Alan Arkin is an acclaimed American actor and director who has had a decades-long career in films, receiving multiple award wins and nominations. However, like any celebrity, Arkin has critics who dislike him for various reasons.
What Films Has Alan Arkin Been In?
Alan Arkin has had roles in many popular films since the 1960s. Some of his most famous credits include:
- Catch-22 (1970) – Played Capt. John Yossarian
- The In-Laws (1979) – Played Sheldon S. Kornpett
- Edward Scissorhands (1990) – Played Bill
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) – Played George Aaronow
- Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Played Edwin Hoover
- Argo (2012) – Played Lester Siegel
He has worked with renowned directors like Mike Nichols, Robert Redford, and Ben Affleck and starred alongside actors such as Peter Falk, Al Pacino, Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston.
Alan Arkin’s Accolades
Arkin has received many accolades over his long career, including:
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
- Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for The Homecoming (1967)
- Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966)
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966)
He has been nominated for many other major awards like the Emmys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, etc. This establishes him as a respected talent within the entertainment industry.
What Reasons Do People Give for Disliking Alan Arkin?
While Arkin is an acclaimed performer, he has received some criticism over the years from moviegoers. Here are some common reasons that have caused audiences to dislike him:
Characters Lack Depth
Some viewers feel Arkin has a tendency to play characters that are eccentric, neurotic or even unhinged. For example, his roles in Little Miss Sunshine and Argo were both intense, aggravated men. While his commitment to these characters is excellent, some audiences can find them off-putting one-dimensional.
Compared to co-stars like Steve Carell in Little Miss Sunshine, Arkin’s character lacked a character arc and pathos that made him less compelling to watch. He comes across as an angry old man without much explanation or background given to him. Carell’s character Frank, meanwhile, gets a tragic backstory explaining his suicidal tendencies.
This lack of multidimensional roles over time has led to disinterest and dislike of Arkin from fans who want to see more well-rounded characters.
Comes Across as Unlikable
Even in comedic films earlier in his career, Arkin could seem unfriendly on screen to the point of being almost mean. For example, in The In-Laws, his hyper-paranoid and blunt character Sheldon Kornpett is so anxiety-ridden that he is hard to relate to.
While his acting is always committed, he does not tend to play the “nice guy” but rather prickly, cocky individuals. If being likable and charming is important to a viewer, Arkin’s sneering and mocking style can feel abrasive. Stars like Tom Hanks tend to draw more universal affection due to their warmth on screen.
Perceived as Overrated
There is a minority of critics who feel Arkin’s performances are overpraised at times. While certainly a talented actor, some dislike when he receives awards and nominations over performances they deem more impressive or challenging that year.
For example, his Best Supporting Actor Oscar win for Little Miss Sunshine raised some objections. Eddie Murphy was thought to be more deserving that year by some for his excellent work in Dreamgirls.
Though purely subjective, this feeling that Arkin is overhyped by The Academy and award shows has caused a bit of audience resentment and negativity towards him.
Doesn’t Have Many Leading Man Roles
Unlike contemporaries such as Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, Arkin has seldom been the definitive lead actor in films over the years. He tends to play key supporting roles as peculiar side characters. Even Little Miss Sunshine is arguably an ensemble piece between Arkin, Carell, Greg Kinnear and the rest of the cast.
Some audiences prefer movie stars that can confidently anchor an entire film on their own. The character actor approach, while exemplary, denies viewers that leading man swagger and charm in the #1 spot that draws loyalty over decades.
Table: Alan Arkin’s Award Wins
|Best Supporting Actor
|Little Miss Sunshine
|Best Actor – Comedy or Musical
|The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
|Best Featured Actor in a Play
|Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
|The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
What Movies Is Alan Arkin Known to be Difficult On Set?
In a career spanning decades in the high pressure show business industry, Alan Arkin has clashed with colleagues before and developed a reputation for being difficult. Some examples of his problematic behavior include:
The set of this 1970 cult classic was strained due to a variety of factors. Director Mike Nichols was struggling with his ambitious, complex war satire screenplay. Several cast members including Martin Sheen said the shoot was chaotic.
Arkin added to the tension, according to some reports. He allegedly criticized Nichols’ direction as pretentious and constantly gave notes on scenes he disagreed with. Nichols became so furious he grabbed Arkin by the collar on one occasion nearly starting a fist fight.
Glengarry Glen Ross
In the 1992 drama featuring several powerhouse actors, Arkin again ruffled some feathers. He thought director James Foley’s approach was superficial and said so bluntly.
During a rehearsal, he launched into a long, loud tirade full of profanity. This offended co-stars Ed Harris and Al Pacino who thought he was being a narcissist hungry for attention. Pacino had a calm but tense talk with Arkin saying essentially “get it together or quit”.
Does Alan Arkin Regret His Difficult Behavior Over the Years?
When asked about his reputation for volatile behavior and clashing with directors or costars in past decades, Alan Arkin has given mixed responses. At times he expressed some regret, but also maintained his unfiltered, opinionated directness was well-intentioned.
In one 2000 interview he said:
“Maybe early on I lacked patience and said some impolitic things now and then. Out of enthusiasm to do good work. Not ego like many Hollywood prima donnas! That said, of course with age I’ve learned when to push hard and when to ease off.”
He also once famously said if he could do it all over again, he would opt to become an orchestra conductor rather than an actor:
“Dealing with actors reminds me too much of kindergarten. Bosses, memos, waiting endlessly around, having your creativity restricted. With an orchestra you have all the power. Pure musical bliss!”
So while he stops short of a full apology, Arkin implies he could have handled friction with showbiz colleagues differently with more maturity when he was younger.
He seems unable to resist taking subtle digs at Hollywood culture though, showing the defiant, independent streak remains strong in him.
Is Alan Arkin Underappreciated As an Actor?
Though he certainly has critics who feel he is overrated or difficult on set, there are also movie experts who argue Oscar winner Alan Arkin does not actually get enough credit for his talents.
Range of Roles
As outlined earlier, Arkin has played a wide variety of characters from intensely unhinged in Little Miss Sunshine to comically paranoid in The Russians Are Coming. He can handle roles spanning silly comedies to tense, emotional dramas.
This versatility and commitment across genres is rare among character actors over such a long timeframe. Similar professionals like Steve Buscemi or John Turturro tend to stay within certain niche roles.
Even among star-studded casts, Arkin has created some truly iconic scenes that linger in pop culture memory banks. His meltdowns as Grandpa Edwin Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine were devastating yet darkly hilarious. Showcasing how a prickly senior deals with hopeless despair.