An Open Letter to Mark Wahlberg
Posted on Monday October 27, 2008, 13:46 by Dan Goodswen in Empire States
Dear Mark Wahlberg,
I have been a fan of yours for many years, probably since your break-out performance in Boogie Nights. I saw Three Kings three times in the cinema, and you were fantastic. In my household, yours is a name not to be slighted. I have defended you on many occasions and would like to keep doing so, but you’re making my job very difficult as of late.
We are all aware of what a shambles The Happening turned out to be, and that’s okay, you know, everyone makes mistakes. Being in one bad movie every now and then is alright – ask Michael Caine – but imagine my soul-destroying disappointment when the first reviews of your latest film, Max Payne, started rolling in. Another critical bomb in the space of six months? I knew I had to take action, and that is why I find myself writing to you here. The pen is mightier than the sword, Mark Wahlberg, and the keyboard is like the machine gun of pens. I hope you understand that I’m doing this for your own good.
If we’re being honest, this isn’t the first time this has happened, is it Mark? I’m referring to the fallow period that was 2001/2002. In that space of time you managed to undo much of the hard work of your early career. Your first summer tent-pole, Planet of the Apes, felt more like Planet of the Turkeys. Again, probably not your fault; you weren’t to know that the usually untouchable Tim Burton would be making the first stumble of his stellar career. It must have seemed like a safe bet to you, I get it, but shit happens, and shit surely happened for that two hours of unwatchable drivel. Next you released Rock Star, which I really enjoyed. As a fan of 80s cock rock, it was a hilarious and touching tale of one man’s rise and fall, and his subsequent self-realisation. And Jennifer Aniston looked hot! Problem was, Mark, that nobody saw it. When I say Rock Star, people say, “what?” And The Truth About Charlie? The truth was that it was a turkey on a Thanksgiving scale, and that if there’s a modern-day Cary Grant out there, it’s your erstwhile co-star George Clooney. I hoped your lesson had been learned.
You turned things around admirably in 2003. The Italian Job was no Oscar winner, but it was solid summer fare, and you looked like you were enjoying your career again. You followed that up with I Heart Huckabees, the second time you’d worked with David O. Russell, and I’m prepared to go out on a limb here, Mark, and say that you were the best part of a very good film. Your environmentally friendly fireman was a delight, and I hope you get chance to work with Russell again. Perhaps now would be a good time? Around this time you also started producing Entourage, one of the best shows on TV. If only you were in it more often! But really, great work there. High five, or what ever it is that you do. And you made a solid popcorn movie in Four Brothers. It wasn’t perfect, but it was watchable, and people liked it. Then Invincible, which was a fantastic film, just great – and that Elizabeth Banks… man, she’s smokin’. You capped off a fine couple of years with probably your best performance to date as Sergeant Dignam in The Departed. Wow, man, what a film, and what a role. You opened a lot of people’s eyes to your talent, and the Academy was only too happy to provide a nomination for your efforts. Again, for a film so rich in acting ability, you stood out, unafraid to make yourself heard, and people loved you for it.
Which brings me to my next point. Stop taking the love for granted, Mark Wahlberg. The Shooter was a fun, balls to the wall action flick – but it was not a stretch of your talents. We Own the Night had good moments, but lacked that certain something, like a decent plot. That brings us up to this year’s shortcomings, and it pains my heart to be this blunt with you. I don’t know what you need to do – read more scripts, trade in your agent – but you need to stop the bleeding. There’s only so much turkey a guy can eat before he gets bored or falls asleep. I don’t want the audience to fall asleep on your career, I don’t want to have to say, ‘Oh, man, Mark Wahlberg used to be good’. I want to be able to spark a passionate defence when somebody thinks they know about your capabilities; shit, more than that I want people to know for themselves just how good you can be.
It’s not all bad news. In your promotions for Max Payne you went on Saturday Night Live and lampooned yourself in a skit with Andy Samberg. More of that please. In the upcoming 12 months you have some fine projects in development. Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones looks like a seriously meaty role, and lord knows Jackson wouldn’t have hired you if he didn’t think you were up to the task. Then there’s Darren Aronofsky’s The Fighter, which, if it still happens, has the potential to be your Raging Bull.
If you’re reading this, Mark, know that it comes from the heart. It’s all love, really. I’m just a fan who finds it difficult to watch the downfall of somebody who should be on top, and deep down I know that you won’t let yourself slip of the map, that you’ve just lost your way but will soon be back on course. I hope you realize that just because Max Payne opened at the top of the US Box Office that it shouldn’t encourage repeat performances. Max Payne II would be suicidal – but you know that, right? Say you do, Mark, say you know how to fix things and stay on top, and I’ll sleep easier tonight.
Thanks for listening. I’ve said what I needed to say, and now it’s off my chest I feel a lot better, I hope you do too. I hope there are no hard feelings. Next time you’re in town, let me buy you a cranberry juice.
Say hi to your mother for me, okay?
Yours in hope,
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Posted on Monday October 27, 2008, 14:31
A firm second to the comments about Dignam, an absolutely spectacular performance, especially considering the relatively small size of the role.
In terms of his career as a whole I have to say I'm generally impressed by him as an actor, but there's no doubt that he's probably appeared in almost as many mediocre or poor films as he has classics, which I've seen anyway.
I hate to say it, but perhaps he needs to do a Matt Damon and get a franchise (Bourne) under his belt, obviously Payne has this potential, but if early reports are anything to go by here that plan could fall down by the wayside rather quickly.
It all depends what character it is he wants to play next, it might take some picking and choosing before he finds a great one, but the roles mentioned above seem promising at the very least.
I certainly hope Wahlberg isn't put off by a couple of 'blips'...
joanna likes films
Posted on Monday October 27, 2008, 15:08
I think Mark Walhberg is a brilliant and talented actor, he has many movies that have given the thumbs up from me (other than really fancing the pants off him!) Yes, he did do some crap movies like Planet of The Apes (it wasn't that bad, you know!) and I Heart Hugabees (way too confusing for me) but his unquie talent has bought us Boogie Nights, The Departed and Three Kings. I thought the Happening was a brilliant horror movie, scared the living crap out of me and I so can't wait for Max Payne. I don't care what anyone says about it, I'm going to see it and I can't wait! I liked Shooter and Rock Star, they were brilliant stuff. We Own The Night was okay but not brilliant, The Yards is also a good movie and The Big Hit. I'm glad that he got a Oscar nod for his pefomance in The Departed, he was outstanding in that though there were plenty of other talent there but he really impressed me. I think he's a very intellent man, chooses some very good material and is a total nice guy. I'm looking forward to the Lovely Bones, seems intresting. Good for you, Mark. I will support you all the way, no matter if they are bombs or not.
Posted on Monday October 27, 2008, 15:50
Sorry to say but i've never really liked Mark Wahlberg,
Yes the departed was a great movie but it was Di Caprio, Nicholson that i thought were the better ones.
thought three kings was ok and i liked Rock star
Lets hope he gets better parts in the future
Posted on Monday October 27, 2008, 18:05
This is a rather redundant blog. You know, you could replace the words 'Mark' and 'Wahlberg' with pretty much any A-list actor, bar one or two, and the gripes would be the same. Al Pacino and Robert de Niro are the two most whinged about, but Morgan Freeman, Dustin Hoffman, the list could go on for a mile. The point, Dan Goodswen, is that there are not enough good movies being made for the actors out there. So what do they do? They either go Daniel Day Lewis and make one film a decade. Or, if they like acting, if they enjoy what they do, like De Niro keeps pointing out, they just make movies. They act. They have fun. And why not? Tell me, Dan Goodswen, just exactly what should Mark Wahlberg have been in in the last year, that he wasn't? If DiCaprio and Damon get first dibs on everything, well, that's how it is. We need better movies being made for our actors is what we need.
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 10:47
amen kair. a-bleedin-men
we need writers and directors to get funding and proper marketing for good films rather than studios flinging money at whatever waster walks in with an idea for a videogame-to-movie franchise
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 11:31
What the hell? Mark Wahlberg is shockingly bad actor. His "successes" have been due to the fact that he's been in good films that he wasn't able to screw up because he wasn't the lead/focus. The times where he has been the lead have all be terrible thus far because he can't carry a film, he hasn't the talent.
By the way, am I the only one who was shocked by his Oscar nomination for The Departed? All he did was swear a lot and make scowly face at DiCaprio and Damon. That's it. Are you seriously telling me that he deserved a nomination over Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon and Sheen in that film? They all acted him off the screen, even Anthony Anderson put in a better performance (mainly because he was playing it straight for once showing that he can do more than scream).
The simple fact is that Wahlberg is a non-entity, he doesn't act in his films...he's just there. Look at his films and tell me if you see any life behind his eyes because I certainly don't. All his current commercial failures are showing is that he isn't skilled enough to be a leading man and is better suited to being part of an ensemble because he'll be overshadowed by his (far superior) co-stars so he'll be unable to stink up the film.
As for The Lovely Bones I can only assume that Peter Jackson is making a casting blunder which he's been known to do in both LOTR and King Kong. Look no further than Orlando Bloom (stood there, looked pretty, absolutely no ability to do anything other than that and fight) and Jack Black (you are not and never will be a straight man Jack, wacko comedy is your forte because you lack the subtlety for real acting) for evidence of this.
I say: f*ck Mark Wahlberg, he's never been good
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 11:34
Sorry, I meant critical failures because despite the films apparently being shite (haven't seen Max Payne) they still seem to be making money. Don't tell me that's because he has an audience either, it's the film concepts that draw people in, not Wahlberg.
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 12:52
This is just another example of when paycheck+'actioner'=total unadulterated bull crap.
Why do you think it is that in the Departed, a shockingly spectacular movie, Marky done good. But in the absolute drivel that was The Happening (you haven't been scary since the sixth sense, M) he tanks like he's wearing concrete shoes.
Will someone please make an intelligent movie for a change! Spend a bit more money on another Departed instead of fifteen *insert genre here* Movies.
It comes down to this very simple statement, do you want Will Ferrell or Dustin Hoffman as the cinematic role model for your children? (studio executives need not reply)
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 14:57
I admire your conviction to the truth Dan. Marky Mark just needs a good kick in the right direction....Only problem is, who to ask?
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 18:56
Its not just Mark Wahlberg though. Look at Ed Norton and the shit he has turned out lately! also Ewan McGregor. I can't remember the last time they chose a decent role.
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 20:27
Glad someone else appreciated Shooter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Happening is possibly the worst film I've seen this year - there are probably worse ones but I don't want to watch those - and the main problem with Max Payne is that Mark Wahlberg is completely wrong for the part. He's too clean cut and his voice is way too high pitched. Anyone who has played the game remembers the gravelly voice-over which is something completely out of his reach!
Posted on Tuesday October 28, 2008, 20:28
We need The Brazillian Job to get the green light now... but then everyone knows the first one was only good because of The Stath!
Posted on Wednesday October 29, 2008, 13:20
Indeed, screw Charlie bring on Handsome Rob (and Seth Green making up more conversations with Becky)
Posted on Thursday October 30, 2008, 10:39
Unfortunately Mark Wahlberg's 'talents' made him perfect in Boogie Nights, since most of it was tongue in cheek and about an 'actor' who can't really act.
But seriously, Mark is an appalling actor. Just because he can remember his lines does not mean he knows how to deliver them, and The Departed is a prime example of that. Saying "cunt" a lot does not a good performance make, just as Nicholson's performance is littered with obvious trailer-dialogue.
The Happening is a prime example of Mark's non-talent. His performance is dismal, and yet he still manages to be the best thing in it, which might explain his popularity.
Donnie Wahlberg is a much better actor but picks dodgy stuff to be in (Saw 2, Dead Silence). If anything the plea from Dan Goodswen should be to consider Donnie over Marky Mark anyday.
If you need further proof, please watch The Happening and in particular the scene where Elliot is trying to convince Jake to believe in science. Absolutely awful. Better still, for some post post-modernism, try watching a plastic Marky Mark talk to a plastic plant. It's a mindfuck.
Posted on Saturday November 1, 2008, 17:03
Mark's finest acting moment was in Three Kings when he was suffering electric shock toture, but he only manages to convince that he's in pain because he actually was. They shocked him for real.
Otherwise, a bland star that should always be the supporting player or leading in much lesser films, like the Wesley Snipes actioners that sink straight to DVD. Anybody that idolises Wahlberg has low self-esteem or is short-sighted regarding quality acting.
Posted on Monday November 3, 2008, 10:40
I am torn... he was very good in a few films but I can't help but completely agree with the " tell me if you see any life behind his eyes" comment.
I sure hope he doesn't ruin "Lovely Bones".
On a side note: excuse me!! What's wring with Edward Norton's choices and how can they be compared with Marky Mark's?? Ok, I give you Hulk... but other than that, what? Critics were unfairly harsh on "pride & glory" (another reason not to trust them anymore) and even so, every single one of them pointed out his great performance! He hasn't made a bad choice since "death to smoochy" and even that is arguable!
Posted on Tuesday November 4, 2008, 07:28
I think he was Ok in Shooter. But really.. Max Payne was bad. the game was great but the movie makes people not wanting to try the game anymore. Mark can't really act in these kind of movie. Actually, there are only a few characters that he can play. The happening on the other hand was a bad bad movie bacause of the storyline, I mean.. Plants that can't take it anymore and start killing people? Come on.. are we running out of scary stuff?
Posted on Thursday November 6, 2008, 14:26
I used to hate Wahlberg - he mumbles his way through alot of his early films and was woefully mis-cast in a few films, especially Planet of The Apes (Oh how I would have loved to have seen the abandoned Jim Cameron/Arnie version...) but was outstanding in the Departed and I heart huckabees. Maybe he just needs a good director, then again, looking at his most recent films (I love cheesy action but Shooter was terrible, even on a hangover) maybe he needs a new agent.
Emyr Thy King
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 13:44
Welll done Keir,
I think he's/she's (I think male) has summed it up succinctly. There aren't enough 'top projects' in Hollywood for all the 'A-listers', which explains why many tend to dabble in the mediocre and prosaic. Of course we expect thespians to perform in a whole mélange of films, yet how often does a masterpiece materialise? In addition, I question whether these agents who make the calls have got any taste in good films. One reason why films are bad is nepotism, the insistence on sticking to the same actors and directors rather than experimenting, even Chris Nolan is guilty of this and perhaps shows a complacency among some actors and film makers. I agree with UTB vis-à-vis Donnie Wahlberg, he did very well in Band of Brothers (seven years old but no less monumental). Whilst he's succumbed to the mind-numbing B-movie horrors that are ubiquitous, he possesses in my opinion far more potential and talent than Mark Wahlberg. A needless and wasted call by the 'blogger'. I also managed to write a post with using profane language, which tends to dull and spoil a post for me.
Emyr Thy King
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 13:44
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 16:22
The Italian Job was so awful Edward Norton looked like he had sold out. One of the most superfluous remakes to ever make celluloid.
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 16:48
Edward Norton was contractually obliged to make The Italian Job.
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 19:40
Maybe you were always wrong and he was just never as impressive as you made him out to be?
I fail to see greatness there.
He is not a bad actor, but the bottom line is: he is incredibly lucky to have even been given a chance by the standard fanboy after the Funky Bunch. This doesn't happen to most.
I'd say fans, count your blessings instead of expecting miracles.
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 22:50
I don't rate Mark Wahlberg as an actor, I don't think he's terrible, just average. I can't think of any role where he has impressed me at all.
The problem is he is bland, he lacks real acting muscle and has no charisma, none whatsoever.
As for this open letter, it is probably the worst article ever to appear on this website - it has no real point or purpose.
Next time write to his fan club, as the rest don't need to see this. Lets get some real stories instead of inane fanboy dribbling.
I hope Mr Wahlberg ignores this letter, enjoys his career and has a good life. I hope Mr Goodswen realises his opinons matter to him only and grows up.
Posted on Monday November 10, 2008, 22:57
Oops just noticed a typo in my comment, seconad paragraph should say
'Next time write to his fan club, as the rest of us don't need to see this. Lets get some real stories instead of inane fanboy dribbling'.
Posted on Friday November 14, 2008, 12:56
I can't believe you've listed the remake of the Italian Job as a positive!
Posted on Friday November 14, 2008, 19:55
Maybe Clarkson talked sense into him on Wednesday.
there's one great thing he's done recently Dan. Top Gear. ok, only a supporting role, but in the best thing on TV ever.
Posted on Tuesday November 18, 2008, 15:07
Wahlberg was fantastic in The Departed - imagine if that'd been the first thing you'd seen him in, you'd be on the edge of your seat waiting for his next role.
What a shame then that one of those that followed it was...The Happening. Quite easily in my Top 5 Worst films of all time - unbelieveable that this ever got made. It's as if Wahlberg knows it and is playing along in trying to be as bad as possible, it's THAT bad - and I don't know if I can ever take him seriously again because of it! He is so wet and wooden it actually beggars belief. Not that the script ot the premise help him, in fact they're worse - but only just.