Adam of Club Silencio here with another look at my favorite actresses and their distinguishing claims to fame.
I'm probably not Kathy Bates number one fan, but I'd certainly be club treasurer. As much as I love her, I just don't have the follow through to keep her bed-ridden and hobble her legs. Even so Kathy's worth any and all fan-frenzy devotion. Not only does she consistently turn potentially mocking roles into comedy and drama gold, she's a director in her own right and an inspirational cancer survivor. It's not just her characters that are unsinkable, it's Kathy Bates.
Many of Kathy's most mesmerizing turns play on that fact that she's an atypical starlet, and she always seems to revel in that - capturing the misery, humor and strength in unglamorous roles. Her Oscar-winning character Annie Wilkes surely never crossed the paths of Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts, but Kathy takes on this frumpy and fanatical Colorado native as if she'd been listening to Liberace and abducting authors her entire life. Acting shouldn't always pretty, and Kathy manages to make even the most unappealing part a thing of beauty. Few could give an overweight character named Evelyn Couch her due decency, but Kathy never flounders.
Towanda will go on a rampage! I'll slip tiny bombs into Penthouse and Playboys so they explode when you open them. I'll ban all fashion models who weigh under 130 pounds! And I'll give half the military budget to people over 65 and declare wrinkles sexually desirable.
She tackles roles without reservation, without vanity, and that's what really plumbs the depths of her characters. Likewise, real depth exists when you're trying to dump your deadbeat husband's body in a well...
One of Kathy's most stirring and complex portraits comes in Dolores Claiborne, about a woman whose life has been centered on abuse: verbal abuse from her boss, physical abuse from her husband, and emotional bruises that still exist with her distant daughter. The film takes us through the years of Dolores' headstrong life to find the power in a woman painted as victim, bitch and bully. Kathy's own strength is what translates and gives this woman her second chance at redemption.
Here's to Kathy Bates. An atypical starlet as strong, beautiful and bold as ever. Truly unsinkable.