This week the film chosen is Magic Mike just in time for the sequel's release a few weeks from now. Scantily clad men stripping and gyrating to music? Yes, please. And yet looking back at Magic Mike's release in 2012, I was less than enthused to see the film. With the exception of Contagion and the fluffiness of the Ocean's Eleven films, Steven Soderbergh hadn't impressed me for nearly a decade and I was highly, highly allergic to Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum. Little did we all know we were in the midst of both of their McConnaisance™. And while much has already been written on McConaughey and his scene-stealing character Dallas, I want to dedicate my post on Tatum.
Pre-2012, Tatum was one of my least favorite actors. He "won" my award for Worst Acting Performance for his 2011 film The Eagle. In my write-up trying to explain why I found him so unappealing, I wrote that I "find him dull and blank-faced" and realized that I was simply immune to his charms. Flash forward a few months and suddenly, his charms had won me over from the one-two punch of Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street. Much to my chagrin, I placed him in my Top 10 Performers of 2012 So Far list. But in 21 Jump Street, he showed he could make fun of himself while in Magic Mike he finally had a vehicle that showed off his natural easy charisma where he could dress up as Marilyn Monroe in one scene and then literally rock the house with his hypnotizing moves in another.
So even though the movie follows the journey of 19-year-old Adam played by Alex Pettyfer and McConaughey steals every scene he's in, Tatum is the undeniable lead, grounding the film with a sort of awareness and presence I honestly did not think he possessed. Fortunately, Channing's been proving my initial assumptions wrong since then and why his career has taken off. My best shot speaks to this a bit...
Here, Mike has just finished a routine and the ladies are all over him, ripping his shirt off and throwing money at him just as Hollywood and movie fans have been at Tatum befitting his high demand. Okay, no one is probably ripping his shirt off, but you know they want to!