As you may recall, this is the Year of Channing Tatum (case in point: Ryan Lochte), and I’m ranking every movie I see by how Channing Tatum it is, because it seemed like a fun idea six months ago and now I’m stuck with it. New additions to the list are in bold, actual Channing Tatum movies are in italics. If a movie isn’t in bold, I probably talked about it in one of my previous posts on this very important subject. Here we go, from least to most Channing Tatum:
20. Beasts of the Southern Wild - I mean, can you even imagine this movie being in the same sentence as Channing Tatum? I guess Hushpuppy has some Tatum-like qualities, but, really, let’s not force this.
19. Sound Of My Voice
18. Moonrise Kingdom
17. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - If Channing Tatum took a pass at this script, things would be a liiiiiittle different, let me tell you. First of all, Steve Carell’s wife leaves him in the first scene? That wouldn’t happen if it was Channing. Too unbelievable. Next, how come the main character never takes his shirt off? Like does he never have to take a shower or go swimming or change clothes? It’s really unrealistic that we never see the main character without his shirt on. Also, a big asteroid is going to destroy the earth? What if instead of just going on some pointless road trip, the protagonist goes to where the asteroid is going to hit and when it’s about to land, he just gives the asteroid sad puppy dog eyes and then it explodes into a million pieces? Then he’s sweating, because it was really intense puppy dog eyes, so he takes his shirt off. Then he picks up a kitten and just kind of holds it, with his shirt off.
I actually really loved Seeking a Friend — I thought it was really gentle and sweet and hopeful without betraying its dark premise — but it seems like nobody else liked it, so I guess I was wrong?
15. Cabin in the Woods
14. Celeste and Jesse Forever - Andy Samberg plays a lovable goof who has some growing up to do. Remind you of anyone?!?!?!!? Rashida Jones, did you even think about casting Channing Tatum in your small movie about feelings? He would have nailed it!!!!
13. Brave - This movie has a good schmear of Channing in all the boys-will-be-boys posturing and rampaging of Merida’s father and his many frenemies. I love that Pixar finally made a movie where the lead protagonist is a female, BUUUUUT what’s great about Pixar is how they make movies about things like bugs and monsters and robots and rats, so why did their first female main character have to be a princess? I get that she’s a princess whose primary function isn’t falling in love and I get that the princess-mother relationship is a weirdly unexplored one in this genre, but even the reluctant princess feels like a bit of a stock trope at this point, and to me Brave felt more Disney than Pixar, and as far as Channings go, more Stockard than Tatum.
12. Chronicle - Yeah! Dudes wailing on each other! Bloody noses! Now we’re talking! This movie is dripping with Tatumtosterone but I have to ding it slightly for spending so much time on the moody outcast character at the expense of developing all the other more Channing-like characters. What about that cool, popular kid that everyone likes? What’s his story?
11. The Raid: Redemption
10. Wanderlust - This one gets surprisingly high marks by winning the Channing Tatum award for Most Shirts Off. An out of nowhere upset by Wanderlust. Well-maneuvered, Wanderlust.
9. Snow White and the Huntsman
8. The Dark Knight Rises - Love it or hate it, I think everyone can at least agree that The Dark Knight Rises is a bad movie that is stupid and not good. But there are a few not terrible parts! More relevant to this list, there are some very Channing Tatum-y parts. For example, the bat-voice. I think after three movies we can finally say definitively that Batman’s affected tough guy growl is fucking stupid. It’s the kind of thing Channing would try out in rehearsal and the director would be like, “Uhhhh, what are you doing? Just talk like a normal person.” But of course you can’t say that to Christian Bale or he’ll throw you down a flight of stairs.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man - Channing-style action plus Channing-style soppy romance. What else could you possibly want in a movie? You know, other than a single reason to exist outside of Sony’s desire to retain the rights to the Spider-Man franchise by rehashing a story everyone knows to death by now. This is maybe the most narratively unnecessary movie of all time, but I will retroactively give it some points for gutsy followthrough if in the sequel Gwen Stacy does the one thing that the character of Gwen Stacy is most famous for doing in the comics.
5. The Avengers
4. 21 Jump Street
3. Step Up Revolution - Even without Channing Tatum (spoiler: he does NOT make a surprise cameo, trust me, I waited all the way through the credits), the franchise carries on in fine Channing Tatum tradition: good-looking people staring off dully into middle distance and taking their shirts off. It’s a fine movie for what it is, and it mostly knows what it is, but it does have one of the most amazingly tin-eared happy endings I’ve ever seen.
So the whole movie is about these local poor kids in Florida who love to dance. Peter Gallagher comes into town and he tries to price out all the local small businesses so he can make room for a big soulless development to house his gigantic mutant eyebrows. So the locals start protest-dancing in order to fight back. It’s all very 99% vs. 1% and there’s a lot of talk about suits vs. artists, and the Man, and the cruel callousness of huge corporations.
Then in the end, the dancers stage this big protest. Peter Gallagher vows to change his ways, and a guy in a suit goes up to the dancers and says, “Hi, I’m an executive from Nike and we’ve been looking for some kids like you to head up a new viral marketing campaign.” And Oh my God, the dance crew can’t wait to sell out to Nike. Like they can’t become the thing they spent the whole movie hating fast enough. And there is zero internal debate. The suit makes his offer and one of the main dancers — the one who’s had the biggest chip on his shoulder the whole movie — literally says, “Where do I sign?!” grinning madly.
2. The Vow
1. Magic Mike - I mean, obviously, right?