By The Books (Or Not)

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Well, well. For everyone who says the publishing industry is in trouble, I don’t believe it will go anywhere soon. Why? Because books provide the source material for such a HUGE portion of the movie industry these days – especially as evidenced in my reading of last night’s “Summer Movie Preview” issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Even just rewinding to the last Academy Awards, of the best picture nominees, Up In The Air, Precious, and The Blindside (3/10) were all based on best-selling books. Some of the biggest movie franchises today – Harry Potter and Twilight – are based on book series, and comic books are providing no end of heroes and villains to bring to life on the big screen.

As glorious as this all might seem, Hollywood also has a problem with adapting books. On one hand, books provide scriptwriters an incredible wealth of character motivation and back story that should make it easier to bring fully-rounded characters to life on screen. On the other hand, books almost provide too much, that it’s rare for a film to live up to its book origins.

Exceptions to that rule? The first Bridget Jones film outshines anything else in the franchise. The Devil Wears Prada was leaps and bounds more interesting and cheeky than the book (although some people say they love them both equally). Sex and the City the TV show was shockingly better compared to the book characterization. And to my surprise, I think I kind of enjoyed Precious the movie better than Push the book. For all the hype the story got about how dramatic and sad it was, it hit me a lot harder the way the story was told in the film over the book.

I’m sure I could cite a few more. The Godfather, although I haven’t read it yet, I imagine shines on film more than in ripped-up paperback form. My book club actually specifically reads books that have been turned into movies, so I should have more to say on that specific topic. I think the only book I really enjoyed the Hollywood-ization of (making the actresses younger / more interesting) was The Jane Austen Book Club. In every other case I think the book has edged out the movie, sometimes by leaps and bounds (Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil), sometimes marginally (Breakfast at Tiffany’s). We’re doing PD James’ Children Of Men next – I was surprisingly enamoured with the film so I hope the book lives up to my high expectations.

The entire point of this post was to talk about two movie/book projects that I’ve definitely got my eye on. The first is Sara Gruen’s ‘Water for Elephants’, a book I absolutely adored when I read it back in 2008. It made my top 5 list (from 50) for the year quite easily.

With the casting announced, I have some reservations. I ‘cast’ books in my head when I’m reading them, most of the time. Sometimes I can conjure up a vague image of a character without leaning back on a celebrity stand-in, other times I can easily picture who should play a role. I generally hate when, going into a book, I know who the actors are – unless I think they’ll actually be good for it (Reese Witherspoon’s decision to option London is the Best City in America is a prime example, she’s right on for the role). Anyway, to my surprise, Hollywood appears to have aged our characters a bit from what I envisioned when reading the book.

Water For Elephants will feature Robert Pattinson in the main role of Jacob Jankowski, a young almost-vet who, after the demise of his family & home life, finds himself as part of a traveling circus. Reese Witherspoon plays Marlena, the star of the show and the apple of Jacob’s eye, but also the wife of ring master August, who will be played by the incredibly awesome Christoph Waltz.

My initial general thoughts?:

Reese is way older than I thought Marlena would be (I was picturing Hayden Panettiere at some points during reading it), but she does do a good feisty / pious hybrid

Christoph is way older than I thought he’d be, but sort of a brilliant choice, and a great choice on his part in terms of a follow-up from Inglourious Basterds. I had pictured Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser (Pete) in my younger casting.

R Pattz. Ech. I’d like to believe you can judge a book by it’s Twilight-y cover, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of acting abilities. But he’s just so far from what I pictured in terms of age, appearance, voice, everything! Then again, I can kind of picture him in depression-era clothing. Kind of.

Now, I happened to get a copy of the WFE script. I don’t know if it’s *the* script they’re actually going to be shooting off of right away, but I imagine it very well could be, or at least be pretty close to it. I have to say, the script reads great. The characters leap off the page as they did in the book, and I could see how the lines / performances would play to the strengths of each of our three leads. The story is surprisingly more skewed to Jacob and August so far (I’m about halfway through), more than I remembered it being in the book, but the hints of a flirtation between Jacob and Marlena are there. So far the script captures the magic of the circus, a bit of honest humour, some action sequences that fit with the plot, and sparks of young love. I like it, and I’m growing to accept the characters in their roles, however off-base my mind-casting was.

On the flip side, we have Emily Giffin’s first two novels, Something Borrowed, and its follow-up, Something Blue. Emily Giffin is pretty much one of the top chick lit writers out there – her work is consistently engaging, well-written, intelligent, and relevant. I was surprised but also not surprised to see her stuff coming to life on the big screen, my main fear being that they’ll totally pacify the intelligence in her writing in favour of cheap gags and girly giddiness (as per the horrific adaptation of Confessions of a Shopaholic).

The casting for this one is even more disconcerting than the above. The story in Something Borrowed follows the point of view of a mousy lawyer named Rachel, forever in the shadow of her to-be-wed best buddy Darcy. On the night of Darcy’s stagette however, it’s Rachel who engages in some debauchery when she ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancĂ©e Dex. What unravels from there is a question as to who Dex really belongs with (or to), the complicated rules of frenemies, and shocking revelation after revelation.

Darcy is supposed to be a show-stopping glam girl, feisty, bossy, snobby…your proto-typical Mean Girl, but a brunette! I also pictured Lila Fowler from Sweet Valley. In fact, I pictured the exact image of Lila Fowler from the Sweet Valley board game that I own. Instead, I find that she will be played by the ever-dippy Kate Hudson. This is so wrong in so many ways. I’m ambivalent about Kate on the best of days, but her in this role is mind-bogglingly wrong. Even when she’s trying to be slightly more serious or interesting (like her character Andee in How To Lose A Guy…), she still comes off as “Hey, look at me, aren’t I cute?”

Darcy is NOT that character, and it does NOT bode well this is who they’ve cast in her role. Added to that? Darcy is supposed to be a bodacious brunette. No offence to Kate, but her body type / if they have indeed recast her as a blonde, is just not Darcy. Agh!

I think that part of the casting angers me the most. The guy they picked to be Dex seems decent (another top choice in *recent* memory would be the guy starring in that White Collar show), Colin Farrell as Marcus is an interesting / surprisingly good choice, and John Krasinski as Ethan is a sweet, but different choice than I’d have expected.

Our other leading lady is Rachel, who has been cast as Ginnifer Goodwin.

I picked Alicia Silverstone for this, because let’s face it – she’s likable, she’s the right age, and she can play a dressed down humble friend next to a more bombshell actress (ugh, if that actress weren’t Kate Hudson). Ginnifer…to date, her roles have all been unsympathetic, irritating, chit chattery girls. The moral complexities are already blurred in this retelling of the story if you have a “why me? Poor me!” actress in the Rachel role over someone that you want to root for a bit, even when you lament over how *wrong* everything is. I’m worried that Ginnifer will play it as a ‘rise of the ugly duckling’ which is only part of the story at hand.

Circling back to Darcy, I’ve given you my Rachel casting. Darcy was a hard one for me to cast even as I read the book (hence the Lila Fowler image). When I heard about the horrendous casting of Kate Hudson, I rattled off a list of other potentials, including:
- Malin Akerman (with dyed hair)
- Olivia Wilde
- Lake Bell (actually a perfect choice as Alicia & Lake costarred on Miss Match)
- Diane Kruger
- Sienna Miller
- Rachel McAdams (circa Mean Girls but with brown hair – girl can take a mean girl and make her sympathetic, which is what this role NEEDS)
- Mischa Barton
- Megan Fox (probably too young)

I mean, who knows, maybe Kate Hudson will put on a transformative performance and I will buy her as Darcy. I’m trying to think of movies that have accomplished such a transformation…Cameron Diaz as the mom, Sara, in My Sister’s Keeper. That’s one! She was great in that movie, shockingly so as she falls into the “Love me for my cuteness!” category with Kate. But I’m still having a really hard time getting excited for Giffin’s books on the big screen with this ominous casting.

Well this was a mammoth post. Time to finish reading the Water for Elephants screenplay.

- Britt’s On

Unexpected Surprise

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How clever! I’ve just discovered that Life Unexpected, the new CW show, can be conveniently shortened into LUX, the name of the main young character. Anyway, all my online searching has turned up the following: that although LUX wasn’t doing spectacularly in the ratings at the end of February, it was performing equally well on the two nights it was aired (on repeat), with new, equal portions of viewers on both nights. Add to that a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly that cited it as one of the Top 20 most downloaded shows (with fellow CW sibling Gossip Girl at the top spot).

Hopefully the CW is wise enough to keep this show around. With the cancellation of Melrose Place certified, there’s a good chance LUX will stick around to plug up that spot, or to complement either One Tree Hill or GG on Monday while the other one is paired with a newcomer in place of MP.

Anyway, I have to say, LUX has quickly become one of my favourite new shows, although it’s not without its problems. I feel like I have written this post in here somewhere, but yet I don’t have a Life Unexpected tag…so I can’t have.

The most interesting thing about a show like LUX is that it appeals to a pretty vast demographic – truth be told, the more interesting dynamics of the show come from the adults, which are conveniently young thirty-somethings. But you still have storylines featuring young Lux, which allow us past-high-schoolers to indulge in some high school drama that we all still kind of crave.

It is snappily written with actually laugh out loud funny delivery, comic timing, and jokes – but it’s also very good at pulling on the heartstrings and making you have serious emotional reactions of nerves, excitement, and shock. It’s also got an interesting cast of characters that rotate in and out on a weekly basis (similar to the awesome township casting of Gilmore Girls).

That being said, there are a few things that need to be ironed out. For one, they need to make Lux a little less desperately whiny (enough with the hand wringing!) and give her some storylines of her own, beyond the trite Bug/Jones triangle. Neither one of these guys really fits with the Lux character we know, so why not let her start from scratch. Introduce a new guy to the mix next season – perhaps another bad boy with a heart of gold a la Jess on Gilmore Girls, to compete with the bad boy she currently prefers, Bug.

We also need to give Ryan a little more depth. I’m actually on team Cate & Ryan, but I enjoy a pining Baze. Ryan’s best scenes, by far, are the ones where we get to seem him open up outside of his tenuous scenes with Cate. Those scenes take place with Lux, and the two of them have a sweet, more realistic father/daughter bond than Lux and Baze. It would be nice to see more of Ryan’s world – who were those groomsmen at his wedding? – outside of the Lux/Cate/Baze world, especially if things continue to be rocky / doomed in that part of his life. We can’t rely on these little Lux windows to continually bring Ryan back from obscured, understandable douchebaggery.

Another problem, likely because of the short season, is the uneven development of the characters outside of our core trio, Ryan being the most glaring example. Baze has a bad relationship with his dad, as demonstrated, but the climactic golf parking lot showdown felt a little…false? We get a lot of the “You always thought I would fail dad!” but it didn’t really give us much insight into why this might be, or where Baze failed, what turning point in his life sent him down his barfly pasture.

Also, in going with my earlier critique of Lux’s boring teen storylines, we really need to have some better character development amongst her circle of friends. I don’t care about Tash or Bug at all right now, nor do I really care to learn more.

There was a hint of high school friendship extensions (which can still be hilariously, competitively done as per that standby, Gilmore Girls) but they were quickly squashed. So Lux should be a million times more miserable at school than she currently is, but because her school life is so boring, we see nothing of it, just her dramatic home life. If you’re going to put her in a bad situation like that, SHOW US. Or come up with a solution. Lux needs compatriots outside of her parentals also.

One final word. Gilmore Girls was about a mother / daughter yes, but in the ways their lives would intersect: family dinners, disagreements about boys, and moments of weakness. Right now LUX is trying to make the relationships between their core trio (+ triangle with Ryan) what the entire show rests on, but for it to be truly successful, we need to build a world around each character, and let their lives intersect naturally. The drama on Gilmore Girls often involved Rory and Lorelei together, but the root cause was often from an outside source from one, or both of their worlds.

That is all, I hope to see a return for this show with some improvements – it has amazing potential and I love the core cast.

- Britt’s On

The Package

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As we wind down to the final days of Lost, I am thinking about the possibility of purchasing the entire series on DVD. The boyf and I recently spotted an insanely overpackaged special edition of season 5. It wasn’t even that good of a season, in fact, I’d tentatively say it was the worst season ever (I even liked the freighter s4 debacle better).

But I’ll admit, my Lostalgia (coined!) has already kicked in and we’re not even done. I held the fancy Dharma-themed packaging in my hands and drooled at the possibilities the final collection will hold. I’m sure it’ll be an exorbitantly priced, ridiculously unnecessary collector’s item. Yet, despite being late in joining the wild game that is watching Lost (I watched the first four seasons in six weeks at the end of 2008 / beginning of 2009 literally up until the night before the S5 premiere), I have fully embraced this show as a generational experience. Provided the ending isn’t too widely reported on, I also imagine I have a wide circle of friends that would benefit from borrowing the series.

Anyway today a thought occurred to me. I think it’d be a cool side project, even if it was just a card inside this magical collector’s set. When Sex & The City was well over, fans who weren’t ready to splurge on the very breakable translucent cases, or the very pricy luxury collector’s box, could pick up a little sampling of the series tailored to a certain theme. Being an owner of the series, I saw this to be kind of stupid, but I did buy two of these little snack packs (I believe they had 2-4 episodes each, I can’t remember) for a friend of mine as part of a birthday gift. I have to admit, it was fun to throw the disc in and watch a smattering of episodes in a series that’s relatively unconnected.

Lost is the complete opposite of Sex & The City when it comes to connectivity. It’s easily the most richly woven series of all time. Seriously. But I have lately found myself craving continuity between the back stories of the core characters (i.e. the ones who aren’t dead right now). How cool would it be to come out with standalone DVDs that group together all the Hurley-centric episodes? I just think for a show that’s so self-referential it’d be helpful to track the characters progress through the series.

Granted, someone could easily argue that much of the character development and ‘reveals’ don’t necessarily come from the character’s centric episodes, but I still think it’d be awesome to have a Desmond DVD that has all of his flashbacks / sideways life in one place.

I imagine the Desmond, Kate, and Jack DVDs would be among the most interesting. Or at least the ones I’d want for my collection (I find off-island Kate more interesting than annoying on-island Kate).

Just sayin’

Britt’s On

Best Worst Final Four - The Amazing Race Edition

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What to say about this season’s TAR? It’s not been the greatest. In fact the last couple of seasons have been pretty, dare I say, lackluster? Aside from the winning teams being pretty boo-worthy, there hasn’t really been a whole lot of solid teams that HAVE made it to the end that I actually want to cheer for. The last memory I have of a team I like winning was TK & Rachel, back in season 12. Since then it’s been a couple of snoozeworthy brother & sister clear winners, plus the should-be-brother-and-sister coupling of Meaghan & Cheyne.

The final four for our final two (three?) episodes is pretty shocking to be quite honest. If you had sat me down after the first episode or two and asked me to predict the final four, this would NOT be the group I’d have picked. Maybe the cowboys, because they’re magical and the race almost always plays to their strengths (minus the drums) but the other three teams? Not so much.

I’m happy to see Dan & Jordan in the race, because the BF’s (unsolicited) team in his office’s pool is team DJ. They are total forehead-slapping morons that seem to have tripped into their current position, but they do provide amusing commentary (and excellent material for the Bitchy Amazing Race Blog).

I’ve soured on the cop team (Team Undercover) based on the real-life shenanigans of the fishy-looking Louie. He’s one electrical-outlet-incident away from looking like Wario. I applaud Mike’s enthusiasm and support for his partner though, it just breaks my heart to think how he’s been led astray! Plus I also can’t really support them winning based on the fact they’re so sorely out of shape. Every time Louie runs it hurts my lungs.

Finally we have Caite & Brent, one of the more idiotic, vile pairings we’ve seen on the show. To their credit though! They are easily the most enthusiastic team left here, skipping for joy to each challenge no matter how headache-inducing. Their only real breakdown came during the coconuts and they certainly weren’t alone in that. They also have rarely sniped on one another, surprisingly. A small part of me is cheering for Caite to get some vindication about her pageant flub, but also because it’d be hilarious for this team to outwit, outplay, and outlast…oh wait, that’s another game…but you get the picture. It’d be hilarious if they represented the strongest team in America this go-round.

A lot of people have debated the U-turn of Carol & Brandy. Here are my general thoughts:
1) I was not a fan of C&B. Although not the most vile players of all time, they certainly would be in the Villains camp if this were Survivor. Beyond their griping about one another and some of the other teams, they also put up the biggest fuss at every. Single. Challenge. I want to see people on TAR that WANT to be there, that cry blood when they’re knocked out. These gals were not that team. In fact, I would disappointed if they won the first all-female team winner title. In that sense, I was happy the OTHER CB team knocked them out.

2) I think there was a mild bit of strategy in u-turning the girls. Caite & Brent are aligned with Team Undercover, and realistically (although they wouldn’t entirely have been aware of this), had they not gotten rid of the ladies, Team U would be gone. This alliance works both ways – Undercover presumes the tiara twosome are too stupid to win, CB are (rightfully so) assuming that they would easily be able to beat Undercover in the often foot race-heavy final leg. Now, realistically, maybe 86-ing the cowboys was the right move, but the guys are the least malicious team in the bunch, so in the final dirty legs, I imagine it’d be better to have a neutral team like the cowboys next to you over the team that has a serious vendetta against you.

3) Although C&B have never won a leg, they haven’t come close to elimination either – that spells danger (see: Danielle & Eric in the all-star edition). The reason why the final four is so shocking is all four teams have plummeted to both ends of the spectrum repeatedly – this is the most ragamuffin group of finalists we’ve ever seen, which should make for an interesting final leg. I predict that if the ladies were still in it, they’d easily make it to the finals and be in contention for the win if the day went their way, and they could stop bitching for two moments.

So we have four teams, three legs left (there will be a final non-elimination in one of the next two episodes). The preview for next week looked like a crushing road block for Jordan, and if I had to bet, I’d bet against them making it to the end with the neutral alliance (you do your thing, I’ll do mine) between the other three teams that doesn’t really seem to involve the boys.

Still, here are my picks based on the potential final 3’s:

Tiara / Undercover / Cowboys: This is the most likely final 3 and the most interesting I think. Tiara/Undercover might team up to take down the Cowboys, which might allow them to overcome their shortcomings (intelligence and fitness respectively). To Tiara’s credit, they haven’t ever faceplanted a directional situation yet, just lots of missed details. The final legs are like a speed round though and their zest for competition might propel them forward…but my money would still be on the Cowboys.

Tiara / Undercover / DJ: It seems unfathomable to not have the cowboys there, but if that were the case, I think Tiara or Undercover would take it. DJ are a panicky pairing next to these two surprisingly level-headed teams.

Tiara / Cowboys / DJ: I think Cowboys have advantage here again. Although there isn’t a huge strategic advantage for Tiara/Undercover’s alliance, I think having them in the game makes them feel safe or stronger or something. DJ might slip by again if they choose to do whatever the other two teams aren’t doing.

Cowboys / DJ / Undercover: An all male final! I don’t know if that’s ever happened. If this were the case, I’d put my money on cowboys or undercover.

It looks like I’m leaning towards Cowboys or Undercover. Cowboys have lost a little of their shine in the last few weeks, but CBS is promoting them heavily. This could be because they’re the only fully likable, legitimate team left, or because they’ve won. Again, several weeks ago Undercover wouldn’t have made my list, but the guys are pretty resilient and have a good shot at winning. Tiara and DJ would be an upset, but a hilarious one in both instances.

Till the finale!

Britt's On

Simile: Like or As

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I can’t remember if I’ve talked about the Sims yet in here, but consider me an avid fan. A decade (!) ago, I installed some random desktop app on my computer, which the Sims had randomly decided to advertise on. I was soon fixated on obtaining the game, and was among the first in my city to snatch a copy when it was released with little preceding buzz up here in Canada.

From there, the rest is history. The game went on to be the best-selling PC franchise of all time, with a million spin-offs, expansion packs, and download packs. Although the game has lost some of its quirky lustre it had in the early days, and although EA has seriously poleaxed a lot of their loyal fans by releasing increasingly faulty, rushed products, I’m still enjoying the game.

The general consensus right now is that the second incarnation of the game was the best. I don’t entirely disagree with that statement. It was, by a landslide, better than the original game, but as I analyze The Sims 3 and understand what it’s all about, I can see that a lot of things in TS2 didn’t really make sense.

The main strength of this game has always been storytelling however, and it’s something that’s really been stripped bare from TS3. Where is the in-game photo albums that allowed you to create a world, if only in your head/game? Where are the memories, however pointless, that track your sim’s progression from tumbling toddler to awkward teen to successful adult? I miss seeing those milestones recorded, and truthfully the memories element would have played well with the personality trait system of TS3 (i.e. your sim would ‘remember’ things more closely linked to their personalities).

Moving onwards, the main strength of the third game, the one that people seem to be overlooking, is that EA has really tried (whether fans wanted it or not) to make the game have a purpose. It’s still as open-ended as always, in some ways moreso, but every single thing they put into the game generally has a purpose.

Having nice furniture now results in your sim being in a noticeably better mood, while before it just barely impacted the irritating ‘room score’. The method of earning a promotion at work isn’t just about slugging away at skills, it’s about relationship building, career-oriented tasks, and skills. Plus working on those skills earns you fun bonuses and goals to strive for, as well as applicable missions related to what your Sim appears to be interested in. All of the little things that just sort of seemed to be ‘there’ now have a meaningful impact on your sim’s lives, and that’s just cool.

So when I heard that they were releasing another incarnation of the ‘travel’ expansion pack, I was a bit surprised and turned off at the same time. I was never a big fan of either travel expansion in the first two games, in fact I can hardly recall a thing about TS2’s travel game. In addition, with TS2 we were at least given a totally new concept (kicking off with University) followed by a rehashed, redeveloped, expanded version of an original game expansion pack. In total there were 3 rehashes (Nightlife, Bon Voyage, and Pets) and 4 newbies (University, Open for Business, Seasons, Hobbies). So needless to say, starting off on an unoriginal note was a bit of a surprise.

To my surprise however, World Adventures is not just another travel pack. Each world is beautifully designed and wholly different from the neighbourhoods your sims reside in. There are tons of places to explore, new items to purchase, new cultures to learn about, new skills to learn, and a new element of gameplay similar to the missions of the base game, but often based on tomb exploration and puzzle solving. It’s so far provided me with (way too many) hours of fun. Suddenly, taking a trip isn’t just a delay in getting to the next generation of your sims. It’s a chance to take a break from the breakneck pace of the base game and do that much more with your sim. In fact it’s an easy way to bone up on skills that you’re not finding the time to work on back in the real world.

This expansion more than lives up to the purpose of TS3: everything has a purpose. Beyond that, the expansion itself has a purpose. The base game was getting tired, because there are only so many skills to learn that were introduced at that point. This game introduces new things in all the places people wanted them, but got to theme things in an interesting way and seriously expand the level of gameplay beyond what I think anyone would have expected.

That being said, the tomb exploring thing could get old fast. I’ve pushed one sim through many a tomb and I don’t know that it’ll be exciting generation after generation, unless they have a massive number of activities to participate in that I haven’t completely explored.

Looking at the first two games, the main problem was also the main problem with the game – it just seemed like a diversion from the base game with no real purpose other than a brief change of scenery. The original Vacation was sort of a precursor for the fabulous TS2 expansion Seasons, and brought a huge wealth of fun (if slightly one-note) objects to the table. Remember the sledding hill? Instant fun points!
Bon Voyage, like I said, I barely remember. I know it was the first expansion to venture to Asia, but ‘Shang Simla’ in World Adventures is much better done. I remember Seasons having an impact on the game as well. There was also some sort of pirate destination and a camping village. But the experiences in each place weren’t all that different, from one another, or from home.

World Adventures isn’t perfect. There is next to nothing for kids and toddlers to do, and the gameplay will only take you so far. But given the huge wealth of opportunities for your sim to pursue already, I imagine that with the third expansion pack it’ll be hard to choose which direction to go down. Having specialty ‘adventure’ sims sounds like a pretty cool option in the mix though.

- Britt’s On

A Weighty Issue

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This is hilarious! I was going to write this post before I saw this article featuring an incredibly slimmed down Jennifer Hudson.

Namely, I started reading Precious yesterday. Hilariously, I have the movie tie-in edition, so the cover says “Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire” but the book is indeed Push by Sapphire and hasn’t been changed a lick.

Having seen Precious already, I am a tad disappointed in the book so far. Not because it isn’t good – it is – but because the book and the movie are so intrinsically linked, almost nothing in the film stands apart from the book so far.

But this isn’t a Precious post, it’s a Gabourey post. Basically I was thinking about Gabourey as I read the book, and all the articles I’ve read about how finding the character of Precious couldn’t be done through a casting agency.

The fact of the matter is, plus-sized girls are the exception to the rule in Hollywood, and although they may have breakout roles, the possibility of a long-running career is questionable (Queen Latifah being the ultimate exception). The fact of the matter is, everyone celebrates these voluptuous ladies, but throws a freaking parade when one of the slims down.

At the Oscars, Queen Latifah looked amazing – curvy for sure, but toned and fit and healthy. And people kept on saying she’s never looked better, throwing in a comment about her weight and fitness.
As per the link above, we have Jennifer Hudson who has slimmed down considerably, despite being loud and proud and round just a couple of years ago during her awards streak.

Other famous examples include the likes of Sarah Rue, Kirstie Alley (in a constant battle), and well, any star that takes the Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers spokesperson role on.

Now, I hope Gabourey doesn’t succumb to pressure to be the next quasi-waifish starlet. I don’t think she will. But at the same time, it seems like these women (in particular, although Jason Alexander stands out as a male example) are simultaneously celebrated for their differences only to face an insurmountable dilemma: drop the pounds and become another generic starlet with a tabloid-worthy body. Or, hold out for the occasional role that comes your way and always be known as “that girl who starred in Precious”.

Jennifer Hudson obviously chose Option A after her one and only role post-Dreamgirls, a generally disliked part in the first Sex and the City movie. Will her new svelte shape lead to new roles? Maybe. Or she might end up on Dancing with the Stars, who knows.

Ultimately though, it sort of irritates me when stars, as so often happens these days, are vaulted to superstardom after one star-blazing part, but their differences set them apart from Hollywood to speak to what a major awards sweep should speak to: a long-running, viable, profitable, bankable star with a solid career behind and in front of them.

Will we ever see Jennifer Hudson or Gabourey Sidibe nominated for another award? I don’t know. Those girls were tailor made for their parts, and with Hollywood’s general love affair with these unique stars, followed by a morning after that would break any girl’s heart, it’s hard to imagine the kind of career longevity an Oscar nod – or win – should entail.

On the flip side, the argument could be made that these girls are trailblazers for Hollywood making more of the type of movies that feature unique exceptions to the movie star rule. Would Precious have been made without stars like Queen Latifah, Mo’nique, or Jennifer Hudson in the industry? Possibly not. If their success paved the way for a great talent (so far) like Gabourey, then I fully support it. But if Hollywood plans to steamroll these people after the general buzz has faded away, then we need to take a serious reality check, before the world becomes one walking waif.

- Britt’s On

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