September 1, 2005

Double Threats

Print More

This line was taken from Alicia Keyes’ heartfelt conversation with a camera about her acne problems and the heaven-sent solution, Proactiv acne medication: “It’s time that I stopped being reactive, and became proactiv.” When I first saw the infomercial and heard her entire monologue, I couldn’t stop laughing … what the hell did she think she was talking about? It’s acne medication! Not Life Skills 101. Maybe Keyes laid the theatrics on thick to prepare for the budding film career I’ve heard she plans to have in the future. Yes another singer has decided that conquering just one realm of our attention in pop culture land isn’t enough, they must brutally assault our senses from all entertainment fronts. At first it seems like a good idea, a natural progression in one’s craft even. However, many have done so with horrid results. I could go on for days about times when films with musicians have been dismal. But every once in a while, a singer comes along who turns to film as a second career and blows me away. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, something amazing develops onscreen.

Tupac Shakur – Gridlock’d

Tupac had an impressive slate of films before his untimely death, but in my opinion none was more relevant and effective as Gridlock’d. Not only was he able to stand out opposite a seasoned veteran like Tim Roth, he personified the life of a junkie attempting sobriety perfectly, spurring hope and desperation. You see the bumbling duo onscreen, grappling with the suffocating red tape of our insufferable healthcare system and fighting against the bleak environment that only inspires recovering addicts to use. As one of his last films, Gridlock’d showcased Tupac’s innate ability as a performer.

Jennifer Lopez – Out of Sight

I know that she started out as an actress, but I feel like J’s been getting a lot of flack lately in regards to her acting abilities. Yet they can easily be defended on the basis of this film. This is one of my favorite movies, yes, because it’s based on an Elmore Leonard novel but also because the magnetic chemistry and friction between George Clooney and J to the L-O leaps off the screen. Steven Soderbergh energetically produced this stylish crime sleuth caper dramedy and Lopez oozes allure and intrigue in all of her scenes. The film’s fast pace, along with its frenzied shots of smart and irreverent dialogue between Clooney and Lopez makes for a clever spin on the ensemble robbery flick that Ocean’s 11 or 12 could never realize. Sure Lopez made some losers later in her film career but watch this one again and you may almost forgive her for Gigli. Almost.

Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard

Oh Whitney. Despite the bizarre antics, the little pieces of information revealed in Bobby’s reality show that were better left unsaid (no one, and I mean no one, wanted to know about Bobby’s pooper scooper duties), I still think the woman is perhaps one of the greatest performers of the last decade. Houston’s role in this film is good, but maybe that’s because it is an example of art imitating life. The diva’s role as a diva, was incredibly on point, sultry, menacing and made Kevin Costner look sexy again. Houston spoke her lines in a song-like rhythm of sorts and even evoked sympathy from movie audiences for a millionaire singer fighting her maniac stalker. I could just about quote the entire Bodyguard soundtrack while in elementary school and the club scene where she sings “Queen of the Night” in a bejeweled headdress and leotard is amazing. Whitney, get off the crack.

Honorable mentions include Mandy Moore in Saved; Busta Rhymes in Finding Forrester, Kid and Play in the House Party Series; Huey Lewis in Duets; Ludacris in Crash and Madonna in Evita. And I didn’t even discuss Mark Wahlberg’s complete transformation into an actor. But just you remember that for every Marky Mark and Basketball Diaries, there is a Crossroads and From Justin to Kelly. Be wary of performers who think they can act and subsequently avoid a number of unpleasant viewing experiences in the future.

Archived article by Sophia Asare
Sun Staff Writer