Written by: Alan Walnut, Special to CC2K
When a normally good actor finds himself in a truly atrocious film, what could the reasons possibly be? Doesn't he hire people to prevent missteps like that? When Alan Walnut was forced to face this very question while watching Kevin Bacon "act" his way through Hollow Man, the questions became too great, and he was compelled to write Mr. Bacon a letter. He might not get any answers, but at least you can enjoy his questions.
A word from Hollow Man's nominator, Kristen Lopez:
Why did I choose to put something through the paces of Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man? Let's see: there's the ridiculous premise, copious amounts of Kevin Bacon nudity and of course my enjoyment of inflicting pain. Hollow Man has all of these things and more, and watching it feels like the cinematic equivalent of witnessing a car wreck. The actors all think they're making cinematic gold, but they're really just crashing through a brick wall with you along for the ride. Feel free to rubberneck, Alan.
An Open Letter to Kevin Bacon, re: Hollow Man
by Alan Walnut
Dear Mr. Bacon,
WHY, man why? Before I saw your “horror” film, to me the scariest movies were the ones that said “starring Keanu Reeves.” I will admit though that after viewing Hollow Man, I am not sure if the term “horror” describes this movie’s genre, or the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I realized that you got paid to make it.
I can see why you’d be attracted to this concept. I mean, a scientist using himself as a test subject to disastrous and murderous results? I honestly feel that this is a terrific conceit for a story…or at least it was when it was first used, in The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, in 1886. Now, however, this idea is so stale that they’ve even made a shitty Broadway musical out of it, one that I saw starring David Hasselhoff. Mr. Bacon, Hasselhoff made a more convincing villain than you did in Hollow Man. How does that feel?
Mr. Bacon, did you really think this was a horror movie? How is this horror, besides the overacting? The “horror” did not actually happen until ninety minutes in, when you went crazy and killed some people. Even then, it was not scary or suspenseful. It was predictable, and any idiot could tell what was going to happen, which is sort of the antidote to “scary,” if you know what I mean. I’ve never seen this movie before, and yet every “twist” was foreshadowed with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Your character silently ogled your neighbor in the first scene; I wonder what you’re going to do once you become invisible? (Come to think of it…being forced to have sex with an invisible Kevin Bacon against your will…perhaps it was just a horror movie for her?)
Here’s another question: what were you on when your agent gave you this script? I cannot imagine you thought you hit gold. Did your twenty previous years as a steadily working Hollywood actor leave you desperate for money? That’s the only answer I can think of. The next time you run low on cash, give me a call. I don’t make QUITE as much as you, but I’ll do what I can to prevent another shitstorm like this from getting made.
And Kevin, if my garnished paycheck isn’t enough to prevent you from doing this again, at LEAST do yourself the favor of getting more say as to who your female counterpart will be. A star of your caliber could have gotten the producers to hire some incredibly hot piece of Hollywood ass, to expose her breasts for some big sex scene you could insist get included, and instead you get…Elisabeth Shue. Shue is a mediocre actress at best…and she sure wasn’t hired for her sex appeal. Hollow Man came out in 2000. This is the same year that Katie Holmes went topless in The Gift (and six years before she lost her fucking mind). Eight years later, which of these bad movies would you suggest to horny twelve-year-olds? I thought as much.
The other thing that you might have done was demand that the special effects were, at the very least, interesting (if not “special.”) I will admit, it was cool to see how they made you disappear initially, though at that point in the movie it felt a wish come true! However, once you became as invisible as your self-respect, it would have been very beneficial for everyone if some cool effects took over. Instead, we get you in a mask that makes you look like an unborn fetus. Awesome.
Mr. Bacon, I was a fan of yours after seeing Footloose, Sleepers and Wild Things (OK, all I remember about that last one was the threesome scene…but I’m told you were in it). At one point, I was even honored to say I had a Kevin Bacon link of only two degrees. However, after watching Hollow Man, I am not so sure I want to be associated that closely to you. In fact, you might want to find a way to remove this movie from our collective consciousness, lest we decide that another actor be more worthy of that game. Six degrees of David Hasselhoff, anyone?