Thursday, April 09, 2009

Whatever Became Of Christina Ricci?

I've no idea if anyone even gives a damn about poor Christina Ricci's career any more, but she's been on my mind recently because Black Snake Moan is part of my not-as-epic-as-it-should-be 'evolution of the Southern heroine' essay. So as I was kinda-working-but-kinda-not and wandered onto her IMDb profile, I came across this piece of news.

"I am thinking Christina Ricci got the better deal here," writes Brad Brevet. Well, compared to poor, continually undervalued Maria Bello, that seems to be true (Maria being married to Kevin James is on an Embeth Davidtz being married to Anthony Hopkins level of absurdity), but it's a sad day when Christina Ricci has to settle for an Adam Sandler porn comedy. Indeed, Ricci's career seems to have got lost somewhere- her only films of note (let's not mention Anything Else, shall we?) in the '00s have been Monster, in which she was quite terrible; Speed Racer, in which she had fuck all to do; and Black Snake Moan. The latter of which is easily the best role she's had since her finest one to date in Don Roos' acidic comedy The Opposite of Sex back in 1998. And what else is she known for beyond the obvious Wednesday Addams? I'd wager that gothic little girl remains the thing most people know her for.

It probably doesn't help that she doesn't seem to have grown up. She may play an intensely sexual nymphomaniac (I'm guessing nymphomaniacs generally are intensely sexual) in Black Snake Moan, but once Samuel L. Jackson has chained and tamed her she's back to her incredibly tiny girlishness in a flowery dress and she could be back in 1995. And now she, devoid of box office clout (not that she ever had it in the first place), is stuck with the 'supportive girlfriend' parts like Speed Racer or this porn comedy, Born to be a Star. Her other upcoming projects don't seem any more promising:
She seems to have two 'personas' that the industry, at least, views her as being interesting as: the dangerously sexual, manipulative young woman, or the horrifying, pale-faced 'other'. Her bug-eyes may remind of Bette Davis but do parts like those Bette played even exist any more? Is there room for an 'unconventional' beauty in Hollywood today? Ricci is too small to be intimidating, seemingly too oddball for the mainstream. And yet that seems to be what she's continuing to chase. She may have thrown a more challenging part like Black Snake Moan in there, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Her career, ultimately, seems to be less chasing mainstream success than really having no idea what to do with herself.

And that, my friends, is really quite sad. [Next week on 'Whatever Became Of...': Winona Ryder. (I may or may not be joking.)]

15 comments:

Cal said...

It really is sad.

I love her in Opposite of Sex and also Ally MacBeal, even though it was kinda on the way out when she joined. Maybe there aren't enough roles for someone as vicious in tone as she is? It reminds me of Catherine Keener moving from Being John Malkovich to a host of supporting roles as girlfriends, wives, and mothers - even though she totally aces that part in 40 Year-old Virgin.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

see, now, most of my peers know her as "that girl from Casper". and, ok, she had fuck all to do in Speed Racer, but she was great in it (lord, i love that movie). you're right though, she should be getting better parts.

Slayton said...

She was pretty good in "Prozac Nation" which was made in 2000, but I'll be darned if anyone except me saw it.

For me, her best work will always be her chilling performance as the nymphet in "The Ice Storm"

Jimmy Slaymaker said...

I'm actually looking forward to After.Life -- sounds intriguing (plus Liam Neeson's in it and he doesn't do schlock!)

Wayne B. said...

Christina Ricci is my personal movie goddess, grew up loving her. I agree that her career needs some resuscitation. I think she has the chops to become a great character actress since her height will always hold her back from certain leading lady roles.

Dave said...

Walter: Interesting about Casper- I'd forgotten entirely! And I too love Speed Racer, but Christina was wasted.

Jimmy: I heard Taken was shlock. But I haven't seen it.

Sonny said...

Just wanted to say that I, for one, think she was great in Monster.

Mathieu L. said...

Christina is a great actress and a great, unusual beauty, I loved her in everything I saw, paticularly buffalo66 and Black snake moan. She really is my favorite actess and it is a great shame for hollywood that she doesn't find more success

Mathieu L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Christina ricci is gorgeous and under rated.. I would marry her!

Unknown said...

Christina ricci is gorgeous and under rated.. I would marry her!

Unknown said...

I have grown up watching Christina in movies I know her by name not as that girl in any particular movie. I do have 2 favs with her in them the movie NOW AND THEN and of course CASPER. I didn't like the movie MONSTER but I watched it because she was in it I even own it as all of the movies I mentioned and more. I think she is wasting away in Hollywood because they r to stupid to know a good actress when they have it these days.

txfreethinker said...

I thought she was pretty good in the Sleepy Hollow movie as well. And she was excellent in Black Snake Moan.

txfreethinker said...

I thought she was pretty good in the Sleepy Hollow movie as well. And she was excellent in Black Snake Moan.

Jimmy Brown said...

For me Buffalo 66 is her best role and she was so sexy to boot. i mostly liked her roles in the mid to late 90's and early 00's(as i had a huge crush on her at the time before she lost a lot of weight). some of my favorites besides buffalo 66 would be Casper, Gold Diggers: the secret of Bear Mountain, 200 Cigarettes, The Opposite Of Sex, That Darn Cat, The Ice Storm and Sleepy Hollow.