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It's taken me a while, but I've come around to liking Ryan Gosling. I always thought he was attractive, of course-- I'm not blind, people. But for a while he seemed to rely on a lot of tics to express himself, whether playing a crack addict in Half Nelson or a mentally damaged guy in love with a blow-up doll in Lars and the Real Girl. At some point that shifted into complete, almost terrifying stillness, as seen in the upcoming The Place Beyond the Pines and especially in Drive. And, well, in this Funny or Die video, which calls Gosling out for his tics and his uncanny ability to star off into the distance and look cool while music plays.
The references in the video-- the jacket he wears, the music-- are largely from Drive, which remains Gosling's most popular film among a certain set of film nerds. But a lot of the other jabs are very specific and spot-on, from his mysteriously New York-y accent (he grew up in Canada!) to those aforementioned tics. As much as I like the guy, I couldn't help but nod at "Make sure nothing's going on around here, and everything's going on around there…. These are props that we can hide behind."
But what this video doesn't seem to get, and a lot of people don't get, is that a lot of the best movie stars don't really have range-- and in fact, they make it work to their advantage. Cary Grant was never other than the Cary Grant persona, but he killed it while playing a whole lot of different characters. John Wayne, God love him, was never anyone but John Wayne. Even modern stars like Tom Cruise and Steve Carell only excel at a few things-- intense action star and affable funny man, respectively-- but they make it work in a whole lot of different roles. And at least Gosling takes his skills and puts them into a whole lot of different movies, from the puffy The Notebook (which, OK, probably isn't his favorite film) to The Place Beyond the Pines, which has him slathered in tattoos with peroxided blond hair. He takes risk, which is more than we can say for a lot of actors with so-called limited range.
As for that final jab at Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Uncalled for entirely.