I’ll go on record as saying I don’t hate Channing Tatum. I don’t love him or anything, but I certainly don’t participate in the backlash I see around the webz. As a notorious celeb-swooner, I know what you’re thinking, but this honestly has nothing to do with the way he looks. Sure, he’s Objectively Attractive, but certainly not in the same way that It-Dude Michael Fassbender is; Tatum is more in the style of Football-Player-I-Had-A-Crush-On-In-High-School.
But really, why do We, as a People, hate this guy?
Okay, his filmography isn’t great. However, the first place I saw him was A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints which wasn’t as strong a film as it could have been, but offered some decent performances, the best of which was from Tatum, in my humble amateur opinion. After that, it’s a mixed bag but for every Step Up, Dear John and G.I. Joe there’s a Stop-Loss, Public Enemies and Haywire. And can we really give the guy too much shit for doing that Nicholas Sparks movie? We like Amanda Seyfried okay, and she was in it too. Plus, the world knows what a Sparks film did for The Goz (although no film based on a Nicholas Sparks book has ever been, nor will ever be, as good as The Notebook).
An actor like Channing Tatum is only really as good as his choices, and he’s made some really bad ones, but I’m not willing to write him off entirely yet. I learned my lesson from years of baseless hatred for Colin Farrel who finally started making some interesting choices for himself and winning my favor. I tend to liken the backlash against Tatum to that of Renee Zellweger. I don’t know anyone who actively likes her, but when she’s cast appropriately she really knows how to work it. See: Bridget Jones, Chicago, Down with Love, Jerry Maguire. Maybe I’m too forgiving, but when an actor I generally dislike turns out a good performance I always give credit where credit’s due.
I may not have proven You wrong yet, but You haven’t proven Yourself right yet, either. Maybe it does all come back to the way he looks: I don’t like him because I think he’s a dreamboat, but I get the feeling other people don’t like him because he looks like, well, a bro. I understand this to a certain extent: those of us huddled by our computers talking about film on comment boards don’t care for or relate to this type of person. But Hollywood needs all types, and as I sit here, I can’t think of too many people that fit the same demographic as Channing Tatum. Look at our current teen heartthrobs! Robert Pattinson: wiry Brit. Justin Bieber: waifish girly-man. Ryan Gosling: attractive to both sexes and all around classy dude. Where are the muscle-y ass-kicking Americans? Taylor Lautner comes to mind, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I think Tatum could probably act circles around him. Mark Wahlberg is getting up there in years, and we’ll soon need a replacement to fill that giant mookish hole in our hearts. Don’t be surprised if it’s Tatum-sized.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any particularly strong opinion on the man. He certainly doesn’t get my butt in a theater seat the way Gosling and DiCaprio do. The worst case scenario for Channing Tatum is that he continues doing exactly as he’s doing, makes many more reasonably forgettable films, wins himself a shelf full of MTV Movie Awards, and shrinks from the public consciousness within the next five to ten years. But I wouldn’t count out the best case scenario, in which he continues doing as he’s doing, makes more reasonably forgettable films, but manages to slip in a few more Interesting Choices, and maybe turns out one unforgettable performance.
I’m not betting against him.