Sunday, October 03, 2004

I was just thinking today about how my list of favorite actors includes no male actors but only actresses. I mean, I love Ewan McGregor's work (plus he's cute too), I think he's not given credit for some of the amazing roles that he has done (and I don't mean the Star Wars trilogy). But there don't seem to be any male actors (besides McGregor) that I can recall at the moment whose work I really really admire in, say, the way I admire Julianne Moore's work. (And I've written about that in this blog as well). I think Sean Penn is over-rated, not because I dislike his work (I loved his turn in Dead Man Walking and I - almost - liked his turn in Mystic River) but because I think he's too ostentatious an actor; he eclipses the movie itself unless he's kept on a tight leash. Russell Crowe? Yes, but again he's too flashy. Anybody else?? Right at this moment, I can't think of any.

But my list of actresses goes on expanding. Julianne Moore, of course, is the best actress today, for my money. But I like both Cate Blanchette and Kate Winslet's work. And Kirsten Dunst is slowly but surely rising up my charts. Isn't it amazing that she's managed to be in two great movies this season? There was her solid supporting turn in Eternal Sunshine (the best movie so far this year) and there was her splendid turn as Mary Jane Watson in Spidey 2. In Crazy/Beautiful, which I saw recently, Dunst hits notes that exceed the movie itself. It's not that the movie is bad - it's a fairly conventional movie that tries to be a little different from all the others - but just a little. Some of the dialogue is just screamingly bad: in one scene, Dunst asks her father, "Why would you do that to me? Don't you think I am worth loving?". I am just amazed that dialogue such as this is even considered realistic. But Dunst all but carries it off. At the end of the movie, she even has a cringingly bad speech ("I know there is something beautiful in all my imperfections, the beauty which he held up for me to see") but she nails that too. And she manages to hit the right notes in Bring It On too - a nice little movie where I was able to look beyond all the short skirts and little blouses (for reasons you probably have guessed) and appreciate it. I saw her in Wimbledon recently where she's paired with the natty Paul Bettany. I don't know why but I am a sucker for the foppy-brit-meets-glossy-hard-American kind of movies and I liked the way Dunst portrayed a rising ambitious tennis star. Is at any wonder that she's the female lead in Cameron Crowe's next? Or that Sofia Coppola cast her in her upcoming biopic (or whatever) of Marie Antoniette? Man, this girl's going to go places. And she's just 22.!!!

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