Mark Wahlberg has been in the news a lot this week, not only because he stars in Whoops, The Happening, but also because he told a British interviewer that he was glad he didn’t take a role he was offered in the Ocean’s 11 movies:
“People tell George Clooney it’s great, but we all know it sucked. I made two bad movies instead — Planet of the Apes and The Truth About Charlie — but doing that was better than sitting with Brad [Pitt] and George, telling the press how great everybody is! ‘We were in Europe, George was funny, then we had some wine…’ — that’s not for me.”
Look out, Clooney. Looks like someone just built a chateau out of snaps on the picturesque Lake Ouch, and he’s inviting you over for cocktails made with Hot Damn 100. Then Wahlberg was in the news again from the set of his new movie Max Payne, describing the character as “one of the edgier roles I’ve played but also the most layered.” In case you are not a nerd, Max Payne is a videogame character.
So somehow this got me looking up YouTubes of Mark Wahlberg, and it’s actually astonishing to see how much he’s changed over the years when you actually look at footage of him in chronological order.
Here he is in 1991. Classic.
“Good Vibrations” is basically what we all remember when we think about Mark Wahlberg, much to his supposed embarrassment. He notoriously hates when people call him Marky Mark and will walk out of interviews if someone does. But the music video doesn’t do the young Wahlberg justice. It’s this clip from his 1993 Vanity Fair photoshoot with Annie Liebowitz when you can actually hear him talk that I think presents the most interesting contrast with the Mark Wahlberg of today.
He just seems like such a young dolt. Seeing this kind of makes you wonder how on Earth he’s still famous. He’s just so primed for a historic train wreck. But somehow he managed to make it from 1993 to 1997 without any serious incident, and that’s the beginning of the turn around. He got cast in P.T. Anderson’s Boogie Nights, which I don’t think was really that much of a stretch for him: a semi-illiterate guy getting manipulated by the adult entertainment industry? Shrug. But still, he is an actor now! Charlie Rose!
Hahahha. That haircut. If I was friends with him back then, I would have been like “Hey Marky, funky haircut.” So now he is an actor. Fair enough. If Shaquille O’Neal can be an actor, Mark Wahlberg can be an actor. But I think his acting career was just kind of unremarkable until 2004, with David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees. That’s when he is able to leave behind the type-casting of a sensitive Southie toughguy who feels bad for all the fist fights he caused. That movie was the most mega-bullshit movie I’ve ever seen, but I have to say that Wahlberg was great in it.
Early on in The Happening, Mark Wahlberg, who plays a high school science teacher, chides one of his students for relying too much on his good looks and not taking enough of an interest in learning. He insists that the kid is going to get ugly and then he’s going to wish he cared more … about high school science? The scene is ridiculous and you can hear the soft patting of M. Night Shyamalan’s hand against his own back for inserting such a clever little nod to Wahlberg’s own history as an underwear-modeling pretty boy turned serious thespian. Gross. Nevertheless, it is kind of interesting to track the transition.
And for the record, there’s nothing gay about just enjoying another man’s life and sharing in his ups and downs. Just watching YouTubes of him exercising alone at home and thinking about how funny life can be. All guys do it.