Although this is a history-oriented blog that spans as many of the centuries as I can wrap my mind around, my absorption and interest in movie actresses is a continuing theme. In fact, I sometimes wonder why I’m not just writing a blog about movies. Maybe because there are more than enough movie blogs already. Or perhaps I just don’t want to limit my drooling to females from only the last hundred years or so. For example, how could I have written one of my most popular posts, about Onorata Rodiana, the beautiful crossdressing mercenary and fresco painter of the Italian Renaissance, if I had to be stuck in the 20th and 21st centuries? I get restless to wander…and boy, if I really had a time machine, would I ever use it!
In any case, a history perspective is useful in contemplating what chance a talented young actress has today for making a truly memorable and varied career such as the stars of the Golden Age enjoyed. Can such a thing be done?
Last night I saw a somewhat feeble comedy (?) called Forgetting Sarah Marshall, about a young guy’s attempt to bring closure to his broken heart after his girlfriend dumps him. In the course of taking a vacation to “get away from it all,” our hapless hero Peter (played by Jason Segel, who actually shows his “peter” in a full-frontal scene) decides to go to the same Hawaiian resort that his ex is at with her current rock-star stud-muffin. But as the mechanics of fantasy-fulfillment screenwriting would have it, the annoyingly whiny Peter gets to meet and mate with the absolutely gorgeous hotel desk clerk (Mila Kunis). He finds in her not only the beauty, but all the better personal qualities, that were missing in his ex—things he did not realize during all the time he was living with her.
The movie wasn’t very good, but I sat there for two hours watching it because I wanted to look at Mila, and hear Mila talk. And watch her laugh, and move, and do double-takes and scrunch her brow in disbelief at the antics of Peter.
Immediately after watching the movie I looked her up on the Web. I don’t watch much tv or many current movies, so her oeuvre was a mystery to me. Of course, after observing her deft timing and vivacious eyes and smile in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was eager to see what else I could check out. Looks like she’s going to be in something called Zombieland, has appeared with Ben Affleck in a flick called Extract (compelling title, no?), and is now shooting The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington. That last one sounds like a barrel of laffs.
Extract. (I think it already came out, but I’m not sure.)
The Book of Eli.
See what I mean by the title of this post?
If this were 1946 she would be cranking out one interesting film after another, melodramas, crime films, comedies, tearjerkers, westerns, Arabian Nights potboilers. She’d probably be under the yoke of a studio but she would rapidly have a body of films on which her fans could feast until they were gorged. Instead…
The Book of Eli.
No, no, no…Miss Kunis is a movie goddess in the making! She deserves so much more!
Ye gods! Put her in a remake of Demetrius and the Gladiators as the cunning Empress Messalina! Put her in a remake of the old Ann Sheridan noir classic Nora Prentiss, playing a nightclub singer for whom a stuffy doctor ruins his life! Put her in a remake of Topper, playing a sprightly ghost! Put her in a remake of The Lady Eve, in the Barbara Stanwyck role of the con woman falling in love with her mark! I say Mila’s got the chops for it.
Don’t give me Zombieland, Extract, or The Book of Eli. Or at least, give me more than that!
I’m not actually asking for remakes of those classic films, but rather flicks with similar types of meaty stories to satisfy our appetites for variety, spice, and zest! It’s called entertainment.
Hey, put Mila in a movie about Onorata Rodiana! She’d be great at stabbing a lecherous aristocrat who interrupts her fresco-painting!
But why should Hollywood listen to me? It’s making more money than it ever has, so it must be doing something right, right?
Put Mila in a swashbuckler as a scheming countess! Put her in a jungle movie as a daring adventuress! Let her soar, and audiences will soar with her into that paradise of cinema that her beauty and talent deserve!
And by all means, let her play a beautiful nun sometime!!!