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Men, Women & Children

A potentially interesting premise is handled so badly that what might have been a provocative drama quickly and irrevocably devolves into the technological equivalent of…

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The Boxtrolls

"The Boxtrolls" is a beautiful example of the potential in LAIKA's stop-motion approach, and the images onscreen are tactile and layered. But, as always, it's…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

#156 February 20, 2013

Marie writes: As some of you may have heard, a fireball lit up the skies over Russia on February 15, 2013 when a meteoroid entered Earth's atmosphere. Around the same time, I was outside with my spiffy new digital camera - the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. And albeit small, it's got a built-in 20x zoom lens. I was actually able to photograph the surface of the moon!

(click to enlarge)

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#132 September 5, 2012

Marie writes: According to the calendar, summer is now officially over (GASP!) and with its demise comes the first day of school. Not all embrace the occasion, however. Some wrap themselves proudly in capes of defiance and make a break for it - rightly believing that summer isn't over until the last Himalayan Blackberry has been picked and turned into freezer jam!

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the Your Movie Sucks™ files

Gathered here in one convenient place are my recent reviews that awarded films Two Stars or less. These are, generally speaking to be avoided. Sometimes I hear from readers who confess they are in the mood to watch a really bad movie. If you're sincere, be sure to know what you're getting: A really bad movie. Movies that are "so bad they're good" should generally get two and a half stars. Two stars can be borderline. And Pauline Kael once wrote, "The movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we shouldn't go at all."

"Just Go With It" (PG-13, 116 minutes). This film's story began as a French farce, became the Broadway hit "Cactus Flower," was made into a 1969 film and now arrives gasping for breath in a witless retread with Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker. The characters are so stupid it doesn't seem nice to laugh at them. One star.

"Sanctum" (R, 109 minutes). A terrifying adventure shown in an incompetent way. Scuba-diving cave explorers enter a vast system in New Guinea and are stranded. But this rich story opportunity is lost because of incoherent editing, poor 3D technique, and the effect of 3D dimming in the already dark an murky caves. A "James Cameron Production," yes, but certainly not a "James Cameron Film." One and a half stars

"I Am Number Four" (PG-13, 110 minutes). Nine aliens from the planet Mogador travel across the galaxy to take refuge on earth and rip off elements of the Twilight and Harry Potter movies, and combine them with senseless scenes of lethal Quidditch-like combat. Alex Pettyfer stars as Number Four, who feels hormonal about the pretty Sarah (Dianna Agron), although whether he is the brooding teenage Edward Cullen he seems to be or a weird alien life form I am not sure. Inane setup followed by endless and perplexing action. One and a half stars

"Certifiably Jonathan" (Unrated, 80 minutes). Jonathan Winters deserves better than this. Jim Pasternak's mockumentary is not merely a bad film, but a waste of an opportunity. Nearing 80, Winters is still active and funny, and deserves a real doc, not this messy failed attempt at satirizing--what? Documentaries themselves? Lame scenes involving an art show, a theft and the "Museum of Modern Art" fit awkwardly with cameos of too many other comics, who except for the funny Robin Williams seem to be attending a testimonial. One star.

"The Green Hornet" (PG-13, 108 minutes) An almost unendurable demonstration of a movie with nothing to be about. Although it follows the rough storyline of previous versions of the title, it neglects the construction of a plot engine to pull us through. There are pointless dialogue scenes going nowhere much too slowly, and then pointless action scenes going everywhere much too quickly. One star.

"The Nutcracker in 3D" (PG, 107 minutes) A train wreck of a movie, beginning with the idiotic idea of combining the Tchaikovsky classic with a fantasy conflict that seems inspired by the Holocaust. After little Mary (Elle Fanning) discovers her toy nutcracker can talk, he reveals himself as a captive prince and spirits her off to a land where fascist storm troopers are snatching toys from the hands of children and burning them to blot out the sun. I'm not making this up. Appalling. And forget about the 3D, which is the dingiest and dimmest I've seen. One star

"I Spit on Your Grave" (Unrated; for adults only. Running time: 108 minutes) Despicable remake of the despicable 1978 film "I Spit On Your Grave." This one is more offensive, because it lingers lovingly and at greater length on realistic verbal, psychological and physical violence against the woman, and then reduces her "revenge" to cartoonish horror-flick impossibilities. Oh, and a mentally disabled boy is forced against his will to perform a rape. Zero stars.

"Life As We Know It" (PG-13, 113 minutes). When their best friends are killed in a crash, Holly and Messer (Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel) are appointed as joint custodians of their one-year-old, Sophie. Also, they have to move into Sophie's mansion. But Holly and Messer can't stand one another. So what happens when they start trying to raise Sophie. You'll never guess in a million years. Or maybe you will. One and a half stars

"Hatchet II" (Unrated, 85 minutes). A gory homage to slasher films, which means it has its tongue in its cheek until the tongue is ripped out and the victims of a swamp man are sliced, diced, slashed, disemboweled, chainsawed and otherwise inconvenienced. One and a half stars

"The Last Airbender" (PG, 103 minutes). An agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. Originally in 2D, retrofitted in fake 3D that makes this picture the dimmest I've seen in years. Bad casting, wooden dialogue, lousy special effects, incomprehensible plot, and boring, boring, boring. One-half of one star.

"The A-Team" (PG-13, 121 minutes). an incomprehensible mess with the 1980s TV show embedded within. at over two hours of Queasy-Cam anarchy it's punishment. Same team, same types, same traits, new actors: Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, "Rampage" Jackson, Patrick Wilson. One and a half stars

"Sex & the City 2" (R, 146 minutes). Comedy about flyweight bubbleheads living in a world where their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, and vitamins. Plot centers on marital discord between Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth), a purring, narcissistic, velvety idiot? Later, the girls are menaced for immodest dress during a luxurious freebie in Abu Dhabi. Appalling. Sure to be enjoyed by SATC fans. One star

"The Good Heart" (R, 98 minutes). Oh. My. God. A story sopping wet with cornball sentimentalism, wrapped up in absurd melodrama, and telling a Rags to Riches story with an ending that is truly shameless. That fine actor Brian Cox and that good actor Paul Dano and that angelic actress Isild Le Besco cast themselves on the sinking vessel of this story and go down with the ship. One and a half stars.

"Kick-Ass" (R, 117 minutes). An 11-year-old girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), her father (Nicolas Cage) and a high school kid (Aaron Johnson) try to become superheroes to fight an evil ganglord. There's deadly carnage dished out by the child, after which an adult man brutally hammers her to within an inch of her life. Blood everywhere. A comic book satire, they say. Sad, I say. One star

"Nightmare on Elm Street" (R, 95 minutes). Teenagers are introduced, enjoy brief moments of happiness, are haunted by nightmares, and then slashed to death by Freddy. So what? One star

"The Bounty Hunter" (PG-13, 110 minutes). An inconsequential formula comedy and a waste of the talents of Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. He's a bounty hunter, she's skipped bail on a traffic charge, they were once married, and that's the end of the movie's original ideas. We've seen earlier versions of every single scene to the point of catatonia. Rating: One and a half stars.

"Cop Out" (R, 110 minutes). An outstandingly bad cop movie, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as partners who get suspended (of course) and then try to redeem themselves by overthrowing a drug operation while searching for the valuable baseball card Willis wants to sell to pay for his daughter's wedding. Morgan plays an unreasonable amount of time dressed as a cell phone, considering there is nothing to prevent him from taking it off. Kevin Smith, who directed, has had many, many better days. One and a half stars.

"The Lovely Bones" (PG-13). A deplorable film with this message: If you're a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to. You can get together in heaven with the other teenage victims of the same killer, and gaze down in benevolence upon your family members as they realize what a wonderful person you were. Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") believes special effects can replace genuine emotion, and tricks up Alive Sebold's well-regarded novel with gimcrack New Age fantasies. With, however, affective performances by Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan as the victim. One star.

"The Spy Next Door" (PG, 92 minutes). Jackie Chan is a Chinese-CIA double agent babysitting girl friend's three kids as Russian mobsters attack. Uh, huh. Precisely what you'd expect from a PG-rated Jackie Chan comedy. If that's what you're looking for, you won't be disappointed. It's not what I was looking for. One and a half stars.

"Old Dogs" (PG, 88 minutes). Stupefying dimwitted. John Travolta's and Robin Williams' agents weren't perceptive enough to smell the screenplay in its advanced state of decomposition. Seems to have lingered in post-production while editors struggled desperately to inject laugh cues.Careens uneasily between fantasy and idiocy, the impenetrable and the crashingly ham-handed. Example: Rita Wilson gets her hand slammed by a car trunk, and the sound track breaks into "Big Girls Don't Cry." When hey get their hands slammed in car trunks, they do. One star. View the trailer.

"Did You Hear About the Morgans?" (PG-13, 103 minutes). Feuding couple from Manhattan (Hugh Grant and Jessica Sarah Parker) are forced to flee town under Witness Protection Program, find themselves Fish Out of Water in Strange New World, meet Colorful Characters, survive Slapstick Adventures, end up Together at the End. The only part of that formula that still works is The End. With supporting roles for Sam Elliott and Wilford Brimley, sporting the two most famous mustaches in the movies. One and a half stars.

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (PG-13, 130 minutes). The characters in this movie should be arrested for loitering with intent to moan. The sequel to "Twilight" (2008) is preoccupied with remember that film and setting up the third one. Sitting through this experience is like driving a tractor in low gear though a sullen sea of Brylcreem. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson return in their original roles, she dewy and masochistic, he sullen and menacing. Ah, teenage romance! One star

"The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day" . (R, 21 minutes) Idiotic ode to macho horseshite (to employ an ancient Irish word). Distinguished by superb cinematography. The first film in 10 years from Troy Duffy, whose "Boondock Saints" (1999) has become a cult fetish. Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus are Irish brothers who return to Boston for revenge and murder countless enemies in an incomprehensible story involving heavy metal cranked up to 12 and lots of boozing, smoking, swearing and looking fierce and sweaty. One star. View the trailer.

"Gentlemen Broncos". (PG-13, 107 minutes) Michael Angarano plays Benjamin Purvis, a wannabe sci-fi Doctor Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement). Alas. the great man rips off the kid's book, just when get kid has sold the miniscule filming rights. All sorts of promising material from Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite"), but it's a clutter of jumbled continuity that doesn't add up, despite the presence of Jennifer Coolidge. Two stars. View the trailer.

"The Fourth Kind". (PG-13, 98 minutes). Nome, Alaska (pop. 3,750) has so many disappearances and/or alien abductions that the FBI has investigated there 20 times more than in Anchorage. So it's claimed by this pseudo-doc that goes to inane lengths to appear factual. Milla Jovovich is good as a psychologist whose clients complain that owls stare at them in the middle of the night. One and a half stars. View the trailer.

21 and a Wakeup . (R, 123 minutes). A disjointed, overlong and unconvincing string of anecdotes centering around the personnel of an Army combat hospital in Vietnam. Amy Acker plays an idealistic nurse who is constantly reprimanded by absurdly hostile officer (Faye Dunaway). Plays like a series of unlikely anecdotes trundled onstage without much relationship to one another. One episode involves an unauthorized trip into Cambodia by a nurse and a civilian journalist; it underwhelms. One and a half stars. Visit the website.

"Cirque de Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". (PG-13, 108 minutes) This movie includes good Vampires, evil Vampanese, a Wolf-Man, a Bearded Lady, a Monkey Girl with a long tail, a Snake Boy, a dwarf with a four-foot forehead and a spider the size of your shoe, and they're all boring as hell. They're in a traveling side show that comes to town and lures two insipid high school kids (Josh Hutcherson and Chris Massoglia) into a war between enemy vampire factions. Unbearable. With Joh C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe, Patrick Fugit, and other wasted talents. One star. View the trailer.

"Couples Retreat" (PG-13, 107 minutes). Four troubled couples make a week's retreat to an island paradise where they hope to be healed, which indeed happens, according to ages-old sitcom formulas. This material was old when it was new. The jolly ending is agonizing in its step-by-step obligatory plotting. I didn't care for any of the characters, and that's about how much they seemed to care for one another. Starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis and Kali Hawk. Two stars. View the trailer.

"Fame.". (PG, 90 minutes). A pale retread of the 1980 classic, lacking the power and emotion of the original. A group of hopeful kids enroll in the New York City School of the Performing Arts and struggle through four years to find themselves. Their back stories are shallow, many seem too old and confident, the plot doesn't engage them, and although individual performers like Naturi Naughton sparkle as a classical pianist who wants to sing hip hop, the film is too superficial to make them convincing. Two stars. View the trailer.

"All About Steve". (PG-13, 87 minutes ) Sandra Bullock plays Mary Horowitz, a crossword puzzle constructor who on a blind date falls insanely in love with Steve, a TV news cameraman (Bradley Cooper, from "The Hangover"). The operative word is "insanely." The movie is billed as a comedy but more resembles a perplexing public display of irrational behavior. Seeing her run around as a basket case makes you appreciate Lucille Ball, who could play a dizzy dame and make you like her. One and a half stars. View the trailer.

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Opening Shots: 'Miller's Crossing'

Enlarge image: Clink!

Enlarge image: Gurgle.

From Dave McCoy, Editor, MSN Movies:

The Coen Brothers love to use objects as symbols for characters, especially before we actually meet them. Think of the tumbling tumbleweed that starts "The Big Lebowski" -- blowing from the outskirts of Los Angeles, through the city streets and finally making its way, aimlessly, down a beach to the sea. And is there a better metaphor for The Dude (Jeff Bridges)? "He's the man for his time and place," says The Stranger (Sam Elliott), our narrator. "He fits right in there. And that's The Dude, in Los Angle-ess." In a matter of seconds, the Coens both introduce us to our hero's wandering demeanor and the film's casual, quirky and directionless tone.

But in their 1990 masterpiece, "Miller's Crossing," it takes the Coens but one quick shot to establish their cool, hard-as-nails, no-nonsense protagonist, Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne).

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Udderly bull

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Q. Please help before it's too late! There is still time for the producers of the animated movie "Barnyard" to redub the soundtrack. No wonder Americans are becoming known as the world's stupidest people: apparently we don't even know that milk comes from mommies, not daddies. The brain trust behind this movie spent a fortune to animate "cows" with very prominent udders -- all of which are dubbed with MALE VOICES. Oh, the horror. Eva Sandor, Chicago

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Cannes Report

CANNES, France--For all of the countless words and hours of news I've absorbed about Afghanistan, nothing has provided such an evocative portrait of that troubled land as a film by a 23-year-old Iranian woman that plays here this weekend.

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Whoopi Goldberg among the stars

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Whoopi Goldberg has collected many words of wisdom over the years. She makes it her practice to go to all those Hollywood fund-raisers with an autograph book, and she sidles up to the heroes of her youth and asks them for advice."Jessica Tandy told me, 'Listen to this. Take the work. People will tell you you're overexposed, but you only get better when you take the work.' Jimmy Stewart told me you have to be the big actor in little movies, and the little actor in big movies, that's how you get better. Burt Lancaster said, 'Listen, kid, this is a bitch of a business. You're gonna be okay. Tell the truth, hit your marks, do your job, and if it's you on the screen, then fight for it. They're going to say terrible things about you, but no one will ever be able to say that you didn't shoot for the very best you're capable of'."Goldberg curled up in the corner of a sofa and lit a Marlboro and smiled. "I talk to everybody at those Happy Birthday salutes to Hollywood. That's why I do them. I bring my autograph book, and I corner people and I talk to them."With responses like that, maybe you ought to have a talk show."If I was doing a talk show," she said, "I would do the kind of show that comes on just once a month, with amazing guests. I'd like to do the three first ladies, Lady Bird Johnson--the Bird, who I adore--Betty Ford, and Rosaland Carter. I would like to say to the Bird, 'Now listen, we've read all these books about what happened. How did you stay with this guy?' She was really, I think, the balls behind the man after awhile.  He was my favorite president, because you knew where he stood. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."We were having this  conversation one afternoon last September at the Toronto Film Festival, after a screening of "The Long Walk Home," a movie that is just now going into national release. It's the story of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, told through the eyes of Goldberg, as a maid, and Sissy Spacek, as her employer. But we were also talking about "Ghost," which had come out not long before, and was already at the top of all the money charts.It's the number one hit, I said, wonderingly."I know. It just cracks me up."I don't know where Whoopi Goldberg was the day they announced the Oscar nominations, and I don't know how she reacted, but when they read her name for her supporting work in "Ghost," my guess is that she laughed long and loudly. In my fantasy she laughed because she was delighted, of course, but also because of the irony of the whole thing: She was nominated for a role the filmmakers agonized for months over giving her, at a time when her screen career was allegedly in the toilet. It may also have occurred to her, as it did to me, that the Oscar nomination came for the kind of work she has done many times before in the movies--while the Academy overlooked her inspired and truly wonderful performance in "The Long Walk Home."In the movie, Spacek and her husband (Dwight Schultz) lead a comfortable middle-class life in Montgomery, made easier by the labors of their cook and maid. Then Rosa Parks refuses to move to the back of the segregated bus, and that leads to a bus boycott. For the maid, Goldberg, it also means a long walk to and from work every day. Spacek's husband, a white supremacist, thinks that serves her right. But Spacek secretly begins to provide her maid with a ride some days of the week, and that experience opens her eyes to a few of the realities of her society. One of the qualities which makes the movie special is that the family lives of both women are treated by the story. A few years ago, the movie would have been told through the eyes of the Spacek character, and the Goldberg character's reality would have been defined mostly in terms of her work as a maid who undergoes heroic suffering. In "The Long Walk Home" we learn, however, that Goldberg has a husband and children, makes a good home for them, and has a whole existence little guessed at by her employer."That was one of the areas where I had to take Burt Lancaster's advice, and fight, because it was me on the screen," Goldberg said. "When they were talking about scenes they  thought they might be able to lose, and two of the scenes were my family scenes, I lived up to my reputation, and went ape crap. But they're in there."One of the things I didn't like, I said, was the gratuitous narration by young daughter of the Spacek character, who has no real role on the screen. She appears on the soundtrack, telling her memories of what her mother went through at that time. The narration is obviously not necessary, and seems to exist only to reassure white viewers that the movie is told from their point of view."I couldn't agree more," Goldberg said. "It bugged the hell out of me. Why couldn't the narrator have been my kid, or no kid? Why couldn't the story stand on its own? I didn't understand why they put it in there. Maybe they wanted to show how brave the white woman was in the face of all of this. But the black woman was brave, too. "The thing that saved us is the fact that my family comes off as a real family. My husband works. He's a working man, and he's got some anger, but it's not 'we-gonna-get-you-Whitey' anger. It's about how people had to behave. People have told me it's a very restrained performance. It's restrained because that's what those woman had to do. They were mad, but they had to work to support their families."There's a scene where the white in-laws talk with incredibe rudeness right in front of your character, as you're serving them dinner, and when you get down to the bottom of the driveway with the cook you say, "She damn near got a plate full of food right upside her head."Goldberg grinned. "Yeah. You know, it was a big thrill to sit down and see this thing. I'm just really proud of it. I could say all kinds of stuff, little nit-picky stuff, but it's not necessary. People will take from it what they take, but I really am glad, thrilled actually, that it is as equal as it is in showing the two families, because, boy, it could have gone the complete other way."Now about Goldberg's other role, the one that won the Oscar  nomination. We didn't really discuss it much; the occasion for our talk was "The Long Walk Home." But we did discuss Oscar possibilities, and, for me, that Montgomery maid was a sure bet. I was wrong--maybe because the movie wasn't seen by nearly as many people as "Ghost." "The Long Walk Home" opened briefly in December in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscars, was lost in the Christmas avalanche, and is ironically now opening just in time to benefit from Goldberg's "Ghost" nomination.What's disappointing is that Goldberg's role in "Ghost" is the sort of thing she has done before in several films. Her character, a psychic who starts picking up vibes from a dead husband and acts as his conduit to his wife, is well-played, warm and funny. But it isn't new. And it helps illustrate one of Goldberg's big professional frustrations: The type-casting that prevents her from being considered for certain kinds of roles."There are roles I am never considered for. Meryl Streep roles, let's say. Why not? I really wanted to do 'Ironweed,' for example,  because the depression era in this country was one of the best for multiracial people, because everybody was poor. Everybody lived in the tents, and under buildings, and under gratings, together. It is a frustrating thing that I was not considered for that role. Or a lot of roles that could be played by a black woman, except they never think that way. Or male roles. I would love to play a male role. "I have the strangest time to get cast in anything. 'Ghost' was the same thing.  Six months I had to wait for them to decide they had seen everybody possible. Why not? What limits me? I'm black? Oh, am I black? What will I be when you shoot me? I could be from England. It took MTV to tell us that there are black people in England! It took Fassbinder with his black actors to tell us there are black people in Germany. Sad to say, but over the last five years, I have come to the realization that I am black, and somehow that's supposed to hinder me."It's not that Meryl takes my roles. Sigourney doesn't take my roles. It's that I'm not allowed in the door to read for the things. I feel that I could have played the Glenn Close role in 'Fatal Attraction.'  It  would have been interesting. Maybe not the same, but interesting."But then they would have felt they had to explain the interracial relationship."All right, then, why can't I have a relationship with a Warren Beatty, or a Jack Nicholson? I think acting-wise I'm up for it, but I'm plodding along, and I just keep hoping for the best. Sean Connery has always been the epitome of a man to me, I'd love to play opposite him. People say.'But he's the one who says it's okay to pop a woman every once in a while,' and I say, 'Yeah, well, he'd pop me once, and that would be it. I'd break his arms.' But why can't this kind of casting be considered? There was an article in the paper that showed artists that have played other ethnic groups, like Yul Brynner and Brando, and they were wonderful in these parts. Then  somebody said to me, 'Do you think that Olivier should have played Othello? He's called the greatest Othello that ever lived!'"And I asked, how many black actors got the opportunity? How do we know he was the greatest? It wasn't like there was a large group of people offered the role, and he happened to get it because he was the best. All actors should be able to play all roles, that's the magic. But the opportunities are not there."Actually, I said, your very name is an attempt to fly in the face of preconceptions."I can't tell you how many people have said, 'So where did the name Goldberg come from?' And I say it came from my mom. That it was my grandmother's mother's mother's  maiden name. And they say, 'But you know it's a Jewish name.' And I say, 'Well, I'm a Jewish girl, with a Catholic upbringing.' And they go, 'Oh, really?' It's just so odd, you're not allowed to just be an actor. You have to be in some category. They have to be able to look at you and tell you what roles you can play."I was talking to a lady who was asking, 'Why do you make these movies that don't make money?'  I said, 'Did you ever ask Meryl that question? Because I don't remember Meryl being in any big box office movies. Does box office the actor make now? Is that what you mean? I'm an actor now because I've finally made a movie that made some money?"It's true that Goldberg wasn't in an enormous box office hit between her first movie, "The Color Purple," and "Ghost." But in her case the theatrical box office figures don't tell the whole story. Ask the guy behind the counter at the  video store and you'll discover that for some reason she is a superstar on home video. Entertainment Weekly recently singled her out in that category, reporting, for example, that her "Jumpin' Jack Flash," sold 6.9 million theatrical tickets (itself not so bad), but has been rented on video more than 19 million times.Why is that? Maybe it's because Whoopi Goldberg sort of grows on you. She doesn't have conventional beauty, she doesn't play conventional roles, but there is always a presence there, and usually it's interesting. She's not like everyone else on the screen. Just by persisting, by being herself and yet playing roles that the conventional wisdom says she's wrong for, she may be helping to expand the ranges of a lot of actors. At first, Hollywood treated her like an alien from outer space: She played one-of-a-kind characters who had few real relationships with anybody."It's a very old argument, that I look wrong for certain roles," she said. "It has a lot to do with people's personal stuff. I worked with Sam Elliott in a film called 'Fatal Beauty,' and one of the initial talks that I had with the director after the contracts were signed was about this scene that was a really great love scene. I don't have the body to take my clothes off, but you know, it had hands to faces, and kisses, and all that romantic stuff that you always want when you find the right guy. "It's the right stuff, and the director said to me, 'Well you know this character is somewhat based on me, and frankly, I don't see him seeing anything attractive about you.' So I just kind of took a deep breath, and said, 'Well maybe he had many years of drugs, and he just doesn't know any better, and his brain is half fried.' Sam Elliott did have a sort of love interest with you in "Fatal Beauty," I said."Yeah, they couldn't get around it."He kissed you. "Yes, and I gave him a peck and a hug, but there was no deep sort of Mickey Rourke kissing going on. I've had two kisses in my career. That, and also of course my hair has bothered people for many years. Finally Euzan Palcy and Milli Vanilli came along, and they decided maybe braids were okay. I've even worn a dress or two recently, and now people suspect that there may be something interesting under there, and I guess I'm growing into my face, or they're just getting used to me, and so they're finally sort of talking to me about woman's roles. 'The Long Walk Home' is the first movie where I have a family, and a love interest, who even kisses me. It's wild."She lit another cigarette, and blew out smoke, and sighed."All I really want to do, is just keep acting, and some of it will stink, and some of it will be really good, and maybe when I'm 85, and presenting an Oscar like Bette Davis did, I can look back and say, it was okay, I did all right."You know what Bette Davis told me?  She told me, 'F---  'em! F--- 'em!' That's what she said to me. 'They told me I couldn't do this, and I couldn't do that, and f--- you, I told them!  So Whoopi, f---  'em!' That's what she told me, and she was right, you do the best job you can, and when it works, thank you very much, and when it doesn't there's next year, you know, and maybe the year after that."

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