Normally I wouldn’t give a second thought to a Mark Wahlberg movie like The Gambler. It’s just not the kind of thing that interests me. But then I learned that he plays a Shakespeare professor with a gambling problem. Ok, that’s more interesting. Still, though, if that’s just character development then we’ve all seen it before – cut to a scene of him dismissing a classroom full of students and telling them there’s a quiz on Romeo and Juliet tomorrow. Bam, you’ve just established him as a Shakespeare professor.
Only…not this time. The clip I found actually opens with him talking about
Greene’s Groats-Worth of Wit, if you can believe it! There’s a reference that the typical “took Shakespeare in high school” audience is not going to get.
Even better! A student makes a joke that Greene’s “beautified with our feathers” line is actually because he knew that Shakespeare was really Edward de Vere.
First of all, what? I’m not even sure where the connection lies between those two thoughts.
But it gets better, because Wahlberg doesn’t have any patience with the anti-Stratfordian argument. “The Earl of Oxford wrote poetry,” he responds. “Badly.”
I have not finished the movie yet, so perhaps someone can tell me — is that it? Does Shakespeare, either his words or his themes, play a larger role in the movie? Having just completed The Humbling I’m left a bit disappointed. If somebody tells me that’s it for interesting Shakespeare content, I probably won’t finish this one.