Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy (RIP)

When Brittany Murphy turned 32 last month I made an joke about her extended absence from the screen. "She acts 'I hope not sporadically'" It was an affectionate joke, riffing on my favorite of her many fine line readings from Clueless. I genuinely liked to see her onscreen. I never imagined that the following month she'd be dead of cardiac arrest. With talented young actresses, I always hope for the best.


The last time I saw Brittany Murphy in the movie theater she was playing the hard living title character in the female ensemble feature The Dead Girl (2006). As "Krista" entered a serial killer's car I felt an awful rising pity for her but also anger that she was such a fuck-up. It was tempting if uncharitable to feel both things about Brittany Murphy offscreen as well. I have no idea what was happening to her when her stardom began to burn out and the media turned on her but it didn't look good from the outside.

<-- Brittany looking great in 2008

But it's smart to push the media circus aside when you like someone onscreen. And besides isn't it dangerous or at least naive to think we know what's going on in the personal life of any celebrity. Who can know? It's not like the paparazzi record your soul.

So our thoughts go out to her loved ones on this sad day. And thanks go out to Brittany for her penguin singing in Happy Feet, for gifting 8 Mile with some brazenly sexual energy, for understanding 'popcorn' star turns in Don't Say A Word, for the second most memorable crazy in Girl Interrupted and for topping much of the empty attitudinal posing surrounding her in Sin City to deliver something vividly human if still appropriately theatrical. And of course big props to her endearing contribution to her one bonafide classic Clueless.

I already missed her before she was gone.

29 comments:

City_Of_Lights said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj9D41bMC5I

R.I.P. Brittany

Will said...

Brittany Murphy was indeed a very gifted actress. I liked her a lot. It's always a tragedy when someone dies, especially at such young age and especially when they are talented.

Michael Parsons said...

Ever since her final scene, where (imho) she out acted the Oscar winner, in 'Girl, Interrupted' I had always hoped that she would continuously challenge herself.
Once a month I would see what was happening to her on imdb, in hopes of some glimmer of potential brilliance.
How very upsetting.

Nate said...

This is so sad, she was very underrated.

Lara said...

Rest in Peace, Brittany.
How very sad. What you said about her performance in Sin City, Nathaniel, is exactly the reason why out of all characters hers is the one I remember the best. A truly gifted actress.

Matty said...

Obviously now that she's dead suddently she has a legend of fans, bulls**t.

I mean, people hated her romantic comedies and all, is so funny that all this 'very gifted actress' coments are coming now, but anyway RIP brittany.

Peggy Sue said...

So sad. I loved her in Girl, Interrupted...

NATHANIEL R said...

well Matty... if you chase the links in the post, you'll find that i've been saying similar things about her for years.

but she made more than just those poorly received romantic comedies.

Stephen said...

Also, Matty - you fail to appreciate how many people of a certain generation will always love her for "Rollin' with the homies..." ;-)

RIP

City_Of_Lights said...

She was great in Bongwater, a stoner film that alot of people haven't seen. Happy Feet as well.

Uptown Girls, Little Black Book and Just Married, while not classics are better than many comedies we've been subjected to like All About Steve or New In Town

Stepehen, we had the same thought. For people of like me of a certain age, she will always be Tai.

Billy D said...

She was the best part of Sin City (or the part that always sticks out in my mind), and made my teenage years brighter with Tai. And while it certainly isn't my favorite animated series, she did remarkably imaginative voice work for King of the Hill.

Juno101 said...

I've always have genuinly enjoyed her acting style. She always had great mannerisms, facial expressions, and her eyes... Her accent's cool, also. She seemed like the sweetest person with the most sincere intentions, or atleast her characters have. I always wished she would get that one role. I'll miss her

Kirby said...

She was the best thing in "Girl, Interrupted". I always felt she should have been up for all the awards instead of Angelina Jolie for that film.

Glenn said...

Her single "Faster Kill Pussycat" is great, btw. Definitely check it out.

Sad news about Murphy. I always kind it a bit sad when these stars just fade away, especially when you can tell they have talent (even if it wasn't always evident in the films they chose).

Evan said...

Very nice write-up, Nathaniel. It does a fine actress justice.

I never forget her "rolling with the homies."

Dorian said...

She was great in "Girl, Interrupted" (and I've said to this day that Angelina wouldn't have her Oscar today without that scene at Daisy's house, which she was excellent in), "8 Mile," "The Deal Girl" "I'll never tell...", and of course, "Clueless", one of the best comedies of the 90s. I'm still in shock over this news. I really hope that this doesn't turn out to be a sordid death of drugs and what not, b/c she had a promising career and a body of films to her credit that she could be proud of. Maybe not Oscarworthy great, but still great for what it was. I don't want that all sullied. Sad day. RIP Brittany. "Rollin' with the homies." Nice memories.

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Brittany Murphy! She gave my second favourite performance in Girl Interrupted.

Alexandra Bieberhausen said...

Like some others already said, she will always be one of the icons of our/my generation! EATING CHICKEN! Oder "HÜHNCHEN MIT ESSECKE!", weil wir damals noch oft die deutschen Synchronfassungen sahen. (Hahaha!)

RIP
Brittany Murphy

Jesus Alonso said...

RIP. I'm almost as in shock as I was when River Phoenix or Brad Renfro or Heath Ledger died. Brittany hasn't been such an obvious big star in the making, maybe, but the potential - and some really right choices - were there, specially Girl Interrupted, Sin City and getting a co-star role in such a star-filled animated blockbuster as Happy Feet - wasn't her a delight there?. It's not only that she died, is what life has taken also her chance of fully showing us all her potential, that we could just glimpse so far. It's not only a sense of loss for what it's been, but also for what we seen could and should have been. Really sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm shoked about this news!
Brittany was very gifted. she often was the reason to watch her movies and she made them better.
It's so sad we couldn't appreciate her talent anymore...
CLUELESS; GIRL, INTERRUPTED;THE DEAD GIRL; 8 MILE; SIN CITY; HAPPY FEET; DON'T SAY A WORD that Penny Marshal's flick starring Drew and of course some romcoms...
some years ago there was the rumors she campaigned to be the leading lady in a movie based upon extraordinary novel THE WHITE HOTEL; the project was shelved but Brittany could have been a surprise

I'll miss her!!!

mirko

Amanda said...

Best tribute post I've read thus far. I loved it.

Louise Tripp said...

Oh, right! I forgot about watching The Dead Girl and her being in that! That was really good. I think that may have been the last movie I saw her in.

Bailey said...

This really does just make me sick. I have followed her career since I caught her on "Almost Home" on the Disney Channel ages ago as a child, and always thought Brittany had something very rare and special, even if she did lose a little of it once she tried going the generic blonde starlet route. I immediately thought of "The Dead Girl" when I heard this news, as it was probably the most recent thing of hers I've seen and it just seems a little...prescient. Whenever I think of Brittany I think of her role in "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and that scene from "Riding in Cars with Boys" where she role-plays as Drew's mother and starts screaming "My daughter the whooooo'e in the middle of the street. Pure Brittany Murphy.

And that voice - raspy, distinctive, seductive, unique...and she could sing. Sigh, I hate this.

Roll with the homies in heaven, Tai. RIP

Amy Jane said...

I am very saddened by her death. Even more so by the fact that no one is even uttering the word ANOREXIA in conjunction with it.

Sadly, it's the disease that Hollywood gives it's young women as a welcome gift, but no one will own up to the fact that this beauty ideal is a deadly ideal.

Such a loss.

NATHANIEL R said...

@amy jane -- my readers have trained me to never utter that word. Almost every time I've dared utter it or suggested that 'so and so' might have a problem given that nobody can be healthy that thin I get hate mail.

I've even gotten hate mail when I've mentioned certain male actors gaining a lot of weight and how it's so obviously a double standard.

the conclusion i've come to: everyone hates you if you ever mention celebrities gaining or losing weight ;) People just take that particular subject so personally and the crazy comes out.

Anonymous said...

My god.. what bad news.... she was a good actress! i loved her..
its so sad..
Boob Job

Robin Hood said...

http://interflicks.net/brittanymurphy/

Vann said...

Loads of drugs were found at Brittany's bedside. Not sounding good for those thinking her death was from "natural causes."

Anonymous said...

Nat, I think you forgot to mention one of her greatest "roles": as Luanne Platter in King of the Hill. A ditzy and naive character with a heart of gold.