American actor Josh Brolin has seen his fair share of ups and downs when it comes to his acting career. Delighting audiences with his film debut in the cult classic The Goonies to not-so-great career moves in films like Hollow Man and Into the Blue, the son of famed actor James Brolin needed some time to find the right starring vehicle. It wasn’t until he starred in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award winning film No Country for Old Men, as Llewelyn Moss opposite Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, that we finally saw the unbelievable talent that Brolin possesses. With further acclaimed performances in Milk and True Grit, it seemed like the sky was the limit for the brooding actor. That is to say until we were introduced to one of his worst movies, the comic book film Jonah Hex, which is now apparently becoming relevant on streaming services, 12 years after its initial run.
FlixPatrol reports that Jonah Hex has been climbing the charts on HBO, hitting within the Top 10 of movies this week. The film was produced by Legendary Pictures and Akiva Goldsman, and directed by Jimmy Hayward of Horton Hears a Who! fame. Adapted from DC comics, the eponymous character is played in the film by Josh Brolin himself. Joining Jonah Hex on HBO’s Top 10 is Dear Evan Hansen, Constantine, The Flight Attendant, The Switch, Transporter 3, Unbroken, The Notebook, and 17 Again.
Jonah Hex was released in the summer of 2010 to almost unanimous condemnation from critics and audiences alike. As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes rates the film with a 12% on their Tomatometer from verified reviews of critics, while the average Audience Score rests just a bit higher at 20%. In addition, IMDB’s rating is 4.7/10, while Metacritic has a Metascore of 33 and a User Score of 39, which typically denotes generally unfavorable reviews. Since audiences didn’t seem to enjoy the movie when it was released, Jonah Hex was seen as a box office bomb for Josh Brolin, grossing a dismal $11 million against a $47 million budget, which is why the film registering in HBO’s Top 10 is such a surprise.
Joining Josh Brolin in Jonah Hex was a seemingly unstoppable ensemble cast that included Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Wes Bentley, and Michael Shannon. Set in 1876, the character of Jonah Hex is seen as a western type of antihero, a Confederate soldier turned bounty hunter with a death wish in the comics. In the film version, the military gives Jonah Hex a chance to win his freedom when he is threatened with imprisonment, but only if he can eliminate a terrorist on their behalf. Fox would be featured as Lilah Black, a prostitute that eventually becomes Hex’s love interest (despite the almost 20 year age difference between the two actors). Malkovich portrayed Quentin Turnbull, who disfigures Hex and kills his family at the beginning of the film, thus becoming the main villain throughout. Fassbender, Bentley and Arnett are highlighted in supporting roles as Turnbull’s sidekick, a dishonest politician, and a Union solider who hires Hex as a bounty hunter, respectively. Finally, Shannon’s character was Dr. Cross Williams, the head and ringleader of a gladiator circus. According to an interview with MTV News, Shannon remarked that initial plans included a sequel based around his character, if Jonah Hex did well at the box office.
Before production began on Jonah Hex, it was reported that early on Josh Brolin wasn’t too interested in taking on the role of the fictional superhero. In a conversation with MTV News at the time, Brolin declared the script was “awful” and had second thoughts about doing it in the first place. He then apparently decided about a week later that he would take on the role because maybe doing an awful movie was the right choice for him in his career at that moment. He evidently believed that if the studio found the right director to handle a terrible script, and the right actors were cast to play the interesting roles the comic book featured, then maybe the film would go on to great success. Unfortunately for Josh Brolin that did not come to pass.