The latest installment of the A.V. Club's consistently excellent New Cult Cannon series focuses on the underrated Christopher McQuarrie film The Way of the Gun. I thought the movie was unfairly maligned/dismissed back in 2000 due to the easy Tarantino-ripoff meme that was circulating among critics at the time. (The same thing happened to the even more superior Go, in fact, though that movie has managed to salvage its rep through sheer force of awesomeness.)
It's a fine article, but the real value comes in the comment section, which I normally decline to read (the A.V. Club boasts probably the most disproportionate ratio of site quality to comment quality on the entire internet). But I'm glad I did this time, else I'd have missed the discussion which started out as your standard kneejerk Ryan Phillippe bashing that you'd expect from comment threads and message boards and other places where pretty people are loathed. But as the thread progressed, there were grudging admissions that Phillippe was pretty good in Gosford Park. Not that anyone likes the guy, but he held his own in Breach too. And Crash, even though he usually sucks. And Igby Goes Down, but only because it played into the douchebagginess of his personality. Cruel Intentions, too, if we're going down that road. I clicked out of the thread before people started questioning their sudden desire to kiss him on the mouth. That was bound to get ugly.
It did my heart good, though. I've been of the mind for a while now that Phillippe, while not Olivier, is very effective more often than not. He knows how to perform in an ensemble (Gosford Park), he's able to shine with bad material (Crash), and most importantly, he knows exactly what his charisma is and how to control it (everything, but most obviously in Cruel Intentions). Which is such an undervalued trait in an actor and why I continue to respect Angelina Jolie's work, among others.
Am I alone on this? Or has the world not caught up to my pro-Phillippe worldview yet? In case you're on the fence...