Marky Mark, Won’t You Please Come Back?
Dear Mr. Wahlberg:
As you probably know, you have a new movie out today. It’s called Max Payne and from what I can tell, you play a zombie policeman. In your last movie, The Happening, you played a science teacher scared of trees. The one before that was called We Own the Night. Your character got shot in the face. It’s been hard watching you humbled.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can turn things around. Start by leaving the acting to your brother Donnie.
Just the other night, I was doing some late night channel surfing when Donnie’s Miami gangster flick Kings of South Beach came on. He’s soooo gritty in it. Let him be the thespian Wahlberg. What you need to do is get back in touch with an old friend — someone the American public used to love. In fact, they loved him so much that he had the most popular song in the country for one glorious week in 1991. That man’s name is Marky Mark. That man is you.
For 17 years, I’ve waited patiently for a superior follow up to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s classic debut Music For the People. Oh boy — the party populism of the title track; the Tao-like aphorisms of “Marky Mark Is Here”; the insistent puns of”Bout Time I Funk You.” Goosebumps. That album, of course, also contains the aforementioned No. 1 single and undisputed highlight of the Marky Mark corpus: “Good Vibrations.” No. Great vibrations.
Now? Your best recent role was when Andy Samberg played you on SNL. “Say hello to your mother for me.” Gets me every time. Just like MMATFB used to.
In this whiz bang post-millennial world, branding is everything. Marky Mark sounds like the name of greatest entertainer in the world. Mark Wahlberg sounds like an accountant. But for some reason, you’ve put the kibosh on “Marky” — like you’re suddenly too good for it. But that name worked pretty well for your homonymous forebears like Marky Ramone, Biz Markie, and the Marquis de Sade. Are you better than them? Yes. But not by that much.
After you change your name, fire your agent. Your career’s been one bad choice after another. You played psycho in Fear. You played dumb in I Heart Huckabees. You played ponytailed in Shooter. You stooped to showing your pecker in Boogie Nights (great movie, by the way). In none of those films did you seem like you were having as much fun as you did on the Surf Ninjas soundtrack (which featured a nifty MM banger called “You Know How We Do It”). Dude, your film career’s been a buzzkill.
I hope I’ve made a compelling argument for why you should give up the Hollywood hullabaloo and return to your rap roots. But in case you’re still not swayed, I’ll leave you with some familiar words: “Pure hip hop / no sell out / if you ain’t in it to win it / then get the hell out.” That’s from “Good Vibrations.” You said it. America hopes you still mean it.
>> Now watch a short Marky Mark documentary: