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From the Wire: Criticizing Your Own Movies

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire November 1, 2012 at 1:40PM

What it means when an actor bashes one of the past works to promote a new one.
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"Turner and Hooch."
"Turner and Hooch."

As noted by Slate's Brow Beat blog, several of the actors involved with the new film "Cloud Atlas" have been promoting it by bashing their older work. Hugo Weaving told Collider that playing the voice of Megatron in the "Transformers" movies was "meaningless" to him, while Tom Hanks qualified his praise for the film (which he compared to "the most extraordinary movie I've ever seen") by noting "It's not like I'm pushing 'Turner and Hooch' or 'Angels and Demons.'" That inspired Brow Beat to compile a list of other notable examples of actors throwing their own filmography under the bus, like when Mark Wahlberg admitted at a press conference that M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" was kind of completely awful:

"It is what it is. F—ing trees, man. The plants. F— it.” 

Like Weaving and Hanks, Wahlberg made his comments in the context of promoting another movie; in his case, it was 2010's "The Fighter." And while I appreciate the candor, and I don't doubt their honesty (like I'm going to disagree that "Transformers" is meaningless?), let's not forget how this game is played. After all, when "Angels and Demons" came out, Hanks seemed to like it okay. Don't believe me? Just ask Tom Hanks:

Yeah that "Angels and Demons" sure is a "fabulous game... loaded with subtext." Or it's a piece of junk. Whatever.

Again, I'm not picking on Hanks; merely observing that when you've made something quote-unquote "important" (like "Cloud Atlas" or "The Fighter") one of the easiest ways to prove its importance is by retroactively belittling something you made in the past that was "unimportant." I happen to like "Cloud Atlas" quite a bit, and Hanks probably does too. But if ten years from now he's promoting another movie, would you really be that surprised if he took a couple of good natured shots at it? "Can you believe what they had me doing and saying in that movie? A Cockney gangster with a buzz cut and mutton chops?"

Until that new movie comes out, it's always a masterpiece. After that, well, things change. And, hey, I kind of like "Turner and Hooch."

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This article is related to: Tom Hanks, Cloud Atlas


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