Thursday, July 22, 2010

Translating the Indecipherable

I know what Bill Murray whispered to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation.

After the end of a grueling work week, I sometimes choose to stay at home and "knock back a few" instead of going out. I realize that I can get "just as happy" chillin' at home listening to music and watching my favorite scenes on DVD. I know it sounds depressing but it's actually kinda fun. Sure, there are nights when I brood like Bogart, but usually I'm having as much fun as Alfred Molina in Boogie Nights.

During one of these nights alone, I watched the ending to Lost In Translation for the 20th time. Maybe it was the fact that I altered the settings on my surround sound and positioned the speakers at a perfect angle. Or maybe it was that, coupled with the right amount of bourbon swimming through my bloodstream. Either way, I was able to Translate the Indecipherable.

As Murray sits back in the car after saying sayonara to Johansson, notice his expression. His mind is racing. He is so emotionally charged and relieved that he was able to bid her a proper farewell, that his eyes cannot focus on any one thing in particular. This is a nuanced performance that only Bill Murray could deliver.

So what did Murray whisper to Johansson at the end of the movie? That's between Bill, Scarlett, Sophia.....and Me.

Here's to feelin' good....all the time.


Top5 Performances 2000-2009

5. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Owning Mahoney

4. Daniel Day-Lewis in (tie) Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood

3. Nic Cage in Adaptation

2. Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart

1. Bill Murray in Lost in Translation

Shoutouts to Clive Owen in Closer, Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums, and the little girls from In America


Sam said...

I'm glad you were able to throw the ladies a bone at the end there. Really, Chris? I don't argue that the performances you cited were great, but not a single woman's performance ranks for the entire decade?

CWC said...

I knew this was coming. Of course any respectable list would have to include Charlize Theron in Monster. I knew this. However, I suppose i decided to cite my "favorite" performances instead of the "best", even though I also consider these performances the best of the best. As for why i left off female performances...I guess it has to do with me not being able to relate.

Hooper said...

Im not arguing with you because it really is a great performance, and its your top 5 so my proclivity to automatically rule out Nick Cage from any list other than "craziest bad actors" doesn't matter, but it is kinda a surprise to see him on there.

CWC said...

I understand your suprise in seeing Cage in any "great performances" list. Adaptation is the only performance of his that I have ever liked.

Lyle said...

I can envision Christopher, Brent, Joe and Kyle walking out of the theater together after watching Lost in Translation: Christopher quietly wonders aloud, "Aw I wonder what he said to her." Brent says to no one in particular while staring blankly at the sky, "I don't know man...but I bet it was juuuust right."

Also, Christopher what about Nic Cage's performance in Con Air? Hoy. Has to be up there with all-time worst acting jobs. Was he serious with that voice? What was that accent, Southern or Stupid?

FYI, just to come clean I ripped that Lost in Translation scenario from a Family Guy flashback with Peter, Cleveland, Joe and Quaqmire. Actually Bill Murray told her that they were making the right decision because for one he had ED syndrome and their conversational attraction could really only take them so far. He also cautioned her that due to their age difference he would ultimately die thirty years before she did leaving her to live a lonely widower existence.

CWC said...

The Con Air performance was awful. It ranks right up there with:

5) Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood
4) The two oriental kids from Gran Torino
3) Chris Klein in every movie
2) Brett Favre's one line in There's Something About Mary (You know I'll always be true to you)
1) River Phoenix's drug-induced "performance" in his last movie

Even though you might cringe when Cage mutters, "put the bunny back in the box", in Southern Monotone, I would think that Con Air would be right up your alley. You love a testosterone-filled action-adventure with plenty of blood, explosions, etc. Heck, it is just icing on the cake if you are fortunate enough to see a boob mixed in with all the carnage. I can't imagine your anticipation in waiting for the Expendables to hit theaters. Patience, my starts August 13th.


Lyle said...

Your actually right. As bad as he was in Con Air, I enjoyed the movie if only for his quotably bad lines. Also, for awful performances you forgot to list Patrick Fugit as the young Cameron Crowe in Almost Famous. Might catch some heat for that one, but I only wish I could "fugit" he was in the movie...hoy hoy hoy.

CWC said...

Ah Fugit, I thought about listing him but I'm still trying to fool myself into thinking it was a reasonable performance in a flawless movie. You pointing out your disdain for the kid over the years has severely tarnished my enjoyment of the movie. I guess I was never certain that it was a bad performance. Since I've always found most kids in movies very annoying, I chalked it up as me just not being tolerant.

The Franker said...

Hello everybody..long time no jive! Since I haven't "contributed" to these pages in a while, I'm gonna list 10favorites and I'm even listing performances by actresses. Except for #1, these aren't in any real order...

-Christian Bale in "Batman Begins/The Dark Knight"

-Christian Bale in "The Prestige"

-Christian Bale in "3:10 To Yuma"

-Christian Bale in "American Psycho"

-Christian Bale in "The Machinist"

...NOT!! (but I figured a good portion of the Jive contributers would expect that) Heres the real list:

10. Ellen Page in "Juno"

9. Aaron Eckhart in "Thank You For Smoking"

8. Sharlto Copley in "District 9"

7. Gene Hackman in "The Royal Tenenbaums"

6. Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"

5. Audrey Tautou in "Amelie"

4. Sacha Baron Cohen in "Borat"

3. Ben Kingsley in "Sexy Beast"

2. Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"

1. Daniel Day-Lewis in "Gangs of New York"

*I could have replaced #8 & #9 with Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards) and David Carradine (Kill Bill) or even,yes, Russell Crowe (Master & Commander)but I wanted to give a shout out to a pair of performances that I think went overlooked but that I really enjoyed.

...Thus Spoke the Franker

Joko said...

alright, lots of good performances from the last decade but here is the best performances from 2000-2009:

Phil Hoffman, Almost Famous
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams
Jason Brolin, No Country For Old Men
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
George Clooney, Up In The Air

10. Chris Cooper, Adaptation

9. Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

8. Tommy Lee Jones, Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

7. Denzel Washington, Training Day

6. Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

5. Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams

4. Terrance Howard, Hustle and Flow

3. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

2. Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums

1. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

CWC said...

I can't argue with any of these choices...well maybe Aaron Eckhart or "Jason" Brolin.

Just some thoughts:

I loved the shoutout to Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast. Too bad nobody has hardly seen this awesome performance....meanest character ever. He makes the drill sgt. from Full Metal Jacket look like Doug H.

That was not the Phil Hoffman performance I was expecting from you but great nonetheless.

Strange how huge pro wrestling fans like us didn't list Mickey Rourke. Thoughts on why?

Lyle said...

Strange how huge pro wrestling fans like us didn't list Mickey Rourke. Thoughts on why?

RE: His acting was too good to be a wrestler....that lost his authenticity with you and Frank.

The Franker said...

On Mickey Rourke not making my list...
I've actually thought about that before you brought it up here (and also why The Wrestler overall wasn't really in consideration for any of my "favorites/best of" lists for the decade.
You'd think a movie & character centered around pro wrestling would fill me with as much joy as a film featuring Christian Bale fighting killer cyborgs in a post-apocalyptic world*

Truth is, I don't have a good answer except maybe I just didn't relate to Randy The Ram...or even like him very much.
(On the other hand, I related to Bad Blake...minus the part about being a talented musician waaay too much :)
Or maybe it's because his problems & conflicts were ones that I've never experienced and probably never will.

Now, I DO put Mickey Rourke's performance as one the best in recent memory.
Maybe when I'm making these types of lists, I just tend to remember "flashy" performances that are also quotable , quirky, make me laugh, or are just plain bad-asses. I really don't know.

*BTW, for those who wondered, I actually HATED Terminator:Salvation!

The Franker said...

Lyle, I think you may be on to something...

I could only dream about John Cena or Terry 'Hulk' Hogan being cast as the titular character in that movie. Chris, Waits, and I woulda been camped out for a week in front of the theater!

Katie said...

Okay so here is my list of top 10 favorite preformances of the decade. There are definitely more women on my list than others but it's probably because I relate better to the female characters. So in no particular order:

1. Noomi Rapace - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2. Kate Winslet - The Reader

3. Elijah Wood - The Lord of the Rings

4. Adrian Brody - The Pianist

5. Sharlito Copely - District 9

6. Cary Mulligan - An Education

7. Helen Mirren - The Queen

8. Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

9. Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain

10. Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart

Joko said...

i just now noticed that it said jason...i am totally embarrassed .... i think that i had a subconscious slip and was thinking jason boland????? it is terrible.

also owning mahowny was nip and tuck with almost famous but I just loved that character...i mean how much do we all quote him...

"i know're not cool."

I am not sure but maybe just i have had more disappointment or something but i loved randy the ram and loved the performance... he was a real f*&# up and wasn't acceptable in any other realm in life other than the ring. I don't know, maybe I'm babbling....

seth said...

Well I had aimed to contribute to the top5 Jive and add 10 movie performances. I looked at my list and noticed not one was made in between 2000-2009. So I am back spacing and starting over,so hopefully these are in that decade. In no particular order.
10.Uma Thurman-Kill Bill, Have to respect any lady that could go through that.
09.Scarlett Johannson- The Prestige.-Her job was to distract the audiences for the magician.She was so good I even got distracted.
08 Heathe Ledger-The Dark Knight
07 Christoph Waltz- Inglorius Basterds.- I can barely speak the english language correctly.
06 Clint Eastwood- Gran Torino
05 Bill Murray- Life aquatic
04 Javier Bardem - No Country for old men
03 Hillary Swank- Million Dollar Baby
02 George Clooney - O brother
Where art Thou.
01 Djimon Hounsou- Blood diamond

The Franker said...

Katie: Thank you for validating my appreciation of Sharlto Copley from District 9. That movie stuck with me for a long time and I think it had a lot to do with how believable and even sympathetic his character was.

Also, putting Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain is a great choice. (Random "Frank Fact" of the day: I own the DVD of both Brokeback Mountain & Milk because I like to just watch Ledger and Sean Penn so much in those movies. And NO, I'm not trying to confess anything to you guys!!

Seth, interesting choice for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. I watch those movies, esp pt.2 all the time. I just love the dialogue between her and Bill at the end of pt.2. Favorite quote: "I'm a killer, a murdering bas***d. You know that. And there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murdering bas***d."

One more thing, I'd like to submit one more of my favorites from last decade...
Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett in "The Alamo." If that movie had gotten better reviews or if more people went to see it, I think he would have been nominated for supporting actor awards. And I'm not taking that back!

Anonymous said...

not quite 10 but some of my favorites of the past decade in no particular order.
Kurt Russell - Stuntman Mike
Daniel Day Lewis - Bill the butcher
Tom Cruise - The Last Samuri
Ian McCellen - Gandalf
Russell Crowe - Insider
Tom Hanks - Charlie Wilson
Jackie Earle Haley - Rorschach
Robert Downey Jr. - Kirk Lazarus

You will notice I did leave off Ewan McGregor. I couldn't take that kind of bashing. Again maybe not the best but some of my favs.


Katie said...

Kirk I too left off Ewan McGregor for fear of heckling. You are not alone.

CWC said...

Welcome, Seth! And don't take any crap off anybody...especially you're brother-in-law. Nice list.

I totally agree with Billy Bob as Davy Crockett. The movie's only problem was that it was trying its best to not stray from the truth. Sometimes the "Myths" are more entertaining. That's why everyone loved Tombstone more than Wyatt Earp.

Glad to have you back after a year's absence. Thanks for agreeing with Video Joe's Code of Ethics (Jive Archives).
I LOVED Tarantino's Death Proof and LOVED Stuntman Mike. Thanks for giving that performance a shout-out.

The Franker said...


You are absolutely correct that the "myth" is always more popular and enjoyable. And I venture to say that 95% of the viewing public would prefer to see John Wayne as Davy being the last man standing at the Alamo and in his final heroic act, blowing up the rest of the gunpowder and taking a bunch of Mexicans with him.
However...for me, it was so enjoyable in the remake to watch Congressman Crockett showing up at the Alamo thinking the fighting was over and that he had a good chance to become president of the new Texas. Then realizing that he was trapped in a hopeless situation but not being able to leave because of his reputation...which he tries to live up to in front of all the other defenders. It was just a great performance IMO. (Incidentally, I've heard Billy Bob say that this was his favorite role...and he got a "Victory or Death" tattoo in order to commemorate it.)

And Kirk...I apologize beforehand if I didn't remember all of the details from the first Alamo movie above :)

Lyle said...

Was the Alamo the only movie John Wayne was ever killed in?

All that I can think of, but maybe I'm wrong (Kirk help me out). I would bet the producers in the 1st Alamo were trying to figure out a way that John Wayne as Davey Crockett could actually live through the battle, but alas deferred to history's accounts of his death before taking a little literary license to ensure that at the very least he would die heroically.

The Franker said...


I know The Duke got killed in The Cowboys...and shot in the back no less. Imagine the horror!!

I think I've heard where many people were really really outraged about it and the bad guy (Bruce Dern) caught a lot of crap from fans afterward.

CWC said...

Copy and paste to your tool bar. That's validation my friends.

Hooper said...

I did this once, and it refused to work so ill try again.

John Wayne also died in The Shootist, which was his last movie.

My list, which is not in order, and will probably be different if you ask me tomorrow or even later tonight.

1. George Clooney- Oh Brother, Where art Thou?
2. Daniel Day Lewis- Gangs of New York
3. Leonardo Dicaprio- The Aviator (didnt love the movie, but Leo was outstanding)
4. Tom Hanks- Charlie Wilsons War
5. Sam Rockwell- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
6. Ryan Gosling- Lars and the Real Girl
7 Brad Pitt- Snatch
8.Jeff Bridges- Crazy Heart
9.Robert Duvall- Open Range
10. Leonardo Dicaprio- Gangs of New York

Man, Gangs of New York was a great movie.

Runner ups: Christopher Walken- Kangaroo Jack
Jerry OConnell- Kangaroo Jack Anthony Anderson- Kangaroo Jack.

CWC said...

I'm shocked that a role Tom Hanks completely phoned in has made two seperate lists.

Its intersting. Hooper and Franco both mentioned Jeff Bridges. Both of you can relate to Bad totally different ways of course.

Duvall in Open Range, huh? Wasn't that just Gus McCrae in a lesser screenplay? Subquestion...isn't that still a character worth remembering?

Hooper said...

CWC, I cant argue that he's not doing a slightly older, crankier Gus, but like you said, that'll do. You know my love for Gus McCrae, and he couldnt make the list.

As for Hanks in Charlie Wilson, I just remember thinking as i left the theater that i thought Hanks did a great job. I probably should have made that a 2 way tie with him and Hoffman. Im going to watch more P.S. Hoffman movies in the next couple of weeks, so that will probably change my list completely.

The Franker said...


I'm glad to see someone else mention Gangs Of New York. I listed that as my favorite movie of the decade in one of these discussions a while back.

And I'm glad to see someone appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio because I don't think many people give him credit for being a really good actor and not just a movie star. I know what Chris is going to say: Leo ONLY works with the top directors so of course he is going to have great performances. I can't really argue with that point either.

As for O Brother...let's hear it for the real star of that movie in my eyes: the great Tim Blake Nelson!!

Hooper said...

But to be fair, Keanu Reaves could work with only the best directors and he'd still be awful.

(Keanu Reaves name could easily be swapped for Brenden Fraser.

Tim Blake Nelson was great. Really ive got no complaints from any of the casting in that movie.

Dana said...


I was really glad to see that you put Billy Bob in The Alamo on here. I recently have been reading/watching a lot about the Alamo after our trip to San Antonio, and so in turn, have only recently seen that movie (I've been sadly out of touch with movies since, say, October 2005. Have read much more than watched). I was impressed with how accurate it actually was. And I think Billy Bob himself was more like the actual Crockett than any other portrayal; not a hero, just a good storyteller. In fact, he even looked like Crockett and made fun of the ole' coonskin hat (favorite quote in the movie, "What happened to your hat, did it crawl away?") All the characterizations seemed very close to what I've read about the actual men involved. But as you say, people have heroicized all the men involved with the Texas Revolution, and don't want to hear that Houston and Bowie were drunks, Crockett didn't really want to be there but had to be because he was "Davy," and that Travis was a teetotlin' serial fornicator who left his wife and children back home while he went to Texas to be in a war. Movie was not going to succeed. Texas is too big of a state.

By the way, I've wondered on people's take on the death scene of Crockett in the movie. Do you think he really surrendered, or did he die in flaming glory? There have been eye witness accounts of both happening, wonder on others' take on the scene.

P.S. Leo Dicaprio has definitely come into his own as an actor. I have a "people you like to watch" factor on who I consider to be good, and he definitely fits the bill. He's grown tremendously since Titanic.

The Franker said...

Wow Dana,

Thanks for the ringing validation of my Billy Bob/Davy opinion! As for his death scene, there's really no way to know for sure whether he surrendered as you said because reports are conflicting. A rather high ranking Mexican officer's memoirs are the main source of the surrender claims...I think. All things considered, I have no problem believing that he might have surrendered.

My only problem with his death in the movie is that he appeared to be the only one left at the end to be executed. I've always thought there was at least a handful of defenders who gave up and were executed en masse (including Davy.)

Dana said...

Yeah, Frank, I've read that there were probably about ten men who surrendered and Santa Anna PO'ed his high ranking officers off by ignoring military protocal of the time by having them lined up and shot. And it also seems that the Mexican officer's memoirs are also questionable because of this same reason: after the huge loss of men in the journey through winter weather to the Alamo, the huge loss of men through Santa Anna's questionable military tactics at the Alamo, and his cowardly behavior at San Jacinto--a loss which many Mexican soldiers attributed, rightly so, to the Texians' anger towards the brutality of the Mexicans at the Alamo-- the Mexican soldiers' opinion of their leader wasn't very high. Some feel that the memoirs were written to further influence discord towards Santa Anna by saying that the great Davy Crockett was brutally murdered after waving the white flag. Personally, I like Travis's slave's statement that they found his body after the battle with about fifteen dead Mexican soldiers around him--one of them with Crockett's knife embedded in his gut to the hilt. And what did this slave have to gain with lying anyway?

Very interesting, I think, but I'm a dork.