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Jun 25, 2010

The Career That Never Was

Looking for something to watch last night at 11:30, I came across So I Married an Axe Murderer. I've always enjoyed the film more than I probably should - it's not particularly brilliantly written or acted - but it has a lot of nostalgic influence on me. This is due in large part to the coffee shop alt-rock soundtrack of my later high school years that dominates it, but mostly to the performance of the still-on-SNL Mike Myers. He's hilarious when dressed up as Charlie Mackenzie's father Stuart, but he's funny and charming as Charlie himself, in a role that's probably closest to Myers' true personality than any other role we've seen him play.

And that makes sad.

You'd be hard-pressed to make the argument that Myers' career has been a failure - short of The Love Guru and The Cat in the Hat, he's been almost unequivocally successful, both
commercially and critically. His time on SNL prepped him for a career full of interesting characters, but that's part of the problem. Funny as his varied characters have been, this is one actor that we could probably stand to see more of "for real" every now and then. Short of small roles that I never saw (View from the Top, The Thin Pink Line, Mystery, Alaska) and a small film that I've never heard of (Pete's Meteor), every role Myers has had since 1993 has heavily involved the makeup chair and/or the wigmaster. To make matters worse, his most dominating presence in popular culture over the last decade has been with a franchise in which we don't see him at all. Children who grew up on the Shrek films will likely know as much about Myers as I do Mel Blanc!

Eddie Murphy has been blasted over the last 15 years for devolving from a hard-edged comic to a shiller of neverending (and painfully bad) family films, and I've been one of the people blasting him as well, but I'm starting to feel as though the latter stage of Myers' career is just as big a disappointment. There's a fourth Austin Powers film in the rumor mill lately, and a Keith Moon biopic is on the horizon for Myers' near future as well. I can't help but wonder, Mike, will we ever get a chance to see a little bit more of you in your movies?

8 people have chosen wisely: on "The Career That Never Was"

Jess said...

I love that you found Netflix Instant via Wii. I too watched Axe Murderer recently on it and was happy all day. I don't know why I like it except for the dad and the bad poetry. They're hysterical.

Mt. Wood said...

Mike is funny. Mike is funny as other characters. . .

Part of what makes Axe Murderer good is Mike Myers playing Mike Myers, and his dad. . . Its probably the most like his actual real life. . . Dad in the movie is no doubt a spoof of Dad in real life. . . Mom too. . .

But in regards to Mr. Myers, him playing other characters is fine to me. . . Would Mike really be good playing himself?

I doubt it. . . I didn't really even like Wayne's World, it was only good because of Dana Carvey, who played Garth (stole the show if you ask me.)

Besides, every Mike Meyers movie is essentially the same, and all his humor in turn, is essentially the same... Witness Austin Powers 2, 3, did they make a third one? Did they make a fourth one? I have no idea. . . I stopped watching. . .

And in regards to Love Guru, its funny if you're extremely drunk and high, other than that is sucks donkey dicks. . .

THN said...

I think there are people who want to make art house films, and movies that are important. That have a message. And then there are guys who want to be famous and make gobs of money.

Murphy and Myers seems to fit this mold. So in that regard, they are very successful.

The Rock is starting gain on them.

blake said...

Murphy and Myers are names that I steer clear of. Seriously, I give them a huge-ass birth. If I had to pick the lesser of two evils, it would probably be Myers. At least he was in Inglourious Basterds. But I'll never forgive him for any of the Austin Powers movies.

Fitz said...

It was fun seeing Myers in Basterds, I hope to see him in more movies that don't require outlandish wardrobe and a funny accent.

J.D. said...

I have a theory that Myers took the failure of AXE MURDERER pretty hard. I do get the feeling that it was his most personal film up to that point and one where he didn't rely on makeup and accents so much (his dad character fulfilled that bit). It's interesting to note that after AXE MURDERED bombed at the box office, he retreated into makeup-laden characters and hasn't looked back since. It is also one of his few films that hasn't been given special edition treatment on DVD. I guess the memories of making it and it's reception are still to painful for Myers.

Personally, I think it's the best thing he ever did.

Reel Whore said...

So I Married an Axe Murderer - as you no doubt know, is a fave film of mine. Ah, Stuart.

I miss the old Mike Myers. Every decent character (Austin Powers, Shrek) has been plowed into the culture until I'm sick at the thought of them. Some more variety and less makeup would be nice.

Fletch said...

Jess - those are certainly the high points, but I dig the relationship between LaPaglia and Arkin as well, especially since it really has no bearing on the plot.

Mt. Wood - you asked "Would Mike really be good playing himself?" Well, considering that I just defended/praised his role in Axe Murderer, in which he essentially does play himself, I'd say yes. And funny as Carvey was in WW1 and WW2, there was a lot to like in either of them where he wasn't involved.

THN - I'm not asking Myers to make important, art house films - just to make more personal ones, or at least ones set in some semblance of reality. I think he can excel there, but takes the easy way out via hiding under layers of makeup and accents. Not to say that those can't be/aren't funny, but we've seen enough of that. Just mix it up every now and then.

The Rock...don't get me started on the lost potential of that man's career. It was going great through The Rundown (and even Walking Tall), but his desire to be Eddie Murphy 2.0 has just killed him in my eyes.

Blake - I have no issue with Austin Powers 1, and 2 had its moments. Beyond that? Ugh. And yeah, I'd probably agree that he's the lesser of those two evils these days.

Fitz - his IB role was just so out of left field. I enjoyed it, but yeah, it was yet another accented role for him.

J.D. - I don't even know if I'd go that far as to say Axe Murderer is his best. I might enjoy it the most, but as I said, a lot of that is nostalgia-driven, I believe. It's eneven, for sure. I'd imagine it hasn't gotten the special edition treatment due in large part to the bombing you speak of. They must assume that if the box office was that low, why bother (apparently not paying attention to the fact that there might be a cult audience out here).

RW - Amen, brother.