Saturday, January 19, 2013
Washed-up old man -- er, men
So who's more washed up, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Johnny Knoxville?
The tagline for The Last Stand is "Retirement is for sissies," so at least we know which one is the sissy: Schwarzenegger, because he chose to retire.
Knoxville just stopped being in things.
Granted, it was never all that likely that a fruitful acting career would spring from Knoxville's origins as a charismatic daredevil willing to expose his body to a gauntlet of torture and abuse. But for awhile it was looking like it might. In the early- to mid-2000s, he was going pretty strong with roles in Big Trouble, Men in Black II, Lords of Dogtown and Dukes of Hazzard. And proving he was no mere beneficiary of the more forgiving standards of mainstream cinema, he also appeared in a John Waters movie, A Dirty Shame.
However, around 2005, he stopped appearing in projects that were not directly some kind of spinoff of his formative Jackass series. It's unclear from some quick internet searches whether this was his choice or others'. But I tend to think that most people who quit acting are forced out. It's like the athlete who chooses to retire while his/her services are still in healthy demand. It does happen, but it's extremely rare. And Knoxville was, or should have been, in the prime of his career.
In the last year or two he's begun dabbling in some apparently straight-to-video titles, and he did appear in last year's Fun Size. We are also going to see him in next month's Movie 43, which I'm really anticipating. So maybe he lost the acting bug and then got it again. Or maybe there were personal issues. Like I said, a quick internet search doesn't give me any answers.
I can say that the net result is to slightly taint Schwarzenegger's comeback by giving it a straight-to-video feel. The January release date already does that to some degree. The billing of Knoxville as the movie's most prominent co-star only completes the tainting. They could have gone with Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare or Luis Guzman, but I guess those guys don't really have "poster names."
I'll definitely be catching up with this on video in May or June, though. I am as curious as anyone to see if Schwarzenegger's still got it. Though apparently, not curious enough to have watched Expendables 2 to make that same assessment.