Columns, Opinion

FORSTER, GLANDER AND SAUER: Murphy’s Law

From Shakespeare’s tragedies to the biblically inspired Laguna Beach, many of the greatest dramatic productions have grasped an elusive and incomprehensible concept known as ‘acting multitaskination.’ In most situations like this, guys play chick parts and blonde chicks play other blonde chicks – although few have mastered it quite like Eddie Murphy. Murphy has garnered considerable attention in the last few years for his uncanny ability to make movies in which he plays every single character. And that’s where ThingFight comes in ‘-‘- as Murphy’s law states, for every movie in which Eddie Murphy plays every role, there is an equal and opposite movie in which Eddie Murphy does not play any role. But which types of these movies are better? While Ebert and Roeper have battled for decades about this very topic, it is our job to discern, without bias, which genre will come out on top.’ ‘

Ironically enough, Eddie Murphy began his career playing only half a character. On the set of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Steve Martin often sat on Murphy’s shoulders and wore a large overcoat to make the two of them look like one super tall person. One night, Martin ‘accidentally’ fell from the great height of Murphy’s shoulders, rendering him unable to perform in any sketches. This was a huge opportunity for Eddie, who filled the empty space in the schedule by debuting his ‘racist veterinarian’ character, which later became the basis for ‘Dr. Doolittle.’ From there, the growth was exponential: Murphy went from limiting one-character roles to more challenging, artistically rewarding projects like ‘Bowfinger,’ ‘The Klumps’ and, of course, the critically acclaimed ‘Norbit’ (based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name). Rumor has it Murphy will take it to the next level with his next project, ‘Being John Murphyvich,’ in which he will play every character and most of the scenery.

Perhaps the only feat more impressive than Murphy’s uncanny ability to split his acting roles is his ability to embody multiple characters off the silver screen. Movie actor at times, R&B demigod at others, Murphy has as many Grammys as he does Oscars. It’s enough to confuse even Murphy himself, who morphed his two loves in an epic feat of synthesis to create ‘Dreamgirls,’ the inspirational biopic that birthed a new era of young divas. Unfortunately, all this emotional detachment took a toll on his psyche when a romp with his popular alter ego Scary Spice birthed an illegitimate daughter and an ensuing child support fiasco.

It may be hard to believe, but in the last century, there have also been movies made where Eddie Murphy does not play a single character. Needless to say, they were all terrible. The 1939 flop ‘Gone With the Wind’ was initially written with Eddie Murphy in mind, only to be recast when the director realized Eddie Murphy had not yet been born. Regardless, we can’t rule out the importance of these films ‘-‘- after all, multi-actorianism is the one quality that is binding Hollywood together. Imagine the looming, not-so-distant future in which all movies have gone through a full metaMurphasis. We may become bored seeing the layout of Eddie Murphy’s house for the fifteenth time when watching an all-new episode of ‘MTV Cribs.’ The Academy Awards would essentially turn into a repetitive nightmare, for no one wants to sit through two hours of Eddie Murphy winning every award, even if it is hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

While this future could prove devastating to Hollywood, it is interesting to imagine how the quality of past movies could have improved with Eddie Murphy playing more characters. Or take ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ nominated for 11 Oscars and taking home four, but leaving behind the coveted ‘Best Actor’ award. The problem? Russell Crowe playing a schizophrenic haunted by images of people who don’t exist. Impressive, but it lacks artistic integrity. The solution? Eddie Murphy playing himself, haunted by images of himself that don’t really exist. This is just innate method acting here. Bottle Murphy’s daily internal battle between an extensive cast of alter egos and transfuse that energy into solid Oscar gold.

Some major movie studios are starting to utilize a new technology known as ‘Digital ReMurphication,’ in which classic films are altered to fit the directors’ original all-Eddie Murphy vision. By early 2010, movie-renters will have the pleasure of seeing every one of the 101 Dalmations played not by a bunch of dog-shaped-robots-in-dog-costumes, but by 101 green-screened, tail-wagging Eddie Murphies.

The winner? Maybe we’re biased, seeing as all three of us here at ThingFight are actually Eddie Murphy underneath all these prosthetics, but we have to hand it to Eddie Murphy this time. Now be sure to check all of hims out in the upcoming summer hits ‘The Nutty Professor Goes To Mars,’ ‘Eddie Murphy’s Just Not That Into Eddie Murphy’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’

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