04 March 2008

Scarlett or ScoJo?

There were no breasts whatsoever in the last post and I imagine everyone felt the loss. To rectify this I went to the movies. I saw in print that Scarlett Johansson might now be termed ScoJo and, fascinated by the distinction between the names, I had to investigate. There are two types of film I generally must see in theaters, those with (probable) overwhelming artistic value and those with Scarlett Johansson. As I stepped up to the box office for The Other Boleyn Girl, I should have just said, “I’ll take one for Scarlett Johansson in a shaky English accent please.”


It’s Natalie who’s the Other One, just so we’re clear. And no, idiot film reviewer for Seattle's The Stranger, Natalie (Anne Boleyn) and Scarlett (Mary Boleyn) do not look particularly like sisters. We should round up all these film sibling truthers, ship them to an island (not The Island) and make them watch the three generations of Douglases in It Runs in the Family. Just so they can talk about how “correct” they look together onscreen. Many reviewers are justified, though, in their assertions that the film is quite modern—the title font is Futura, there are lens flares on the camera and there are even a couple of wavering handheld moments. The scene where Anne and Mary go for a walk in their pajamas followed by a line of geese is so lushly saturated that it looked like CGI for a moment. Not to mention Anne’s small pearls that resembled my young cousin’s puka shell necklace, and the gold script “B” pendant that combines the charms of a middle school Brianna wearing her name around her neck and rappers repping brass knuckles on their chains. The loveliest moments for me were the shots of horses and banners running up through the warped glass of the Boleyn estate. And Scarlett wears an absolutely fabulous black, white and red patterned ensemble to her sister’s public execution. But by then the film had grown less vital, colder with each of King Henry’s progressively more obscene doublets. There was sex, but no one had a sexy time (the only garment ripped was not a bodice). But that’s what happens when you make a Henry VIII film without Geneviève Bujold.


The larger question for me is this: has my beloved Scarlett become ScoJo? To state the obvious, this potential nickname puts me in the mind of J.Lo (a titan of my younger and more vulnerable years gone sadly astray). Jennifer Lopez had an arc between ’96 and ’98 that included extremely well filled out polyester in Selena, sweaty high desert adventures in U-Turn, and electric chemistry with George Clooney in Out of Sight. She was great and going to be great. I need not list the last 8 years worth of films and CDs to show how that greatness is fleeting. There is, however, always this:


So just seeing the word ScoJo filled me with the alarming connotations (the Tom Waits album!). I mean, five years from now Scarlett (or ScoJo) better not be having any twins by an unattractive dude who can’t sing—unless they’re my babies, obviously. As I (loudly) lamented the lack of Oscar Night Scarlett recently, a female coworker termed her “plump to the point of bursting” and said she had “already had her moment” (as a 17-year-old in Lost in Translation, I presume). Thoughts rushed through my head. Is Scarlett already at Dolly Parton status? Has she become just the red carpet red dress “chest that launched a thousand GIFs”?


But but but. Her assurance in Ghost World and Lost in Translation is permanent, undeniable. In the latter film she is the ideal Millennial woman: gorgeous, educated, drifting. As she wears a pink wing and sings The Pretenders in Tokyo, she defines contemporary America. But what’s happened to that 17-year-old Yale graduate who knew that Evelyn Waugh was a man?


Whither the old country, light-eyebrowed woman I adored in The Girl with a Pearl Earring? As Henry VIII found out in The Other Boleyn Girl, there is usually more powerful energy without sex—I had a shatter-the-glass-in-the-palm-of-your-hand moment when Vermeer told Griet to lick her lips and she put her lower lip inside her mouth to accomplish the task.

Aside from her reasonable work in the English Period Woody Allen I have already discussed on WHITE TANK TOP, Scarlett has had her best ever hair color for In Good Company, provided nice scenery in The Prestige, looked sexy as fuck doing android shots in the shockingly watchable The Island and been nicely pantsed in The Nanny Diaries. But otherwise she’s gone terrible places—part of the horrifying A Good Woman (note for mainstream film critics: Helen Hunt did not look like her mother) and the uber-horrifying Black Dahlia, luckily not onscreen much with Josh Harnett, as he pushed hard for the worst acting performance of the 00’s award (there’s still more Travolta and Willis films to be made but Hartnett is your leader in the clubhouse).

But it’s okay. I’m okay! Perfectly comfortable putting my entire life’s happiness on the line for the forthcoming Vicky Christina Barcelona lesbian sex scene. Gratuitously:

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Say it isn't so! ScoJo constrains her, restricts her to tabloid life. She may have her limitations as an actress, but as an icon, she is infinite. Icons, real icons, get first names and first names only. Scarlett just happens to be hers.