Top of the Morning, July 22, 2014
When news broke of James Garner's death, CHUCK KOPLINSKI quickly weighed in on our website. His blog — Cinemascoping — touted Garner as "not only one of the most natural actors to ever grace the screen but one we could relate to with ease. This quality is rare and will be missed."
It served as an online reminder of Koplinski's expanded role at news-gazette.com. Besides his blog, the local film critic has started posting weekly videos originating from his comfort zone — the lobby of a theater.
In print, his reviews will remain a staple of Thursday's evolving e3. This week, he'll touch on "Lucy" and "Wish I Was Here," with bonus reviews of "Sex Tape" and "Begin Again" on his blog.
Back to Garner. Koplinski was a big fan, calling him "a constant, welcome and reassuring presence in our living rooms."
Top roles? Here are Koplinski's three favorites:
'The Great Escape'
While Steve McQueen was self-consciously cool, James Coburn struggled with an Irish brogue and Charles Bronson brooded, Garner as the amiable scrounger Hendley was the charming Everyman we hoped would win his freedom most of all.
'The Rockford Files'
Private eye Jim Rockford was more akin to avoiding confrontation using his charm and wits than his fists or gun. Garner made us believe this was possible, making the character and himself more likable and accessible in the process.
John Wayne once called him "the best American actor," and in this charming romance, it's easy to see why the Duke would make such a statement. At ease whether being stern or gentle, you never catch Garner acting in a role for which he was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award.