This is the first of an on-going series of actors that I believe are either underrated or unknown. Our inaugural entry is the talented Ari Graynor.
First credit (according to IMDB): The Sopranos, “Mr. Ruggerio’s Neighborhood.” (Season 3, Ep. 1)
Most known for: Celeste and Jesse Forever, For a Good Time Call, Whip It, Fringe
Upcoming films: It Is What It Is
There are not many supporting actors that excite me when I see them in a movie’s cast list, and even fewer compel me to seek out their filmography. The most well known on this exclusive list is Stanley Tucci — I even sat through half of Burlesque because of him — and many would expect him to be at the top, but right now that spot belongs to the amazing Ari Graynor. Her string of quality performances over the past few years have skyrocketed her from, ‘Oh, who’s that girl?’ to ‘This movie has Ari Graynor in it? Why, yes, Redbox I will rent it.’
Outside of For a Good Time Call…, which is actually the weakest of the three films that I’ve seen her in recently, she usually plays a supporting role or a small part of an ensemble cast. Much like Mr. Tucci, she steals every scene she’s in and she’s quickly placing herself in Matthew Lillard territory in that regard. But she is too talented to avoid top-billed status like Lillard did.
Even with the issues that For a Good Time Call… had in it script, Graynor showed the ability to carry a movie. She outshines writer/co-star Lauren Miller, and exhibits a wide range of emotions that should give every casting director confidence that she can do anything. In the last three movies I’ve seen her in — 10 Years, Celeste and Jesse Forever and For a Good Time Call… — she’s portrayed three different characters: a sassy roommate, a loving wife and a concerned friend. Each character was played with grace and ease, and she was always memorable, which is the most important part of a performance.
At the age of 29, her career has only begun. She has the talent to find consistent work in Hollywood if she wants, but whether that work will be as a lead actress or not, is left to be seen. Either way, I will continue to watch every movie she’s in, and will enjoy her performances as much as I did the first time I saw her as Kat Dennings’ drunk best friend in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. If you have not seen her work, do yourself a favor and rent the movies listed above. Even if you don’t like the movie, Graynor performance is well worth the rental fee.