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Batman vs. Jack Reacher

August 25, 2012

[J.P.’s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM and 96.1 FM in Reno. Listen to Broad View live Saturdays at 2:00 PM Pacific Time.]

So I went to see the latest Batman movie: The Dark Knight Rises.  As everybody knows, I have a love-hate relationship with the movies.  I love the medium but I hate Hollywood because it’s populated with the dumbest, sleaziest, most adamantly misguided nitwits in the world, all of them (so it seems) clamoring for a chance to express poorly-informed political opinions and ruin whatever enjoyment I’m trying to glean from their productions.

Usually when I mention a movie like this, I immediately start trashing it but this time... this time there was something even worse than Christian Bale rasping and growling his way through another Batman role: during the coming attractions they advertised a movie titled Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is a character in a series of novels by Lee Child that happens to be my favorite reading material.  So I should be excited that Hollywood is making a movie about the guy, right?

No, because Hollywood people are like the government—they screw up everything they touch.  They screw things up by expressing stupid political opinions to the point where I can’t stand to look at them (à la Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin), they screw things up by injecting those same stupid political opinions into movie plots (à la Fair Game and every movie about the war in Iraq), they screw things up being preternaturally ignorant (à la The Eagle and The Grey), and they screw things up with outlandishly inappropriate casting decisions.

For example, how many times can we watch anorexic 90-pound Angelina Jolie with arms like willow twigs beating up two-hundred-fifty-pound musclemen before we start throwing popcorn at the screen?  It’s absurd.  It’s like they aren’t even trying to cast someone appropriate.  How about Rosie O’Donnell as Betty Rubble?  That one really hurt because like a lot of adolescent boys I had fantasies about Betty Rubble—she was hot.  (Yes, I know she’s a cartoon but still.)  Remember when William Shatner played a Comanche?  Don’t worry, nobody else does either because nobody went to see it.  Just thinking about Captain Kirk as a Comanche was enough to keep us away from that one.  Anthony Hopkins once played a black man in a movie where his love interest was Nicole Kidman playing a janitor.  The casting department must have been drunk.  It’s a wonder they didn’t add Arnold Schwarzenegger as Nicole’s gay hairdresser and have arch-liberal Josh Brolin playing George Bush... oh wait, they did cast Brolin as Bush, didn’t they?

Maybe the all time worst casting decision was John Wayne as Genghis Khan.  The Mongols were fierce but they were only five and a half feet tall and rode little four-foot-high critters from the Asian steppes called Przjevalski horses.  John Wayne was six foot four and could probably fit a Przjevalski horse in his pocket.

As the ladies keep telling you, Hollywood: size does matter.

It certainly matters in the Jack Reacher novels.  Jack Reacher is described by author Lee Child as an ex-U.S. Army Military Policeman who is 6'5" tall and weighs about 250 pounds with no body fat.  He’s massive and his massiveness is neither arbitrary nor irrelevant.  Size is critical to the storyline and modus operandi of almost everything that happens in these novels.  See, the American military is full of dangerous people—Special Forces, martial arts experts, and every kind of highly trained killer imaginable—so naturally the people assigned to arrest those people when they misbehave—the MPs—have to be very large and very tough.  Not only is Jack Reacher huge, as the son of a Marine he grew up constantly fighting on various military bases so his forehead and jaw are thick and hard, too.  Get the picture?  He’s big.  When Jack Reacher fights, he wades in and breaks things and the fight is over in about three seconds.

But he’s smart, too.  Everybody looks at his size and underestimates his intelligence which gives him an added advantage when he’s investigating.  In other words, even when it comes to mental ability his physical size is germane.

How many times so far have I mentioned that Jack Reacher is a large man?  Ten times at least?  Well, guess who they cast in the role of this 6’5”, 250-pound, ex-MP antihero from my favorite series of novels—five-foot-two-inch Tom Cruise.

I kid you not.

Tommy Top Gun, who officially lists himself as five foot seven but is probably closer to five-foot-nothing without his elevator shoes and a perch on the Bridge to Total Freedom, is practically a midget.  I’ve got a photograph here of Cruise wearing elevator shoes standing next to 5’4” Paula Patton who is wearing flat-soled slippers and she actually looks taller than him:

Heck, even Angelina Jolie with her willow-twig arms could beat him up.

What was Hollywood thinking?  There are thirteen Jack Reacher novels (so far) and Lee Child has sold 40 million books.  In other words, a lot of guys will be getting mighty angry when this dumb movie comes out in December and they see tiny Tom Cruise playing the part.  All the special effects and elevator shoes in the world won’t make this work.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

“Maybe I'm too masculine.  Casting directors cast in their own, or an idealized image.  Maybe I don't look like anybody's ideal.”—Charles Bronson

“All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.”—Mark Twain

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

August 31, 2012 - Really think that the MM who comments on your post is Michelle Malkin from Fox News and creator of Twitchy. I remember her from her early blogging days before she was well known and she always commented as MM. That and the location Colorado where she lives. I wouldn't be surprised. Hoping all your hard work is getting noticed. – Samantha, Michigan
J.P. replies: That would be cool.  I certainly admire Michelle Malkin.

August 27, 2012 - Jeez, you're so right, JP. Tom Cruise couldn't even begin to look, act or even distanlty remind anybody who reads the Lee Child novels of Jack Reacher (second to my hubby, a large, retired NSW master chief, Jack's my hero, as well). I have mixed feelings about seeing this film, because the last thing I need is to have the lame lefties of Hollywood ruin Jack Reacher for me as they've butchered so many other novels and characters I've enjoyed. :-( – Mrs Wolf, New York

August 26, 2012 - Yup... that's what I said when I heard Tom Cruise was cast as Jack Reacher. Are you shitting me??!!?? Been reading Lee Child since his first book was published...never, never, never pictured Tom Cruise. Closest i came was thinking of Josh Brolin in the role (yes he's a liberal, but he's big, and he actually can act). Oh well. I'll stick to the books. – Carol, Kansas
J.P. replies: I was thinking Steve Austin or John Cena:

August 26, 2012 - So true, so true. Didn't you know that Hollywood and the Federal Govt is one in the same? Almost every politician who has lost his job thru wrongdoing or scandal ends up on tv in some form or fashion. I guess it must be pretty hard to go see a movie with you, huh?! – Somewhere in Flint, Michigan

August 26, 2012 - Oh man, really, Cruise? That blows. Hilarious post too dude. – MM, Colorado

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