Friday Face/Off: Sean Penn

Lucy (would go into the wild with Sean Penn anyday)
Ahh Sean Penn. Actor, screenwriter, director, and self-confessed big-mouth, he’s the master of the dopey face and has been giving us the crazy eyes on screen since 1981. Here’s some things you might not know about Sean, but no doubt will make you fall in love with him more than you already do: He has won two Academy Awards, he was married to Madonna for four years in the eighties, he hates ex-President George Bush, and, in his own words, is “not a breakfast eater”. Heyy, what’s not to love? But seriously. Great actor and great guy, no?

Harry (wouldn’t even put milk on his cereal)
Ahh Sean Penn. Massive bellend. This is a guy who takes himself far too seriously, who thinks that being an actor is akin to being a world leader, and who isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is. Lest we forget, Sean Penn wanted to BAN Team America, because it dared to take the piss out of him. That’s the same as Richard Blackwood trying to sue Brass Eye. That’s right, I just (successfully) compared Sean Penn to Richard Blackwood. Need I say any more?

Here’s a little snippet of the letter that Sean sent to Trey Parker and Matt Stone about that Team America issue: “All best, and a sincere fuck you, Sean Penn”. Any man who can end correspondence in such a way is a winner in my eyes. But lets talk about his films for a sec. I am Sam? Milk? The Thin Red Line? Dead Man Walking? He has some pretty impressive titles under his belt that, mental as he is, you can’t argue with.

I Am Sam? You mean “I am guaranteed to win an Oscar because I playing someone that’s disabled”? C’mon, it’s like a poor man’s Forrest Gump! It’s borderline offensive is what it is! Milk too! The Academy were never not going to give the award to the man who’s playing one of the most famous activists for gay rights. Sean Penn is an Oscar voter’s wet dream, pandering to their self-satisfactory back-slapping, even coming on stage and defending Jude Law from Chris Rock’s gentle ribbing. What a knob.

Oh come on now you can’t condemn a man because he is too popular during award season! He’s up there with Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis as one of only nine men to win two Oscars for best male actor, and if you ask me that’s no easy feat. But if his red carpet shenanigans don’t please you, how about his directing and writing efforts? Into the Wild was a great film.

I will point you to my previous comment as to why he has indeed won two Oscars, and just because he has, that doesn’t mean he’s in even in the same league as Brando, Hoffman or Nicholson. And he never will be. Glee have had more Number Ones than Elvis, The Beatles, or Michael Jackson, but that doesn’t mean they’re better! Also, Into The Wild was a great story, but not a great film. The book works because it’s non-fiction and is interesting to hear about Chris McCandless’ story, but once you make him the protagonist then you have to sympathise with him, which is very hard when he’s rifling through all the clichés he can get his hands on. Take that bit where he’s complaining about being bought a car because there are starving children in Africa or something; it’s hardly subtle character development is it?

Sure, Into the Wild was at times a little bit of a soapbox for his politics BUT Emile Hirsch is hot, and the film made me cry so he’s done something right there. Plus he didn’t fall into the arrogant trap of “I wrote it so I’ma star in it, capiche?” I think Penn is one of those actors where it’s always great to see him pop up in a film, and what’s a certified mark of a good actor? By watching him act, you would never guess how much of a douchebag he is off-screen. So I for one am looking forward to his appearance in The Tree of Life this month, capiche?

Hey, nobody’s arguing that Emile Hirsch isn’t hot, that’s something we can all agree on. However, in this instance the lady’s not for turning (I’m the lady). The Tree of Life does look ruddy beautiful, but the only things putting me off seeing it are its two lead actors. To my mind, the mark of a brilliant actor is when you can’t tell that they’re acting, and Sean Penn always looks like he’s trying so hard. Even in one of his best, but most overlooked films, Sweet & Lowdown, he didn’t even have the foresight to learn how to mime jazz guitar convincingly, making every scene in which he’s trying to look embarrassing. And anyway, no matter how many tension filled political thrillers he stars in, he’ll always be that mulleted goon from Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Case closed.

You’ve heard our side of the story, but would you give Mr. Penn an Oscar or just a punch in his saggy dog face? Let us know below!

By Lucy Burnage and Harry Harris

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