April 20, 2006

"She makes her entrance in the first act and freezes with the unyielding stiffness of an industrial lamppost...."

Julia Roberts is in a Broadway play.
Ms. Roberts often gives the impression that she is parsing her lines, leaving lots of dead air between fragments.

And yet, and yet. I found myself fascinated by the way her facial structure (ah, those cheekbones!) seems to change according to how the light hits her. In repose, her face seems impossibly, hauntingly eloquent.
Well, maybe that is exactly what works in film: having an amazing face and giving people lots of time to gaze upon it. Loving the film idol, you're drawn to the theater where you can be in the presence of the star. Does that ever work right?

24 comments:

Bruce Hayden said...

I never could quite figure out what people saw in her. To me, not that attractive. That mouth is just way to big to be beautiful. And her acting has always been questionable. Not that I haven't enjoyed a couple of her movies, because I have.

I have always wondered whether it was because she had a good PR agent. You probably see her picture on more magazine covers over the years than almost any other, and you see it even when she doesn't have a movie coming out. It is almost as if the PR agent were so good that he/she was able to convince all of us that this really is a Beautiful Woman.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Reminds me of My Favorite Year and Peter O'Toole's turn as has-been screen actor pulled in to lead a second-rate play:

I'm not an actor! I'm a movie star!

vbspurs said...

hauntingly eloquent.

I just don't see it.

To me, hauntingly eloquent are Meryl Streep's cheekbones, since she looked like she swallowed two lightbulbs.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Speaking of theatre turns, Julia Roberts need not worry.

I don't think a more scathingly funny comment of someone's onstage performance has been written, than of Katharine Hepburn's famous review:

"She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B"

I would've KILLED to have seen her play Coco Chanel, in that musical in the 60's.

Cheers,
Victoria

CB said...

What's the deal with cheekbones? People always seem to be enamored with people's cheekbones, and I've never understood why.
And what's the deal with airline food...

Dave said...

The assumption that someone can act, live, on stage, merely because that person has proven popular on film, edited in post-production is, well, patently absurd.

Even if you buy into the notion that Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane were good in The Producers (which show bored me to sleep...) it does not follow that most movie actors can carry of live stage performances well.

This is like arguing that, because I have hit a baseball well before, I can replicate Alex Rodriguez's skills. The worlds of theater acting and movie acting are very different, just as are the worlds of the casual baseball player and the guy who earns $25 million playing the game. That both the stage actor and movie actor inhabit a world of acting is irrelevant; not all acting is the same.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

However it works critically, it sells lots of tickets.

C. Schweitzer said...

Another great theatre review: Keanu Reeves went up to Toronto to play Hamlet on stage.

The next morning, a reviewer wrote as the first line to his article:

"Well, at least he got all the lines in the right order."

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Ever see that movie the Devil's Advocate?

Reeves' southern accent was so bad tha the movie, which purported to be dramatic, was rather comedic.

Maybe he can make Hamlet into a jolly fellow??

Kirk Parker said...

Well, Bullwinkle has an interesting face, too, doesn't he?

CB said...

Keanu Reeves was in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Pretty bad, but not as bad as his being in Dangerous Liaisons, a miscasting that rivals Diane Keaton's in The Godfather.
BTW, trying to write "liaisons," I just had that weird experience of knowing that a word was spelled wrong, but for the life of me not being able to spell it.

tiggeril said...

A modern version of the weirdness that happens when stars try to move between mediums. Clara Bow was an a icon in silent films, but the minute people heard her voice in a talkie, her career ground to a screeching halt.

(And speaking of lips, I'd rather have Clara's than Julia's.)

knoxgirl said...

I assume that she's trying to prove her skillz as an actress...

IMO, she should have stuck to light, romantic comedies a la "Pretty Woman," where she does just fine, instead of trying to be a Serious Actress, where she sucks. Erin Brockovich, Schmerin Schmrockovich! Most bogus Oscar nod ever.

mango said...

Occasionally, the whole film-star on Broadway thing does work. Specifically, I'm thinking of Hugh Jackman in Boy From Oz. It was a pretty bad musical, but the sheer force of Hugh Jackman carried the thing and the final effect was pretty good. Of course, Hugh Jackman was a musical theatre person before he was a movie star, which makes all the difference in the world.

For another interesting review of cross-over actors in a Broadway show, check back tomorrow for the review of Threepenny Opera. Alan Cummings, Ana Gasteyer, Cindi Lauper, Nellie McKay, Jim Dale, Carlos Leon, etc.

Glenn Howes said...

My friend: "Want to rent Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts?"
Me: "I've heard bad things."
My friend: "What've you heard?"
Me: "I heard it starred Julia Roberts."

vbspurs said...

What's the deal with cheekbones? People always seem to be enamored with people's cheekbones, and I've never understood why.
And what's the deal with airline food...


'Cause! Cheekbones are like the keystone of an arch:

They hold a face together.

Besides, most people don't have good cheekbones.

Like potato salad, it just sits there in a clump.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Even if you buy into the notion that Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane were good in The Producers (which show bored me to sleep...) it does not follow that most movie actors can carry of live stage performances well.

Wait, a doggone minute, there.

Do you mean the film, or the Broadway musical?

Because I have seen the latter, during their second run two years back, but yet to see their film adaptation, since I didn't want to break the spell of their magic.

Nathan Lane as a person is delightful, but his medium is definitely the stage, where his schticky acting is at its best (Birdcage, oy).

Matthew Broderick -- well, Ferris can do just about anything.

The most versatile actor of his Gen-X generation, bar none.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Perhaps it wasn't that bad, I didn't see it under the best of circumstances; the curtain was up.

LOL! I always wondered how it would be to get up on stage, and afterwards read a simply scathing review of my work.

It's a wonder they have the guts to do it again.

And LOL @ Glenn's dialogue too.

Cheers,
Victoria

Dawn said...

You thought Keanu was bad in Devil's Advocate?

You must not have seen him in "Bram Stoker's Dracula".

P as in P. U as in U!

Craig Ranapia said...

Knoxgirl wrote:
Erin Brockovich, Schmerin Schmrockovich! Most bogus Oscar nod ever.

I reply:
Nope - that dubious distinction has to go to Nicole Kidman's rubber nose and Charlize Theron's prosthetic uglification. At least Julia Roberts' boobs and teeth didn't make me want to vomit...


And Meryl Sreep - sorry, she doesn't act she deploys technique in the same way a math nerd does differential caluclus in his head. Only with less emotional involvement.

Still, if you want to see the acting equivalent of a ten car pile-up hire Closer for the pleasure of watching Natalie Portman & Clive Owen politely humiliate Roberts and Jude Law.

ignacio said...

I can't look at Julia Roberts without seeing the face of her brother Eric, as she's him in drag.

Also I found the premise of Pretty Woman so obnoxious it spoiled her a bit for me from the start. It was like a Charlie's Angels episode in which they go undercover as hookers -- giving them a chance to dress up! -- without ever having sex. Not even with the pimp.

So I have avoided her films.