Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whatever Became Of Winona Ryder?

Dave of Victim of the Time here again; I asked this question of Christina Ricci a couple of weeks ago, and mused on the possibility of doing the same for poor Winona Ryder. (Sidenote: they were apparently in this together. I have not seen that.) So imagine my surprise to see Nat mention her popping up in something over there in Nashville. Noni on the brain; surely a good thing.

I think we all know what became of her really, though: she got busted. But, looking back, her career didn't look in the finest shape anyway; Girl, Interrupted got stolen by a manic Angelina Jolie, Autumn in New York went down like a balloon filled with air instead of helium (terminal illness and an older man lusting after a young woman- where did all go so wrong?), and I'm not sure anyone should ever mention Mr. Deeds again (unless of course it's followed by the words "Goes To Town"). In fact, after an obviously necessary period of staying out of the spotlight, Noni's slowly been rebuilding respectability in her career, albeit out of the A-List limelight she once inhabited. Her films in the last few years may not have been of the finest quality, or had the widest releases (indeed, most of them haven't swum their way over to these shores), but with things like Star Trek and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee on the horizon, perhaps Noni's career is finally getting back on track.

She seems to have suffered from a similar problem to Christina Ricci; the public perception of her never really seemed to change. Like Ricci, Noni's a small lady, but rather than the child Ricci inescapably plays, Noni was, from the day she appeared in Beetle Juice (which, shoot me, I still haven't seen) and Heathers, forever a teenager. Parts like those in The Age of Innocence and The Crucible never really seemed to fit her, and she didn't seem particularly comfortable in them; Jo in Little Women, on the other hand, fit her almost too well for her own good. Trying to play 'adult' roles- throw Girl, Interrupted (although the 'girl' of the title tells you something) and possibly Alien: Resurrection into that hat as well- made our beloved Noni come across slightly bland, stripped of the sardonic, cutting humour the teenager parts let her express.

Post-you-know-what back in 2002- and note that, A Scanner Darkly aside, I'm going solely on plot descriptions here, so feel free to contradict me- she seems to have, whether willingly or not (they may be the only parts she was offered!), used her damaged image to appropriate a new persona (often involving drugs), and it may be working out, after a few years hard slog. From wiseacre teen to... wiseacre, battered adult. I see her conviction as the division between teenage Noni and adult Noni- it might have been the best thing for her personally, but it looked like her A-list status was dwindling anyway; taking an enforced break, and coming back with an unavoidably altered public image, meant she could finally grow up. (And, yes, she may be in a movie with Hilary Duff, but... Nope. I got nothin'.)

31 comments:

pomme said...

the productors can support everything except actors not reliable! sorry wino!

Kurtis O said...

Ugh...I very much enjoy your contributions to this blog so...no offense...but...I couldn't care less what became of Winona Ryder; in fact, I'm glad she's been absent. I kind of detest her. I find her to be rather flat every time out. I won't comment on her earlier career, but as for her more contemporary stuff, "Mr. Deeds" was a regular old bad Sandler comedy until she showed up and made it truly terrible. As for "Girl, Interrupted," while I believe Jolie's work in the film was a little overwrought, I don't think she stole the film from Ryder. Rather, I think she did her a favor by drawing the attention away from yet another lousy perf. (that bathtub scene with Whoopi is painful). I'll admit that "Little Women" was one of her better titles, but I'll also admit that I was, well...not disappointed when she got busted.

Wayne B. said...

Okay I completely disagree that Angelina Jolie stole "Girl, Interrupted" from Winona Ryder. I think it might be another example of the Academy getting carried away with their love for an actor, rather than rewarding the best performance. Dave has a point that her acting style never really matured to make her adult roles believable but I think that deficiency actually helps in "Girl, Interrupted" because Susanne is a child in her own way.
Its probably her last great movie.
I'm still hoping for her, I believe that she has one more GREAT performance in her.

Anonymous said...

For some reason I always compare her with Lara Flynn Boyle. Both had such charm at young age and some talent to back it up, but both made some bad decisions along the line (boyle with her plastic surgery), and both ended up being nothing more than "stars" because of their mistakes, instead of being well known because of their acting.

I can see a "comeback" for Winona though, she hasn't lost all of her charms.

JA said...

She was fucking HYSTERICAL in The Ten. A seriously hit or hit miss film but she took her material, which could've been bland and cliched, and knocked it so far out of the park it looped around the Earth like Superman and sped back time.

But then I really really love her so I'm biased.

Arden said...

with all due respect... winona really accomplished more than lara flynn boyle... and is a better actress... are we really gonna send her into sherilyn fenn territory... dont throw the baby out with the bathwater... and see beetlejuice...

Drew said...

I think the logic falls flat when you consider that her role in The Crucible was a teenaged role? And I thought she was a good fit for Abigail, I quite like that performance.

Saltire Flower said...

Kurtis O, I agree with you. I think she is an absolutely dreadful actress. Even the films I adore like "Edward Scissorhands" have scenes that are unbearable because of her presence. She plays the same person in all of her films. The only film she performed well in was "Little Women".

Karen said...

I hope Winona makes a big comeback.

vince said...

Ryder was actually showing glimpses of acting ability before the big incident happened. She was great in her S1m0e cameo and what could have been a phoned in performance in Mr. Deeds was actually quite sweet and endearing (and she did that playing a very unempathetic gossip reporter). Before that, she was a boring actress with limited ability who had the privilege of staring in a couple of cult classics as a teenager.

vince said...

I disagree with Kurtis O about Mr. Deeds, but he's spot on with the "painful" description of the Girl, Interrupted bathtub scene.

vince said...

... quite honestly, I don't think I've ever seen an actor embarrass his or her self more than she did in that scene. PAINFUL indeed.

rosengje said...

But... Reality Bites!

Cluster Funk said...

Why yes, who could forget Reality Bites? Such a great performance (despite the stringy, greasy hair).

Her fall from grace hurts. Let's hope for a Lazarus-like career resurrection!

Chris Na Taraja said...

I heard Winona is not being hired because they are worried about her stealing scenes.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person thinking of Noni Hazlehurst whenever Noni is typed???

Dave said...

Kurtis O: Thank you (for the compliment); and I totally realize that Winona isn't for everyone. I don't really get why I like her so much; my love is entirely retroactive, since I grew up non-film-conscious for most of the '90s.

Drew: Admittedly my lines might gave got a little lost, but I meant to group 'The Crucible' in with the adult parts she tried and that didn't really fit her. In my opinion, of course.

Saltire: No! The one Winona performance I will accept no criticism on whatsoever is Edward Scissorhands. I think she's super in it.

Adam said...

She can be totally miscast and thus sort of stilted, but I love Winona Ryder. First of all, see "Beetlejuice!" Not actually for Winona Ryder, more Catherine O'Hara, but a great movie nonetheless. And as mentioned in the comments, she's also pretty strong in "Reality Bites," "Mermaids," "The Ten"... And am I the only one that loved her a little more after she shoplifted?

Marshall said...

Anyone who denies Winona Ryder as an actress has not seen The Age of Innocence.

faz77 said...

her career got screwed by the shoplifting...but I love her she is so beautiful, and she owned the 90's...I always thought of her as the female Johnny Depp but things sort of changed when that tiny independent film that no one knows came out *cough* pirates.

wordsworm said...

I can't stand Jolie. I'll cross the street to avoid her DVD. While I wouldn't get excited about Winona, I wouldn't avoid it either.

Jo said...

Oh God, Jolie was terrible in Girl, Interrupted, if you ask me. Too hammy for my liking. Winona completely stole the show and should of got a nomination.

Anonymous said...

She is and remains to be a very bad actress with no acting skills!

lawyer tony fernando said...

Come back Winona,maybe Burton still remembers you!

mrripley said...

i though she was marvellous in the age of innocence.

Anonymous said...

You people are too influenced by tabloid. Angelina was phenomenal in Girl Interrupted and deserved her win.

lylee said...

Sigh, I do miss Noni. For me, Winona = the '90s. Everything I both loved and hated about it.

I really hope she makes a comeback. She can be annoying, yes (it's her voice, I think), but she's got the chops. And still beautiful even as she's nearing 40.

Kim said...

I never read trashy tabloids or gossip sites and I could not care what an actor does off-screen, as long as they are a good actor. Angelina has simply never impressed me and I find her a terrible actress. I think she stole the oscar from the brilliant Chloe Sevigny. Even Collette and Keener were 100 times better than her.
Winona, on the other hand, I find her work in the late 80's and 90's quite wonderful! I don't believe anyone could have done her part in Heathers better than herself. She was perfect in Little Women. And has never failed to impressed me with her work in Girl, Interrupted, The Age of Innocence, Mermaids, Beetlejuice, The Crucible and Edward Scissorhands. Apparently she's also good in Sex and Death 101, but I can't comment on that right now. So yeah, even though Angelina is the bigger star and better liked by people (I think), she's never impressed me at all, unlike Noni.

Lara said...

I'm biased, I love her. Agree that she owned the late 80s, early 90s. So I would love to see more of her. Noni forever ;-).

Amy said...

I would like to see her come back, but hopefully not in travesties like "Sex and Death 101"... still not sure who to blame for that mess.

I wonder what you meant when you mentioned that Jo in "Little Women" fit her "too well"?

Anonymous said...

Many people think that Winona is a bad actress or always play the same role probably because she has such a bright individulity that shows in all her roles(like her voice is a very distinguished feature and with no doubts her eyes). And maybe because her acting is never overdramatized. But she is a very talented actress, and whenever she had a chance to work with great material she always proved it. She really is gorgeous in period pieces and in sci-fi thanks to her fairy tale beauty. I'm absolutely sure tha she is coming back as she got that new mature quality to her. It just took her some time to overcome that "teenagerness" even some boyishness maybe. But remember she became exposed to stardom when she was still so young.
Just saw the Crucible again - she is so good in it! I even forgot it was Winona, she's good as a villian. She's damn great with complex characters!