I want to give a shout out to this great post on Slacktivist. Fred has been doing a long critique of the “Left Behind” series of books, and he’s recently turned to the first movie as a break from reading.
I thoroughly enjoyed his merciless critique of Kirk Cameron as an actor. Here’s just a taste:
This is where Cameron confesses that he doesn’t believe or understand that virtue is a craft and craft is a virtue. Cameron describes his life before his conversion:
“There was this aching, empty feeling that left me very disillusioned with the business I was working in,” he says. “What else was there? What else did I have to shoot for? I’d basically reached the top of the ladder, and I was 18.”
He had “reached the top of the ladder,” Cameron said. And he still seems to believe that this is true.
That’s an astonishing thing for him to believe when you realize that at this same time he was being introduced to the newest member of Growing Pains’ cast: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now certainly DiCaprio’s work as Luke Brower-Seaver, the show’s Cousin Oliver, wasn’t on the same level as the quality of work he would later go on to do, but he was already clearly a talented and committed actor. Just one year after Growing Pains was canceled he was astonishingly good in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, so I think it’s safe to assume that he was already an obviously better actor than Cameron at the time they worked together.
So for at least one year of his professional life, then, Kirk Cameron was confronted, regularly, by an example of what a real actor his own age should look like. And yet he spent all that time on the same set with and in the same scenes as DiCaprio without apparently learning anything — without even seeming to realize that he needed to learn anything.
I really have to admire how much this post hit the nail on the head in terms of what bothers me about many Christian testimonials — often they are simply incredibly arrogant about how successful they supposedly were before their conversion. The whole thing about how “I had everything, and I felt so empty.” Come on, seriously. There’s always more you can do. You never have everything. Especially if “everything” to you is being an actor with the talent level of Kirk freaking CAMERON. (I neither endorse nor reject Fred’s opinion about Leonardo, however.)