Nathan FillionNathan Fillion in The 27%ers Theory
Saturday 1 September 2007, by Webmaster
There is a phrase we like to use in the Empire office: "Get off the bloody pool table and do some work, Pav". But that’s not important right now. Another phrase we like to use is ’The 27%ers’. This is a term coined at some unspecified point (I still insist by me) to refer to those actors whose presence peaks your interest in a movie, regardless of title, plot or complete absence of any other redeeming feature, merely because you know they will make it worth watching on some level. In short, they make the movie 27% better by seeing fit to exist in its presence. We’re not talking your Will Smiths, Angelina Jolies or Will Ferrells here. Movies are rarely funded on the back of a 27%er. To be a true 27%er you should hover at about fourth on the cast list, unless it’s straight to DVD, and be known to most of the world as "Oh, that guy? I love that guy!"
My personal favourite among these ranks is Martin Short. I know deep in my bones that he hasn’t made a truly great movie since Innerspace (that statement is not up for debate) and that’s unlikely to change soon, but I will happily watch a Father of the Bride or a Get Over It or even a Jimminy Glick In LaLaWood – which is very close to the top of my Must Watch pile – because I know that at some point I will be rewarded with a passionate delivery of a line like "Ice your front bum!" or even a pleasingly manic gurn. And that is worth 90 minutes of my life. See also Nathan Fillion and his knack for always appearing slightly bored but as if he knows a lot more than you. N.B. As soon as the rest of the world wakes up and makes him A-list, Fillion will leave the list for bigger paydays.
A 27%er might appear in many good films, where they’ll inevitably steal some thunder from bigger names (think Steve Zahn in Out Of Sight), but it is there ability to make even the most cliche-ridden, workmanlike dross seem an exciting prospect that makes them worthy of the title. Other people who belong on that list are Alison Janney, Jason Bateman, Chris Cooper, Oliver Platt and Anna Faris.
Who would make your 27%er list? Irony is not allowed here. You must passionately love this tiny but important piece in the big cinematic puzzle. Delighting in watching Steven Seagal because he refuses to give up his action hero status despite being a 2lb sausage in a 1lb skin and delivers every line as if trying to remember where he left his door keys is an entirely different sickness altogether.