Can Mark Wahlberg Act?? Here's my answer, - to you and everyone else.

So, I'd be willing to bet most of you know who actor Mark Wahlberg is. The guy's been acting since 1993, and even before that he was known in the group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (thanks to brother Donnie) and was a very successful Calvin Klien model... but if you don't know who he is, I would advise you NOT to google him. Despite Mark's acting talent, good looks, and musical saavy, he's been under a rather strange barrage of attacks as of late.

As a movie buff AND aspiring actress, I feel that I should say something positive about Mr. Wahlberg, if not just because it might be nice for him to have something supportive out there if he ever, God forbid, wants to google himself.

I feel I should say that I am a fan. He's fun to look at, he's enjoyable to watch, and I genuinely just like the guy. Couldn't tell you why. He's just one of those people I'm drawn to. Suffice to say, I've seen just about every one of his movies.... and it's kind of hard to think that everyone out there hasn't seen at least one - and it's real hard to think that anyone hasn't seen at least one that they like, if not love. But I'm sure a lot of you are in the same boat - admit it. Even if you don't care for his music or acting or anything, you can't help but like the guy. There's not a lot to hate him for.

However, that isn't enough to keep him safe from the savage writings of magazine articles, movie critics, and online bloggers who really have nothing better to do but tear down someone that probably won't even read what they wrote. ((In their defense, it's not much better to be an online blogger with nothing better to do but encourage someone that probably won't even read what they wrote :P)) Because everyone is a critic... so I'm going to be a positive one.

It was hard to say anything about Marky Mark when he started the ball rolling, gaining momentum in Boogie Nights and only getting more popular till his nomination for his role in The Departed. There wasn't a lot of negative media... but then Mark did a little movie called The Happening, and in all fairness - if you look at the movie as a horror flick, I'll agree with everyone, it was downright terrible. I read a number of articles, and one really got me in the mindset of writing this blog... here's a snippet of what I read.

"Then came ... The Happening. It's as if M. Night Shyamalan came to Wahlberg in the dead of night, ninja-style, and clipped his wings. If you haven't seen this movie -- this terrible, awful, lazy movie -- you must witness it for the sheer badness that is Mark Wahlberg's performance. It isn't all bad (Wahlberg nails a scene between him and a plant). But man, trust me when I say it's a car wreck."

The movie itself focuses on a group of people that are trying to survive as a deadly nerve agent is causing people to just up and kill themselves... as an M. Night Shyamalan piece, it wasn't the best it could be... I think we can all agree that his movies have been going downhill since The Village. The twist in this movie was revealed the earliest it's ever been in a movie, with more than half the movie still needing to play out, and ending was pretty guessable by the first scene of the movie. However, it was hard not to enjoy the film, if one stopped taking it seriously by the time Wahlberg's character was introduced. Like I said, as a horror flick, it was downright terrible - but it wasn't a bad movie. In fact, it's one of my favorite movies of all time, second only to Tarantula. It was done very well, and dangit, it was FUNNY. I saw it 2 or 3 times in the theater, and have watched it a few times since it's release to DVD. It's a movie I would consider well worth the money I've spent on it - which is more than I can say for Saw 5. (Another blog for another time)

The cheesy-ness of the movie, however, should NOT have had a negative effect on Wahlberg's acting abilities. Wahlberg's acting, among other things, truly made the movie for me.

I'll agree, it was a bit hard to get used to (his first line "I don't know if you guys have read this article in the New York Times about Honeybees disappearing..." was delivered in what I can only describe as a wannabe valley girl accent) and it was downright uncomfortable to watch. I'll admit, I questioned his acting ability at first as well. But - by the time he and Leguizamo had their discussion about Elliot's relationship, I was able to really get into his character... and anyone who wasn't able to, I emplore you to watch the movie again... but this time, don't think of it as Mark Wahlberg in the Happening... think of it as Elliot Moore in the Happening. Because that's what it was - I was too busy thinking of him as Mark Wahlberg, thinking of roles like Shooter, The Departed, 4 Brothers, stuff like that. In my mind, Mark Wahlberg was a bad ass, and he should always play one. But that's not Elliot's character.

Elliot Moore is the exact opposite of the vision I had for Mark Wahlberg. Elliot is a high school science teacher, and he loves his job. He has a wife, and is settled into his life. Instead of the leather jacket that I'm used to seeing, he wears button up shirts, sweater vests... Elliot Moore is not a bad ass. Elliot Moore is a geek - and I love him.

I applaud Wahlberg for his work in this movie - and can't undserstand why so many people don't give him the recognition he deserves. He was out of his element, and he did a great job. I strongly emplore all of you to watch it again, with that in mind. If you still don't like his performance, then, I'll accept that.

Then came previews for Max Payne... I was SO excited... couldn't wait... and in anticipation for this movie, the negativity from The Happening wore down, and then SNL made me VERY happy...

Andy Samberg did a skit called "Mark Wahlberg talks to Animals." I found it hilarious... quite possibly the funniest skit on SNL in a loooong time. He talked to a number of animals, and ended just about every one of the conversations with "Say hello to your mother for me." Hilarious.

And, as is the norm, Mark reacted. He seemed angry... upset about the spoof, and for whatever reason, people jumped on him for it. But COME ON people, the MAN IS AN ACTOR, and he has a history of being a bad ass. He grew up in Boston and did a stint in JAIL for crying out loud, and gained a lot of momentum in a rap group... so to react as a bostonian would is smart... and I found his reaction hilarious.... and didn't take it seriously at all. His later interviews about Max Payne on various networks, including one that had the phrase "I am Max Payne, say hi to your mother for me," and a great act on Jimmy Kimmel, where he said he was going to punch Samberg in his big beautiful nose only helped strengthen the "he's not serious" mentality I had. Put that together with his appearance on a following Saturday Night Live where he threatened to punch Lorn Michaels in the nose if he didn't tell him where Samberg was, and later had a talk with Samberg, should have proven to everyone that it was, finally just a stunt. But still, people continued to talk about how self centered he was, etc. etc.

"I'm guessing some very smart friends or publicist or agent told Mr. Wahlberg he needs to show the world he could get over himself because he didn't have the best of press weeks leading up to last Saturday. And oh yeah ... he had a movie coming out. With all that said, for the most part, the mission was accomplished. Mark did the self-deprecating thing in a pretty funny SNL skit with Samberg, and all was quiet in the jungle. Sincere kudos to him. It's been hypothesized that the whole Wahlberg-Samberg thing smacks of Lawler-Kaufman. If that's the case, Wahlberg is a much better (and smarter) actor than people give him credit for. My guess is his initial negative reaction was legit. The back channels then worked their magic and he used his Kimmel appearance to set up the SNL cameo"

For everyone who must know, Wahlberg's reaction was such:

"'Saturday Night Live' hasn't been funny for a long time. They've asked me to do the show a ton of times. I used to watch it when Eddie Murphy was there and Joe Piscopo and Bill Murray. I don't even know who's on the show now."

Does that seem like an overly angry person?? And how many people would disagree with that comment? Saturday Night Live HASN'T been funny in a long time... I just recently started rewatching because Michael Phelps was hosting the premiere, and a few digital shorts made me smile. But seriously?? Let's all freak out about the comment, especially when it's followed up by 2 or more interviews that show he wasn't being cruel.

The article that broke the first story of him being a jerk even posted their OWN update, saying that maybe he does have a sense of humour due to his appearance on SNL, but they didn't change anything in their initial article. Thanks for spreading the joy.

And now he's under fire for Max Payne, apparently the movie is terrible and that's his fault. First off, people, we need to learn that if the movie is bad to begin with, it's not the actors' faults... bad writing can't be improved on by great delivery.

I can't say whether or not Max Payne is good... I have yet to see it... but I'm also hesitant to see NOT see the movie, seeing as the first and most prevalent criticism on the web right now is "Can Mark Wahlberg act?" And my answer to that will ALWAYS be the same.

So - to everyone that wants to jump on the guy for being a bad actor, I beg you to give him another chance... if you don't care for the characters or roles he chooses to play, that's fine... but cut him some slack.

So... can Mark Wahlberg act?? My answer is yes - come on, even if he was terrible in The Happening (which he wasn't) and if his performance in Max Payne is less than ideal - with movies like Shooter, The Departed, The Italian Job (and a sequel in the works w00t!), The Perfect Storm, 4 Brothers, Invincible, We Own The Night, Three Kings, etc. etc. etc., there's no doubt that the man can act. And seriously? Who doesn't love Entourage?

If he couldn't, we would have gotten on his case sooner.

Links of reference:

Can Mark Wahlberg Act?

Why Can't Mark Wahlberg Take a Joke?

Because the Night
Perfect Day

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mikayla said...


I just wanted to tell you personally, that this is a well written blog and I too am a fan of Mark's and think he is an amazing talent. In a world where media has always put a negative spin on anything, I find it honest and refreshing that you would have the decency to stand up for what you believe in and find the general good in people, whether they read it or not. Who of us wouldn't want that kind of support on our side? Hollywood is a fickle place and we as a nation have become quite opinionated - and understandably so, but having said that... everyone loves to hear a complement - even famous people. So I say...hats off to you my dear...way to go!!

bradleyejones said...

This is the first article or blog about Wahlberg (any of the Wahlbergs) that I have read in its entirety! Nice job!