Note: I had first intended my “letters to emily” category to be a moment of reflection on the works of Emily Dickinson. After my letter to the cats, and feeling kind of inspired by Henry Rollins (I know!), I decided to make it more of an open letter to different people, places, things…
So, on to the letter.
Dear John Malkovich,
No. I realize that too many of us have left you with the impression that you are a stellar actor, but it is time that I speak up. I will give you Empire of the Sun, but let’s not kid ourselves, Christian Bale stole that film and made it amazing. And I like Being John Malkovich because it is completely absurd, makes fun of my home New Jersey, and who the hell would ever want to be you anyway? (Again, that’s why it’s funny). Let’s look at some other roles that have generally won you praise: Of Mice and Men. Personally, I get kind of annoyed when some actor is told they play retarded well. I like Sean Penn, but really? Is he really that memorable for I Am Sam? What about The Assassination of Richard Nixon? What about his directing? And I love What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, but not because of Leonardo DiCaprio. I mean, he is good in it, but there’s also the story that kinda carries the whole film, not to mention Johnny Depp.
Okay, you may also deserve some credit for In The Line of Fire. But you did play a psycho in that. And in Con-Air. You seem well-suited for those roles. That odd shaped head, somewhat sweet and thick voice with a hint of a high-pitch. Again, though, for Con-Air at least, someone else stole the show. In this case it was Steve Buscemi. The man played with Barbie dolls and talked about wearing a human head as a hat. And he wins the prize when it comes to funny looking. The Coen Brothers went with that.
Let me get to what prompted this letter in the first place: Knockaround Guys. Here is a movie, pretty bad mind you, about a group of mob kid friends who decide they want to join the family business. You, as you may or may not know, play the uncle of the main kid, played by Barry Pepper. To hear you attempt a Brooklyn accent and end up sounding like some kid whose just watched A Bronx Tale and is trying really hard to imitate what they assume to be the accent of everyone in this city, is beyond sad. Please, just…no. I have an idea, why not do what you have done in other movies that require an accent, don’t do it. In The Messenger you kept your same old John Malkovich voice, despite the efforts of others to sound French. (Vincent Cassel is French, so don’t even start the comparisons there). Even in Eragon, which I am admitting to seeing, despite the fact that it is one of the worst movies ever, you did not feel the need to use any accent. Then again, you really did not feel the need to act either. Did you know right away that you were going to treat that performance like practice for other crap roles? Did you just see it as some extra cash? Or were you fooled into thinking it would be good like those of us who shelled out $10 because, like us, you saw Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Irons in the cast and thought “hey, there is no way this can suck!” ? Is that what happened, John? You can be honest. You should know that a good cast does not mean a good film. The Messenger is a great example of that. And you should know that just because everyone says it is good, does not mean it is good. Gone Baby Gone, hello! That movie was a waste of my life. And I cannot get that time back.
Here’s the thing, you are in some post-productions that I want to see, and I will see them. But I need you to know that my attending Burn After Reading has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with The Coen Brothers. And when I buy my ticket for The Mutant Chronicles it is because the futuristic movie is about a guy who fights NecroMutants.