You might not remember, but this is the Year of Channing Tatum (even though the new G.I. Joe was pushed back to next year so they could work in, no joke, MORE CHANNING TATUM), so I’ve been ranking every movie I see in terms of how Channing Tatum-y it is.
New additions to the list are in bold, actual Channing Tatum movies are in italics. In this case, I talked about all the actual Channing Tatum movies in my last post on the subject.
10. Sound Of My Voice — Brit Marling, the star and co-writer of last year’s fantastic Another Earth, is 2 for 2 as far as I’m concerned in making smart, fragile and surprisingly moving sci-fi-ish movies, and 0 for 2 in making the kinds of movies Channing Tatum would star in. There is nothing Channing Tatum-y about this movie at all, and trust me, I was looking. I don’t know if Brit Marling and director Zal Batmanglij were trying to make a Channing Tatum movie, but if so, F.
9. Moonrise Kingdom — This is the kind of movie Channing Tatum is going to be doing in thirty years, if he’s smart. I think Bruce Willis could be a good role model career-wise. What did I think of this movie? Look, me, Wes Anderson is never going to make another Rushmore, a movie that for all its whimsical trappings still feel likes it exists in the real world or something like it. I would put Wes Anderson movies into three distinct eras: 1) The Owen Wilson Years (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) — I’m not sure if it was co-writer Wilson that kept these movies grounded or if Wes just felt more tentative about pushing his own style, but this is my favorite era. 2) Serious Movies For Grown-Ups (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited) — these movies replace real sadness (Dead mother! Suicide attempt!) with real tragedy (On-screen violent deaths! ). I imagine after Tenenbaums, these are the movies where Wes thought, hey I might be able to win an Oscar here, but his increasingly fanciful form can’t sustain the seriousness of the themes he wants to explore. These movies are wildly ambitious, but for me, they don’t stick the landing, and the whole thing comes off as shallow. (However, The Hotel Chevalier, the companion short to The Darjeeling Limited, is a dark beauty that fits in nicely with his earlier work.) 3) Full Tilt Whimsy (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom) — Here, Anderson fully embraces his flair for visual storytelling. Every frame is gorgeous and the stories are simpler to better support the look-don’t-touch aesthetic. It seems Anderson has found his wheelhouse here. Watching kids and stop-motion animals inch awkwardly toward sexuality and spout too-true emotional pearls is loads more moving and appropriate than watching stunted adults do it. There are ripples of real emotion and pain here (Thank God!), but the films are otherwise dioramas. The lower stakes actually work in these movies’ favor, because the fetishistic visual detail doesn’t feel quite so inappropriate. For better or worse, no one can describe either of these movies as “a mess.”
8. Prometheus — Can we all agree that Michael Fassbender is like the gentleman’s Channing Tatum? This movie is a tedious slow-drip of nonsense, followed by one amazing gruesome alien abortion sequence, followed by a slightly shorter tedious slow-drip of nonsense. I’m sure there’s a great movie in there, somewhere, but this isn’t it. Honestly? Could’ve used a little Channing Tatum.
7. Cabin in the Woods — This was a little too clever to be a Channing Tatum movie. I loved it personally, but if I had to give notes on how to make it more Channing Tatum-y, I’d say, Can we dumb this down a notch or twelve?
6. The Raid: Redemption — This movie was pretty Channing Tatum-y in that I guess it was good, for what it was, but I also found it pretty tremendously boring and there wasn’t a lot there for me to care about. Kind of like Dear John, but with more brutal depictions of grisly murders.
5. Snow White and the Huntsman — This movie is a dire incomprehensible slog, but it’s also admittedly very very good-looking. I kind of think dating Channing Tatum would be a lot like watching this movie. Like you’d be constantly alternating between gaping at the lush visuals and making snarky comments to your friends. It would be kind of cool at first but ultimately I think you’d end up being pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.
3. The Avengers — I am aware that on my Tatumometer, I am ranking this above an actual Channing Tatum movie, which is a dangerous precedent, but couldn’t you just see Channing Tatum as one of the studlier Avengers? Like as a Thor or a Captain America? Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t slather Channing up in green paint Lou-Ferrigno-style and have him run around punching buildings while grunting. Maybe that’s in the deleted scenes.
2. 21 Jump Street
1. The Vow