Bryan Cranston

The Slow Erosion of the TV vs. Movie Actor Class System

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I know you’re supposed to let a movie draw you into its narrative without excess baggage, and its characters should exist only as themselves and so on, but I had an odd moment of external realization when I first saw About Alex (which is out this week on DVD, and is pretty good). The scene comes about six minutes into this junior Big Chill, and there’s nothing earth-shattering about it as a scene; Siri (Maggie Grace) meets Josh (Max Greenfield) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) at the train station to drive them to the cabin where they and several other old friends are spending the weekend. But as the three characters embraced and reconnected, something in the back of my head whispered, “Look, it’s Schmidt and April Ludgate meeting up with Shannon from Lost.” And no, that didn’t make this scene the culmination of some sort of weird TV fan fiction; it merely accentuated, with a rare bit of clarity, how much the game has changed for actors, in terms of the transition from TV to film (and back).
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