Muschamp Rd

My favourite actress

February 19th, 2007
Black Snake Moan

When I lived and taught in Japan I got asked a lot of questions. I actually put up the main portion of just prior to going to Japan. I thought I had answers for a lot of the big questions, but one question that isn’t answered anywhere and that I was frequently asked by my many female Japanese students was “Who is my favourite actress?”

A review of my favourite actors shows a lot of character actors and not a lot of classical leading men. Johnny Depp is there, but before “Pirates of the Caribbean” became a franchise, he did a lot of Tim Burton movies, a Jim Jarmusch film, a Hughes Brothers flick, not exactly box office juggernaughts. But who is my favourite actress? Well in the land that worships Audrey Hepburn, I said “Christina Ricci“.

This got a lot of “Whos?” or even a few “何奴?” Christina Ricci started her career as a child actor. She was in the Addam’s Family movies. She was also in some other teen movies. I never saw those films. Not in the theaters, not on video, and not in their entirety. She grew up and took a lot of odd roles in small films. She was in “The Opposite of Sex” which didn’t live up to the back of the box IMHO. She was in “Buffalo ’66” which is quirky enough to be known in Japan by a few, but is not one of my favourites. These aren’t movies that my students had seen. She was also in a Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp but I found “Sleepy Hollow” disappointing.

It had one of my favourite actors, one of my favourite directors, and my favourite actress, so needless to say I had expectations which is did not fulfill. Yet I still like all three, I just had very high hopes for that film. Examining the DVDs and VHSs I own, I was scanning the list one day recently worried I didn’t have a Tim Burton film in my collection, but I do currently own “Batman”. That movie had a huge effect on me, ever since I’ve loved purple and green.

So what Christina Ricci movie do I own? “Pecker” a John Waters film. The reason I like Christina Ricci is the same reason I like male actors. I like actors who take chances, who play different roles rather than similar characters in similar films, who take roles because of passion rather than money. Christina Ricci has made some odd choices, reading her IMDB entry shows some roles she didn’t get which was interesting. Not all her films I like, but I still look forward to seeing her in movies.

Saying you always look forward to seeing someone, is about the nicest compliment you can give them.

She was in “Monster” which got a lot of press and won some awards but is also a film I disliked. I didn’t find a lot redeeming value to the characters, or a compelling reason to continue watching. I almost turned “Monster” off when I rented it. Maybe feminists like it, but if I want a film with a strong female lead who beats up and kills men, I’d opt for Patricia Arquette in “True Romance” or even “Jackie Brown”, heck “Kill Bill”.

Now the reason for this blog posting on this date, is Christina Ricci has a new movie coming out, which I just watched get reviewed on Roper and Ebert, by Kevin Smith no less and it seems like something I’d like. Normally I don’t like to read a lot of film reviews or even watch a lot of previews and trailers as I want the full experience, not have the best bits ruined. Some trailers are great and compel you to see the film, others compel you to not see the film.

Anyway Christina Ricci’s new film is called “Black Snake Moan“. She plays opposite Samuel L. Jackson who I do like as an actor, but the reason I like the film is the concept. She plays a backwoods nympho who Jackson’s character finds half dead and nurses back to health. He also decides to reform her by chaining her to his radiator. The fact that Samuel L. Jackson is a forgotten blues musician who visually resembles R. L. Burnside helps things along nicely.

The fact that Christina Ricci is a wee lass with big brown eyes probably contributed to her becoming my favourite actress. She wasn’t always ridiculously thin, but she seems to have gone down that path at some point like too many actresses in Hollywood, but at her average weight she has some curves, but at 5 feet tall, how much can she weigh? I learned her height, by reading her IMDB entry prior to writing this blog posting, I also learned that she stopped growing at age ten.

Some people take obsession to a whole ‘nother level to find out factoids like that, but I guess growing up a child actor takes away most of your innocence and privacy. Being a blogger definitely costs you some of both. I think I managed to work in every Christina Ricci fact and film I’ve seen. Oh I really liked her in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, which again stars Johnny Depp, and again is directed by one of my favourite directors, Terry Gillian. Christina Ricci fits my pantheon, I’ll have to add her to this webpage.

Here again from the IMDB is a quotation:

I’m not perfect-looking and I don’t say the right things, I’m a little different, nothing really special, but I guess I come across as a little more real to people and that comes through on the screen. I know I look young, but with the right make-up I can look older. I definitely feel older.

That is a pretty good summation of her own appeal as an actress.

Update May 5th 2012

I realize this isn’t the best blog post I’ve ever written. And I acknowledge that I was severely depressed while I wrote it and that I’ve never recovered from the events that took place on March 17th 2005 and in the time afterwards during my MBA. But I don’t think this post warranted me becoming the target of online ridicule in an obscure forumIt saddens me what is considered acceptable even ‘cool’ behaviour in online gaming circles. Picking on the mentally ill is never cool.


  • Muskie says:

    Rereading this post now five years later I’m not sure why the folks over at Caltrops including Wagner James Au, aka @slhamlet:disqus thought it would be fun and cool to pick on a random blogger battling depression and mental illness because he was looking forward to seeing a movie co-staring Christina Ricci? It is even more ironic that the film itself dealt with dealing with mental illness especially panic attacks something I have experiences far too much. Mental illness isn’t funny. Picking on random strangers who are battling mental illness or going through hard times is definitely not funny. And calling yourself a journalist while posting hurtful, hateful stuff in some obscure forum under a psudonym is a cowardly act. I hope karma catches up with you Wagner James Au, and maybe I’ll have to help karma along because I most definitely did not appreciate abuse from random strangers or being picked on the butt of your and your buddies’ jokes for five years.

    Maybe someday you’ll grow up and realized there is such a thing as real life, and it is a lot more relevant than Second Life.

  • Muskie says:

    I finally saw “Black Snake Moan” last night. I liked it, but like a lot of things I was disappointed. When I saw “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, maybe cause I never saw any trailers or knew the actors I was blown away, that was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a cinema in the last ten years. Others that come to mind are “Fargo” and “The Life Aquatic”. Lots of films you see on DVD/TV now so maybe they lose some of the effect. I have more than a token surround system set up again after four years in a box. But even without that a film can still have a powerful effect. I saw “Fight Club” on a 12 inch TV in a little tiny shoebox West End bachelor. That movie inspired me.

    I saw that film with a Korean girl, I’m not sure she got the same things out of it. Though I think she was instrumental in us renting the film. That was one movie that deserved the hype around it, as did “Being John Malkovich”…

    I got distracted, it is all too easy for me, my brain doesn’t work normally anymore, but I’m not a liar or a psychopathic stalker, no matter what people may have told you or you read on the internet.

    Justin Timberlake was in “Black Snake Moan”. Lets just say I don’t follow the career of Justin Timberlake all that closely so I didn’t know this until I rented the DVD. I did however immediately recognize Kenny Brown and Cedric Burnside. What can I say I’m a lot more familiar with their music. I’ve seen them both play live with R.L. multiple times.

    This movie also deals with anxiety and panic attacks something I’m all too familiar with. “The Sopranos” put this illness/issue front and center as well. A lot more people than you may realize, deal with mental illness, depression, fear, anxiety, apprehension, Woody Allen’s entire career is about neurosis or inadequacy or an inability to achieve success and happiness.

    In the DVD extras the director said “He wanted to explore anxiety, fear, and unconditional love.”

    “Black Snake Moan” isn’t a bad film, certainly worth the few dollars to rent. Samuel L. Jackson learned to play guitar some for the film and Christina Ricci is briefly nude, especially in the opening scenes before the credits roll. If that is your thing, but the movie isn’t about sex or depicting sex, it is more about finding happiness, finding peace, finding contentment.

    I wish I could find those three things.

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