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Posts tagged ‘Katherine Heigl’

Life As We Know It

Movie poster for "Life As We Know It", with a pale woman with blonde hair in a pale yellow top and jeans, and pale man with dark hair in white boxer-briefs drinking a beer, and a pale auburn haired baby in a diaper walking.

Movie poster for "Life As We Know It".

It’s really not a big secret that I am a Katherine Heigl fan, and that I even like a few of her movies that I probably would not have seen if she hadn’t been in them. I had half a mind to stop watching Grey’s Anatomy after the way they wrote her out (not because, but how, mind you), and I actually own 27 Dresses on Blu-Ray (not my proudest moment, but I do love a Blu-Ray player and we have a very nice telly). I have a thing for business savvy women in the entertainment industry who tend to make ripples by not putting up with bullshit when it comes their way simply because they aren’t going to tow a certain line, or, dearest Ceiling Cat help us all, speak their minds.

Turns out that Heigl has a brain up there, and like her Rom-Coms or her character on Grey’s or not (prior to the attempts at shoddy writing for her — I mean, cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a deer?!), you can’t deny that the woman is a smart shot when it comes to her career. I don’t think we are going to be seeing her taking just any role for long, especially if she takes on projects like Life As We Know It and making them turn a smart profit. Heigl didn’t just star in the film, as I’ve mentioned before, but she actually served as one of the executive producers, alongside her mother, pulling the film in on a tight budget and taking quite a hand in control over many creative issues she felt strongly about.

It paid off.

Unlike films that she has done in the past, Life As We Know It told a story a little closer to a power balance in a Rom-Com setting that bordered on Drama with the right parts of each that it seems Heigl has been looking for. Not completely devoid of tropes common to this genre of movie, but moving past them for my purposes at this time, I was relieved to see Heigl take on a role closer to the the acting chops I keep reading she has, and that I know she is capable of from her smaller screen performances.

Life As We Know It is the story of two single people who find themselves left caring for their goddaughter, Sophie, after her parents are killed in a car accident. The will requests they live in the house, mortgage paid for by the estate left behind, as they raise the girl together so that she may grow up as undisturbed as possible.

The roles she and Josh Duhamel played had their stereotypes — she willing to step up and become a parent and he shying away from responsibility because it interrupts his dude-bro-in’ — but they seem to flow together in things they do wrong and the way they express feelings, sympathies, and a willingness to please each other and pull together for the right reasons. We don’t see the dude run and hide right away while the gal is gung-ho and ready to hunker down and get matrimonial. Instead, we see two single people who had career goals who now are trying to figure out why the hell their friends would ever dream to put them in this predicament full well knowing that they two of them intensely dislike one another (firmly established early on). The only things they seem to know for sure is that they want what is best for this little girl they are trying to raise together and that “what is best” might not be the two of them together.

Suspending your reality just a bit is going to be required if you have a basic understanding of U.S. Child Protective Services, legal systems, and the realities of being the new parent of a young child, let alone what that would be like when forced into the situation of doing so with a person you just can not stand. But the story and acting makes for a charming escape into a world of privileged fantasy that is occasionally shadowed by the panic of young people realizing they might be in over their heads.

Some warm community support is brought in by the very white neighborhood, offering their advice, something believable yet delivered by every trope they could trot out except for affluent black doctor or lawyer (I guess the only non-white people existing in Georgia drive cabs or work in television studios). You had Lazy Fat Woman (sadly Melissa McCarthy doesn’t seem to be getting work worthy of her post-Gilmore), the Gay Dads, and the Hot Wife of the Washed-Up Jock.

The movie delivers sweet acting, a somewhat unbelievable yet enjoyably predicable plot, and some good heart-wrenching moments. It’s the kind of movie you could take a date or a good friend to, though I don’t recommend going alone, but that’s just me. Perhaps your popcorn is enough to hide your sniffles, but I need someone to gently pick on me when the waterworks start. Movies, to me, are meant to make you feel things, even if they are brain candy, which is what I consider a well-done Rom-Com/Drama to be. Enjoyable and able to make you forget about things you don’t want to think about for a short time.

So, write off Dr. Izzy Stevens and go see a good Heigl movie. No pun intended, but she is making the right kind of baby steps, and I am hoping to see better things in the future.

Photo: Wikipedia

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Diva is the New Bitch

Katherine Heigl, a pale and blonde woman with brown eyes. She is wearing a white shirt and her hair is wavy and swept up. She has one finger touched to her lips.Melissa Silverstein at Women and Hollywood is apparently, like myself, a bit of a Katherine Heigl fangirl. I am not exactly her biggest movie fan, though I do own a couple of her Rom-Coms (on Blu-Ray AND I WILL NOT BE JUDGED FOR THAT SHUT UP!), I do appreciate her acting. Going on a slight tangent here — Izzy Stevens was my favorite Grey’s Anatomy character, and I am still catching up on what they did to her on the show (I haven’t watched U.S. TV in so long!). The ugly spiral that threw her from being a rock star who worked her way through medical school (admittedly on her beauty privilege) and survived loss after a disastrous poor decision to, as this NY Times article says, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a deer. And that was only the half of it.

It isn’t her acting that makes the great package deal of the person inside. It is her willingness to put forth her opinions. I love a woman with a mind and the insistence to let you know that she has opinions that are informed, researched, and firm. Heigl has those, and isn’t afraid to let it show.

It seems that this isn’t the way to make a name for yourself, or rather, a nice pretty name for yourself, in Hollywood or the entertainment industry. They want quiet lady leads who are going to follow the narrative, be grateful for whatever role they are handed where they trot off as tropes…perhaps as vessels off of which coke will be snorted. Or maybe they prefer disposable semen receptacles which are popular in action, epic war, revisionist history, and horror movies that are popular. These seem to be acceptable roles, and they want women eager to play them. Not someone who is going to call movies out for being a “little bit sexist“.

Katherine Heigl seems to have gotten this reputation that she is the foot-in-mouth girl. That she comes on too strong because she has opinions:

“Now I’ve got this moniker that I’m the foot-in-mouth gal, and I keep thinking, In what way? Because I said something you don’t agree with? Because I said something you don’t like? I’m just telling you my opinion. I hate the idea that I can’t be honest about how I feel about things because it’s going to piss somebody off who feels differently. That seems preposterous to me.”

I can totally relate. I’ve been told that I am too “aggressive” when it comes to my opinions, my ideas of right and wrong, whether it is the rules of order and how business is conducted in a PTO meeting or defending myself to the medical officers at the local medical building, or even in my writing.

What I don’t see is how being firm, having opinions, insisting that something be done a correct way, and in a way that is not damaging you yourself, is too aggressive, or makes you a Bitch Diva. How it means that you are getting out of hand, and how it now means that Heigl needs to go on some Apology Tour.

For me it just means that some Marine Corps Colonel is getting all apoplectic because I have the audacity to say that she isn’t the boss of me. I am a civilian and I don’t answer to rank. Only rules.

But insisting that we have the right to our voices somehow marks us.

Yet, as Melissa pointed out, it isn’t an even blanket. It seems that if you are a child rapist, you can get all the Hollywood activists who can’t be bothered to think about it to sign petitions that you should be left alone, because it wasn’t that bad. Or ya know, yelling racist things at your girlfriend after beating her up is no big deal. And throwing a phone in a fit. Huh. That’s cool. No apology tour required.

But don’t you open your pretty mouth, Katherine Heigl! We saw you kick that stuffed bunny! (Really, do you know a mother who hasn’t kicked a stuffed animal out of the way? I don’t) You are a terrible mum, and an ungrateful nobody in Hollywood (that Emmy you won says so!). Now go pay your penance!

But as the NY Times article also points out, and as Silverstein also mentions, Heigl is apparently rocking it out as a smart businesswoman who is showing herself as a force with which to be reckoned. She has produced her latest movie Life As We Know It, which had best make its way to Korea, for well under the amount that the Big Boys spent on Killers. Which was a flop. Her name is being used in sentences with names like Grace Kelly and Carole Lombard for her ability to play drama and comedy with such essence, gradation, and depth, but she is boxed in with actresses who have scarred reputations, like Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie, for being less than perfect starlets. For the record, even when those stars show that they have become incredible businesswomen (Barrymore directs and produces now, and Jolie is in about every action move staring a woman I see now…) they can not ever overcome those reputations. Drew will always be the coked out girl who was in that porno you wanked off to, right, and Angelina will always be the slut who slept with Jennifer’s husband, right? OK then.

Celebrities have two choices: live the narrative and be perfect, or live with the labels that the tabloids put on them. This is compound for women who find their most intimate details, from their diets, beach body, how they mother, and if you are certain celebrities, speculations about your mental health. For Heigl, she apparently will always be the star who speaks her mind. I admire that. I honestly wish that everyone would get over that, because, honestly it is really refreshing. Especially when she speaks up about the way that women are treated in Hollywood.

Really, if she is a Diva, then so are many of us in Social Justice. And I guess it is just the new word of the era used to put us in our place and remind us that people are afraid of power. The power of the woman with a mind and a drive to push herself forward. The power of a woman who will assert herself. The power of a woman who will be active and not passive.

Divas we are then.

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