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Just how do they have a successful career?

November 9, 2011

Nicholas Cage; Channing Tatum; Vin Diesel; Mark Wahlberg: The Lunk quartet.

I'm bootiful.

There are a number of actors out there who are so dumb-looking, so wooden, so limited, so curiously devoid of charisma, or so irritating that it boggles my mind every time they are cast – often repeatedly – in relatively mainstream films, some of which even go on to make money or, in the case of Wahlberg, even critical acclaim (The Fighter, The Departed, Boogie Nights). So while others have named these four as piss-poor, few have queried their popularity; their longevity where others have come and gone.

It seems that those in charge of Hollywood casting are so lacking in imagination that they stick to the tried and tested option for predictable character and film ‘types’, even if the tried and tested is utterly unremarkable. Hence we are offered the ubiquitous Nicholas Cage in a series of terrible supernatural action movies (Ghost Rider, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Knowing, National Treasure etc), or Vin Diesel as cool/fast car/street cred characters, or Channing Tatum in anything muscley or military (I am however looking forward to his upcoming stripper movie Magic Mike).

Of course terrible actors can have massive star appeal that transcends craft or talent (Keanu Reeves is a case in point) but in my humble opinion these four have little of that ‘thing’ that makes a star.

I'm in everything!

Perhaps it isn’t fair to put Nicholas Cage on this list. Yes, he is frequently embarrasing, not least because of his hair, but then one remembers Raising Arizona, or Moonstruck or The Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans or Leaving Las Vegas and wonders why he is so often so bad and why/how he chooses the projects he does (one imagines very stoned or pissed by throwing darts at a rotating dartboard?). Unlike the other three, Cage is at least eccentric, capable of a poor but over-the-top performance or an effective OTT performance like the fun Kick Ass that utilised him well in this role. Sometimes Bad can be Fun.

It isn’t even too bad when Vin Diesel appears in movies like The Chronicles of Riddick or The Fast and the Furious. They are so undemanding as to require nothing more than a wisecracking cardboard cut-out propped in the driver’s seat of a souped-up car. It’s when they put bland, useless actors in proper, actual movies that require acting and not just butch posturing. And this is where Mark Wahlberg comes in.

This is the face of a serious actor.

I seem to be the only person who dislikes him so intensely. I would avoid him but he is so often in good movies. Let me try and account for this. Perhaps he is so bland that performances by oh-so-serious method thesps like Christian Bale or Leonardo DiCaprio stand out better? Perhaps without Wahlberg The Fighter would have vanished into obscurity. I mean, sure, he’s not actively ruinous to movies like Channing Tatum, but why should such a one-note guy next door get cast so damn Often? I just cannot understand it. Is there really noone else out there they can cast as the working class guy-next-door/crook, fighter/cop?

Finally, Channing Tatum. I have fond memories of a historical children’s book called The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe. The story recounts the tale of what may have happened to the famed Roman 9th legion, who disappeared after marching North of Hadrian’s Wall in Brittany, around approximately 120AD. Two films have recently been made on this speculative incident: Channing Tatum in The Eagle and Michael Fassbender in the far superior Centurion. Although Tatum makes a valiant effort to, well, act, he is a lunk and is hardly of Fassbender’s quality or training. Americans are not good at playing anything other than Americans, as a rule. Certainly not Romans. As a romantic lead in Dear John, again, a lunk. I’m not saying the ex-stripper Tatum is as dumb as he looks. He probably has oodles of street-smarts and all credit to him for his career, but a desperate plea to Hollywood: leave him in Fighting, and GI Joe. Leave the romance to Robert Pattinson and the real acting to Michael Fassbender.

Duh. (Dear John.)

You know its worse when bad actors are in leading roles. At least when Megan Fox et al are in movies they are eye candy and nothing is expected of them. Yet Megan Fox is derided while shocking male lead actors are not derided enough. Who can get over Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader? He almost wiped out all happy memories of James Earl Jones/David Prowse et al.

Update: I see the movie Gods have seen fit to cast Channing Tatum in Steven Soderbergh’s new film Haywire, with Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor. Its clearly a conspiracy against me. I’ll never get rid of him now.

Historical Lunk


From → Actors, Movies

  1. pallasathena1 permalink

    Loved your comments and that pic of Nicholas Cage was just too much. You must have been spoiled for choice tho, there are so many terrible ones floating around. Just want to point out a small error – Britain, not Brittany.

  2. I think you’ve discovered the problem with Hollywood. It’s not who is talented, it’s who Hollywood wants you to think is talented.

    • As witnessed by Bradley Cooper winning People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, 2011. Now he is someone I should have on the list. It’s all a fix I say! 🙂

  3. Anonymous permalink

    That has to be the best picture EVER of Nicholas Cage!

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