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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sorry, I don't buy it

Friday night, Joe and I sat down to watch Mirrors, a horror movie starring Kiefer Sutherland. This post isn't a movie review but I'm just going to go ahead and say it wasn't very good. It wasn't convincing enough to really scare me and the big action sequence at the end made me laugh. There was a final reveal that I'm sure was supposed to blow your mind but I kinda saw it coming.

What this post is about is actors who cannot overcome their better-known roles. And it's not through any fault of their own, necessarily. It's just that in my mind, they are stuck for me in that one character forever and ever.

Case in point, Kiefer. I think he's a talented actor. But he's Jack Bauer now. Watching Mirrors, all I could think is "Jack Bauer ain't scared of no ghosts!". And every time he'd yell "DAMMIT!", Joe and I would burst into a fit of giggles and wonder what tools Jack's man-purse might hold. There's one line where he hears a voice and he calls out "Where are you? I need to know where you are so I can help you!". I swear, it was 24 all over again.

Another actor I have this issue with is Dustin Hoffman. I have enjoyed him in so many roles. But he's Rain Man (one of my favorite movies ever even though it stars pre-crazy Tom Cruise). Playing some crazy smart scientist in Outbreak, I couldn't buy it because I expected him to tell me he bought his underwear at Kmart, Cincinnati, Ohio. (By the way, is it just me or does Cincinnati look like the dumbest word ever?) Oh, he's gonna save us from the monkeys? Better hope he doesn't have to take a Wapner break during the crisis!  Someone get him his fishsticks and lime green jello because it's Wednesday, people!!!

I'm not sure why Kiefer and Dustin (we're on a first name basis) are so stuck for me. Plenty of other actors have had memorable roles that don't interfere with my ability to see them as other characters.  Johnny Depp comes to mind - nobody throws themselves into outlandish roles with more abandon than him.  But I easily accept it and move on.  And Dustin plays a wide variety of roles (I'll give you the argument that Kiefer tends to play the same character most of the time) so it doesn't make sense to me.

Do you have this problem with anyone? How do you overcome it?


TMC said...

Two cases in point: I can't stand Lauren Graham (of Gilmore Girls fame) because she played an efficiency expert who mucked up the offices at NewsRadio, my favourite sitcom ever. This either shows me to be petty & morally flawed or else she's such a stellar actress that she skillfully performed her way into me disliking her.

Similarly, my husband despises Debra Messing since seeing Along Came Polly, in which she is an unfaithful wife (on the honeymoon!) He won't watch anything else she's in and can't even see her picture without having flashbacks of her infidelity. It's like she personally wronged him or something!

Wait... what was my point? :)

Peggy said...

Totally agree...both actors are great!

With Keifer I think it's b/c 24 is/was such a pop phenom and no other actor (that I can think of) could play JB like him. So, he is Jack Bauer. (Incidentally, this is the 2nd season as a non-watcher...any good?)

With Dustin, I think he seems a lot like Rainman IRL (sorry D!) via mannerisms and such...he's very distinct, so that character
seems natural for him which projects onto his other projects.

My two cents anyway! :)

Peggy said...

Um...just read my comment...projects onto his other projects? I need an editor! Monday mornings...ugh!

mo.stoneskin said...

And I always thought 'Jack Bauer meets Rainman' would be the perfect movie...

Truth is Kiefer IS Jack.

Comedy Goddess said...

Matthew McConaughey is always an effort for me to watch. He seems like he is always watching himself in an inappropriate way. It's icky.

Sassy Britches said...

I still have trouble with Drew Barrymore as Gertie in "ET." And oddly enough, Jodie Foster, ever since I saw her in the Disney Sunday Night movie Candleshoe when I was a little girl!

blognut said...

I have that problem with Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington. They play the same character in just about every movie, regardless of what it's really supposed to be about, and I can't take it.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Hmmm... I have more of a problem watching movies with actors I don't like, such as J.Lo - can't stand her. It's hard to get over, even if it's a good movie. And I'll never again see Tom Cruise as anything other than that nasty man in Tropic Thunder. Eww.

And Ahahaha at the underwear from K-mart. I see Dustin Hoffman as Hook. Oh, and that one guy from The Fly - he'll always be the Fly.

Outbreak and Red Lobster - my first date with Hubby. :)

Isabella said...

I've never seen "24" (I know, I'm probably the only person in the world), so I don't know about Kiefer Sutherland. I disagree with Dustin Hoffmann, but I haven't seen "Rain Man" (again, I'm probably the only one).

Here are a few that I can't see past the "romantic comedy" stereotype - and what movie they were in that I had trouble believing the character:

1. Drew Barrymore (Scream)
2. Cameron Diaz (Being John Malkovich)
3. Meg Ryan (Hurlyburly)
4. Katie Holmes (Thank You For Smoking)

Call Me Cate said...

TMC - I don't think I've seen a whole lot of Lauren Graham though maybe I need to do a follow-up post about actors I just can't stand in general. I haven't seen Along Came Polly so that's interesting to me. I think of DM as Grace but I've seen her in other roles with no real issue.
Peggy - I'm 3 or 4 episodes behind on 24 right now but it's been better than last season I think. I can see what you're saying about DH and the mannerisms. And your "projects on other projects" totally made sense to me. No editor necessary!

mo.stoneskin - now we're talking. I can just imagine the dialog between Jack and Ray. "Tell me where you hid the transponder!!!" "Drive real slow, on the driveway."

Comedy Goddess - I'm always torn with MM. Part of me wants to eat him because he's so pretty but I also understand what you're saying about the inappropriateness.

Sassy Britches - never saw the JF movie though I most often find her kind of wooden. Drew I can buy in certain roles but nothing too heavy or dramatic.

blognut - I'll add Sandra Bullock to your list of "always the same character" actors. So rare to see them out of that place they always go.

RAS - some actors, I just cannot watch. Or the movie (or a costar) has to be WAY awesome for me to make it worth the effort. Joe pointed out last night "oooh, look, a new Nikolas Cage movie, I know you want to see that!". And then I punched him in the face because he fails at sarcasm. Our first date was While You Were Sleeping but we saw Outbreak not too long after.

Isabella - I totally hear you about Meg. And to a lesser extent Drew. Cameron just has a duck face and makes me crazy in general. And I haven't seen much of Katie's work but I did think she was awesome in Pieces of April.

Snarky A. said...

I totally agree, Kiefer is Jack. (almost wrote "jack is jack", which I guess would have been equally right.

Some of the ones I have the hardest time seeing as anyone but their best-known roll, are any and all of the friends cast. Even if you're watching something where they are doing pretty good at NOT being just like their old friends character, they say something who sounds just like something they would say on friends and the spell is broken.

As an actor, being too stuck in some old role, must be the biggest handicap to your career ever.

Juliet Colors said...

I definitely have the issue, especially with actors I've seen repeatedly as a character in a tv series, but with others as well. I mostly find it funny, as in, "Haha, what does X think s/he's doing!?! That's not right!" And if the acting is good enough, I can generally get over that initial gut reaction that this is just WRONG. And if the acting is not good enough... then that's kinda funny too.

Melissa B. said...

When I see Dustin Hoffman, I always think of Tootsie. Do you remember that flick?

Donnetta said...

I can not stand Nicholas Cage. He just gives me the heebee jeebees! UGH!!

And Keifer might have ruined himself as anyone other than Jack!

Call Me Cate said...

Snarky - I agree about the Friends folks. Though Courtney did ok on the few episodes I saw of Dirt. But Jennifer always manages to be Rachel with very few exceptions.

Juliet - maybe that's what gets me so much with Kiefer - too many episodes watching him as Jack. And I do the same thing "Carrie Bradshaw would never wear that skirt!" or "Terminator would never vote for McCain!". Oh, wait...

Melissa - (very small voice - I've never seen Tootsie)

Donnetta - power in numbers, down with Cage!!! Kiefer may have pigeon-holed himself with Jack but I think his career was kinda on the outs before that so maybe it's not a bad thing?

The Blonde Duck said...

Jack Bauer wouldn't have a problem. He'd just beat up the ghosts.

The Wife O Riley said...

Funny, I always see "Tootsie" when I watch Dustin Hoffman.

The actor I can't watch is David Krumholtz. Ever since he played the incredibly creepy Paul Sobriki who killed Lucy and stabbed Carter on ER, I can't watch any movies with him in it.

Hayleybryn said...

Hi - great post! I haven't seen that movie, but I know what you mean about associating certain actors with roles!

And, I'm so happy to hear that Blogger baffles someone other than me. It drives me crazy!

Thanks for coming over and saying hi today - it's so nice to meet you!


Grand Pooba said...

LOL~! I saw mirrors too this weekend! Although I watched it while I did laundary, the hubster refused to watch a movie where Jack Bower didn't play himself.

Whenever Jack said "Dammit!" I was waiting for "Dammit Aubrey!"

ella said...

Sarah Jessica Parker? Carrie Bradshaw FOREVER...

Juls said...

...I can only see Leonardo DiCaprio as "Arnie" in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape..." No matter what other movie I watch him's like "Arnie" trying to play a different character...

Jamiedidit said...

Heh. How many times have you seen Rainman? I thought it was just me.

The actor I have the boggest problem with is Clooney. I L-O-V-E him, I love his movies, but....really, it's all Doug Ross from ER. Hot, tounge-in-cheek Doug Ross. But I love him anyway.

Another one? Katherine Heigl from Grey's. I LOVE Knocked Up, but other than that I just can't watch her anymore. She also has David Caruso Syndrome.

Lora said...

I feel like Robert DiNiro and Al Pacino can't play anyone other than Robert and Al in every single movie they are in. I can't stand them.

Also, NPH said on SNL the other night something about the importance of giving time between a huge role (Doogie, obviously) and anything else you do so people take you seriously.

Call Me Cate said...

Blonde Duck - seriously, Jack Bauer isn't going to be slowed down by some silly spirits!

Wife O Riley - I haven't watched ER in years but I remember that episode vividly. Specifically Carter looking across the floor and seeing Lucy. Chills!

Hayleybryn/Jen - Thanks for the return visit. :)

Grand Pooba - What did you think of the movie overall? I was trying to decide if I wanted to recommend it to SomeMonkey because she was interested in it. I thought conceptually it was interesting just poorly executed. Every time Kim Raver's current show gets canceled, I'm afraid she's coming back to 24. NO!!!

ella - 100% agree.

Juls - That's exactly it. It's like you lose the actor into that one particular character. And then it's the character in a new role that doesn't quite work.

Jamiedidit - Oh, I've seen Rain Man dozens of times. It's one of few movies I can watch repeatedly. Clooney does always seem to be the same guy. And Heigl I've never seen on Grey's.

Lora - I've enjoyed both in a couple of roles but I'm not nearly as in love with them as I think I'm expected to be. And I think NPH has it right - you need time between those roles. You also need to make sure you choose something different. Otherwise, you'll always be stuck.

andy said...

thank you, thank you, thank you...I had lost all humour until this post.

you are awesome.