Monday, February 29, 2016

Four Good Actors & Their Disturbing Recurring Character Traits

Chris Evans is a lovable cocky bastard: He'll say or do something smart-assed, but he really has the best of intentions. He really does. He just thinks that it's his duty to point out your many character flaws. Case in point: Not Another Teen Movie, Fantastic Four and the Sequel, and The Losers. Partially subverted in Captain America: The First Avenger, but resurrected in The Avengers , where he seems to slip back into the familiar role (check his confrontation with Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark/Awesome McFanchisesaver).

Guys Cheat on Maura Tierney: Case in point: Liar, Liar and Semi-Pro. Tierney's an attractive actress who tends to play smart, savvy women. Naturally, this means her Significant Other will sleep around behind her back. Interesting thing is in both movies it was something that happened prior to the events of the film, implying that even the director's don't think people would buy that someone would cheat on Tierney in-movie, but she character needs to have something interesting going on.

Thomas Jane is suicidal: I think Jane is a very good actor, but if I were in a movie I'd keep an eye on the character he plays. Otherwise, you may end up cleaning his brain matter from the ceiling or something. In no less then three movies, Jane has put a gun to his head with the intent of blowing it the fuck off: The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, and The Mist.

In the Punisher, it's kinda understandable: a money-laundering gang brutally slaughters the guy's entire family, culminating with driving over his wife and kid in a truck. That's enough to make anyone a tad suicidal. As for the Mist...well, I suppose finding out everyone you know and/or love has been either poisoned or eaten by extraterrestrial zoo creatures might leave you a bit bummed. But Dreamcatcher? The movie had barely started and the guy was ready to call it quits. Oh yeah, and his character in this one was a teacher who had just finished a class.

Idris Elba can't save you: Elba may play supposedly capable characters in his movies, but odds are if your life depends on any of them coming to the rescue you'll be dead before the end credits roll. For evidence, I present the movies The Reaping, 28 Weeks Later, Prom Night and Obsessed.

Elba's character in 28 Weeks Later ran the American occupation in England after the not-zombies-but-just-as-bad-as-zombies outbreak, and that fared as well as the real-life US occupation of Iraq. In The Reaping, he was the spiritual anchor and pseudo-bodyguard to the protagonist, except when she actually needed saving from the Satanic cult she stumble onto; at the time he was busy being stabbed to death. In Prom Night he was a detective looking for the lamest psycho-villain ever, and barely, barely made in time to save Generic Blonde Horror Victim #492 from having an unwanted neck tattoo. And then there's Obsessed, where he's a businessman who's married to Beyonce and being stalked by Ali Larter. After some back and forth between the two ladies, Elba's character decides maybe he should get the police involved, but since this is a Fatal Attraction-type movie the cops prove less than useful. Doesn't matter, as B takes matters in her own hands and has the Catfight To End All Catfights with Larter (at her own house no less). So while they're a'swinging and a'scratching, giving the male audience validation for being dragged by their girlfriends to see this whole mess, where the hell was Elba? He sure wasn't at the house, but he did arrive just in time to see the ambulance cart of the loser of that fight.

[Editor's Note: This was an old post from around 2010 that I've been constantly tinkering with; finally decided to let it fly and although Evans and Elba have added to their repertoire Elba has still been playing roles where he's less than a savior] 

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