I told you I'm here to set you free?"
While every single characterization in Westworld needs to fight its way through the fog of the writers constantly trying to wrap the story in twists (just stop, you lunatics), Ed Harris is probably the only person on Earth who could - and every time he had to in his career he succeeded - make a thinly written character interesting. We don't know much about his character through most of season 1 but it's him so you can't take your eyes off the screen. The entirety of the show could just be him riding around on his horse and shooting robots and it would be the most entertaining thing on HBO since Al Swearengen delivered his monologues. Not only is his nihilistic, charismatic, intimidating and sexy as hell character so entertaining (completed with these glorious expressions) but it's also so very clear Harris loves playing him. The glee just comes through in every single scene he has. He is so unpredictable and insanely fun to watch that when he is not on the screen you just miss him so much.
1. General Frank Hummel, The Rock (1996)
"You've been asked by an old friend. You're being ordered by a superior officer. [draws] Now you're being given your last chance by a man with a gun. Put the phone down."
Let's set aside the fact that he is an actor of such incredible gifts he managed to create Oscar caliber performance in Michael Bay's movie. Or that this is one of the most interesting and memorable 'villains' in an action movie ever. Or those legendary outtakes. Or that ALL I WANT IN LIFE is for this movie to be real and for me to be his hostage on Alcatraz. Yes, I know he doesn't interact with hostages that much but if he did I'd totally pull Harley Quinn and lick the steel bars to attract his attention. No, I do not think about this situation a lot and I do not come up with elaborate scenarios of how our naked interactions would go. Except that I do. A lot.
The Rock is such a fun film and this character actually blends the three mentioned above. Heroic? Noble? Tough? Intimidating? It's all here. And from the very first moment when he goes to visit his wife's grave through his relentless efforts not to lose lives during the situation that unfolds the character is just so complex and so nuanced he alone makes this movie so re-watchable. If someone asked me what character I consider to be the perfect guy this right here is the answer. And there's another pretty big factor to the movie rewatchability - God help me, this is the hottest he has ever looked on screen. Whenever I watch this movie (and I watch it A LOT), during this scene if my house was on fire I'd DIE because I'm not able to take my eyes off this man let alone move. How my house actually doesn't catch on fire from him being on the screen alone is a mystery to me.
So there you have it. And now go join m.brown's blogathon because he is clearly awesome and just gave me the excuse to inappropriately perv for the second time this week.