I thought about this last night while I was flipping channels, and got caught up watching two different movies, featuring list designates) that really pushed the limits of my quality movie watching endurance. First up was Doomsday, starring Rhona Mitra. Now granted, I have a lower quality threshold for genre flicks. This was a Mad Max meets 28 Days Later mashup, with a dash of cannibalism thrown in for good measure, that featured lots of groan-inducing dialogue and people with mohawks. But Rhona? HOT. But that was nothing compared to what was on another channel, schlock-meister Uwe Boll's adaptation of the videogame BloodRayne. Sure, it sounds like it might offer some passable entertainment: Kristanna Loken as a half-human, half-vampire seeking vengeance on a vampire king played by Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley. Okay, "passable" might be stretching it, but how bad could it be? Turns out, downright shitastic. Quite possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. But I flipped back and forth between the two until the gory end of both. Glutton for punishment? Bored and horny? Too many glasses of wine? Nothing else on? Perhaps all the above. However, Rhona and Kristanna were on "the list," so I watched.
Now, I wouldn't have rushed to the theatre and plopped down $10 for the privilege of watching these cinematic disasters, but when you have hundreds of channels at your disposal, and you're all caught up on your TiVo, was it really that bad? (And obviously, we're wading into the shallow end of the pool here. There's nothing wrong with Angelina in Gia or Girl Interruped, or Kate Winslet in just about anything, from a quality movie perspective). Surely there's some underlying formula to this madness. So I thought about it, and came up with the "Hottie/Movie Quality Quadrant Analysis." If you rate both the hotness of your celebrity crush (in purely subjective terms) and the quality of the movie on scales of 1 - 10, and put it on a standard four quadrant grid, you can see more of what I'm talking about:
Green means that you're dealing with a total celebrity crush in a top flight movie, and you can watch (and even purchase the DVD) and feel good about it.
Yellow means proceed with caution. Either the movie is an all time classic (and/or expertly executed piece of cinema), OR you're dealing with someone you find on the upper tier of your hotness scale. The hotter the hottie, the more you're willing to put up with.
Red means that you might have a great movie on your hands, with no hotness present (think The Shawshank Redemption or 2001: A Space Odyssey), OR that someone is pegging the top range of the hottie-meter and you just might suffer through a movie that appears to be similar in quality to something you shot in your backyard with a Super 8 camera when you were 12, though probably without the tall busty bisexual in tight leather and fangs. (The above-mentioned BloodRayne would fall in this category, of course. Plotted on the graph as 9 and 0.25. I think you can figure out the axes).
So, using some of TNRLM examples:
- Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation or Vicky Christina Barcelona? Definitely Green. ScarJo in The Island? Red to Yellow (probably orange).
- Helena Bonham Carter in Wings of the Dove or Fight Club? Great movies. And I think I want to marry Marla Singer. Helena Bonham Carter in monkey makeup for Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake? A challenge.
- Grace Kelly in Hitchcock movies? Total green all the way.
- Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld movies? Her hotness definitely makes up for the schlockiness. A razor sharp bob and black leather can overcome a lot of bad special effects and wooden scripting. Same with Angelina Jolie in the otherwise terrible Lara Croft films.
- Carla Gugino in everything. Being number 1 in the TNRLM list, I will watch her in anything, though I'd prefer it be something like Watchmen or Sin City, rather than Rise (but yeah, I watched that too).
- On the other side of the coin, I never got the "hot appeal" of Katherine Hepburn, though she's admittedly an absolutely terrific actress. So she was elevated by The Philadelphia Story, for example.
- Or Katherine Heigl. From everything I read about her, I find her particularly annoying (though she does smoke, which is good). And I loathe Grey's Anatomy. But I actually found myself watching parts of 27 Dresses the other day, because yes, she's hot (and also because it featured the delectable Judy Greer).
- God knows how many by the numbers boring thrillers I sat through featuring Ashley Judd. But yeppers, I watched 'em. Though it was much better to enjoy her, and a great movie, in Heat.