Saturday, January 20, 2018

In which I instruct Christian Bale on the romantic comedy

In an interview with the Guardian Newspaper the actor Christian Bale was asked if he has considered acting in a Romantic Comedy.

"Uh-oh." I thought.

Why did I think "Uh-oh"? 

It's hard to answer that.

Maybe because the romantic comedy is the bastard child of cinema. Something that can always be knocked to the ground and stepped on to make one's cinema bonafides eight inches taller.

"Wow, that escalated quickly." Someone says. I'm not sure who, and I hope they're not sticking up for the anti-romantic comedy bullies.

"Oh. No. I'm not!" They reply with alarm. "I'm just concerned at the vehemence in your analogy."

Yes, sure, it's just, well, let's take a look at what the acclaimed actor responded to the question:

Bale bats the question back with what sounds like a challenge. “Have you ever enjoyed a romantic comedy?” I pause and he presses the point. “Have you ever enjoyed a romantic comedy?”

Now at this point I know that I am happy with neither Christian Bale nor the interviewer. And I am so outraged I really should stop reading the interview. But then I remember; I'm on the Internet. If I'm not outraged on the Internet then I'm not doing it correctly. So I yell at the computer:


Actually I go on yelling for quite awhile as there is no one to stop me, which says a lot about the Internet. But after yelling out the titles of 112 Romantic Comedy titles that I am particularly fond of, I stop and say to my screen and to the interviewer: "Don't say it." even though I know he will, only in part because he cannot hear me. 

The interview continues:

A few, I say, but my mind blanks.
“Can you name ’em?”
Er, When Harry Met Sally.


There really is nothing wrong with When Harry Met Sally. It is almost surely in the top ten of Meg Ryan's Romantic Comedies, probably. I'd have to check. But it is the uninformed person's answer, the simple answer, the Romantic Comedy hater's answer.
Oh the hell with it, it's the wrong answer.

But not for Christian Bale. It naturally makes perfect sense to him. He says:

“That’s going back quite a ways, isn’t it? You’re hard pressed.” He shakes his head. “I was asked to do a romantic comedy recently and I thought they’d lost their minds. Cats have those insane half hours every evening. I think it must have been that for the production company. 

Now I am obliged to mention that I think Christian Bale is not a bad actor. The Big Short might be the best movie I've seen of the last several years. Unfortunately he has also been in one of the worst movies I've ever seen (I'm Not There), and probably the actual worse movie I've ever watched, the truly hideous Dark Knight Rises.
But everyone makes mistakes. And I also enjoyed Little Women, which he was in, a long time ago. Oh, and there's Howl's Moving Castle, which is almost halfway to being a Romantic Comedy. 
Anyway, I need to unpack his statement a bit. First, having to go back a ways for a good Romantic Comedy might have something to do with how hardly anyone is allowed to make them anymore, probably because no male stars will act in them. And two, maybe they asked you, Christian Bale, to do a Romantic Comedy because they thought you could act. Maybe they thought you might have range, diversity, wider interest. Maybe they thought you might like to not have to lose or gain 60 pounds for a role, or glower, kill, or sulk. Maybe they thought you might like to see just how charming you can be.

Which he might find is harder than he thought.

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