Sure he’s got a slew of forgettable films, interchangeable even (do you know the difference between 2 Guns and Shooter?) but you have to admit, he’s also got some interesting blips.
Ted 2 is not an interesting blip, by the way. It’s pointlessly unamusing with all the same inane cameos as Entourage.
Mark Wahlberg is a pretty straight-forward guy. He’s often not so much acting as working. You know, just showing up, gettin er done, home in time for spaghetti. He doesn’t always pick his projects with much judiciousness, he gets as many wrong as he gets right, but the stuff he gets right is actually pretty great. Like, two Oscar nominations great. Who would have guessed?
Blip: Boogie Nights – He was pretty good in Basketball Diaries and I suppose even in Renaissance Man, but Paul Thomas Anderson put Marky Mark on the map with this ode to the porn industry. Wahlberg’s portrayal is fearless and unassuming and no one saw it coming. The entire cast is stunning but few could have anticipated how well Wahlberg would hold his own against heavyweights like Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Blip: I Heart Huckabees – I heart this movie right to death. David O. Russell gave Wahlberg a juicy part in Three Kings but this movie really hits it out of the park for me. His character is such an interestingly layered mix of macho and whimsical, fevered and confused. He’s a man on the cusp but manages to play his existential crisis with sincerity and commitment.
Blip: The Departed – Mark Wahlberg nearly steals the whole show for me in this one. The ensemble is crazy packed with exceedingly good performances, but his angry, explosive detective really takes the cake. He stole scenes not easily stolen. He clearly relished the role of Sgt. Dignam and you’ll find yourself not able, or willing, to take your eyes off him.
Blip: The Fighter – Christian Bale is probably the acting antithesis of Mark Wahlberg, being all method and shit. Bale took home an Oscar for his part but Wahlberg gave a captivating performance as well, throwing himself into the role and taking a pay cut just to get the thing made.
Is it weird that the guy who did the worst Transformers and talks to a vulgar teddy bear is neck in neck with Damon and DiCaprio for best actor of his generation? Of course it is. But his grosses are consistent and these flares that he keeps sending up, these blips of excellent roles, well, they’re coming regularly enough that you have to wonder if they’re not just blips. What if Marky Mark is the real deal?