February 18, 2008

Cut me a big slice of that ham acting.

Bigger can be better. (Via Throwing Things.) Think Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" and Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre the Wrath of God" and George C. Scott in "Dr. Strangelove." Those are all named in the linked article, and I love them all. What can I add? Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly"! But I hate a lot of ham acting too. I'm still mad at myself for sitting through Nicholas Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas." Just remembering that performance makes me feel a little ill.

48 comments:

Roost on the Moon said...

Have you seen There Will Be Blood yet? That's a slab and a half.

Beth said...

Nic Cage has moved beyond ham to camp, in its purest form as a sincere effort gone horribly, hilariously wrong. See his remake of Wicker Man, though I wish I hadn't.

George said...

Curly Howard....nyuk, nyuk, nyuk....woo, woo, woo!

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Laurence Olivier in The Betsy
(1978).
Marlon Brando in The Missori Breaks
(1976).
Betty Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962).

Two big pieces of ham and a slice of cheese. Enjoy!

Pogo said...

Bill Clinton in Impeachment of a President and The First Lady Runs for Office.

Ham to the bone.

hugo z scuminasuit said...

Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Why Carl Dreyer didn't rein in that scenery chewing bitch, I'll never know.

michael farris said...

"camp, in its purest form as a sincere effort gone horribly, hilariously wrong. See his (Nicolas Cage's: maf) remake of Wicker Man"

OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAAHHHHH! OH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH!

Comedy gold. No matter how many times I hear or see it, it always brings a smile.

Trooper York said...

(last lines)
Loren Hardeman: Don't you worry, son, you got me behind yuh.
Angelo Perino: What'll I do when you're gone?
Loren Hardeman: [walking out the door] Oh... oh, yeah...
[laughs]
Loren Hardeman: ... yeah. Well...
[smiling]
Loren Hardeman: Better learn fast.
(The Betsy, 1978)

PJHJD said...

Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.

Kev said...

I remember reading somewhere that Kubrick made Scott play Turgidson 'bigger' on successive takes (and with Kubrick, that could mean as many as sixty or seventy), and then used the most over-the-top pieces in the editing room. Scott felt betrayed and vowed to never work with Kubrick again, and on this he was not alone.
So don't always blame the actor in film and television. They don't always get the final say.

hugo z scuminasuit said...

Claude Laydu in Diary of a Country Priest

Why Robert Bresson didn't keep the pathetic Jerry Lewis wannabe from staggering around like a spastic is a mystery that may never be solved.

dbp said...

The first that comes to mind, besides those already mentioned:

John Lithgow's portrayal of Dr. Emilio Lizardo in "Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension"! That was rich hammy goodness.

Also, how about Robert Duval in "Apocalypse Now" smells "like...victory."

Trooper York said...

"You have the lips of Salome...and the eyes of Cleopatra."
(Marlon Brando, to his horse,
The Missouri Breaks, 1976)

Trooper York said...

Blanche: You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I weren't still in this chair.
Jane: But cha AAH, Blanche, ya AAH in that chair.
(Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, 1962)

Trooper York said...

Arthur Kirkland: That man is guilty! that man, there, that man is a slime! he is a *slime*! If he's allowed to go free, then something really wrong is goin' on here!
Judge Rayford: Mr. Kirkland you are out of order!
Arthur Kirkland: You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order! That man, that sick, crazy, depraved man, raped and beat that woman there, and he'd like to do it again! It's just a show! It's a show! It's "Let's Make A Deal"! "Let's Make A Deal"! Hey Frank, you wanna "Make A Deal"? I got an insane judge who likes to beat the shit out of women! Whaddya wanna gimme Frank, 3 weeks probation?
Frank Bowers: DAMMIT!
Arthur Kirkland: [to Judge Fleming] You, you sonofabitch, you! You're supposed to STAND for somethin'! You're supposed to protect people! But instead you rape and murder them!
[dragged out of court by bailiffs]
Arthur Kirkland: You killed McCullough! You killed him! Hold it! Hold it! I just completed my opening statement!
(Al Pacino as Arthur Kirkland in
And Justice for All,1979)

Pogo said...

Robin Williams in Every Movie He Was Ever In.

Trooper York said...

Sonny: I don't wanna talk to some flunky pig trying to calm me man.
Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti: Now you don't have to be calling me pig for...
Sonny: [Notices other officers moving toward him] What is he doing?
Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti: [shouts at officers] Will you get back there!
Sonny: What are you moving in there for?
Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti: [Runs toward closing officers] Will you get the fuck back there! Get back there will you!
Sonny: [Addresses other officers moving toward him] What's he doing? Go back there man! He wants to kill me so bad he can taste it! Huh? ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!
[Yells it too cheering crowd]
Sonny: ATTICA! ATTICA! REMEMBER ATTICA?
(Al Pacino as Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon, 1975)

Trooper York said...

Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!
(AL Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface, 1983)

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute. There seems to be a theme here. If only I could figure it out.

Pogo said...

Hillary Clinton in First Lady Runs for Office.

"It's not easy, it's not easy,
I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. This is very personal for me. I have so many ideas for this country and I just don't want to see us fall backwards. It's about our country, it's about our kids' future."



Al Pacino should pay attention to her.

Trooper York said...

Tony Montana: In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.

Hey I wonder if Bill ever saw that movie.

hugo z scuminasuit said...

Timothy Bottoms in Johnny Got His Gun.

Can somebody please explain to me how Dalton Trumbo let a character who's supposed to be a quadruple amputee perform kung fu moves?

The Drill SGT said...

G C Scott in Patton:

Patton: Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that "we are holding our position." We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're going to go through him like crap through a goose!

Patton: Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, "What did you do in the great World War II," you won't have to say, "Well... I shoveled shit in Louisiana."

ricpic said...

There are bad hams and then there are good hams. (Sir) Charles Laughton hammed it up good in just about every film he appeared in:

Mutiny On The Bounty - the first version. Brando hammed excruciatingly in the second, or was it the third? version.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Witness For The Prosecution - in which his co-star Marlene Dietrich hammed it up pretty good, too: "Remember me, Ducky?"

I googled Laughton and was surprised to find that he directed that absolute classic, The Night Of The Hunter, in which Robert Mitchum, in his laid back way, ate high on the hog, er...ham.

Middle Class Guy said...

Victor Mature was the whole hog.

Trooper York said...

Captain Ahab: From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Ye damned whale
(Gregory Peck, Moby Dick 1956)

Trooper York said...

Kirk: Khan... Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're gonna have to come down here. You're gonna have to come down here.
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried alive.
Kirk: KHAAANNNN.
[echo]
Kirk: KHAAANNNN.
(William Shatner, The Wrath of Khan
1982)

thephantomspitter said...

Middle Class Guy said...

Victor Mature was the whole hog.


Thus spake somebody who's obviously never seen "My Darling Clementine."

Pogo said...

Victor Mature was the whole hog.

Ever since Titus started posting, that phrasing has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Middle Class Guy said...

Ah,
Ham. I love it spiked with cloves and glazed with a Bourbon and Coke syrup or a Dr. Pepper glaze. I also love the bones and remains. I make the stock from them for my split pea soup. Chunks of ham are also good with kielbasa or smoked sausage, chicken in a navy bean soup. Ham is one of those versatile products that give great flavor to certain dishes.

There is nothing better than a good slab of ham with eggs over easy, hash browns, and diner coffee. A grilled ham, egg, and cheese sangwich is also a prize.

Then there is the king of hams; Prosciutto di Parma and its Spanish counterpart. It is great with just about everything. It is also good by itself with some crusty bread and sharp cheese.

Trooper York said...

John 'Joker' Jackson: Ya'll can't lynch me! I'm a white man!
Noah Cullen: [after covering Joker's face with mud so it doesn't show in the moonlight] There, now just the meanness shines through
(Tony Curtis and Barack Obama in The Defiant Ones, 1958)

Trooper York said...

Khan: From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.
(Ricardo Montalban, The Wrath of Khan, 1982)

Wait a minute...that sounds familar...where did I hear that one before...hmmmmmm.

Trooper York said...

Oh yeah, that was the last thing that Barbara Walters emailed to Rosie O'Donnell when she fired her.
Nevermind.

ricpic said...

The whole cast of The Sopranos.

Trooper York said...

I found it. The definitive Ham in the history of movies:

Babe: I'm not a porkpie.
Zootie: Whatever you say, cutie pie.
Babe: I'm not any kind of pie. I'm just a pig on a mission.
(Babe: Pig in the City, 1998)

And they are doing a remake with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall. Sweet.

AllenS said...

Have Gun – Will Travel was a popular American Western television series that aired on CBS from 1957 through 1963.

Have Cigar - Will Insert was a popular American comedy that played from 1992 to 2000.

Middle Class Guy said...

Pogo said...
Victor Mature was the whole hog.

Ever since Titus started posting, that phrasing has taken on a whole new meaning for me.



Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh, I didn't even think of that!

loner said...

A favorite story, whether true or not, is that Tim Roth asked how over-the-top he could be in Rob Roy and was told, "There is no top."

Joan said...

And they are doing a remake with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall. Sweet.

Acknowledging that this thread plays to Trooper's (considerable) strengths, I still have to give that line props for actually making me laugh at loud.

(I love the Babe movies, both of them.)

William Shatner's "KAAAHHHNNN!" is great, but pretty much all of Trek falls into the ham/camp category.

My favorite currently-working OTT guy is Alan Tyduk, who was great in Firefly, and outrageous in the Heath Ledger vehicle "A Knight's Tale."

Who else? I'm surprised no one's mentioned Johnny Depp's sublime, ridiculous Captain Jack Sparrow.

Tibore said...

Aha! Trooper York nailed it! You can't hand out ham awards without mentioning the biggest side o'pork out there: William Shatner.

Honestly, I love the guy. I'm a huge fan of his. But not because his acting is "subtle" or "minimalist".

Example - TOS: The Cloud Minders, episode 76, ~ 41 - 42 minute mark... pure Shatner genius:


PLASUS: ... Kirk, transport us out of here.
KIRK: We'll leave when the gas has effect.
PLASUS: It will never take effect. Transport us out of here!
KIRK: DIG!
PLASUS: Imbecile! We'll die!
KIRK: I. Said. DIG!
PLASUS: I am High Advisor of all the planet. I will take no more orders!
KIRK: ONE MORE STEP AND I'LL KILL YOU."

I'd call it a guilty pleasure... if I felt guilty about it. :D

And Wrath of Khan? Ricardo Montalban and those abs, giving those lines? Ham fiesta, baby!


"Khan: To the last, I will grapple with theeee! From hell's heart, I stab at theeee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at theeee!"

Exaggerated silibance, teeth-gritting, venemous delivery... Ham overdose, baby! I Love that movie! Luv it, luv it, LUV IT! Because of all that! One of the few times Shatner gets out-hammed!

"Khan: I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up."

Wheeeeeeee!

Tibore said...

Loner's invocation of Tim Roth always brings his Four Rooms character Ted the Bellhop to mind. That actually starts to make this post off topic, because I don't see his role as hammy; rather it was the everyman at the end of his rope reacting to outrageous situations. But still, that's one of my favorite movies involving him.

[How his first day is going]
Well, most recently, there's room 309, there's this scary Mexican gangster dude poking his finger in my chest. There's his hooligan kids snapping their fingers at me. There's a putrid, rotting corpse of a dead whore stuck in the springs of the bed. There's rooms blazing afire. There's a big fat needle from God knows where, stuck in my leg, infecting me with God knows what. And finally there's me, walking out the door, right f****** now. Buenas noches!

Scrutineer said...

Kirk: KHAAANNNN. [echo] Kirk: KHAAANNNN.

Preserved for eternity, or until the domain registration expires:

http://www.khaaan.com/

knoxwhirled said...

One of the worst has to be Renee Zellweger in "Cold Mountain." And she won an Oscar for it.

Palladian said...

I think people are not getting this. It's not about the worst hammy performances, it's about the best ones.

Watch the beginning of this interview with Steven Spielberg, who talks about a conversation he had with Kubrick about Nicholson's performance in "The Shining", which is one of the greatest motion picture performances ever.

tjl said...

"Victor Mature was the whole hog"

It's grossly unfair to mention Victor Mature without giving equal honors to Susan Hayward, his costar in the 50s sword-and-sandal epic "Demetrius and the Gladiators." Her performance as Messalina, sexpot Empress of Rome, set a standard that few could surpass.

Trooper York said...

Palladian, the worst hammy performances are the best hammy performances.

Trooper York said...

As any Yankee fan can tell you, the performer with the worst hammy was of course, Rickey Henderson.