Anyone who's been to Scouring Monk before knows that I love movies, and especially love ranking them (last year I was obsessed with Flickchart, for instance). I've been working on yet another spin-off blog entirely about movies, Film Fan, which has been, like most of my blogs, on a hiatus in recent weeks, but that'll start up again soon.
So given all that, I couldn't just talk about any movies, my favorites or what have you, and considering that I'm starting a new set of formats for regular posts today, I really couldn't be random, because Frog Splash Monday means I'll be talking about professional wrestling every Monday. I know, I know, everyone loves wrestling! (Sarcasm sign in the air, folks.) But it's a long tradition here at Monk that hasn't been done on any kind of regular basis for far too long. I've always loved wrestling, and we're just weeks away from WrestleMania XXIX, WWE's Super Bowl, that will see company stalwart John Cena battle Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for the second straight year, this time over the heavyweight title.
This is pretty exciting, since The Rock was a huge star for the company a decade ago, and his return was one of those things that seemed like it would never happen, like Bret Hart's reconciliation with WWE or Bruno Sammartino's agreement to enter the company's Hall of Fame, which I talked about earlier this year.
The Rock left, of course, because he realized that his magnetic charisma would work well in the movies. He hasn't been the most consistently successful of actors, but he's been pretty great. (After all, he is The Great One.) So I figured my list would be:
The Top Ten Movies Starring The Rock
- The Rundown (2003) One of his earliest movies, and thus a lot of fun because not only is Hollywood really figuring out what to do with him, he's surrounded by a really great supporting cast, including Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson, and Seann William Scott, who's just great in everything.
- Southland Tales (2007) Rock reteams with Scott in Richard Kelly's follow-up to Donnie Darko, also featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Justin Timberlake, another crossover artist trying to make a transition (though his best moment is an impromptu music video to a Killers song). This is so good, and both Rock and Scott are completely different than you'd expect either to be.
- Be Cool (2005) This was Rock completely blowing away any assumptions about what he was willing to do, going straight for comedy, which wrestling fans would have expected but mainstream audiences would never have seen coming. It's also a highly underrated sequel to Get Shorty, and features John Travolta and Uma Thurman together for the first time since Pulp Fiction, plus features Vince Vaughn in a typically show-stealing role, probably the one that helped make him a leading man.
- The Mummy Returns (2001) I love the first two Mummy movies (doesn't hurt that they star Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, who have too hard a time getting people to appreciate them in anything else). The third one isn't too bad, but it doesn't feature Arnold Vosloo, even if bringing him back again would have been incredibly convoluted. His comeback this time is fantastic, however, and really, this is better than the first one. And it features The Rock in his first movie role, even if it's barely a speaking role and led to The Scorpion King, his first starring role, which you can probably skip.
- Fast Five (2011) I love the Fast series, how it evolved in such a crazy way but eventually got everything back on track and got better. This is the first one to feature The Rock, as possibly the only rival Vin Diesel could ever hope to have in the movies.
- Race to Witch Mountain (2009) Growing up my family watched every conceivable Disney movie, including the originals in this rebooted series that saw Rock successfully combine his action and family-friendly modes.
- Get Smart (2008) Since it can sometimes be hard to figure out what to do with him in an era that's not always friendly to the action movies most people will expect from him, Rock tends to appear in a lot of ensemble movies, or sometimes strictly in a supporting role, where if you don't know he's in it you could just as easily enjoy the movie for its other stars, the ones you know definitely star in it. This one features Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, and it's a good mainstream flick for both of them. Rock appears as one of those secretly villainous roles he could just as easily split with Matthew Fox.
- The Game Plan (2007) The most successful of his family films, Rock draws on his other athletic background in football as a big star who discovers he has a daughter, and hilarity ensues!
- Walking Tall (2004) A remake of a movie based on real events, with Rock getting to play the thoroughly Hollywood version of the story as a guy who single-handedly cleans up the corruption in a small town. Also notable for co-starring Neal McDonough, who's so awesome that most movies can only contain him in villainous roles. Do yourself a favor, though, and enjoy his best work in the short-lived TV series Boomtown, one of the best ever.
- Planet 51 (2009) This one's animated, so if you really can't get behind the concept of supporting an actor who is also a professional wrestler, you can totally pretend you're not watching him at all!