Gene Hackman: The Greatest Living American Actor? Maybe But also....
Who cares? And does it matter?
According to this excellent article at Grantland, Gene Hackman is the greatest living American actor in spite of his eleven year retirement from film. And he might be. He's damn good. And he's been damn good for decades.
For a long time, I've always thought he's gotten overlooked when the topic of "greatest" actor of his generation comes up among friends or between anonymous online debaters. Often lost in a sea of DeNiro, Pacino, Hoffman, Brando, and so on.
Look no further than The French Connection, Hoosiers, Unforgiven, and The Royal Tennenbaums among so many other films. I know those are the ones on everyone's list of his best, but it's because they're so damn good. They better be on your list.
It always fascinates me that people get so serious though about turning their opinions into facts, especially when it comes to artistic endeavors. To me, it misses the mark by a mile about how you discuss art and what matters and why and who's good and who is hack (no partial pun intended).
Leave those dopey greatest of all time debates for sports where at least you can compare stats... but if they're from eras that are decades apart they're largely irrelevant, though I suppose that's a post for another time.