But there is a time I would have gone to see it solely for its leading man, Brendan Fraser. I used to really like him. I don't think his poster ever decorated my wall, but one of his numerous photographic appearances in People's "Sexiest Man" issues probably did. But now I just feel annoyed by him and his films. I feel like Fraser is one constant comeback -- he makes a few big movies, and a few small ones which garner him critical acclaim. Then he vanishes into obscurity, only to come roaring back with a blockbuster, his return heralded with "Fraser! I wondered what happened to that guy!" It feels like this is the third comeback round of Fraser's career, only this time, it seems absent of the buzz that followed him after the first The Mummy.
I feel particularly betrayed by his latest absence, one that occurred right as his career was looking to be something remarkable. I loved Gods and Monsters and The Quiet American, and was eager to see what he would do next. He seemed to have an eye for solid scripts, and a quiet dramatic presence that suggested awards and acclaim in his future. But he followed those up with the forgettable Looney Tunes: Back In Action, which I forgave because he'd just become a father, and was in a kiddie frame of mind. And then he vanished. I remember something about his wanting to spend time with his new and expanding family, which I thought was sweet, but then he never came back.
Arguably, he's never completely vanished, but he did very little of note since 2003, and what he did wasn't very good. While every actor goes through rough patches and bad projects, it really feels that Fraser hasn't exactly made the most of his career. I know how hot and cold the industry blows, but he must have had some good offers after The Quiet American. And if he didn't, he had enough critical clout to fight for some, didn't he? Instead, he's back in studio bombast like Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. (I mean no offense to anyone who had enjoyed watching them, I'm glad if you did! There's too little fun in this world, I'm not going to knock where anyone finds it.) Maybe Fraser has decided this is what he likes doing, and he isn't interested in soul-searching dramas. If it is, I wish him good luck. But if it's not (and I can't quite believe that, not when he's popping up in films like Crash and The Air I Breathe) and he's hoping that this gets him up on the A-List again, I wonder if it will work. Is his critical and popular goodwill spent? And if so, is it gone forever? I know I'm no longer curious what he will do next -- except to wonder if he could pull a Michael Caine, and do no wrong in his grayer years. Don't get me wrong, if tomorrow Fraser did a searing and brilliant Macbeth, I would be first in line. But I no longer have any faith that he will. I would sooner expect him to make a fourth and fifth Mummy.
But I can't explain why Fraser is suddenly out of my good moviegoer graces. He seems like a genuinely nice person, and I feel bad saying any of this. I fully expect I'll be flamed by his undoubtedly large fan base, but I'll hand the floor over to you anyway. Do you have a breaking point when it comes to an actor or actress, a point where you weep for what might have been, and no longer hope for what could be? Where the merest mention of their name associated with a project half dooms it for you? (Of course, here I should clarify that I don't see movies purely based on who is in them -- but when it comes to judging a potential film, I can't ignore who has been cast.) Tell me all in the comments below.