I started this project a little over four months ago, which is definitely not a quarter of a year unless you dance to the beat of your own lunar cycles. In this time, I have reviewed 11 of Greg Kinnear’s movies, or 25% of his body of work. His movies, as listed on Rotten Tomatoes, add up to 42 plus a forthcoming movie. So, holy smokies, this project is 25% complete and that went by wayyy too fast. We’ve journeyed through a Quarter of Greg Kinnear’s Movies in Our Year With Kinnear! Or, edited for length and clarity (but really for alliterative purposes), we’ve spent a Quarter Year With Greg Kinnear!
I’d like to take this moment to thank my sponsors (…), reflect on the journey so far, and hand out some fake awards! Here are all the Greg Kinnear (GK) movies I’ve reviewed so far with links to my posts:
- Sabrina (1995)
- A Smile Like Yours (1997)
- Mystery Men (1999)
- Nurse Betty (2000)
- Stuck on You (2003)
- Invincible (2006)
- Baby Mama (2008)
- Flash of Genius (2008)
- The Last Song (2010)
- Salvation Boulevard (2011)
- Brigsby Bear (2017)
My most popular post was Baby Mama, while my least popular was Invincible. I found joy in watching and reviewing all of these movies, except Salvation Boulevard. Listing the movies in chronological order, I realize that I’ve reviewed movies covering almost every phase of his career. I haven’t dived into the half dozen years from 2010 to 2016, but that was probably the low point in Greg’s career. Seriously, all the movies in that window look bad…except maybe Thin Ice.
My wife inspired the design of a metric, The Kinnear Meter, to rank GK performances. My regular readers love it, hate it, or tolerate it. But I’ve never put all the movies on the meter at once, so heck yes I’m going to do that.
Some notes on the meter.
- The rankings refer to Kinnear’s performances, not the quality of the movie.
- The Kinnear Meter isn’t to scale. GK was so vanilla in Salvation Boulevard, there’s a large gap between it and Last Song. If the Kinnear Meter was to scale, all non-SB movies would be squished in the top half and it would look terrible.
- Nurse Betty achieved Premier Kinnear(!), but we have yet to find a movie with a performance so bad that it’s a Kinnear Jeer.
Now, I’d like to hand out fake awards. The Ringer is my pop culture soulmate and I love so much of what they do. One feature I particularly like is their propensity to hand out fake awards. Such as when they ranked all 19 Pixar movies and awarded ‘Pixies‘ in various made-up categories. Or when they did the same for The Office. I could wait to hand out my own (not nearly as good) fake awards until I finish the entire GK catalogue. Or, taking inspiration from the the sports features on The Ringer, I can jump-the-gun and hand out these awards at the quarter-season mark. Yes, that one!
Fact: Greg likes biopic roles set in the 60s & 70s. Polyester suits are his jam. We watched two such biopics (Invincible, Flash of Genius) with at least one to go (Auto Focus).
Runner-up for this award is Greg’s tennis outfit in Sabrina. These short shorts, tall socks, and sports coat are dope. But top prize goes to Invincible. Hate it or love it, Disney’s money was all over the movie’s set design. The set design intentionally contrasted gold tones for Mark Wahlburg’s scenes with blue tones for Greg’s scenes. This was a neat effect and outfitted Greg in some mighty fly blue suits. The Eagle green-and-white looked smoothe on Greg, and his hairpiece edges out his receding hairline in Flash of Genius.
Best Musical Performance
Fact: Greg played a concert pianist in The Last Song and worked with an instructor to prepare for the role. However, we only see separate head and hand shots whenever Greg is playing in the movie–never a full-body shot that confirms Greg is actually tickling the ivories. So it’s unclear why he worked with an instructor.
Hands down, this award goes to Greg’s “duet” with Meryl Streep in Stuck on You. There was really no other competition.
Fun Bonus Fact: I was in the local bookstore, and Billy Stewart’s ‘Summertime’, the song Greg is singing, came on. In the opening seconds, I was hoping it was Greg’s version.
Fact: Greg is happily married to Helen Labdon, and the pair has three daughters. GK often plays an on-screen dad, but rarely to daughters. He was stoked to get a chance in Last Song. In his words, “Miley [Cyrus] was a good daughter. I’ve got a lot of daughters in life, but in movies not so much.”
On that note, most GK dad roles I’ve watched haven’t been great. In Baby Mama, Invincible, and A Smile Like Yours Greg was an off-screen dad. His fathering held great promise, but the presence of kids was limited to one scene in each movie. In The Last Song, Greg was a pushover dad who didn’t set any boundaries with Miley. In Salvation Boulevard, Greg was a pushover step-dad, albeit one with a crazy wife. In Flash of Genius, Greg was a career-dad who prioritized his fight for recognition over his kids. This meant Lauren Graham was effectively a single mom to six kids. What the heck, she steals this award! Yep, there’s no topping that.
Fact: Greg’s best roles are defined by smarmy charm that belies a narcissistic, angry core. This is where he’s best flexing his acting muscles, and he assumes this character type in Nurse Betty and Mystery Men.
In both movies, the climax of Greg’s character arc is straight rage. Rage at Renée Zellweger for ruining his directorial dreams, and rage at the stupidity of the ‘superheroes’ trying to rescue him. In Nurse Betty, GK is given a chance to reconcile with Renée and is redeemed. But in Mystery Men, he just dies. So this award goes to Mystery Men and Greg’s amazing death scene.
(If I were to choose a movie wherein Greg wasn’t intentionally trying to be a jerk, then I’d hand this award to Sabrina. The movie’s middle act is Greg making moves on the suddenly attractive Sabrina while his fiancée is out-of-town. That’s low).
Fact: Greg stars alongside the same actors/actresses in repeat appearances. We’ve seen him paired with Lauren Holly in Sabrina and A Smile Like Yours. And he’ll appear in more movies TBR (to be reviewed) with actors we’ve seen already, including Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Morgan Freeman, Renée Zellweger, and Matt Damon. I hypothesize they all enjoy working with GK, which means it takes some serious effort to achieve ‘worst chemistry.’
But Lauren Holly does just that! In A Smile Like Yours, she is out-of-control crazy in her quest to get pregnant and goes so far as to secretly obtain Greg’s semen and test it. Their marriage is based on lies. Also, Lauren over-acts every one of her scenes and it’s hard for Greg to do much of anything with that.
Fact: Greg has never starred in a movie with Reese Witherspoon. This needs to change! The two would be totes adorbs together on-screen, and you know it too. But Best Chemistry isn’t limited to romance, and there are three finalists for this award.
In third place, we have a same-movie tie of Mark Wahlburg & Greg and Paige Turco & Greg in Invincible. Wahlburg and Kinnear crushed their mostly wordless player-coach dynamic, and Paige Turco was absolutely Greg’s rock (and his wife) through all his insecurities as a first-time NFL coach.
In second place, we have Team Feynear! Tina Fey & Greg had a very cute relationship in Baby Mama, even if it was second-fiddle to the Fey/Poehler wo-mance at the heart of the movie.
Winning this award…(drumroll)…is Greg Kinnear & Matt Damon in Stuck on You! Milking humor out of a movie about conjoined twins absolutely depends on the actor pair. Both Damon & Kinnear have resumes flush with supporting roles, which is probably why they were great at sharing the limelight. By all speculative accounts, it looks like they had a blast together while producing lots of ridiculous physical comedy in Stuck on You.
Fact: I have not met Greg Kinnear, and (gasp!) I may not. Instead, let’s pretend I could meet any one of Greg’s characters in the movies I’ve seen. Which would I choose?
The answer is (rather easily) Detective Vogel in Brigsby Bear. Detective Vogel is the goodest ‘good cop’ there ever was, and the most supportive person for the central character as he emerges from a lifetime in captivity. Vogel also has an inner-nerdiness that manifests in a wonderful Luke Skywalker-inspired acting bit. It would be impossible not to get along with Vogel, and BFF is definitely on-the-table.
That’s a wrap for awards at the quarter-year mark! Please shout me out if there are any fake awards you’d like to see in future recap posts. Now onto the most important part of every scientific paper and quarter-year blog post…the acknowledgments!
I’m having a lot of fun with this project, and I genuinely want to thank everyone who takes time to read my blog. Thanks for humoring me, and I hope you enjoy this project too. Your feedback is always welcome. Now for some special shout-outs.
- My amazing wife, who has watched 9 of the 11 GK movies with me and proof-read every post. Not to mention supporting the freakish amount of time I spend on this project. She’s truly the best.
- My buddy who has read every blog post and matched each one to its equivalent Sufjan Stevens song. At the outset of this project, the blog reminded him of Sufjan’s goal to make an album named after every state. Sufjan’s project ended after two, but I’m still going strong!
- My awesome-sauce coworkers. The grad student working with me has read every post, tolerated in-lab Mandy Moore tunes, and provided great format suggestions for the website. Another coworker is my movie twin, and our conversation about Nicholas Sparks may never be topped (except maybe by our conversation about The Longest Ride).
- My two followers! It oddly feels very cool to have ‘official blog followers,’ even if you don’t read every post. Y’all rock.
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