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Thread: What is Great Acting?

  1. #1
    This a topic I have discussed many times on Mike's old guestbook, and was a long time coming for me to bring up here. When the new show premiered, many people took the message boards and comments sections of online articles about it to make negative comments on Jack Lord's acting, calling him wooden, stiff, cold, distant, aloof, etc. - the latter three of which were more complimentary than the first two.

    I recently read an article by a New York Times TV critic named Mike Hale, which was published in 2017 and about Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park left, and how the new show should have had better casting of Asians from the beginning. There were 99 comments on that article, a few of which mentioned the original show negatively, as was expected: One guy said he had a distaste for the original because he found the idea of two white cops being asked to bring law and order to a group of islands predominated by Asians to be silly. One jerk said he didn't know that for the past seven years that CBS had been airing a "reboot of this braindead series," while another called the new show "a sequel to a mediocre series."

    One poster said that Jack Lord was "nobody's idea of a great (or even good) actor, but generic and colorless he was not." That poster had referred to Alex O'Loughlin as generic and colorless in a previous sentence.

    And how can an actor who is described as not being generic and colorless, still not be considered a good, if not great, actor? Isn't one of the purposes of acting to make your character stand out so they are not lacking in substance? That is certainly what Jack did in every role he played.

    Jack was not of the same caliber Laurence Olivier, though Mr. Olivier must have thought something of him in order to allow him to take his place in a line reading during an actress' audition. But then again, how many actors are?

    Just what standards do we use when he judge great, good, or bad acting?

    Your thoughts, everyone.

  2. #2
    I'm sure I'll have more to say to this later. But here's what I have:

    In general, at least for me, can the actors/actresses make me believe them? Can I buy what they're selling? Am I watching somebody simply go through the motions or have they sucked me in to believe they are actually the characters they are? This last bit is what my dad truly enjoyed about watching TV shows and movies. He passed in 2008 but I remember one of his favorite actors was Sam Elliott because that man could make you believe whomever he was at the the time and still does. Elliott would melt into his characters and you saw the characters he was being, not merely playing.

    As far as the negative comments from that 2017 article, I take them with the grain of salt they were typed with. I get people like what they like but to slam something else as your defense is petty and stupid and means you don't have a leg to stand on. I don't know what these people like except perhaps just a bunch of massive explosions and lot of kick ass fighting (there's a time and place for those too, I'm not slamming them per se just using it as an example). Many movies we're seeing being produced today are placing these things in place of story and characters but that's just my opinion.

    As far as the original being "mediocre" or "braindead", well consider me mediocre and braindead because I've been pretty much watching the original Five-O NON-STOP since the Fall of 2017 when MeTV aired it in the mid-late afternoons (5 p.m. Alaska time) and I initially watched just to listen to the theme! Those dang teasers in Seasons 1-4 sucked me in and I've been hooked since. We watched Five-O during the original run when I was growing up because I remember the theme very well and I know my dad liked it a lot. There were three shows he would watch whenever they were on: Gunsmoke, Star Trek (the original) and Hawaii Five-O. I think the reason I got hooked on it now is because I'm not 5 years old anymore or even 10, I'm 50 and I've been out in the world; retired from the U.S. military. I know that's made a difference because I get some of the subtleties of the series rather than just the chases and shoot-em-ups.

    There are places in some episodes were Jack Lord is overacting but I pretty much blow that off because it's not that much of a deterrent and it doesn't ruin the episode. One example is this week's 50th anniversary episode, Blind Tiger at the beginning when he's on the pavement. On the other hand, there are episodes that would have been absolute failures (and for some people they are and that's ok, that's their opinion and I'm an odd duck) if it weren't for the acting. As well, there are some that fail miserably because of the lack of acting. Five-O isn't the only show to have this happen to them either!

    I can't speak about the reboot other than what I read in Mr. Mike's reviews, I don't watch it. It has failed to suck me in and I'm not willing to give it a chance because I really don't want to be bogged down by all their excessive soap opera clutter.

  3. #3
    Bobbi, you're 50? Don't take this the wrong way, but I always thought you were older! I pictured you being in your late 60s, having watched the original as a young adult.

    I'm slightly younger than you -- about to turn 48!

    Regarding the acting, I agree with you regarding Jack Lord. He overacted at times, but for the most part he WAS McGarrett, and was quite believable in the role. The acting "problem" on the original Five-O came from some of the small role guest characters, as these positions were typically filled by locals with zero acting experience. This added authenticity to the Hawaiian setting, but you did have to overlook the bad acting at times. However, we're still seeing the same issues on the new show, 50 years later, as some of the guest characters are also poor actors.

  4. #4
    Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation Todd

    I agree with what you're saying about the local actors but again, I tend to not worry about them too much because there was the authenticity factor that outweighs the poor acting.

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