Saturday, September 23, 2006

I confess:

I like Adrien Brody.
What's more, I like Ben Affleck too. Okay? So sue me.

I read the reviews for Hollywoodland and they were mostly unkind to Mr. Brody. Some were kind to Mr. Affleck and some were not. All were kind to Diane Lane, and rightly so. No one mentioned the best one of them all, Bob Hoskins, in a marvel of a character turn as a ruthless studio manager.
Bob Hoskins, my dear readers, is the man.
Well I saw the movie and, while I can see what exasperated the critics, I beg to differ.
Mr. Ex-Enchilada says that Adrien Brody looks like one of those sad clowns in velvet paintings.
I find him very attractive, like the Ermenegildo Zegna folks do. Some critics said he was miscast for his role of a sleazy private detective in this film. I thought he acquitted himself quite nicely and it wasn't his fault if the movie plodded itself out of steam. He plays a slightly amoral gumshoe (is that the word?) who loves as much of the spotlight as he can get, or whatever specks of remaining spotlight he can dust up from under the lives of the truly glamorous.
Brody may not be hard jawed, and there seems to be an empathy in his face (the sad clown factor) that works against the very concept of inmorality, but he is intensely present in each scene, and he brings a New York chutzpah to his role that I found credible.
The movie is a dark fable about George Reeves and his wrong kind of fame. Reeves was mainly known to the world for briefly playing Superman on TV with those ridiculously huge briefs. In a nutshell, he got a part in From Here to Eternity with Burt Lancaster and they cut it out of the film because the preview audiences recognized him as Superman. I'd have killed myself too.
I remember watching Superman on TV in Mexico and even when I was five, those briefs seemed way too big. (Settle down: I'm not that ancient; they broadcast old shows there). Even when I was five, I could see that Mr. Reeves had no personality whatsoever. He seemed like a big nerd in tights. Which is why I think they are doing him a considerable favor by casting Ben Affleck in the role. If Reeves had had half the easy charm of Ben Affleck, he would have been a Ben Affleck.
I like Ben Affleck. There is something winning and likeable about him. He is a very natural actor. He doesn't sweat it. He seems to be having fun. As Reeves, he is very good with the selfdeprecation and the charm but I found him lacking in the desperation department. He seems to be a perfectly content young man, and I'd have loved to see more shades of darkness in the character. He lacks a bit of gravitas.
Now, Brody is playing the great bullfighter Manolete in a film with Penelope Cruz. He plays Manolete mainly because he looks exactly like him. But he's been training to do the moves in Spain. Read the article, highlighted above.
That'll show 'em. Because if not, it'll be like a sad clown dressed like a toreador on a velvet painting.

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