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Best "Retarded" Portrayal

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View Poll Results: What actor had the best performance as someone retarded?
Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape)
51
41.13%
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
43
34.68%
Juliette Lewis (The Other Sister)
3
2.42%
John Malkovich (Of Mice and Men)
9
7.26%
Giovanni Ribisi (The Other Sister)
0
0%
Other (please specify)
18
14.52%
Voters: 124. You may not vote on this poll

Best "Retarded" Portrayal

Old 06-04-04, 11:49 AM
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Best "Retarded" Portrayal

I'm realling loving Netflix right now because it's allowed me to see a lot of movies I either haven't seen at all or haven't seen in years. Case in point: I just watched What's Eating Gilbert Grape last night (I haven't seen it since it first came on video). Now I know that some people think: "It's easier to play a retarded person than many other types of characters". That may be true, but I forgot how strong Leo's performance really was. I've spent some time around retarded people (my neighbor was/is retarded and I used to talk with him, play basketball with him (I beat him nearly every time!), and by no means am I trying to poke fun at or belittle people of "special needs". So, what performance do you think is the best of a retarded person? Oh, and I'm including Dustin Hoffman from Rain Man, even though technically he's not retarded in the picture.

I know I'm missing a bunch of fine performances, so sorry for leaving them out.

By the way, just a side-note - I thought Leo's performance was absolutely brilliant. One of the strongest acting jobs I've ever seen. And the movie is really fantastic - but so much sadder than I remembered.

Last edited by modfather; 06-04-04 at 11:53 AM.
Old 06-04-04, 11:55 AM
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I voted for Leo as well.. he's an excellent actor.
Old 06-04-04, 11:58 AM
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I vote Keanu Reeves in, well, just about everything he has ever done.

Leonardo D. from Whats Eating Gilbert Grape comes in a strong second.

On a side note, I alway thought TITANIC would have been so much more watchable if Leonardo D had been playing Arnie from WEGG instead of the normal character.
Old 06-04-04, 12:05 PM
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Courtney Love in any talk show appearance she makes.
Old 06-04-04, 12:09 PM
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Watch the Idiots (Idioterne) by Lars von Trier, there you have a whole group acting on the "inner" idiot. Disturbing!

Cheers

DVD Smurf

PS. The word retarded is not political correct, cognitively disabled or challenged is more appropriate.
Old 06-04-04, 12:11 PM
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Re: Best "Retarded" Portrayal

Originally posted by modfather
I thought Leo's performance was absolutely brilliant.
I agree...
Old 06-04-04, 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by rushmore223
I vote Keanu Reeves in, well, just about everything he has ever done.

Leonardo D. from Whats Eating Gilbert Grape comes in a strong second.

On a side note, I alway thought TITANIC would have been so much more watchable if Leonardo D had been playing Arnie from WEGG instead of the normal character.
Keanu - DAMN, I wish I would have thought to put him on the poll! In all seriousness, he'd win by a landslide, so it wouldn't be a scientifically accurate poll any longer.

I think Leo is actually a very good actor, even aside from WEGG. I'm one of the few who likes the Beach and think he was actually quite good in it. But Arnie on Titanic would be hilarious:

Page 154 from my revised script:
Arnie and Rose are in the water, the ship has finally sunk. Both are freezing cold, Rose floating on a piece of floating furniture while Arnie is hanging on for dear life

Arnie: ...I could go at any time...
Rose: I know, Arnie, you've said that a hundred times! Give it a rest!
Arnie: Say "Where's Arnie?"
Rose: Dammit, Arnie, I know where you are! I'm freezing!
Arnie: Yeah, you're freezing, huh?
Rose: I can't take it any longer!!!

Rose suddenly slides off the piece of furniture, tears off her life jacket and begins swimming downward into the water until she mercifully loses conciousness...

Arnie: Rooooose? Where's Rose? Haha! wipes his nose and then swims to one of the few remaing survivors who's barely alive
Arnie: Say "Where's Arnie?"

Roll credits...
Old 06-04-04, 12:16 PM
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The kid from Gigli!
Old 06-04-04, 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by rushmore223
I vote Keanu Reeves in, well, just about everything he has ever done.

Leonardo D. from Whats Eating Gilbert Grape comes in a strong second.

You beat me to both points.
Old 06-04-04, 12:34 PM
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W. Earl Brown as Warren in There's Something About Mary
Old 06-04-04, 12:37 PM
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Not that these are the best, but other notable recent "retarded" performances include:

Sean Penn (I Am Sam)
Cuba Gooding Jr. (Radio)
Benicio Del Toro (The Pledge)
Ed Norton (The Score)*

*
Spoiler:
All an act in the script, but still just as viable as a performance
Old 06-04-04, 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by rushmore223
On a side note, I alway thought TITANIC would have been so much more watchable if Leonardo D had been playing Arnie from WEGG instead of the normal character.
I can totally see him doing "I'm the king of the world! Wheeee!!" Or imagine him in the painting scene!
Old 06-04-04, 12:56 PM
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Can't believe no one's mentioned:

Old 06-04-04, 01:20 PM
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I didn't consider Forrest as retarded - just a bit slow - kind of like me!
Old 06-04-04, 01:46 PM
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Malkovich. Malkovich. Malkovich.
Old 06-04-04, 01:49 PM
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Vin Diesel in the Fast and the Furious.

I couldn't believe it was actually him on screen - he played the part so well.............almost too well.
Old 06-04-04, 01:56 PM
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How about Billy Bob Thorton in Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan?
Old 06-04-04, 02:11 PM
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Are we going to the baywatch?
Old 06-04-04, 02:41 PM
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I remember back in 1994 when Nell and Forest Gump were both up for acting awards Norm MacDonald said they should just start a new Academy Awards category: Best Retard.
Old 06-04-04, 02:52 PM
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What about Stalone as Rocky?
Old 06-04-04, 02:58 PM
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Although not playing a character, Philly in Best Boy is an interesting watch.
Old 06-04-04, 03:11 PM
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Larry Drake on L.A. Law.
Old 06-04-04, 03:26 PM
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^^I remember watching that show when I was a teen thinking it was cool they actually hired a "retard" in a TV show. Then a few years later I saw him Dr. Giggles and it ruined my impression
Old 06-04-04, 03:32 PM
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I voted for Leo. When I first saw "Gilbert Grape" he wasn't a huge star so I knew nothing about him...but I heard good things about the movie so I wanted to watch it.

I actually thought they had hired someone who was mentally challenged! I saw his performance unclouded by preconceived ideas about him.
Old 06-04-04, 04:04 PM
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Juliette Lewis looks retarded even when she plays normal. How could she not win this poll?
What about Cliff Robertson's Oscar-winning turn in Charly?

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