In a previous article, I wrote about who I expected to become huge (in terms of exposure, not eating disorders) in this new year of ours. Now I turn my attention to what I want to see, but is unlikely to happen, in the wonderful world of film.
Note that these wishes are not based on actual announced projects or rumor mill frivolity, they’re just stuff I’d love to see.
Leonardo DiCaprio to Play a Villain
One of the most wonderful things to watch over the previous decade (whatever the hell you want to call it; the noughties…whatever) was the regeneration of Leo DiCaprio from teenage heartthrob and unlikely homeless man into a respected, doubtlessly talented lead, part action man, part thinking man’s action man tortured protagonist.
One part he is yet to play though is the bad guy, like many similar Hollywood stars. Studio archetype demand has dropped in more recent times, allowing actors to take on more morally ambiguous roles. Sure, you’re unlikely to see Tom Hanks playing a war criminal, but cast leaders such as Matt Damon (in The Departed) and Tom Cruise (in Collateral) have been given free reign to play villains.
Although he shaded this clique in small bursts during Shutter Island (pencil and paper psychological torture) and Blood Diamond (baboon skinning scene), DiCaprio has yet to go all out. He was mooted by Quentin Tarantino for the role of Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, a fascinating possibility.
Were it to happen, and he were to play a sadistic, extravagant monster with charismatic charm, that would be the key word; ‘Fascinating’.
Megan Fox and Taylor Lautner’s Horrific Career Demise
More fascinating still is just how little talent one needs to succeed in Hollywood, evidenced in abundance by the production belt of failed JC Penney catalogue models that show up in dilapidated dross each year.
Two of the worst offenders are surely this burlesque pair, Fox and Lautner. The sex object status of the former would suggest a lengthy, financially prolific career ahead, though cosmetically enhanced emotionless pouting and bitchy repartee only goes so far, especially with her Transformers affiliations done with. But Lautner, who proved in Abduction beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has the charisma and acting panache of the oak tree adjacent to my bedroom window, may not fare so well. The Twilight Saga has almost reached its merciful end after all, and what lies next for Actor-bot 209C?
It may be wishful thinking that the pair will be found out so soon, but that’s what this article is really all about. Whether the wish to see their careers in film crash in a Michael Bay CGI explosion into the Hollywood sign is an innate desire to see justice in its most brutal form, or simply the need for parity restored in a business which neglects hundreds of talented individuals every year, is not clear.
Or is it just jealousy?
Pacino and De Niro Get Good Roles
In a nice little segue we go from those without talent, to those being wasted who have it in abundance. While the previous pair were the subject of scorn, these two golden generation greats are the subject of despair.
It may be an indictment of the way modern mainstream has no interest in the older sorts, or laziness on the part of said veterans, but frankly Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are in dire need of professional redemption. Neither has performed in a part of merit for over ten years. Not since 1999’s The Insider has Pacino accessed the potent method that has made him a legend, and likewise I struggle to find anything worthy of De Niro since Jackie Brown two years earlier.
The likes of Righteous Kill and the unbearable New Year’s Eve simply are not good enough, either for casual viewing or for fans of the Godfathers. Both have slipped unnervingly and depressingly into comedy, in Pacino’s case unintentional comedy, and constant self-parody. It horribly mirrors the latter stages in the careers of Orson Welles and Marlon Brando, where paycheck hunting took priority over artistic merit. By the same logic of course, Pacino and De Niro are also due to put on a lot of weight.
It’s simply dreadful that such abilities can be allowed to lay dormant. Whether it’s in a day, in two weeks or two years, I desperately want to see them back in their stride, one lust hurrah each before retirement, even if they’re playing themselves. Or each other…hmm, that’s a thought. Somebody should write a memo.
The 3D “Revolution” Hits the Brakes
Back in the 90s, there was a gimmick that once again reared its head: 3D film. There were the paper glasses, dodgy perspective switches and generally low quality monster movies that exploited it. It wasn’t new, though. Ever seen (or heard of) Jaws 3D? Now that truly is horror.
And it’s not new now, as every second film gets a grandstand 3D release, raking in extra costs amid claims of ‘mind blowing’ cerebral experiences. However, the ‘mind blowing’ portion lasts approximately 1/15th of the film, by which point it gets old, and you start experiencing acute discomfort on the bridge of one’s nose.
Add to that films not actually filmed in 3D, resulting in ‘dirty’ cuts that dogged the release of Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender, as well as releases such as Hugo, which have no need for it. It’s pretty clear when you step back that the “future of cinema” is a money making exercise which doesn’t actually enhance your enjoyment. If you cannot experience a film in 2D the way you’d like, you’re watching it for the wrong reasons. Plus, I’m sick of seeing ‘In 3D!’ subheadings everywhere.
So, hopefully, pretty soon people will get bored of the trend, and it will be put back in the box like a toy with little repeat value, and show up again in another ten years. By which point we’ll all be able to make our own films on our laptops, of course…
Gary Oldman Finally Wins an Oscar
It was long a running joke, and a glaring criticism of the Academy Awards, that Richard Burton never won an Oscar, yet John Wayne did. Of the modern era, it can be subbed for the fact that Catherine Zeta Jones has a golden midget, but cult hero Gary Oldman does not.
However, it looks like that long run will finally end this year, with Oldman’s sublime turn as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy earning much clamor. Hard as it may be for some to believe, this surely will be Oldman’s first nomination. Considering his body of work, from his trailblazing breakout role in Sid & Nancy to JFK, State of Grace, Leon (The Professional), True Romance, Dracula and the Batman films, it defies comprehension that he has thus far escaped such recognition.
There is no actor more versatile, more chameleon-like, in the business. Contrasting his performances in the roles which make him a favorite is proof enough of this, from mild mannered to psychotic, amiable to evil. Picking a best performance depends entirely on preference.
If there is still natural order in the galaxy, Oldman will get the statue for Tinker Tailor, ending an Oscar-less stretch to match that of Martin Scorcese and Al Pacino. The difference is, he will no doubt win this one on merit, not as a form of apology.
At least, that is what I wish for.
So, how about you guys and dolls? What would you like to see pan out in cinema this year? Perhaps for the long grinding war of attrition blighting production of Don Quixote or Dune to be resolved? Or a new Godfather film? Or the Coens tackling teen comedy, co-starring Javier Bardem and Peter Stormare?
Don’t be shy. What would you like to see?