Today I was listening to a Podcast from a couple years ago featuring Peter Krause. He’s one of my favorite actors ever since first seeing him in Six Feet Under. I was then reminded that one of my favorite scenes of anything I have ever watched was his performance of burying his first wife, Lisa. No matter how many times I see it, it completely guts me. I think it also has a lot to do with the context of the story line around her vs. Brenda and the choices he makes but often regrets. At the time that show was on, I related quite a bit to his character.

Here’s the scene. It’s worth watching. I just think it’s one of the best acting performance I have ever seen.

This then got me thinking about what other acting moments have always stayed with me; the kind you always know are going to happen because you’ve seen the scene multiple times but you still get moved by the performance.

There was another more recent one that stood out to me. It was Laura Linney’s Ozark performance relating to her mentally ill brother and the choice she had to make to “give him up” to the cartel. Again, one of the best acting performances I have ever seen. There’s actually more than one.

Then there is Helen Hunt in Castaway, the scene in the rain with Chuck and how you watch her realization happening as she watches him walk in front of the car to get in the driver’s side. Gets me every time.

These are the 3 which immediately came to mind. I would also say that Leonardo DiCaprios’s entire performance in Basketball Diaries and Robert Downey Jr. in Less Than Zero are pretty mesmerizing and gut wrenching as well.

In remembering and re-watching these scenes, I do pick up on a theme that makes me realize why these appeal to me as much as they do. They all deal with very complicated love situations where you know your heart but it’s not so simple to act on it. Having to make the hard choice or do the hard thing are things I recognize in myself. No matter how horrible the scenario is, there is an utter grief and breakdown in making that choice or doing that thing. Strong people aren’t unfeeling when they have to make hard choices. They don’t “feel” less pain than people who don’t end up being the ones to make the decisions. They don’t experience less loss. They don’t love less, I think they might actually love more. Sometimes, I think it’s also more painful for the “doers.”

I’m a “doer.” I am someone that knows how to do the hard things and when to turn the emotion switch off in myself in order to proceed. It doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings about what I have to do. It just means that I am acutely aware that in every “battle” a choice must be made, a step must be taken. Someone has to do it and most of the time, no one else Will and the problem continues to linger and take on added dimensions which make it even worse when the decision point has to come. So I am one of those people everyone knows will do the dirty work, even at expense to my own heart. I have my own emotional meltdowns that no one ever sees. I’m no less compassionate or feeling just because I can also pull a trigger. Honestly, it sucks being that person and I often go through my own pain alone.

While each scene and scenario are different from any I have faced, the angst that each one demonstrates absolutely taps into my soul and I feel the performances as if they were me in those very moments. The word “execute” comes to mind and could be used to define the actions of each character in some way. It’s also a word used frequently to describe me.

Interesting revelation today. All from the first half of a podcast.