Sunday, May 24, 2009

The 180 tag

Some days ago I was tagged by the lovely Kate Gabrielle to write about an actor/actress that I have made a 180 degree turn in my opinions about. Well, instructions here:

Name an actor, actress or director that you started out despising (or just really not liking) but ended up loving. Or vice versa, someone you started out loving and ended up despising (or just really not liking) -- and explain why.

Definitively a great and interesting question!
This task, however, puzzled me a bit, since I've tried to totally forget that I ever hated anyone I now simply adore. But after some anxiety filled flashbacks at my life as a 14 year old girl, not knowing anything and not worth listening to, I came up with no less than two objects. Hold your breath!

Oh yes, I hated those guts just a bit over five years ago. Why? I hadn't seen them in any films, I hadn't heard them sing - why did I hate them both?
Because they are so goddamn over-commercialized! They are everywhere. Anywhere you turn - there you have it: Posters, bags, pencils, refrigerator magnets, everything is draped with these two faces. And most people who wear a Marilyn Monroe bag or an Elvis t-shirt actually have no idea who they were. And that made me just sick.

But then again - as a classic film newbie I had to see at least one film with each of them. How I dreaded that day.
Luckily enough, my introduction to Miss Monroe was the brilliant Billy Wilder classic Some Like It Hot (1959). I fell in love, no question about it. After having shed some tears to the sentimental I'm through with love scene, I realized that Monroe was a wonderful actress.
And nowadays, I also think that she is sadly underestimated as both an actress and as a singer. Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953) is a perfected musical number, her acting skills are put to the test in Bus Stop (1956) (she is wonderful, but her leading man is, oh, so annoying!), and a self distance to her dumb blonde image is proven ultimately in The Seven Year Itch (Billy Wilder again, 1955). What can I say? I love Marilyn Monroe.

I'm not through with my love for Marilyn Monroe. (And Tony Curtis is such a dahling in make up.)

Okay, but Elvis then? Sure, he has made a lot of really bad movies, but people seem to forget that he wasn't such a bad actor after all. (He just liked easily earned money, who can blame him?) I'm not trying to state that he was an Academy Award nominee type of an actor - but he was sure okay, and managed to every now and then stir up some feelings.
Naturally, my first gentle feelings toward Elvis started with his music (preferably the 1950's and 1960's), and I admitted that "sure, he has a great voice - but he's still an overrated brat".
Then Jailhouse Rock (1957) was being shown on the television. I taped it, watched it and - believe it or not - actually was quite moved by his acting skills. It didn't take long before I bought Love Me Tender (1956), Wild in the Country (1961) and Flaming Star (1960) on DVD. (The latter one I gave away, such a crappy movie... But the other two are really nice, actually.)
And so, my respect for Elvis was restored. (He's still overrated in my opinion, with all impersonators and all the 1970's craze, but he really does deserve a lot of that attention.)

How could you not love someone who made the choreography for this? (And his voice - his voice! Sigh.)


Christopher said...

thats funny about Marilyn Monroe,I never really liked her that much(oddly enough alot of GUYS do not like MM..whereas women adore her)until more lately when I look at her personality on film and reflect on her rather sad life.Niagra is one of my all time fave non-glam monroe movies...I re-watched The Seven Year Itch just last week.I just love her character in that.shes so amiable and a spirit uplifter ,who wouldn't want her close by??..its what I imagine Betty Boop would be like come to life,what a fun person she would be to be around,always spreading sunshine! :o)

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

I only like Elvis in the context of his cheesy Paramount films. There's something comforting and refreshing about that fabricated, soundtsage world that hasn't been overexposed like the jumpsuit and "Heartbreak Hotel" periods of his all-too-brief life. And I adore "Clambake"!!!

Meredith said...

i haven't come around to liking marilyn as an actress, but i have come to respect her more as a person and I want to learn more about her. and you are absolutely right, the jailhouse rock number is never not amazing.

Elizabeth said...

I like Marilyn Monroe.

I don't like Elvis.

Robby Cress said...

I too could not stand Elvis when I was younger. I think because my mom was such a fun I was naturally reluctant to like him. Now, I really have a new appreceiation for him.

I've always liked Monroe though - what guy doesn't?

Lolita said...

Haha, that's true!

C.K. Dexter Haven:
Yes, doesn't it take away part of the fun when it gets over exposed? Makes me reluctant, at least.

Have you seen "Bus Stop"? Another film where Monroe gets to act is the quite weird "Don't Bother to Knock".

Word! Haha.

Robby Cress:
I guess you need to discover on your own to appreciate something sincerely. Yes, being a man eases the whole "Monroe as a goddess" view!

crispy said...

It was the same with me for Marilyn Monroe. When I was younger I didn't like her much but now I adore her. She was really great in comedies and it's such a pleasure watcing her in films like ''Some like it hot'' , ''The 7 year itch'' and ''Let's make love''

Lolita said...

Oh, so true!

Meredith said...

i have not, but will have to at some point. it is entirely possible that i have not given her a proper chance. :)

Christopher said...

I liked the Elivs movies when I was a kid..but later on he was considered "un-cool"with the hard rocking tastes I had as a teen and the crowd I ran with..Later I can just appreciate him on my own terms..I kind of enjoy the songs of his from the late 60s and early 70s....All the girlfriends I had groing up and my first wife,were BIG Elvis fans..proof that I chose outside of my Cliques! ;o)

Lolita said...

I sure hope so! ;)

Well done in pickin' 'em, then!