Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Essential Bening Me

Dear Subjects!

We haven't visited this blogsite in some time -- has it really been four years? -- as Nathaniel hasn't been so loyal. I have Google Alerts of my own name We've been told that he barely mentioned us in 2009.


While I'm pleased that he selected me "Best in Show" for my smash hit star vehicle
The Kids Are All Right, (the distinction is oddly redundant), I do wish he'd have done some fact checking in his article. I must have been nominated for at least 11 Oscars by now and won thrice. I would also like the record to reflect that that "fragile" singing voice he mentions during the Joni Mitchell sequence is not my real singing voice. My real voice would have distracted you with its beauty. Some things just aren't right for the character.

At first I was intrigued to read his list of the "Essential" Bening performances but I'm afraid he's quite terrible at math. He mentions only 8 films in the entire article and any simple web search will reveal that I have made 23 features. 2 haven't yet filmed but that's a minor detail. So, let's err in his favor -- I am a reasonable woman -- and say 21. Even so his essential list is still off by an alarming 13 films! Did he never pass remedial arithmetic?

Which of my 21 performances are your favorites? I know it's impossible to choose just one but do try to narrow it down to 21 in the comments. Go.

And go see
The Kids Are All Right
again. I'm even better the second time. See you at the Oscars!

~ loved, Ms. Bening


Joe said...

"The Grifters" is my fave Bening performance. I wish you would do more comedy.

Also great in "Mrs. Harris" and obviously "TKAAR", "Being Julia," and "American Beauty."

James T said...

The fact that YOU care about OUR opinion proves how humble You are. (as if the article alone didn't)

I haven't watched many performances by You but I think I really loved You in Be(n)ing Julia.

Your 21 performances should be named the 21 Steps to Happiness. Random order.

I'll go sacrifice some hair from my eyebrow in Your name.

cal roth said...

Your Bening posts make me like her more tha I do. I know I usually come here as "detractor", but I never mention that she looks cool and nothing diva-like when she's not acting. I think she is irritating when she tries to move this theatrical strings to overacting saturation point, but I really know she can do better.

And here comes my surprise: I love how she is delicate in Open Range (this movie is SO good). She is ten times better in this movie than in Being Julia, and I'd really love to see her playing more natural and minimalistic roles. Something without make-up, silent and well-observed, a beautiful chamber drama or a nice comedy without screams or hysteria.

I haven't seen The Kids Are Alright yet, but I think it'll be my favorite performance of hers. She looks so relaxed, and this tomboy look is so refreshing!

Luke said...

Oh god. Being Julia. Case closed. I guess I'd hand the second place trophy to the lovely Sidney Ellen Wade - she's awfully effective in that little mid-90s haircut of hers...

Scott said...

Haven't seen Kids yet, but my favorites so far are her performances in The Grifters and American Beauty. And if you want a third, The American President.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I agree with the entire spirit and most of the content of what cal roth said. Only diff is that I haven't seen Open Range, so my own underdog faves of Bening's perfs are in Valmont and Running with Scissors. The former is such a beautiful tonal balance, and subtler in a lot of ways than Glenn Close's hard-driving and vaguely humorless intensity (as much as I love her in her best scenes). The latter is almost too close to Bening's shrill-harridan wheelhouse, but I thought she did brilliant character work, and used her own biases as an actress to terrific effect. I was sympathetic to that woman in a way I'm not, always, to her gallery of resentful, acerbic bristlers.

The Bening said...

Luke -- i'm afraid you forgot the other 19 performances!

Scott --- why stop at 3?

NicksPickyFlicks -- who is this Glenn Close person. One of my admirers?

NicksFlickPicks said...

@TheBening: I'm sorry. She's one of those peasants, holding up your train. Look behind you. She's the one dressed like a Ball-Breaking Attorney. From Connecticut.

joey said...

American Beauty, for sure.

Totally random, but... what happened to Actress Phych Contest???

Love your blog, sorry about the bad english. Kisses from Uruguay ;)

SoSueMe said...

Oh God...I have a soft spot in my heart for Regarding Henry. Harrison Ford and Annette had great chemistry. I know its shamelessly sentimental, but it's done so honestly, how can you not love it?

Fave Bening perfs outside of RH...The Grifters, Bugsy, Mrs. Harris, and Running with Scissors. If Mrs. Harris was a feature she would've been nominated, no doubt. Tragedy she wasn't nommed for RWS - couldn't they fit her into Best Supporting Actress?

Full disclosure - did not like her in American Beauty...I just didn't like the character...kudos to her for bravely creating someone so unlikable.

The Bening said...

James T -- we accept your devotional. And thanks for mentioning Bening Julia. It really should be mentioned more often.

Glenn said...

I'd say American Beauty, damn the haters! Kids is out next month so I haven't seen it yet, Annette! Forgive me.

Y'all should see Open Range. It's fantastic.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

My goodness, I've only seen five: American Beauty, The Women, The American President, Mars Attacks! and Richard III. I love Carolyn Burnham and...ok, I'm going to come out and say it. I LIKE THE WOMEN. I really do. When Annette says, "No one hates Saks," I feel warm and giddy inside. I love it, I say!

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

She's yet to top Carolyn Burnham for me - not that she has to necessarily.

I did personally think Moore was best in show in Kids Are All Right (I hope she isn't eclipsed come awards season - it's an impeccable, effortless-seeming performance that deserves more attention), but that's hardly a knock against Bening. She had me shaking during that silent dinner scene centrepiece.

Mary said...

American Beauty/The Women, always awesome though.

Stefano said...

I sooooooooooo love The Bening!!!!! And this post was really hilarious!!! :-)
I'm dying to see "The Kids Are All Right", unfortunately it opens in January here in Italy, urgh! (I'm also missing "Mother & Child")... anyway, I hope she'll gets all the recognition she deserves for her "Kids" role!

My own favorite performances from Mrs Bening carrer are, in order:
1. BEING JULIA (simply wonderful... she so deserved that fuckin' Oscar!)
2. THE GRIFTERS (a marvellous femme fatale in the best noir of the 1990s)
3. VALMONT (one my favorite films of ALL time... love her as the Marquise!)
4. AMERICAN BEAUTY (she's a joy to watch also in an 'unpleasent' role)
5. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (very funny and an excellent lead in a romantic comedy)
6. IN DREAMS (I didn't particurally like that film, but Bening's peformance is amazing)
7. RUNNING WITH SCISSORS (didn't like the film at all, but The Bening is great as always)
8. BUGSY (another marvellous femme fatale... she's so beautiful in that 1930s look!)
9. MRS. HARRIS (if not for Helen Mirren, she would be an Emmy winner by now...)
10.THE WOMEN (because is such and underrated film, and I'd like to see more comedy stuff by the Bening)

You're sooo great, my darling Mrs. Bening... just hope to see you more often on screen in the next years!

dinasztie said...

Hmmm... Not much of a fan of Bening. I like her, but I prefer Glenn Close. I guess I'm alone in it right here.

Peter said...

Am I the only one who thought she was the weakest part of Kids? That character is unbearable.

stjeans said...

Hand's on "The Kids are alright"

mrripley said...

Best Bening - running with scissors for the cafe scene with her son at the end alone!!!

Dorian said...

You're a hot mess, Annette! Don't know what that article was all about, but we still love ya, gurl! Hopefully you'll be able to defeat your arch-nemesis La Swank in "Conviction" for that elusive Oscar win that you SO desperately want! It can't just be a one-Oscar household, you know!

Tan said...

If this woman does not win an Oscar. Damn, i write the perfect script and the perfect role (she, of course, make a wonderful peformance) by myself.

They were all blind - BEING JULIA -

Rick said...

Just saw The Kids Rae All Right... really loved the whole thing .. the cast was exceptional ... to me, the standouts were Bening and Ruffalo .. Moore had her moments, but also had weak ones, whereas Bening was consistently in the role.

C.J.Blanda said...

This film is so brilliant,and so well written,and Annette Bening so right,and for any actress to expose,all of her inner being and to watch a performance go from a-z is so rare today,the close ups, the challenge of being part of a charade in everyones life,and to conquer her home and her family,no one has done that,since Anne Bancroft,in The Graduate,this is the iconic performance of the 21st.century,here to you Mrs.mom of the year.C.J.Blanda,New York and Philadelphia.

John said...

I just saw The Kids Are All Right, Bening was astounding. I didn't expect to feel as emotional as I did by the end of the movie. Loved the whole cast.