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Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

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JACK NICHOLSON
29
36.71%
GENE HACKMAN
50
63.29%
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Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Old 12-24-10, 08:55 PM
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Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Hi guys, which actor do you prefer? Hackman or Nicholson? I know Nicholson will most likely win this poll due to quality of performances such as Chinatown, OFOCCN, LAst Detail, Five Easy Pieces, but I prefer Hackman;s more natural and effortless approach to acting. I think The Conversation is as good as anything as Nicholson has done and so is Unforgiven. I also find Gene to be one of the more reliable actors around who can elevate weak material in a way that most of his contemporaries cant. Your pick?
Old 12-24-10, 09:00 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Hackman. I think he's he's under-appreciated because his performances look effortless and natural; even when he loses his temper, he's incredibly convincing.

Nicholson is a great actor and has probably delivered a better overall single performance than Hackman, but very often guilty of "acting" and grandstanding. Furthermore, his range seems rather limited and in the past 20 years he essentially plays Jack Nicholson.

The big picture though, Hackman is the man.
Old 12-24-10, 09:03 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Boba Fett View Post
Hackman. I think he's he's under-appreciated because his performances look effortless and natural; even when he loses his temper, he's incredibly convincing.

Nicholson is a great actor and has probably delivered a better overall single performance than Hackman, but very often guilty of "acting" and grandstanding. Furthermore, his range seems rather limited and in the past 20 years he essentially plays Jack Nicholson.

The big picture though, Hackman is the man.
Awesome. I do think Nicholson is great, but like you mentioned his grandstanding can take place sometimes. I love how Hackman can swift so effortlessly from Popeye Doyle to Harry Caul
Old 12-24-10, 09:21 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Going with Hackman
Old 12-24-10, 09:26 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

I going with Hackolson by a hair over Nicholman.
Old 12-24-10, 09:43 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Does the original poster realize he's pitting two of the biggest villians of the DC Universe?

Between the '78-Lex Luthor (Hackman) and the '89-Joker (Nicholson), I'm going with Gene Hackman.

His performance in "Supes" was layered. For most of the film he's a played as a comic villian. Then suddenly when Superman opens the lead box and finds the Kryptonite necklace, then suddenly his affect changes and the truly evil creature that is Lex Luthor comes out ("It just stands to reason, Superman, that when it came to cash in your chips, this old, DISEASED maniac would be your banker.") And his look of almost triumph at the end of "Superman II" (with hands folded, thinking that Superman would be defeated by Zod, was also a nice touch by Hackman.)

Comparitatively, Nicholson as The Joker was a ton of fun, but pretty one note. It's like Jack having a manic episode.

Oh, and Jack and Gene did other movies, I think...
Old 12-24-10, 10:12 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

I just know that if Jack Nicholson was Captain in Crimson Tide, Denzel Washington wouldn't have been so uppity.

I like Gene Hackman, but he had a really weak decade in the 80's. I don't think Nicholson suffered a dull decade once he became "prominent" after 1969's Easy Rider.
Old 12-24-10, 11:33 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

I prefer Gene Hackman, just because to me he is more likable.

I loved him in Enemy Of The State.

I love Jack Nicholson too, but if I had to choose it would be Hackman.

As far as a better actor, both are great, no one better than the other.
Old 12-24-10, 11:37 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Unforgiven1998 View Post
I know Nicholson will most likely win this poll due to quality of performances

Wrong answer!

If it were EARLY Jack vs. EARLY Hackman it'd be tighter but I think Hackman did more quality work later in his career than Nicholson has -- he's been a bit of a cartoon ever since Batman at least. Hackman for me based on Unforgiven and Royal Tenenbaums alone really....
Old 12-24-10, 11:41 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

I can look at my DVD collection and base my answer on that. I own way more titles starring Hackman than I do films starring Nicholson.
Old 12-24-10, 11:47 PM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Hackman, and it's not really all that close.
Old 12-25-10, 12:04 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Charlie Goose View Post
Hackman, and it's not really all that close.
Old 12-25-10, 12:38 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Charlie Goose View Post
Hackman, and it's not really all that close.
Yep.

Nicholson is a movie star, Hackman was a consummate actor.
Old 12-25-10, 12:51 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Nicholson would have had Hackman beat if this poll took place in 1975, maybe even 1985. But Nicholson's been phoning it in (with one or two exceptions like About Schmidt) since the late 80's/early 90's. I never felt Hackman was giving it less than his best, even in movies that didn't deserve it.
Old 12-25-10, 12:54 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Hackman
Old 12-25-10, 01:01 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Hackman, in a walk.

Nicholson has delivered some great performances in some great films, but (certainly ever since Batman) he has figured out that he can coast along playing variations on his movie star persona. The exceptions over the last 20-25 years, like The Pledge and The Departed, demonstrate that he can still bring it when challenged, but (like DeNiro) what filmmaker challenges him anymore? They're content to (hopefully) cash in at the box office with Jack being Jack.

In his post-Hoosiers career, Gene Hackman has put together a long resume of outstanding "character-actor" performance in major supporting roles in a variety of genres --comedy, drama, action. By the way, did everyone else realize that Hackman has silently retired? His last film was in 2004.
Old 12-25-10, 04:00 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Sierra Disc View Post
Wrong answer!

If it were EARLY Jack vs. EARLY Hackman it'd be tighter but I think Hackman did more quality work later in his career than Nicholson has -- he's been a bit of a cartoon ever since Batman at least. Hackman for me based on Unforgiven and Royal Tenenbaums alone really....
Im very suprised by the result lol, but glad because I thought Nicholson would walk away with this
Old 12-25-10, 04:04 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

First things first: I never cared for Hackman's Lex Luthor. Despite my near obsession with Batman, I was never entirely sold on Nicholson's Joker, but I'd take it over the competition every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Hackman's Luthor is a used car salesman and not an imposing presence at all.

Now that that's out of the way, I agree with Dr Mabuse's distinction of Nicholson as a movie star and Hackman as an actor. There are few movie stars on Nicholson's level; his very presence in a movie imbues it with a certain panache and prestige that can't be easily replicated. Hackman, meanwhile managed to find the humanity in nearly all of his roles (offhand the notable exception being Lex Luthor, but clearly he wasn't meant to make that guy accessible). Even when I see Hackman in a role and I'm just about to let his presence take me out of the movie, he manages to draw me into it.

Ultimately, each has a very different appeal to me. I'm a fairly casual fan of both; I've not gotten around to seeing much of either's filmography. I'm more likely to go on a Nicholson kick than Hackman, though, for whatever that counts.
Old 12-25-10, 06:46 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Count Dooku View Post
By the way, did everyone else realize that Hackman has silently retired? His last film was in 2004.
Yeah, his last film being that Mooseport thing doesn't help him in this contest.
Old 12-25-10, 06:48 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Very tough choice for me, though I went with Nicholson.
Old 12-25-10, 07:11 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Charlie Goose View Post
Yeah, his last film being that Mooseport thing doesn't help him in this contest.
Actually, I think it's those kinds of movies that matter most in a discussion like this. It's too easy to just concentrate on the stand-outs. In the case of Welcome to Mooseport, Hackman gave us a former U.S. president whose ego and flair for prestige get out of hand in a small town mayoral race. We see that it's not the office he seeks, but that he just can't wrap his head around life away from politicking. The movie makes no real pretense of being a drama, so this is mostly perfunctory within the story. Still, Hackman imbues his performance with enough nuance that even though he wasn't given enough screen time or dialog to really delve into his character, we can piece it together ourselves.

In short, anyone can look good when the material is strong, but it's these kinds of mediocre-to-average stories that quality actors elevate and enliven. If I were making the case for Hackman, I'd spend as much time on this kind of entry in his filmography as I would the highly acclaimed.
Old 12-25-10, 08:20 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Two great actors and a tough pick, so i went to IMDB to check out their resumes again.

Looking at their work over the past 25 years, Gene Hackman has been in a lot of mediocre films (and 3 films I absolutely abhor). There are the films from that 25 year span that I like that he has been in.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) .... Royal Tenenbaum
Heist (2001/I) .... Joe Moore
Enemy of the State (1998) .... Edward 'Brill' Lyle
The Firm (1993) .... Avery Tolar
Unforgiven (1992) .... Little Bill Daggett
Mississippi Burning (1988) .... Agent Rupert Anderson
No Way Out (1987) .... Defense Secretary David Brice
Twice in a Lifetime (1985) .... Harry MacKenzie


Looking at Jack Nicholson's resume, there are films that I like from over that same span.

The Departed (2006) .... Frank Costello
About Schmidt (2002) .... Warren Schmidt
The Pledge (2001) .... Jerry Black
As Good as It Gets (1997) .... Melvin Udall
Blood and Wine (1996) .... Alex Gates
The Crossing Guard (1995) .... Freddy Gale
Wolf (1994) .... Will Randall
A Few Good Men (1992) .... Col. Nathan R. Jessep
Batman (1989) .... Joker / Jack Napier
Ironweed (1987) .... Francis Phelan
Broadcast News (1987) .... Bill Rorich
Prizzi's Honor (1985)

Pre 1985, I prefer Jack's resume over Gene's, so my pick is Jack Nicholson.

Last edited by Jaymole; 12-25-10 at 08:30 AM.
Old 12-25-10, 09:18 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Looking at overall careers and not just what they've done lately (or in any one decade for that matter), I can't choose between these two. They're both good in the roles they've been given (or chosen) to act in, they both deserve accolades for their contributions. They're both great actors, Hackman is versatile, Nicholson plays a mean lunatic, they're both good at what they do. -kd5-
Old 12-25-10, 09:35 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

I already went and chose Nicholson earlier, but I was thinking about something.

When they needed a BIG STAR to appear in a cameo for The Mexican with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, they choose
Spoiler:
Gene Hackman
.
Old 12-25-10, 09:53 AM
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Re: Who do you prefer: Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson?

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
Yep.

Nicholson is a movie star, Hackman was a consummate actor.
I disagree...Nicholson has taken more chances in his career than Hackman. I always felt that Hackman, especially over the past 30 years has chosen much safer films than Jack, which is why most of his filmography from that time seems to blur together.

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