Who is your favorite actor?  Is he the greatest actor in the world?

If your answer to the first question was not Greg Kinnear, your answer to the second question should be no.  Who is Greg Kinnear?  He looks like this:

GregKinnear.jpg

And you may think of him as an average white dude.  Maybe you even confuse him with Gary Sinise, who is definitely an average white dude.  But there is much, much more to Greg Kinnear…

He’s starred in 42 movies ranging in Rotten Tomatoes scores from 4% (Godsend) to 96% (Little Men).  He’s co-starred with basically every famous actor and actress. The list includes Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Eva Mendes, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Ben Stiller, Jennifer Connelly, Wilem Dafoe, Lauren Graham, and Steve Carrell to name a few.  He’s got quite the acting range, starring in rom coms, comedies, biopics, sports movies, war movies, religious dramas, and animated films.  He’s been nominated for an Oscar (As Good As It Gets), but also is the family man to end all family men starring in movies like Heaven is For Real and Dear God.  Imagine the perfect hybrid of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kirk Cameron.  Some Oscar-worthy movies, and some direct-to-DVD gems.

It is my goal to watch all 42 of his movies and it is my pleasure to share this journey with you movie-by-movie via this blog.  Let’s spend a Year with Greg Kinnear!  But before I describe the project, allow me to briefly chronicle my journey to appreciating Greg Kinnear and some cool GK facts.

My Journey

My story is rather inane, but I’ve exaggerated it in my mind so bear with me.

My first exposure to GK was as a middle schooler watching Mystery Men with some friends.  I thought the movie was silly and Greg Kinnear had a small role as Captain Amazing.  I didn’t remember much from the movie, and didn’t take note of GK.  (My older and more mature self recognizes how fantastic Mystery Men truly is).

The second GK film I ever saw was Little Miss Sunshine, which I re-watched countless times in college and is easily my most-watched movie.  LMS is a perfect indie movie, and the second-best ever made. Kinnear’s turn as Richard Hoover, the self-help salesman and family patriarch, is fantastic–but the movie’s ending and Abigail Breslin’s performance are what linger longest after the credits role.

A few years later, my buddy and I were browsing DVDs in Newbury Comics when we found a copy of Dear God on deep discount.  I mean real deep discount.  We never bought it, but it became a running joke that it was probably a fantastic movie and Greg Kinnear’s performance award-winning. Somehow the joke never died, resurfaced by stupid things like seeing it available for streaming on HBO.

But then came the movie that changed everything: Brigsby Bear.  You might have missed this delightful indie gem from 2017.  Bookmark this blog, take a minute to watch the trailer, and I’ll be here when you get back.  (Yes! Now this blog should be saved in your bookmarks).

Brigsby Bear is an incredibly fun movie made by Kyle Mooney of SNL.  The plot follows James (Mooney), who is kidnapped as a baby and raised in a bunker watching a show that his captive dad (Mark Hammill) makes for him.  On release, James has trouble adapting to the real world and wants to make a movie based on the fake show.  By far the best part of this movie is Kinnear, who plays a detective-turned-actor who first rescues James then participates in his movie.  GK is a lovable dork, at one moment quoting Shakespeare while discussing his high school acting ambitions and in the next reading utterly ridiculous lines while shrouded in a cloak as part of James’s movie.

Beyond the movie itself, talking about Brigsby Bear showed me that everyone loves Greg Kinnear.  I learned that my wife has enjoyed many of Kinnear’s rom coms.  I learned that my co-worker thinks GK is under-appreciated and loved him in As Good As It Gets.  From an internet search, I learned that the only GK haters are internet trolls. Then, I put my science skills to work and researched GK’s story.

What Else Don’t We Know About Greg Kinnear?

You can read his bio on wikipedia or imdb, but I recommend listening to this podcast.  Let me put what I’ve learned in bullet-points, lest I ramble:

  • GK is from Logansport, Indiana, but spent his high school years in Greece.  He wanted to be a talk show host and created his own called “School Daze with Greg Kinnear.” The Z tells you he’s legit
  • GK went into broadcast journalism and got his first big break as a talk show host on Talk Soup on E!
  • His first big movie role was Sabrina. He landed the role because the director, Sydney Pollack, was from Lafayette, Indiana and couldn’t believe any actor could be from a smaller town in Indiana.  So Pollack took a shot on Kinnear.  GK notes that it’s not always steady gigs that make an actor, but one lucky break
  • GK brought his parents to the Oscars when he went for As Good As It Gets. Is there any more admirable gesture?
  • GK is married with 3 daughters and lives in LA.  He makes family dinners a priority, and puts family above career.  GK encourages his daughters to choose good role models, but also gives them space to learn for themselves. He is the perfect family man
  • Perhaps the best part of the podcast is GK’s demeanor. He is a very relaxed guy who can poke fun at himself, and doesn’t make the movie business his idol
  • GK’s five favorite films are great.  North By Northwest, The Godfather, Chinatown–I am here for that

The Project: A Year with Greg Kinnear

So everybody loves Greg Kinnear and his life story is great.  Where does that leave us? With the desire to watch his whole movie catalogue? I hope so!

The project is simple.  I will watch every one of his movies and blog about each one.  Expect a new blog post every 7 to 10 days.  I’ll write a brief review of the movie, but mainly focus on Kinnear’s performance.  I’ll rank his performances, because what are experiences if not ranked? I’ll include any random facts I learn, or fan art you send me (lol).  I may have a GK double feature on his birthday, June 17, which is also Father’s day this year.  I don’t plan to watch his movies in chronological order, because how boring is that.  I’ll start with Brigsby Bear and finish with a highly-anticipated re-watch of Little Miss Sunshine.  I’ll list my source for each movie so you can watch it too.  I’m not excited to watch some of his movies; Heaven is for Real will be a tall order.  It’s not that I am doubtful of Colton Burpo’s visions of heaven, but yes it’s actually that.  I won’t commit to watching all of Kinnear’s TV performances, but will dive into some such as Electric Dreams and Sesame Street. 

Will this blog be super nerdy? I hope so! Is it possibly a waste of time? Yes, but a fun one!  Am I inspired by Julie Powell cooking through all of Julia Child’s cookbook in one year?  Yes, but my task is more noble.  Will you journey with me? Please do, and send me any suggestions or GK insights you have.

What is your favorite GK movie?  What do you want to know about GK?

Here we go!