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Friday, February 22, 2013

Ladies Second

On Wednesday, several of you joined me in a penetrating analysis of which Hollywood "leading men" are synonymous with bad movies. Today, we turn to the ladies. Remember, the challenge here is to identify which female leads, when featured near the top of the credits, are helpful clues that the movie will be unsatisfying at best, terrible at worst.

Again, some names quickly and easily spring to mind, but they're being taken out of consideration because it would make the game too easy. Some of those names include Julianne Hough, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker and Snooki. Like I always say, if your only credential for acting in a movie is that your face is pretty and/or recognizable and/or usually drunk and/or usually next to Ryan Seacrest's, you're really not credentialed for a movie.

With those rules in mind, here are my Top Five Actresses to Hire Only If You're Trying to Tell Me Not to See Your Movie.

5. Kristen Stewart. All right. It's true that this gal's personality is entirely off-putting to me. I admit that it is hard for me to separate my general annoyance with her public persona from my estimation of her as an actress. But I'm pretty sure my bias is not completely coloring my conclusoin that she is not a good actress, and that the movies she is in are not good movies. I honestly believed she peaked in Panic Room, and that movie was released in 2002. She was also in a diabetic coma or something for parts of it. She is now most famous for her role as Bella in the Twilight movies, which I think are only good movies if they are meant to be comedies or spoofs on dramatic films. Neither of those categories, I believe, are what the Twilights consider themselves to be.

4. Jessica Alba. She's gorgeous and makes one heck of a chem-free diaper, but I think she is seriously lacking in the acting department. In fact, I believe the only critical acclaim she has received for her work on the silver screen is when she gyrated in leather chaps for a bit in Sin City, released in 2005. She's gotten by since then on her work in the Fantastic Four series; comedies like Good Luck Chuck; and Little Fockers, the tired end of Ben Stiller-Robert de Niro's gravy train. I love seeing you on red carpets, Jessica, but I don't think I'll ever pay to see you in technicolor.

3. Cameron Diaz. I'm old enough to remember when everyone was really excited by "new-comer" Cameron Diaz. She was heralded as the cute, quirky gal who could hold her own with the then-titans of comedy. That was in the early '90s. While Something About Mary became Something of A Classic, and Being John Malkovich was a critical darling, in the 21st century she's done nothing more than provide the voice for an ogress and play The Bubbly Girl with The Big Grin in movie after movie. I get it, Cameron. You're kind of adorable and you're probably really fun. But I don't need to fork over $12 to relearn a lesson I learned a decade ago.

2. Katherine Heigel. Here's another spot for a confession: I loved Knocked Up AND 27 Dresses. I'm sorry, but I did. I also think my irritation with Ms. Heigel since those cinematic masterpieces is owing as much to her grating personality as to her terrible choice in/options for projects. When everyone dislikes you, it's hard to get work in any line of business. When you're a performer and you've made your audience cringe at the very sight of you, that increases the difficulty by a magnitude of Harvey Weinstein. You know your career is on the downturn when your most recent movies include a kitchen-sink kitsch and a bail-bondswoman rom-com. I'll bet Grey's Anatomy doesn't look so bad now, does it, Izzie Stevens?

1. Jessica Biel. Here's a question: other than marrying Justin Timberlake, has this woman done anything successful as an actress? Seriously, here's her resume. Please, show me something redeeming. She's the one who always complains that she can't get plum roles because she's "too pretty." In view of the crap-tastic roles that seems to have left her with, I can only conclude that she is a gajillion billion trillion times prettier than I, and perhaps even Justin, take her to be.

I look forward to your nominations.


  1. I hate to say it buttttt, Jennifer Aniston! And Julianne Hough just makes me mad and takes me to hell, not a to a safe haven!

  2. Anna Faris quickly comes to mind. Not exactly A list, but definitely not a movie I'm shelling out to see.