Is it possible to be the world’s leading expert on someone who is still alive? I’ve always considered “world’s leading expert” to be a label applied to a scholar who studies a dead famous person, like Jane Austen or Isaac Newton or Karl Barth. Can the label apply to the study of someone who is alive, like the world’s leading expert on Lebron James or Frances McDormand? I took this all-important question to Google, but didn’t find a good answer. It’s probably because there isn’t a committee that unilaterally anoints scholars as world’s leading experts on the study of select people. Also, living people are experts on themselves. But I discovered that people can be world’s leading experts on topics. Some topics are cool (like manta rays) and some are lame (like ants). Since manta rays and ants are definitely living things, I conclude that–by the end of this project–I will be the world’s sixth leading expert on Greg Kinnear. After himself, his wife, and his three daughters. (Also in the running are his agent and parents). This is a great responsibility and I promise to act humbly.
Jokes aside, I’ve now watched and reviewed 31 Greg Kinnear movies. Holy smokes. First, I blogged through 11 movies. Second, I wrote a recap post (you can find it here). In it, I aggregated all 11 movies on the Kinnear Meter then handed out fake awards (Best Wardrobe, Biggest Jerk, Best Chemistry, etc). Third, I watched 20 more movies. Fourth, I decided to write another recap post (this is it). I’ll once again aggregate the movies in the Kinnear Meter. Then, instead of handing out more fake awards, I will make highly specific movie recommendations (i.e., Best Greg Kinnear Movie to Watch for a Good Cry). Then I’ll talk about the path ahead (i.e., I have 13 movies left to review). It’ll be great. Let’s go!
Kinnear Meter Madness
Here are the last 20 movies I reviewed, in chronological movie order and with hyperlinks to each post:
- Dear God (1996)
- As Good As It Gets (1997)
- You’ve Got Mail (1998)
- The Gift (2000)
- Someone Like You (2001)
- Robots (2005)
- Bad News Bears (2005)
- The Matador (2006)
- Unknown (2006)
- Feast of Love (2007)
- Ghost Town (2008)
- Green Zone (2010)
- I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011)
- Thin Ice (2012)
- The English Teacher (2013)
- Stuck in Love (2013)
- Anchorman 2 (2013)
- Heaven is for Real (2014)
- Murder of a Cat (2014)
- Phil (2019)
My most popular posts were Someone Like You (people love Hugh Jackman), The Gift (people love Keanu Reeves), and Heaven is for Real (
people love Kelly Reilly my good friend was a guest writer). My least popular post was Robots (c’mon people, that movie is great!). Here’s a Kinnear Meter with the 5 best and 5 worst movies of ‘The 20’.
All of the top 5 movies are ones I would gladly re-watch. As Good as It Gets joins Nurse Betty as the two movies awarded ‘Premier Kinnear’ status thus far. All of the bottom 5 movies are ones nobody should ever watch. (Except maybe Someone Like You, to see Ashley Judd cry a lot). Dear God is the first movie deemed a ‘Kinnear Jeer’ and it easily deserves that status.
And now, let’s get to some atypically awesome movie recs.
Best Greg Kinnear Movie for Falling Asleep before Waking Up Midway Through to Finish
The easy answer would be Dear God, because it’s so boring you’d fall asleep quickly. But the movie’s so bad that there would be nothing thrilling or exciting about waking up later and having to finish the film. The next easy answer would be The Gift, because you could wake up to Katie Holmes’ ghost and be seriously spooked. That would be pretty great, actually. But the movie sets a gothic atmosphere from the outset, so the problem here is that you probably wouldn’t fall asleep quickly or at all. The best answer is Thin Ice. It’s a Fargo-inspired black comedy crime thriller with twists. You would wake up and A) be confused for the rest of the movie, B) say to yourself, “hey it’s the sheriff from Stranger Things,” and C) also say to yourself, “I should watch Fargo.” That’s the greatest trio of things that could happen to someone who falls asleep during a movie.
Best Greg Kinnear Movie to Watch for a Good Cry
There are really only four movies on this list that could make you cry. Let’s eliminate the lame two. First, Murder of a Cat would only make you cry if cat-death-by-crossbow is your trigger. I’m not sure the resulting cry would be a “good cry.” Second, Feast of Love would make you cry if bad movies with nonsensical plots don’t ruin the emotions triggered by a character’s death. This is Nicholas Sparks’ whole game, so The Last Song is a better bet.
Now for the real contestants. As Good As It Gets has so many moments that could induce a good cry, such as Greg getting mugged, Helen Hunt’s son’s medical hardships, or Helen Hunt actually crying (side note: she’s flawless in this movie). BUT…As Good As It Gets is stuffed with comedic beats and Jack Nicholson’s OCD, such that any “good cry” will be short-lived. Thus, the winner is Stuck in Love. The movie is teen melodrama in its purest form, layering character hardship on character hardship so that if you’re not crying when Lily Collin’s boyfriend’s mother dies or Nat Wolff’s girlfriend overdoses then you definitely are crying when Greg reunites with his ex-wife at Thanksgiving. This movie provides and sustains a good cry.
Best Greg Kinnear Movie to Watch on a First Date You Want to be a Last Date Because You Felt Obliged to Say Yes to Someone You Don’t Really Like
Two disclaimers. First, don’t go on this date. You owe this person and their unrequited love nothing. Second, no Greg Kinnear movie is a failsafe to turn off the other person. They may think, “wow, my date likes Greg Kinnear and he’s the greatest actor of all time!” Even so, let’s proceed with this thought experiment.
The seemingly easy answer would be a bad romantic comedy, of which there are several choices (Someone Like You, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Dear God). But choosing one of these movies could easily backfire because your date might enjoy making fun of bad movies or appreciate that you like romantic comedies while thinking they can fix your poor taste. Other candidates for “movies to bore your date” would be a war movie (Green Zone) or crude comedy (Bad News Bears). Problem is, while war movies are stupid, Green Zone has Matt Damon. And maybe your date has a keen interest in the Iraq War. Other problem is, maybe your date likes crude comedies and also Bad News Bears is about baseball which is the greatest sport of all time. So that leaves two movies as the clear-cut choice to bore your date and turn them off to you. These movies, The English Teacher and The Matador, feature gross dudes doing slimy things (Michael Angarano and Pierce Brosnan, respectively). The difference between the two is that English Teacher is a bad movie so it would be a bad time all-around while Matador is an uncomfortable but good movie so I would pick that one and hope your date doesn’t appreciate black comedies.
Best Movie to Watch Where Greg Kinnear Shares Screen Time with an Animal
Please note the difference between “shares screen time with” and “shares the screen with.” By keeping my definition of this category verrrry loose, there are a surprising amount of contestants:
- Greg and Pierce Brosnan attend a bull fight in The Matador
- Ewan McGregor has a little flying teakettle that is the equivalent of a robotic dog in Robots
- Greg buys a dog for Selma Blair in Feast of Love
- Greg is a prime suspect in the feline fatality central to Murder of a Cat
- Greg’s widow, Tea Leoni, owns a Great Dane in Ghost Town
- Alan Arkin’s dog Petey chews on the violin central to the plot of Thin Ice
- Men are bulls and women are cows in the stupid metaphor that runs throughout Someone Like You (the movie opens with video clips of cows so this counts)
- Greg Kinnear adores his Brussels Griffon named Verdell in As Good As It Gets
Who wins? If you want to watch a movie with your children, Robots is your best choice. If you want to watch one good scene in a bad movie, the scene where Greg steals his dog back from his sister in Feast of Love is for you. But this is a two-dog race. On the one hand, six Brussels Griffons were used for the character of Verdell in As Good As It Gets and they’re really stinking cute. On the other hand, a female Great Dane named Jazz plays Tea Leoni’s companion in Ghost Town and she’s really stinking massive. Back on hand one, Greg really needs Verdell for comfort after he’s mugged. But on hand two, Leoni really needs Jazz for comfort after she’s widowed by Greg’s death. Hand one again, Jack Nicholson throws Verdell down a garbage chute and according to the American Humane Association website this stunt actually happened with a four foot drop and mad props to that dog. Hand two again, Leoni gives Jazz a big bubble bath and brushes her teeth and again according to the American Humane Association website this stunt actually happened and mad props to both Leoni and Jazz. My hands are showing a tie, but big dogs are objectively better than small dogs so Ghost Town wins.
Best Movie to Watch Where Greg Kinnear Dates Someone Whose First or Middle Name Starts with J
To be clear, it doesn’t matter if the actress’s name starts with J or her character’s name starts with J. It all counts, because I make the rules. Here are the candidates:
- Greg’s wife is (Sarah) Jessica Parker in I Don’t Know How She Does It
- Greg’s estranged wife is Jo Ann played by Lea Thompson in Thin Ice
- Greg dates Julianne Moore in The English Teacher
- Greg tries to win back his ex-wife Jennifer Connelly in Stuck in Love
- Greg dates Jessica King played by Katie Holmes in The Gift
I really want to pick Stuck in Love because Jennifer and Greg have excellent chemistry (side note: they would win “best chemistry” if I were handing out fake awards again). I also want to pick Stuck in Love because their daughter is played by Lily Collins who looks just like Jennifer. BUT…I have to pick The Gift for two reasons. First, it’s a great movie. Second, Katie also plays Jackie Kennedy to Greg’s JFK in the TV Mini-Series The Kennedys. Katie wins the game of Js.
Best Greg Kinnear Movie to Stream
This is a shameless plug to get you to watch a Greg Kinnear movie. Nothing is easier than sitting on your couch or recliner or futon or cozy sack or squatty potty and cuing up a movie on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. Netflix recently removed As Good As It Gets and the other options are bleak. Your only option from ‘The 20’ is I Don’t Know How She Does It and I don’t recommend finding out how she does it. With Hulu add-ons you can currently stream Anchorman 2 (don’t, it’s terrible), Someone Like You (an entertaining bad movie), Dear God (hmmm yes), Green Zone (war movies are stupid), or Phil (surprisingly, this is your best choice). Then we look at Amazon Prime and your current streaming options are incredible: Ghost Town, You’ve Got Mail, Stuck in Love, and The Gift are available. I would watch them all in a back-to-back-to-back-to-back epic movie marathon.
Now let’s talk about what’s ahead. I have these 13 movies left to watch:
- What Planet Are You From? (2000)
- Loser (2000)
- We Were Soldiers (2002)
- Auto Focus (2002)
- Godsend (2003)
- Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
- Fast Food Nation (2006)
- Little Men (2016)
- Same Kind of Different As Me (2017)
- Frankie (2019)
- The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)
- Brian Banks (2019)
- Strange But True (2019)
Clearly, I have a lot of movies remaining from the beginning (2000-2003) and present (2016-) of Greg’s career. I will watch them in the arbitrary order I choose, saving Little Miss Sunshine for last (as promised). The remaining movies are mostly dramas or comedies, with the exception of We Were Soldiers, Auto Focus (a dark biopic), and thrillers Godsend and Strange But True. I’m quite excited to watch Auto Focus, one of Greg’s most acclaimed roles, but not excited to slog through We Were Soldiers (Mel Gibson in a 2.5 hour war movie…no thanks). Most of the other movies should be varying degrees of fun to review. Please note: I will not watch Greg Kinnear’s two TV movies, Confirmation and Dinner with Friends, because I don’t want to write about Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden or the super gross Dennis Quaid. If you, dear reader, want to submit a guest post covering either of these movies–please contact the blog’s content manager (me).
Next-up is We Were Soldiers because let’s get it over with.
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