Movie Mettle is a weekly column for moviegoers with weak constitutions. Wish you had the balls to sit through the goriest of horror movies? Want to build up your resistance to weepy rom-coms? Each week we’ll give you a range of five movies that will test your limits, you cinematic thrillseeker, you.
Two things contributed to this week’s column. With the Oscars coming up this weekend, we’re currently obsessed with debating Jennifer Lawrence vs. Jessica Chastain, or Philip Seymour Hoffman vs. Christoph Waltz. But I’m not going to construct a Movie Mettle column around any of these folks, because they’re all well-respected actors. From the beginning, I’ve aspired to make this feature be about helping people stomach the movies — and actors — they usually wouldn’t be able to sit through. Enter this week’s subject, Gerard Butler.
The other element that inspired this week’s list was that I caught P.S. I Love You on cable over the weekend. You’ll see that it ranked solidly in the middle, because Butler both elevates and drags down this movie. Although his Hollywood debut seemingly set him up as some sort of rugged, just-foreign-enough romantic lead, in the past few years his movies have bombed and his personal life has spawned several unsavory rumors.
I think it’s safe to say that at this point, most of his movies fall under the “hate-watch” category. That’s where I’m stepping in: Take in these five movies, from the most bearable to the one that will require every ounce of patience you possess. The upside is, it pays off in epic amounts of schadenfreude.
Warm-Up: 300[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=514IEcgz1Q8&version=3&hl=en_US]
This was the first Butler movie for myself and a lot of my friends; honestly, we didn’t even recognize him in his subsequent projects considering what a transformation he went through. All of his dialogue is reduced to guttural encouragement to his 299 men, also heavily muscled and scantily clad. Plus, there’s a hot sex scene. Could this be Butler at his best?
Novice: Gamer[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2g94xQmtHw&version=3&hl=en_US]
Actually, I believe that this was the kind of movie meant to showcase everything marketable about Butler: It’s a high-concept sci-fi thriller where he gets to run, sweat, bleed, shoot, and still have a heart. Unfortunately, the climax doesn’t quite live up to the premise, but that’s not the actors’ fault. Butler also plays off more talented stars like Logan Lerman (as the kid controlling his motor skills in the Slayers game) and Michael C. Hall (as the villain), who clearly challenge him. If he had kept playing action heroes like this, perhaps we wouldn’t regard him with so much disdain.
Intermediate: P.S. I Love You[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDgiq21uUhg&hl=en_US&version=3] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUcT__6WlIU&version=3&hl=en_US]
Here’s where the Butler appeal starts to break down. He seemed like the perfect lead for this movie—the dashing Irish dreamboat who bites it in the beginning but pops up in flashbacks and spiritual form as the perfect man, forever lost to this plane. Except, sometimes his role is just a headscratcher. The two scenes above illustrate this: His suspenders dance in the beginning is so cheesy I have to groan and fast-forward every time I watch this movie; but when he serenades Hilary Swank with “Galway Girl,” your heart melts.
Expert: The Ugly Truth[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trYSO7qMw2Y&version=3&hl=en_US]
When a seemingly unique actor has been pigeonholed into your typical “opposites attract! screwball antics ensue!” rom-com, you know that there’s a problem. It doesn’t help that this movie features Butler in his douchiest, most misogynist role to date. And Katherine Heigl just eats it all up. See if you can get through Butler’s questionable flirting advice, the cringeworthy scene where Heigl’s character wears a pair of vibrating panties to dinner, and the requisite “sexy” tango sequence.
BAMF: Dracula 2000[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdy7jdNE3SQ&version=3&hl=en_US]
Maybe it’s unfair to put this as the Gerard Butler movie that it will be most difficult to hate-watch, since it was one of his earliest projects. But just look at his audition tape! And I can assure you, the actual movie doesn’t fare much better. The “twists” are pretty ridiculous, but not as laughable as Butler’s Transylvanian accent. This will take all your mettle, but it will also reward you with some great hate-watch material.
Have a genre of movie, specific trope, or actor that you wish you could sit through? Leave your request in the comments and I might take it on in a future column!
3 thoughts on “Movie Mettle: Five Gerard Butler Hate-Watch Movies To Test Your Limits”
He was awesome in early B-movie fare like Reign of Fire and Timeline. But… yeah. The romcoms are awful.
Even worse than The Ugly Truth? The Bounty Hunter. Yeesh.
Gerard Butler used to be so interesting in films like “Dear Frankie” and “300”. Then came all of that rom-com crap and other action movies. He’s really sucking ass. Now I look forward to not seeing anything he does these days because he absolutely sucks fucking ass.
Gerard Butler has totally fallen from grace. Even if he may have never had it before, but still. The guy has been making some really, really terrible movies and I think it’s either time for him to fire his agent, kill that person in Hollywood that has a bounty on him, or just retire at the ripe age of 43. Would I miss him? Probably not.