Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Liked That Song The First Hundred Times I Heard It

Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Walken have become parodies of themselves. They’re the acting equivalent of that song you liked the first few times you heard it and now you can’t stand it because you’ve heard it so much. You know what they are, they’re the human version of “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers. Remember how novel that was at first? Now, does it even register with anyone anymore? No way. Ask yourself this, if an actor appears in everything, does their presence still mean anything? The answer is no.

While both have appeared in many hits, neither has anchored a hit by themselves for years, if ever. For SLJ, since 2000, he’s only anchored two hits, both modest (Coach Carter and Unbreakable and those are pushing it), while sinking several (Snakes On A Plane, Shaft, The Man, Formula 51, the list is endless). CW gave up headlining a film decades ago, in favor of lending his shtick to every project that would pay him. The guy averages 4 films a year. Four! And he’s the same in almost every one. Do people still find that fresh or funny? SLJ is even worse, averaging 5!! Their presence has become so ubiquitous that seeing Matt Lauer every morning carries more anticipation.

Why do film investors think having their names attached to something means better box office? Or, artistic acclaim for that matter? Neither of them have that kind of pull. And, what they do bring to a film is so marginal. We get it, Sam is going to act righteous and Chris is going to act twitchy and isn’t that funny for the millionth time. Is their something comforting about them that I’m missing? For instance, Alec Baldwin seems to have a hard time saying no to scripts these days too, but having him in something has come to be a reason TO see it, not to stay away. Do SLJ and CW engender similar feelings in film goers and I’m just not aware of it? If so, tell me the last time you went to a movie to see them? Wedding Crashers, Star Wars, Hairspray, and The Incredibles don’t count. No one saw those because of either of these clowns.

Like any artist that won’t go away (Elvis Costello, I’m looking at you) overload weakens your status and makes you invisible to consumers. If either of them took a year (or two) off and then came back with a juicy role in a good film, they may be able to revive their credibility. It may even become an event to see them act again. For now, they’re obviously collecting paychecks and they do it at our expense. Let us miss you, please! Now go away!


Farrah said...

Well put. Amen!

Brooke and Jake said...

I hate SLJ and I hate that he is in every other movie out there. I agree with you 100%. I've got to pass on this article I just read in Spin. It's called "What happens when bands you love don't know when to stop." It sounds like this post and they also mention Elvis Costello.

The Zink's said...

I totally agree. I find myself wondering why I watch Movies (and TV). I want to be entertained, enlightened, etc. but end up watching the same actor/actress that I once liked playing the same character again and again (with hardly a change in costume) - and in practically the same movie. Do actors want to make act anymore? Or is it all for the money these days? I still watch for now, still waiting….
You would be shocked to know I have not been to a movie theatre in over a year, nothing has come out to give me the desire to see it right away – I just wait for them on Netflix!

-Sarah Zink (formally Siebenthal)
Nice Blog by the way - I love reading Blogs, so I added it to my list!