Many respected and highly paid professions require their practitioners to be highly skilled and reliable at performing the basic aspects of the craft.
In fact it is fair to say that the better remunerated the profession the greater the expectation of quality and superior performance.
You gotta learn your ropes. Crawl before you walk. That sorta stuff.
And in terms of actors you have to appear in some dogs in the early days…
You wouldn’t go to see a doctor that you knew to be unlicensed – unless you were shot while committing a crime I guess – nor would you opt for a flight piloted by someone who flies as a hobby over a trained airline pilot.
I don’t see why one of the most overpaid career choices on the planet get away scot-free again and again. So the other day in a turbulent bout of genius-ness I came up with a revolutionary concept.
From the guy who gave the world B-Movie Haiku Reviews and more bad Lindsay Lohan jokes than a late night TV host, OGR proudly presents:
Hollywood Star Acting Demerits
That’s right folks. From now on box-office and Metacritic scores be damned, I am personally making some of the Hollywood lollygaggers accountable for poor decision making and for phoning in performances. Whether the film was straight to DVD or unfairly made a bazillion, if one of the leads screwed the pooch we shouldn’t have to stand
This process is not designed to worry about the poor hardworking paycheque to paycheque character actors or supporting cast members, if you don’t make the poster on most films in which you appear then the system should eventually either eject you or elevate you to Buscemi-like status (more respected / lower paid). This process is for the guys n gals who normally appear smack dab in the middle of the poster, the guys n gals who are interviewed on red carpets and are driven to various premieres and public appearances to stare blankly at your gushing fans unless cameras are pointed at you.
The system is harsh but fair; everyone starts with the same number of points in the black, a bad performance costs you points depending on factors including:
- the general stinkiness of the movie
- whether you were trying or not
- whether the movie was taking a chance or not
- what was expected from the movie, a big budget stinker counts worse than a low budget indie stinker
- how long it has been since your last bona fide quality film
- whether you are Shia Le Bouf
Once you lose a point or points there is only one way to make it back – no regaining points after a period of time here – the only way to regain points on your license is to earn them through solid performances in decent films. Again being ‘adequate’ or even merely ‘good’ isn’t going to cut it here in the real world, adequacy and goodness are expected not lauded, you really need to pull something out of the bag to justify me tacking a point or two back onto your sheet.
To summarize; everyone starts with a clean sheet and twelve shiny points, the early movies in a star’s career are treated as Learner’s permit freebies. It is only when they strike big that the burden of consistent worthiness comes crashing down upon their shoulders.
In the last year we have looked at the poster boy for bad decisions Nicolas Cage, the poster boy for not trying Adam Sandler and the poster boy for trying without trying (cop that Yoda!) Will Smith.
But what about the ladies? They act too… don’t they?
If you ask a woman (and I did) just who the biggest leading ladiesare you will hear the following; Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie (really? still?) and Meryl Streep.
If you ask a guy (no need, I are one) you’ll probably get a list that strongly resembles Maxim’s Hottest 100 Women 2012.
I’m a guy… The Defendant
As you would expect the Maxim 100 Hottest Women is littered with actresses, singers, models, Pippa Middleton’s arse. And whatever Jennifer Lopez is choosing to be awful at at this point in time.
Because it is based upon reader votes there is a real element of popularity trumping reality – I mean how many people truly think Lea Michelle is hotter than Miranda Kerr or Adriana Lima. For the most part the Top 20 is chock full of actresses. If we pretend Olivia Munn is an actress (and I wouldn’t) 18 of the 20 are either on TV, film or both.
If we exclude the Jennifer Lawrence up and comers and in her prime Mila Kunis types, we are left with 5 ‘stayers’, staples in the annual list that include Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Charlise Theron, Scarlett Johansson, what surgery did to Megan Fox, and Kate Beckinsale…
Depending on what day it is I would be happy with a top 3 of Theron, Johansson and Beckinsale in no particular order. If I had to choose one of them for a film the choice is far easier. At least the first cut is.
Ms Kate Beckinsale
Funnily enough for a movie star there was no movie role that catapulted Kate Beckinsale into the public consciousness, it was actually her appearances in men’s magazines and in paparazzi shots of her wearing bikinis. Like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape it proved to be one of the savviest self promotional moves ever.
In the inaugural Top 100 list of 2000 a young fresh-faced Kate Beckinsale just made it at #85.
(In a scary dose of the realities of aging here is the Top 10 from 10 to 1: Piper Perabo, Thandie Newton, Amanda Peet, Jessica Alba, Gisele Bundchen, Shannon Elizabeth, Christina Aguilera, Kim Smith, Mena Suvari and Estella Warren. If any of them released a sex-tape today who would queue up? I haven’t even heard of a couple of these lasses… maybe Christina Aguilera ate them?
By the way I can only believe that Estella Warren was given the nod so as to ensure the question “Who was the first Maxim Hottest 100 #1” is the least correctly answered trivia question in history. You could give me the ‘Global Hottie directory’ and I would still never guess her even if I started at the Zs and worked backwards.)
The Rise to ‘Mega-Star dom’
But back to Beckinsale. All of a sudden she’s the tasty meat in a Ben Affleck / Josh Hartnett sandwich in the lamentable ‘facts optional’ Michael Bay noise-fest Pearl Harbour, being the woman other women envy and guys… well at that stage we were still fine with the choices we had.
But the photos kept coming, and we can forgive a young aspiring starlet some regrettable choices if they help her catch the public’s eye.
Now, with a lifetime pass from guys that only a bad accident, donuts, an ill conceived relationship with Chris Brown, or a fatal case of the mid-40s could retract, let’s give Miss Beckinsale her 12 points and use our retrospective fine system of 1 through 3 point demerits depending on the severity of the transgression. General adequacy and strong performances are not praised unnecessarily here, merely expected from someone who makes millions without ever breaking a sweat.
You’re hot, young, hot, and suddenly famous. And hot…
Beckinsale’s first ‘hit’ didn’t actually have much to do with her, but with the overblown effects and selective use of the truth.
I can’t bring myself to watch it even for quasi comedic purposes, so instead I stole a quote from Heather Feher who said “This film is not as painful as a blow to the head, but it will cost you $10 and takes three hours.”
I’ll save my three hours and my sanity and chalk this up as a barely forgivable case of career advancement for lil’ Miss B. No-one might have talked the film up in glowing terms, but they talked about it…
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 12
A rom-com, perfectly forgivable for a young actress. Get known, don’t have to try hard, by all means Kate Hudson it up.
I’m about as likely to watch this as the extended Director’s Cut of Pearl Harbour, but it has John Cusack in it. So I am willing to assume it’s as good as this genre gets.
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 12
Never heard of it. I was going to let it go as well but saw it had a pretty nifty cast including Christian Bale and Frances McDormand. Still no way I was going to watch it though.
So I trawled up and down the Rotten Tomatoes critic’s quotes for all news Beckinsale and came up with only four mentions (from 121 critics). None were glowing, one referenced her as tedious, another said she was a casting mistake and the third called her performance ‘unnecessarily fussy’.
Verdict: 1 Point deducted. Points remaining: 11
Up until Underworld Beckinsale was merely another elfin nosed hottie vying for roles of ‘hot girlfriend’, ‘hot office buddy’ or ‘hot goat herder’. Underworld changed that.
It’s amazing how one skintight black vinyl suit and gratuitously pervy camera angles can do for a career. Actually no it isn’t amazing at all.
Unfortunately despite the primary ingredients being vampires, werewolves, an eons-old feud and more black vinyl, the film was such a mismanagement of cool that it never attained any heights.
Of course that didn’t stop the army of nerds. And the unnecessary sequels that continue to this day. If any film ‘made’ Beckinsale it’s this one. That still doesn’t mean it’s good.
Verdict: 0 Point deducted. Points remaining: 11
A film where Kate Beckinsale plays a pregnant woman fearful that her unborn baby will emerge a dwarf thanks to her husband’s bloodlines.
And it’s not a comedy.
Let’s move on before the PC police sirens get closer… on Tiptoes indeed.
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 11
Points for consistency? Where Underworld was at least trying to be cool you never get that impression with Van Helsing, the punchline for so many jokes about misguided big budget films.
Hugh Jackman and Beckinsale prove that as charismatic combos go… they sure are pretty.
The film most certainly is not.
Verdict: 3 Points deducted. Points remaining: 8
Beckinsale was cast thanks to her timeless good looks, not necessarily her acting chops – and probably not her high rankings in the Maxim lists.
Proof? Rotten Tomatoes has 214 critic’s reviews. Not one quote seeks to mention Beckinsale in any light whatsoever.
Moving on yet again… (unremarkable career so far hey?)
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 8
A Stalled Career
It’s funny how some of these things cross over. Adam Sandler hardly sunk Kate Beckinsale’s career – he’s too busy sabotaging his own – but I’m sure this didn’t help.
By the way it made big unearned bucks, leading me to wonder if Sandler might start his own John Carpenter tactic of putting himself in the titles of his films.
In 2014. Prepare yourself for… Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy 2.
Don’t cringe too early, you’ll hurt yourself.
Verdict: 1 Point deducted. Points remaining: 7
Never heard of it. Made no money.
Maybe she’s been punished enough for this one by the sound of crickets chirping… and as the saying goes; ‘crickets don’t buy tickets’.
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 7
Back so soon? At least this awful film had the sense to have Beckinsale disrobe for a sex scene… filmed by her husband… with Scott Speedman…
Remember what I said about mismanagement of cool? That’s like sprinkling dog turds over a nice ice cream sundae.
Still, as the four Underworld movies go, ‘Evolution’ is in the top 5.
Verdict: 1 Point deducted. Points remaining: 6
OK we’ve killed off the horror action combo, we’ve realised rom-coms don’t get male attention. We know serious stuff isn’t really our bag. So what else is easy?
You’d think it would be easier to act shocked and petrified at every realisation that Luke Wilson is your ‘co-star’?
Vacancy is hardly awful – it’s actually hardly anything at all – but the highest praise I can give is that I didn’t hate it… much.
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 6
Fragments / Nothing but the Truth
Two more I have never heard of and can’t find even the passion to google. One thing I can guarantee is that Beckinsale had no nudity.
I’ll take a combined point of for the obvious pointlessness of the exercise(s).
Verdict: 1 Points deducted. Points remaining: 5
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Becks only appears in a few flashbacks (as I recall), leaving this all Rhona Mitra’s problem – and Bill Nighy’s embarrassment…
Verdict: ‘Pardoned’. Points remaining: 5
Finally a leading role for the Divine Ms B, and she gets little more than Into the Blue in Antarctica, where a crashed plane drops goodies near her research station, bringing attention from unwanted visitors.
The film is a big nothing. A paint by numbers in Antarctica with the prevailing background colour being white and the interest level never above beige.
Perhaps most damning is my parting statement at the time; “Kate Beckinsale can’t carry a film, regardless of how hot she is”.
Verdict: 2 Points deducted. Points remaining: 3
The silly war between fantasy beasties comes out into the open, and finally stops taking the fur vs vinyl stoush seriously. The end result is all the better for it; gorier, more violent and less concerned with the mythology and inter-species posturing and grandstanding.
I was happy enough at the time to label it the best of the foursome, but stated that while ‘Beckinsale can probably act, but while this (Underworld series) remains the pinnacle of her career we’ll never actually know’.
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 3
Mixed reviews, with the few good ones bigging-up the triumphant – albeit low key – return of Bob De Niro, and the rest labelling the film with such verbiage as ‘trite’, ‘pandering’ and ‘bland formulaic Christmas fare’.
The one mention of Beckinsale again does her no favours; ‘cute, one dimensional’.
Verdict: 1 Point ‘for 1D cuteness’ deducted. Points remaining: 2
Marky Mark Wahlberg is inspired to save his wife’s (Beckinsale) dopey brother from a fate worse than… actually a fate that is exactly death by re-entering the world of dangerous crime.
While Beckinsale’s powers of inspiration are beyond reproach, her powers to elevate the film beyond being a low rent, ahead of its time Snitch are non-existent. I called it filler then, I call it ‘that film I can’t remember’ two years on.
But this one wasn’t really anyone’s fault. So as a magnanimous gesture I’ll allow it…
Verdict: 0 Points deducted. Points remaining: 2
… Not this one. First; who remakes anything Arnie besides maybe Jingle All the Way… Fucking Len Wiseman!
I might fast track the execution by quoting myself: “Beckinsale, on loan from husband/director Len Wiseman and the mediocre Underworld franchise, is a welcome upgrade from Sharon Stone, but as an action heroine let’s just say she makes a great screensaver (except when she’s running)…”
Verdict: 2 Points deducted. Points remaining: 0
In late 2013 there was apparently a film made called The Trial of Cate McCall, Beckinsale was Cate McCall. You haven’t heard of it. I haven’t heard of it. I feel like I should reserve judgment, but similarly feel I know the end result.
Next sometime in 2014 is Eliza Graves. Beckinsale is Eliza Graves. I said earlier that Beckinsale can’t carry an action film, with not one, but two films with her in a titular role, perhaps we’ll find out this year if she can carry any film.
With the only films with a positive Tomatometer (Rotten Tomatoes measure of adequacy) having either Beckinsale in a bit role (The Aviator) or making no money (the rest), Let’s just say I have my reservations…
The numbers don’t lie. A ‘Zero’ says is all – and from only 20 films.
As a Maxim Hottie there is no argument, Beckinsale ticks all the boxes. But that’s in static images where charisma, ability and personality have no bearing. For mine these are three categories where Beckinsale is lacking.
In fact, unless she decides to get her Jolie on and start nuding up with greater frequency and efficiency, I think we have enough of Beckinsale in film. If she retires today what would be her calling card? Making every Goth-wet-dream underwhelming with the Underworld series? Being in a Scorcese film? Killing Van Helsing off? Having a better Box Office gross than 99% of the Maxim Top 100 hotties?
Regardless of the answer, in ‘researching’ (a term used loosely) for this list, I realised that on more than a few reviews I did two things; denigrated Beckinsale’s presence, charisma and acting ability, and inserted a pic of Ms Beckinsale in ‘boudoir’ mode.
Neither helps her argument in maintaining an active Mega-Star license.
Hand back you’re license Ms B… (we only need the photo anyway – yep that one’ll do.)
Needless to say, I spent more time googling images for inclusion above than I did chasing quotes and opinions lauding the integrity of her ‘work’ onscreen.
Somehow through the last decade Kate Beckinsale managed to nab plum roles with astonishing frequency. My view is that this was aided and abetted by her hubby (and solid ‘6’ director) Len Wiseman, who, with Total Recall, seems to have lost his ‘Hollywood mojo’. At least for now.
Unless he somehow revives his career and manages to find some new projects greenlit, I think Kate Beckinsale’s run as a fully functional Hollywood Mega-Star has ended also.
But we’ll always have the photos…