Sunday, December 18, 2011

Justin Timberlake, And Why He Should Be A Chipmunk

I just watched the Smurfs movie on DVD. I was a fan of the Smurfs as a child, so naturally I was curious how the characters would translate in a film. But I was adamant about waiting until the movie was released on DVD before watching it. It is very awkward to sit in a theater and watch a kids movie when you do not have any kids yourself. I learned this lesson in 2003, when, at the age of 23, I dragged my friend to a screening of Looney Tunes: Back in Action and we were the only two non-parents in the theater who could legally drive a car.

And this was three years after I dragged my cousins to a screening of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Fortunately, there were no kids in the theater that time. There weren't any adults in the theater, either.

I watched the Smurfs movie, and I rather enjoyed it, with one caveat. I'm a 1980s cartoon buff, so whenever I find out that a film based on an animated series from that decade is in development, I instantly begin to brainstorm which actors should play the main characters. My casting choices are never in sync with Hollywood's; I thought Michael Richards should have played Inspector Gadget instead of Matthew Broderick, Judge Reinhold should have played Jon Arbuckle in Garfield instead of Breckin Meyer, Samuel L. Jackson or Ving Rhames should have played Michael Jordan in Space Jam instead of Michael Jordan, and so on. It's not that the actors who did appear in those films did a poor job; it's just that I had a certain vision in my head for the films, and I felt let down.

With The Smurfs, I really wanted to see Eugene Levy as Gargamel, for one reason and one reason only: He has bushy eyebrows. That alone made him perfect for the role. But Hollywood chose Hank Azaria, who actually nailed down the cartoon Gargamel voice pretty well. But I had already made up my mind that I wanted Levy as Gargamel. Accept no substitutes.

I could never watch the Alvin and the Chipmunks films, no matter how cute the titles are. (The titles of the three movies are, in order, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Yes, yes, they're chipmunks. We get it already. Enough with the puns.) Justin Long has voiced Alvin in all of the Chipmunks films, and it disappoints me. Again, this is not an indictment on Long's performance. I just had someone else in mind for the character. Someone who is perfect for the role in the way Mickey Rourke was perfect for The Wrestler.

Alvin should have been voiced by Justin Timberlake.

The similarities between the two are striking. They have so much in common that, from my perspective, Justin is the real-life Alvin. Let's examine the evidence:

Alvin and Justin are in all-male pop groups. Alvin is the unquestioned leader of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Justin Timberlake isn't in a pop group now, but he was the standout singer of 'NSYNC before he broke free, released a couple of solo albums and became an even bigger star.

Alvin and the Chipmunks have been together for over 50 years. There's no logical explanation as to why Alvin hasn't gone solo himself yet. I'm confident that day will come, and when it does, he will record a high-pitched cover of "SexyBack" and host a few episodes of Saturday Night Live.

The Chipettes will eventually break up, too, because clearly Brittany is the Beyonce of that group and has been held down by Jeanette and Eleanor for too long. This leads me to my second point:

Alvin and Justin are/were friends with a Brittany/Britney. In the 1980s cartoon, Alvin was close to Brittany. I can't remember whether they actually dated. It would've made sense; I mean, there were only two other female chipmunks for Alvin to choose from, and both were very friendly with Simon and Theodore.

Justin was linked to a female pop star named Britney, too, though she spells her name differently. Now he dates a Jessica. What would push this analogy even further is if Alvin ditched Brittany and got with Jessica Rabbit. She's already shown an affinity for quirky forest animals.

Alvin and Justin both make bad films. I've already alluded to the fact that I haven't seen any of the Alvin and the Chipmunks films, but of the three that have been released so far, the highest rating any of them have received on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer is 26 percent. The critics don't like the movies, at the least.

Justin was in The Love Guru, Southland Tales and Yogi Bear. I know what you're thinking: He was also in The Social Network, an Oscar-winning film. And he had Oscar buzz for his performance.

I have two arguments in response: 1) You know how I feel about Oscar buzz, and 2) Justin did an excellent job in The Social Network...of playing himself. His character was rich at a young age, confident, an extrovert and a ladies' man, and he sounded exactly like Justin Timberlake. In other words, everything Justin Timberlake is in real life. (And that's not to disparage Justin's performance, either. He was fine. Just like Michael Jordan was fine in Space Jam. It's just that Samuel L. Jackson or Ving Rhames should've played Jordan in Space Jam.)

With all due respect to Justin Long, the role of Alvin should go to my Justin in the next Chipmunks film. You know, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Roadchip.