Monday, December 01, 2008

Kirk Cameron, ACTOR!

I want to give a shout out to this great post on Slacktivist. Fred has been doing a long critique of the "Left Behind" series of books, and he's recently turned to the first movie as a break from reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed his merciless critique of Kirk Cameron as an actor. Here's just a taste:

This is where Cameron confesses that he doesn't believe or understand that virtue is a craft and craft is a virtue. Cameron describes his life before his conversion:

"There was this aching, empty feeling that left me very disillusioned with the business I was working in," he says. "What else was there? What else did I have to shoot for? I'd basically reached the top of the ladder, and I was 18."

He had "reached the top of the ladder," Cameron said. And he still seems to believe that this is true.

That's an astonishing thing for him to believe when you realize that at this same time he was being introduced to the newest member of Growing Pains' cast: Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now certainly DiCaprio's work as Luke Brower-Seaver, the show's Cousin Oliver, wasn't on the same level as the quality of work he would later go on to do, but he was already clearly a talented and committed actor. Just one year after Growing Pains was canceled he was astonishingly good in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, so I think it's safe to assume that he was already an obviously better actor than Cameron at the time they worked together.

So for at least one year of his professional life, then, Kirk Cameron was confronted, regularly, by an example of what a real actor his own age should look like. And yet he spent all that time on the same set with and in the same scenes as DiCaprio without apparently learning anything -- without even seeming to realize that he needed to learn anything.

I really have to admire how much this post hit the nail on the head in terms of what bothers me about many Christian testimonials -- often they are simply incredibly arrogant about how successful they supposedly were before their conversion. The whole thing about how "I had everything, and I felt so empty." Come on, seriously. There's always more you can do. You never have everything. Especially if "everything" to you is being an actor with the talent level of Kirk freaking CAMERON. (I neither endorse nor reject Fred's opinion about Leonardo, however.)


  1. If Cameron thinks "the top" is a crappy sitcom, then he definitely has problems. I assume he thinks that his "acting" (and I do use that term loosely) in his Left Behind direct-to-video movies was of lesser quality than his Seaver-days...well, if so, that says a lot.

    Of course, since I've seen far more of the Growing Pains than I care to admit, I can say that that show was not "da bomb", more like, "da bomb crater". I'd say that more actors think of TV as a stepping stone to bigger things than those that consider TV as the top. Not saying that TV actors are less than movie actors (as I've seen good and bad in both), just that movies tend to get more respect (and money, for leads) than TV.

  2. Do any Christians actually use Kirk Cameron as the object of an appeal to popularity? It seems like the kind of embarrassment you'd want to sweep under the rug, like owning a David Hasselhoff album...

  3. Willie Aames says the same thing. He was on Eight is Enough! He was on Charles in Freaking Charge! He had it ALL! And it wasn't enough--but Jesus and a hoky Bibleman costume are all anyone really needs to find peace in this world.

  4. Forgive me for being Captain Obvious, but even if he had won an Emmy for his work as Mike Seaver, and gone on to do (good) movies, that would never be "everything". If he expected some job, or a few wild parties to fulfill him, then he was being unrealistic from the get-go.

    So, he had a crappy job, got drunk and/or high a lot, and then changed everything about his life. That wake up call is what made the difference, not religion.

    At the risk of sounding like proponent of the "true Scotsman fallicy", I would argue that he was just a christian going through a rebellious phase. He got it out of his system, settled down, and became a happier person.

  5. That trait of Arrogance shows up prominently in Bob Altemeyer's analysis of the fundy personality. It's a good read.

  6. Quick question....

    What does "RTC" stand for? (I think I figured out the "C" part, but the RT...Real Time? Ram Tough? Retarded Touch?)


  7. I bought my first copy of Bibleman at a dollar store. That's the real overall effect, of crap like that.
    However, the Bibleman franchise is making Willie Ames MILLIONS. Let's just call it like it is. Actors, are really just convincing salespeople, be it ideas, reality, salvation. We know for sure when a persons past as an actor is this obvious, the idea of salvation becomes even more transparent.
    The only problem is that the areas of christian "ethical" entertainment is so pathetically insular that little is needed in order to entertain them.
    Look at what most fundamentalist call "entertaining". Kirk Cameron keeping it "real", would be rather refreshing in comparison.
    Thus, you have fading glimmers of nothing grabbing for the last few millions.

  8. Thanks for linking to the Slacktivist blog, I'm really enjoying reading it.

    Although I have to say, given how clearly intelligent, rational, and reasoning Mr. Clark is, I'm thoroughly baffled that he should still profess himself to be a Christian.

    You'd think the skill he has in eviscerating the nonsense of the Left Behind tomes would have long since been brought to bear on the nonsense of the Bible itself.


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