Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Curious Case of Brad Pitt

I mentioned this on another site, and it seemed to get a good response. So I thought I would write something on it here. The premise is simple. Does any film star get less credit than Brad Pitt?

Here's a guy who could be throwing his golden looks and megawatt stardom at summer actioner after summer actioner. Yet he almost never appears in a film that's less than interesting and a bit unconventional. I was reminded of this fact while watching the otherworldly trailer of his upcoming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher. That's the latest in a line that recently includes films like Babel and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Even his box office numbers are directed by higher-end directors like Steven Soderbergh and Doug Liman.

Pitt has improved his acting over time. More importantly, he does what film snobs claim they want from the big stars, foregoing star vehicles for substantive work. Yet I rarely hear anything better than mixed feelings about him. It's a shame, because here's a guy in the prime years of his career contributing his star magnetism to the art. He deserves praise.


Craig Kennedy said...

"here's a guy in the prime years of his career contributing his star magnetism to the art." that really sums it up.

When was the last time he made a straight paycheck movie? I don't think the Oceans movies or Mr. & Mrs. Smith count as paycheck movies. Light, yes. Empty, no.

He could've made a career trading on his charm and good looks in slovenly romantic comedies, but even his most recent clunkers Meet Joe Black and Devil's Own, it's hard to argue working with Martin Brest and Alan J. Pakula.

Also, did I mention I'm starting to get super enthused about Benjamin Button?

K. Bowen said...

I reallly had a good time with Smith. I'm not sure the sense of humor is for everyone, but it was right up my alley. The Oceans films are mostly a good time.\

I am very excited for Benjamin Button. Could be great. Could stink. But it certainly looks like it will be different.

And it uses the Days of Heaven music in the trailer.

Fletch said...

I've been a huge Pitt fan since about when True Romance came out, and you're absolutely right. Even his biggest clunkers along the way (Meet Joe Black, The Mexican) had talent attached all over the place, and only Smith stands out to me as the paycheck movie (sorry, not a fan of it at all).

The guy's been downplaying his looks (for the most part; again, Ocean's excepted) since the mid-90s as well. Hell, just look at 12 Monkeys...

The plan has really come together even more since he met Clooney, who is so like-minded career-wise (though perhaps a bit more serious overall) that it's not even funny. They make a great pair of actors and filmmakers.

K. Bowen said...

I think the comparison to Clooney is apt. Both are stars who don't seem interested in films that they are not interested in. There seems to be an admirable commitment to what they believe in from both men.

And even if Smith is a paycheck movie, it was still by Swingers' Doug Liman and has an oddball sense of humor about it. It's certainly not completely straight mainstream fare.