I’m writing this article as a formal apology to Mr. Gosling. I judged you far too harshly Ryan. I assumed that you were amongst the fraternity of overhyped ‘up-and-comers’ that Hollywood loves to cram down audiences throats every ten years or so. Yes, Ashton Kutcher, I’m talking to you. I mean, I was totally prepared to look the other way when it came to your involvement with the Mickey Mouse Club. You were young and you (or should I say your family) needed the money. I had seen you in stuff and while your performances were solid, I was never really willing to give you much consideration.
As I’m sure is the case with many people who are paid for their opinions (film-related or otherwise) I tend to buy into notion that my estimation actually has absolute merit or validity. I am happy to admit that I was 100% unequivocally wrong. Please accept my most humble apologies. Sincerely, et cetera, et cetera.
After accumulating several layers of dust from sitting in my DVD queue, I finally got around to watching Blue Valentine a few months ago. A brilliant and poignant film by relatively unknown writer/director Derek Cianfrance. Just for the record, Valentine is without a doubt one of the most honest and unapologetic film studies about the rise and fall of modern day relationships. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. You will not be disappointed.
I became an overnight fan of all things Goz. Within a matter of a few weeks of watching Blue Valentine, I watched all three of his 2011 releases; Crazy Stupid Love, The Ides of March and Drive. None of which I bothered to see in the theatre and hindsight being what it is, I cannot come up with valid reason why. Whether portraying an irresistible ladies man (Crazy Stupid Love), an ambitious if not idealistic presidential campaign manager (The Ides of March) or a brooding taciturn wheel-for-hire (Drive), Gosling breezes through his roles with effortless charisma and irrefutable screen presence. In my not-so-humble opinion, I think he could have taught a young James Dean a thing or two about the craft.
This is not just a man crush either. When I have a man-crush on an actor, it’s rarely for what people would consider the obvious reasons; muscles (Vin Diesel, The Rock), bankable marquee good-looks (Brad Pitt, George Clooney) or general overall badassery (Jason Statham, Daniel Craig). What tends to turn my head, as it were, is pure unbridled talent, sincerity and versatility. As any film aficionado would admit, the current crop of ‘leading men’ has left much to be desired when it comes to must-see movies, mainstream or otherwise. Heath Ledger had it. Joseph Gordon Levitt does too.
Shia LeBouf? Channing Tatum? Not so much.
Prime example, even as underwhelming as the films of 2011 were, they proved quite a lot. One: chick flick comedies like Bridemaids and Bad Teacher, confirmed that ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ as they stole the thunder for male oriented comedies like The Hangover 2 and The Zookeeper. Even Jennifer Anniston (who I am not a fan of at all) was imminently watchable in Horrible Bosses. Two: Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper not only proved that they do not need to be in every movie but that their involvement doesn’t guarantee box office gold.
Gosling who has recently been appointed by Time magazine as ‘The Coolest Person of the Year’, has managed to avoid every trapping of the most marquee actors of his generation and still star in three films in 2011. He hasn’t been in any sequel, remake, comic book or vampire film and he still gets starring roles right along side of major A-List talent.
Joel Stein of Time Magazine had this to say about the young up and comer,
‘So the 2011 Coolest Person of the Year is a man who is tough but emotional. A movie star who broke up a fight on the streets of Manhattan and was also caught walking down a Manhattan street playing a Strumstick, which is like a ukulele only ukulelier. An Oscar nominee who also smokes, tags graffiti and has a predilection for posing with a fist to the camera but makes dioramas and takes public ballet classes alongside little girls too.’
Just for the record, Gosling refused to even talk to Stein about the article. How cool is that? And finally, we now have our heir apparent to Johnny Depp it is none too soon. And it’s about time too because I know that Joseph Gordon Levitt was getting tired of being the only young male actor with indie cred. Keep an eye out for Gosling later this year, he is slated for three releases in 2012.