It’s been quite a lovely & warm September but today’s rainy weather with high only in the mid 50s definitely signals the end of Summer. Yup, tank-top weather is done, over, finito. Well at least there’s the beautiful foliage to look forward to, and then the brrrrrrr months will be here for the next five months!
What does the weather have anything to do with Jason Bateman? Well, nothing really, other than it seems as if it’s been raining Bateman lately. You know the feeling when you suddenly notice an actor in just about everything you see or read? Well, as I read about movies a whole lot before actually seeing them, that’s how I feel about the former 80s child star. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’d certainly rather watch more of Bateman than say, Seth Rogen.
Just this year alone, he has done no less than FIVE movies: State of Play, Extract, Up in the Air, The Invention of Lying, and Couples Retreat. And this busy dude has already got three flicks in the works for 2010: Arrested Development movie, The Baster (with Jennifer Aniston, ugh!) and the recently announced Hancock sequel.
I’ve only seen one episode of Arrested Development, so I’m curious to see it as a feature film. Now, I’m not thrilled about the last two projects, I mean seriously, how many mediocre rom-coms can miss Aniston stomach? I for one cannot fathom how she managed to snatch some fetching leading men (Aaron Eckhart in Love Happens, and my fave Scot Gerry Butler in next year’s The Bounty) whilst simply extending her ‘Rachel Green’ persona in one pedestrian flick after another. As for Hancock, I can’t be bothered to see it given the unanimously abysmal reviews, but some have said Bateman’s probably the best thing in that flick (that’s saying a lot given the leading man is Will Smith!).
It’s been a long steady climb to stardom for Bateman, but after a series of small roles in TV and movies, he’s finally hit it big. He has Mitch Hurwitz — creator of Arrested Development — to thank for as that show was pretty much the key to his big break. This is what he told USA Today:
“Obviously, I couldn’t be more grateful. This is all I know how to do. If Arrested Development didn’t come along, I don’t know what I would be doing.”
I’m happy for him. Bateman is the kind of actor whose presence is always welcome in my book. He’s so darn likable — effortlessly so I might add — that he just lights up the screen no matter how small his role is. He is the comic relief even in serious flicks like The Kingdom and State of Play, even playing a slimeball in the latter, you still can’t help but like the guy. M. Carter astutely summed out his ‘nice guy’ quality in her Extract review: “At the center of all this is Bateman, who couldn’t play mean if his life depended on it. Too vulnerable and empathetic, that one. He’s so earnest a guy it’s impossible not to like him…” She elaborated a bit more in her comments section: “I’m not sure it’s possible to DISLIKE Jason Bateman — I mean, he has that kind of well-meaning Everyman quality that’s endearing. But I’d love to see him do something totally out of character, like play a villain or a murderer in something. It might not be believable, but I’m eager to see if he has range…”
Now, I like Bateman’s work but I agree wholeheartedly with her assessment. I think in a way perhaps he’s a bit like Aniston (gasp! I know, I know, how dare I?) in that even in a variety of roles, the essence of the characters he plays is pretty much the same. With that said, I respect him for his ability to select good quality projects to be in — which is something I cannot say about Jen, despite owning her own production company.
Thus, I haven’t given up hope that one day Bateman will surprise us with a killer role (literally or otherwise), but until then, I’m looking forward to see him in The Invention of Lying (Ricky Gervais is one shrewdly hilarious Brit, but I hope this will be better than Ghost Town); and even more so, the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost wacky sci-fi comedy Paul in which Bateman plays a special agent. I read about this last month, the story centers on two British comic-book geeks who are traveling across the U.S. and encounter an alien outside of Area 51. The real-life buddies Pegg and Frost co-wrote the script in their fourth collaboration on screen, in roles that are definitely tailor-made for them. As a fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I’ll be adding this one to my Most Anticipated Flicks of 2010 list!
In any case, Mr. Bateman is definitely on a roll now and he wishes to stay there. As he told USA Today, he hopes for the type of career longevity enjoyed by Gene Hackman and Bill Murray. “This is a tough town to live in if you’re not relevant. I’m not making my decisions based on the fear of that. But there’s a reason people have a long career. And it’s because they’re doing respectful work. I really want to be in that group,” he said in the interview.
With such a good head on his shoulders, he should be able to manage that.