Monday, October 17, 2005

Thank You For Your Patience

the conclusion to the Actress month (countdown, etc...) and to the updated Oscar predictions
etcetera etcetera etcera
will be available later today. For now I must be off to job interviews (wish me luck) and other such matters
I'd rather sit around and talk about actresses all day but it don't pay the rent
what a world what a world


Joe R. said...

Best of luck with the job, dude.



Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, don't know where else to mention this... but The White Countess is being screened at ShowEast a week from tomorrow in Orlando. Maybe there will finally be some word on its quality.

Great idiosyncratic list of actresses. Got my fingers crossed for P.C.

adam k. said...

Good luck with the job.

Sorry I stirred up such controversy about Nicole. I am anxiously awaiting her placement, and your comments.

p.s. I got a lot of my feelings about Nicole from you! Blame Nathaniel, everyone...

Anonymous said...

adam k;

I think you can have whatever opinions on Kidman you wish. I just don't think many of her fans appreciate you buttering her up with faint praise, then proceeding to basically say that;

a) She's not a great character actress (which is the exact definition of what she is. a character actress, who happens to be a major star)

b) She not good at accents (when she's shown more facility and variety for them than Winslet over her career. Cold Mountain was Kidman's weakest effort, but Winslet more than matched her with an atrocious nasal "American" accent in Life Of David Gale. Even Streep is widely considered to have murdered the Australian accent in A Cry In The Dark. None are perfect, but Kidman is probably only behind Streep and Blanchett in this score)

c)Saying he's "tall and beautiful" (none too subtely implying that she rarely has to bother to act)in all her movies.

d) Can't do broad, mainstream comedy (or comedy at all), unless some specialist director is guiding her (you mean, like Mike Nichols and Spike Jonze for Streep. Or Barry Levinson for Blanchett. Or Kate Winslet with a Spike Jonze script directed by Michel Gondry). While dismissing (no surprise there) her comic work in Bewitched, ignoring the fact that it got numerous raves, despite the movie itself being panned. In a movie where almost all the castmembers were more accomplished comic actors than her (Caine, Maclaine) and an actual comedian (Will Ferrell), Kidman still easily walked away with practically the only critical superlatives that movie got. Hey, she may be no good at comedy (according to you), but I'd say geting better reviews for comic acting than Will "Anchorman" Ferrell is an achievement Streep or Blanchett would be proud of.

d)She won't have a lasting career as a critically acclaimed actress, (you seem to have a crystal ball that everyone else lacks).

e) She's a botox freak

f) Lacks range.

G) Is basically a talentless, vacant overrated, pretty hack.LOL! (okay, you didn't say that in so many words, but that's the picture you built)

Honestly, this does not sound like love/hate. It sounds like someone you absolutely can't stand and have little respect for. Odd little caveats like "she was great and pretty in Moulin Rouge" and "she is great at being cold, which worked great in Dogville and stuff" and "she was good in 2001/2002, so deserves to be no.1"just come across like half-hearted "compliments" designed not to make you look like a "hatah" or the "bad guy". You basically want to have your cake and eat it.

With you, almost every good Kidman performance comes with some sort backhanded compliment, or only happened bacause of the Director. You overanalyze her work to a point that I don't think you would bother with other actress, maybe because she's currently percieved to be the dominant screen actress of her generation (as opposed to just the dominant "movie star", which is Julia Roberts).

I think people would have more respect for you comments if you just came right out and said "I can't stand the talentless bitch" or whatever.LOL!


adam k. said...

I really think you're totally reading into the things I said about Kidman. I gave her a lot of praise... I said I thought she deserved #1 on the list and I meant it. I also pointed out what I consider to be her shortcomings. I'm just being balanced. Blind worship for any actress is unjustified. I never called her talentless. I never called her a bitch. And that you choose to interpret "tall and beautiful" as an insult is not my fault.

I refuse to say more on the matter until the actual Nicole Kidman board arrives.

Anonymous said...

"I'm just being balanced. Blind worship for any actress is unjustified"-

I dunno. Your comments about Kate Winslet didn't quite display much balance to me. Just plain' ol, worshipful she's perfect, "it's a pity" she's not in every film ever made, ect ect. No "balance". Zero analysis of her weaknesses or shortcomings (maybe she doesn't have any.LOL!).

Or how about your "balanced", unworshipful analysis of Toni Collete;

"I love Toni, she's just fab!".

You are absolutely right. Blind worship for any actress is foolish. But your microscopic over-analysis of Kidman's every percieved fault and armchair psychoanalysis of her state of mind, is in direct contrast to your comments about your "favourites" like Winslet or Collete, where you just basically blow endless (eternal.LOL!) sunshine up their behinds . You even go relatively gently on Julianne Moore in her thread, spending an enitire post blaming the SCRIPTS for all her weaker performances, as opposed to finding much fault with the actual actress.

Yet with Kidman, you have the unerring ability to nitpick every octave of all her performances, as well as unrelated issues (her personal life, psycholgical state, unproven botox allegations).If I saw the same alledged "balance" and in your analysis of others,perhaps I'd be more recptive to your defense, but it ain't there.

And I was employing sarcasm with the "talentless bitch" thing. But I still think you only barely tolerate her because the majority seem to consider her something. special.

And I know you don't want to keep replying on this thread, so you don't have to reply to this. Just wanted to let you know what I was thinking. You're not a bad guy at all, and I enjoy reading many of your postings. I don't think you're anywhere near as "balanced" in regards to Kidman as you seem think you are. Maybe you don't even conciously realise how much you actually appear to dislike her, but I think many others see that disdain in your posts for her is very evident. A very elongated Freudian slip, perhaps.


adam k. said...

OK. I will reply with a question:

Why does no one ever acknowledge that I have REPEATEDLY said that I think Nicole Kidman has been THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ACTRESS OF THE DECADE SO FAR, shortcomings and all, while constantly pointing out the less flattering things I've said, throwing them back in my face and magnifying them tenfold? You claim I'm not being "balanced" with her, but no one is being "balanced" with me either. I armchair psychoanalyze Nicole and admit as much, and then everyone armchair psychoanalyzes me as having some deep-seated unresolved hatred toward her. "talentless" "vacant" "overrated" "hack" "bitch" and "freak" are all words that have been put into my mouth. I believe she is none of those... only possibly MILDLY overrated.

Nicole Kidman is the actress of my formative and life-shaping college years. I came out in 2001, the year of Moulin Rouge. Reading and viewing The Hours helped inspire me to kick my antidepressant meds. I thought she was great in Dogville/Birth. I feel like I watched her bloom onscreen as I bloomed in real life. I now pick on her the way I'd pick on a sibling; it's like that. I feel the need to be brutally honest about how I feel about her as an actress. Perhaps I even project some of my own insecurities onto her because I feel so connected to her cinema-wise. That's probably the case. Maybe it's not fair, or even unhealthy on my part, but I'd consider it a compliment if I were her.

Hopefully this helps explain my schizo attitude toward her. But I am not a hater, believe me. I just hold her to a great standard and take personal offense when she's not perfect.

I'd be happy to pick apart every actress on the list, but I do have real-life commitments, and this is in fact Nathaniel's blog, not mine. I sort of went off on Nicole because
A) She's been bandied about as the most likely #1 choice (and I think she should be) and
B) She holds a very special place in my heart, even if that place isn't always warm and fuzzy.

Would I really post pages and pages (in total) about an actress I didn't think was unique and singular in some way?

Nic is a complex and multifaceted gal, and my feelings about her are complex and multifaceted. And rather passionate.

I hope that makes sense. Please stop picking on me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I still think your various positions in regards to Kidman are a bit too schizo, backhanded and contradictory to me personally grasp the logic of (and it seems to go slightly beyond constructive analysis and criticism, imho), but hey, I respect your passion and your honesty, if nothing else.

Sorry if you felt I was adding to your feeling of being persecuted on this issue. That wasn't my intent at all.

I agree with you on one thing though. Kidman isn't perfect.Though her formal technique is better than the vast majority of her peers, she' not a behemoth of inch perfect technique like Streep or Blanchett. But it makes her all the more interesting and ironically, makes her successes arguably more compelling. She'll have more failures than Streep or Blanchett, but because she seems to put her entire being on the line in her major performances in a completely selfless and rare manner, I think her very best performances, will ultimately surpass the very best of Streep or Blanchett, in terms of sheer emotional impact (I'm still reeling from her work in Dogville). And she may come close to equalling them in sheer virtuoisity and versatilty displayed over the course of a career.

It'll be fascinating to contrast and compare the top 10 performances of these 3 actresses in a decades time or so. And Winslet too of course (though I consider her much more of a "persona" actress than the other 3, who are more capable of transforming into completely different characters than Winslet. Winslet never "plays herself", but like Jodie Foster or Susan Sarandon, don't really "transform", so much as they "become" their characters, even when they resemble themselves, vocally or otherwise, in real life. Her fondness for playing "bohemian free spirits" as Nat called it, may be part of the element of her own personality in her acting.


adam k. said...

Fair enough.
I would consider Nicole as more of a "persona" actress than Streep or Blanchett (thought not as much as Winslet) precisely because, like you said, she puts herself on the line, it's very much about HER, Nicole Kidman, as much as it is about the character. I'm just very much thinking this is "Nicole, the actress" whenever I watch her... rather than "Nicole the person", and "Grace" the person. You know? That was weird, but that's how I feel.
Ironically, the role when she played an actress (Satine) seemed the most real to me... which I guess makes sense... I just thought "OMG, Nicole, you're a real person!" and it was brilliant... I even rememeber in an interview she said it was so important to her to "make Satine a real person" and it worked.
I loved seeing her willing to leave and give up the show, then being forced to stay, then finally give up and sing to Ewan and break down in tears... and then die. Tragic. And then there she was in The Others, dead! So poetic.
ANYWAY... I love that Nicole is so into serving auteurs and making great films and great career choices (big big asset) But I'm even more moved seeing her just be real. I almost feel like that's harder for her. And more impressive. And that's something Kate Winslet, for example, does constantly. But this is why we have different actresses with different strengths. May they all continue to make great movies.

Anonymous said...

The reason I don't consider Kidman to be much of a "persona" actress, is that while she gives so much of herself in performance, I don't think she's actually much like most of the characters she portrays in real life (wheras Sarandon, Foster and Winslet are. That's my main definition of "persona" acting). It's like Brando in Streetcar or Daniel Day-Lewis' technique. Commit 100% intensity and emotion, but fold in into another personality.

That's not to say that Kidman doesn't have a semi-consistent "screen presence" (all actors do, even Blanchett( strong, willful) and Streep (austere, a touch mannered)). It's just, that from all available evidence ( TV interviews, profiles), much of that screen persona isn't her, day to day. The icy, detached thing may be something she does well, but in real life, she's a bit ditzy, shy and a "girly girl", and not especially serious or intense. I don't think Grace in The Others, Grace in Dogville, Woolf in The Hours, Faunia in The Human Stain, Nadia in Birthday Girl, Isabel Archer Portrait Of A Lady really contain much of her real personality at all (or only a very limted amount), wheras I see strong elements of Winslets real life personality in just about everything she does (she really does appear to be slightly hippy-ish and "free spirit-like" in her off-screen capacity). Of Kidman's most acclaimed performances, Moulin Rouge probably had the most of Kidman's own real persona in it.

Ironically, I think the closest thing we ever get to see Nicole Kidman displaying large elements her natural, real-life persona is in these frothy comedies she does occasionally (ie Practical Magic, The Stepford Wives, Bewitched), which most consider among her lesser work. Which suggests she better at playing something much removed from her own persona than she is something closer to herself.

If we go by my definition of "persona" actress, Blanchett probably leans more in that direction than Kidman. Blanchett is a chameleon (especially vocally), but I think almost all her characters display large amounts of her own real life personality traits (strong willfulness, independent fiestiness). Blanchett adds/changes enough superficial attributes (accent, hair, even movement)to make all her characters seem very distinctive, but take away those additions, and you there's a lot of Cate Blanchett in all her major roles (The Missing, Veronica Gurein, Elizabeth, Charlotte Grey).


Anonymous said...

...wasn't quite finished.

As I was saying, I think the majority of Blanchett's major performances, despite the surface differences, appear to replicate what I've found out to be her real personality.

Streep is probably the least of a "persona" actress (by my definition). Like Kidman, everyone assumes Streep is really this austere "untouchable" personality that she's portrayed in many of her roles (ie The Deer Hunter, Bridges Of Madison County, Out Of Africa), when her real personality is completely irrevrent, funny and surprisingly unpretentious. The closest film performance analogues to Streep's real life persona, imho, would be Postcards From The Edge minus the pill popping) and Adaptation.



sam, i agree with you on Streep. I definitely feel that that's true about her offscreen persona versus the onscreen.

and i'll have to think some more about Blanchett. interesting comments.