You had me at Julia Roberts
There are some movies we watch because we trust the franchise (Back to the Future, I spose for some of you, Marvel, Bond, etc.) Some we watch because we trust the reviews of the of peers, the nominations, the buzz, or the genre. And then there are the ones we see purely because an actor we love is in it, or an actor we can trust to deliver, without even knowing the plot. Some of these individuals may deliver a great performance (Michelle Williams. Amy Adams, Nicky Kidman) give a homely vibe when we know exactly what we are in the mood for (Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Grant, Seth Rogan) or would have made this list 20 years ago (Cameron Diaz, Adam Sandler). But what we are looking for in this list are the actors where you see their name on the poster, and without knowing anything else, go 'Yeah, let's be real. I'ma watch that, whatever it is' because we know it will be a quality film and they will, and have, delivered, time and time again:
1. Tom Hanks
Is the World's Dad and Most Likeable Guy able to make a bad film? From Forrest Gump to Catch Me If You Can, A League of Their Own to Toy Story, everyone loves him, he's delivered solid catch phrases ('There's no crying in baseball!'), you know he has options, and in that way, we trust Tom to deliver, every time. And that's all I have to say about that.
2. Allison Janney
Ugh, can we just have a boozy Friday night together already?Janney has had a slow burn into becoming an A lister, but look closely and her CV is chockablock full of wins and fun af performances - from the weird Principal in 10 Things I Hate About You and trailer trash friend in Drop Dead Gorgeous to her Oscar-winning turn in I, Tonya; if her name is on the poster, I'm in for the ride.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
Not just a pretty face, teaming up with Martin Scorsese early on his career has turned him from teenage heart throb to bonafide movie star. Think Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Shutter Island, The Wolf Of Wall Street - all his films are A-grade material, and I'm calling it now - he will 100% get presented with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, and he bloody well deserves it - even if there WAS room on that damn raft for two.
4. Julia Roberts
My kweeennn can do no wrong and I won't hear a bad word about her! The woman with the $20 million dollar smile has had our hearts melting ever since she uttered the words 'Hey sugar, you lookin' for a date?' in 1990's iconic Pretty Woman. Side note, this is also what I say to Will when I am waiting out the front of Woolies in my trakkies at 2pm and he can't get a park so he cruises round in circles until I come out the front with some $3 home-brand cheese. Anyway. America's Sweetheart went on to provide the world with some of the greatest hits of the 90's, including My Best Friend's Wedding, Runaway Bride, and her Oscar-winning turn as Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name. While she's gone for more serious work, you still know it's gonna be a damn good piece of acting - and if not, just mute and look at how beautiful she is. Love you best friend!
5. JK Simmons
Even though he may not be a household name for the people who aren't as obsessed with film and tv as I, you'll know JK as Juno's lovable dad, as head of the newspaper in Spiderman, as the hiring teacher in the underrated 'The Rewrite', and OMG IN MY RESEARCH FOUND OUT HE DID VOICES FOR THE MOST UNDERRATED CARTOON OF ALL TIME, ANASTASIA. Love him more now. Okay anyway. He also won an Oscar for Whiplash, and I see him on screen and just go 'Oh yay, he's here!' like a comforting soup, JK brings that certain je ne sais quoi to any film he is in.
6. Matt Damon
Matt's the guy every dad would approve you bringing home. He's likeable, dependable, and isn't here to fuck spiders. From bringing us action as Jason Bourne to showing his dramatic chops in Good Will Hunting and The Talented Mr. Ripley (soliddd film), Matt has been able to demonstrate that he can take a multitude of genres and make them his own, spinning any film with his name into an A+ movie.
7. Meryl Streep
The most nominated actress of all time needs no introduction. Is there anything she can't do, and doesn't deliver on? It's not just her acting, but her likeability - Meryl has an ability to appear as extremely low-key and likeable in real life, despite completely disappearing into her characters on screen. Some of my personal faves in the vault include her turn as Madeline Ashton in Death Becomes Her, Susan Orlean in Adaptation, and her lead star status in films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Mama Mia and The Post (I know these aren't the most famous, but they're the ones I like best, and this is my blog, so move on). Next up, she'll be delighting us in a musical called 'The Prom'- and true to form, I don't need to know anything else. I'll be watching.
8. Robin Williams
Oh, this one will tug at the heartstrings of every 90's kid and parent. Whilst The Birdcage has got to be a personal favourite, Williams got many of us through our childhood, starring in iconic roles such as the Genie in Aladdin, the title character of Mrs. Doubtfire, Peter Pan in Hook. plus there was Flubber, Jack, Patch Adams...the list goes on. Whilst he also did a string of films in the dramatic sphere, it was in his role as comedian that Williams time and time again proved that he was in a league all of his own. RIP.
9. Emma Stone
A relative newcomer to the list of bigwigs, Stone has tred her film career path carefully, making sure not to get lost in the realm between teenage starlet and mega movie star (for the road map, see: Kirsten Dunst, Jodie Foster). Delivering A-grade performances in films such as Easy A, Battle of the Sexes (which I was in, in a crowd scene of about 10000, did you spot me? Will my family EVER SUPPORT MY FILM CAREER AND FUCKING WATCH IT?), and Crazy, Stupid, Love, Emma's star continues to rise after her Oscar win for La La Land. Plus - she's just so damn likeable! Be my friend!
10. Bette Midler
All hail! I mean - please. This is the queen. She doesn't rock cinema, she IS cinema. She is so fantastic that I have legit joined a group of women called The Bettes, where we discuss Bette Midler, watch Bette Midler films, and occasionally wear Bette Midler outfits. Embarrassed? YOU should be embarrassed for not being a part of it! Whilst she has had a formidable career in music, stage and TV, her film record speaks for itself - The First Wives Club, Big Business, Gypsy, Down and Out In Beverley Hills...actually, brb - I gotta go write a script starring Tom Hanks and Better Midler as the parents of Emma Stone who gets in a rel with bad boy Leonardo Dicaprio that she is banned form seeing, even though her best friend Matt Damon has always been there so she sets out to find Leo with her uncle Robin Williams and meets a string of weird characters like gang leader Meryl Streep and candle shop keeper Julia Roberts with a guest appearance from gypsy JK Simmons and...
Honourable mentions: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Danny DeVito - and who else?