February 18, 2004

You Suck, Alec Baldwin

And not for any of the reasons that you'd think I'd list here: dumb promises (still unkept, sadly) about moving to France, yadda yadda yadda.

Nope, Alec Baldwin sucks for that most basic reason: he is an actor who truly, honest-to-God, cannot act. Not a bit, not an iota, not at all.

Why does this annoy me now? Thanks for asking. I was tired of trying to break into a desert prison to rescue Mr. Pickle (SOCOM: Navy Seals reference, sorry--I'm stuck on mission #9. Damn helicopter. Anyway...) so I decided to flip channels and have a glass of wine.

I landed on The Shadow, which I vaguely recalled seeing in the theatre. Ian McKellan is in that movie, btw, playing Penelope Ann Miller's dad. Poor Sir Ian must have been enduring an off year, employment wise. But I digress. I decided to rewatch it, mainly because I couldn't remember whether I liked it the first time. Note to self and readers: if you can't recall ANYTHING about a movie you PAID to see, chances are you didn't enjoy it, and rewatching it will only make you want a retroactive refund.

Alec Baldwin is the title character, and boy, does he suck. The whole movie sucks: premise, execution (WHY does The Shadow grow a weird prosthetic over-face whenever he uses his mystical eastern mojo? It's a great mystery of our time, lemme tell ya.) and performances, but Baldwin stands out as the worst performer of them all.

His acting consists of pursing his constantly glistening, wet lips, and occasionally furrowing his brow. Oh, and special effects contact lenses.
That's it. He growls, and purses, and gets heroically wounded (and then heroically laid, we may presume) but that's really it.

Perhaps it is a measure of the blissed out 90s that this guy was considered a super-hunk and Actor par excellence. If so, then in 2004 I've reached the pissed off portion of my hangover, and I want to obliterate all traces of my decade-long bacchanalia. Alec Baldwin? You're first.

I'm also holding a grudge because not only can Baldwin not act, he hasn't even maintained his supposed good looks, AND he can't even narrate a Thomas video properly. Talk about constantly putting the acCENT on THE wrong sylLABle. Yeesh.

Perhaps the folks over in Sofia could get a remake done that wouldn't suck? They could even utilize that scary wig Maxwell Caulfield wore in their latest Sci-fi Channel release--it could play the villain. No, JKrank, I am not over the Caulfield wig in Dragon Storm. I may never recover. I am even developing a theory that the wig in question, if ever coupled with the right actor, could destroy the world. Keep it out of Baldwin's hands!

Sigh. I have GOT to get a better hobby.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at February 18, 2004 10:03 AM

Have you been subjected to Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor in Thomas and the Magic Railroad yet? His performance is awful, but occasionally entertaining for his ability to play an idiot.

Posted by: Jordana at February 18, 2004 10:34 AM

Boy, are you guys wrong here. As Mr. Conductor, he was playing to the kid crowd, and did a great job. If you want to see bad acting in that film, just watch Peter Fonda. As to the Shadow, you need to see it as a comic book. That's what it modeled itself on (the prosthetic thing was based on the comic book), and that's its "sensibility": everything's slightly over the top and campy. He was very good in that too, but then, I like comic books.

Just watch him in Glengarry Glen Ross, btw, and you will be unable to say he's a bad actor. He's excellent.

Posted by: Michael at February 18, 2004 10:51 AM

Mike -

I love comic book movies, and I know the Shadow was supposed to be kind of surreal in the Dick Tracy mode, but somewhere along the way it went all Flash Gordon instead. I can see Baldwin doing well in a performance where he grimaces and yells a lot, because he's got that mode of acting down. But anything else?

Beetlejuice? Dragged down the pacing, an amazing feat given Michael Keaton's fevered performance.

Miami Blues? The least interesing sociopath EVAH!

The Marrying Man? Ran. Screaming. Of course, a lot of that was Basinger's fault.

Prelude to a Kiss? Arg.

He even managed line delivery more lifeless than the computer animated character he voiced in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

And George Carlin kicks AB's ass in the Thomas narration. Carlin probably would have made a better conductor, too. Although I will say that Carlin's a bit too proud of his ability to do a scottish accent.

Most actors are lucky if they can do one role well. Apparently Glengarry Glen Ross was Baldwin's. He beat the odds. Yay.

Posted by: BAW at February 18, 2004 01:14 PM

OK, we'll disagree about the Shadow. I just love it. I absolutely agree that Carlin is the best Thomas narrator.

Posted by: Michael at February 18, 2004 01:52 PM

Mike -

I wonder if part of it for me was viewing it a decade later? It had that bizarre, almost embarrassing "Oh look at what we did then" quality for me. I'm not sure how to make myself clearer on that, but maybe you've had a similar experience with a pop culture blast from the past.

For my money, my favorite comic book movie just now is Spiderman. I'm sort of "eh" about the X-Men, though I preferred the second movie, and the first Batman was the best of that series. Didn't care for Dick Tracy, but I never liked the strip, and didn't see the Hulk after I read so many negative reviews.

Geek? Where? I don't see a geek.

Posted by: BAW at February 18, 2004 02:27 PM

Yeah, that probably had something to do with it. My pop culture thing is the Green Hornet show, which I used to love. God, they're awful. One of the things I loved about the Shadow was the pneumatic tubes running all over the city. That and Peter Boyle's performance.

Okay, the Hulk was bad, but the special effects were good. The Boy just loved it. Spiderman was excellent, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel with Doc Oc (have you seen the trailer?). The first Batman was great, but I loved the Catwoman/Penquin in number 2. I really liked the X-Men, and I agree that the second was better.

yours in Geekdom,

Posted by: Michael at February 18, 2004 03:27 PM

George Carlin is better than AB, but Ringo is far, far better than both of them. And since the powers that be think we Americans can't handle a British accent, but didn't bother to change out the Britishisms, it isn't painful when Ringo narrates to hear things that just don't sound right when said with an American accent.

Posted by: Jordana at February 18, 2004 07:44 PM

AB and most of his brothers are truly bad actors. People who made jokes about Al Gore being cardboard never saw the brothers.

Baldwin in "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" wanted to make me gouge my eyes out. Please...you can act for the children without looking like a total moron. It insulted my 3 year old when we took him to the theater.

Only Baldwin worth a d*mn is Adam from Joss Whedon's "Firefly."

Oh, and George Carlin as Mr. Conductor did the best narrating, tho Ringo did the best acting (I can't believe I just typed that).

Posted by: di at February 18, 2004 08:51 PM