April 21, 2008

Win A Date With Ted Hamilton: A Knock On Wood

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There are some things that our world could just do without. Examples that come to mind include poverty, war and Uggs. To this illustrious list, I propose the addition of another malicious element whose continued existence threatens our collective well-being: I speak, of course, of Elijah Wood.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing this androgynous pixie on screen should know what I’m talking about. Wood is, quite simply, one of the most annoying actors of our time. Endowed with the unique ability to negate anything of merit in a movie of which he is a part, Elijah leaves his viewers crying for mercy — or at least for a gun.
Elijah’s firm status as a Hollywood leading man is one of the great mysteries of modern film. His breakout moment came with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which he starred as Frodo, the hairy-footed hobbit; prior to that, he was featured in such classics as Flipper and Deep Impact. His start in the movie business was as a cute little kid with creepy blue eyes (boy, was he adorable) and, unfortunately, little has changed in the years since. Wood is one of those mediocre child stars who cling to their fame against all odds; He has inexplicably climbed the ranks of stardom even as it has become uncomfortably obvious that he has not yet hit puberty (still waiting for armpit hair at age 27 — so sad).
But what exactly is so bad about E.W., you ask? For starters, his face. I can’t stand to look at it for more than 10 seconds because it’s constantly frozen into an expression that I suspect is meant to convey profound emotional confusion — slight furrowing of the brows, glaring eyes, a pouty little grimace; all I see is constipation/autism. Second, Elijah Wood is the only person I’ve ever seen who even remotely resembles Elijah Wood.
Let me explain: Movies, for the most part, are supposed to be believable. Even if we don’t buy that Sauron is about to destroy Middle-Earth, we can still relate to the main characters in the story because they resemble people we know. Problem is, I just can’t relate to this impish man-child. Never in my life have I come across a human being who looks or acts as odd as Elijah. Frankly, it’s scary.
(Side note: I’m aware, through a female friend, that there is a small subculture of movie fans who actually find Elijah Wood attractive. I commend this bunch on their unusual taste, as they demonstrate that even the most unfortunate of God’s creations can be loved.)
It’s true I’ve never been an Elijah Wood fan — I’ll admit that much right now. But my true hate only began last semester when I saw, for the first time, an excellent movie called Green Street Hooligans. The film is about a Harvard student who gets framed by his roommate for having drugs and is forced to drop out of school; he goes to London to see his sister and gets involved with the footballing tomfoolery of his wild brother-in-law. Violence, drama and emotional epiphanies ensue. It’s a wonderfully written work and everything falls into place … except, of course, for the Woodmeister. His presence very nearly ruins the movie, and it’s an unforgivable sin.
Take, for example, a scene from the middle of the film: Elijah has been involved in his first few scraps on the street, and suddenly, we’re led to believe, he’s become a tough guy — self-confident, quick with the fists, not willing to take shit from nobody. We watch as he walks down the road with a menacing gait and an absolutely smoldering expression on his face. It’s enough to make you break into hysterics.
The notion of Elijah Wood as a badass is absurd; the film nearly collapses into self-parody and mediocrity right there. What’s worse, there’s the usual Wood crap, too — confused expressions, high-pitched bitching, etc. They couldn’t have done worse casting Andy Dick in the role, for God’s sake.
So why does Elijah Wood continue to get acting jobs then? If he’s so horrible, why is he still around? I personally think a lot of it has to do with money. Wood got the break of his life when The Lord of the Rings came around — I mean, he really does look like a hobbit (or an elf, or something like that). When the trilogy turned out to be a cash cow, the studio big-shots figured they had a star on their hands. Little did they realize that the ability to play an insecure, pigmy-like fantastical creature does not a good thespian make. We’ve all been living with the consequences ever since.
But I don’t want to come off as a curmudgeon; really, in general, I think about Elijah Wood as little as possible. There are some things, though, a man just can’t tolerate and, for me, the fact of Elijah Wood’s existence is one of them. I can only hope that in time the whole thing will be revealed as some vast cosmic joke. Until then, I’ll try my best not to look too confused.