Jake Gyllenhaal is in a strange spot in his career right now. Since he came on the scene, he's taken on roles more challenging and varying than most A-list actors do in their entire career-spans. He's always been great, but after a truly stellar run in 2013-2014 starting with Prisoners and concluding with the unholiest of Oscar snubs, Nightcrawler, respect for the man's talent hit an all-time high. He doesn't quite have the juice just yet, but all eyes are on his every move, as a straight-up thespian who will drop a zillion pounds for one role and then gain them right back for the next. Which brings us to the boxing drama, Southpaw. It's his latest, dropping today. And it's pretty fucking basic. Of course, Jake himself isn't. He puts the entire movie on his impressively-broadened-just-for-this-role shoulders and once again completely throws himself into a character on a super committed level. It's just too bad the film around him isn't deserving of said commitment.
At this point in his career, he should be choosing much more wisely. Jake is only 34. He's an A-lister with real clout and an impressive filmography already, for sure, but with the right picks, he can be the next Leo if he wants. After this he'll star in Everest, based on the 1996 death of several mountain climbers, and then another Serious Drama opposite Naomi Watts. But personally, I'd like to see him switch it up and really capitalize on all the buzz he accrued back in '13/'14. Here are a few ideas as to how.