Monday, April 25, 2011

Dreamcasting Greek Gods/Goddesses: Hades

Going along with my couple of posts on "who would be the ideal castings in a movie featuring Greek Gods/Goddesses," the latest God I made a decision on was Hades.

Hades - God of the Underworld
Characteristics: Protective and cunning. Proprietor of much wealth.
Seldom worshipped, and often seen as receiving the short end of the stick when roles were distributed between him and his two brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, despite having the wealth of control over all deceased souls, not just living mortals.

As much as I appreciate the efforts of the always fabulous Ralph Fiennes in the recent, disasterous adaptation of The Clash of the Titans, I felt that this was almost an uninteresting choice for the role of the character.
We all know that Ralph Fiennes is incredibly capable of playing a sinister part, but what about the other, more interesting sides to Hades? By that I mean him being somewhat cheeky, greedy, and not so straightforwardly evil?

When I think of someone who could bring some humor or diversity to the part is Hugh Laurie. We've all seen him in "House" portraying an intelligent, conniving persona with ease, using his power to stay on top, despite most of his peers and acquaintances thinking little of him as a person. To me, this resonates with Hades' character, as he was often not spoken of or considered in a positive light because of his position as ruler over the dead, but still held a lot of power and respect from humans, due to his position as a God.

On the other side of the coin, however, is the idea that Hades was actually kind of sleazy in his tricking of various characters in myths. One example would be the Goddess Persephone, whom he kidnapped and, upon returning her, fooled her into eating in the underworld, thus forcing her to return to him for one three months every year. These incidences of being snakelike and possessive over the souls in the underworld makes me think that someone like Kevin Spacey would also be a perfect fit to play Hades. Now I know, you must be thinking, "Boy, this girl is obsessed with Kevin Spacey," but come on. Have you seen him in Se7en? How about The Usual Suspects? He can be quirky yet crazy with those moody eyes of his, and pulls of the skeevy-creepy-skeeve part absolutely seamlessly. Suited? Suited.

And so, as per usual, I ask what you think? Are there any other actors you might want to see portray Hades should his character ever be featured in a film again (again)?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Typecasting: Is It What the Audience Wants?

The other day some friends of mine were talking about how Will Ferrell was now going to be on The Office, and one made the comment of, "I hope he just isn't, you know, 'Will Ferrell' for once." Meaning, he hoped that Will Ferrell would tone down the super goofy, childish persona most of the characters in his recent movies embody. It was almost as though nobody in the conversation thought Will Ferrell was even capable of playing another role.

I, on the other hand, thought differently as I had just seen the trailer for Ferrell's new film Everything Must Go, wherein he plays an alcoholic forced to sell all of his belongings
and live on a front lawn while doing so. In addition, I remembered his much softer, more emotional performance in Stranger Than Fiction, which was actually quite good. The problem is, however, that nobody recognized these roles when I brought them up, because nobody had seen Stranger than Fiction or had heard of Everything Must Go. Nobody had paid attention to these movies because they were smaller releases with less publicity, and because nobody was interested in seeing Will Ferrell do something different than his usual comedic roles.

But why? "He's just so good at being funny."
Yes, I agree with that, but he is also good at other things, and I'm sure he might appreciate a little diversity now and again, don't you think?

This got me thinking about other typecast actors and actresses that tried to branch out in some roles, but nobody ever remembers them, even if their performances were actually quite good. It almost seems as though if someone is good at playing one specific role, people will be more inclined to go out and see this kind of movie, rather than something risky.

Because of this, typecasting almost seems like a bit of bitter-sweet situation. On the one hand, studios will be willing to hire an actor for a number of roles based on their abilities in similar ones, hopefully making that person a household name. The studios will be willing to cast these actors in these same roles, because they know that this is what audiences like to see, and know that it will therefore be a safe bet to generate more box-office revenue.
On the other hand, however, pigeon-holing can sometimes be a less than lovely thing. For example, will Mark Strong be recognized by the public as a ubiquitous bad-guy, since he usually only plays these roles? Alright, probably not, as that is a bit of a stretch. But wouldn't it get tiresome to play the same part over and over, especially as actors grow older and want to grow up out of silly roles, or want their careers to be more than a repetitive persona they can never shake off?

As much as we might like seeing certain actors play certain roles, I personally find it very refreshing to see an actor step outside of their usual fare.
For example, although Jim Carrey is very adept at playing the over-the-top comedian, his more serious turns in movies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Number 23 were quite good, and even responded to positively by critics. In fact, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is often regarded as one of the best, unconventional romance films of recent years, though most people that I know have never seen it, because it just seemed like it would be "too weird" or they didn't think that Jim Carrey would be very good when he wasn't being funny. Too bad most people just don't give the guy a chance to do something different.

The problem is that in most cases, the general movie-going population goes with what makes them comfortable, rather than something they are unsure about. I can't say as I blame them, I mean who wants to spend money on something that they aren't sure will be enjoyable?

When it boils down to it (although it arguably may be a bit of a stretch), I think typecasting often has a lot of do with what movie-viewers have responded to well in terms of box-office dollars, as well as what the audience just doesn't want to see.

For example, does anyone remember when Jennifer Anniston tried to branch out of her pretty, comedic role as Rachel on "Friends" with the film The Good Girl? I thought she actually played the role quite well, and it was a very intriguing film, yet few people that I know -- if any-- have actually seen it. It seems as though Jennifer Anniston "ugly-ing up" just wasn't something people wanted to see, and that is why she now continues to be hired for pretty, funny characters in most of her recent films. This strikes me as odd in a way, however, that people wouldn't be receptive to seeing her do something like The Good Girl, as a lot of the time, beautiful actresses are praised for their work in more "ugly" or "gritty" roles such as Charlize Theron in Monster (though arguably her performance in that was outstanding, so it deserved some recognition).


Some other people off the top of my head that are usually typecast, yet have had one or two exceptions that flew under the radar include:
- Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love. After playing the childish, goofy guy for so long, I think maybe people just couldn't picture him as a softer, romantic lead.
- Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich. Usually Cameron Diaz is blonde, bubbly, and the centre of attention in her films, yet in Being john Malkovich she was soft-spoken, bizzare, and mousey in appearance. Though this might be a role that nobody recognizes because this movie is kind of obscure in itself, despite being totally enjoyable.
- Steve Carrell in Dan in Real Life and Little Miss Sunshine. Sure, these parts all had some comedic undertones to them, but at their heart there was a real sadness. In fact, his part as Frank in Little Miss Sunshine was one of my favorites of his, but we all know that Steve Carrell being wild and funny is what people like, so that is what people go out to see.

Obviously I'm not saying that typecasting only happens because of what the audience wants. I'm just saying that since the hollywood film business is a business of money, just like any other, it makes sense that studios might pander to the general population with something that they know will bring viewers.

I will, however, agree with the fact that sometimes actors play similar roles repeatedly because it is one of the only roles that they can actually pull off.
The odd time, however, this occurs because nobody wants to give them a chance to do something different.

And thus, I leave you to think about this. What do you think about typecasting?
Is it a bad thing? Is it an okay thing?
Are there any other actors that you feel are chronically typecast, despite being capable of much more than one persona?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Favorite Hollywood Eyes

After posting about the oh-so intriguing Crazy Eyes the other day, I started thinking about how certain people's eyes are just so beautiful, and decided to compile a list of the ones that always stick out in my mind.

Thus, I give to you, my personal list-- in no particular order-- of The Best "Celebrity" Eyes:
(With celebrity in quotations because I know some people don't always recognize these people are. You know, just for the record.)

Ewan McGregor
I'll admit, I've always had a bit of a thing for Ewan McGregor (ever since I was fifteen at least). Can you blame a girl? His light blue eyes often look grey which is really interesting to me. Not to mention they seem to almost shimmer in a lot of his roles, which I've always been drawn to. Maybe I am biased from my frond appreciation of him, but as I said, this is a personal list, and as you can see, his eyes really do have a nice sparkle to them, don't they?

Emmy Rossum
Big. Brown. Beautiful. Really, I think Emmy Rossum just has a gorgeously fresh face, that is just highlighted by her bright, shining eyes. Sometimes having such large, round eyes is referred to as being doe-eyed, and in the case of such a pretty girl, I find that look quite beautiful.

Russell Brand
You know what I said about Emmy Rossum's eyes being big, brown, and beautiful? Well, that definitely applies to Russell Brand's as well. There also seems to be a lot of heart behind those eyes, with everything he has experienced in his life, but that might just be me reading a lot into things.






James McAvoy
Is it just me or is James McAvoy the kind of guy that arguably shouldn't be attractive based on stereotypical standards of male beauty, but is still absolutely gorgeous regardless of those ideals? That seems to be the kind of guy I always find attractive, as different little quirks are so endearing, but that is besides the point of this post. What really makes James McAvoy so appealing to me is his light eyes, that are deep set compared to his prominent brow bones. I can't really explain why this makes them so endearing, they just are, aren't they?

Matt Bomer
Alright, I'll admit that this photo is very dramatic in showing his eyes, but honestly, Matt Bomer's blue orbs are absolutely stunning. That sly glint that you see in all the time "White Collar" from him definitely adds to their appeal, but besides that, their light oceanic blue colouring is so contrasting to his face that it makes them punch in the best way possible.







Jon Kortajarena
Eye contact is certainly not overrated, and boy does Jon Kortajarena know how to do it well, being a male model and all. Not to mention those scruffy, framing eyebrows and the kitty-cat shape to his deep gaze.
And while I'm at it, I just wanted to mention those cheekbones. Have you ever seen cheekbones so sculpted? I certainly haven't, and I certainly like it.


Robert Downey Jr.
You know how many people believe that men become more attractive as they grow older (sometimes known as "the George Clooney")? Well, I think that a lot of this has to do with the eye crinkle to go with the twinkle as a man ages and boy is it endearing and adorable. In the case of Robert Downey Jr, at least, this is the truth. Also, you know, that deep chestnutty brown colour doesn't hurt either (because apparently I have a thing with brown eyes).




Tilda Swinton
Alright, so I know lots of people think that Tilda Swinton is strange looking, but I think she is more unique than anything else! And my word, those big, beady eyes are actually quite gorgeous. Actually I'm surprised I didn't put her on the Crazy-Eyes list, because she too has a knack for them. More than anything else, however, I think they make Tilda Swinton an androgynous beauty.

***And finally, my favorite eyes of any famous person out there at this given moment by far belong to:
Nicholas Hoult
Okay okay, so this photo is very much photoshopped, but regardless of this fact, Nicholas Hoult just has the most mischievous blue eyes that I can't help but be drawn to. It might have to do with his unique accompanying eyebrows, but I think it is also attributed to that beautiful cat-like shape of them.
I just can't seem to stop looking at those magnificent spheres. (I also evidently have a huge thing for blue eyes).




And thus concludes my list of my favorite eyes in Hollywood.
But how about you? Are there any eyes out there that stick out in your mind as being uniquely gorgeous, or piercing, or that you are just drawn to?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Ode to "Crazy Eyes"

*** An anecdotal post on some Crazy-Eyed wonders we all know and love. (Okay, maybe not "all" but you know what I mean.)

Crazy Eyes: "A person with crazy eyes always appears to be having some internal dialogue giving off the impression that he/she is unpredictable or dangerous. Those in the company of crazy eyes are kept on their toes and are often intrigued by this look. The thrill of crazy eyes lies in the fact that you never know what will happen next..."
(Thank you, Urban Dictionary)

Some people just have a knack for Crazy Eyes.
Are these people crazy? No no, certainly not!
Do their crazy eyes make them unattractive? Of course not: you heard the definition, we are drawn to them!
Crazy eyes are not simple, which I know as I have tried and tried again, but to no avail...

Here, I commemorate those who have the keen skill of creating... Crazy Eyes.

"Oh crazy eyes, how I see you glint in the darkness
Sending chills through my spinal column,
Making the world seem far more dangerous
Than once was imagined in the light."
(Yeah, I just made that up on the spot. Poetry is not my strong suit, obviously.)

And now, to wrap up my short and non-cohesive post, I give you, The Crazy-Eyed List of Fame:
(In no particular order. Not all of the photos show the Crazy Eyes to their full extent, so just trust me.)

Inspiration for this post:
Sebastian De Souza
He looked at me with those crazy eyes in "Skins", Season 5, and I couldn't look away. Why is this boy so hardcore, likable, and unnerving all at the same time? And why am I so intrigued by it?
That, my friends, is the power of the Crazy Eyes.


Young Money Murderer:
Alexander Gould
Looks like we've got ourselves an up-and-coming killer on our hands in "Weeds"... (spoiler alert!). You know this boy means business. Especially since he wears earrings too.
Oh my word, I can't look away!


Little with a Lethal Stare:
Elijah Wood
I once read on Pajiba that Charles Manson and Grigori Rasputin had the same eyes. They speculate that Elijah Wood has those same eyes. Not that far-fetched an idea, is it? I mean, how else do you make a Hobbit look like he's addicted to the Ring's power? Or allow a mute boy with glasses make your skin crawl in Sin City?
Excellent work, my lad, now please, look at me with those dashing blue orbs again.
(For the record, "Little" was not meant to be used in a derogatory way. I myself am 4'11''. Actually.)


Glassy-Eyed Maestro:
Sir Anthony Hopkins
I was looking for photos from The Silence of the Lambs, as this epitomized his glazed-over, devious gaze, when I clocked on one that blew up to the size of my screen, and I almost screamed in the dark, it was so terrifying.
Sir Anthony, you are a wonder.
(PS: I think that photo of him is absolutely stunning. Would you agree?)


King of the Crazy Eyes:
Jack Nicholson
You know how in The Shining there is that one long shot of the hotel that slowly drags in to show Jack standing in the window, staring outside with that intense, frightening look on his face? That was literally the scariest part of that movie for me. And that includes the creepy little girls.
You, my good man, are the master of the Crazy Eyes.

To those of you with crazy eyes, I salute you.
(It appears all the people on my list are men... I strongly believe this is a coincidence as I have definitely seen women with a scary look in their eyes before as well).
And now, I ask, what are your thoughts on Crazy Eyes?
Are there any others you deem worthy of our Crazy-Eyed List of Fame?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

For the Love of Sam Rockwell

*** Seeing as I have nowhere else to express my adorations, I have decided to dedicate this post to the praise of the fabulous actor that is Sam Rockwell.


Sam Rockwell is talented.
Sam Rockwell is genius.
Sam Rockwell is handsome.
Sam Rockwell is charming.
Simply put, Sam Rockwell is amazing.

This feeling of absolute admiration was solidified when I recently saw Moon, wherein he was his own costar. Any actor that can hold an audience's attention for a full-length feature as (essentially) the only character is very skilled, in my books. He rocked the show. He was funny, and serious, and quirky, and depressed, and carefree, and angry, and kicked his own ass, all in the same film. Fantastic? No doubt about it.

Have you ever had even the slightest attraction to Sam Rockwell? No? Well then you either don't know who he is, or you are a liar.
I'm not saying he is the best looking guy out there, oh no. But there is just something about him that is capable of exuding both charm and badass-ery, depending on the situation. Who doesn't love a cheeky guy? And I've also been told that ladies often like bad-boys (guilty as charged).
I'm not saying he is necessarily any of these things, but you know, there is definitely that confidence there that draws you to him. Or so I believe anyways.
For a man 23 years older than myself, I certainly can't help but be endeared by all of his angsty stares, sombre looks, and sly grins.

Sam Rockwell is quirky.
Sam Rockwell is serious.
Sam Rockwell is everything compiled into one dashing package.

Sam Rockwell... can dance. And that, my friends, is a real winner for me.
( ^ Click it. Watch it. Love it. Know that Nicholas Cage was lying when he said he wasn't turned on.)

May Sam Rockwell visit your dreams and make them magical.
For the love of Sam Rockwell, and all my fellow Rockwell lovers out there: I Salute You.
(And so does he... er... I'd like to hope.)

Do you too love Sam Rockwell? I know, I know, my praising post is a little strange and over the top, but why not spread the love?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Please Make a New Joke: I Can't Help How I Look


A few weeks ago when "Glee" aired its episode "Original Songs" wherein the Glee Club wrote their own songs (obviously), I laughed pretty hard at the words to Santana's tune "Trouty Mouth". But then I got to thinking about how they are constantly making jokes about Chord Overstreet's mouth and how big it is. Let's be honest, it is larger than average, but after a while, the running joke gets kind of old, and I can't help but feel like Chord must be pretty tired of it by now (*cue the internal sigh as he reads the script and sees yet another jab at his lips*).

I mean, at first it was kind of funny, and he must have been a pretty good sport about it, but how much is too much? When does it get more matter-of-fact and lame, rather than a quirky, humorous realization?
(Ie, "Oh wow, Hunter Parrish DID have a snaggle tooth back then! How cute." Or something like that.)

After thinking about this, I started noticing other people that are often subject to jokes in films and television based on their appearance.

For example, when recently re-watching Fargo (with my newly found appreciation for everything Steve Buscemi), I noticed that when describing him, everyone called Steve's character "funny looking". Well okay, so my mom once referred to him as "that weaselly looking guy with the fang teeth" but at least it wasn't said so in a derogatory way. Make you wonder how often does the guy get jokes made like that, right? Well, I think about this stuff anyways.

Furthermore, even Santana in "Glee" gets poked at for her larger breasts frequently, even though it's obviously something she can't control. In fact, people can't really control the way they look a lot of the time, and often they are actually proud of their unique appearance.

Okay, so now I must sound like a little bit of a bleeding-heart, you know, saying not to make fun of people for their features, but that's not the case. I just think that eventually it gets really tiresome to hear the same thing over and over again, because let's be honest, the first time Puck asked Sam on "Glee" how many ping-pong balls he could fit in his mouth, I thought it was pretty hilarious. After that though, it became more, "Meh".

I guess all I'm trying to say is, everyone has a unique feature on themselves, or maybe even two! And sure, it's cool to point them out every once in a while, but after a while I can just imagine that that person must just want people to move on about it, especially when they are ragged on about that aspect of themselves all the time. Plus, it can kind of degrade the person's name into pidgeon-holing them as a cheap joke. I mean, how respected would we find Forrest Whitaker if he was contstantly being made into a laugh about his lazy eye? Or Adrian Brody for this beak-like nose? Or Madonna or Elijah Wood for the gap in their teeth? These are their distinguishing features, without which they might just be another generic person in the crowd.

Looking unique is awesome, so we should embrace people for their features. And sure, describing people by these distinct qualities is okay, but respect is always appreciated when doing so.

(Okay, maybe I am a bit of a preacher/bleeding-heart after all. What's so wrong with that?)