Bad Acting Runs Rampant - Onlookers React in Stereotyped Fear

posted Jul 22, 2002

I was watching TV the other day (I think it was on Pleasentville, which ABC recently ran), and I was shocked to notice someone on TV with a bemused (head tipped down, one eyebrow higher then other, small asymmetric smile) expression on their face.

It occurred to me how rarely I see the more complicated facial expressions on actor's faces. All actors can do fear, anger, happiness, all the basic emotions. But when's the last time you saw mystified (head tipped down, forehead furrowed and eyebrows closer together, slight frown)? Or realization (head slightly up, small nodding, open mouth, eyebrows neutral or slightly up in center)? Or recognition of fact that should have been already known or was obvious (eyebrows high, strong frown only at corner of the mouth, small nodding up and down)?

There are certainly some actors that are capable of the more subtle emotions, but why is it so unusual? Since the advent of the closeup, we can see enough detail on actors to see these expressions.


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