Wednesday, August 25, 2010

By The Numbers: Robert Duvall

When Robert Duvall was suggested to me to run the numbers I was intrigued. He's one of those actors that can take a bad movie and raise it's quality. It's a testament to his ability. There was no question to me that he would score high, the only question to my mind was, how high?

First a quick rundown for those new to how this all works.

I take all the films an actor or actress has been in and break them down into three categories, 'Good' 'Bad' and 'Ok.' I do not count TV appearances or Made for TV movies. Afterwards a quick analysis will show whether or not they're a good actor by the numbers. Invariably there is a 2-3 +/- point bias on a person to person basis. Also, since 'ok' movies are not bad they count towards the positive column in the overall figuring. If, by the numbers, they fall in the 50 - 60% range, they're a bad actor; 61 - 70% good actor, and 71 - 80% great actor. Anything higher is unlikely, but will be classified as "elite."

Now let's see how he scores:

Anyone with as many classic and iconic roles as Duvall can be expected to score high. As I said he's someone who can make a movie decent just with his presence. About half of the films in the OK section would have otherwise been in the bad column except he made them enjoyable. As it stands currently, with an outstanding 77% positive over 23% negative, Duvall is officially an excellent actor. And since he's gotten even more picky in recent years about what films he does, he'll be one worth revisiting in the future. He could be on his way to being the first 'Elite' actor by the numbers. Plus he's still my favorite Watson.

Thanks to Pat Tillet for this week's pick!


  1. Okay, that's just weird...not 20 minutes ago I watched Raymond Arroyo interview Robert Duvall for EWTN and thought "I wonder if NR has ever done a btn of him". Uhhh...YES! He's the best. Great pick, Pat Tillet.

  2. Alex, it was inevitable that he would score high. Just impressive all around though.

    Cottage, That's awesome. The fact that you would think of BTN, is quite a compliment.

  3. I'm a happy camper!
    His great roles are many. My favorites are "Tender Mercies" and "The Apostle."

    Thanks Tim!

  4. Of course one of my favorite Duvall films is Apocalypse Now, but then I like him is everything I have ever seen him in.

    Still looking for you to do Bill Murray. I watched Zombieland for the first time the other night and even though his part is small, him playing himself was just great.

  5. yes, he's is better than average.

  6. I agree with your point that just having Duvall in a movie makes the movie more enjoyable. That's kind of the same effect that Will Smith has. I'm glad Duvall scored so high.

  7. I wouldn't expect any less of Mr. Duvall. I enjoyed Secondhand Lions because of him.


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