Rated Greg’s Top 5 Director/Actor Collaborators
- Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio (5 films)
- Quentin Tarantino & Samuel L. Jackson (6 films)
- Christopher Nolan & Michael Caine (6 films)
- The Coen Bros. & Frances McDormand (8 films)
- Wes Anderson & Bill Murray (7 films)
DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS!? That’s what I imagine occurred when each of the pairs above met for the first time. In the film industry it makes sense that actors would want to work with directors that they know they can trust (and vice versa). You’re putting a lot of faith in someone that they will promote you in the best light. It’s the same reason most people will only go to the same barber or stylist over and over again once they find the one that they like. It’s also the same reason I try to time the exact moment I get in line at my office cafeteria’s sandwich station so that when it’s my turn I get the nice lady that hooks up extra gilled chicken, as opposed to the stingy one.
Frances McDormand was lucky enough to meet her cinematic lobsters, the Coen Brothers, very early in her career. Her debut was the starring role of 1984’s Blood Simple and she would go on to appear in seven other Coen films (she also happens to be married to Joel Coen). Mark Wahlberg on the other hand didn’t find his lobster, Peter Berg, until 2013’s Lone Survivor, his 33rd appearance on the big screen. That experience clearly sparked something between the two because they collaborated on two more films (both in 2016) with an alleged CIA action trilogy on the way.
The better of the two 2016 Berg/Wahlberg collaborations is Patriots Day, a recounting of the Boston Marathon bombing and the five day manhunt that engrossed the city afterwards. This movie just kinda came and went but is deserving of much more fanfare than it received. Part of the blame should go to an annoying release date. It came out in NYC, Boston, and LA on Christmas Day but didn’t make it to the rest of the country until weeks later in the middle of January, thus forfeiting any possible exposure granted from year-end wrap ups like Rated Greg’s.
The uneasiness of the subject also probably had something to do with it. It’s understandable that a terrorist attack isn’t something many people would willingly sign up to experience again. Shit, even Wahlberg initially passed on the film, only changing his mind once he read the superb script. But if your making a film about the perseverant spirit of a community, is there anyone better suited to handle that than Peter Berg, creator of Friday Night Lights? Berg makes a valiant effort to honor those most affected by providing authentic, heartening backstories on the victims. This definitely isn’t just the Mark Wahlberg show, as Patriot’s Day is more of an ensemble piece. I have Berg and Wahlberg’s latest as the 8th best film of 2016, right in between Manchester by the Sea and Arrival. Costarring John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, Michelle Monaghan, and J.K. Simmons. Grade: A+
- One other item of note. This isn’t really an action movie, but the depicted Watertown shootout is probably the best action set piece from 2016. Well, either that or the end of Rogue one, but it seems silly now to compare the two.