September 3, 2007

An Actress A Week
This is my newest brainchild for The Crypt. A new stunning and wildly talented actress of stature (no dewy starlets in my world; I'm all about the finest wines, aged and rich) to explore each week. I want to share their brilliance with you! Maybe there's something you've missed. (Maybe not. We can debate that in the bites.) Anyway... the inaugural installment features, for no particular reason as they're not arranged in any particular order, Sigourney Weaver. (I know, you were totally expecting Sharon Stone, weren't you? HA! I live to surprise.)

Sigourney Weaver

It would be enough of a contribution to pop culture (and iconic status) if all Sigourney Weaver had ever done was Ghostbusters, Alien, and GalaxyQuest. But she hasn't. She's also done gritty important things like Gorillas in the Mist and savagely raw things like Death and the Maiden and gently hilarious things like Tadpole and achingly underrated things like A Map of the World. She is a force to be reckoned with and not just if you're an Alien Queen. (Though especially if you're an Alien Queen.) She's pretty much the only reason I watched The Village the whole way through. And that's saying a lot.

Memorable Lines:
"Let's get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!" ~ GalaxyQuest
"Are you the Keymaster?" ~ Ghostbusters
"Get away from her, you bitch." ~ Aliens
"Ben, you're boring me. I have a husband. I don't have a need for another one." ~ The Ice Storm

Five Favorite Roles:

5. Lady Claudia Hoffman - Snow White: A Tale of Terror
If you haven't seen this little gem of an adult horror-drama take on a classic fairy tale, you really must. Everything about the film is pitch-perfect – from its moody evocation of the actual time period in which the classic tale is set to the casting (Sam Neill, Sigourney Weaver, and the luminous Monica Keena). The best part about it, though, is that Sigourney GOES THERE with her performance. She is the sort of imperiously wicked and perversely deranged stepmother that made fairy tales so horrific to begin with. She is almost sympathetic in the early parts of the film and then just spirals into twisted wickedness with utter abandon.

4. Gwen DeMarco – GalaxyQuest
In a movie full of brilliant performances and screamingly funny parody, Sigourney stands out because Gwen is the studied opposite of nearly every character she has ever played in her career. Gwen DeMarco is a complicated mix of blonde moments, narcissism, ambition, sincerity, concern, and ineptitude. She is, in short, the polar opposite of Ellen Ripley and the fact that Sigourney plays them both (and with deft comic timing in GalaxyQuest) is nothing short of genius.

3. Janey Carver - The Ice Storm
There's something incredibly beautiful about Sigourney when she's playing carelessly seductive or haughtily indifferent and Janey Carver is both. She's also very tragic and deeply injured down in the buried part of her that she doesn't let show – as all characters in this amazing film are – but it's the icy and saucy confidence that floor you and the seemingly bored way that she conducts her brazen affair that make her the more riveting. Sigourney's stature – both physical and emotional – give soul to what could have been a very unsympathetic character.

2. Linda Freeman - Snow Cake
Linda Freeman is a high-functioning autistic character who could easily have been played for either laughs or sympathy, relegated to being 'the different one' or 'the pitiable one', but the script and Sigourney never let that happen. Linda is absolutely authentic, unable to escape the trappings of her autism and not at all concerned about it. Instead of imbuing Linda with identifiable 'normal' reactions to garner more understanding or sympathy during the film, Sigourney allows her to be absolutely genuine and forces everybody else to see things her way instead. It's a daring and stunning performance.

1. Ellen Ripley – Alien
What is there to say about Ripley that you don’t already know? Ellen Ripley is an icon. Long before Angelina Jolie embodied the virtual Lara Croft, long before Jennifer Garner’s Sydney kicked ass in Alias, long before Michelle Pfeiffer growled as Catwoman even, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley made it okay for women to not only be ass-kicking take-charge heroes, but to be distinctly nuanced and female while doing so. If you haven’t seen Alien or Aliens... damn... for godsakes, watch them. Right now. Because you haven't seen real action until you've seen Ripley.