Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"You are such a buzz kill"


That's a Juliette Lewis moment from the Jennifer Aniston comedy The Switch. I'm glad that this scene in which she (apparently) gently chastises Jason Bateman for being insufficiently perky is on Apple. It's the closest I want to come to that movie, unless there's a scene in which Patrick Wilson actually performs his "donor" duty. What? I'm only human.

And speaking of... Patrick Wilson needs to be a bigger star. I suspect people have found him too bland for leading roles but that's a shame really because he's terrific in both Little Children (2006) and Angels in America (2003) and it's not like anyone was all that good in Watchmen (2009) or Phantom of the Opera (2004), so why hold those against him? Plus he was kinda great on Broadway in both The Full Monty and Oklahoma! ...not that they're making that many movie musicals and when they're making them they aren't casting for musical ability. [Editor's note: Dead horse. You are beaten!] It's just that he's totally great at playing these "generically idealized man" types and those characters are often in danger of being a touch bland... even or maybe especially if you're playing them well.

<-- Maybe Barry Munday (pictured with Judy Greer) will help since his looks are so downplayed and his body is so unchararcteristically that of a mere mortals?

Anyway...

I hate to be a buzzkill myself but I just can't get behind Jennifer Aniston as a movie star (though I would gladly watch her headline a sitcom). I always seem to want to recast movies with the lively supporting character actors switching places with the duller leading ladies and men. I would totally buy a ticket to see an artificial insemination comedy that was about Juliette Lewis's romantic foibles with Patrick Wilson wherein Jennifer Aniston throws some sort of party and dispenses supporting actress advice. Just like I might have actually bought a ticket to P.S. I Love You if Gina Gershon or Lisa Kudrow were communing with their dead husbands played not by Gerard Butler while Hilary Swank smiled from the sidelines doing best friend duty, always in danger of landing on the cutting room floor.

But if Hollywood made movies to please me they'd go bankrupt. Truth.

Here's the Weekend Box Office should you be curious about these things. (I know nobody comes here specifically for this -- why would you? -- but would you like seeing the chart referenced casually each week? Maybe you do look it up each week even if you don't really care. That's how I do.)
  1. The Expendables $16.9 (total $65) 2nd weekend
  2. Vampires Suck $12.2 (total $18.5) opening weekend
  3. Eat Pray Love $12.1 (total $47.2) 2nd weekend
  4. Lottery Ticket $10.6 opening weekend
  5. The Other Guys $10.1 (total $88.2)
  6. Piranha 3D $10.1 opening weekend
  7. The Switch $8.4 opening weekend
  8. Nanny McPhee Returns $8.4 opening weekend
  9. Inception $7.8 (total $262, #5 of the film year thus far behind some teen vampire thing) 6th weekend
  10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World $5.2 (total $20.8) 2nd weekend
Did you contribute to any of these box office takes? Money well spent? Also if you've seen The Switch do speak up. I'm curious against my will. Some people I follow on Twitter had me convinced that Jen would soon win an Oscar (not for this but for something). That's totally plausible given what AMPAS voters value most in Best Actress (likeability, sex appeal, career heat. Acting is like 7th on the list.). But I'd have to retire. I just couldn't deal. The horror. The horror.
*

36 comments:

Walter L. Hollmann said...

"...Jen would soon win an Oscar (not for this but for something). That's totally plausible"

I think I actually went rage-blind for a moment.

I can't believe Wilson *isn't* a bigger star. He's more than a good actor, he's charismatic. Also, he's an Adonis. Prom King indeed.

Jenn said...

The day Jennifer Aniston wins an Oscar is the day the world implodes on itself.

Joe Reid said...

I know it's only natural to wish wild success on the actors we love, but I'm almost happier when they DON'T become A-listers. I just think of actors like Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. and how, with some obvious exceptions, their roles got less interesting the more entrenched they became on casting directors' short lists. From my vantage point, I think I'm happy with Wilson at the level he's at now. (And I actually thought he gave a pretty great performance in Watchmen.)

James T said...

I really don't see how an Aniston win could make people more angry than the Bullock win.

And what about Witherspoon? Even if you liked the perf, you wouldn't think she would or should ever win some time before she did. Right?

Anyway, I agree that "Rachel" is her greatest achievement so far but I see no reason for anyone to believe she can't play a good part and do it well. Or very well.

And don't make me upset about my TV loved ones or I'll wish Lucy Lawless wins an Oscar some day :p

But yes. Please give Lisa Kudrow a movie all her own.

Michael said...

What about "The Good Girl" ? I thought she proved she could act in that at least. I mean, she hasn't done any films like that lately, but still, she can give a good performance.. no?

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Frankly (and I'm pray I'm not alone here), I feel like The Good Girl falls into the One Hour Photo category of filmmaking. That is, a sludgy, cobbled-together mess whose sole purpose seems to be getting audiences to think of an already noteworthy performer in a different light, good script, skilled directing/acting and even narrative plausibility be damned. It was so transparently..."See?! Aniston can be a serious actor." I dunno...perhaps I would have been more forgiving had the film been better.

Glenn said...

She nearly made my top five best actress list last year for Management to be honest. She was very good in it.

As much as I don't particularly care to see The Switch, I do find it odd that more people went to see The Back-Up Plan than it. I mean... really? Gross.

/3rtfu11 said...

OMG she could win! Thinking about a certain character actress whose younger female co-stars makes up the 2008 and 2009 Best Actress winners. This same character actress worked with Aniston on a film directed by said character actresses (he directed me to an Oscar) therefore I owe him the misfortune in appearing in all his weaker efforts since our initial collaboration.

Blinking Cursor said...

Totally agree with you about Patrick Wilson, Nat. He's hot, multi-talented (can act, sing, and dance), charismatic, and err... did I mention hot? Why he isn't a bigger star is a mystery, indeed.

BTW, you forgot to mention his perf in Hard Candy. He and Ellen Page gave fabulous performances, which made the movie what it was - great, imo. He was also fabu in Little Children and best in show in Watchman. BTW, method actor that he is, he gained twenty pounds for his role as NightOwl in Watchmen. Apparently, he gave up jogging, working out, and just sat around eating super sized meals.

Lara Durden said...

I always laugh when someone brings up The Good Girl. That was 8 years ago when Jen Aniston gave an above average performance. If one has to go back 8 years in order to praise someone than maybe the performance was a fluke?

I agree. Patrick Wilson should be must bigger than he is. Also his ass in Little Children makes me believe in unicorns and fairies.

joe burns said...

Wilson was very good in Little Children, the whole movie was good.

Anonymous said...

Yes! I totally believe Jen can win an Oscar. Give her a winning script, and she will nail it. I saw the Switch, and she is really great in this movie. All of them actually icluding the boy. It's more of a father and son relationship, very good movie for the whole family.

Nina said...

Yes! I totally believe Jen can win an Oscar. Give her a winning script, and she will nail it. I saw the Switch, and she is really great in this movie. All of them actually icluding the boy. It's more of a father and son relationship, very good movie for the whole family.

Alison Flynn said...

I finally saw Winter's Bone this weekend, which I loved.

Joe Reid: So with you on actors when they become A-listers. I love Robert Downey, Jr. He's talented and he's always entertaining, no matter what he does, but I wish he'd go back to doing the more challenging, edgier stuff.

Alex said...

I'd actually enjoy seeing her win an Oscar. The Patrick Wilson connection makes me think she could've been very good in "Little Children," but please don't tear me to shreads for that. Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Helen Hunt, etc. It's gonna happen sooner or later. Poor Meg Ryan...

matt said...

I did see The Switch this past weekend. Besides the fact that I love and will see any romantic comedy, Friends and Arrested Development are two of my favorite shows ever. Thus, I thoroughly enjoyed the film...but was probably predisposed to.

Actually, when it comes to rom-coms - you could do much worse than The Switch.

I wish Aniston were in films that could gain Oscar attention (it's not like her Emmy is due to pure talent) - I just find myself constantly rooting for her (even pre-Brad Pitt). I know I'm not alone...

okinawaassault said...

I'm gonna whisper what someone posted on her iMDb page that might help Aniston win an Oscar:

*she looks like norma shearer*

or

*jen, please call nicole holofceneer again.

Also, I almost saw this today but I saw The Bank Job instead. I don't know if that was the right decision, but I saw the Bank Job for free.

kin said...

I will judge how happy I would be about Aniston's hypothetical Oscar once I watch her hypothetically Oscar winning performance. Like we are all supposed to do.

pomme said...

if Sandra Bullock can win for "the blind side",every one can win!
if Walhberg can be nod, every one can be nod!(i hope)
if Dicaprio is nod for "inception",all "inception" cast can be nod(god ,i saw this movie too many times now i'm allergic)

Lara said...

Yes to Patrick Wilson. He and that guy who played Pike (the two baddies) were the best thing about the A-Team. He played deceitful very well.

Just like you keep imagining other actresses in Aniston's roles I do the same with Sandra Bullock. Wouldn't Juliette Lewis be the more believable Annie in Speed? And wouldn't have Julia Roberts brought some real Movie Star- Southern Lady- "I don't take no for answer"- ass kicking to The Blind Side? SB's performance felt half-baked. She might be the nicest person on earth, but as an actress I find her incredibly bland.

Anonymous said...

You had me until you implied Gina Gershon is a better actress than Hilary Swank. Yes, she's only been great in two films (Million Dollar Baby, Boys Dont Cry), but each of those is still better than anything Gershon's ever done, better than anything Lisa Kudrow's ever done for that matter.

John T said...

You have to think in 2-3 years they'll need to honor another "Sweetheart" which likely means Adams, Aniston, or Barrymore (unless Meg Ryan makes a massive comeback) amongst the unhonored actresses currently, so it's really a crapshoot between the three of them. If Aniston gets a "Erin Brockovich/Blind Side" I think the nomination would be a lock because of her mega star status, and a win wouldn't be out of the question, particularly if Angelina has a shot at the award that year as well. You know the media (and by extension, AMPAS) would die to have them competing for an Oscar against each other.

NATHANIEL R said...

everyone further driving home the point that Jennifer Aniston is more likely to win an Oscar than all of those great actresses who still havent' won -- y'all are depressing me even further. Aniston does NOT need an Oscar. But then, neither did Bullock (who, let's remember, I like). I wish we could get away from the notion that likeability = statue worthy. Sometimes it's enough to enjoy someone.

it would really be so much more exciting if amazing acting = statue worthy

anon -- only Boys Don't Cry is better than the best of Gina (Showgirls) and Lisa (The Opposite of Sex). Million Dollar Baby? Not even close to the resourceful, funny, interesting stuff both of those actresses bring to their best supporting role each.

Swank is a limited and bland actor outside of that tiny wedge of masculine tragedy roles and at least those women have spark. And you need spark to be engaging as a romantic comedy lead.

Now, to hedge a bit, I'm not saying that Gershon and Kudrow wouldn't be limited and bland outside of a certain type of role because we never know. Hollywood never gave us a chance to find out.

Vertigo said...

That's a very funny pic of Juliette Lewis. Those claws and teeth... is she a Lady Gaga fan in that movie? : )

Brian Z said...

At my screening of The Switch the strangest thing happened...I didn't hate it. By no means is it close to a must-see movie, but it has its charming bits and is much more Bateman's story than Aniston's.

SoSueMe said...

I don't know if I would describe Patrick Wilson as charismatic...he has such a low-key, brooding energy. Recently watched Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer...now that's charisma!

As for J. Aniston, I think she has a quiet confidence and charisma...but her acting lacks vitality...she has a very mannered, lax rhythm and cadence to her delivery. Anyone else notice this, or am I crazy?

Thought she excelled in Friends With Money...and she pulled off Derailed successfully.

SoSueMe said...

@Nathaniel
Hilary Swank...bland and limited? Waaaah! I can't say I'm a Hilary enthusiast and I can't say that I 100% support her second Oscar win (I kinda think the role should have been relegated to the supporting category), but when this girl is inspired, she is a force.

Nevertheless, what I am about to say might be taken as an vulgar, crass insult, and it just might prompt you to delete it...

Hilary Swank was good and believable in The Black Dahlia!

Hehe!

troyhopper said...

Re: Hilary Swank

I'm with Nate on this one. Swank is good at a very small niche. See her performances in any films other than her Oscar-winning ones, and you see a bland actress with a lack of presence. And while it merits debate whether or not Gershon or Kudrow would have been as successful in "BDC" or "MDB," I truly believe that Swank in any of their best or most interesting work would have definitely been a complete disaster.

As for Aniston, I feel like the dialogue surrounding her today would be vastly different had she resisted the temptation early on to be another rom-com actress.

Alex said...

I just went into a giggle fit imagining Lisa Kudrow in "Million Dollar Baby"

Ian said...

"The Switch" wasn't bad at all. You should actually watch it before condemning it. But the reason to see it isn't Jennifer Aniston (like it ever would be). It's b/c of Jason Bateman. He was freakin' fantastic in this and made me see him in an entirely new light (but please, stop wasting time on that "Arrested Development" movie, please? k thx!).

Ian said...

^^^ That last sentence didn't read like it was supposed to. I meant that Bateman and co. need to get to and finish that "Arrested Development" film ASAP. I miss that series so.

NATHANIEL R said...

Vertigo -- totally. i thought for a second i was at a Lady Gaga concert with Juliette.

Alex -- it is an amusing thought. But there is so much angry bubbling under some of Kudrow's work that it might have been interesting to see her play a lady boxer at some point. Just not in that movie ;) and the lack of anger or agression is the entire reason why i can't get behind Swank's performance in M$B as anything remotely Oscar worthy (though i should she was good in it for sure). I just can't imagine that this person who feels as if they could never hurt a fly would be that good in the ring. Where were the hints of aggression or anger or even self-loathing that would convinced me she liked to punch people in the face? and was good at it.

Volvagia said...

Watchmen the movie was an overcaffeinated and bloated diretorial mistake. The performances weren't awful, in fact I'd say the cast were all at the top of their game (not too much of a compliment for Malin Akerman, but still), but Snyder was, as many said, overfaithful, leading to the leaden behind camera (directing, screenplay) work overly distracting from the "best he could get" in front of camera work (costume design, production design, acting). Shame, but...Sucker Punch could at least be good.

Evan said...

Your Twitter friends are close, but not quite right: Jennifer Aniston will not win an Oscar, but I'd bet another insanely popular semi-actress will-- Beyonce. I predicted this two years ago, saying that it would happen within the next decade. Eight years to go...

Evan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

I like the idea of Lisa Kudrow and Patrick Wilson as her dead husband and Gina Gershon as best friend. Hillary Swank can have a brief cameo maybe. That would have been a movie worth the ticket price.