Dear Sean Penn,

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You are unique. Alright, let’s be honest. You’re creepy. I can’t say I have a crush on you, but you managed to get under my skin decades ago, and my admiration for you is profound, for I can’t think of many who are more passionate than you.

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Every movie you star in is brilliant. Really. You hooked me in Taps in 1981 and proceeded to amaze me with your energy thereafter.  From Fast Times at Richmont High(1982), Carlito’s Way (1993), I Am Sam (2001), Milk (2008), or This Must Be the Place (2011), your notable attribute as an actor is your diversification; I’d bet you take great pride in the wide range of characters you play so convincingly. Pushing yourself beyond expectations, you are all over the place, and I like that about you. I do believe, though, you play creepy better than any other.

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Sean, your friendship with Bruce Springsteen, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon paid off in the 1995 film, Dead Man Walking, written and directed by Tim Robbins who was married to Susan Sarandon at that  time. She won the Best Actress Award at the Oscars for her portrayal of a nun who balanced her Christian duty between death-row inmate, Matthew Poncelet and the parents of his victim. While Bruce, Tim, and you were all nominated for your respective categories, you played the convicted murderer so well, whenever I watch your performance I am awestruck how you can create empathy from such an evil villain.

“Mr. and Mrs. Percy, I hope my death gives you some relief.”

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In 2003,  you do it again in another mesmerizing performance on the screen. With Tim Robbins as co-star, at the Academy Awards in 2004, you won Best Actor and Robbins won Best Supporting Actor. Directed by Clint Eastwood, your performance as a creepy, Boston neighborhood thug, Jimmy Markum, was nothing short of brilliant. As a father who mourned and sought vengence for the murder of his daughter, you gained empathy from the audience. Bravo!

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“The last time I saw Dave Boyle? That was twenty-five years ago, going up this street, in the back of that car.”

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Sean, what I really appreciate you for is your directing. I thought your screenplay adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book, Into the Wild (1996) was fantastic.

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The score written and performed by Eddy Vedder from Pearl Jam heightened the story about a college graduate who decided to go on a long road trip to search for the meaning of life and ended up in Alaska.

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I thought it a beautiful film and this is why I respect you so much. Who cares if I agree or not with your left-wing politics? It’s another example of your passion. Your strong personality reminds me you are a real man who lives a pro-active life with integrity and authenticity. Thanks for thirty-something years of great acting.

Sincerely,

Your Favorite Fan

19 thoughts on “Dear Sean Penn,

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        1. The scene at the end when he’s a walking corpse and the Grizzly sniffs him and recognizes he’s smelling death and walks away as though the man were a toxin to munch–it caught my breath and I can still see the scene years later clearly in my head. I loved the message.

    1. That’s the creepy part, I reckon. His look could leave you cold inside. Then he turns around and does ‘Milk’ and ‘I am Sam’ and is so gentle and convincing–wow! 🙂

  1. Penn’s a superb actor and a great director. I thought ‘Into the Wild’ was fantastic, too.
    And Penn was superb in ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk’; but I should mention an old movie of his I really liked (that’s not mentioned here), ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ (1985).
    Fitting quick tribute for someone whose not just a superstar sans talent, but one with actual talent.

    1. Thank God you did! There were so many of his pics I left out hoping someone would chime in. Yes, the 1985 ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ was a great one. Talent and appreciative of art. Not the Hollywood crap. Yes! 🙂

  2. Hi, Cindy:

    Superb sentiment!

    Sean Penn has talent to burn. I think he made his impression on me early in his career in films where I didn’t recognize him right away. I still think his best work was as Timothy Dalton’s (Tim Hutton) spoiled, drug adddicted, dealing friend in ‘The Falcon and The Snowman’. And as Al Pacino’s lawyer in ‘Carlito’s Way’.

    And people do not give the George C. Scott film, ‘Taps’ enough credit. For introducing Tom Cruise and Sean Penn as military school cadets under Tim Hutton.

    1. We are in total agreement, Jack. I had hopes someone would bring in other films I didn’t mention into the discussion. I’m glad you mentioned The Falcon and the Snowman. He was unrecognizable in Carlito’s Way. Yes, I loved Taps. I don’t know why I don’t see it on TV or in discussion more often. There’s so many memorable scenes in the film–it really is a classic.

  3. Nice post Cindy! I have to say I can’t stand this guy, creepy is right but also a pretentious snob! I also don’t think he’s such a GREAT actor, there are tons of better and more charismatic actors out there who are far more underrated IMO. I saw him in Fair Game and I was more impressed by Naomi Watts.

    1. Hahahahaha, Ruth. I’m glad you speak your true feelings. Yes, I reckon Princess Buttercup suffered a long, grueling marriage to such a powerful personality. My hat’s off to her. But personality aside, I think he’s a powerhouse actor. 🙂

  4. Yes – after he escaped from Ridgemont Hight he become a chap who manages to do mostly quality (non commercial) work. and still survive. and one of the few actors who can elevate a movie. pretty well any with him in it is worth a look – and often excellent.
    The Game is one of my ‘guilty pleasure’ movies.

    1. Yes, and she was! She’s the only one who won the award. I liked the ending sequences of Penn when the clock ticks down and he’s about to go. I feel his electric emotions knowing he’s only minutes from dying. Very happy you stopped by! 🙂

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