Monday, March 28, 2011

USA Today Picks Top Five Shatner Performances

For the March 24th USA Today's Pop Candy, reader "Michael H" selected his Top Five favorite William Shatner performances in honor of his birthday.  I square off with Michael H's pics below.

Michael H's 1.  "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Without a doubt, the best performance the man has given. Ironically, it's because directorNicholas Meyer did so many takes of certain scenes that Shatner stopped being Shatner and just acted the scenes."

Shat Attack's 1.  Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  Well, as much as I'd like to be controversial and select Matt Stone from Impulse or Mark Preston from The Devil's Rain as my favorite Shatner performance, there really is no other choice but to go with a Kirk outing.  But I wouldn't pick Wrath of Khan.  Sure, it's my favorite Trek movie, but my favorite Trek Shatner is the Kirk found in The Search for Spock.  Khan is the Badass Trek, but the Trek that really gets me to well up is 3.  It's a saga of friendship, in which Kirk has to save not just Spock's soul but save his other BFF Bones from Katra infection.  And the whole film rests on Shatner's ability to convey love for his two friends.  It's powerful stuff.

Michael H's 2. "Free Enterprise. Shatner plays a guy named Bill, a colorful caricature of the Shatner image. Worth seeing to hear Shatner rap at the end and for the scene where fantasy Bill gives one of our young heroes advice. (The guy is getting beat up and Shatner finds out the fight began because the bully said Han Solo could beat up Captain Kirk. Shatner's reply: "Kick his a--!")"

Shat Attacker's 2.  Boston Legal, "Son of the Defender."  Free Enterprise is fun, but come on!  #2!  No way!  Next to Kirk, Shatner's greatest creation is that of the mad cow suffering law partner Denny Crane, Denny Crane and my absolute favorite single episode of BL is "Son of the Defender" in which the viewer is rewarded with not one, but two great Shatner performances.  Held hostage by the son of a wrongfully convicted suspected murderer, "Son of the Defender" splices scenes from the classic Studio One TV movie revealing a Denny Crane still haunted by past actions.

Michael H's 3. "Star Trek, "The Enemy Within." It's easy to cite "City on the Edge of Forever" as a great performance by Shatner in classicTrek. But this early, first season episode is a true showcase for Shatner with two Kirks (good and evil) thanks to a transporter accident. It shows why producers and NBC thought getting Shatner as a leading man for Trek was such a coup."

Shat Attacker's 3.  The Intruder.  Two Kirks?  That's cheating!  Nope, I'm going with Shatner's disgusting and terrifying Adam Cramer from Roger Corman's classic The Intruder.  It's probably the toughest movie to watch for a Shatner fan cuz Bill is so damn despicable.  But it's a must-see.  Shocking and quite powerful.  

Michael H's 4. "The Twilight Zone, Terror at 20,000 Feet. Outside of Captain Kirk, this may be Shatner's best-known bit of television acting."

Shat Attacker's 4.  The Twilight Zone, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.  Ding.  We have a winner.  Except the title is "Nightmare" not "Terror."  Shatner did a lot of great pre-Star Trek tv appearances (The Fugitive, Burke's Law, The Big Valley, Thriller) but his two outings in The Zone are impossible not to adore.   And I've always felt for Bob Wilson.  Will someone just look out on that damn wing!  Gremlin!

Michael H's 5. "Third Rock From the Sun. Shatner won his first Emmy for his portrayal of the Big Giant Head. Best moment is when Shatner and John Lithgow talk about a plane being delayed due to seeing something on the wing. (For those of you who don't know, Lithgow played the role Shatner did in the Twilight Zone: The Movie version of Terror at 20,000 Feet.)"

Shat Attacker 5.  The Horror at 37,000 Feet.  Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of Third Rock From The Sun or The Big Giant Head.  Sorry, sitcom banality.  And I recognize that Horror at 37,000 Feet is not necessarily a good movie.  But Shatner is incredible in it.  He sells the hell outta his fallen priest.  And his performance here is the perfect example of what I love about Shatner.  He gets a script.  Whatever.  He's all in.  Beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment