During this recent friendly exchange with filmsCine on her blog, https://thebigscine.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/rom-coms-of-the-1990s-notting-hill-1999/ (Check it out, she does good reviews and themes)
I once again offered my seemingly one-man opinion about the talents, or otherwise, of Julia Roberts. This led to us both start thinking about actors that I consider to be overrated, or just plain don’t care for. So, at the risk of alienating many blogging friends, or perhaps wishing to start a lively debate, here are some thoughts on that subject.
Julia Roberts has made a career out of having a huge smile, as far as I can see. I just don’t get the praise, and I don’t even find her that attractive. It is her dentist who deserves most of the credit, surely? “But she won the academy award for ‘Erin Brockovitch'”, I hear you cry. And she was in ‘Steel Magnolias’, ‘Mona Lisa Smile’, as well as ‘Mystic Pizza’. And who could resist her cuteness in ‘Pretty Woman’, or ‘Notting Hill’? Well me, obviously. Sorry, I just don’t get it. Or her. Maybe it’s the films? I don’t like a lot of them, that’s for sure, although I did enjoy ‘the Pelican Brief’. But not because she was in it. She has honestly never moved me, never convinced me, and I have never once believed in a single character that she portrayed on film. So shoot me. You know you want to.
Many actors make a good living playing themselves, whatever the part. They might be a detective, a romantic lead, or even have a role in a Shakespeare adaptation. But they still manage to just be them. Whatever wardrobe has dressed them in, however outlandish the disguise, it is the same old, ‘here we go again’. This list will feature a few of those.
Bill Nighy is a stalwart of British Cinema. He has been around for a long time, and starred in many excellent films. He has almost certainly been at his best in British drama, and historical ones at that. But can you recall the name of any character he has ever played? I can’t. That’s because he always just plays Bill Nighy. I really enjoyed the film ‘The Girl In The Cafe’. But once again, he played the same reserved, slightly stuttering, English upper-middle-class character he has been in almost every one of his films. At least all of those I have seen, or remember. It’s just lazy, isn’t it?
Hugh Grant is like a younger version of the same thing. Upper-class and English, floppy-haired and awkward. Has he ever been anyone else in a film, except Hugh Grant? Not for me, I can tell you. He has also been in films that I liked. ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, ‘The Remains Of The Day’, and ‘White Mischief’, to name a few. But he was always the same, just an older or younger version of the usual English twit that he has played throughout his life. Maybe it’s not his fault that he gets offered identical roles in similar films. Or maybe he can only act one character. Hugh Grant.
American star Matthew McConaughey has also been in a lot of films that I enjoyed. I haven’t seen that many of his performances, but enough to know what to expect. Square-jawed, lean and often mean, he delivers the same moody presence whatever the role. Whether he is cast as a languid lawyer, (The Lincoln Lawyer) slow-talking meanie, (Killer Joe) or courageous naval officer, (U-571), we can guarantee a predictable performance. He might be a laid-back dude, romantic love interest, or a worthy protagonist, but we can be assured of one thing. He will still be good old Matthew. Playing yourself has worked very well for him. I suppose I should say “well done”, but I won’t bother.
An English actress, and one that is almost untouchable over here, is Emma Thompson. She is so much a part of the furniture in British acting circles, if we had a Thespian Royal Family, she would be the heir to the throne. She can act, of that I am sure. I have even admired her acting, not least in ‘Howard’s End’, and ‘The Remains Of The Day’. Most of the time however, she just plays the posh girl. The one who sometimes gets the man, and sometimes doesn’t. When she is in costume dramas, or classical adaptations, she plays the same part in her mind, and on screen, over and over again. Her voice never changes, her look rarely changes, and even in heavy make up as Nanny McPhee, it was just still the same Emma. And she does light comedy too. Well, she is in light comedy films, at least. Sorry, Emma. You can certainly act, but you are not as great as they (or you) think you are.
The last one for now. Thinking about these is making me depressed, because I have a feeling that I have just made myself an ‘outcast of the blogs’. But I couldn’t close without mentioning someone else that I just don’t get. Yes, he is very popular. Yes, his films are big box office, and yes, he has millions of fans. But he might be on my list as one of the least funny so-called funny men in history. I can honestly say that I have never watched a single film he was in that I liked. As a result, I have not seen that many, and don’t intend to. It doesn’t matter how great you tell me his is, I will never understand that, so will not be watching any more of his cringe-worthy attempts at comedy. Adam Sandler. I won’t bother to add any of the films as examples, that name is all I need to hear.
So, feel free to lambaste me in the comments, or perhaps even agree with me. If you like this sort of post, I will happily do some more of the same.
My list is long.