Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A History of... Juli's (Screen) Kids

Tuesday. Time for the sophomore edition of the new series: "A History Of..." Rather than pull a James Cameron who, fearing he'd never top Titanic just stopped making movies, I'll just work through this here sophomore slump. In the absence of a Gyllenhaalic burst-of-inspiration, I'm returning to my personal obsession, god herself. I worry for Julianne Moore these days. Especially when there's a small child in tow [onscreen].

1993-1995 Establishes herself as a great actress in a trio of critical darlings: Short Cuts, Vanya, and Safe. No children are seen in her vicinity.

1995 She plays Hugh Grant's preggers gal in Nine Months, exhibiting no discernable skill at romantic comedy whilst doing so. If I had known what portents this first screen pregnancy suggested, I would have thought this was a remake. Entertainment Weekly, eternally suckling from the teat of La Julia, momentarily comes up for air to suggest that Moore may be "the new Julia Roberts!" [Er, OK.... And also: calm down]

1996 Appears on Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover wearing nothing but a slip. She's anything but matronly. Unless by matronly you mean "yousexymotherf***er"(much hotter than Scarlett & Keira at any rate.)

1997 Receives her first Oscar nod for playing a porn star in Boogie Nights. But uh.oh. --here comes the shadow side: "Amber Waves" proves so indelible a creation that JM becomes Hollywood's go-to gal for slightly cuckoo inappropriately maternal characters. Casting directors and Julianne herself get caught in the typecasting undertow. Who knew that "Rollergirl" wasn't just a nubile hottie but a prophetess? 'Will you be my mommy?' indeed.

1999 Julianne grieves up a storm in A Map of the World when her child accidentally drowns.

2001 Escaping the germy grasp of tykes she trips and falls with other adults in bad sequels and unfortunate comedies.

2002 Both her peak and downfall. She displays truly awful parenting skills in not one. not two. but three roles. First there's an impactful supporting bit in World Traveller. She plays a woman obsessed with [gulp] an imaginary (or dead?) child.

With dangerously inept mommy roles descending on her like an avalanche, she squeezes out two Oscar noms. In Far From Heaven her parenting style is set permanently on ignore mode [If your husband looked like this and only wanted to sleep with men, you'd ignore your kids, too. Don't judge.] In The Hours Juli completely abandons her needy beautiful son after a cake baking session gets too intimate for her bookish sensibilities. But that little boy, those huge pleading eyes--my heart...ouch. How could she?

2004Vanity Fair again. The theme of this Hollywood Issue is "Moms" or "Moms to Be". I'm not kidding. The Forgotten becomes Juli's biggest headliner hit. In it she plays a mother with [gulp] an imaginary (or dead?) child.

Is this recap too subtle?

2005 Birth control be damned. Julianne's alter ego has 10 children in The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Unfortunately neither the film nor the kids are imaginary.

2006 Freedom Land brings Juli back with toddler in tow--oops. Spoke too soon. He just went missing. He may already be dead. Next Julianne Moore will appear in The Children of Men. The plot involves Julianne trying to save a miraculously pregnant woman whose child's birth may save mankind.

This gives me pause.

Is it really a good idea to leave Ms. Moore responsible for the profligation of the entire species? I'm thinking this role is a better fit.

next installment:
A History of... Gay Cowboys


Anonymous said...

Three observations:

1) I could swear Julianne had kids - or at least 1 kid - in Safe...

2) I don't understand all the hatred for Nine Months. I half enjoyed it. Granted, I was 11 at the time, but still. So many times I see it cited as one of the worst films of the 90s and I really don't remember it as such.

3) I wanna see that Vanity Fair cover (from 1996). Don't ask me why.


Julianne had a stepchild in Safe... but you rarely see said child. and you know, creative license for my history and all ;)

Ramification said...

If I remember correctly Nine Months came out at around the same time as Hugh Grant's sex scandal and that probably tainted it in some people's eyes. It wasn't a great film but I can't say it was one of the worst of that decade1

Nick M. said...

I actually recall seeing Nine Months in the theater...and I had only just turned 9. What an odd memory.

My parents had such terrible taste.

Anonymous said...

Julianne shouldn't take any mother type roles....or any roles at all.

Anonymous said...

I see your obsession with Natalie Wood, Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer... but Moore???? a fairly 2 dimensional actress.


whenever people say more is 2-dimensional or dull or what have you i always just assume they haven't seen

vanya on 42nd street
boogie nights
far from heaven.

but maybe that's just me. all 5 are like a genius at work.

give or take end of the affair and a couple of others. but yeah. the mainstream stuff is problematic for her.

Anonymous said...

I was the last anonymous..

I have to agree with you on Magnolia and Boogie Nights ... Far From Heaven ( I am not so sure ).. Maybe she should not be in pictures where she is not a supporting actress.. to me, the ones she has to totally carry the movie have been her weakest ones.

adam k. said...

I too occasionally doubt whether FFH is "THE ultimate Juli performance" since sometimes I see it again and I'm less convinced of the genius I once saw in it. But there are still moments in that film where she is just unquestionably brilliant, like the one when she's listening to Raymond talk about how they can't see each other anymore, and she just stares and nods, shattered and totally robbed of any agency... I swear, it was like she was channelling my grandmother in that scene (a stifled housewife of the 50's), she looked just like her. And of course the end, at the train station. And dancing with Raymond in the bar.

And of course the mirror scene in Safe, the mirror scene in Boogie Nights, the porn scene in Boogie Nights, the breakdown scene in Magnolia... Juli gives the best cinematic moments.

I really need to see Vanya, it is my missing piece of the Juli puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Yet again Julianne Moore cannot act she's so unrealistic in this role.

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore is one of the best living actresses... She is such a high talented, great, wonderful actress... in 3 of the 4 films she was oscar nominated for she played a mother (except "The End of an Affair").
Her performance in "Far From Heaven" is fantastic. OMG. What a performance. Maybe the best of the last ten years... It's incredible how many feelings Julianne Moore can show us without doing or saying anything...
And "The Hours"...
And "Magnolia"...
And "Boogie Nights"...
And "Surviving Picasso"...
And "The Shipping News"...
And "The Forgotten"...
And "An Ideal Husband"...
And "Cookie's Fortune" (in which she proved she can be sooo funny)
And "The Big Lebowski"...
And "Short Cuts"...

OMG. It's so unbelievable. Julianne has so many faces on screen... She is such a changeable actress... She is the best.

I'm really excited to see "Freedomland" and "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio".

And I'm excited to see:
"Trust The Man"
"The Children of Men"
"Savage Grace" (Please!!! Make it!!!)
"I'm Not There"
"Hateship, Friendship, Courtship"
Hopefully soon...


well IMDB lists SAVAGE GRACE as filming but i don't think that's accurate since that's been listed that way forever.

anyone know of a place that's more accurate as these things go for films in development/production.

IMDB seems more and more inaccurate to me.


well IMDB lists SAVAGE GRACE as filming but i don't think that's accurate since that's been listed that way forever.

anyone know of a place that's more accurate as these things go for films in development/production.

IMDB seems more and more inaccurate to me.

J.J. said...

Let's really not forget The End of the Affair, her quietest and best performance. "Best"? Yeah. Take another look.

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore started off as a very promising actress in the early 90's it been downhill from there...her last good performance was "Boogie Nights".

Glenn Dunks said...

"Yet again Julianne Moore cannot act she's so unrealistic in this role."

1) huh?
2) What role?
3) huh?

I am not a Julianne Moore devote like some people, but I do really like her. She is one who's performance relies entirely on the quality of the movie. I haven't seen Vanya because it's not available in any form here. And I didn't get to see much of her perf in Magnolia because i hated that movie's first 30 minutes so much that I turned it off and haven't been game to go back since (it was so bad!)

I think my favourite perf of Juli's is Safe - also my favourite movie of her's. However, Far From Heaven is right behind, and then there is Short Cuts, Boogie Nights, End of the Affair, Cookie's Fortune, and Hannibal (sorry, i had a hoot of a good time with this movie).

The very last anonymous person (above me) is also being incredibly harsh. Boogie Nights? She's had a couple of good perfs since then.

Anonymous said...

It's all very subjective everyone has the right to their own opinion.

Anonymous said...

Yeah of course everyone has the right to their own opinion.

But since "Boogie Nights" Julianne had OF COURSE many good performances and she CAN ACT.
That's not subjective. It's a fact.

It's a fact that her performance in "Far From Heaven" is gorgeos.

She won 17 Critics' Awards for Far From Heaven.
She was Oscar-, SAG- and Golden Globe nominated for Far From Heaven.

She HAD deserved the oscar.

Anonymous said...

Julianne an "Oscar" for "Far From Heaven" It was never going to happen.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah of course everyone has the right to their own opinion.

... and she CAN ACT.
That's not subjective. It's a fact.

It's a fact that her performance in "Far From Heaven" is gorgeos."

Way to condradict yourself. I don't think she can act. I find her very bland and unconvincing. And yes, I HAVE seen Safe, FFH, etc etc. Quite possibly the most overrated actress of all time.

Tonio Kruger said...

Personally I'd like to see her play Jocasta. Or a pharmacist. If not both. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing up Medea...I actually tink she'd make a good Medea.

Laugh of the day by far....lol

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Anonymous said...

Guess What - Children of Men not only involves her rescuing a miracle child, but in doing so, reuinte with her ex-husband, whom she divorced after - you guessed it - their son died. Some trend she's kept going there!

GREAT actress all the same...

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore is a seriously over rated actress. I have never once enjoyed a performance of hers. I have sat through THe Hours, Children of Men, A Single Man, THe end of the affair... She ruins The end of the affair, and thankfully we dont see too much of her in A single man as "Charley" is a carbon copy of Patsy Stone from Ab Fab. From casual things like the hair, to the self pitying and hedonism at the same time, the smoking and particularly the dancing! The character came across like a spoof. In conclusion, stop giving this woman awards... and please please think of ANY other actress next time you are casting...