Was Arnold Schwarzennegger ever about 'the acting'?

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by Hand Of Omega, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Hand Of Omega

    Hand Of Omega Well-Known Member

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    Some directors can get a better performance, its true, like James Cameron or Ivan Reitman, they know what they can build on and what they need to avoid, but was Arnold ever really about the acting? He made it fun and thats really all he had to do IMO.

    I just ask as someone I work with hates him cos he can't act. Plus, they don't like action/fantasy or sci-fi anyway, so they are in a different audience bracket in any event I suppose.
     
  2. Lord Of Tetris

    Lord Of Tetris Well-Known Member

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    Here's my defense of Arnold Schwarzenegger (and acting in general). All I ask for in a performance is that the performer gives me what I want to see. For polar opposites, let's talk about Daniel Day Lewis (DDL) and Keanu Reeves.

    A DDL performance is worth every penny. He'll research the living daylights out of any role. He will become the character. This is good. I enjoy every DDL performance, even moreso because he seeks out roles that best utilize his considerable talents. Now imagine DDL as John Connor in Terminator Salvation People have criticized Christian Bale's acting, but really, he acted just like John Connor might had he grown 20 years and gotten very, very, very grizzled. With the director and script held equal, I highly doubt even DDL could do better with the role than Christian Bale.

    Now, let's talk about Keanu Reeves. I don't think anybody believes Keanu's acting skills are anywhere near Daniel Day Lewis. If Keanu were to star in Gangs of New York, we'd have the comedy of the year. However, Keanu (much like DDL) seems to pick roles that play to his strengths. Keanu sucks at emotional acting, which doesn't seem to phase him when there are plenty of roles available such as Neo. Neo is an unemotional, stoic guy in Matrixes 2 and 3, and he's perpetually confused in Matrix 1. Again, I'm sure DDL could give us a very well-acted Neo, but the role does not require a DDL.

    So along the spectrum of Keanu Reeves and Daniel Day Lewis, I'd say Arnold actually falls somewhere in the middle. Nobody will ever meaningfully compare Arnold's acting skills to Daniel Day Lewis. Arnold as Daniel Plainview would be ludicrous, but so would DDL as Colonel John Matrix. I don't think Arnold's acting is as bad as people think. There are worse actors out there. Keanu Reeves, Freddy Prinze Jr, Chris Klein, certainly aren't better actors than Arnold.

    Technically speaking, Arnold seems to have no problem memorizing lines, standing on his mark, and delivering his lines convincingly. Arnold excels at playing a handful of archetypes, most of them basically Dutch/Colonel John Matrix with varying degrees of sarcasm. True Lies, for example, just had Arnold play any ol' Arnold stock character, but all of his lines were believable. Harry Tasker didn't have to deliver Shakespearean soliloquys, but every line was delivered well enough in character. All I ask is that the actor believes in the material, something that Hayden Christensen seemed not to do in the Star Wars prequels.

    Arnold gets results. He and his directors know what they want, and their product delivers. I don't think Arnold's agent ever knocked on his door to give him a copy of the Atonement script, just like I highly doubt anyone knocked on Daniel Day Lewis' door to offer him a role in Eraser. Are we really going to hold it against Arnold to pick movies that play to his strengths? After all, we don't hold it against Daniel Day Lewis not to pursue sci-fi shoot-em-ups.

    We can debate method acting, research, and emotional cues all day, but it's clear Arnold cannot do those things. However, Arnold has this rare, elusive quality that just makes me want to smile. His characters are usually so charming, so charismatic, so energetic, that I can't help but smile and laugh (in a good way) when I see his movies. This is a special quality that most actors fail to ever achieve.

    I can only think of a few movies where Arnold is woefully miscast (most of his later movies): The 6th Day, End of Days, Collateral Damage, etc. Look at Arnold's lengthy resume and you'll see a large proportion of well-chosen roles. Not necessarily well-acted roles, but he (and his agents) have been smart enough to pick roles that do not require any Daniel Plainview-esque acting.

    Or to summarize: Arnold movies are the bestest!
     
  3. smangerbot

    smangerbot The Holy Zombie Jesus TFW2005 Supporter

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    plus he had/has massive guns.
     
  4. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    Hercules in NY! Best Arnold Flick ever!

    If you don't think he can act, watch that movie. It will blow your mind
     
  5. Spoiler

    Spoiler Autobot Spoiler

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    I quite enjoy Arnold movies. When he is given a serious roll, he makes it believeable. As said, from Predator, Commando, Total Recall, he did the job right. Even looking at the Terminator movies..he didn't even need to talk, just look completely bad ass! Of course T2 had quite a few good lines and comedy. I mean, he had to act like a machine...and he did. Give him a comedy movie...like Twins, quite entertaining. Plus his puns...they were great. "Let off some steam Bennet"

    Now, granted, he did play in some movies that didn't hit the mark, but still managed to be entertaining, Last Action Hero, had to play an action star in a movie with all the sterotypical action rules. I still want to see that Hamlet movie, lol!
     
  6. Keiichitron

    Keiichitron Not a physicist, dammit

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    no, he wasn't, he was about the money. like 99% of actors. if you could make millions by glaring, walking menacingly, and saying 20 lines, wouldn't you?
     
  7. Spoiler

    Spoiler Autobot Spoiler

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    Well...despite it not being a great movie...Terminator 3. Arnold spent 12 million of his own money to make sure that crane chase scene stayed in the movie, because they were gonna scrap it, and being Arnold liked the scene so much, he paid to keep it in there. So...would that be considered something toward the acting?
     
  8. Keiichitron

    Keiichitron Not a physicist, dammit

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    hmm... i dunno. i do believe that it wasn't the whole chase scene, just the part where he went through glass facade of a building, taking it all out in an explosion of shards.
     
  9. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    I think he's a great character acter. As Lord of Tetris said, there's a certain kind of role that he's ideal for. Commando is my favorite film of all time, and Arnold's performance helped to reinvent action films, adding subtle comedy in with the carnage. If you look at films like Jingle all the Way and Kindergarten Cop, he can also play a convincing and endearing nice guy. He'll never play a role that doesn't have shades of lumbering brute, but that's because it's the image he created for himself.

    But honestly, most of his films focus on other aspects than acting merit in order to draw in viewers. All I can say, is that I eagerly await his potential return to Hollywood. The Rock was poised to take his torch, but after Doom, that possibility faded. Vin Diesel and Jason Statham have tried too, but they both lack any sort of charm, which Arnold's got in surplus.
     
  10. seeker311

    seeker311 The Collector

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    I think he is just a smart guy that came here, and knew just what to do to move up in any career he chose.
     
  11. Erector

    Erector I ruined the Hall of Fame

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    Fuck the best Arnie flick, one of my favourite flicks EVER.

    The fight scene with the man in a bear costume is one of the best scenes ever committed to celluloid :lol 
     
  12. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I do think he is an actor that has qualities that make him desirable for a movie, and these go beyond build and look. If was making movies just based on those, then every muscle bound guy WITHOUT a speech impediment, should be making big bucks in movies, but they weren't.

    I think you have to get away from the action movies to see his range. Probably my two favorite non-action movies by Arnold are Twins and Kindergarten Cop. I think both movies are funny and suited him well as an actor.
     
  13. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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    He movies also teach valuable life lessons. For example, you shouldn't drink and bake.
     
  14. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    Arnold has had some good roles where you could tell with a little more work with an acting coach, he coulda tackled some heftier roles and surprised us.
    True Lies, even if it was an action movie, i thought it revealed how he could juggle personas easily.

    Then, on the other hand, you get him in "End of Days" and you weep.

    Stallone has always been my favorite in the arguments over who's better only because stallone has tried something harder than guns and physical action.
    First Blood was a perfect blend of action and real, emotional acting.

    I think arnold wasn't in it for the acting as much as he saw his Bodybuilding days slipping away and he wanted to hold on to the fame, the glory for as long as he could.

    and everybody knows that you need a man like Arnold for certain types of movies.

    You can't get Seth Rogen to play Conan. or even Conan the Librarian.

     
  15. Witwicky Camaro

    Witwicky Camaro Sabbatical Is Required

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    He probably was about acting, but the end result in the long run is laughable or cringe worthy 70% of the time. He's an average actor at best, even when he's trying his hardest to be something other than the muscle bound hero who throws out one-liners. I've only ever taken him seriously as The T-800 in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Dutch in Predator. And this is probably because there was more to the movie than just "Arnold Schwarzenegger", there were other actors much more capable than he and the creature feature to keep your attention and suspension of disbelief mainained.

    He plays the menacing and robotic character perfectly and more so in the original movie because he was given very little dialogue. His accent is the most distracting aspect about him, half the time when I'm watching his films I just don't want to hear him talk because its so damn jarring.


    Actors like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel have more acting chops than he does and their images aren't so overbolwn that all I see are actors headling a movie to attract a certain type of audience.
     
  16. kidnicky

    kidnicky Well-Known Member

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    Yeah,the Rock certainly doesn't have an overblown image. Come on,the guy's only claims to fame are raising his eyebrow and cutting wrestling promos that are slow enough and repetitve enough that fans could chant along. If you smeeellllllll. What the Rock. (12 minute pause) Is cooking. Yeah,that's Oscar worthy.

    Anyway,on to Arnold,I think the guy acts well enough. The majority of his movies are basically comic books on the big screen (no disrespect to comics),he just fights and makes funny quips,so he's more than qualified. Kindergarten Cop is one of my favorite movies of all time,he really has a grasp of comedic timing and a look that lends itself to comedic situations.

    As far as him being stuck in "big menacing guy" roles,what else could he possibly do? It's not that he's not talented,it's that he's like 8 feet tall and a million pounds of pure muscle. He's going to come off like a brute no matter how well he acts.
     
  17. Lord Of Tetris

    Lord Of Tetris Well-Known Member

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    This. If Arnold did nothing with his time but star in romantic comedies and Civil War dramas, he would not be successful. Whether through choice or serendipity, Arnold movies are MASSIVE productions. We can chicken-and-egg this till the cows come home about whether Arnold's fame created the spectacle or the spectacle created the fame. But his movies have spectacle and fame.

    Arnold's name used to have so much dollar-value attached to it that the producers happily paid millions upon millions for the best directors, the best writers, the best special effects, so that the movie couldn't possibly fail.

    For example, let's talk about Commando, which also one of my favorite movies. That movie had massive spectacle! If you removed Arnold and just placed anybody in the role of Colonel John Matrix, you'd still have $50 million in explosions, car chases, and fight scenes. Commando was going to be action-packed no matter who starred.

    HOWEVER! Whether the script catered to Arnold or whether Arnold asked for script rewrites, the Commando script played perfectly to Arnold's strengths. Early on in his career, Arnold's strengths were essentially grunting and holding huge guns with an intense expression. Even if you got Robert De Niro to play Colonel John Matrix, the script simply does not provide any Oscar-worthy acting moments.

    As Arnold's career progressed, his acting actually legitimately got pretty darn good. He was never going to win any Oscars, but I challenge anybody to say he was a bad actor in True Lies, Jingle All The Way, or Kindergarten Cop. He can act. It just so happens that most of his movies do not require any stretching of any thespian's talent. And besides, if I wanted to see a 3-hour epic drama where women in Victorian dresses win Academy Awards for weeping and faking an accent, I wouldn't be watching an Arnold movie in the first place.

    I WILL, however, happily watch any movies involving Arnold reciting Shakespearean dialogue. Call me a lunatic, but I REALLY want to see a 2-hour version of Arnold's Hamlet. But the status of that movie can best be summed up by this:

    "To be or not to be? Not to be."
     
  18. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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    Collateral Damage is very underated and very good Arnold movie as well.
     
  19. Hand Of Omega

    Hand Of Omega Well-Known Member

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    Um, thorough. I agree with every word. EOD and CD are two of my favourites.

    It has. Its worth watching just to, well, watch it. Its mesmerising, especially with that dubbed performance! :popcorn 

    LAH was perfect for him and 'real world' bits aside, it was a good ride. I would have preferred the kid stay in the movie instead of Arnold going to his world too, but, hey, I didn't write the film.
    'Arnold Schwarzenegger is HAMLET' - that could well be a quirky hit.

    Absolutely.

    Also, absolutely. Spot on, my thoughts exactly.

    I may be alone here, but he should have gotten some sort of award for TWINS - DeVito was the better actor, but Arnold did such a memorable job.

    One of my favourite Arnold films. Sure, its Delaurentiis capitalising on the Terminator hype, but its a good film nonethless.

    Agreed.
     

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