Tuesday, August 28, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 5


Film stars suffer after weak summer

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff

This summer, just like every other, offered a number of high-budget films wishing to be remembered as the film that defined the summer of 2001.

Obviously, a few films will be able to stand tall and boast huge earnings. But, as far as quality, most of the films did nothing for the dog days of

Melinda Sue Gordon/Revolution

Julia Roberts' decision to play a supporting role in America's Sweethearts didn't help the film, which was panned by critics.

One of the many problems with most of the summer movies is that the formula for creating entertaining, light films has been exploited so much
that moviegoers cannot rely on their favorite stars to deliver a performance worth their time.

Celebrities like John Travolta and Julia Roberts lent their names, but not their best efforts, to films like Swordfish and America's Sweethearts,

Travolta, who doesn't seem to remember making a comeback with Pulp Fiction, has taken roles in films that border on the inane.

His performance in the disheveled Swordfish is a disappointment to those looking for his entertaining bravado to warm the screen.

As for Roberts, her efforts since Erin Brockovich haven't been too compelling.

In America's Sweethearts, the lovable actress takes a backseat to Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack.

While the actress can modestly say that she wanted to play a supporting role for a change, her performance, stand-in included, could have been
shot while on vacation for a week.

Did audiences really pay to see if Zeta-Jones and Cusack would heat things up?

This trend is also seen with Mark Wahlberg and Halle Berry's most recent works.

Wahlberg's success with Boogie Nights led him to supporting roles opposite George Clooney in Three Kings and The Perfect Storm.

When offered Planet of the Apes, Wahlberg said yes, which is what most actors would have done.

But going from decent, well-rounded characters to headlining a film where acting didn't seem relevant to the filmmakers is an unrewarding

Halle Berry followed her award-winning performance in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge with the commercially successful X-Men and her latest
film, Swordfish. 

Save for the gratuitous nude scenes in the film about a computer hacker, Berry did nothing for fans who wanted to see the adorable actress act.

Most will argue that the film industry is lacking solid material for the stars to sink their teeth into.

While this may be another problem during the swarm of summer movies, the absence of a good story is not entirely at fault for bad acting.

In fact, an actor's sparkling performance can make a film's material twice as good.

For instance, Reese Witherspoon's flawless performance turned what would have been a mediocre film, Legally Blonde, into an entertaining
audience favorite.

With an enthusiastic effort, Witherspoon delivered a performance that will do for her career what Pretty Woman did for Julia Roberts. 

Hopefully, the starlet will continue to treat audiences for years to come.

Another actress who made the silver screen shine this summer is Piper Perabo in Lost and Delirious.

While her role as the young teen in love with her roommate may not have received the attention it deserved this summer, Perabo's presence is
felt throughout the poetic story.

Ironically, as the budding actress found only a few minutes of exposure with the lead role in the commercial flop Coyote Ugly, she added a
memorable performance to her short resumé with the relatively unknown Lost and Delirious.

The tactic of getting big names to headline a film just to blur its shortcomings isn't new to the industry at any time of the year.

It just seems that the summer season is drenched with the money-guzzling method.

Hopefully, next summer, the stars will deliver quality performances with enough weight to hold down a $7 movie ticket.

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