Wife For Life
Date of Assessment: October 8, 2010
Positive Buzzwords: Longevity, underrated, nudity
Negative Buzzwords: Limited range, ageism
The Case: Media outlets often describe this actress as a "lifer," a term that most commonly refers to institutionalized persons (or for certain persons in the Navy, a Lazy, Inefficient Fucker Expecting Retirement), which probably says something about the nature of show business. Still, Diane Lane has been in the biz since age 14, at which point she entered mainstream cinema with A Little Romance. And although she quickly rode high with Francis Ford Coppola for The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, the subsequent (and perhaps inevitable) fall came with The Cotton Club. She then took a three-year break from the Hollywood grind; following this self-imposed exile, Lane returned to the scene with a "Lonesome Dove" stint and then moved on to everything from bit roles in well-regarded movies like Chaplin to large-scale clunkers like Judge Dredd. Come to think of it, Lane has amassed an impressive number of box-office failures for such an enduring actress, yet she usually manages to redeem herself with critically-acclaimed turns in movies like Hollywoodland and the occasional blockbuster like The Perfect Storm.
Lane shines the most in seemingly typical yet emotionally complicated "wife" roles (A Walk on the Moon; Under the Tuscan Sun; Unfaithful, for which she was rewarded with a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar). Overall, she's a moderately underrated actress, but it's easy to forget her undeniable talent and appeal because of two overriding reasons: (1) She's made some really poor decisions lately; and (2) She possesses a seemingly overwhelming need to get her kit off. At present, Lane's career has yet to suffer the consequences of the aforementioned decisions, which include Killshot, Untraceable, Nights In Rodanthe, and Jumper. Exactly how her public appeal endures is a mystery, but it might have something to do with her willingness to get naked. Lane's notorious reputation for disrobing in a role has sprung from only a handful of movies within a total of fifty films (mostly theater fare with a few made-for-tv entries). Not that nudity has hurt Kate Winslet's career in any shape or fashion, but a nice set of buns and knockers runs is not easily forgotten, so we remember these cinematic moments a lot more than, say, Lane's turn as yet another housewife in My Dog Skip.
Essentially, Diane Lane has pulled off the miraculous feat of remaining employable in Hollywood for a good three decades. Even more amazing is the fact that she's done so without slicing up her face. It has been noted that, at the recent Jonah Hex premiere, 24-year old Megan Fox was shown no mercy in the natural beauty department by 45-year old Lane. Here's a comparative shot for illustrative purposes:
Whatever it is that provides for lasting good looks and charisma, Lane's definitely got it. Further, her approach is so understated that she easily accomplishes a hell of a lot more than non-actresses like Megan Fox. As obvious as this point may seem, it easily proves why Lane has endured throughout her ages while countless starlets have come and gone.
Prognosis: This weekend's Secretariat, surprisingly, is receiving some serious buzz with talk of the Disney film being this year's The Blind Side in terms of the Best Actress Oscar race. Regardless of whether this is merely the studio publicity machine working in overdrive, no one expects that Lane will be treated like a race horse herself and be put out to pasture anytime soon. Still, it's almost a necessary evil (in terms of box-office appeal) that women over 40 are privy to fewer roles, and Lane will soon need to extend herself beyond her trademarked housewife-in-conflict persona. Then again, she's currently filming Cinema Verite (as Pat Loud, matron of the 1970s reality tv family), so she doesn't appear to be moving past her typical roles at any point soon.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.