Monday, November 21, 2005

Madonna Week: Best Film Performances

OK... stop laughing! Though Madonna has a reputation as a bad actress, among her 19 films there are a few vehicles that are worth sitting through. So, without further ado [Your laughter annoys me. Stop. Stop now.]... Madonna's 7 Best Film Performances

"the goods"
7 A League of Their Own (1992) as Mae
Debra Winger famously walked away from this enjoyable hunk of cheesy Americana when they cast Madonna saying she 'didn't approve of stunt-casting'. T'was a silly move. The film's only real acting demands were placed on the lead role (Geena Davis met them beautifully) Like many a comedy, the supporting cast are really only expected to sell one character trait each. Madonna gets big laughs as "All the Way" Mae. Can you guess the character trait?

6 Dangerous Game (1993) as Sarah Jennings
The divisive provocateur-director Abel Ferrara was coming off a career peak (The Bad Lieteunant with Harvey Keitel) when Madonna signed on. The movie doesn't work but Madonna gives a surprisingly unforced turn.

5 Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) as Susan
Many people still consider this to be both her debut film and her best work. It's not either actually... but I think the response was due to the widely held belief that she was basically playing herself in Susan Seidelman's charming punk comedy.

4 Dick Tracy (1990) as Breathless Mahoney
The film which led to that Oscar moment we've already discussed. Warren Beatty's colorful comic adaptation is an eye-popping good time. But I still want to strangle him for barely allowing us to see a killer Madonna performance (the song is "More") with ridiculously trigger happy cross-cutting. Argh.

and finally...the "must-see"s
3 The Hire: Star (2001) as the Star
The famed Hire series of shorts starring Clive Owen as the mysterious Driver is full of gems by major directors. This one, directed by the superstar's husband Guy Ritchie, is hilarious. Madonna is in great comic form as a diva from hell.

2 Evita (1996) as Eva Perón
Madonna fulfills a lifelong dream and earns the best reviews of her film career as well as a Golden Globe for her efforts. No Oscar nomination but she did get to perform "You Must Love Me" at the ceremony.

1 Truth or Dare (1991) as Madonna
What?! You think she wasn't 'performing' this role in the hit documentary? Think again. She's performing this the same way Norma Jean famously 'turned on' Marilyn when the time came. This is the one bonafide classic in her filmography.


Anonymous said...

I always remember when Tarantino was talking about whether or not she could act (around the time of Four Rooms), he said something like, "I look at her in Dick Tracey, and she was the only one who knew what she was doing!"

I'd go with a slightly different order (#1 Evita, #2 Susan, #3 Dangerous Game), but you're picking the right films.

Though I actually think she's kinda fun in "Who's That Girl" too...


Anonymous said...

What?! Where's "The Next Best Thing"?!

(Just kidding.)

I'm happy to see "The Hire: Star" on here. I'm no Guy Ritchie fan, but nothing is more more hilarious than Madonna's crash landing on the sidewalk, her coffee spilled across her crotch and the paparazzi there to make sure she never forgets it!

Anonymous said...

This is not related to Madonna's performances, but...

Everytime I listen to the background sound in "Hung Up", I cannot stop thinking about Ennio Morricone and his collaboration with Sergio Leone's westerns. Wonderful.


Anonymous said...

I do indeed love her in Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own, Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan. But they're also pretty great movies, so...


Anonymous said...

Even though the film was dire her best character and hence the word CHARACTER was Nikki Finn from Who's That Girl. She was perfectly cast as a Betty Boop type girl and entertained you with her slapstick comedic style.