Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dissing Tom Cruise Day...

So I've been conversing with my co-worker here, about various film efforts of late. I was asked if I had seen Valkyrie yet. I have to admit that even though I am extremely well-versed with this period of history, I might have been tempted to see this re-creation, had they been able to actually cast an actor for the part of Wermacht Heer Officer, Colonel Claus von Stauffenburg. Between the two of us, we have decided that henceforth, every January 15th will be Dissing Tom Cruise Day. The date you pick may vary...

Herr von Stauffenburg for his part in history, remains a revered figure in Germany. As I viewed some of the trailers prior to the movie's eventual release, I was appalled by Cruise's total lack of acting ability. He delivered his lines as though his character was standing outside a Seven-Eleven in Big Sur. I have come to the realization as I mature, that I am from a spoiled generation. We were fortunate enough to have been raised in an era when actors were expected to be able to act, sing and dance. And when they were assigned a role, the good ones were able to immerse themselves in the role. They could take on the character, the manerisms, the accent and nuances of the person they portrayed. They were actors!

There are barely a handful of such actors on Hollywood's payroll these days. Apparently fame is all that is required for a job there nowadays. No acting skills required to reap a seven or in most cases, an eight-figure salary. The indie companies seem to be faring better in the talent from which they have to draw, as they do not limit themselves to the shrinking pool of American candidates. On the brighter side of things, I am comforted by the performances of the likes of Robert Downey Jr. in Tropical Thunder. For as silly and inane as this movie was, as a lighthearted comedy I found it to be a huge success, due to the hilarity and craftwork that Downey brought to his role.

Long live the exceptions!

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