The Amiable Factor

I don't know about you....but I've sure got spring fever REALLY bad. The reappearance of the sun has given me an illness that only the month of May (regrettably 2 months away) can cure. But that's not the only fever that seems to be sweeping the nation... J-Law fever has erupted to unforeseen levels! What? You don't know what or who J-Law is? Well, it's Jennifer Lawrence of course: the newest Best Actress Oscar Winner. The love that the world has for this girl is absolutely off the charts! She is EVERYWHERE. Why? Because she's hilarious and down to earth, yet talented. She's just likable. It's an insanely rare quality for an actress to possess! After all, Anne Hathaway herself reportedly studied how to be more likable so it would show when she won her award....but whether or not that worked seems to be divided as always. Some people just have it! Others can't really get people to like them if they tried as hard as they could (*cough* K STEW *cough*)

It's been awhile since America had a sweetheart. Reese Witherspoon seemed prime to take the crown at one time....but for some reason just fell back in line with the rest of the actress pack. Lindsay Lohan pre-meltdown was on her way to this as well.....but then, well there was the meltdowns. Then in the '90's we had the rom-com queens battling it out. But in the 80's we had stars that were as likable! Molly Ringwald, John Cusack, and Matthew Broderick just seemed like people you could know. So it seems with Jennifer Lawrence and the people of America. So it got me thinking.....who else is nearly this likable, and how has this likability affected the movies they were in?

EMMA STONE - She was without a doubt the first actress that came to mind. In addition to J-Law, pretty much every girl I know has a girl crush on Emma Stone. She's insanely funny and quick. In all the movies, she's in she definitely brings a certain presence to it. Very frequently, she's the best part of any movie she's in (The Help being the lone exception I can think of...and Zombieland because that's a bit more even.) Easy A was her chance to shine, and shine she did. Her career has skyrocketed because of this likability factor...and she if nothing else happens in her career (not very likely...) she'll always remain the best of Peter Parker's girlfriends.


Elijah Wood has always been the boy next door ever since he was a kid. That quality has stayed with him throughout his entire career (and somewhere along the way he kind of became a lovable goofball too, but that's another story for another day.) He's turned in some fine roles as an adult too, including his star-making turn as Frodo in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy that just cemented him as a likable guy. He's an everyman. And even when his character is a little crazy, he's Elijah Wood! (see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.) Elijah still appears in stuff once in awhile...usually in supporting roles for some reason, or doing voice work....which is probably the drawback to him. I don't know if I think he always chooses the best roles....or gets as much exposure as he should. But maybe that's his prerogative to stay out of the limelight. But my FAVORITE thing he's ever done that makes me just love him....has to be the video below.

ANNA KENDRICK - How could someone this likable have come from Twilight!? Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her fantastic performance in Up in the Air is when people really first started taking notice of her. She played a character so rigid and calculating (not in the evil sense though haha!)....yet SOMEHOW you didn't hate her. This happens time and time again in the roles she plays....she makes these people far nicer and relatable than they should be. There was NO reason for me to like her character in Pitch Perfect...but it's just hard to hate a role played by Anna Kendrick! She makes the unlikable human...she gives depth; she humanizes her characters. Unless in the case of a film as cartoony as Scott Pilgrim vs The World, because then she delightfully revels in her brattiness.

JUSTIN LONG - Justin Long started his career as the adorable nerd from Galaxy Quest and later became the ultra cool human representation of the Mac. Nowadays though he makes a likable leading man, trusty sidekick or ensemble player. But with every appearance he makes, you can't help but feel the nice factor he brings to his roles. He just seems like an everyman. Randomly, I maybe like him best in Drag Me to Hell where he plays the dutiful boyfriend down to perfection. But honestly he's great in everything, no matter big or small. He even proved to be the funniest and best match (besides Nick of course...) that Zooey Deschanel ever had on New Girl.

KRISTEN WIIG - Here's another actress that almost everyone seems to love. She's talented and hilarious. Who wouldn't want to be friends with her? Her comic timing absolutely MAKES the film Bridesmaids....as well as any sketch she was ever in on Saturday Night Live. The show is definitely suffering without her presence on screen, and perhaps more importantly in the writer's room. She's a double threat as a performer in her ability to craft hilarity in both word and action. I'm excited to see what else she does! I'm incredibly nervous to see her take on the part of a young Lucille in Arrested Development....but if there were any actress to pull it off...it'd be her.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT - Okay okay. I know I'm incredibly biased....but it's not just me! He is without a doubt Hollywood's "it boy" right now too! JGL is EVERYWHERE. After he played the most relatable guy in the world in (500) Days of Summer, Christopher Nolan came calling his name.....and later everyone in Hollywood. Gordon-Levitt had 4 big movies last year alone! And not just minor films....he was in 3 of the biggest films last year! Okay...Looper is more arguable...but it was sure one of the biggest movies in critics eyes! He turned in supporting roles in The Dark Knight Rises, as well as Lincoln. Haha....and then there was Premium Rush, an admittedly silly movie that benefited from his performance. And hey that's not even mentioning 50/50! The guy is just everywhere...and there's a reason for that!

I was debating between making this list reach 10....but the only other actor and actress I could think of to include were James Franco and Mila Kunis. I'll let you know if they make the cut after I see Oz! This could make or break both of them....at least for awhile! Well that ought to do it! Do you agree with my list or does someone on it just BUG the heck out of you? Or...who did I miss?


Movies For Lunch Guys said...

That is a great list. I love Emma Stone, Anna Kendrick, and JG-L. Elijah Wood was in a movie a few years back called Everything is Illuminated that I highly recommend. It is kind of a quirky (not in a Napoleon Dynamite way, but more of a takes-you-by-surprise-at-how-much-heart-it-has), independent movie that was written and directed by Liev Schreiber.

There are definitely actors that I seem to like. Stanley Tucci, Ryan Reynolds, Will Smith, and Denzel Washington come to mind. I realize they have all made their share of crappy movies (Burlesque, Wild Wild West), but I still liked them anyway.

-Dan from Movies For Lunch

Johanna said...

James Franco would not be on that likeable list, not after that Oscar Host. I thought it was so funny that Anne Hathaway practiced being nice. Do a google search on it.

Love these clips. Some of them are such good sports.

Kristen Wiig is so spot on. Hilarious!

Sarah said...

Ha ha! Kristen Wiig is one of my favorites. Good list. All very likable!

Amelia said...

I admit it. I have J Law Fever!!! But this whole list is great! It's funny how some actors can do almost anything and remain like able though. I also think Ryan Gosling (although his trendiness has gone down a bit) could qualify and that guy from pitch perfect if he plays his card right. And maybe Josh Hutcherson? Also maybe not James Franco on his own but the Franco brothers together = like able overload! Oo and the Hemsworth brothers. Ok now I just sound like I'm 13. But you already covered most of my favorite like able actresses, haha.

Emily said...

Franco BROTHERS!!! Yes that's what I meant to say! Ryan Gosling is great and I almost put him on there, I forgot! I think I like him best in meme form though....okay that's not really true either. But maybe you understand.

Sarah said...

Oh, by the way, that video of Jennifer Lawrence is HILARIOUS! Ha ha! She does need a rear view mirror. Jeremiah said that he considers James Franco even more likable because of his Oscars hosting gig. :)

Emily said...

Did you watch the Elijah Wood video too? I know it's really long....but it's worth it!!

Howard said...

Talented, definitely. But Elijah Wood has played too many creepy roles for me to consider him likable. Sin City, The Ice Storm...

And Kristen Stewart seems so approachable. How can you not like her? lol

Great list, though. I must admit that I purposefully resisted liking Jennifer Lawrence after seeing The Hunger Games. Not because of anything she did wrong, but because I hate following the herd. However, she definitely won me over with how well she handled her faux pas at the Oscars, and especially how she handled reporters in the interviews afterward.

Johanna said...

You know, you could do a whole new list with the classic likeable actors. Begin with Thelma Ritter. She makes every movie more watchable. I've never seen her make a misstep. Do you think it's easier to carry the likeable factor if you are in a supporting versus leading role? In life, as well as the movies?

And, yeah, Howard, she really handled herself really well! A lot of self-assurance for one so young. :) I still don't have that much.