All we are saying is give actors a chance

I’ve been watching True Detective like everyone else, and it’s good. I like it a lot. It reminds me of Zodiac a bit, which I really ought to get around to seeing again some time. Great movie. Also reminds me of Preacher in some ways, that whole Southern Gothic thing. Great comic, you should check it out.

Cayley James made a reference to the McConaissance tonight, and everyone’s using that term because who knew, right? Who knew a trained actor could make some good movies? I made some quip about how we’d never be using that term if people hadn’t lost faith in Matthew McConaughey, and then I figured I’d been looking at it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t just me; maybe other people also figured Reign of Fire was his masterpiece and were just waiting for him to get back to that.

Joking aside, while I’m glad Matthew McConaughey is taking the time to entertain us, the attention being paid to his career resurgence has reminded me of something that has consistently bothered me: why don’t people give entertainers more of a chance? I know Matthew McConaughey hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the art crowd with his decade-long string of romantic comedies, but had you told me in 2005 he’d be putting out some great performances in 5-8 years, I don’t think I would’ve been too surprised. He’s an actor. It’s not like he’s incapable of being in front of a camera, and it’s his job to fit into whatever movie he’s being paid to star in. Should we really be so surprised when actors who have made a series of genre choices decide to do something different and manage to pull it off? I’m sure no actor starts their career thinking “I’m gonna be in ALL the teen movies!”

It’s not the first time it’s happened. Remember when Daniel Craig was picked to be the next James Bond? There was a huge media campaign to discredit him. I knew he’d be great, because of Munich and Enduring Love. But hey, he’s got blond hair. Same thing happened to Heath Ledger. How dare the guy from 10 Things I Hate About You take the same role Jack Nicholson did 20 odd years ago? I was sure he’d be fine, because I thought he was likeable enough and I trusted Christopher Nolan wouldn’t hire an incapable actor. But no, let’s hate him because he’s a handsome young man playing a psychopath and Jack Nicholson being Jack Nicholson pre-emptively trumps that, apparently.

I think this attitude – guilty until proven innocent – bothers me because I believe it’s grounded in an assumption that people are inextricably tied to their work, and what’s more, that an artist’s worth is set in stone based on early success. People occasionally make average films, or terrible albums, or messy novels, even if they’re capable of a lot more. It’s not a big deal, they’re human after all, but there’s a belief that these people make GOOD things and these people make BAD things, and it’s too tied up in how people view themselves to make a great deal of sense to me.

All I am saying is give artists a chance. Can you imagine if everyone expected you to act the same way you did when you were younger, simply because that’s how they’re accustomed to thinking of you? Shit’s infuriating.