5 Overlooked Roles of 2023
When a new year starts most of us put our minds on the future. We want to know what’s coming next, how I can better myself, or more importantly, what new movies are coming out this year. With our minds on the future, it’s easy to forget the past, even if it just happened. In the film industry it is so common to have the “what have you done for me lately” mentality that we miss the point of film at its core. The problem is when we move on so quickly, we miss out on experiences that could have been exceptionally entertaining. This is one of the reasons it’s a great idea to take the beginning of the year as a time of reflection. Looking back on films and shows that were exciting, educational or perhaps downright terrifying helps keep a film buff well rounded. There are times when an actor takes on a role and plays the part so fantastically, it deserves a ride on the memory train as well. The film/show may not have been the best of the year, but these actors elevated their roles in such a way that they deserve a shout out.
Justin Long in Goosebumps
Justin Long is no stranger to amazing roles. Many characters he takes on become elevated strictly because of his talent. Long is one of those actors whose abilities transcend genre. In the show Goosebumps he proves this repeatedly. From the new hip teacher, to the hilarious yet perfect role of teenage poltergeist and rounding it out with downright terrifying killer. The entire series is full of great actors, but Long takes this character to a whole new level that I did not expect from this type of show. Hoping that the second season brings more twists Justin Long had this to say, “I hope there’s more possession involved because it was fun to jump back and forth”.
Carla Gugino in The Fall of the House of Usher
Mike Flanagan is back again proving he is the new king of horror (at least on the silver screen). In his new show, The Fall of the House of Usher, Flanagan takes on the short story of the same name written by Edgar Allan Poe and mixes in elements from many of Poe’s other works. None are done as fantastically as Verna, played by Carla Gugino. Gugino is no stranger to working with Flannagan as she was the lead in 2017’s Gerald’s Game as well as The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass. In The Fall of the House of Usher, Gugino plays Verna, which is an anagram for Raven. In an interview she describes the character as “not the devil, not even evil…”. The performance showcases the Gugino’s ability to jump between many types of characters from a shy unhealthy middle aged woman, to a sexy seductress crashing a rave.
Anthony Mackie inTwisted Metal
Twisted Metal in theory should not have worked as a television show. So much so that when it was released, viewers were blown away by the ability of the writers (Michael Johnathan Smith) to take a video game, one with such a simple and small story, and expand it into an amazing post-apocalyptic world. Anthony Mackie was a strange choice for some critics, but after the first episode all doubt was squashed. Mackie delivers a funny, heartfelt character that is more than just a two-dimensional action hero. In fact, he’s an unlikely hero in all respects. But Mackie brings a boldness and a sort of “everyman” feel to this role that you believe he is John.
Sophie Thatcher in Yellowjackets
It would be tremendously challenging to stand out in a television show next to Christina Ricci and Melanie Lynskey, especially for a relatively new actor such as Sophie Thatcher. But that is exactly what happened in the show Yellowjackets. Having a show where a high school soccer team gets trapped in the wilderness for over a year is the type of atmosphere where a lot of emotion is going to be expected. The role of Natalie more than any in some respects. Thatcher was able to dig deep and find all the layers that make up the young tragic story of Natalie. As the show progresses and we learn even more about Natalie and what she has already been through, the change in who she is at her core is spellbinding by the end of season 2. In an interview with Alternative Press Thatcher explains the complexity of emotion in this show,
“It’s a release people can find solace within, there’s so many scales of emotions — there’s rage, there’s loneliness, there’s pretty much everything that people can connect to at any point in their life. And that’s why I think it has such a specific audience.”
Kaitlyn Dever in No One Will Save You
In 2023, most “creatures from another planet” stories have been told. It is extremely difficult to come up with a new twist on one of the oldest fears in modern society. The fear of “what if something came” is tackled in such a unique and aesthetically pleasing way in No One Will Save You. Much of the film has Kaitlyn Dever in the center of the frame. Holding an entire film on one’s shoulders is no easy task, but Dever never buckles under the pressure. The amount of fear and anxiety that is shown in her face, while never being over exaggerated, is nothing less than suburb. The lack of dialogue in the film as well must be a wall that seems so high there is no way to hurdle over it. Director Brian Duffield understood that obstacle and made sure they put in place the correct actor for the role, and Kaitlyn Dever surpassed all expectations. In a film where there is no dialogue, but the viewers do not notice for so long is a task that not many could take on. However, Dever delivers an unforgettable performance that had many of us going back for a re-watch within a week.