Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A History of... Gyllenhaal

It's Tuesday. Time for the first installment of a new series: "A HISTORY OF..."



1977 Lower-East Side hip marrieds Naomi Foner and Stephen Gyllenhaal welcome little Maggie Ruth into the world. Unbeknownst to the cutiepie infant, her parents are in the movie biz and she is destined for fame. Fortunately not in a Liza Minelli way.

1980 Naomi gives birth to gay icon Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal. Three-year-old Maggie has feelings about this. "People Magazine" resists the urge to declare him one of the sexiest men alive just yet; Too wrinkly. Too red. Squishy head.

1988 Naomi, despite having two young kids finds the time to write one of the greatest screenplays of the 80s, Running on Empty. She is deservedly Oscar-nominated for her super-mom accomplishment.

1991 Jake makes his first movie, City Slickers. The following spring co-star Jack Palance does push-ups at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

1992 Daddy Stephen, an award-winning director, makes a movie called Waterland and Maggie follows Jake into professional actorhood. Stephen casts her in her next five films as well, proving that nepotism can sometimes reward us all. Meanwhile, in a fit of adolescent originality, Jake becomes obsessed with "Catcher in the Rye" (which Maggie gave him for Christmas). He can't put it down!

2000 Jake attends Columbia University where Maggie graduated the year before. Uma Thurman's daddy teaches him a thing or two. Jake drops out two years later.

2001 Jake & Maggie co-star in Donnie Darko. Curious moviegoers become Gyllenhaalics as the film achieves cult-hit status.

2002 Onscreen Jake suddenly carves out a fascinatingly specific niche: young brooding boytoy of older women in Lovely & Amazing, Moonlight Mile, and The Good Girl. Maggie also breaks out. She's so great in Secretary everyone forgets they're watching the 23rd James Spader as a perv performance. After thus winning critics hearts, Maggie also becomes a fashion forward icon for Young Hollywood.

Offscreen Maggie introduces Jake to Mary Jane Watson, Kirsten "Kiki" Dunst. A notoriously on-and-off-again Young Hollywood romance is born and its detritus continues to be chronicled in gossip blogs and tabloids four years later.

2003 Maggie hearts Peter (Sarsgaard).

2004 Due to Tobey Maguire's Seabiscuit-screwed back Jake almost gets his spidey-sense tingling with girlfriend Kirsten onscreen. But...it doesn't quite happen. At some point Jake suddenly starts looking like this. A whole new wave of Gyllenhaalics are born. This time they're gay.

2005 Maggie is brilliantly cynical in Don Roos Happy Endings and virtually no one notices but I --must be that special psychic connection we have; Sometimes I feel like I'm in love with Peter too! Jake is brilliantly optimistic in Brokeback Mountain and everyone notices...

2006 Oscar hoopla ensues. Jake becomes the second Gyllenhaal to be nominated for the big prize. Somewhere Kiki is seething with jealousy, probably wishing she hadn't known how to quit him. Jake moves on.

*

(more histories every Tuesday)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aah.

But here's the thing... I want Jake to win Supporting Actor, but I am getting more and more irritated that he's nominated in that category. I mean, I GET that his agents probably saw that (a) it was an easier "get" and (b) he COULD potentially have split his own vote with "Jarhead" if positioned as a lead, but...

I just don't get how anyone can pick between a great 2 hour performance from Jake and a great 10 minute performance from William Hurt. It's just WRONG.

So the heart is in complete disagreement with the head for me right now, and [adopts James Dean voice]: "IT'S TEARING ME APART!!"

OK, I feel better now.

Rob

OhMyTrill said...

I heart Jake.

JavierAG said...

Great read... the end in particular is priceless. "Jake moves on"... haha.

adam k. said...

I love the bit about "Jake suddenly started looking like THIS", because yeah, it really came out of nowhere... remember Bubbly Boy and October Sky? Who saw that kid as a future sex symbol? Certainly not me. I don't know what happened with him. He just suddenly got incredibly hot circa 2004 or so.

John T. said...

Wouldn't it be marvelous for him to win the Oscar (I want at least one of the Brokeback actors to win the golden boy.).

Nick Davis said...

You're leaving out the part about how it was obviously papa Stephen's four years at Trinity College, my current place of work, that put the glimmer of movie-love in his eye (this is actually true, according to SG himself).... thus allowing him to be attracted to Naomi, and therefore allowing all of us to be attracted to Maggie and Jake.

Happy to add to the archive. Love the new feature!

Ramification said...

The whole issue with the supporting vs lead is always very confusing and frustrating. You sort of have the flip side of that in the supporting actress category, Rachel Weisz is on screen for much longer than Michelle Williams, and yet I find both performances worthy of an Oscar. For me its a question of whose story am I watching in the film, and what are the supporting characters really 'supporting' ?

In the case of Gyllenhal I think its clear that his performance is a lead one (you can argue that its really the story of Ennis we are watching, and Jake has less screen time) because its just much about the impact of the romance on Jack's life as it is on Ennis's life.

For Weisz its sort of a grey aread, we basically do not see her character in the last 1/3rd of the film but she has such a presence and is so memorable that she sticks in our minds througout the film. So in a way she supported the film very well. Of course you can argue that the film was very much about her and she made such an impact on the entire feel of the film that in fact she was a lead character (I am thinking of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs having the same sort of impact on a film with a similar amount of screentime).

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it's not just me! I could have bought into Jake as a support IF we hadn't had that scene at the dinner table with his in-laws, or if we'd only seen him when Ennis saw him.

Pah. In my heart I still want him to win though.

Rob

Justin said...

I am a total Gyllenhaalic...not just Jake but Maggie as well, and why not through in ol Peter...he will be a Gyllenhaal before too long. LOVE

Anonymous said...

That was a nice review. I didn't realize Maggie was a Ruth also. I love Maggie, she's great.

Jake actually has a better chance of winning in his Supporting Actor category than being in the Lead. Heath Ledger and PSH are very strong, and the character of Jack in BBM, whilst important, was still the subplot to the story of Ennis' closeted life. Heath was the lead, there was no way you could have put Jake into a lead category for his role, as good as it is. But Heath will have a harder time winning against the perpetually awarded PSH for Capote. Jake at least has a better chance in his category. Good luck to him, I hope he wins.

I especially like your bit at the end about Jake 'moving on'. hehe, that'd be so cool. Those two look great together.

Ramification said...

I agree that Jake was positioned in the 'supporting' category because he a had a better shot at winning / being nominated, but the character is more lead than supporting in my opinion. This is as much Jack's story as it is Ennis. If not, then why show us his family life, him going back to Brokeback to get his job back the following summer, him going to Mexico, why do we need to see all that if this wasn't his story as well.... we never see Michelle Williams or Anne Hathaway's characters outside of their interactions with the two leads.

I wish him the best of luck on awards night and I want him to win, but its one in a long line of 'lead' roles dressed up as supporting in order to gain better oscar placement and not to competer with a co-star (examples: Travolta/Jackson for Pulp Fiction; Scott Thomas / Binoche for the English Patient)

Anonymous said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Jake Gyllenhaal! I've enjoyed every movie I've ever seen him in (particularly BBM and Proof, which didn't get the recognition it deserved!) Not only is he GORGEOUS but he seems like a really smart and down-to-earth guy. I think he really deserves an Oscar; no matter what category he's nominated in. I wish him tons of luck and can't wait to see what he comes out with next!

elisa

dkellergrl said...

Hilarious. I love it.

NATHANIEL R said...

I'm glad everyone is enjoying. Please come back next TUESDAY for another HISTORY OF... (if you're not a regular visitor!) Topic to be announced.

...and if you are a regular visitor (xoxoxo thanks for your continued support my pets. you already know how fond i am of you.)

Anonymous said...

Love this! Am a huge fan of Jake and of Maggie. So glad he is nominated for the Oscar. He definitely deserves it.

Btw, the adorable and sexy picture you had of Jake topless is now gone due to bandwith. :( Also, wondering why the Supporting Actor category info isn't filled in like all the other categories??

NYCer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susanne said...

Great post.

Fat Asian Baby said...

so funny. but actually ole jakeypoo started at columbia in 1998 and dropped out by 2000. i only know this because i was in the same class. except i finished. i think.

toni said...

Let us not forget Bubbleboy sometime in his career!

NATHANIEL R said...

oh also for all the Gyllenhaalic's who've been visiting the site since i posted this make sure to check out my main site

http://www.thefilmexperience.net

and another haven for gyllenhaalics, covering Jake's every waking moment ;)

http://thegildedmoose.blogspot.com

Kamikaze Camel said...

Well, I've been a gyllenhaalic since 2001, so i totally loved him before everyone else in the world (except maybe his parents and so forth, but 'tev).

No, but seriously - he was adorable in October Sky but realised he was total sex god worthy in Donnie Darko - not to mention Maggie! I loves me some Maggie, I just wish a distributer would release Happy Endings. Bah.

I want Jake to win Supporting Actor because he gives the best performance out of those nominated. Yes, it's lead, but at least he got nominated. If he hadn't have been nominated BBM would have only 7 nominations and that would've just given the haters more ammo than they need.

Casey Gyllenphuck said...

You forgot to factor in the obvious ose job! What year was that?

Anonymous said...

As far as Best Supporting Actor goes, Haley Joel Osment was put in that catagory. So just stop it already.

Anonymous said...

He won a Bafta for his role in BBM. He wasn't so sure about his acting though. I could see it in his facial expression when he heard his name announced. He was brilliant at the last scene (arguing)in the movie with Heath Ledger.

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