JCR Factor #1

Well, this is only about a month later than I promised. But, like The Joker, I am a man of my word, and I’m here to deliver you the goods. This is the first installment of what hopefully will be a long-running monthly feature, one that replaces last year’s Franco Files. I think in order to ensure that this lasts as long as it can, I might need some suggestions from you all. If you have any, please by all means share them in the comments below. I’m always looking to stumble on another great JCR character!

One thing I really forgot to mention last time is that due to the detailed nature of this feature, there are going to be SPOILERS APLENTY in a lot of these posts, so if you are wanting to avoid that kind of stuff, maybe you should proceed with caution. Jus’ sayin’. . . . .

Oh yes, and one more thing: I’m replacing TFF‘s ‘Out of Character’ portion in this feature — that was the part where I tried to find a quote that James Franco said relating to that particular character. Instead of it being a quote from the actor, it’ll be something JCR’s character says that I find truly represents him in that film. That section will now be called ‘That’s what he said.’ Yes, indeed.

john-c-reilly-in-magnolia

John C. Reilly as Officer Jim Kurring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia

Role Type: Supporting

Genre: Drama

Character Profile: Officer Jim Kurring isn’t exactly a man of confidence but he respects the badge and uniform he’s been “blessed with” and it’s no question that he respects his job as well as the work of his fellow officers on the force. But because of his rather mild-mannered, passive demeanor he finds himself often on the losing end of making significant contributions to police work, frequently getting pushed to the side so other officers can take credit for discoveries that he himself has made (like the body in Marcie’s closet).

If you lose JCR, the film loses: a nuanced portrayal of someone struggling to overcome a lack of confidence in a world that demands it. Mr. Reilly brings his trademark amiability to the role, which in this case means we are not only able to empathize with but almost pity him. Like the various other key players in this epic who are related in one way or another through their trials and tribulations, we want to see him overcome his personal struggle. For me, it was his character I wanted to see succeed more than any other. This may not be Reilly’s most recognizable character but it’s one of his most effective because he is very much an everyman stuck in a rut, and despite the badge and gun, he’s one still searching for meaning in his life.

That’s what he said: “A lot of people think this is just a job that you go to. Take a lunch hour . . . job’s over. Something like that. But it’s a 24-hour deal. No two ways about it. And what most people don’t see, is just how hard it is to do the right thing. People think if I make a judgment call . . . that’s a judgment on them, but that is not what I do. And that’s not what should be done. I have to take everything, and play it as it lays. Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven. And sometimes they need to go to jail. And that is a very tricky thing on my part . . . making that call. I mean, the law is the law. And heck if I’m gonna break it. You can forgive someone. Well, that’s the tough part. What can we forgive? Tough part of the job. Tough part of walking down the street.”

Rate the Performance (relative to his other work): 

5-0


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Photo credits: http://www.seanax.com 

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26 thoughts on “JCR Factor #1

  1. I have GOT to see this film, I always hear such great things about it, and had no idea Reilly was in it. Will have to bump it up my watch list I reckon…

    • This is a very interesting film but hard to enjoy, if that makes any sense haha. I had trouble liking many characters here but with PTA’s direction you know its a solid film. Of course JCR is excellent in it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: JCR Factor #2 | digitalshortbread

    • One thing I’m really beginning to dig is how PTA creates such a strong relationship with his actors, you’ll see so many recurring actors across his strong body of work. (I have to say unfortunately this one in particular is far and away my least favorite, but that’s not saying it’s a bad film or anything.) So I do look froward to reviewing his turn in ‘Boogie Nights,’ as that one was an absolute laugh riot.

      You’re right too, his role in this movie is simply awesome. Really memorable.

    • Dude I am right there with you. Magnolia had a bunch of characters that really just bugged me and even JCR’s Officer Kurring did to some extent. Though I like him as an actor too much to actually let it get to me. Can’t say the same for the others though Hahah. Magnolia is a great work but it’s definitely my least favorite PTA of the ones I’ve seen so far. Thanks for checking in dude! Great to hear from ya

    • I have not seen that one and also had no idea JCR is in it. Cool, I’ll be hitting that up in a while then. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Dude its such a great movie. Daniel Day Lewis kinda steals the show, I can’t remember how big a role JCR had exactly, tho I know he is in the first scene. I’m pretty sure he plays a significant supporting role. Either way, its one of Scorsese’s best IMO, a must see. I think I might watch it now… 😀

    • It’s really funny. I appreciate JCR’s role in this film, but I personally can’t stand Magnolia. It’s one of the reasons why I chose to start off with this one. Yes so good in it that I was able to actually watch this one through.

      I hope you have a different experience with it though. It’s extremely well-made and totally Paul Thomas Anderson. Just not my favorite film of his.

            • Magnolia the only film I love that has Tom Cruise in it. I hate on the guy as much as anyone else but he definetely nails it in Magnolia. You’ll be surprised 😉

                • Probably was!! 😛 Magnolia is literally the only film I like that has him in it, and not only that I actually enjoyed his performance. A lot of that though is down to the writing, his character is very well written. Cruise had a gem of a character to work with and he makes the most out of it.

                  I’ll shut up about Cruise in magnolia now 😛

                • Ok, I watched Magnolia last night and I loved it! And yeah, even Tom Cruise wasn’t annoying, Well, his character was very annoying so it was a perfect fit as far as I’m concerned.

                • Haha! Glad to hear you liked it Ashley! Certainly a solid film acting wise. Just doesn’t quite live up to PTA’s others for me. 🙂

                • I liked the structure/editing too. Though I have no idea why it’s called Magnolia. Do you?
                  The only other film I’ve seen of PTA’s is Boogie Nights; can you recommend some more?

                • I’ve taken a pretty literal interpretation of the title. The magnolia flower is a pretty complicated-looking sequence of pedals joined together at the center. (It’s a relatively complicated-looking flower, anyway, I know there are many more out there that are more intricate in their design.) And when you consider the thematic complexity that unites all these key players in the story, I just put the two together. I could be way off there, though!

                  Boogie Nights is a high point for me with PTA. I loved that one. I also would highly recommend There Will Be Blood, a tough film but possibly PTA’s most accomplished, and then behind that Punch Drunk Love. That’s a film with an amazing performance from Adam Sandler. I know that might turn off a lot of folks but it’s one worth looking into for quirky PTA comedy. 🙂

                • Sounds like a good interpretation of the title to me.
                  And thanks for the recommendations.
                  I had a good movie watching night last night: Magnolia, Only Lovers Left Alive and The Road. I’d already seen the last two but enjoyed them just as much second time around.

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