There’s something about great actors who long to be rock stars that sits about as three-day-old bread. Ryan Gosling is one of the most gifted actors of his generation. He’s rarely given a forgettable onscreen performance, and displays an appreciation for subtlety that often makes us wonder how someone so young can make such a storied art look as easy.
So, why then could the 28-year-old Canada native pull a Scarlett Johansson and try to give us a reason to loathe him? I’ve recently come across a video so bad it makes anything Shaquille O’Neal has done look and sound like the best thing ever shot and recorded. Shockingly enough, Gosling’s “indie goth” band is called Dead Man’s Bones, and they sort of come off as a poor man’s Arcade Fire meets a gutter ball in the tenth frame of a league bowling game. Bittersweet? Worse. In the online video for the song “In the Room While you Sleep”, Gosling eerily mimics Tom Waits sans the memorably throaty vibrato and leaves us wondering why someone so talented could ever create something so morbidly terrible.
To add frosting to this shitcake of a song, Gosling decided to employ a local grade school choir to stutter through the “song” with he and his rhythm-less backing band as if they were performing a prepubescent sacrifice on All Hallow’s Eve. A few of the kids are wearing masks, too. There’s a young boy dressed as a werewolf. One young girl has more makeup than Amy Winehouse would need to ward off needle-induced epidermal blemishes. The word “odd” hardly covers the camera work that seems to endorse an aura of “pre-teen-goth-hipster-cool” that these kids aren’t even aware of.
I get it, though. Gosling wants to be taken seriously and admires indie bands who have taken atypical paths towards rock-stardom. However, if you want to gain even a fraction of the notoriety you’ve amassed from your day job, at least TRY to scribe a song that’s slightly withstandable.
Not only is Gosling a horrific ringleader, but the camera work is just about as nausea-inducing. It’s sort of Blair Witch-meets-the-four-year-old-who-got-a-hold-of-the-camera-at-his-dad’s-NYE-party-for-five-nightmarish-minutes. Not good. About as good a combination as a Wendy’s Frosty, and six cans of garbanzo beans.
I may not soon lose control of my bowels from subjecting myself to this experience, but my shrink won’t cancel any future appointments with me. It’s certain that even a stable brain couldn’t deal with something like this without requiring several years of mental help.
Do yourself a favor, go home and rent The Notebook as quickly as you can. Chances are, you’ve subjected yourself to this video already, and there’s little time to quell the awful spell it’s cast on your love of Gosling’s thespian catalogue. The cliche goes, “Don’t quit your day job.” I’d rather tell Gosling to never go near a piano, recording studio, or two dozen tone deaf fifth graders ever again.