Some actors are pretty much universally loved by audiences. Daniel Day-Lewis is one name I can think of off the top of my head who gives the kind of commanding performances that just draw audiences in. Matt Damon is another whose charisma and off-screen personality have swayed the majority of the movie-going public in his favor.
Then there are some who prove divisive among fans (just look to the message boards in any “Ben Affleck as Batman” article on the Internet to see just how far that division can go). In my experience, one of the most love-him-or-hate-him actors working right now is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose new movie (and directorial debut) Don Jon came out this weekend. Whether because of his decidedly indie persona, his friendship with fellow fan-divider Zoe Deschanel, or whatever else, Gordon-Levitt has his fair (and possibly equal) share of fans and detractors, and I’m here to make the case in favor of JGL and maybe get a better idea in the comments just where the rest of the Internet comes down.
Putting aside his sometimes aggressively quirky personality and how genuine it all is, Gordon-Levitt has done some pretty solid movies since his time as an alien on 3rd Rock From the Sun. He’s covered his bases across genres and budgets, earning himself blockbuster cred with Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, and he’s obviously an indie hero thanks to movies like Brick, (500) Days of Summer, and the underrated The Lookout.
We probably wouldn’t have guessed it watching Angels in the Outfield all those years ago, but that goofy kid can actually hold his own when it comes to drama and action.
All told, his career resume is pretty impressive, and I happen to think that outweighs any real or fake eccentricities he’s cultivated over the years. Sure, maybe him doing a duet with fellow indie royalty Zoe Deschanel as she plays ukulele might not be for everybody (I actually think it’s pretty charming, so sue me), and maybe you’re rubbed the wrong way by his mismatched wacky socks (which are actually a tribute to his brother, so you should probably stop being bothered by them).
Whatever your potential qualms with Gordon-Levitt, it’s obvious he cares about what he does and he certainly seems to have a lot of fun doing it. What else can we really ask from the people who are paid to entertain us?