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Bad Movie Tuesday: The Next Three Days

November 29, 2011

In 2005 Russell Crowe got mad and threw a cell phone. The cell phone hit a man in the face. One year later Crowe starred in A Good Year. The film tried to rehab Crowe’s image and reestablish him as an ordinary man. A Good Year made only seven million dollars and scored an abysmal 25% score on Rotten Tomatoes. His next two headlining films American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma compiled a 86% score and collected 185 million. What was the difference?

When Russell Crowe plays a genius, captain, gladiator, cowboy or boxer his movies collected 800 million (in the USA). However, when he plays a regular reporter, small town hockey player, husband, businessman or fat CIA guy the movies only made 124 million. That is a difference of 676 million dollars. Here is a great example. Robin Hood had a %43 score and State of Play collected a 83% score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Robin Hood made $68 million more. People like Crowe with weapons.

Another interesting tidbit is that Critics tend to dislike Crowe as a normal guy.  When Crowe plays a badass the average Rotten Tomatoes score is 75.8%. When Crowe plays a milquetoast man the ranking drops down to 50.2%. The 50.2 was helped by State of Play’s 83%

Sidenote: I’ve left out LA Confidential, Virtuosity and The Quick and the Dead because he was part of an ensemble and not the lead.

The weird thing is that Crowe’s regular guy films were directed by Ridley Scott, Paul Haggis, Kevin Macdonald and  Jay Roach. These directors have made aliens, Scottish kings, swinging spies and crashes believable. However, they couldn’t make Russell Crowe a successful regular guy. I wager that it would be easier for all the king’s men to put Humpty Dumpty back together than make Crowe an everyday dude.

One thing I noticed about Crowe in The Next Three Days is that he has one facial expression the entire film. It seems like he is acting whereas in action films he becomes the character. Take a look at these pictures he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

Look at this picture from Gladiator and you can tell Crowe is more at ease in an action setting.

The Next Three Days should have been tense. However, the movie doesn’t work with Crowe as the lead. The movie should have been rewritten as opposed to having Russell try to make the character work. Matthew Broderick or Jay Baruchel should have been the lead. The same thing happened to the remake of Straw Dogs. Dustin Hoffman was the lead in the original. However, James Marsden was cast as the nerd in the remake. Marsden played a superhero in X-Men and should never have been cast as a weakling.

Crowe perfectly embodied Maximus the gladiator. You never once noticed that it was Crowe playing a role. You only saw the dude fighting tigers. However, in The Next Three Days you only see him trying to play a normal guy. Crowe is more believable fighting his way around the world than being a domesticated man. I’m hoping that he can recover the toughness and resume his fighting ways.

Leave a commment and let me know what you think.

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