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The best of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie Brad Pitt By The Sea

There aren’t many power couples in Hollywood anymore, but Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are certainly one of them. They haven’t worked on the same project together since Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but tomorrow they co-star in By the Sea, which Jolie also wrote and directed. I wrote briefly about this one last week, and honestly the film itself isn’t anything special, but it is an excuse to talk about some of their work, so in that regard, I’m glad it’s coming out. Both have Academy Awards to their credit and both are among the biggest A-listers we have, so there should be plenty to discuss…

In case you’re not aware what By the Sea is, here’s a short refresher. The film is a 1970’s set look at a married couple unraveling/trying to save their union while vacationing in a small seaside town after an untold tragedy. Jolie (or as she’s credited, Jolie Pitt) plays Vanessa, a former dancer while Brad Pitt is Roland, a writer, both of whom are dealing with the tragedy in their own way. She lies in bed and he drinks, basically. They’re essentially caught in stasis, though the arrival of newlyweds Lea (Melanie Laurent) and Francois (Melvil Pouopard) stirs them somewhat, particualry when voyeurism comes into play. Jolie writes, directs, and stars with Pitt here, while other members of the cast include Niels Arestrup, Sarah Naudi, and more. Cinematography is by the great Christian Berger. Overall, it winds up feeling like a vanity project for the actress (more so than the couple), but voters have gone for that sort of a thing in the past and as an A-lister, she’s earned this chance.

First up, this is what I would say would be the top ten performances Jolie has given so far:

10. The Bone Collector
9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
8. Beyond Borders
7. Wanted
6. Beowulf
5. Pushing Tin
4. Changeling
3. The Good Shepherd
2. A Mighty Heart
1. Girl, Interrupted

When it comes to Jolie, she’s given less outstanding performances than you’d think, but she’s also shown a lot of range by tackling almost every single genre out there. Without question, her best work came in Girl, Interrupted, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other top tier performances from Jolie include Changeling (which got her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress), The Good Shepherd, and A Mighty Heart. The Academy has also given her an honorary Oscar, namely the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. With this newfound interest in filmmaking, we could be entering a new stage in Jolie’s career, and honestly, I’m all for it.

Here now is the ten best for Pitt:

10. Se7en
9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
8. Babel
7. The Tree of Life
6. Inglourious Basterds
5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Burn After Reading
3. Moneyball
2. Twelve Monkeys
1. Fight Club

Pitt certainly has had the more prestigious career, in terms of acting roles. He evolved into an A-lister after using memorable supporting performances (like in Twelve Monkeys) to vault himself to the top. He also is more interested in getting difficult material produced, as you can see with the likes of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Fight Club, the last of which is his crown jewel, acting wise. Pitt has an Oscar to his name for producing 12 Years a Slave (which he also co-starred in), as well as nominations from the Academy for producing his starring vehicle Moneyball, Best Actor for Moneyball, Best Actor for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Best Supporting Actor for Twelve Monkeys. Those represent some of his best performances, alongside the aforementioned Fight Club and something like Burn After Reading or Inglourious Basterds.

"Maleficent" Costume and Props Private Reception - Arrivals

Jolie and Pitt star in By the Sea, in theaters tomorrow!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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