Thursday, February 02, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Filming to start on fifth Harry Potter saga

This thrills me, of course: I love the Harry Potter movies and every new one is an event. But one of the casting choices makes me sad. Imelda Staunton, previously the abortionist heroine of Vera Drake, will play Dolores Umbridge, who, while not the most evil creation of J.K. Rowling, is perhaps the most realistic of Harry's tormentors. I think everyone who has read Order of the Phoenix imagines Dolores as an amalgam of all the worst traits of all of their least favorite teachers. I don't want to impute those negative thoughts onto Imelda!

I shouldn't be so fearful; it's the first movie that I see starring someone that establishes them in my mind forever. For example, I have an irrational hatred of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and it's not because he keeps beating Heath Ledger out for best actor awards this year (though that isn't helping matters). The hatred stems, instead, from his role in The Talented Mr. Ripley, wherein he plays a swaggering rich American living in Italy and carousing with Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), tormenting poor Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) until Tom finally kills him by bludgeoning him with a marble statue. Every time I see Hoffman, I imagine him playing the piano in Tom's apartment, repeatedly hitting a very high note with his pinky finger. This makes it very hard for me to like him in other movies, though I've done my best to enjoy his roles in Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Almost Famous. (And yes, I know he made Boogie Nights before Ripley, but I saw Ripley first.)

Are there any actors for whom you carry an unreasoned, but powerful nonetheless, disdain?


Gerken said...

Christopher McDonald, I only see him as Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore.

Richard said...

I think Christopher McDonald has been playing Shooter McGavin in every movie he's made since then. He's definitely the same arrogant asshole in Broken Flowers. But I tend to think of his as the game-show host in Quiz Show, which makes me hate him less. And Brad, I'm sure, thinks of him as a captain on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's actually one of the best episodes of the series--the one where Tasha comes back to life and Guinan realizes she doesn't belong there, resulting in her going back in time (which, later in the series, results in her daughter becoming the leader of a Romulan group that the Enterprise confronts). McDonald plays the man who becomes friends with Tasha, which is part of why she's willing to go back in time with the Enterprise C and leave behind her friends on the D.

Can you tell that Brad has had an impact on me?

Victoria said...

I'm not sure that any characterization has caused me to dislike an actor, but Russell Crowe's real life personality of being an ass has completely turned me off to him. I saw LA Confidential before I really knew who he was, but that very well may be the only movie I've ever seen of his. I think it was actually his pissy, bored attitude at the Academy Awards that did it in for me. I've refused to see some very excellent movies just because of him.

Richard said...

That's funny--my trouble with Crowe is that his movies keep stealing Oscar glory from movies I prefer. I enjoyed A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator, don't get me wrong--but how did they beat out movies like Traffic and Gosford Park? Master and Commander and Cinderella Man are also excellent; you should give the guy another chance.

Victoria said...

Yeah, I probably should. But I won't. My parents do an excellent job of renting Russell Crowe movies while I'm not home. *g* Although I was so excited with Cinderella Man because it pitted Crowe and Renee - who tends to generally annoy me - so I had a double whammy of avoidance in that one. Hee!