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The Frumpening: 8 Ways Hollywood Hopes To Make You Forget You're Watching A Movie Star

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | December 1, 2013 | Comments ()


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When they’re not selling you lavish costume dramas or fast-paced, eat that popcorn with a shovel action, sometimes Hollywood wants to tell you a real story. Not one about about queens, hammer-wielding gods and lethal assassins, but one about, like, real people man. People like you and me and your somewhat slovenly neighbor! But, for the most part, Hollywood ain’t populated with us; it’s populated with people who have waxed, pilated and tanned themselves into demigod condition. But that doesn’t stop them from wanting those juicy “real people” roles, too. So shove off, Giamatti — let the pretty people have a shot for once. Here, from worst to best, are 8 attempts to make you forget you’re watching a star.

Glasses (Scarlett Johansson — Scoop): Sh*t, where’d Johansson go? All I see is a dork. A totally unhot dork. I wouldn’t touch her with Woody Allen’s [REDACTED].
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Bad Wardrobe (George Clooney — The Descendants): Did you buy the Cloonmaster General as an ordinary, work-a-day dad? Did those Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops transport you?
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Too Much Wardrobe (Sandra Bullock — While You Were Sleeping): This is a charming chick flick favorite with good reason, but the idea that poor, hapless, cat-owning Sandra Bullock has never found love is a pretty tough to swallow. The best they could do was put her in every baggy sweater, knit cap, scarf and overcoat in the greater Chicago area. Nice try.
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Weight Gain (RenĂ©e Zellweger — Bridget Jones’s Diary): Zellwegger combines some cellulite (ooooh) and messy hair (ahhhhhhhh) to actually pull off a pretty convincing every-girl. I don’t want to talk about the sequels — don’t make me.
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Bad Hair (Michelle Williams — Brokeback Mountain): The absolutely gorgeous Williams is undercover here as a naive woman with low self-esteem. The fact that you buy her mousiness is paramount to buying her performance. And I did, hook line and sinker. Well moused.
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Too Much Hair (Joseph Gordon-Levitt — Hesher): Oh, creepy greasy Jesus Gordon-Levitt. I can smell you from here.
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The Demi Gosling (Ryan Gosling — Lars And The Real Girl): Weight gain? Check. Bad wardrobe? Check. Distressing facial hair? Check check. One of Gosling’s very best performances and a far cry from the golden god we know and love. He’s well-primed to unseat the king.
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The Full Bale (Christian Bale — The Fighter), American Hustle and The Machinist : You never go Full Bale.
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • It's not just the physical change with Bale. He seems effortless going from a twitchy drug addict to Bruce Wayne.

  • ohwhitneykay

    What does it say about me that Lars Gosling is my favorite Gosling? Strip away the crippling introversion and mild psychosis and you've got a cuddly man-puppy clad in terrific sweaters.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I was flabbergasted by how perfect Gosling was at selling his performance as one of the most genuinely adorable dorky man ever committed to film.

    I went expecting a raunchy comedy, what I got was one the most sincere and earnest movies I have ever seen with "Lars and The Real Girl".

    That's how great he was in it.

  • KC

    I loved him in that movie. He was soo damn heartbreaking. I nearly cried, and I do NOT cry very often. Just the difficulty he had when he talked to people, it was so painful and felt very real.

  • mairimba

    The thing with Gosling in Lars is that I was/am totally attracted to him there.

  • ohwhitneykay

    This.

  • John G.

    What is Christian Bale doing to his body? Is this even humanly possible?

    http://i.imgur.com/WQXYWIh.jpg

  • Some Guy

    Hmmm...

    Rage issues...

    Mood swings...

    Rapidly accelerated muscle growth...

  • John G.

    She was one of our more frumpy queens. They're all frumpy aren't they?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • AvaLehra

    More "bad hair": Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich.

  • Guest

    I've never found Diaz attractive so the hair really doesn't detract.

  • Some Guy

    Not even in The Mask?

    Seriously?

  • becks2point0

    That's kind of how I feel bout Zellweger. If anything, she looked better with the added weight and long hair.

  • BWeaves

    This is why the Brits do it better. Their famous actors really look like normal people (for the most part).

  • They do bedroom humor better, too....dammit. I always feel like most American shows wield "dirty" jokes like giggling teenagers who are out to piss off their parents - ohmigod, I totally said blowjob! Whereas the Brits have that dry, self-deprecating, "been there, done that, fell asleep during and set her hair on fire with my cigarette... beastly sorry, love" air that just makes it ten times funnier.

  • emmalita

    I watch a lot of British panel shows and frequently think, "these people wouldn't be allowed on US tv." It's our loss America! Our loss!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Is it that they are enfrumpened or that they are not beglamourized?
    Except Clooney, he's always a movie star no matter what.

  • Agree. When I saw the ads for The Descendants, my first take was, "Oh, this must be a movie where George Clooney swerves to miss a pap, crashes his car, gets someone's lipstick all over the front of his tux, and my uncle lets him borrow some clean clothes while they wait for a tow."

  • PDamian

    Bad/Ruined Skin: Charlize Theron, Monster; Mel Gibson, Man Without a Face.

    I have no opinion one way or another on actors using prosthetics or extreme weight loss to play down their looks, but as someone who's worn eyeglasses since she was a small child, and who is both severely myopic and astigmatic, I rather resent the whole "eyeglasses = uber-nerd" trope. I come by my nerd bona fides through hard work, dammit! And no fabulous bimbo in Warby Parkers is going to take that from me!

  • Thank you for mentioning Theron. I would not have thought it possible for Monster Charlize and Red Carpet Charlize to occupy the same body, had I not seen it done.

  • kirbyjay

    The Full Bale is a scary place to be. I wonder about his health. I remember Matt Damon saying how much he screwed up his system losing weight for a movie.

  • dammitdamian

    Every time I watch a Michelle Williams film I'm blown away that she was once the "frumpy" girl on Dawson's Creek. HOLY SHIT DID SHE AGE WELL. GOD DAMN.

  • Kirstini

    Small point of correction from a one-time Creek geek: MW was the sexy one. Katie Holmes was the frump-why-Miss-Potter-you're-beautiful.

  • Guest

    Totes. "Frumpy" is a term no one would ever use to describe Jen Lindley.

  • THANK YOU. I always suspected the makeup/wardrobe convo for While You Were Sleeping went something like this:

    WARDROBE GUY: Look, man, we've been at it for 14 hours. I can't make this woman any uglier. I'm all out of earth-toned knitwear.

    DIRECTOR: Ahh, fuck it. Give her some cats and call it a day. (yells toward Accountant Guy:) What's our budget? Can we have her smell like cat food?

  • Johnny Hager

    You forgot "Rescue Dawn".

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I see the opposite lesson. Every day people all around us would be considered movie-star gorgeous with the expensive make-up artists, personal trainers, and stylists.

  • e jerry powell

    That's what good acting is, Joanna! Take gorgeous people, make 'em ugly, and have 'em push through it! If it were ugly people, they'd call it reality TV.

  • Guest

    Dead End Job / Single Mom / Married to a Con (Carey Mulligan - Drive)

    Also Amy Adams should have made this list. She is the most wall-flowered actress in Hollywood.

  • jptaylorsg

    Carey Mulligan looks gorgeous in those photos and, I assume, "Drive"

  • TheReinaG

    Life is short and you are hot. NEVER FORGET OLD BILLY!

  • Berry

    It's the same rain.

    (And I am not crying, damn it.)

  • Cowtools

    It blew my mind when I learned in retrospect that that was her.

  • Guest

    I wish we could have had more Sally Sparrow.

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