FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Nov 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brittany Murphy!

Y'all, I have an unabiding, irrational, and unconditional love for Brittany Murphy...the kind of love you have for an actor that makes you sit through movies you wouldn't normally watch with 10-foot eyeballs (yes, I've seen Uptown Girls), the kind that causes you to deny all the rumors outright (even when you hear them from a really good source), the kind that makes you sad when the actor's career ends up...not where it should be.

She gets such a bad rap in the court of public opinion for...well, I don't know why, really. There are other celebrities out there raping, murdering, drunk driving, having affairs- yet Murphy is almost universally maligned for making some bad movies and assumptions about her private life. Really, though, that's all neither nor there, and as I said I deny all rumors anyway. The point is, I think she's a rather extraordinary actress who's vastly underappreciated. Once the elder generation of lauded actresses retires- the Dench-caliber ladies- who the fuck from the younger generation is going to take up the crown? It's a short list, in my opinion, and I hope Murphy can pull her career out of the basement to join it.

Yeah, she underwent some sort of transformation that seems, to be, "Hollywood" mandated and yeah, she'd made some caca mainstream movies that flopped. But then there's Clueless (fucking classic), and there's Girl, Interrupted- the film for which Angelina Jolie got all the glory. Jolie's performance is pretty damn good but it feels a bit showy to me, all surface- contrast it with Murphy's turn (or Angela Bettis's, for that matter), where there's a few more layers added to your standard "crazy" character. Watch Spun, watch some King of the Hill, watch Sin City and Common Ground and Freeway and for fuck's sake watch The Dead Girl, a fantastic movie which she (along with Toni Collette, Kerry Washington, Mary Beth Hurt, and Marcia Gay Harden) tears up, and see what you think. She's got range, and she's one of those few actors who has the ability to make you forget their real name while they're on screen...at least for me, but again, this is maybe an irrational thing.

She's dabbled in horror a bit, most notably in the darkly comedic slasher flick Cherry Falls, which I really need to get around to reviewing. There, now I've tied this odd diatribe about one of my favorite actresses into my usual content here at Final Girl. Hooray!

23 comments:

Pierce said...

There are people who don't like her? Nobody that I want to know!

Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one in the world who still really digs "Don't Say A Word"

Geoff J said...

Her career needs all the help it can get, as horror of horrors, she's starring in the Asylum's rip off of upcoming cheesefest blockbuster 2012, entitled Megafault (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1436432/).

She deserves better.

Melanie's Randomness said...

aww happy birthday to her. I think she's kickass. People use to call me, Tye all the time when clueless came out, cuz i had the brown eyes & brown curly hair. She was awesome in The dead Girl too. Gotta give her props!!

J.D. said...

I always liked her. She was fantastic opposite Drew Barrymore in RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS. They played well off each other and hopefully she's still got Drew's number on speed dial.

Theron said...

I'm sure we all know how little control an actor has over the outcome of a film. All they can do is show up and work. Murphy's done good work in great flicks and she's done good work in bad flicks. The common denominator? Good work...

kindertrauma said...

I think she's great too, Freeway is amazing. I sense that her fans felt betrayed by her when she moved away from character work and started doing the rom-coms. I could easily see her having a serious comeback someday though, Murph's got mad chops!-Unk

Stacie Ponder said...

Yeah, Unk, I think you're right. I remember reading an interview with her where she said that shortly after Girl, Interrupted came out, a producer told her she wasn't "fuckable" enough. I'm sure actresses (and actors) hear shit like that all the time, but after that she underwent this transformation and started making mainstream crap. Coincidental, maybe, I don't know. Now she's mired in The Asylum and bad Lifetime movies (coming from me, you know that's saying something!)...she definitely needs a good role.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I really respect Murphy, if for no other reason than her flipped out performance in Freeway. BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!

Orville Dunworth said...

This is my new favorite movie blog. Can't wait to comb through the archives and reviews!

Stacie Ponder said...

Well, thanks Orville, and welcome! I hope you still feel that way AFTER you've combed the archives! :D

Anonymous said...

"You're a virgin who can't drive" is still the first insult that springs to mind in any relevant situation. LOVE HER (& Final Girl!) .

Michelle said...

She was in Drop Dead Gorgeous too. That was a pretty awesome movie.

badgerdaddy said...

Her finest moment for me has to be 8 Mile. She manages to be totally engaging and believable as the love interest who, while doing some things that are not nice, is completely rounded as a character. And that movie has one of the best sex scenes I've ever seen in it, which she is brilliant in. A hugely under-rated movie, that.

maclay said...

Love. Her.

Even in 8 mile.

Chris said...

I've always like Murphy too, even though I haven't seen a a lot of her films. Her turn in Freeway was what sold me, and I also dug her in Prophecy 2 ("You're keeping me alive because you don't know DOS?"), Sin City, and Cherry Falls. The girl has a quality to her (sorta Marissa Tomei-lite), and yes, she is beautiful as well (that producer who told her she wasn't "fuckable" is an idiot, and hopefully isn't involved in Hollywood anymore).

Here's hoping she gets some roles under her belt that allow her to shine once again, and get to a level where she can prove her acting chops once again.

Robson said...

Her line readings in SIN CITY are perfect, absolutely nailing both the hard-edged noir and the melodrama.

And I'm sorry, but I don't want to see the world through the eyes of anyone who says she isn't "fuckable" enough.

Gryphon said...

I couldn't watch 'Spun.' I got I don't remember how far into it, and the hate centers in my brain were firing off so hard and fast that I finally said, "To hell with this - I don't care if Debbie Harry IS in it." That is saying a lot, because I'd watch 'Drying Paint: The Motion Picture - The Complete Extended Saga' if Debbie Harry were in it. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate movies where a lot of frantic, goofy, hyperspaz shit is supposed to trick us into thinking something worth watching is going on, ALMOST as much as I hate movies that tell us that drugzrbad while trying to make them seem interesting and fun with a lot of frantic, goofy, hyperspaz shit. I don't think there's even a word for how much I hated 'Spun,' but the director should have been left to rot in the music video ghetto (and should CERTAINLY be chopped up and fed to hogs before he makes another movie), and the "screenwriters" (the quotes here denote snide contempt) need "buri buri" from 'LW&C 3: Babycart to Hades' until their keyboarding fingers fall off. 'Spun' hammered the hell out of every hackneyed filmmaking "technique" that curdled my movie-love into seething black bile in the 90's. There is no hope that the main creative people responsible will ever produce anything that isn't the cultural equivalent of butt cancer. Grrrrrrrrr!

Also, disgusting as speed freaks actually are, they DO, not infrequently, get the cleaning bug in the middle of a tweak. If the trash characters in that movie were really methheads, their places wouldn't have been the uniformly squalid ratholes depicted in the film.

Sorry. Just had to get that out. Most of my friends know never to mention 'Spun' around me.

On the other hand, 'Freeway' and 'The Dead Girl' (not to be confused with 'Deadgirl,' which is at least worth a look) are EXCELLENT movies that too few people have seen. When people ask me if I've seen 'Hard Candy' I just snort and ask them if they've seen 'Freeway' - because 'Freeway' is 'Hard Candy' if it was made of Awesome instead of Suck.

vinylsaurus said...

I believe Roger Ebert also championed her when he was still on "At the Movies". I assumed he just had the hubba-hubbas for her but y'all may be convincing me otherwise.

ragidtiga said...

I wouldn't say no. I can't think of any actress like her, which is always a good thing. Better to stand out always.

As for the "Freeway" love. I remember seeing it a few years back and being throughly engrossed. It was before Sutherland got going as Bauer and being very creeped out. "Freeway" and "Best Laid Plans" are also a reason why I will always have an affection for Reese Wethersppon, despite recent output.

JA said...

Sadness. Loved you BM.

Lightfighter89 said...

Always loved you Brittany Murphy. RIP. God bless you!

Cherra said...

I share your unabiding, irrational, and unconditional love of Brittany Murphy. I will quickly go Chris Crocker "leave Brittany alone!" on anyone who speaks ill of B. Murphy in my presence. Needless to say, I'm beyond bummed that she is no longer with us. Great potential has been lost.

Anonymous said...

It's November 10, 2011, and I am remembering Brittany on her birthday. I loved reading your positive words about her. She had so much talent and she was so beautiful, and I just don't understand why she became so lost. She always seemed to have so much joy. I hope she is at peace. Miss her!