Movies to watch…
When I decide to catch a flick, I will say that I take on a “movie snob” persona. Meaning, I usually choose to see movies that do not rely heavily on CGI, but on good writing with believable acting. Most of my favourite actors and actresses tend to tackle roles in independent films that shun flashy Hollywood movies.
One of my all time favourite actors is Johnny Depp (psst…I am the world’s biggest “21 Jump Street” fan!). I am fully aware that he’s in one of the summer’s biggest Hollywood movies (which is a part of a extremely profitable franchise – which goes against everything I believe in!), but I appreciate his choice of roles in the early part of his career. He was more inclined to take on characters that were quirky yet charming.
Take a look at a couple of my fave Johnny Depp movies.
Edward Scissorhands (1990): In this movie Johnny Depp plays Edward, a soft-spoken young man who’s adorned with scissors for hands. Edward iscreated by an unnamed inventor (played by Vincent Price) who dies before he is able to finish designing him, thus leaving him with scissor hands. This very odd-looking character lives in a castle, but is introduced to suburbia by a rather friendly Avon lady, Peg Bogs (played by Dianne Wiest). She visits the castle and discovered that he is all alone, and invited him to stay with her and her family.
Johnny Depp’s character goes through a series of emotions – at first he feels awkward and out of place, but then he is accepted and develops feelings for Peg’s daughter, Kim (played by Winona Ryder – psst…she used to date Johnny back in the day). By the end of the movie he feels the sting of isolation again as he forced out of suburbia for accidentally hurting someone.
I love how he was able to capture the vulnerability of the character and make you believe that a guy with scissor hands could actually exist. He may have only said about five words in the film, but it is his subtle facial expressions that made his role so engaging.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993): I haven’t seen this movie in years, but I remember when I first saw it, my love for Johnny Depp deepened. He plays Gilbert Grape, a brooding, complacent young man who lives in Endora, a fictional slow-paced small town. After his father’s suicide, he is left to take care of his mother, two sisters, and mentally challenged brother, Arnie (convincingly played by Leonardo DiCaprio).
Gilbert’s complacent nature is challenged after meeting overly optimistic Becky (played by Juliette Lewis) and a relationship begins to blossom.
I love Johnny Depp’s portrayal in this film. I loved how he completely captured the angst and frustration that Gilbert felt. He wanted to be responsible and take care of his family, but he also felt the guilt of wanting to live his own life. It’s through his relationship with Becky that he realizes that it is possible to care for his family, and be his own person.
If you want to check out a few movies that showcase Johnny’s slightly offbeat characters, take a look at some of his older movies. I must warn you, though, stay clear from Don Juan DeMarco! ¤ Michelle
If you’ve watched this year’s MTV Movie Awards, or any MTV film-related production in the last ten years, then you might have noticed that this so-called MTV generation seems to know diddlysquat about films – well, films that aren’t about pirates, Will Smith, or giant things attacking the world. While MTV tries to provide a reasonable voice for its generation, it does overlook anything that isn’t shiny, packaged neatly, and ready for mass consumption.
That’s why, once in a while, it’s important to step back and visit some of the hard working actors and actresses out there who toil for their craft and get nary a golden popcorn or shiny surfboard to call their own. Kate Winslet is just an example of an aforementioned thespian that gets no mainstream respect but deserves all the accolades in the world. Why not try some of her work out for size?
Heavenly Creatures (1994): For one of her first feature film roles, Winslet tackles the bizarre true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two best friends in the 1950s who concoct a plan to murder one of the girls’ mothers upon finding out that she plans to keep them apart. As Juliet, the then nineteen-year-old Winslet was already a possessed actress who dominated each and every scene she appeared in. And her haunting performance didn’t go unrecognized – she won the Empire Award and ALFS Award for Best Actress.
Sense and Sensibility (1995): Going in a different vein, Winslet co-stars in this period adaptation of the Jane Austen novel alongside Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. Winslet’s Marianne Dashwood is the passionate sister of the two, and tries to reason with Thompson’s sensible Elinor when it comes to matters of the heart. Although Marianne is probably the least enthralling character she will ever play, the film is worth a mention because Winslet’s timeless energy will bring out the romantic in anyone.
Iris (2001): In this pivotal career-defining biopic, Winslet plays a young Iris Murdoch, writer, philosopher, and free spirit who later suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. This little unassuming British film ended up being a critic darling, with no less than seven nominations for Winslet (she won a couple of those), including coveted nods at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Film Awards. Working with British heavyweights Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent is no small feat, but Winslet not only manages to keep up with her co-stars, but also steal the show with her effortless performance.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): Eclectic only begins to describe Clementine Kruczynski, and only Winslet could manage to turn a flaky, selfish, and temperamental woman into a riveting performance. Unlike other actresses, she truly understands what it is to be motivated by a complex character, and brings out the best dramatic performance in her co-stars (namely Jim Carrey, who often veers between hammy and exaggerated when confronted with anything serious). As a bonus, she does a pretty mean American accent, and looks great in many shades of Kool-Aid hair dye.
Finding Neverland (2004): Finding Neverland isn’t the kind of film that I’d normally pop in the DVD drive, but after watching the bittersweet story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with the real-life family that inspired him to write Peter Pan, I had to rethink my movie-watching strategy. Everything about Finding Neverland, from Johnny Depp’s uninhibited Barrie to Winslet’s poignant Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, resonates long after the credits. Even with a supporting role, Winslet still shines strong.
Little Children (2006): Sarah Pierce may be Winslet’s most “normal” role to date, which doesn’t say much. As a restless young mother who longs for more and engages in an ill-advised affair, Winslet once again turns in a star performance. This film garnered Winslet a fifth Oscar nomination, and critic accolades rarely bestowed upon such a young actress.
The Holiday (2006): Romantic comedies really aren’t her cup of tea, but with The Holiday, Winslet produces a cute performance opposite a surprisingly restrained Jack Black. As lovelorn Iris, Winslet shows a comedic side rarely seen when she trades homes with Cameron Diaz to get away from the emotional yo-yo relationship she has with a co-worker and ex-flame. Even with a light popcorn rom-com, she manages to inject depth and a charming vulnerability to her character, which is painfully offset with Diaz’s often transparent and tedious Amanda (who is better left on fast-forward). The Holiday is not a great film, but Winslet will win you over every time.
Revolutionary Road (2008): In one of Winslet’s upcoming projects, she tackles yet another difficult role by portraying a young wife with hopeless dreams of being an actress. (This project will reunite her with her Titanic co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, who will play her despondently bored husband). The beauty of Winslet’s talent is that she’s fearless – with such a complex role, it will only be a matter of time until her next Oscar nomination. ¤ C.Ho.