Here are some facts about Blake Lively:
- Blake Lively once spent a night as a pastry chef at Per Se
- Blake is a self-described “breeder” with an “Oakland booty.”
- She once said, on national television, that “14 hours having your husband have mashed potatoes eaten out of his butthole” is “a cruel and unusual form of torture.”
- Blake Lively is a movie star.
In The Shallows, Lively’s character, Nancy, names an injured bird Steven Seagull. This excellent pun holds the secret to her potential future success: Lively should go full Steven Seagal and lean in to the cheesy blockbuster. Blake Lively should always play opposite a CGI shark, or if the shark is unavailable, a spiritual equivalent — menacing robots, or Gary Busey. Without human acting to bounce up against, Lively’s flat, flinty style reads as stoic, not wooden.
Transforming into Steven Seagal probably isn’t Lively’s plan, but it should be. Despite her commitment to becoming a relentlessly bland celebrity homemaker, Lively has a future in the talkies. I’m hoping her decision to shutter Preserve was not a fluke, but rather an indication that she realized attempting to be an even more tone-deaf Gwyneth imitator was not the right life path.
Lively and Seagal have more in common than you’d think. They’re both enthusiastic, but unsuccessful, purveyors of lifestyle products (Lively with the aforementioned Preserve, Seagal with a line of therapeutic oils). They both have spouses and children. Lively deliberately got married on a plantation; Seagal is friends with Putin. Most importantly, they are both actors who excel in corny action movies.
It’s a shame that it took this long to figure out where Lively belonged. She followed her breakthrough role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as The One Who Obviously Fit Into the Damn Pants by starring in Gossip Girl as The One Who Listened to Peter Bjorn and John on a Train Thinking About Her Suicidal Brother. Gossip Girl gave Lively even more mainstream name recognition, but Leighton Meester acted headband-lined circles around her. Lively’s acting has improved considerably since her days at Constance Billard School for Girls, and she avoided catching Mischa Barton syndrome. Her best performance to date came in The Town, even though she warbled through Ben Affleck’s finest with a Mayor Quimby-ass accent. I’m honoring our national pledge to never talk about Green Lantern (2011), so moving on to the rest of her oeuvre: As the sex McGuffin in Savages, Lively’s main contribution seems to have been placing a succubi curse on Taylor Kitsch’s career, though I do give her props for keeping a straight face as Ellen Burstyn repeatedly murmured “mama” at her during The Age of Adaline. Why didn’t anyone talk about how The Age of Adaline was a movie about a lady who has sex with a dad and his son?
Lively certainly never discussed it on The Age of Adaline promotional tour, because that would go against her self-imposed rule against saying anything interesting. In interviews, her demeanor is eerily cheery, like she’s desperately trying to disguise the fact that a rare cosmic event left her unable to age, and she’s spending her days slinking through society and Kimmel appearances Melisandre-style in a body far younger than her years. Case in point: Blake Lively is promoting the most high-profile role of her career right now, but she’s making the late-night rounds reciting stories about feeling jealous of Kinfolk Mommy Instagram. But as long as she continues making cheesy summer woman vs. nature bangers, I’ll forgive her a million boring interviews.
The Shallows is basically Hard to Kill: Shark Version. Let’s keep this going.