Holy cow, I did it. I watched and reviewed all 45 of Greg Kinnear’s feature films. [Pause for applause].
When I started the project in March of 2018, I saw it going one of two ways. In the fate I hoped for, I’d review Greg’s movies at a breakneck clip of 7 to 10 days and finish within one year. A literal year with Kinnear. That plan was crazy. In the fate I wished against, I thought I’d write a dozen or two blog posts before losing my passion for the project and quitting. I’m a finisher who’s bothered when I don’t complete books or meet running goals. But writing nearly 50 blog posts when I’d never before regularly blogged was a whole different animal. What actually happened is I completed the project in 2.75 years, during which I had a son, changed jobs, and moved cross-country. I’m glad I didn’t give up and am super appreciative for my readers. Wether this is your 1st or 49th time visiting my blog, THANK YOU for reading my sometimes sensical musings.
This post serves as a project recap, and it’s comprised of three parts. In Part One, I’ll recap the final 14 movies I’ve reviewed since my last mini-recap post. In Part Two, I’ll summarize the whole project using geeky graphs. In Part Three, I’ll offer personal reflections on my years with Kinnear using paparazzi pictures of Greg. Please treat this post as modular, reading any part in any order that interests you!
Part 1: The Final Fourteen
At two arbitrary points in the blogging journey, I paused to distribute fake awards or offer ridiculous recommendations as a fun way to recap subsets of Greg’s movies. With more limited space here, I rank the third & final subset of movies from worst to best GK performance. I further bin them in tiers from absolutely unwatchable to must-see-movies and insert a few comments for each movie. Here goes.
Tier 1 – Avert Your Eyes
- Same Kind of Different as Me. Never watch this movie. It’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen and that’s not an exaggeration. Greg is listless in his role, earning a Kinnear Jeer.
- What Planet Are You From? Watch this terrible sci-fi comedy to see Greg crack crass jokes while an alien arrives on earth to procreate.
- The Red Sea Diving Resort. Watch this mediocre action flick if shirtless Chris Evans is your jam. Greg’s appearances are infrequent and replaceable.
- Fast Food Nation. Watch this drama if you’ve been railing against the evils of McDonald’s since 2005. Greg’s screen time ends before the movie’s halfway through.
Tier 2 – Mediocre Performances in Zany Movies
- Strange But True. Watch this thriller to find out how a dead guy can impregnate his living girlfriend! The script’s narrow character beats restrict Greg’s performance.
- Godsend. Watch this horror movie to see Greg use cloning to revive his dead son! Greg ramps up his paranoia.
- Loser. Watch Clueless instead. Greg’s energetically arrogant performance includes slimy seduction of college students, with the quality of this movie much lower than that of Greg’s performance.
Tier 3 – Good Performances in Good Movies
- Frankie. Watch this decent character drama to see dorky Greg trapped in unrequited love.
- We Were Soldiers. Watch this war movie if you inexplicably like the genre. Greg’s pretty bad…ass as a pilot in the Vietnam war.
- Misbehaviour. Watch this historical drama if you’re a fan of women’s rights. Greg rocks a prosthetic nose.
- Brian Banks. Watch this actually good inspirational true story if you’re a fan of exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals. Greg perfectly plays Justin Brooks, founder of the California Innocence Project.
Tier 4 – Peak Performances in Unforgettable Films
- Little Men. Watch this hidden gem if you want to see an excellent character drama on gentrification, featuring an underrated performance by Greg.
- Auto Focus. Watch this sordid true story if you want to see a different, dark side of Greg.
- Little Miss Sunshine. Watch this perfect comedy if you want to see Greg’s Most-Premier Premier-Kinnear performance.
Reflecting on this final third of the project, I’m proud that I paced myself well and didn’t watch all of Greg’s good films first. A few of the films were complete duds that felt like chores to watch, but I heartily recommend most of the films in Tiers 3 & 4. Even the films in Tier 2 were fun-to-watch bad movies.
Part 2: A Film for Each US President
How do you summarize a 45-movie blogging journey? There’s a myriad of ways to do so, but I’m going to focus on favorite films. First my favorites, then fan favorites. For my favorites, I challenged myself to chose the TOP 7 films that best reflect Greg Kinnear. These are the seven films that I recommend to provide a condensed but comprehensive snapshot of Greg as an actor. In no particular order, they are Sabrina, Mystery Men, As Good As It Gets, Nurse Betty, Brian Banks, Stuck in Love, and Little Miss Sunshine. These are the best films from the genres Greg is known for–comedy, rom com, black comedy, inspirational. These are the best character examples for Greg’s trademark roles–dorky dads, selfish snobs, arrogant assholes, aspiring artists. This list includes Greg’s Oscar-nominated, unique, and sensitive performance in As Good As It Gets. Sadly, there were two acting aspects of Greg I couldn’t squeeze into just seven movies: he has a penchant for starring in psychological thrillers and historical dramas. In those categories, I’d recommend The Gift and his TV work in The Kennedys or in Confirmation as Joe Biden (the 46th US President!).
How does my list compare to the fan favorites? To find out, I did what any scientist would do and made graphs! I used the number of views for each of my blog posts to represent the popularity of each movie. However, plotting just total views would over-represent posts from early in the project. To standardize and accurately gauge a film’s popularity, I plotted the number of views divided by months active for each post. Behold:
My invented metric of views per month active (V/MA) is plotted on the y-axis with each of the 45 movies arranged in ascending order of V/MA on the x-axis. I substituted movie titles for numbers to make the x-axis easy on the eyes. With the movies blinded like this, I can make some general observations. Popularity of the first 44 movies increases on a gradient from 0.7 to 13. However, the 45th movie is a clear outlier–nearly 3 times as popular as any other movie. What is this movie? What are Greg’s most popular movies?! To provide the granularity you all want, I set a threshold of V/MA > 4 and re-plotted the graph with movie titles. Behold:
These are Greg’s 15 most popular movies. He has a prominent role in all of them, so even though many may be popular for non-Greg reasons–they’re still representative of Greg. The top two make sense. Greg’s crazily popular movie is Auto Focus. He delivers a great & unique performance in this dark & sordid movie. This last detail is what makes the movie so popular: WordPress tells me that “Bob Crane sex tapes” or similar search terms often lead people to this post. People have dirty minds. In comparison, Stuck on You is a goofy comedy about conjoined twins that has a cult-like following. It features a revolving door of famous cameos and gained a second life through Rihanna’s music. I was pleasantly surprised that the cartoon Robots ranked fourth, giving me hope that not all people have dirty minds. Rounding out Greg’s most-popular movies are many of my favorites and critic picks, confirming that Greg’s most popular movies are often also his best. However, a few less-than stellar movies appear popular for highly-specific reasons. Keanu Reeves’s internet popularity draws many readers to The Gift, as is the same for Hugh Jackman and Someone Like You. My pastor friend co-wrote the post for Heaven is for Real resulting in a social media-inspired boost at publication. As I was also curious to see if Greg’s worst movies are his least popular, I set a threshold of V/MA < 1.5 and generated a plot with movie titles. Behold:
I Don’t Know How She Does It is a terrible movie. If the people think it’s also Greg’s worst, I can support that. Likewise, Dear God and Feast of Love are terrible movies with poor performances from Greg. However, the rest of the movies in the “Bottom 11” range from mediocre to great. Ghost Town is pretty good, but I imagine many people want to distance themselves from Ricky Gervais. Stuck in Love, Nurse Betty, and The Matador were some of my favorite films in the project. Either my writing dipped in quality for these movies or they’re hidden gems! No matter the cause, it’s safe to say Greg’s least popular movies are not necessarily his worst.
You should now have an excellent idea of films to cue up to meet your every Greg Kinnear-sized need: my favorites, fan favorites, hidden gems, and unwatchable atrocities.
Part 3: Goodbye Greg
To lead off my personal reflections, let me just say this project was a lot of fun. No actor’s entire cannon is actually meant to be watched. And reviewing bad movies went from fun-at-first to quite-a-drag. I better understand film critics who take no pleasure in reviewing bad movies. On the flipside, I enjoyed watching Greg’s rom coms with my wife or his black comedies by myself. I enjoyed watching movies not just to consume, but to reflect & review. I challenged myself to try different styles of writing (mostly goofy) for various posts. I enjoyed learning about Greg, who is genuinely a loving family man and affable guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. I enjoyed identifying connections between his movies and sharing trivial factoids with my coworkers (whether they wanted to hear or not). I’m pretty sure my summer intern will most remember me for our musical disagreements over Miley Cyrus stemming from The Last Song. Another coworker spent an undue share of her time listening (or not) to my constant Greg musings, and added cutouts of Greg to the family photos on my desk. (That sounds creepy when typed out). When I left that job, my coworkers knew me well enough to get a parting gift card customized with Greg’s picture. So yeah. Working on the blog itself was almost as fun as the humor it brought to everyday interactions.
To answer the question you’re all wondering, I never met Greg. The closest I got was joining a Zoom call honoring Justin Brooks for his legal work in exonerating wrongfully-accused prisoners. As Greg played Justin in Brian Banks, he gave a speech during the virtual ceremony. I remained an observer, with my fandom a lower priority than honoring the awardee & decorum of the event. However, I managed to snap this paparazzi screenshot! This photo is both made possible by and perfectly summarizes living in a pandemic in 2020.
Greg doesn’t have social media so who knows what he’ll think if he ever discovers this blog. I’d just say to him: thank you for the great movies and unintentionally serving as the topic of my goofy side hobby. If nothing else, it let me unwind at times and stretch my writing skills.
For me, I don’t know what’s next. This site will stay active, and I intend to write new posts as Greg Kinnear stars in new movies (like Crisis in 2021). Maybe one day I’ll even review his TV work. I’m excited to watch Greg star in the new TV adaptation of The Stand. That said, I’ll likely take a break from blogging to figure out my next hobby. Maybe I’ll start a new project in the future. Until then, I say goodbye & thank you to both Greg & my readers. I hope you’ve enjoyed my year(s) with Greg Kinnear!
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