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July 15, 2004

Win a free blogad at Dean's World

A new Axis of Excellence has been formed between Popping Culture and Dean's World!!!

This is quite a coup for Popping Culture, since Dean's World gets something like a million jillion hits a day. NOW it can be a coup for you as well: all you need to do to win a free TWO WEEK blogad on Dean Esmay's web log is know a little bit about popular culture, be able to write (or get your mom to write) three intelligible sentences and, you know, win.

Here's the game: It's called Three Sentences and is pretty self-explanatory. We'll play it from time to time on Popping Culture, but seldom with this big of a payoff.

I pick a topic. You write three sentences (no run-ons, of course, but beyond that the sky's the limit - write a 3-sentence poem if you want) on that topic in the comment section. The commenter who has the most compelling and believable three sentences as voted on by our crack Popping Culture staff wins. Easy, right? On with the show....


I'm looking for the ONE best acting performance of the last 25 years. Not best movie or play, not best-looking actress, not prettiest special effects. Best Acting Performance.

My own three favorites in no particular order are:

(1) Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption.
(2) Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility.
(3) Meryl Streep in, well, everything.

Your task: pick your ONE favorite acting performance in the last 25 years and convince me you are right in three sentences. Creative and smart always win over dull and stupid. Up for grabs is two weeks of free publicity from Dean's World and a place in Popping Culture's Hall of Knowinghood. Take your time, but hurry: contest ends Monday night, July 19, at 11:59 p.m EST. Two entry limit per blogger.


May God and Dean Esmay have mercy on your souls.

Posted by Dan at July 15, 2004 10:34 AM

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Tracked on July 15, 2004 01:46 PM


  • Denzel Washington in Training Day

  • Jack Nicholson in Ironweed
  • Meryl Streep in anything, but I'll pick Sophie's Choice

Posted by: La Shawn at July 15, 2004 02:24 PM

An effective portrayal by an actor is one that, in defiance of reason and knowledge, causes the audience member to suspend their logic and accept the offered identity as a valid human being. Accomplishing this with an historic character or a reasonable fictional character, is challenge enough, but to make a performance as a character of folk legend bring the character to life, in a human way, is a rare accomplishment. That is why, for my nomination in your category of best acting performance, I nominate Richard Attenborough, for his performance as Father Christmas in Miracle on 34th St.

Posted by: Mr. E. at July 15, 2004 02:27 PM

My choice is Toby McGuire for portraying Peter Parker. Bringing a comic book character to life on the big screen is difficult, making them believable indeed monumental but making them truly human is nothing short of superheroic. Toby’s performances, particularly the most recent, has made a literally two-dimensional character fully real.

Posted by: GT at July 15, 2004 02:59 PM

I did it wrong the first time, so please allow me to begin again; I listed my top three, so let me tell why Jack Nicholson in Ironweed (1987) is the best performance in the last 25 years.

Based on the book by William Kennedy, Ironweed is the story of a pair of Depression-era bums, played by Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Nicholson's haunting portrayal of Francis Phelan, a homeless drunk who left his family (wife, son and daughter) 20 years before after accidently dropping his baby son and killing him, lingers long after the closing credits roll; Nicholson's understated, underrated and stellar performance in this movie is a sharp reminder of how precious life is, even an imperfect one.

Posted by: La Shawn at July 15, 2004 04:04 PM

Lea Thompson sings
"Call him Howard...the Duck (QUACK!)"
Like a real rock star.

Posted by: Jimmie at July 15, 2004 06:13 PM

Easy, Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally". The scene in the diner which ends with "I'll have what she's having".

The authenticity of the performance was such that every man watching the film instantly reviewed his past relationships for parallels.

Posted by: Dave B. at July 15, 2004 09:21 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger clearly captured the nuances requried to portray an emotionless and clueless futuristic cyborg in Terminator. Miles Davis was the very essence of a drugged-out jazz star in Dingo. And Gerard Depardieu played a big-nose smart-arse Frenchman in Cyrano better than any other actor of his generation.

Posted by: Simon at July 15, 2004 09:52 PM

daunting circumstances envelope the mind
hoplessness the easy way out
friendship eternal dreams; soul healing upon the shores


Posted by: madpoet at July 15, 2004 10:37 PM

Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. In one of the biggest blockbuster movies about WW II he manages never to be overshadowed by the action while clearly maintaining the ensemble nature of the cast and script. He portrays a highly effective officer in the elite Army Rangers while making it seem perfectly reasonable that this man was simply a schoolteacher in peacetime and finally he makes it seem perfectly reasonable that his character is slowly but surely experiencing a nervous breakdown (involuntary shaking of his hand, etc) while still able to lead his men and function at a high level as a soldier. I can not envision any other actor who could do all these things simultaneously.

Posted by: bloggerrabbit at July 15, 2004 10:47 PM

Maria de Medieros played "Fabienne," the utterly clueless woman to Bruce Willis' "Butch," in Pulp Fiction. Medieros, played utterly against type in creating a pathetic character with whom male and female audiences were charmed. De Medieros, a Portuguese film director and actress, created a searing picture of a woman living exclusively for love and connection.

Posted by: Hatcher at July 15, 2004 10:49 PM


The world now sees
that Truman is a true man
and Carrey can act.

Posted by: urthshu at July 15, 2004 11:02 PM

I don't have a blog to advertise so this is not submitted for judging. Just thought I'd join the fun.

Mel Gibson as Hamlet. Neither the critics nor I thought he could do it. He proved us all wrong.

Posted by: Cindy Preston at July 16, 2004 08:41 AM

Shelly Duvall's portrayal of Olive Oyl perfectly captures the maiden behind the myth. It wasn't just the hairdo, the body type, and the voice; it was the ACTING. She is what Jack Handey was thinking of when he said, "I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye."

Posted by: Daniel Geffen at July 16, 2004 05:41 PM

Believe it or not I think Daniel Geffen's got a very solid suggestion there.

I'm still knocked out by the portrayal of Michael Corleone in Godfather II.

Posted by: Dean esmay at July 16, 2004 11:00 PM

Anthony Hopkins in "Meet Joe Black." That movie was soft-core pornography for women, and I give Tony props for bringing dignity to his scenes with Peter North Brad Pitt. Acting is hard to do in a vacuum, but Hopkins is a pro -- he carries his spacewalking suit to every production he's a part of.

Posted by: Fred Schoeneman at July 17, 2004 01:44 AM

Don't want the ad. My blog is a joke and I'm somewhat ashamed. hehe. I feel the need to make some nominations though.

Tom Hanks in the Green Mile.
Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan.
Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich.
Meryl Streep in Silkwood.
Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest was a great performance but I think it's outside the 25 year time limit.

I actually thought that Morgan Freeman was better in Shawshank Redemption but that is one of the best movies ever made IMHO.

Posted by: Ralph at July 17, 2004 02:56 PM

Edward Norton in American History X. Many an actor has played the transition from man to monster with skill and gritty realism, but how many have turned a monster into a man? His journey from Nazi skinhead to humble human being is one of the best acting revelations of the last few decades, hands down.

Posted by: The Chairman at July 18, 2004 11:29 PM

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