Monday, December 18, 2006

Monologue Monday: "Rent Boy"

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends.

Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday night. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life.

But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
That's the opening lines from Ewan McGregor's sensational breakthrough in Trainspotting (1996). Who would have thought that this mesmerizing actor, who at first specialized in lowlifes like Mark 'Rent Boy' Renton and the devilish grinning Alex in Shallow Grave would have morphed into one of the screen's most endearing heartthrobs? When you stop to really consider his range: look at the aforementioned plus great work in Moulin Rouge!, The Velvet Goldmine and able headlining turns in Down with Love and Big Fish...well, it's an outrage that he hasn't yet been nominated for an Academy Award. And now he's playing second fiddle to Renée Zellweger's supremely annoying Miss Potter ? Oh the humanity. Ewan deserves better treatment from the Academy, filmmakers, and the moviegoing public.

Next For McGregor

His next five movies look (on paper) like quality fixes for we McGregor junkies. The first one out is Woody Allen's Scoop follow up, Cassandra's Dream which co-stars Colin Farrel and Tom Wilkinson. After that it gets even more intriguing. In The Great Pretender (2008), a comedy, he'll play a dual role as a Hollywood star and the extra who impersonates him. He co-stars with Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer (his Young Adam lover) in Number 13 which takes place on the set of an Alfred Hitchcock film. I, Lucifer, an adaptation of the bestseller, will pit Ewan against a devilish Daniel Craig --that's a lot of hottie for one film. And speaking of... The Tourist, already filming, pairs Ewan with Hugh Jackman who introduces him to sex clubs! You've just bought an imaginary ticket, haven't you?

Related Posts:
Miss Fugly on Miss Potter
Where is Ewan McGregor's Penis random thoughts
Ewan Gordon McGregor #3 Actor of the Aughts
Moulin Rouge! my obsession: scene by scene

Tags: actors, cinema, Academy Awards, Ewan McGregor, Renee Zellweger, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig,Trainspotting, film, movies


qta said...

You know I have a total Ewan thing... Um... I mean.. well... er... oh, you know what I mean. I am loving you so much for this post!

Anonymous said...

As an avid Ewan fan from his glory days of Moulin Rouge, I have to be honest and say that I think he's been extremely disappointing in the last few years, not only in his choice of movies, but his performances. He started off strong, but I'm starting to view him as a talented lightweight in comparison to some of the major British actors of his generation, like Christian Bale and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Big Fish was weak sauce, and Ewan was OK in it, but only just. And he should really avoid American accents, because he can't do them. The Star Wars movies were a waste of time, and when you hear Ewan talk about them, you suspect even he is aware of this. The Island saw him trapped in the same vortex of blandness that often affects anyone within the vicinity of Scarlett Johansson. The awful reviews for Marc Forster's Stay, means I haven't even bothered watching that one yet. Stormbreaker is a poor man's Spy Kids. Scenes Of A Sexual Nature is a trite, forgettable tale about middle class London navel gazers. Even his animated films have been pretty lousy (Valiant, Robots).

The only perfomance of note I think he's given since Moulin Rouge is Young Adam. Otherwise, he seems perfectly happy to coast through films being competent and charming, but not coming close to the standards he set eariler in his career. Edward Norton was stuck in a similar malaise for a few years, but seems to finally be snapping out of it with the likes of The Painted Veil.

I really do hope his upcoming movies restore the love for me, but Ewan's choices often look great on paper (ie Nora, Rogue Trader, Scenes Of A Sexual nature, Stay, Big Fish, Down With Love) and often end up being underwhelming. If he was actually giving brilliant performances, I'd be more forgiving of his numerous stinkers. But he's really overdue for a truly great performance. Moulin Rouge, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting are starting to seem like an awful long time ago.

Anonymous said...

He was absolutely dreadful and completely embarrassing in 'Down with Love' - far worse than Renee (who was also awful in it).
Anyone who can claim that is a good performance seriously knows nothing about acting.
I have rarely seen a talented actor give such an atrociously awkward performance - his attempts to play a ladykiller were excruciating, his american accent dreadful and his comic timing non existent (he sang the final number pleasantly but that was far too late to save it).
It was easily one of the worst performances of the year.
McGregor is a fine actor normally but the fact that not many critics picked up on how awful he was in this simply proves that critics nowadays are useless

qta said...

OK, so he has has a couple of bad performances, and he has been in a slump lately with some poor film choices... who doesn't go through this occasionally?

But that does not erase the amazing work he has done:

Young Adam
The Pillow Book
Velvet Goldmine
Moulin Rouge!
Shallow Grave

So he's batting 50/50... It is a little early to be beating on him.

Anonymous said...

I think 'I, Lucifer' is just a rumour, a false rumour, but I could be wrong. Also, there's another movie that IMDB doesn't have - it's called (Franklyn).
There was also a rumour of him being in a movie with Julianne Moore and Robin Wright Penn ("The Kids Are Alright"). Don't know if that one's actually happening.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:54 -
I agree his American accents aren't that great (but they aren't that bad either, really) but just to nitpick his accent in 'Down with Love' wasn't supposed to be American so much as "Cray Grant American" (his words). Think of that what you will.

Also, re:"McGregor is a fine actor normally but the fact that not many critics picked up on how awful he was in this simply proves that critics nowadays are useless"
--- Actually, many critics did pan his performance in that movie - I know because I read every review I could get my hands on, and then some. It was about 50/50 I'd say. Sort of a love-it-or-hate-it performance.

There's not a single actor I like more or even half as much as McGregor, but I've never really thought of him as a Great Actor. I think of him as a solid actor with a lot of low-key charm and likeability. And I think he does coast at least in the sense of how he goes about choosing his movies but I guess I kind of accept that as just how he does. It doesn't bother me.


And oh yeah thanks Nathaniel but for the great big post about him. Yay :)

Anonymous said...

Ewan Mcgregor is a great actor. In Down with Love he acted the part he was supposed to as he does in all his movies. He was very amusing and sexy. Unlike some other actors who portray themselves first and then the character. Ewan always emerses himself in the part. I had seen several movies of his before I realized it was the same actor. Nora to me was a rivetting movie I felt sick watching it but it made me think for days afterward. Then I started reading some of Joyce's novels again. Big Fish was one of his best performances. He acted the part of Edward Bloom's imagination of himself to perfection. Trainspotting, Young Adam, Moulin Rouge are some more of his great portrayals. According to some of these posts he is vastly underated.

Anonymous said...

Although Ewan has had his share of mediocre work, I don't think anyone who has seen Moulin Rouge could label him as such.

Any actor who even has one movie where he is dead on, take your breath away good, in my opinion cannot be simply a mediocre actor. My example of this is Keanu Reeves. Go rent My Own Private Idaho.

I really don't know why Ewan hasn't found another vehicle like Moulin Rouge or Trainspotting, but like any fan rooting for an actor, I want to see him find that again. I hope his next few movies turn out to be as promising as they look. Ewan deserves it.

To me, he is, or should be, one of the greats.

p.s. I think his American accents are really good. What am I missing?