Instant Family: a Review

Brad Miner | December 10, 2018

No one is sure what F. Scott Fitzgerald meant when he scribbled a note in his unfinished last manuscript that: “There are no second acts in American lives.” The critic Edmund Wilson, who cobbled together what Fitzgerald left behind as The Last Tycoon, never – as far as I know – explained what he thought the author meant, but it has ever since been taken as an expression of the star-making machinery in American life (the novel’s hero is named Stahr), especially in Hollywood, where people rise quickly from obscurity directly to fame and sometimes death. Monroe Stahr was based on Hollywood’s ultimate wunderkind, Irving Thalberg, the MGM producer who died at the age of 37. (Fitzgerald was 44 when he died.)

Mark Wahlberg is 47 – and may he live a hundred years! Mr. Wahlberg may be taken as a man according to the Fitzgerald formula: from a troubled youth of drugs (cocaine) and crime (attempted murder) to early success as a rap performer (Marky Mark) and underwear model (Calvin Klein) to movie stardom (47 films and counting) – all this failure and success before he was 25. He is also a devout, albeit liberal, Catholic. This may explain how he survived such a bad beginning.

How devout is he? Well, that’s between him and God, of course, but he recently described his thoroughly monkish daily routine, which begins at 2:30 AM, followed by half-an-hour of prayer, a couple of sessions of exercise, and – according to most sources – daily Mass. He goes to bed at 7:30 in the evening. As is often the case with people serious about fitness, he eats seven times a day – all according to schedule.

As his film career has progressed, his roles have come to be defined by mayhem and comedy: from The Departed to Shooter and from Daddy’s Home to, most recently, Instant Family.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Miner’s review at The Catholic Thing . . .


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