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Fearless (#110 of 3)

15 Famous Movie Ledges

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15 Famous Movie Ledges
15 Famous Movie Ledges

Hitting theaters this week is Man on a Ledge, a rather unsubtly titled thriller that stars Sam Worthington as a guy whose nowhere-left-to-turn predicament has him doing the old wave-down-at-the-masses bit. This isn’t the first time Worthington has flirted with dizzying precipices (his motion-captured doppelgänger braved the floating mountains of Pandora), and it certainly isn’t the first time Hollywood has tormented acrophobics. Movies have long been living on the edge, ever intent on serving up vicarious vertigo. For proof, here’s a list of 15 memorable movie ledges, from cliffs to rooftops to ominous subway platforms. Safety nets not included.

5 for the Day: Jeff Bridges

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5 for the Day: Jeff Bridges
5 for the Day: Jeff Bridges

When speaking of Jeff Bridges, I find even hyperbole to be too understated. I consider him to be the greatest American actor working today, if not one of the greatest actors ever. There’s not much this guy doesn’t know about film acting. He’s a movie star, and that’s clear. He exudes “star.” But his work is often darker than what is normally allowed your typical celebrity, and the specificity and emotionality he brings to every part is unparalleled. The guy is a phenom. You show me a better performance than his as Ted Cole in Door in the Floor! I dare you! He wasn’t even nominated, which seems insane to me. You show me a better performance than his grandiose comic tour de force in The Big Lebowski! I dare you! The list goes on and on. But then again, Cary Grant wasn’t nominated for His Girl Friday, Notorious, Only Angels Have Wings, etc. and so forth. Oscars are obviously not the measure of an actor’s worth. The awards are often more indicative of what Hollywood congratulates itself for. We all know that. Jeff Bridges, although born into a Hollywood family, has the wild-card feel of an outsider. His work is often not ingratiating to audiences. He is not interested in being liked, but you can’t help but like him, even though his characters often have a cruel streak, a bull-headed stubbornness that makes it difficult to sympathize with them. That’s part of what I would call “star power.” He has often been in projects not worthy of his stupendous gifts (like I said: hyperbole is too understated for this guy), yet he always comes out smelling like a rose. His integrity is impeccable.

5 for the Day: Peter Weir

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5 for the Day: Peter Weir
5 for the Day: Peter Weir

Now that Martin Scorsese has his long-elusive Oscar (never the final arbiter of talent, though those with talent rarely appear displeased to win one) is Peter Weir now our best living director—or, at least, the most nominated—yet to take home the gold statue? One of the forerunners of modern Australian cinema, now internationally acclaimed, Weir is nevertheless rarely mentioned in the same breath as Malick, De Palma or others among his peers. The reasons for this can be argued (and I have a few ideas that I get into below); but comparatively lacking in enthusiasts does not negate a remarkable body of work, as rich and varied as one could hope for from a filmmaker.