Charisma; It Makes or Breaks You
A friend of mine recently said that Arnold Schwarzenegger - has lost all his mojo. I guess in the last movie he made: Sabotage, he just didn't bring it home - or so I heard. However, after a quick investigation online, I see that it was not entirely the actor to blame.
Sure. He doesn't have the youth that he once enjoyed, but do actors really need to look great in order to deliver a great movie? Which do you think is most important? Did you even see the Usual Suspects?
Let's start with my issue with people that call Keanu Reeves a "bad actor". I dislike when people call someone in a movie a bad actor, unless I can not actually lose myself in the movie. This is not the case. I've enjoyed every Keanu Reeves movie ever made. Therefore, I think he's a pretty decent actor. In addition, one scene does not an actor make. I think people need to point more blame for "bad acting" in tv shows and movies toward the directors and producers of that scene. They directed it, and then watched it, and they still thought it was good enough to put into production. If it shouldn't have been put into production that's not the actor's fault. The actor can always do another take. Maybe they had a better take, and it wasn't used. You don't know.
They should know when work is good or not. Anyway, I'm digressing. My point was that Keanu Reeves - while he may indeed bring it home in some scenes, doesn't do that same in others. Is it his charisma failing? Can you still watch the movie? My answer is this. Keanu, with whatever stones he has to stand in a room has more charisma in his pinky than some black belt martial artists do. However, the scene will be less mesmerizing and intimate if the actor, the director and the producer didn't all do their jobs. Also, you can't expect that actor to nail it perfectly every time. We are not all Ferris Bueller, or Mary Poppins, perfect in every way. That's why we do multiple takes.
Back to the script here for this Arnold movie (Sabotage), . . . Movie makers need to realize that the audience doesn't just want good looks, egos, blood and gore. There needs to be a story, charisma and there needs to be a personal interest in respect to the viewer. The audience has to feel for the characters, and it also wants to feel like it is involved in the story. Without substance, you get these kinds of Rotten Tomatoes reviews:
Did he just say they dunked the camera in guts?? Seriously!! That is one of the worst things I've ever heard. I feel terrible now that Arnold was duped into making such a movie.
Now, let's talk about charisma. Does he have it? He's no Sean Connery or Bruce Willis. Those actors could be 90 years old and still bring it home, by bringing us that charisma that we crave! Even Matthew Broderick could do that. He's an amazing actor. In fact, many women would still be into them in their older age. I mean look at Hugh Hefner. Charisma might not actually have an age, especially for men . . . Food for thought.
To me, Arnold never actually had that much charisma on screen to begin with. In the past, a lot of this was due to the heavy accent. I have to admit that his smile could be charming, but it doesn't carry the same weight to me anymore. Alas, Kindergarten Cop was actually pretty decent. There were some scenes where the man was believable, and in that movie he did deliver some great lines. However, I'm not sure he has the ability to deliver lines in the same way that Samuel L. Jackson can. He just can't do the same intensity without seeming disingenuous. True Lies was very successful, but it was carried by a great story line and non-stop action. Hmmm. I'm not sure he is capable of bringing that kind of Samuel L. Jackson performance. Or at least I have never seen a director get that kind of performance out of him. This is not to say that an amazing, outstanding actor would have fared any better in this movie with the gore. If the movie is bad, it just is.
Anyway, that's what makes storytelling in movies so powerful. Charisma! Passion!
A good movie gives you insights into the characters. Each character lives and breathes as more than just an actor and you feel their struggles. Let me use as an example a recent movie that came out. It was called "Her". The lead role is Scarlett Johansson. In the movie you don't see her. You can't. However, it was very dramatic. It was a wonderful emotional roller coaster. It is one of the most powerful performances I have seen out of Joaquin Phoenix. Of course, all of his stuff is amazing. He's just very talented, a virtual Ferris Bueller if you will. It was a very emotional, uplifting and yet thought provoking experience. The mustache on Joaquin - more unfortunate, but still accepted as you watch it. I admit I kind of like how he has a different look in all of his movies. You will leave the theater with the cogs in your head turning. That is a good story line and a good director. It was well produced. That's how it's done!
I do admit that I am a very imaginative person, so the premises to me was believable and I did get into the movie more than I thought I would . . . . . . despite the mustache. Ok! It bothers me a lot because he's such a beautiful man, and it's like in the way of seeing his face. Whatever. I'll move on. Hahaha. So, older people don't quite get into this movie premises as much as I would hope because of the technological way that we think nowadays. I just thought I should add that so you don't watch it with your Grandma, who might not grasp the movie's entire point. (Seriously, some older people don't seem to understand most of the undertones of the internet, operating systems, or how any of technology works. My Mom would be lost. Just sayin'.)
So to me, this movie was a HUGE deal. I think it broke new ground. Huge! Why? There is no visual. So, there was no overt sex appeal. The character is attractive because she's smart, caring, fun and interesting. If you knew woman you'd know that being loved for who we truly are, and not what we look like . . is a big deal. And in Hollywood this point is so often overlooked.
Scarlett Johansson also plays Black Widow in the new Avenger series, and while she is appreciated in some of those scenes because she has real clothes on, the movie posters make her waist look smaller and boobs rounder and larger maybe? All in all it is not a catastrophic photo-shopping job, but it is done nonetheless.
See her on the set shot and compare them. It's just less defined, and more realistic. She has a great figure, but the suit she wears kind of hides it by default.
So what are you looking for in a movie? Besides a plot line, how important is charisma to you? Did you even see Kindergarten Cop?