With the exception of gaining weight for one role (hello, Oscar) and occasionally talking with a hyperbolic southern accent, George Clooney is always… George Clooney.
However, this doesn’t bother me. Why? Because George Clooney is a heavy actor. He may rarely change is appearance, but he consistently delivers, no matter the material. (Yeah, okay, there have been a few missteps. Even Brando made The Island of Dr. Moreau).
I’ve been tossing this theory around in my head for a while now, that of examining George Clooney’s Every Other Year Career. Basically, if you look at his work in the odd-number years alone, you have a massive talent in the cinematic medium.
This isn’t to say that the even-number years haven’t been influential to him. Point in fact, the most important film of Clooney’s career was in 1998, when Out of Sight proved that he was the new definition of suave. Cool personified.
Here’s a look at Clooney’s Every Other Year Career, starting conveniently after Batman and Robin.
Leaves ER after proving he can probably take over the movie industry. Stars in Three Kings, which is critically revered, commercially accepted, yet, for whatever reason, ignored come awards time. Defends extras by beating up the director on set. Inspires extras to never put up with nagging directors again, or at least for the rest of the Three Kings shoot.
Ocean’s Eleven is released. Clooney becomes pretty much the most famous person in the world. Rants well with Benjamin Button. Looks even better in a suit than he did in Out of Sight, which, you know, no one thought was possible.
Intolerable Cruelty proves that great directors and a polished leading man don't necessarily equate to a great film about a polished man.
Directs, co-writes, and co-stars in Good Night, and Good Luck, which after the playfulness of his first feature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, proves that his directing is serious fucking business. Gets to scream at that guy who played Nixon. The film receives six Oscar nominations but loses to that gay cowboy movie and that muddled racism flick.
Commits a rarity for his role in Syriana by actually changing his appearance. Delivers the best performance of his career. Wins an Oscar. Gives one of the best speeches in recent Oscar history. Basically wins over the hearts of the world.
Michael Clayton, a film he initially wanted to direct, is released to justified fanfare. Delivers the best performance of his career. Yells at Tilda Swinton. Is nominated for an Oscar. Loses to that guy who is shouting all the time in that oil movie.
Everyone tries to forget that The Men Who Stare at Goats is an actual movie. Up in the Air is released. Delivers the best performance of his career. Makes us laugh, cry, and appreciate economical packing. Nominated for an Oscar. Loses to The Dude.
Directs, produces, writes, runs craft services, and stars in The Ides of March, a political thriller based, in part, on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. People flock to theaters in hopes of seeing a crazy, red-faced Clooney roll up his sleeves and scream that he’s going to take back the White House, yeah.
Stars in The Descendants, the first full length feature by the guy who made that movie about that Legally Blonde chick screwing her teacher. Clooney receives positive early buzz and will be nominated for an Oscar, which he’ll probably lose to that crazy guy from Dracula, or that guy he shot in Burn After Reading, or Jack from Titanic, or young Magneto.