If they gave an Emmy for the half-cry, Matthew Fox would have a mantle full of them. The Lost actor is a maestro when it comes to performing his patented move; tears well up in his eyes, yet somehow never drip down his face. We look forward to seeing this feat of acting prowess each week, which might explain our muted response to the fifth season of Lost thus far—there simply hasn’t been enough of Jack and his special talent! Though perhaps this has all been a prologue to prepare us for life after Lost goes off the air in 2010, when the frequency of the half-cry will diminish greatly. Over the weekend, Mr. Fox told reporters he’s “pretty sure [Lost] will be the last television thing that I will do” and that he hopes to transition into making movies full-time. This comes on the heels of an interview in the January edition of Details where Mr. Fox said the ending of Lost was “a relief” and that he was “looking forward to the freedom that comes with not working on one show professionally.” At the risk of raining on Mr. Fox’s parade, however, we have to ask: what kind of professional career does he expect to have without television?
Don’t get us wrong; we bow down to the altar of Mr. Fox’s portrayal of Jack Shephard on Lost. He’s made Jack a single-minded and egomaniacal opportunist who will do anything to get his own way. He’s such an anti-hero that, at this point, Jack has become more of a villain than anything else. This deconstruction has afforded Mr. Fox with a wide palette of human emotions to draw from, and he always delivers. He never gets the praise of an actor like James Gandolfini, or even Jon Hamm, but Mr. Fox has been every bit their equal since Lost began. He’s the quintessential television star. And that’s where he needs to stay.
The facts are indisputable. Mr. Fox is good looking, but not movie star good looking—no one would confuse him with Brad Pitt; he’s talented, but not movie star talented—if you have doubts about this, we would direct you to his performance in Vantage Point, where he gets steamrolled by a sleepwalking Dennis Quaid; and he’s got presence, but not movie star presence—there’s no way Mr. Fox could ever carry a film on his back, when he can barely manage to carry a television show without a call sheet full of supporting players. (Also, remember Haunted? We didn’t think so!)
So do us a favor, Matthew Fox: find another series when Lost ends—something about a crooked cop or morally compromised lawyer. Maybe try putting your inherent skill at villainy to good use. We don’t really care what you do just as long as it airs on television. We need to see the half-cry on a weekly basis!