As I mentioned in passing in my post the other day, I’ve noticed lady actors often have to work harder than men. Men in acting are allowed to “go subtle,” probably because the directors have heteronormative notions about what looks cool from masc characters. I think that sucks. Men flipping out have been very memorable and cool in cinema history. Se7en Brad’s “What’s in the box?!,” young Mel tremblin’ and shakin’ in Lethal Weapon, lots of guys in Hong Kong cinema.
High key moments aside, even being expressive in casual scenes is surprisingly amiss in dudes. I feel like a big reason young Bruce Willis was a sex symbol was that he bothered to fuckin’ smile in his movies. Arch an eyebrow, look at someone sideways. Use your facial muscles, guys.
I’m mostly noticing this in TV. Steven Amell‘s tiny eyeballs would be hard-pressed to register an emotion, so maybe he has an anatomical disadvantage compared to the rest of the cast of his show. I’m watching all the episodes of Dead Zone I missed back when it aired, and as much as I want to like Anthony Michael Hall, he is usually dead-faced as hell. This was at its worst in the episode when he had a one-night thing with his ex. All the tension and drama throughout the season, Nicole de Boer looking at him with a face brimming with intense feels, and AMH was just kinda standing there bugging his eyes out.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that due to cultural expectations and dramatic conventions, they just gotta play it cool 99% of the time. They still need to let it out of the bottle when it counts. The aforementioned scene in Dead Zone? Way undercut by the man’s acting.
The most comical example ever had to come from the otherwise pretty decent Sam Waterston early in his run on Law & Order. There was an episode where a lady he’d worked with in the past got busted for an ethical violation, which she said she did in his name, because they were having hawt romantical naked torrid hawt affairs. That actress – Laila Robins – was falling all over herself to show that she had some kind of intimate connection with Sam’s character Jack McCoy. Bedroom eyes all the time, slouching around like Mae West. And for all that? Waterston wobbled uncomfortably in his starched collar like an asexual quail.
too hawt for quails
Not that there’s anything wrong with some quails being asexual, but they seem miscast opposite a siren. It was unintentionally funny, but also emblematic of the prob. Men need to work harder in the acting game. And not like Jared Leto.