Wednesday, December 07, 2022

5 Off My Head: Give 'Em Ellen

I wonder if I have never done this in the going-on-20 years I've been blogging this blog because there are still too many performances I have never seen? But I scanned through my Ellen Burstyn archives just now and it turns out that no, I have somehow never done a list of my top five favorite performances from one of my all-time favorite actresses, and that's ridiculous. It's obscene! Both the fact that I have never done the list and the fact that there are still so many of her performances I need to see. Either way it's Ellen's 90th birthday today (which came up in that video I posted from Darren Aronofsky's The Whale premiere last week) so let's just do it now. None of us are getting any younger. And I should note that the top performance listed below is actually what I consider to be the greatest performance in the history of film. She owns that, for me. 

My 5 Favorite Ellen Burstyn Performances

Sara Goldfarb, Requiem For a Dream (2000)
"In the end it's all nice."
Lois, The Last Picture Show (1971)
"I guess if it wasn't for Sam I'd have missed it. Whatever it is. I'd have been one of them amity types that thinks that playin' bridge is about the best thing that life has to offer."
Edna, Resurrection (1980)
"I'm sick to death of trying to get you to love me."
Chris MacNeil, The Exorcist (1974)
"Christ, I don't even smoke grass."
"Sexy for Phoenix."


What are your favorite Ellen Burstyn performances?


mrripley said...

If I had to do 5 in order they'd be The Exorcist,Requiem for a Dream,King of Marvin Gardens,Resurrection and Pieces of a Woman.

Anonymous said...

By miles and miles it's The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show - but I've never seen Resurrection and that pic alone makes me want to see it.

joel65913 said...

If were talking the greatest performance she’s ever given than yes, I agree about Requiem but it is contained in a movie I flat out hated so I wouldn’t list it as one of my top films. That however doesn’t diminish the mastery she showed in the picture.

So happy to see Resurrection among your top 5! It’s criminally underknown and my number 1. She’s great in it and matched by Eva Le Gallienne as her grandmother.

While I have seen most of her big films, she works a lot even now so there are many performances I haven’t caught up with yet.

My top 10-I’ve included TV movies since she is prolific there as well:

1. Resurrection
2. Same Time, Next Year-It’s not a great movie and her character doesn’t always make sense but she’s so disarming, and it affords her a chance to work through so many colors as Doris moves through the decades.
3. Pack of Lies
4. The Exorcist
5. The Last Picture Show
6. King of Marvin Gardens
7. Surviving
8. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
9. Something in Common
10. Twice in a Lifetime

ernesto66 said...

No love for "Playing by Heart"? Her parts of it feel disconnected from the all the rest until the very end, but she and Jay Mohr have a great chemistry in their scenes as a mother whose son is finally, and too late, letting her into his life. I'll never ever read "Goodnight Moon" again without hearing the words in Burstyn's voice.