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Harrison Ford 
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Post Harrison Ford
This guy's something else. He, by all rights, should be a favorite actor of a lot of people. He was Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard--all popular characters from movies that are almost universally respected.

Then, at some point in the early '90s, he took a strange turn. His persona, both onscreen and off, became increasingly prickly. He began taking roles that could be played by any sufficiently hardassed leading man, stuff that he could do in his sleep. His reputation these days is no longer that of the dashing rogue, but of a cranky guy you'd best not speak to, because anything you say could be the wrong thing. It seems like he isn't commonly thought of as an actor of much stature these days.

But has he really changed that much? In his Inside The Actor's Studio interview, which was recorded in 2000--well after the differences in his persona first became apparent--he was every bit as laid back and charming as he was in the old days. ITAS is no blow-off talk show on the press junket. It's a show genuinely dedicated to the discussion of craft, and I think he responded to that. It brought out his enthusiasm as an actor, perhaps in a way that doesn't happen much for him anymore in some of the projects he's been in.

Perhaps for him, it isn't a matter of an evolving personality, but a matter of being in something and working with people that he can respect. Maybe we'll yet see the old Harrison Ford again.

And since the subject of his movies and where they fall in the rankings will inevitably come up, I would grudgingly choose Blade Runner--as the best movie he's been in, and as his best work as an actor. It's understated for sure, but there's a complexity to Rick Deckard that the film depends upon.

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Tue May 20, 2014 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Interesting. I had never thought to connect the change in his public persona with the change in his acting career, but linking them seems to make sense.

I'll take Witness for the best work he's done. It's also the only one the Academy has chosen to recognize (though with a nod, not a win) but that's largely immaterial. I just love what he does with that role.

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Tue May 20, 2014 5:45 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Empire Strikes Back FTW. The first movie may have first introduced Han Solo, but he unquestionably seemed more at home here. And why not? All three of the main characters had a chance to grow and develop.

Also, as silly as Air Force One is, for some reason (maybe our memories of him as Han and Indy) I can't imagine it being as fun with someone else in the lead role of The Action Hero POTUS. :D

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Tue May 20, 2014 5:59 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I was just thinking about Han earlier. I think what makes him interesting as a character (and, by his absence, something that hurts the prequels) is that he's a skeptic. He doesn't accept the trappings of this fictional universe with open arms. As an audience, I don't think that we outright reject fantasy, but we are naturally suspicious of earnestness, so having a Han Solo type character in the cast is a great way to ease us into this world.

By winning Han over, these characters win us over. And by playing Han as a jaded smartass, Ford zeroes right in on those characteristics that work. It's there for sure in the first two movies, though I'm not sure it really comes off in the third.

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Tue May 20, 2014 6:05 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Honestly, I've loved nearly everything this guy has been in. He is a favorite of mine and always will be.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of his, but his best performance? I think I'll go with Kunz and say Witness. But he's great in The Devil's Own (a supremely underrated movie), Air Force One, Presumed Innocent, Random Hearts (also underrated) and he's superb in a small movie nobody saw called Crossing Over. But of course Indiana Jones is his greatest role ever. Better than Han Solo.


Tue May 20, 2014 7:54 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
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Then, at some point in the early '90s, he took a strange turn. His persona, both onscreen and off, became increasingly prickly. He began taking roles that could be played by any sufficiently hardassed leading man, stuff that he could do in his sleep. His reputation these days is no longer that of the dashing rogue, but of a cranky guy you'd best not speak to, because anything you say could be the wrong thing. It seems like he isn't commonly thought of as an actor of much stature these days.

But has he really changed that much? In his Inside The Actor's Studio interview, which was recorded in 2000--well after the differences in his persona first became apparent--he was every bit as laid back and charming as he was in the old days.


uh, his reputation in the 80s was that of a cranky, prickly guy who you'd best not speak to(sort of like Russell Crowe)
Check out his interview with Letterman to promote Blade Runner(think it's on youtube). That was the norm back then(I'm old enough to have followed his career and press coverage in the 80s) He was generally a private dude who hated press etc. Now he does every talk show, back then it was a rarity. It seemed like he became more fan friendly as he got older, I think he's even admitted that he was sort of an a hole back then. I can't imagine the Harrison Ford of the 80s doing something like Bruno(yes, he was in on the joke)
and Expendables 3. and the new Star Wars. seems very grateful for the opportunity to be in big popcorn stuff today, not exactly the attitude he had circa 1985 when he was the biggest movie star in the world. I could well imagine what he may have said to James Lipton if that show was around back then and he was asked on it.


Tue May 20, 2014 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I like "Blade Runner" a lot too and recently read that a sequel is the works :-)

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Wed May 21, 2014 3:50 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
unwindfilms wrote:
I like "Blade Runner" a lot too and recently read that a sequel is the works :-)

I'm a huge fan of The Fugitive.
I love the bit
[Reveal] Spoiler:
when he is on the train and he at first he is worried becuase he has been recognised, then it instantly turns to rage when he sees his wife's killer

Frantic is pretty gopod too


Wed May 21, 2014 4:40 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
My opinion may be at odds with a few here, but Ford for me just lacks any real, deep acting talent.

He's excellent in some roles (yes, I mean Indiana Jones) and in his physical prime had a great look of a filmstar who was a bit rough and ready. I see him in the same vague way I see someone like Paul Newman - classically limited, but lacking Newman's obvious charisma.

It was weird to see him typecast in his later life as a kind of bland, brooding middle-aged bloke. Whether it be Richard Kimble, the President of America, that guy he played in What Lies Beneath, the sheriff in Cowboys and Aliens (hey look that sheriff is a brooding Harrison Ford).

And that film he did where he was a newsreader with Rachel McAdams was just a play on his own perceived media persona.

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Wed May 21, 2014 4:50 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I think Ford has had some variations in roles over his career that many don't give him credit for. Now, whether those were effective roles or not and whether that effectiveness had to do with Ford's performance or the nature of the movie itself (Mosquito Coast, anyone?) is debatable. But looking over his resume and there are some pretty varied things like Sabrina, Working Girl, Presumed Innocent and also a whole lot of popcorn action stuff. In his "serious roles" does he fall back on "cranky, over-serious dude"? Probably. I don't think he could pull off your average Richard Gere role, but then I can't see Richard Gere doing Indiana Jones or Expendables 3 either. I think Ford gives a solid workman like presence, but I don't see him as a strong leading man in anything that doesn't involve a car chase or a shoot out somewhere along the way.


Wed May 21, 2014 8:53 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I totally forgot about Sabrina. I actually love that movie and think it's one of Ford's absolute best performances. He's terrific in it.

I still need to see 42. But that actually looks like Ford's attempting to do real acting. He's attempting to disappear completely into a character. He rarely ever, if ever, does that. For those who have seen the movie, does he succeed?


Wed May 21, 2014 9:04 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
He's the biggest movie star there has ever been, but as pointed out, he's always been pretty understated on and off screen. The slightly disinterested swagger that makes Han and Indy so appealing hasn't followed into his latter-stage performances. Whether that's by choice or not, I'm not sure. In that fantastic Inside the Actor's Studio interview, it's as evident as ever that he genuinely doesn't care for fame, but also that he's a pretty nice guy, all things considered.

The idea that he's prickly (or just a prick) is one I'm not sure of -- often, Hollywood levels those rumors at people who don't play the game. Tommy Lee Jones (while never close to the star Ford was, obviously) is infamously prickly to the point where people seem to find it endearing about him. However, he also seemed to arrive on the scene as an old man already, which helps make those personality traits more palatable. Middle-age prickliness is much less appealing than an old curmudgeon.


Wed May 21, 2014 1:41 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Shade2 wrote:
He's the biggest movie star there has ever been, but as pointed out, he's always been pretty understated on and off screen. The slightly disinterested swagger that makes Han and Indy so appealing hasn't followed into his latter-stage performances. Whether that's by choice or not, I'm not sure. In that fantastic Inside the Actor's Studio interview, it's as evident as ever that he genuinely doesn't care for fame, but also that he's a pretty nice guy, all things considered.

The idea that he's prickly (or just a prick) is one I'm not sure of -- often, Hollywood levels those rumors at people who don't play the game. Tommy Lee Jones (while never close to the star Ford was, obviously) is infamously prickly to the point where people seem to find it endearing about him. However, he also seemed to arrive on the scene as an old man already, which helps make those personality traits more palatable. Middle-age prickliness is much less appealing than an old curmudgeon.


That's a big call but I can't say I disagree. I'm trying to think of a bigger "movie star," but I'm hard pressed to come up with one.

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Wed May 21, 2014 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I stand by my earlier comment. But will concede this -

Quote:
I was just thinking about Han earlier. I think what makes him interesting as a character (and, by his absence, something that hurts the prequels) is that he's a skeptic. He doesn't accept the trappings of this fictional universe with open arms


It looked like, at times, he was taking the piss in Star Wars. But still made it his own

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Wed May 21, 2014 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
wisey wrote:
Shade2 wrote:
He's the biggest movie star there has ever been, but as pointed out, he's always been pretty understated on and off screen. The slightly disinterested swagger that makes Han and Indy so appealing hasn't followed into his latter-stage performances. Whether that's by choice or not, I'm not sure. In that fantastic Inside the Actor's Studio interview, it's as evident as ever that he genuinely doesn't care for fame, but also that he's a pretty nice guy, all things considered.

The idea that he's prickly (or just a prick) is one I'm not sure of -- often, Hollywood levels those rumors at people who don't play the game. Tommy Lee Jones (while never close to the star Ford was, obviously) is infamously prickly to the point where people seem to find it endearing about him. However, he also seemed to arrive on the scene as an old man already, which helps make those personality traits more palatable. Middle-age prickliness is much less appealing than an old curmudgeon.


That's a big call but I can't say I disagree. I'm trying to think of a bigger "movie star," but I'm hard pressed to come up with one.


Based on what?!? Box office? Don't get me wrong...I like Ford quite a bit, but my personal opinion is somebody like John Wayne I could more easily buy as the "biggest movie star there has ever been."

(BTW: According to Box Office Mojo, Ford comes in #4 in gross receipts behind Tom Hanks (#1), Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson. I'm guessing those are not inflation-adjusted rankings too.)


Wed May 21, 2014 3:30 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Here's an interesting inflation-adjusted ranking that bumps Ford up to #2. If you took out animated fare, he may indeed claim that #1 spot. The Toy Story franchise I'm sure has done much to bolster Hanks' (#1) numbers.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/business-lea ... -all-time/


Wed May 21, 2014 3:36 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
NotHughGrant wrote:
I stand by my earlier comment. But will concede this -

It looked like, at times, he was taking the piss in Star Wars. But still made it his own

Possibly. Not in the sense that he was condescending to the material, but in the sense that he's portraying a deeply ironic character plunged into an earnest universe. The character himself is laughing at his own story. In a way, he's a much more modern action hero, and everybody else in the movie hails from an older, more innocent time of adventure storytelling.

If you want to go with a cliche, everything else about Star Wars is pre-Watergate, pre-Vietnam, or whatever. Han's there because we'd just lost our trust in the old heroic ideal.

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Wed May 21, 2014 5:35 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Johnny Larue wrote:
Based on what?!? Box office? Don't get me wrong...I like Ford quite a bit, but my personal opinion is somebody like John Wayne I could more easily buy as the "biggest movie star there has ever been."

(BTW: According to Box Office Mojo, Ford comes in #4 in gross receipts behind Tom Hanks (#1), Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson. I'm guessing those are not inflation-adjusted rankings too.)


I think Hanks is a contender. Freeman and Jackson were in a lot of movies over a decade or so run (Jackson more than anyone in the 90s), and that skews the numbers a bit I think.

I don't judge that by box office, though. Certainly those of a certain generation would campaign for Wayne. My statement was based on the idea of asking people on the street: Name a Movie Star! At his peak, I think Ford would have dominated that more than anyone ever.


Wed May 21, 2014 8:48 pm
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
I wouldn't say biggest ever though. Sure, at the height of his Indiana Jones goodwill, and with Hans Solo firmly printed on his CV, he could certainly have been 'the man' in Hollywood.

But I don't buy biggest ever.

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Thu May 22, 2014 4:09 am
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Post Re: Harrison Ford
Ken wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
I stand by my earlier comment. But will concede this -

It looked like, at times, he was taking the piss in Star Wars. But still made it his own

Possibly. Not in the sense that he was condescending to the material, but in the sense that he's portraying a deeply ironic character plunged into an earnest universe. The character himself is laughing at his own story. In a way, he's a much more modern action hero, and everybody else in the movie hails from an older, more innocent time of adventure storytelling.

If you want to go with a cliche, everything else about Star Wars is pre-Watergate, pre-Vietnam, or whatever. Han's there because we'd just lost our trust in the old heroic ideal.



Yeah that's a better way of putting it.

Although, subsequent comments he made about the script probably colour my perception.

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Thu May 22, 2014 4:12 am
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