Sunday, January 28, 2007

Penny Press Posturing Pouting Poseurs!



The latest issue of GQ features a bracing, thought-provoking essay by Tom Carson called "You Actin' Like Me?" It's a heartfelt condemnation of the cult of high (and, though Carson doesn't mention it, Method) seriousness that's pervaded the ranks of Hollywood's leading men since the early days of Robert DeNiro's career, when he took 'brooding intensity' to new depths.

Carson is aggrieved that so many of Hollywood's leading men seem so intent on being seriously devoted to their craft that they've forgotten - or worse, chosen not - to entertain:

'I was caught in the leading man trap,' Brad Pitt told Entertainment Weekly in November, expressing thanks for the ordeal Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu put him through on "Babel." Fine, more power to him. But it's not as if we've got a surplus of genuine leading men, and Pitt's impression that he is or was one just proves the category's decline (Sorry, Brad - you were beefcake, astounding women with your apparent ability to doze off with your eyes open.) His pal George Clooney may be the only current marquee name who fits the bill, and even Clooney has been bitten by the solemnity bug. He'll never believe "Ocean's Eleven" was a better movie than "Syriana."'

The 'solemnity bug' has bothered me for a while now too. Its ubiquity has curdled my enjoyment even of movies that seemed guaranteed to please me. I thought the central flaw of Oliver Stone's "Alexander" (signalled by the omission of 'the Great' from the title ... of all the 'the Great's handed down by history, that one is the most secure, the most necessary, the most synonymous with the name) was the casting of pretty brooder Colin Farrell in the lead part, and the result? A portrait without charisma, a three hour movie about a pouty whiner whose men wouldn't have followed him across the street, much less across the world.

(I thought Wolfgang Peterson's "Troy" escaped similar fate by immediately establishing its central character, Brad Pitt's Achilles, as unsympathetic - as somebody other people dislike BECAUSE of his one-dimensional seriousness)

Naturally when talking about today's leading men, Carson brings up Leonardo DiCaprio ... and naturally, if you bring up Leonardo DiCaprio, you bring up "Titanic." As some of you will already know, I think "Titanic" is a much better movie than it's usually credited, and I think DiCaprio's performance in it is strikingly good. And I think Carson is spot-on in his assessment of post-"Titanic" Leo:

'Yet ever since "Titanic," he [DiCaprio]'s been treating his participation in that great pop event as a misunderstanding he's got to live down. I know I'm supposed to admire the grown-up Leo's dedication, and up to a point, I do. But he's turned into yet another resolutely uningratiating, morbidly self-serious actor who never taints his talent by providing anything as corrupt as entertainment value. He's calling attention to his craft to distract us from his magnetism, when any idiot can see it ought to be the other way around.'

DiCaprio is on Carson's mind because of "Blood Diamond," of course - a movie, a TYPE of movie, I wouldn't watch if it were being projected onto the wall of my bedroom and all I had to do was turn my head to see it. At the core of my aversion to such 'serious' movies is how BORING they almost always are, but I see now that another part might be the very phenomenon Carson is here excoriating: a certain Sunday school humorlessness.

Talking specifically about "Blood Diamond," Carson invokes the ghosts of Hollywood past:

'Expert as he [DiCaprio] is, he spends the movie preoccupied with the technical demands and emotional nuances of role Errol Flynn wouldn't have even bothered to sober up to play.'

The mention of Flynn is a telling one, especially since Carson mentions the technically still-living Peter O'Toole as a stellar example of ... well, of the anti-DeNiro. The context, of course, is O'Toole's current starring role in Roger Michell's "Venus," and I think Carson gets it exactly right:

"Treating any resemblance between the character's gallant decreptitude and his own as blessedly irrelevant, he just assumes he's been hired to amuse and enlighten us about somebody [screenwriter Hanif] Kureishi has made up, and gets to work devising dozens of tiny accentuations of the man's foibles for our benefit. His only interest in the hero is to make the characterization as entertainingly accessible as he can, and wow ... how unambitious, right?"

As you all know, I consider O'Toole to be the best actor of the 20th century (I'm enormously hoping he wins an Oscar for 'Venus') - very nearly the last of his kind - and Carson's article got me thinking about the wider cast of young culprits whose work is before us. The solemnity bug seems to have bitten just about all of them, from Daniel Day Lewis on down. I mean, look at Ryan Gosling's performance in "The United States of Leland" - it's literally nothing BUT brooding, from start to finish.

In fact, thinking of the damage DeNiro hath wrought, I found myself appreciating all afresh the talents of none other than Hugh Grant. It's positively wince-inducing to imagine, say, Clive Owen trying to do what Grant does so perfectly in "About a Boy."

That's my only real point of difference with Carson, in fact: he implies throughout his piece that the young actors he condemns for oh-so-seriously hamming it up make that choice entirely voluntarily. I myself am of the opinion most of those young actors CAN'T do anything but stare and glare. I doubt Liev Schriber could do a pratfall if his life depended on it.

As if in full-color illustration of Carson's points, the issue's cover feature is an interview with Jake Gyllenhaal written in pitch-perfect fawning imbecility by Marshall Sella.

There's Gyllenhaal on the cover, looking bored and stoned. And all through the interview, he indulges in cheap sarcasms at his interviewer's expense, in which he uncorks inanity after inanity, in which he fairly thoroughly demonstrates that he's an overprivileged twit.

I have no doubt that studio-dictated publicity rounds (in this case, for his upcoming movie "Zodiac") are probably arduous and boring. But Gyllenhaal, like so many of his peers, owes his extremely lucrative career in very large part to his physical appearance - something over which he, after all, had no say. That ought to instill a certain undertone of humility, but it never seems to, not in today's crop of young stars.

Gyllenhaal's own seminal piece of broodery, the notorious "Donnie Darko," certainly rivals "The United States of Leland" for contentless pouting. And apart from his rather forceful singing (...), his turn on 'Saturday Night Live' was almost entirely free of comic timing. I doubt he'll even so much as smile during the entire course of "Zodiac," and I shudder to think about the rumor I heard from a friend of mine in the business - that young Jake is considering the Dustin Hoffman part in a remake of "All the President's Men"

Although even if he is, things could be worse: the same rumor-source said Heath Ledger was approached about the Robert Redford part and guffawed the approacher out of the room.

107 comments:

beepy said...

So Brad Pitt played Achilles. Who played Hector? I am rereading "The Iliad" and have once again fallen in love with Hector. (I know, I know, I'm a manatee, he's a dead guy - a married dead guy no less - but a girl can dream, can't she?)

This brings me to a question that I've wanted to ask and this seems a likely place to do so. Am I the only one who roots for the Trojans every time, even though I know the outcome? Is there something in the telling of the story that leads me this way or am I just being "difficult"?

Hippolyta said...

Steve, out of curiosity, what do you think of Johnny Depp?

locke said...

Eric Bana played Hector in "Troy."

And there is virtually NO chance that Steve's reply to Hippolyta's Depp question can NOT contain the phrase "roasting tobacco addict."

steve said...

Ah, Beepy's eternally-believing heart! Some would call it gullibility (certainly that would be the read on that blessed week back in 1984 when we managed to convince her that the Baltimore Orioles baseball team was comprised of ACTUAL orioles ... her scepticism took only one feeble swipe at the notion - 'how would they hold the bats?' and when she was assured the existence of 'special beak-friendly bats,' she said 'oh, well - I knew there had to be an explanation' and subsided into contented belief), but we here at Stevereads know better! It's a little manatee miracle, is what it is! You go right on hoping, Beepy! Someday, Hector might just sign your yearbook!

steve said...

No, no - Locke is right, of course, the offending phrase was the first thing to pop up in my THOUGHTS, but as long as I don't have to sit in the same room with Depp, I'm perfectly capable of assessing him.

And he's in some ways an excellent example of what I was talking about: a world-famous actor who hasn't done any real acting since "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," and that was more than a decade ago. In role after role, he shows up, vamps around, cashes an enormous paycheck, and exits stage left (Harrison Fording it in, as it were). Of course he's enjoyable in the 'Pirates' movies - but it's obviously slumming.

Or is it? Increasingly, whenever he decides to do a 'serious' movie ('Chocolat,' or 'Finding Neverland'), he's a pure cipher, absolutely no screen presence whatsoever. Which leads one to wonder if he's still capable of actually ACTING at all (again, Harrison Ford comes to mind, along with a slew of others).

I mean, try to picture it. Try picturing him in a role where a) there's no camp and b) there's actual meat in the part (unlike the above-mentioned two movies, to say nothing of tripe like 'Don Juan DeMarcos' or 'Benny & Joon'). Try to imagine him, say, in 'The Good German,' or 'Kinsey' or a remake of 'Broadcast News' ... try to imagine him in the Matthew Goode part in 'Match Point,' (or, if he's too old for it, the Alex Armstrong role), where he's got to a) speak real dialogue convincingly and b) BE his character, not Johnny Depp playing his character. Try to imagine him in 'The Unforgiven,' or 'The Departed.' Try to imagine him in ANY role in 'Band of Brothers.'

What I'm trying to say is this: I find it increasingly difficult to PICTURE Johnny Depp actually doing his job.

He could surprise me - certainly if you're looking for a part that's got every element required to revive your thespian street cred, the lead in 'Shantaram' is it - but I won't hold my breath.

steve said...

Yes, Eric Bana played Hector and did a spiffy job, I thought.

We'll see how spiffy his Henry VIII is, when 'The Other Boleyn Girl' comes to the theaters ... as you-all can predict, I'll be watching carefully.

steve said...

My, this IS starting to sound like 'Stevesees,' isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Steve, you sound like the twit, not Jake Gyllenhaal.

locke said...

I shudder to attempt to offer ANY sort of opinion or thoughts on the Iliad in the pressence of Steve -- after all, he heard the ORIGINAL recited...

But since he didn't really address Beepy's question about the Trojans, I would say a hearty "hell no!" I think (and Steve can swoop down from Mt. Southie at any moment to correct me) that that's a large part of the work's appeal, that while it narratively presents the Greeks as the "heroes" (to our modern sensibilities, as in the "winners"), it's heart fully sides with the Trojans, with Hector, certainly with Priam. Paris aside, compare the depictions of Hector and Priam against those of Achilles and Agamemnon, or Menaleus. (Certainly Peterson's "Troy" takes that tack, but I'm actually trying to steer this back to SteveREADS, not SteveSEES -- though at one point I considered the notion of companion blog to this entitled "LockeWatches," but that just sounded way creepy...)

To me, what makes the Iliad so rich and enjoyable is... the lists of ships... no, no, it's the balance between the heroic and the tragic.

But ask Steve again -- after all, he's written BOOKS about it...

locke said...

"Steve, you sound like the twit, not Jake Gyllenhaal."

Truth is a defense -- Steve is, in fact, 10 times the twit Jake Gyllenhaal is. (And also, 15 times the twit as Maggie.)

steve said...

oh, I whole-heartedly agree! As anybody who's read my novel 'Troy War' can tell you, I subscribe 100 percent to the notion that we're supposed to root for the Trojans every time - and I agree that it's a testament to Homer's genius that we DO, invariably, even though we know how things are going to turn out...

I do NOT agree, on the other hand, with this whole twit-business. Read the interview yourself, anonymous - see if your precious Jake doesn't come across as a spoiled brat.

Sam Sacks said...

It's impossible to like the Greeks: an arrogant coalition of the willing, going to war together over a notion of dented prestige and with a promise of easy conquest and plentiful spoils, led by an inept, self-righteous dynastic ruler, brings overwhelming force into a foreign land and destroys it, causing enormous civilian casualties while tauntingly glorying over the deaths of its enemies.

Anyone with a heart roots for the underdog.

Hippolyta said...

Wait, but how is that different from DiCaprio's role in Titanic?

And, Steve, I like the idea of Stevesees!

Gianni said...

I'm sorry, the Trojans have some good people - Aeneas among them - but any side that would stand up and defend Paris' right to steal Agamemnon's wife pretty much deserves to fail. Paris is more of a twit than Jake... OR Steve. I always thought Jake was the poor man's Tobey Maguire anyway. Now THERE'S an "actor" who isn't forced to brood, I swear he really does try to be that brooding type.

Hippolyta said...

But Paris was IN LOVE? It's an overwhelming and powerful force! And she wasn't happy with her husband. Had divorce been an option, and she had gotten divorced, would it be acceptable?

And Steve doesn't brood. He bleats.

steve said...

Nevertheless, Giovanni has a point - Paris doesn't just take Helen, he takes Menelaus' MONEY too... Homer makes point of repeating it, that Paris isn't just cuckolding the man, he's pauperizing him too.

And the Greeks have Ulysses, the quintessential good man ...


Still! As Homer writes it, the Iliad is meant to be the heroic swan song for Troy, in which we're supposed to like every inhabitant (even Paris gets some sympathetic verses) .... much as, in the end, we're supposed to like every student at East High at the soul-stirring conclusion to 'High School Musical' ....

Beepy said...

Last night, as I lay abed dreading the dawn, I mentally cast my own production of The Iliad using the talent that we have here at Stevereads.

First up is Helen. Although Hippolyta has more than enough beauty and charm required for the role, she lacks the essential fickle sluttiness that I see in Helen. Therefore I play Helen.

For Hippolyta, we have the role of grey eyed Athena. Beauty, grace, wit, modesty, wisdom and a kickass fighting style.

I see Steve and Locke in the role of the BFF's Achilles and Patroclos. I'll let them decide who is the overweening pretty boy and who is dead.

Kevin and Jeff would be Ajax One and Two, due to the immense courage they show daily in facing the barbs our host hurls at them.

That just leaves Sam among our consistent posters. What d'ya say Sam, wanna be Aeneas? Carry things on when all this goes up in flames?

Sam Sacks said...

Gladly! And although he hasn't been heard from in these parts for awhile, our own Sebastian would of course be perfect as the sexy, strutting, milk-livered Paris.

Kevin Caron said...

"Kevin and Jeff would be Ajax one and two"...

If you saw us standing next to each other, that's even funnier.

Oddly enough, I've been listening to the Illiad on tape as I draw lately, so this comment thread is that much more delightful...

Am I the only one who thought the movie Troy stunk?

Its hard not to root for the Trojans, especially as the battle starts out so wildly one-sided (against them) - only Hector seems to put up a fight, and that's without Achilles!

By the way, Steve, I gotta know - have you read/what do you think of Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze?

Anon 1:30 PM said...

I do NOT agree, on the other hand, with this whole twit-business. Read the interview yourself, anonymous - see if your precious Jake doesn't come across as a spoiled brat.

Steve, please he is not my "precious Jake." And yes I have read the article, a few times, and no he does not come across as a spoiled brat to me. I don't think the article is a good interview but I don't expect much from print interviews. They are edited a certain way, they don't account for a lot of factors. So, I take them with a grain of salt. Plus, I have seen enough and read enough about him to think he is a decent person and a great actor.

Jeff E. said...

Sam as Aeneas, eh? I would have picked him to be that upstanding paragon Hector. Sebastian as Paris is just too perfect.

Kevin, SHHHH! Don't tell Steve you didn't like the movie. On this blog we loved JennyBrad(TM) productions' Troy. I actually really liked it too. After seeing it in the theater twice I bought and read the Iliad for the first time. So I suppose, technically speaking, I found it inspirational.

steve said...

A great actor??? Oh come ON! Where, I ask you, where in his entire body of work, have you seen GREAT acting? Where have you seen anything more than middling acting, but middling acting combined with great looks? And don't say 'Brokeback Mountain'! Gawd, if ever a movie were FREIGHTED to be praised, it's that one! Watch Gyllenhaal fumbling along opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, and then talk to me about 'great' ...

steve said...

Kevin - I totally disagree that Peterson's 'Troy' sucks. Sure, it has sucky moments (Brian Cox's climactic 'Die, Troy, die!' comes to mind), but what movie doesn't (except 'High School Musical,' that is, the Iliad of our times)? But overall, I think it's as strong a dramatic representation of Homer as we're likely to get for a while.

What are your specific complaints, my turbulent little ewok?

steve said...

I have indeed kept up with 'Age of Bronze' and kinda-sorta like it, but every issue, I find myself issuing the same edict: it ain't baseball without hotdogs. An Iliad with no gods??? In the parlance of writing workshops, that just doesn't work for me ...

steve said...

I trust, Beepy, that you mis-typed just then. Of course MY role in the Iliad would be that of mighty Zeus, lord of all he surveys.

If you persist in your petty heresy, you'll be the face that launched a thousand ships alright - RIGHT OFFA THIS BLOG!!!!

locke said...

"I see Steve and Locke in the role of the BFF's Achilles and Patroclos. I'll let them decide who is the overweening pretty boy and who is dead."

I SO cannot even BEGIN to envision, let alone answer, this...

Achilles and ODYSSEUS, maybe... and still, I'm not sure who'd be who...

locke said...

"he is a decent person and a great actor"

impossible.

as we all know, like matter and anti-matter, were these two traits to occupy the same being at the same time, both the being, and the universe around it, would explode.

Hippolyta said...

Ooh, Athena. I like that. Oh, and by the way, Zeus, that would make you my father. And since I'm 28, we all know what that means...

Sidenote, does this mean I can wage war on Reichmarshall for stealing my PDT yesterday?

Sam Sacks said...

Wow, between Hector and Aeneas! I mean, Jeff AND Beepy make good points: my manifold virtues make me eminently suitable for both roles. Anyone else care to wrangle over just which brawny upright hero I most resemble?

Jeff E. said...

Hippolyta, I wonder which of these you mean (PDT). Psychedelic Dream Temple? Photodynamic therapy?

Anon 1:30 PM/8:21 AM said...

A great actor??? Oh come ON! Where, I ask you, where in his entire body of work, have you seen GREAT acting? Where have you seen anything more than middling acting, but middling acting combined with great looks? And don't say 'Brokeback Mountain'! Gawd, if ever a movie were FREIGHTED to be praised, it's that one! Watch Gyllenhaal fumbling along opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, and then talk to me about 'great' ...

OMG...guess we will have to agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Steve, how can you say my turn in "Bubble Boy" wasn't great acting? Did you see "Jarhead"?

To quote Steve:
"it ain't baseball without hotdogs. An Iliad with no gods??? In the parlance of writing workshops, that just doesn't work for me ..."

I could be wrong here as I nodded off during most of it, but isn't "Troy" a trucated version of "The Iliad" without the gods? I mean, they are mentioned, but at no point during the film do you feel their presence.

Maybe they were added for the directors cut & that's what you saw?

Jake G.

P.S. My brooding comes from Brando, not DeNiro.

Hippolyta said...

Neither! Though they both sound intriguing...

Portable Data Terminal, darling.

Hippolyta said...

Oh Jesus, Jake. Ya just had to weigh in, didn't you? I sense an OMG coming on from Steve's general direction...

Kevin Caron said...

Did I say that the movie Troy stunk? That can't be right. I must have put "Am I the only one who thought that the movie Troy stunk... Of GENIUS?", and then somehow the interweb truncated my response.

Or maybe I found it to be hammy and flat. Or flat and hammy. I can't remember exactly, it's been a couple years since I saw it.

Jake makes a good point, as far as Age of Bronze goes - Troy itself is pretty goddless, and you don't seem to mind that... While I agree that taking the gods out also removes half the fun, it does make for an interesting storytelling challenge - one that Shanower accoplishes quite well.

(...so, you read it, you kind-sorta like it, but when I recommend it to Beepy, it's crap, right? Cape Zombie.)

"...my turbulent little Ewok"

Yub yub.

locke said...

anon: "guess we will have to agree to disagree"

welcome to talking acting with Steve -- I've been bouncing my head off that wall for years...

don't worry -- it'll get worse... wait until he starts talking about what actors he LIKES (that is, who aren't British and 150 years old)...

(though, to be fair, Steve and I do agree on the charms of one Benjamin Affleck... a stance that would probably get us both beaten to death in any public forum)

come on, Steve, TELL us about Paul Walker and Chris Evans!

locke said...

I make enough wild and stupid pop culture predictions on a steady basis that every now and then I'm right (you're welcome, Kevin Costner and U2!)...

Half a dozen years ago I sat in an afternoon matinee watching Bubble Boy after having been up all night working. So I fell asleep midway (if anyone cares to fill me in on the important Bubble Boy plot points I missed in Act Two, go right ahead -- my life has felt strangely empty and disjointed ever since)... but just before dozing off and then starting awake half an hour later covered in my own drool (at least I hope it was drool), I thought "Hey, this is a crap movie, but this big-eyed freaky-looking kid is pretty good. I think he'll be a big star, like Sean Penn after Fast Times..." And then I thought, "I could really see him as a closeted gay sheepherder."

A month later I saw Donnie Darko (yep, in the theater -- I was the one...).

(In case you're wondering about my many misses, let me just say I still have high hopes for Emil Hersch)

Anonymous said...

I knew I was a great actor when I had to portray Romeo opposite Maggie's Juliet in a high school production.

Speaking of Emile Hirsch, did anyone notice that he will be starring in Krakauer's "Into the Wild" directed by Sean Penn. He's playing Chris McCandles. If any part calls for a brooding stoner, this would be it. Time to fire my agent.

JG

Jeff E. said...

Interesting that Steve would like a graphic novel version of classical-era story . . . which brings me to this question:

What, pray tell Steve & others, do y'all think about Frank Miller's '300', his (for those who don't know) graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae? Does the new movie aesthetically based on it and coming out in March hold much promise?

Hippolyta said...

By the way, Jeff, how on earth do you hyperlink in these things??

steve said...

OK - first, let me extend a hale and hearty welcome to Jake Gyllenhaal, the first Hollywood mega-star to grace Stevereads! Welcome, Jake, and please note: I wasn't RULING YOU OUT as an actor, merely suggesting that the road down which you've taken your first few tentative steps (Brando, gawd ... that's if anything WORSE than DeNiro!) is a limiting one, one in which the most important thing is gravitas, at the expense of everything else. If nothing else, your opening monologue on SNL showed that there are parts of your acting skills you haven't even explored yet.

But hey! You're only in your mid-20s! Still plenty of time, especially now that you'll be checking in here at Stevereads on a regular basis!

And as for 'Troy' being a godless 'Iliad' ... well, in my mind I draw a fairly hard and fast distinction between the Iliad and the story of Troy. Because it's in book form, I guess I automatically expect Shanower's books to be an Iliad, which naturally makes me yearn for gods to be in it. Whereas 'Troy' I viewed as the story of Troy right from the get-go, so I didn't so much mind their absence.

Although OH! WHAT a movie could be made in which they WEREN'T absent! LOAD it with CGI, towering gods and goddesses sweeping through the ranks of warriors on either side! Surely the opening of 'Fellowship' showed us all what could be done? Boy, I'd love to see that.

And for what it's worth, Jake, I think you'd be perfect for the role of Diomedes.

Jeff E. said...

Tra, la-LA!

What you do is use this formula, except that you change the two bracket sets to two carrots sets <>

{a href="http://www.somewebsite.com"}What you want the link to look like{/a}

If I had used carrots instead of brackets in the illustration blogger would have hidden the guts and just made a link out of it like this: What you want the link to look like

steve said...

And as for 'Jarhead,' yes ... very good movie, but your performance? The one and only time you break out of rictus-faced seriousness was the now infamous scene where your character loses it, and it was SO obvious during that scene that you had no idea what losing it means or looks like ... and your fans would have noticed that, if it weren't for a certain shall we say distracting Santa hat...

steve said...

As for Locke: time's gonna tell on Paul Walker AND Chris Evans, my friend. Just you wait. Vindication will be mine.

steve said...

And to Jeff: 'hold much promise'?

'hold much promise'?

Have you SEEEEEEN the trailer?

It's going to be the single greatest movie ever made by the hand of man!!!

And it's based on a COMIC BOOK that's based on HERODOTUS!!! It's like DOUBLE TRIUMPH for Steve!

Hippolyta said...

Thanks Jeff!

Now Steve, I expected at least one OMG in there. Especially with all those exclamation points. I'm disappointed.

Kevin Caron said...

(Pssst... Steve, 300 isn't a Superhero comic - careful with the praise, or you'll lose your status as Honorary Member of the SuperFriends...)

jeff E. said...

Oh hell, I think the movie looks eff-ing great. It's just that I've just never seen the comic, so I figured y'all would have hyper-informed opinions about it.

The super-edition of Sin-City I gave my dad for x-mas came with a copy of The Hard Goodbye, which may well be the first non-superhero comic I've ever read. That Frank Miller is really something.

Kevin Caron said...

Ya know, I've never actually read 300.

steve said...

Anybody who says '300' isn't a superhero comic hasn't read '300'!

And if the trailer is any indication, the movie will BE the comic book, in moving form ... a closer image-by-image approximation even than 'Sin City' was ...and this time, WITHOUT Bruce Willis ...

Kevin Caron said...

I must say, I'm looking forward to it...

Jeff E. said...

Indeed!!

Kevin Caron said...

53 comments - this must be some kinda SteveReads record.

steve said...

What can I say? I've got the skills to pay the bills.

Kevin Caron said...

Post something incendiary - we should try to get this up to 300 comments.

Maybe if RM came on and called Hippoly fat again...

Hippolyta said...

It's Hippolyta, you bastard. And if he comes on, I'll battle him with Athena's sword, breastplate, and wit...using Hippolyta's belt. He'll have a whole lot of nerve showing up here. Oh, but if he does...

Hippolyta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Caron said...

Oh, you wouldn't need all that - you could destroy him with one good grey-eyed goddess stare-down.

Dang - I was hoping Hippoly would catch on as a charming nickname - I can't spell Hippolyta (without cheating).

Beepy said...

Wow! I went to work leaving a mere 16 comments. I return home to a whopping 58! Teach me to be the good little corporate tool.

Let me, just as an aside, mention my favortite moment in The Iliad. It is when Zeus, about to bed Hera, starts yapping about all the beautiful women he's done over the years. What a smooth operator that guy was.

Hippolyta said...

Zeus, eww! If I'm Athena, he's my dad!

Hippolyta said...

By the way, Zeus, I think 60 might be an all-time record for you. ;-)

steve said...

Well as long as we're running with the subject, here's a hypothetical revolving around my dream of a CGI-god-intensive Iliad: who'd we cast as our Immortals?

Judi Dench seems like a natural for Juno. And if Hippolyta is busy, I could see Kate Winslet as Athena. ...

Hippolyta said...

oh! Kate Winslet might play a wonderful moody redhead, but I'm the real thing! How dare you!

Anonymous said...

this is bullshit. what are you basing this on? you say you're not ruling me out as an actor but then you dismiss everything I've ever done for one reason on another. then what are you basing not ruling me out on? are you going to say its not my looks, when you're ruling out everything else?

j.g.

Kevin Caron said...

Hmm.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Paris?

steve said...

My dear boy, calm yourself! I wasn't saying you've never done anything good! Of course you were extremely moving in 'Brokeback Mountain,' and I thought you carried yourself very well in 'Proof' ... and certainly there were aspects of your character in 'Jarhead' you conveyed very well.

I was only commenting on the growing, stiffening seriousness of your role choices. No romantic comedies? No PHYSICAL comedies, gawd help us? Remember, the Peter O'Toole who's so toweringly great in 'The Lion in Winter' is the same Peter O'Toole who sprinted like an out-of-control ostrich in 'Goodbye Mr Chips' ...

I'm just saying, when you think about yourself as an actor, you'd be MUCH better served to think of, say, Alec Guinness than Marlon Brando.

As for your looks, well - you're a dreamboat, no doubt about it. But the lost-puppydog look in men isn't quite my thing (see the aformentioned Paul Walker and Chris Evans for clues here), so no, I'm not just judging you on your looks. Your sister is, in my opinion, much better-looking than you are.

But of course, as a gentleman, you'd have to agree to that, wouldn't you?

Kevin Caron said...

Brian Blessed as Zeus.

And Scarlet Johansson as Helen. There, I said it.

We'd have to write a new ending where Helen falls in love and absconds with Little Ajax, though. I think Steve is up to the task.

Anonymous said...

Ok, fyi, that anonymous comment posted at 4:23 is not from me. I would NEVER abbreviate my initials.

Steve, what did you think of "The Day After Tomorrow"? It seems like that would be right up your alley.

J.G.

locke said...

Hey hey, Bostonites!

The whole city shut down by the Mooninites!

Seriously, you guys freaked over LITE-BRIGHTS.

Nicely played.

Now let's hear those first-hand stories of transportation woes at the hands of a cartoon marketing campaign...

Beepy said...

Ooooo, definately Brian Blessed as Zeus. That would be fantastic! My reading tonight will take on a whole new level of fun with a bombastic, befuddled Zeus.

Who'll be Hector though? I see a casting couch coming into play on that one.

Kevin Caron said...

Viggo Mortensen?

Beepy said...

Locke, if it hadn't been for one Mr. Paul Revere reacting to some sparkling lights, you'd be speaking, ah... the King's English right now.

Ok, I'm just trying to make myself feel better. It's pretty embarrassing really.

Hippolyta said...

I blame Bush and his cronies. He's turned us into such a "turrist" blaming country that we think everything that might be suspicious is suspicious. Don't you think the current administration wants us to be paranoid? It gave them the ability to invade Iraq, after all.

Hippolyta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

If I can distract you all from poor old Boston's hysterical day, let's return to the always-fun task of CASTING!

It seems to me we have a battle of the Gyllenhaals going on here, and our instincts here at Stevereads lead us to believe ONE of them is the genuine article. As intelligent young people roughly his own age (except for old-fogey Locke, that is!), surely we owe it to Jake to fantasize about him a bit!

So my question is this: what role (NOT in the Iliad) could you see him playing? Anything in post-Shakespeare stage drama (to rule out Hamlet, and I'd also like to rule out Alan Strang from 'Equus' - couldn't trust Kevin and Jeff not to nominate it just to see our boy NEKKID for long stretches)? Or what about a remake of an existing movie? Or an all-new adaptation of something?

Let's give Jake some casting ideas, to RESCUE him from one day playing the lead in a remake of 'Raging Bull'!

I'll throw out an idea first, my first of many: the Jimmy Steward character in 'The Philadelphia Story' ... anybody? Bueller? Bueller? (oh, and not Ferris Bueller...)

locke said...

Behold, Bostonians, your new Mooninite Overlords!

locke said...

"our instincts here at Stevereads lead us to believe ONE of them is the genuine article."

O.M.G.

Hurry, folks -- anyone who has investment opportunites involving alpaca farms, random bridges in NYC, or new religions based on SF themed pyramid schemes to hawk, pitch 'em to Steve -- he's clearly up for buying ANYTHING!

locke said...

Oh, and Steve's beloved "Casting Game" is the worst invented game since my childhood chums came up with "dodge the falling lawn jart"

He's like a three-year-old kid with a plastic saxophone -- he wants to play it ALL the time. And like a three-year-old kid, he's TERRIBLE at it.

(His distaste for any of the brooding "Method" actors pretty much rules out anyone between the ages of 30 and 70, so he's left always nominating Brits who are about 25 years older than he remembers, or 15-yr-old WB -- sorry, "CW" -- "stars" who, in his eyes, haven't been "ruined" by things like talent and personality.)

But since I won't play it with him anymore, I'm glad to see he's found a whole gang of folks who WILL. God bless the Giant Series of Tubes -- bringing together people from around the land with the same taste twisted, fetishtic tastes...

"Always-fun"?! bah! "Always sucky" is more like it!

locke said...

Okay, I'm just being pissy.

(It's about 40 below here in Chicago and unlike our Beantown brethren and, uh, sistern, we can't blame our crankiness on bird-flipping cartoon lite-brights)

The Casting Game isn't a TERRIBLE game, but as I always protested to Steve (before I got fed up and stopped playing), the problem is that it prays on the broad perceptions of particular well-known actors's "types" and never takes into account lesser-known actors or actors who sometimes pop up in great roles when cast against type. The best real-world (as opposed to SteveWorld) performances come out of left field, from actors you never thought of for a role.

For example, Steve and I used to try to cast the Aubrey and Mautrin books, but Paul Bettany's name never once came up for Mautrin (let alone Crowe for Aubrey, though Steve still doesn't really approve). Likewise, remember all the fanboy drooling over the idea of a Connery Gandalf? Or a Patrick Stewart Gandalf? And the great deafening "huh?" when McKellan was cast instead?

So my problem with the Casting Game is that it plays to the obvious, and thus, to me, uninteresting choices....

And then there's Steve's choices, which are usually designed to raise a ruckus of dissent (big surprise there, eh?).

Such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Superman/Clark Kent.

Kevin Caron said...

I always thought Kyle Mclaughlin would make a great Clark Kent/Superman (alien, true-blue-to-the-core, big ol' chin and big dark hair). Everybody just looked at me funny.

Jeff E. said...

*funnier*

Hippolyta said...

Locke. You? Pissy? No.

steve said...

My casting game is FUN, dammit ....

And in this isolated instance, I stand with Beepy! If those cartoon characters had been REAL bombs, and if they'd GONE OFF, Locke and all his super-cool non-Bostonians would be mocking the city for NOT taking them seriously! Either way, we can't win - because the rest of the country is JEALOUS of us!

Kevin Caron said...

I'm jealous of any place where it doesn't snow every other day. We haven't seen the ground (here in 'colorful' Colorado) since that blizzard you all heard about, back before Christmas.

locke said...

Right, if the light boards had gone off... luckily they DIDN'T in the NINE other cities (including Chicago AND including BOSTON) that they'd been in for THREE weeks...

Gianni said...

It's the common misconception that Bostonians think they are important enough to be considered real terrorist threats. Sure, there's plenty of history here, and no less than ten years ago, the city was twice as important as it is now, but lets face it people; New York and Washington D.C. will be the first targets any terrorists will want to hit. If they come to Boston, it's more likely as a stopping point ala 9/11.

And since Locke wants "lesser known" talents in the casting process, how about Michael Beihn or Bruce Campbell? Beihn is grizzled enough to pass for a warrior like Aeneas or Odysseus, and Bruce Campbell could play a more "jubilant" Patrocolus. Whatcha think?

Beepy said...

Kevin - I want that snow! Stop hogging it.

Also, Viggo Mortenson. Good choice.

Kevin Caron said...

Oh, you can have it. They have no idea how to plow here.

Or make a pizza. If you ever come to Colorado, don't bother to order a pizza.

Hippolyta said...

Gianni, you're quite right about the "common misconception" part, but I don't think you meant to use that phrase the way you did. It certainly is a common misconception that Bostonians overestimate our own importance. Talk about history being mistaken for the present! The "old guard" might have thought that way, but the current Bostonians are mostly students. The stuffy, puritanical, "old guard" congratulated itself out to Chestnut Hill long ago.

steve said...

Boston is the greatest and most important city on EARTH.

Hippolyta said...

YES! I agree!!! Well, aside from San Fran, Paris, Venice, Rome, London, NYC.....

Gianni said...

You forgot Los Angeles and Chicago.... wait, Boston doesn't rank higher than SAN FRANCISCO?? I'll admit the Golden Gate Bridge is something, but COME ON!

Gianni said...

I got this from one of my MySpace cronies...

http://www.dyewell.com/saveboston/

cut and paste and enjoy!

Hippolyta said...

That should qualify for one of VH1s "Awesomely bad" bits...

And haven't you ever seen Angels in America? San Francisco is the earthly version of Heaven! Gawd!

Kevin Caron said...

Aw, man - we didn't even get to 100 comments!

Oh, well.

Hippolyta said...

Well, Kevin, don't you think 100 comments is possible? I mean, it's so close! And that would boost Steve's ego....wait...could Steve's ego get any bigger?

beepy said...

Yes, we'll get to 100 comments...surely. I'll post the next three myself if it will help test the limits of Steve's ego. I'll admit there doesn't seem to be much room for expansion but we've all seen that fat guy in a restaurant go back to the buffet table one last time. Just don't offer him a "wafer thin mint".

Hippolyta said...

Actually, I'm not sure there are limits to Steve's ego. But then again...Sebastian has been rumored to beat Steve in an all-you-can-eat contest...maybe our fabled hero does have his limits!

Kevin Caron said...

Nah - Steve's ego, like the Universe, and this comment thread, are ever-expanding.

99!

Hippolyta said...

Steve, you are wonderful! (even with your ever expanding ego) We all love reading your blog and pretending we might one day be able to compose such sweet prose! :-)

Happy 100!!!

steve said...

My prose IS sweet, I must admit.

But my ego? MINISCULE!

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