I like these people. You should too.
Ron Swanson, as portrayed by Nick Offerman on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, is quite possibly the best character on network television today. This is no doubt partly due to stellar writing by a great staff. It is also due to the man who so embodies the character that you’re not sure where the actor ends and the part begins. Prior to landing the great role, Offerman made small guest appearances on various television shows and had minor roles in motion pictures. He need not worry about getting work these days, though. He’s hit it big with the type of character actors pray for. Ron Swanson is a constant source of some of the best lines in a stellar show. Internet memes rise because of his cynical, brutally honest character’s words and actions. Whether it’s the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, ‘Drunk Ron Swanson’ dancing on an infinite loop, or Offerman’s own video of building a canoe, there’s absolutely no reason not to love the man, the myth and his ever-growing legend. Nick Offerman is the best friend I don’t have.
Peter Dinklage won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. I suspect strongly it won’t be his last. And if there’s any justice, he’ll have Oscars to go with them at some point. Dinklage first came to my attention as a lonely, little man who inherits an abandoned train station in 2003’s excellent The Station Agent. He solidified his utter coolness as the diminutive man who attends his closeted lover’s wake in both the original Death at a Funeral and its remake. Being a ‘little’ actor in Hollywood has traditionally been a thankless calling. And while Mr. Dinklage’s star is rising because of his acting as the wily imp, one gets the feeling he could read for any role he wanted and have a good shot of getting it. I look forward to seeing him starring in feature films for years to come. This man is a damn good actor. Period. He’s the best thing in a show that is quickly becoming one of my favorites and I will watch him in anything he’s in.
In the early 2000’s, famed movie reviewer Roger Ebert discovered he had thyroid cancer. He battled the cancer through many surgeries and treatment and ultimately lost most of his jaw and his voice. He’s recently had a prosthetic chin built to wear for TV appearances and a Scottish company, using recordings of his old reviews, developed a text-to-voice software program to give sound to his words. Roger does not shy from public appearances and I’m proud of him. I loved the old Siskel and Ebert movie review show. A Two Thumbs Up! review of a flick went a long way to determining if I would check out something I normally would not have. Ebert stands alone now after Siskel died many years ago. But his upward pointing thumb still holds power. Roger catches a lot of flak. He occasionally spoils big plot points in his reviews. He’s mostly dismissive of the horror genre. He’s sometimes comes off as a grumpy, old man. But the fact is that there are few people in the movie review game who have the breadth of knowledge or experience that he has. And if for no other reason than that, he will always have my respect.