Monday, August 07, 2006

Shame on Winona

This article about Winona Ryder's "shame" about her "shallow occupation" made me laugh out loud. Which is probably not the reaction our dear Veronica Sawyer was hoping for when she said this:
For a long time I was ashamed of being an actress. I felt like it was a shallow occupation.
The thing is...Acting is only a shallow occupation if you're not good at it. What's the shame in contributing to cathartic dramatic or comedic experiences for millions of people or illuminating some aspect of the human condition?

Now if she feels shame about her [airquote] performances [/airquote] in Dracula or The Crucible then I'll just put my arm around her sympathetically and admire her self-awareness. But as it stands now I wish she'd have been a little more specific with this reporter. [src]

I'm sorry was that mean? It's said with love.


Yaseen Ali said...

I loved her in The Crucible.


Anonymous said...

yeah me too Ali! but I do think Joan Allen owns that movie

I miss Noni!, A Scanner Darkly didn't do it for me, and her upcoming projects look....bleh...

a shame what happened to her and her career, makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Winona Ryder was superb in 'The Crucible'. Easily her finest work ever, and streets ahead of the [airquotes]performances[/airquotes] that I bet you are gaga over (Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, the awful Reality Bites, in none of which she is anything more than competent)

Anonymous said...

See, and I sorta love her in Dracula. Cos, ya know, it's not like Keanu was the star thesp in that movie.


Anonymous said...

I can certainly empathize with her worries that acting might be a "shallow occupation" and I don't think that she needs top be demonized for feeling this way. How many of us, at one point or another, haven't felt that we could be doing something more "noble". Jeez. Give her a break.


to all: she is awful in the Crucible. and I say that as a fan. she's playing only the surface histrionics and giving you nothing deeper about the character. it's just too much in every scene. everything is underlined. compare it to her work in, say, Reality Bites (yes, she's MUCH better in contemporary films) and you see this entirely soulful subtle star turn with all sorts of wonderful comic and dramatic shadings. she really understood that character.

i love winona so this post is kind of tongue in cheek but I do think that, like Uma Thurman, she's wildly uneven in her performances.

anyway. i hate it when actors think that their profession is shallow. a pet peeve of mine.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me that she thinks of her occupation as shallow, because, as Nate pointed out, if you don't have anything of substance to contribute, then there is going to be a sense of guilt attached to what you're doing. I think Ryder's "talent" has been over-rated, for the most part.

Her two best films came early on in her career:

"Beetlejuice": classic that she just happened to be a part of; her efforts are dwarfed by most of the rest of the cast.

"Heathers": Great, classic film, decent performance.

As far as the rest of her career, she ranged from mostly okay ("Age of Innocence", "Edward Scissorhands") to bland ("Alien 4") to bloody awful ("Dracula").

Note on "Reality Bites": I was too jaded and cynical by 1994 to buy into it and I loathe Ethan Hawke.

She's not bad, she's just not that good and her success was kind of perplexing to me. I do give her props, though, for her albeit pretentious attempt to take the success she had in the early 90's and mold herself into a literary film heroine. She worked with some choice talent. Too bad it didn't play out for her the way she would have liked. I think it all culminated with "Girl, Interrupted" backfiring in her face.

However, I think her most impressive contribution as an actor has been one of her recent appearances: her cameo in the Al Pacino "Simone" movie. If her mastery of the self-absorbed, petulant actor is any indication of what she might do in the future, then I think there is still hope for her.

(As a side-note: I think it's interesting that she also kept playing younger characters and then one month after turning 30 the whole shoplifting incident happened)

adam k. said...

Haha yeah, that WAS pretty mean.

I can understand the frustration though, for shallow-feeling actors and for you being bothered by them. I think every actor goes through I phase where they hate what they're doing (usually cause there's a phase when they're doing crap), but you gotta just deal with it and rediscover what's great about it and move on. Stop whining, Winona. If you REALLY think it's that shallow, then do something else. Otherwise, you're being a hypocrit.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 3:38. It's natural to question whether you're justified in doing what you're doing for a living. Especially when it's something that has no immediately tangible positive effect on the world.
Without seeing the full context of her quote, or knowing her full intent, it's hard to comment too specifically on it, but she does word it in the past tense ("For a long time I was..."). She doesn't say she's still ashamed of her profession now.

Anonymous said...

This quote is back from 1993 and it's only half of it.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to see how shallow people bear a grudge about some half-quote from an actress -who was like twenty something. It's indeed safer to be a corrupt lawyer (oops, pleonasm), a politician or some greedy CEO in the United States of Amnesia.

Not mentioning the fact that all the crapbags who've slammed Winona on this board certainly made countless statements way more idiotic throughout their lives.

Robb said...

Oh man...I love Winona sooooo much. I'm loyal like that.She's very pretty and really,kids-that's what's most important!

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Anonymous said...

First, I am SHOCKED that in a discussion on the merits of Winona's acting, Little Women was not mentioned--what a charming, charismatic performance! Second, reasonable people can disagree about Winona in The Crucible--but I think it is a nuanced and self-confident turn. That is where, suddenly, her line readings became razor sharp (her greatest strength as an actress, at least when she has good material). Finally, I have only seen two of her post-conviction performances, and they were both terrific (A Scanner Darkly and The Ten). Speaking of sharp line readings, see A Scanner Darkly again and notice how she says, "I have to be careful because I do so much coke!" That scene is priceless.