Kaitlyn Tiffany, writing for The Verge about the rise of Mark Wahlberg, and why so many enjoy his work:
He’s perfect for this part mostly because there’s nothing special about him at all. Mark Wahlberg isn’t smart. He’s not particularly handsome or charming. He’s more like a potato sack upon which any American male can project an image of himself saving the world. Wahlberg notoriously commented in a 2012 interview that he could have prevented the attacks on the World Trade Center had he been aboard one of the planes. Though he later apologized, the statement provides a window into what makes his type of movie appealing — you get to live out a fantasy it’s inappropriate to articulate.
Maybe the most sinister thing about Wahlberg’s role in American culture then, is that his life itself is such an appealing fantasy: after all, what’s more American than knowing your repugnantly racist past won’t hold you back from further success? What’s sexier than redeeming yourself by saving the innocent over and over, on a screen 30 feet tall? It is, broadly, shameful and weird to fantasize about what you would do in the midst of death and destruction — but with Mark, you can. You’d be that guy.
Wahlberg’s self-aggrandizing work on Patriot’s Day has struck a nerve for many of my Boston film critic colleagues. For more, see Ty Burr’s review and Sean Burns’ review of the film (See also: Ty Burr’s suggestions on how to make the movie better. Love that last one).