Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Thoughts From a Random Guy #18: Khan, Khan, He's our man, If he can't do it, No one can?

(Editor's Note: You know that old uncle that used to live in the attic, but now lives in the basement? You know, the crazy one, who only came upstairs or downstairs during holidays and usually hid by the radiator with a bottle of whiskey and every time you said "Hi" he'd sneer and sometimes mumble something about serving in Korea or how "Women used to know their place"; that uncle? The Brown Cary Grant is our resident uncle and like we've said so many times before like that customary DVD disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the Brown Cary Grant and do not necessarily reflect the editorial staff of SMFIH. Oh, don't forget to say "Hi" to your uncle on Christmas. And enjoy.)

Global warming, the situation that we’re facing in Afghanistan, the current economic crisis; all these things concern me, but lately I have found myself pondering another crisis that, if untreated, can result in the financial collapse of America’s greatest industry: the film industry.

What is the problem with this seemingly flawless industry you ask? Well, my young cinephile, the problem is that Hollywood does not have it’s own Shahrukh Khan.

Shahrukh Khan is one of the most electrifying actors of our generation. Well, at least the Bollywood generation. His vibrancy and vitality are unrivaled in Bollywood, and unfortunately, in Hollywood as well. Sure, we have pretenders, but what we need is someone who matches Mr. Khan's all encompassing allure in every meaningful way. What I’m looking for is an actor who gets young children and the elderly excited about the craft of acting and cinema in general. I’m talking about an actor that you want to be your best friend, brother-in-law and mentor.

For now we merely have some pretenders, lets take a look at who they are, and what exactly makes them pretenders:

Johnny Depp- There has arguably never been a finer actor, except for maybe Cary Grant, but that’s neither here nor there. The man has carved out an enviable niche for himself and continues to keep people guessing. His performances in Ed Wood and Sweeney Todd probably caused some acting school students to drop out for the same reason Da Vinci’s mentor, after seeing Da Vinci paint an angel, never picked up a paintbrush again, he knew he could never come close to being as brilliant.

However, what separates Khan from Depp is that it is often difficult to buy Depp in an everyman type role. This is not a knock on his brilliance as an actor, it is just that when one is watching Depp, there is always a feeling that somehow the character has a neurosis that will play a major part in the rest of the movie. Could you imagine Mr. Depp playing the types of roles that usually go to Steve Carell or Tom Hanks? I certainly could not.

Gael Garcia Bernal- Like Depp, you never know what to expect when you throw down your eleven bucks and head in to the cinema to see one of his films. Similar to Khan, his eyes exhibit the pain of a man who wants more out of his life, but is not sure exactly how to go about getting it, or if he should even pursue it. El Crimen de Padre Amaro is arguably one of the best films of this decade and much of that is due to Bernal’s performance as the priest who has fornicated with a young girl with deep religious convictions.

He exhibits Khan’s trademark pensiveness and boyish charm. However, his turn as a romantic lead in Dot the i showed that he has problems operating as a romantic lead. Like former Jet/current Dolphins QB Chad Pennington's arm, his performance just failed to bring the heat. However, his brooding nature and undeniable likeablity make him more qualified to be Shah Rukh’s heir apparent that Depp is.

Reese Witherspoon- Like Shahrukh, her earlier work made us respect her, and her later work made us realize that she is a box-office force to be reckoned with. The similarities don’t end there. She can go from sexy and sensual to funny and quirky in three seconds flat; a quality Mr. Khan used to great effect in movies like Anjaam and Asoka.

However, there are two slight problems. The first is that she seems to be reluctant to challenge herself dramatically. The second problem is that, since she has estrogen, she cannot be a leading man. Take these two things away and you have someone who is closer to being Mr. Khan’s heir apparent that anyone else, and here may lie the problem. The only people in Hollywood who are comfortable and adept at being sexy and funny in the same movie are women. Maybe the problem is that the men of Hollywood have taken themselves too seriously or not seriously enough, and their craft has suffered as a result of it.

So men, go and study Miss Witherspoon. The fate of the film industry and subsequently the Californian economy depends on it.

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