Jacob's Ladder : Everything great except Robbins

Everything great except Robbins

Am I the only one that thinks Tim Robbins is an almost completely talentless actor? Even in Shawshank he seemed…well, like an actor as opposed to a character.

I like the script and cinematography of this movie, but Robbins sucks in it.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I like him in it but it's ok to prefer certain actors. I never focused so much on his acting in Shawshank, it's probably my favourite movie but for the story, most think he was very good in it. I prefer him in Jacob's Ladder tho, and he has a great smile.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

One of the things I appreciate most about Robbins is his easy-going awkwardness. He's kind of gangly and hulking (on film anyway), but he's not a clown. I'd say the three most successful variations on his talent are this film, Shawshank, and Mystic River. As Bob Roberts he becomes something else entirely, but it's pretty great as well.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I just think he's a really quite terrible actor who has never even once convinced me otherwise…even for a second…just watch the scene where he has to convince his friend to put down the knife in Shawshank. It's dreadful. As for Jacob's Ladder…if a real actor were cast..who had decent chemistry with the women in his life, and a more believable relationship with Danny Aiello, and could actually convey the fear he was feeling, rather than relying on the *beep* up visuals…this could have been a pretty amazing film.

I don't blame Adrian Lyne because in Lolita he proved he is capable of very good things indeed. Probably he tried to get the best performances that he could, and realised it was a bit too late to get someone to replace the awful Robbins. Pure speculation, but I fail to see how someone who could get the performance out of Jeremy Irons in Lolita (or even if he wasn't instrumental he would at least have SEEN what real acting is) would be satisfied with Robbin's "Aaagh! There's a demon!"

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I totally disagree with you. Part of the film's intrigue is Jacob Singer as a vulnerable, ordinary man haunted by the past. Tim Robbins puts in a memorable performance, and in my opinion his best. Whether other actors could have bettered, I don't know. What I do know is when I watch Jacob's Ladder I see Jacob Singer, not Tim Robbins. To be honest I think you just don't like the man, period!

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I can't like or dislike the man because I have never met him.

I just don't rate his acting very highly, whether it be this, or Mystic River, Shawshank or Arlington Road.

I find him very MOR.



"The cook's a SEAL?!!"

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

It's a fantastic line in an otherwise quite terrible movie. There are several things I like about it.

1. Chief O'Brien is saying it. Or rather, the evil version of O'Brien that works with evil criminals.

2. I can pretend that he is talking about an actual seal, which makes it even funnier.

3. It's just all-round one of the most incredible (real, original meaning) lines in any film ever.

I love it.

- -

"The cook's a SEAL?!!"

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Jacob's Ladder and/or Robbins performance in it stuck to my mind for some while when I saw it some 15 years ago, but there's no telling how I'd feel about it now of course.

But based on what I've seen since I'd agree that Robbins' acting is mostly middle-of-the-road. The fact that Robbins has been a leading man in so few movies speaks volumes.

The man simply seems to lack any real charisma. Sometimes he's as wooden as Keanu Reeves, honestly (and Keanu was just perfect in Point Break).

On the other hand Robbins' performance in Arlington Road (a pretty underrated film that actually has killer performances, particularly by Jeff Bridges) was spot on, probably his best. I believe there's a solid reason why Robbins gets typecasted: he's just not that versatile as an actor.

Of course I don't know the man myself either but he seems to come across as a rather smug character in most of the films he's been in. That can't be just a coincident. ;)

So, for someone who just isn't the most stellar living actor in the world and who isn't even remotely sporting Brad Pitt's good looks either (because let's face it, sometimes good looks is all the reason we need), it is a bit of a puzzle where Robbins' obviously extravagant self-esteem could even arise. Honestly, what is it with that perpetual smile?

Taking a closer look at Robbins' background could at least partially explain why a so-so actor could possible end up viewing himself as a great one: when both of your parents are either actors and/or musicians, there's bound to be certain amount of pressure to not only become an actor/musician as well but to succeed as an actor/musician too…

And we all know there's only so much space on the very top. You can want all you want but you can't have all you want.

So, while Robbins certainly had an excellent starting point acting-wise, he might have lacked real talents and/or just commitment to begin with. Maybe he took acting as a given or got too good breaks too early on in his career (in other words no real learning curve).

Jeff Bridges has a similar upbringing with the exception that he most likely had to try to "outdo" his brother - not to mention hugely successful father. Maybe it really is that simple. Maybe lacking close - and matching - "sparring partners" is enough to explain the huge difference at watching someone like Bridges perform to the likes of Robbins.

Or maybe because Robbins has never really seen life outside the acting bubble so to speak. That's basically all he knows about. And I think it tends to show.

Where as Bridges (who served for 8 years in Coast Guard Reserve) or Liam Neeson (who worked many odd jobs) - mostly - becomes his characters, Robbins - mostly - feels like he's just this random guy walking on the set saying his lines whom no one would pay any attention otherwise, in the real world, that is.

Shawshank is entertaining movie but it has more to do with the life-affirming story and good supporting cast (aside from Clancy Brown, perhaps, who was great in Earth 2).

Almost anybody could have played Dufresne without really taking anything away from the movie itself. Hell, even Keanu might have been able to pull it off. But replacing Robbins with someone like Bridges or Neeson would have made us remember the protagonist as well - not just the story.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I never liked him much either. He's average in this one and Bull Durham, just ok in Shawshank and Hudsucker Proxy, decent in Mystic River. And these must be his best films, I think. He's just so plastic and his emotionless deliveries don't help.

Re: Everything great except Robbins


One of the things I appreciate most about Robbins is his easy-going awkwardness. He's kind of gangly and hulking (on film anyway), but he's not a clown. I'd say the three most successful variations on his talent are this film, Shawshank, and Mystic River.


I was thinking the same thing. He would have been a perfect choice to play Homer in Day of the Locust if the film were made in the mid 90's rather than the mid 70's.

In any case, while Robbins can be a hit or miss actor, I thought he did a convincing job as Jacob here.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I thought he did just fine, thank you. He looked a bit too young is the only criticism I can give. Vietnam combat veterans looked old when they were young.

I thought his acting was fine.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Really? Can you name a scene where you thought his acting was particularly good, and tell me what you liked about it?

Re: Everything great except Robbins

troll?

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Pardon?

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I think Tim Robbins is one of the most underrated actors of all time.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I haven't watched this movie yet but I know exactly what you mean about Robbins–he seems so stiff and unemotional. The part he played in Shawshank was a stiff banker so he was perfect in it–same with Mystic River, his character was traumatized as a child and unemotional–but imagine him playing parts that Dustin Hoffman just goes to town with. I've always thought the same thing about Clint Eastwood–no matter what he plays, it's always a steely eyed guy staring at the camera and basically finding a different way to say "go ahead, make my day". Ditto with Kevin Costner (who seems to be getting better though with age, unlike Clint Eastwood). And Keanu Reeves–I'll never understand how he wins any parts.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

You just said that Kevin Costner is better than Clint Eastwood is at an older age!!! What are you smoking???????

Re: Everything great except Robbins

No, I said Kevin costner is getting better as he ages–you don't think so?

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I've pretty much felt the same about Clint. Never really have challenged himself when it comes to acting and choosing which roles to play, in my opinion that is.

Bridges of Madison County really is a tour-de-force - but for Meryl Streep. Clint nails his performance as well, but how could he not? Though more tender character than what is customary for Clint, it's still essentially the same role he's always done: Clint riding in town, Clint giving his ultimatum: "take it or leave it" and Clint riding into the sunset. With or without his woman. :)

I don't know about Costner, tough. Has he really done anything worth remembering after Wolves?

Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt keep winning parts as long as they can maintain their good looks. Pitt seems to be aging well, Reeves less so. And just like Robbins Keanu actually suits some roles perfectly.

But only time will tell if any of them will actually become great, versatile actors.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I think Tom Robbins is good enough in this.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I agree (though it's been years since I saw this movie). Maybe even great?

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

Oh dear. Any chance you misunderstood me?

If so, let it be known that I do think that Robbins' performance (from what I can remember) was good even great but that - for me - he tends to be mostly middle-of-the-road kind of an actor. He puts on a good show in Arlington road as well, and he's alright in Shawshanks.

But other than that the man has pretty much failed to impress me.

Jacob's Ladder has pretty unique atmosphere going on which I remember having enjoyed a lot. But as a whole it's not totally enjoyable. IMO.

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

Gotcha. And yes, I see what you mean. I think I must agree with you.

It is really is unfortunate - though maybe unavoidable - that so many successful actors/actresses tend to become too comfortable playing anything else except themselves.

Damn, I really ought to watch Jacob's Ladder again. It's been like 13 years So many movies and so little time Not to mention so many better things to do in life than watching movies. ;)

Take care.

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

I'll try to keep that in mind ;)

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Yes, Robbins isn't that great of an actor and maybe his various characters would have been better served by using better actors, but so what?
He's been in a lot of very good movies and his performances are far from unwatchable. He's no Keanu, who has the ability to absolutely ruin a movie.

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

I thought he was great in this

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Maybe his acting isn't 100% across all the scenes but I really feel that he is bringing humanity and warmth into the film, and that he is successful in creating an unusually 3 dimensional character seldom seen in Hollywood films.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I beg to differ for Jacob's Ladder. He's cast absolutely perfectly and I personally believe he'll never better this.

I thought he was very good in The Player and Bob Roberts as well.

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Re: Everything great except Robbins

I just re-watched Arlington Road, and actually he is passable in it (though a bit caricatured)

"The cook's a SEAL?!!"

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Tim Robbins is one of my favorite actors.

I slew your king, I slew your country. Do these deeds not demand vengeance?
-Judge Gabranth

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Tim Robbins is one of the best actors alive, and this is my favorite performance of his, after "Shawshank".

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I haven't seen Tim Robbins in much but I thought he was great in this, really made me buy the character

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I have just seen this movie and also think he's great in the role. He carries well the weight of the film. His acting is controlled but subtle and makes easy for the viewer to relate to.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Weird, I've never heard this opinion from anyone. I've never even heard anyone say anything bad about Tim Robbins's acting! Not that that makes the opinion less legitimate, but you do have me perplexed. I thought it was an unbelievably powerful performance, and a big reason this movie is so much stronger than the conventional psychological thriller it could have been. The bit where his whole family is gathered around him laughing and joking and he hears the voice say "Dream on" and he starts weeping, that was a devastating reaction, and it's one of many.

By any chance are you a conservative?


I'll bet you could suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

No, I 'am not' a 'conservative'. I personally reject the use of nouns as applied to people, but in your vernacular I would closest to what would be called a radical libertarian. I certainly don't call myself that and have written a thesis in which I markedly disavow libertarianism, but that may give you an idea of where I'm at.

Please feel free to peruse my website at: consentient DOT wordpress DOT com, for more information.

Just out of curiousity, what made you think I was a conservative? Was your theory that the demonic images might have offended my sensibilities and therefore clouded my judgment of the acting?

If you want to see what I call good acting, see Bad Guy, dir: Ki-Duk Kim

- -

"The cook's a SEAL?!!"

Re: Everything great except Robbins


No, I 'am not' a 'conservative'. I personally reject the use of nouns as applied to people, but in your vernacular I would closest to what would be called a radical libertarian.

So, you are a conservative.


Just out of curiousity, what made you think I was a conservative? Was your theory that the demonic images might have offended my sensibilities and therefore clouded my judgment of the acting?

Tim Robbins's political views tend to cloud some people's judgment of his acting.


I'll bet you could suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Err, no I am not a conservative. I advocate voluntarism, I just assumed (rightly, it would seem) that someone who thinks everyone who dislikes Tim Robbins acting would be doing so because of his political views, probably has little exposure to the term 'voluntarism'.

I couldn't care less about Robbins' political views. I just don't think he's a good actor at all.

- -

"The cook's a SEAL?!!"

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Not only is he a fantastic actor, he's an incredibly gifted writer and director, IMO.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

He also looks hot in those shorts (the vid of him with a bike and his son).

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Looks like your opinion about him isn't going to change, and why should it? If we all thought the same way the world would be a boring place. But with that said, I have never disagreed with someone so much before, Robbins was absolutely mesmerizing. The film is fascinating right from the start, but if I felt for a second that Robbins was unconvincing, my interest in the film would have been lost. Luckily it didn't.



Greatest comedy film of the 1980's - Scarface

Re: Everything great except Robbins

This is one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. The look on his face as he gets back into bed with his wife gets me everytime. He KNOWS, for a brief second or so, that he must be dreaming…but you don't catch that look until you see the film a second time. Brilliant.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

I can't really make a comment on his acting in general. His character in Jacob's Ladder however drew me in, made me feel empathy, made me believe in him, so I guess he did just fine.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Robbins is a hit and miss for me but I thought he was amazing in this.

Re: Everything great except Robbins

Robbins was fantastic in this film. Stupidest thread ever.
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