RIP Paul Walker
When I used to make mental lists in my head of my favorite actors, I never really thought about Paul Walker. Not that he wasn't good, but he never used to jump out at me. With an early career of supporting roles that included "Pleasantville" and "She's All That," I was prepared to write Walker off as just another Hollywood star. Soon after, in the early 2000's, Walker landed a lead role in "The Fast and The Furious." I found "The Fast and The Furious" to be good. It wasn't a movie that blew me away in particular, but it was fun and Walker was pretty good in it. I thought, if he harness his energy like he did here, he'd lead himself into a wonderful career. Who would have known that "The Fast and The Furious" would have spawned into one of the new millennium's biggest film franchises?
After "The Fast and The Furious" in 2001, Walker began to turn up in good films. "Joy Ride" is one of those little-known yet totally mind-bending horror films that I wish people would see. "Flags of Our Fathers" was a grand WWII epic from Clint Eastwood. But according to me, the very best Paul Walker movie is "Running Scared," a bizarre, twisted road down the life of crime. For the first time ever, it seemed Walker was energized by what he was given to do in "Running Scared." He had an uplifting high that never felt out of place. He had the perfect balance of pretty-boy smug and sophisticated acting chops. Plus, he didn't seem distracting in a film that is...let's face it...very strange and very dark. Given the material Walker had to play, he handled himself quite well.
Even though I personally didn't think he made the best decisions career-wise, Paul Walker was a unique talent. He was a young macho-man whose presence never seemed gimmicky. He had a talent for making a movie his own, even with a sloppy script and poor directing. Obviously, as the "Fast and Furious" franchise got better and better, I only liked Walker more and more. The franchise, and Hollywood in general is a lesser place without him.
In honor of this great guy, put in your favorite "Fast and Furious" film tonight!