Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Top Five Facial Expressions in Film

There are people that take film very seriously.  Film buffs.  Not only do they know the names of all the actors in the movie, but they also know who wrote it, who directed it, and who composed the musical score.  They can actually play the Kevin Bacon game without the use of IMDB.  They talk about lighting and color saturation and visual motifs and Dogma 95.  On Oscar night, they can't wait to see who wins "Best Sound Editing"-- which is not to be confused with "Best Sound Mixing."  They'll tell you which film won "Best Costume Design" seven years go.  They have had serious discussions about make-up.

But here at G:TB, we don't take film so seriously.  We are not so discerning, as you can see here.  And there are no foreign films on this list.  And we don't even call them films, we call them movies.  But we do like to look at stuff on screens.  Why?  For a reason film buffs rarely talk about, because it is too obvious.  Actors (and real people, for that matter) are good at making faces.  Forget all that other stuff:  the plot and special effects and music and crane shots . . . none of that matters as much as the ability of an actor to look the right way at the right time.  It barely matters what they are saying, as long as they've got the right look on their face.  But movie buffs think they are beyond this.  They want to talk about all the superficial stuff, when what is important are the people on the screen and the expressions they are making.

And so, without further analysis and in the spirit of the Teej, here are the Top Five Facial Expressions in Film.  You will not find any foreign facial expressions on this list.

1.  In the movie Spinal Tap, when Bobbi Fleckman tells the bands manager, Ian Faith, that "money talks and bullshit walks," Ian Faith makes the greatest facial expression in the history of film.  If you don't remember this, you can watch it here.  It's near the end of the clip, but it's worth watching the entire scene, it's the one with the description of Spinal Tap's album cover for "Smell the Glove."

2.  John Belushi in Animal House.



3.  Fay Wray when she first sees King Kong.



4.  Feathers McGraw in Nick Park's claymation masterpiece The Wrong Trousers.



5.  Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  He says, "Here's Johnny," but did he have to say anything?



This list is not so definitive, so feel free to add to it.  Jim Carrey and Jack Black certainly deserve a mention, although sometimes they ham it up too much.  This is just to get the ball rolling, to start the discussion.  The final goal, of course, is for the Academy Awards to consider The Best Facial Expression in a Feature Film as Oscar worthy. And G:TB will be responsible.

Until then, do this: the next time you're hanging out with some real dyed in the wool film buffs and they're discussing Steadicam shots and the seamless integration of digital effects, try to dumb it down a bit.  Tell them you really liked Heather Graham's sex face in Boogie Nights.  Or you thought Clint Eastwood did a fantastic job of looking tough in Gran Torino.  What can they say?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  All they can do is look at your smug, shit-eating grin.

44 comments:

T.J. said...

My brain rite gud.

Dave said...

igor has a great (but rather gay) comment at Sentence of Dave.

T.J. said...

Can we get a ruling from the committee on whether Harrison Ford makes enough of an expression here to qualify?
http://bit.ly/a6TTKC

Greg said...

I like Bill Murray's (as Raleigh St. Clair) look of disgust/shock when Dudley Heisenberg points out, "That cab has a dent in it" as Murray's wife is taking off in it. This is from the Royal Tenenbaums.

Dave said...

that is such a good one. definitely number six, or number one in the next installment of this feature.

Dave said...

i wanted to put a bill murray one in-- i was thinking of the end of rushmore, but i forgot. or maybe from caddyshack. he definitely deserves to be on there, as does that douche chevy chase. i had trouble thinking of women for the list.

d-train said...

there's a good one in fletch...when he's pretending to be the airplane mechanic and he asks the guys what stanwick is doing putting all those miles on the plane....the guys says, "well i asked him...i said....whatchu you doin up there, you doin some STUNT flyin or somethin?"

fletch - what's he say?

other mechanic - he just gives me that look...you know...he's got that look.

good stuff.

T.J. said...

I would pay upwards of $20 to see d-train do what he just did there for 2 hours with any number of movies. That would be phenomenal. Six to nine drink minimum of course.

Lecky said...

I can't remember Forest Whitaker's expression in the Crying Game but it had to be up there. Samuel Jackson in that role would have been even better

T.J. said...

The look on Peter Gibbons' face when the occupational hypnotherapist has the heart attack and dies in front of him is quite nice.

zman said...

The clay penguin made no discernable faces. It didn't even open its beak.

What about the "o-face" from Office Space? That's the only named face I can think of.

d-train said...

o-face, very good.
peter norths' movies usually come w/some pretty good facials.
the decorator!!!!

T.J. said...

Not a film facial (um, what?)...but funny nonetheless:
http://bit.ly/cLjSWB

Dave said...

the o-face! how did i forget that? i use that in shakespeare class.

zman, the penguin one is a joke. the point is that he makes no discernable face. nick park said he wanted a claymation character that had this expressionless malicious look on his face and that penguin is perfect. you idiot. aren't we supposed to make jokes around here?

Dave said...

i am going back to the beach to ask my father if i can drive his very nice volvo sedan all the way down to the obft. he should probably say "no."

aimee said...

Clearly the moment in Raiders where Harrison Ford just gives up and shoots the guy (because he has a bout of the runs) deserves at least honorable mention.

T.J. said...

I like this newcomer aimee already.

Dave said...

t.j.-- are you also aimee?

T.J. said...

Yes.

And Mr. Truck.

Mark said...

Are we renaming Gheorghe, Dave: The Blog? He is taking over.

rob said...

the face of sheriff stumpystein as played by kevin morgan during the epic gun battle scene in 'rodeo' would vault to the top of this list, if only we had it on digital video.

Igor said...

That's a classic. Trying to look stunned when you are cross-eyed is not small feat. Try it.

Marls said...

http://www.instantsfun.es/khaaan

T.J. said...

Kev played "Major Asshole"?

T.J. said...

Bets on first song Steve Miller plays?

d-train said...

space oddity

T.J. said...

This is the second concert in two weeks where I'm sure I've seen Party Rachel. Dennis was at the first concert.

Dave said...

give me a rundown of the crowd. i want to know who (besides t.j.) goes to see steve miller.

T.J. said...

Let's put it this way - every size, shape, sex and age. But, um, not every race.

T.J. said...

It's like an episode of Friends. Or what Geoff calls four years of high school.

T.J. said...

So, to recap, in the last four weeks I've seen REO/Benatar, the Dead Weather and now Steve Miller.

Public Enemy at 9:30 Club is on the radar...

T.J. said...

Jet Airliner.

Bitches.

T.J. said...

Mayhugh...song two is for you...take that money and run.

T.J. said...

Lazlo from Real Genius is definitely here.

T.J. said...

"We have a new album...here's song x..." Steve, buddy, you're Steve Miller. You don't have new albums. Come on now man, you should know better.

T.J. said...

Steve Miller hates United Airlines. Because of a wrong committed in 1969. Love it.

T.J. said...

Cue the geto boys

T.J. said...

Hey Dave, its magic time...

T.J. said...

Thank god I'm not epileptic...tone it down with the stage lights fellas.

rob said...

these go to eleven

T.J. said...

Encore begins...time to get to swigtown (not a typo)

Eric (Extra P.) said...

If you've never seen Harold & Maude, I highly recommend the face of the priest as he delivers this line:

"I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse - the act of your firm, young body... comingling with... withered flesh... sagging breasts... and flabby b-b-buttocks... makes me want... to vomit."

T.J. said...

Mel Brooks gets points for the Blazing Saddles "they darker than us" look.

As well as his President Scroob look with the two whores in bed...

T.J. said...

A job well done Steve Miller. And would you look at the time.

I guess I've got one more tribute in me...play my music Homer...