When I wrote a review of Lars von Trier’s epically disturbing Dogville back in March I mentioned at the end how my one wish was that Kate Winslet never star in a von Trier movie because then I would have to see it to maintain claim to having seen every Kate Winslet movie. This turned out to be horribly ironic when a couple months later I learned Kirsten Dunst is starring in Melancholia……the new Lars von Trier movie.
This is crucial for a very specific reason. At this point in time I can lay claim to having seen every movie ever made (this counts movie movies – not TV movies, not short movies, etc.) by a grand total of three actors. Kate Winslet, Billy Crudup (once my Eat, Pray, Love DVD – ugh – arrives from Netflix today) and……Kirsten Dunst.
Back in the summer of ’99 I saw a movie called Dick starring Ms. Dunst as Betsy Jobs, an utterly clueless but earnest teen who, along with her inseparable pal Arlene (Michelle Williams), befriend President Nixon and unwittingly morph into the real Deep Throat. Let me be understated, this was the best performance of 1999.
I have become entangled in very real arguments over this one, and I do not back down. I will maintain she deserved the Oscar for Best Actress until they cremate me and sprinkle my ashes at which point you will hear my ashes, fluttering in the breeze, cry out, “Kirsten Dunst deserved the Oscar for Best Actress in 1999!” If there was a single funnier scene in the last year of the century than Dunst advising her family it was she who asked Nixon to the end the Vietnam War – “You should be thanking me” – I’ve yet to see it and I won’t see it because it doesn’t exist. I can’t stand comic performances where the actor – to paraphrase the esteemed Roger Ebert – knows his or her hat is funny. Kirsten Dunst did not have the slightest inkling her hat was funny. She was straight and she was brilliant and it still makes my head spin.
Whether or not you agree with me (and you probably don’t) isn’t really the point. The point is that after seeing her turn as Betsy Jobs coupled with Lux in Sofia’s rapturous The Virgin Suicides, I had been launched headfirst, no-holds-barred, God-help-us-all into my latest actorly obsession.
Granted, I had been lucky in seeing a few of her previous films, like Interview With A Vampire or Jumanji, before I really knew who she was but I tracked down every movie she had made and I have seen every movie she has made since. I’ve watched Levity (Oye) and Wimbledon (Vey) and Deeply (“Turn it off, Nick! Turn it off!” “No! I have to finish it!”). I forced Luckytown on two of my roommates in Phoenix who, rest assured, were not amused. I watched Small Soldiers one night on TNT while I cleaned my apartment (it counts). Why just this past year I convinced my mother and sister to watch All The Good Things, a film based on an alleged real life serial killer with Kirsten as one of his supposed victims, on……Christmas Eve. (And by the way, she was really good in it. She was better than Gosling.)
Do you do this? Do you become so enamored with a particular actress or actor that you seek out every film he or she has made? It takes dedication and, more importantly, insanity. You have to reach a point where, say, watching your actress or actor of choice in a film staging a production of A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Eve seems like a levelheaded idea.
It’s not easy. I’ve seen a lot of Bogart films but he made a ton before he truly became the icon we all remember and most of those I have not tracked down. I’ve seen a lot of DeNiro movies but he’s got a lot from the 60′s I’m just never getting to and, besides, if you think I’m Netflixing Little Fockers or The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle you’re outta your damn mind. I’ve seen a lot of Nicole Kidman films but, sorry, I can’t bring myself to check out Bewitched or go all the way back to Malice and Nightmaster just to say I’ve seen them. I’ve seen a lot of Matt Damon movies and I’m liking his acting more and more every time out but I’m not sure I have the stomach for Euro Trip or Glory Daze or All The Pretty Horses just to add him to the list. I was so taken with her performance as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction (in a way as important to me as Last of the Mohicans) that for awhile I could lay claim to having seen every Uma Thurman movie ever made. After Paycheck, however, I gave up and have only re-checked in from time to time.
Which brings me to my point. In reviewing various IMDB pages for this post I made a shocking and, frankly, horrifying discovery. Ms. Dunst has a film from 1994 called Greedy that I have never seen. Wait, what? Greedy? Starring Michael J. Fox and Kirk Douglas? A film in which, apparently, a family tries to win the affections of their dying uncle to have at his considerable monies? How in the name of the movie gods did I miss this one? How did I endure The Crow: Salvation and overlook Greedy? I’m assuming she merely plays someone’s daughter and probably only briefly appears to recite a couple lines here and there that are either too witty or too provocative for someone her age but if one is to be a completist of an actress’s canon……
Perhaps I’ll wait and make it a double feature. Melancholia followed by Greedy. Something tells me after going through the inevitable nightmare of Melancholia I’ll be in the mood for a featherweight “comedy from the creators of Parenthood and City Slickers.”