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Pop Rocks: The Many Moods Of Mark Wahlberg

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Mark Wahlberg's latest movie, Broken City, comes out this Friday. In it, Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, and ex-New York cop turned P.I. who ends up embroiled in some sleazery surrounding the reelection campaign of the current mayor, played by Russell Crowe.

Taggart is another of those "tough, no-nonsense characters" the IMDb helpfully reminds us are a trademark of Wahlberg's. The cynical among you might see this as a euphemism for "stone faced" or "marketing a limited range of expression into one of the most lucrative film careers on the planet."

Well, poo poo to the haters. As someone who's (at times inadvertantly) followed Wahlberg's career from the Funky Bunch to The Fighter, I can tell you the guy is more than just the sum of his frown lines.

He Can Project A Wide Range Of Emotions From psychotic rage to drug-fueled anger to righteous fury, few actors of today so ably capture the vexation of modern existence.

In all fairness, Four Brothers is a seriously kickass movie.

He Can Play A Wide Range Of Characters A quick breakdown of 32 big screen roles (a few of which are still in post-production) shakes out as follows:
Cop/Detective/Agent: 8
Criminal With a Heart of Gold: 7
Soldier/Vet/Merc: 5
Other (Blue Collar)*: 5
Other: 7

Side note: Wahlberg's only Academy Award nomination wasn't for Boogie Nights or The Fighter, but for his portrayal of profane Statie Sean Dignam in The Departed. Like 90 percent of his roles, I'm convinced Dignam wasn't much of a stretch for Wahlberg. Still, if your film is in need of a tough, no-nonsense ex-cop on the run from a crime he didn't commit or a soldier looking to right a past wrong, Wahlberg is your man.

* Boxer, fisherman, ... bodybuilder

He's Ready-Made For The Next Star Trek Movie Aside from Tim Burton's remake of The Planet of the Apes and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, both of which could charitably be described as "disastrous," Wahlberg has never shown much interest in science fiction. That could change after Star Trek Into Darkness, as J.J. Abrams looks for new ways to plunder the Trek-verse.

My suggestion? The Bajorans:

And Wahlberg could do it without makeup.

He Knows The Value Of Physical Fitness Whether playing an ex-porn star strung out on coke or a high school student strung out on heroin, Wahlberg has never let the deleterious effects of drug use diminish his impressive physique. Let that be a lesson to you junkies out there: a crippling addiction to narcotics doesn't excuse skipping a session at the gym to blast your lats.

I ... kinda want to see that.

He Can Provide His Own Soundtrack Between a seriously unpleasant childhood and belated Hollywood respectability, there was Marky Mark. Oh, how we snickered at his underwear-clad shenanigans while obsessively listening to the latest Uncle Tupelo release, but respect is due. None other than the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences conferred honor upon the Funky Bunch, nominating "You Gotta Believe" for a Grammy in 1993. Unfortunately, they lost to an even more respected artist: Sir Mix-A-Lot for "Baby Got Back."

Four and a half minutes? The '90s really were terrible, weren't they?

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