Thursday, April 05, 2007

Truth in Advertising

On my way to the theater this past weekend to see The Lookout I saw a billboard that made me laugh out loud.

That's truth in advertising for you! 'WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?' (all caps intended) is exactly what I cry out each time I see this two time Oscar winning trailer-park bred succubus staring out at me from magazine covers, posters and merchandise... It's almost like the Warner Bros marketing team came up with this billboard just for me!

The normal vertical movie posters don't convey the 'Beelzebub as Movie Star' message quite as well. The horizontal billboard is exactly right. I've simplified the message even more with the help of heavenly photoshop...

BEHOLD: The most truthful movie poster of all time!

tags: Hilary Swank


Jason Adams said...


As is the tag for Swank.

J.D. said...

Offensive. To the film, not the Two-time Oscar-winning whore (one of my former MySpace names).

I'm going to see this in 2 1/2 hours because it looks awesome. Shut up.

Hilary Swank isn't exactly a turn-off to a film, but she's not one of my favorite film peoples. And if I'm not mistaken Nat, you have her at silver tied with The Bening in 1999. [gasps!]

But the two mains reasons I want to see this are: religious/apocalyptic horror and AnnaSophia Robb plays a girl possessed with the anti-christ. After an almost guarenteed spot in my Best Actress JMC award already this year for Bridge to Terabithia, I'm interested to see what she can do with the anti-christ.

And that retouched pic is EXCELLENT!!! But in my book, Swank isn't Beelzebub. Tom Cruise and Paris Hilton are. It's a freakish extremist whore demon!

"If you can't learn to twist the cap back on the toothpaste, how will we ever have children?!!"
-Carla Espinosa

Marius said...

Ok, I'm confused. You hate Hilary Swank, but you love Penelope Cruz. I don't care much for Hilary, but I can't stand La Cruz. You mentioned in a previous post that you think Hilary is overpraised. Don't you think La Cruz was also (at least a little) overpraised for her performance in Volver?

I acknowledge that it was a good performance, but I don't think it was worth all the attention and accolades. There are other Spanish/European actors who are far more talented and deserving than Cruz. Dios Mio!

Glenn Dunks said...

The marketing of this movie has been exceptionally bizarre.

I'm not sure how many people read my blog, but I did a posting about this a while back about the original poster that had a three sentence tagline.


marius --i wouldn't say I LOVE Cruz. I just am suddenly fond. But I've only ever loved one performance (Volver --and no i don't think it was overpraised. the performance gets even better on repeat viewings)

but yeah, hate myself some Swank

Michael Parsons said...

Be nice is hard being a set of dentures with hair

Adam said...

I'm taking Broadcast History this semester, so I was particularly amused when I started seeing posters. "What hath God wrought," were the first words Samuel Morse sent over the telegraph with repeaters. Knowing that, the effect was kind of lost on me since I keep hearing dashes and dots...

adam k. said...

Wow, Nat, you REALLY hate her.

And yeah, Penelopé Cruz is awesome in Volver. Which really begs the question... WHAT did Pedro actually do to get that out of her? Or else, WHAT did Hollywood do to corrupt her acting to the extent that she needed his special tough so much?

And if I'm not mistaken, in your original 1999 awards, Swank was definitely silver and Bening didn't even get bronze... Moore did.

gabrieloak said...

It was the fake backside that helped Cruz excel in Volver.

Marius said...

Thanks for answering my question, Nat. I don’t hate Penelope. I just think she’s a tad overpraised. A really great director (and a good script) can produce a strong performance from a mediocre actor (like Cruz). I also don’t think it was a particularly challenging character—she played some random Spanish woman. How hard can that be? She IS a Spanish woman.

I have nothing to say about Swank.

Anonymous said...

I only sorta get the Swank thing. She does a lot of crap, but she was brilliant in Boys Don't Cry and very good in Million Dollar Baby. I wish she hadn't won for the second one, since I thought she was fourth out of the nominees. Bening would have been last (don't shoot!), so I can't resent Swank for beating her. I think she's fun in the role, and I generally love her, it just didn't work well enough for me to want her to win.

I still have Sophie's Choice moments about who I think should've won that year - Staunton or Winslet.


well steve

that was obviously the reason Swank won. the nominee shortlist was just too stellar that year. When you have performances as great as Winslet (who has never won) Bening (who has never won) and a character actor giving a huge perfect film film carrying performance you're going to eat at each other's base votes until the person with the sympathetic character in the BP wins.


Cinesnatch said...

I love the subtle lesbo marketing.

Anonymous said...


The difference being, though, that I would've been more pissed about a Bening victory.


I'm kidding, mostly. It was hard to go wrong that year.

adam k. said...

At the time, I was all about Bening or Staunton for best actress, since they each gave career defining and film carrying perfs, but I find that the one who has stuck with me the most is Winslet. The reason I didn't think of Winslet as deserving the actual statue that year is that she'd done better work before and would likely be better again, and that everyone else involved with Eternal Sunshine was working just as hard as she... but every time I watch that movie I love her more. I think she's the one who was really robbed... even if her career has had even grander highs than that one.

Anonymous said...

Your Hilary Swank hate borders on the ridiculous. But at least the trailers to "The Reaping" look like hot ass, so maybe there's a point to be had there somewhere.

Glenn Dunks said...

"I also don’t think it was a particularly challenging character—she played some random Spanish woman. How hard can that be? She IS a Spanish woman."

No offence, but it's that sort of mentality that leads to Oscars only ever seemingly going to people playing someone famous or ugly or famous and ugly and never just ordinary flesh and blood characters such as the one Cruz played.

Cruz, in my eyes, wasn't praised ENOUGH (how about Helen Mirren for overpraised?) and that she deserved award after award after award. She was phenomenal. She really got down to the root of that character. She and Pedro were wise to not make her a saint.

Besides Cruz has been giving routinely fine performances in her foreign language work (she's won awards for other stuff such as, unseen by me, Don't Move). It's just that in english language films she struggles because she's usually required to play this really exotic beauty but then she opens her mouth and she can't talk properly. Not her fault, it's just that she's not as well utilised in english language films.

adam k. said...

Yeah, I have to say that it's actually harder to create a memorable character without obvious hooks that make the character "unique" or "interesting." You have less to work with that way.

And yes, Pedro tailored the role particularly to bring out Cruz's strengths, so perhaps it wasn't a huge "stretch" but then on the other hand that theoretically means NO ONE could have played Raimunda as well; it was the role Cruz was born to play. So I don't think "unchallenging" is the best word to describe the role.

Although the role's also not just a "random Spanish woman." Unless every spanish woman is... SPOILERS

1) an incest victim
2) a put-upon wife and mother
3) a restaurant manager
4) gorgeous (it does make her that much more memorable)


The incest angle alone makes the character far from ordinary... but that aside, what I love about Volver is how it illuminates the struggles and virtues and wonder of random, ordinary women with (mostly) random, ordinary lives.

So I basically have to disagree with Marius on all points.

Plus, to any Cruz-haters: you try acting in something other than your native language. I don't like her English stuff either (actually, have I even seen any of it? I can't recall) but you have to take into consideration that she is SPANISH and her being brilliant in English would be like Jodie Foster giving an oscar-worthy perf in a French film. It could happen, but I'll believe it when I see it. The camera captures any and all awkwardness in behavior, and it's gotta be at least a little awkward acting in a language you were not raised with. So it's hard to hold that against her.

Anonymous said...

Jodie Foster speaks fluent French (and did so beautifully in "A Very Long Engagement"), so in the right circumstances, she could give an Oscar-worthy performance in that language. Bad example to Cruz's English butchering (she was stellar in "Volver" though).

And Hilary Skank's second Oscar belongs to Imelda Staunton for her stunning work in "Vera Drake".

adam k. said...

I know Jodie speaks fluent French, that's why I mentioned her. I assume Cruz is fluent in English as well. But it's still not the same as being French, or being english.

Maybe Jodie could is in fact be amazing in a french film, but that's more a credit to her French and her acting, than a problem with Cruz's acting. Perhaps I'm being too lenient on Cruz's English, but it is hard enough acting at all, let alone in a language you were not innately trained to emote in.

Glenn Dunks said...

She sure did emote in Blow. She emoted to the rafters and back again. Surely that's one of the loudest performances of the last decade.

Marius said...

Kamikaze and Adam, you all bring up excellent points, and, clearly, you’re both in the majority. I do want to point out that I enjoyed her performance in Volver. But, honestly, I was expecting a strong performance because, as Adam mentioned, that role was made just for her. Adam specifically said,

“And yes, Pedro tailored the role particularly to bring out Cruz's strengths, so perhaps it wasn't a huge ‘stretch’”

So, that’s my biggest problem with her performance. Acting is a type of performance art (obviously), and when a writer creates a character that has the same (or a very similar) temperament as the actor who will play that part, I think that should be taken into account when scrutinizing their performance (and comparing it to other performances). Was Helen Mirren overpraised? Maybe. But I’m sure she spent more time (than Penelope) preparing for her role in the Queen.

I also have an issue with the fact that Penelope is now being praised in America and elsewhere for her performance in Volver, and yet, she is by no means one of the best Spanish speaking actors in contemporary Spanish/Latin Cinema. I guess a pretty face and a nice set of tits can get you far. The same goes for Salma.

I remember seeing her in Belle Epoque in the early 90s; I loved the film. And I agree that she’s given fine performances in foreign films. However, I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. I think praise should be given to other women who are far more deserving (e.g., Carmen Maura, Cecilia Roth, Angelica Aragon, Diana Bracho, and others).

Yes, Penelope delivered a strong performance in Volver. Does she deserve to be praised? Yes, I can live with that, but there is such a thing as too much praise.

Thanks for your comments.

Glenn Dunks said...

Well, it's been like that since the dawn of cinema. Foreign stars are much harder to get Oscar nominations and such. You essentially need to be in the right place at the right time. Penelope was because everyone had essentially written her off, and then she arrived in this wonderful delightful movie where she gives an amazing star turn and essentially saved herself from a life of bad exotic roles.

I guess I don't really understand your criticism. She gave a great perf in a great movie, but because she didn't have a disability or a speech impediment or didn't die then she didn't do much then she doesn't deserve all the praise? I dunno. I'd much rather praise that than the latest biopic role.

Marius said...

Good point. I guess that’s show business, and luck will always be a factor in almost everything. I have a lot more reasons for not showering Penelope with praise. I could write a treatise on the woman, but I don’t want to bore you. She delivered a wonderful performance in an Almodovar film. I had issue with Volver, as did many Spaniards, but, to be fair to Almodovar, I hold him to a VERY high standard. I respect your opinion and we can agree to disagree. I guess I’ll be the dissenting voice; it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

“She gave a great perf in a great movie, but because she didn't have a disability or a speech impediment or didn't die then she didn't do much then she doesn't deserve all the praise?”

Actually, I think that’s one of the reasons I have issues with La Cruz. I think she has some sort of verbal disability. Let’s just say she’s not the brightest bulb in Madrid. Comparing her to Jodie Foster is wildly inaccurate. Penelope is by no means the best representative of the Spanish woman or a fluent Spanish speaker for that matter. I think that’s why many Spaniards don’t like her, but I’m sure she also has many fans there. She is, however, an exotic beauty, which is why she’s been very successful in the industry.

I do think she deserves praise for her strong performance in Volver. In general, I believe in rewarding most mammals for a job well done, but there is such as thing as being overrated. For example, when my friend’s annoying dog sits and does as it’s told, I think it should be rewarded with a treat. Yes! But I would be shocked if my friend decided to throw a party and declare it the greatest mutt on the planet. That would be a bit much.

Anyway, the reason I love reading this blog (and others) is because many bloggers really do take the time to scrutinize films. Some are more objective than others, but I respect them all the same (for the most part). Again, thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Swank is waaaay overated .. I think she might be a man in disguise!

There is no comparison .. Cruz is awesome in her Spanish speaking movies... weaker in her choice of American films.

Anonymous said...

Ah, watching your blubbering, squealing, and overdramatic temper tantrums every time you hear the names Swank or Zellweger will never get old. Keep it up, it helps make the site interesting outside of Oscar season. And you're giving my two-year-old cousin a run for the money in the crybaby department, so er, yay you.

Anonymous said...

JESUS CHRIST!!! ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Nathaniel, I love your website, and most of the time, I enjoy reading you're insight. Furthermore, on many occassions I agree with you on films and performances. However, you must PLEASE stop this obsessing over the fact that for whatever reason, you hate Hilary Swank. No, I don't think she is a particularly strong actress overall, but oddly enough, I feel she actually deserved her two Oscars for those particular roles (I understand COMPLETELY if you or anybody else disagrees with me on this...the phrase "two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank DOES sound a bit off to me, but hey, so does the phrase ONE-time Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg. Whatta ya gonna do?). But, really, that's beside the point. No, the point would be more to the fact that you become completely unreasonable and border on losing credibility with you're over-the-top attacks on Swank. In reality, most of the winners of Best Actress (and Oscars in general) over the past decade or so have made me cringe (my personal thoughts go immediately to Charlize Theron in 'Monster', Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shakespeare in Love', and Nicole Kidman in 'The Hours' [Kidman is an actress I actually like, but I don't personally feel this performance has anything to offer]). But, truth is, we must move on from these things. I adore your site, and always look forward to your reviews, new entries to your personal canon, and Oscar coverage in particular (on this last bit, I feel you are possibly the only person online who has anything near an interesting perspective on who gets nominated and why). And, in truth, it is your prerogative to continue your utter disgust at anything "Bezlebub" has anything to do with. I just feel that my response to your writing takes a step down when you start with your tunnel-vision in regard to this subject.
Regardless, I will still devotedly return to your site to share in your film experience.


JDoubles, thanks for the compliments. As to the Swankhate... I hate to spell this out but you do realize it's partially in jest, right?

if i don't entertain myself with little writerly exaggerations of my feelings I'm gonna get hella bored writing about movie stars every day.

[As far as we're aware, there is no conclusive evidence that Swank actually has horns and tail in real life --nor is their conclusive evidence that she has made a deal with the dark forces to win those two Oscars. In fact, studies suggest that she has not: wouldn't she have made it part of the clause of her soul selling that her movies turn out better? That is all -editor]