As the awards season is getting in to full swing there is one film that is nominated throughout the different ceremonies that has grasped my interest in particular. That’s not to say that the others haven’t, it’s just for one specific reason the film Foxcatcher has me intrigued because of the opportunity it has. The film has the opportunity to prove me wrong. For years now I have been saying that Channing Tatum is not a good actor, so has the time finally come for me to be proven wrong?
I don’t mean to be rude about Tatum because I know that a lot of people like him, it’s just for me he has starred in too many bad films that haven’t allowed him to show us all what we can really do. I think every actor is given their chance to shine but Tatum is one of the rare examples of someone that repeatedly disappoints. I think if there is a film that can show that he’s a good actor then it has to be Foxcatcher because sportsmen always make fascinating characters. It’s not just about the physical side (which as any fifteen year old will remind us, Tatum has got covered) but it’s about the psychological side of the same coin. If you watch some of the classic sporting films from the past say thirty years, Ali, The Fighter, Raging Bull, every single one of them has a lead character that we explore on a deep psychological level. We see how they have confidence coursing through every inch of their body and how they know they will be the best. That’s the sort of role I want to see Tatum in; I want him to stop being a wooden door stop and prove me wrong.
He wouldn’t be the first actor to prove me wrong if he is good in this film, over the past few years my opinion on other actors has been changed based on one film. In fact Tatum’s co star Steve Carell managed it not too long ago. Up until a certain point he was, for me, an actor who was willing to do anything to get laughs. He would do his distinctive shouting/ screaming in films like Evan Almighty and didn’t necessarily strike me as someone who could be taken seriously as an actor. But then all you have to do is see him in Little Miss Sunshine playing a character who is still in a comedic film but who is three dimensional. We see him as someone who is dealing with depressive illness based on the idea that he loves someone who does not love him back and we see all of the pain and frustration that went into his actions. I believe it still stands as Carell’s best performance.
But it’s not just cast members of the same film that have proven me wrong in recent years by showing themselves to be good actors. If you were lucky enough to have seen David Fincher’s hit film The Social Network, not only have you seen one of the best films of this generation but you have also witnessed the acting performance that placed Jesse Eisenberg well inside the radar for award ceremonies. Up until that point he had done very hit and miss films like Zombieland that everyone but me seems to find funny, Adventureland which again was one that was popular but I found it a bit too quirky for its own good, and it just looked like he was going to be another young actor who goes from bad film to bad film and somehow makes it big without really having any talent. Like Justin Long. But then seeing him play Mark Zuckerberg showed just how much talent he has. He managed to capture the arrogance and the unlinkability of someone who was sly but a genius in their own right. The role was based heavily upon detail which Eisenberg had nailed, even down to the speed at which he articulated each sentence. It was a very strong performance in an incredible film and it completely changed my mind about the young actor.
I suppose it wouldn’t be right for me to talk about actors who have changed my mind without mentioning the big name that falls under this category which of course is Matthew McConaughey. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the McConaissance is upon us and it is fantastic. It’s like he woke up one morning and suddenly decided he was going to stop doing awful films like Sahara and Magic Mike and star in something like Mud. Most people will say that Dallas Buyers Club was his first good role but actually it happened just before that with William Friedkin’s big screen adaptation of Killer Joe. It’s safe to say that McConaughey is terrifying in that film, absolutely terrifying. He managed to play this strange character who is calm and collected throughout most events but then when he is crossed by the wrong person his inner demons come out to completely take control and consume his entire being. I approached the film not expecting a lot but I was pleasantly surprised to find that actually McConaughey was fantastic.
However on the other hand this could be a one trick pony for Mr Tatum. When I was thinking back to actors who have been bad but then had a good film the main examples I could think of were actually bad actors who take a break for one film but then sink back into bad habits. Most notably Adam Sandler sprang to mind for his brilliant performance in Punch-Drunk Love, as did Seth Rogen in 50/50, Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas and Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. There have been actors to have a really good acting role and fill the audience with hope, only to disappoint and fall back down. That’s why I have to admire McConaughey because he’s kept it up now, right up to Interstellar at the end of last year, which is better than a lot of other actors. I would prefer it if Tatum could do well in this film and keep it up but that may be asking too much.
In summary I am looking forward to seeing Foxcatcher and I’m hoping it proves me wrong because I want every actor to be on point for this one. It makes true stories more engaging if the actors put in the effort and bring the story to life, not drag it out of bed and throw it at a screen. I want Tatum to prove me wrong and make me feel like a complete idiot for ever doubting him, but as with most things in life only time will tell. And with the idea of 23 Jump Street being a real possibility you’ll forgive me if positivity doesn’t remain constant.
If you have any comments on the situation or any questions you want answering then you’re welcome to leave a comment (good or bad) and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.