Judy, Judy, Judy…and Renee.

 

JudlyMovie1200

I'm a fan of Old Hollywood. And the fact that Judy Garland's rendition of Over the Rainbow makes me cry every time I hear it was reason enough for me to see Judy, the feature film bio-pic starring Renee Zellweger.

I'm also a VERY big fan of Renee's. As Roxie Hart in the musical movie, Chicago, I thought she knocked it out of the park: she was THE triple threat: singing, dancing, acting.

And it's because of Bridget Jones's Diary that I write humorous women's fiction. (By that I mean the novel, by Helen Fielding, albeit the movie version reinforced my love of romcoms.)

I was NOT disappointed. If you go to see it, I don't think you will be, either.

Can she sing like Judy?

I'll answer that with a question: Can anyone?

What you'll appreciate about Zellweger's performance is that she captures all the gestures, the vocal inflections (Judy's resonance and vocal depth was incomparable), the timing, and the pathos of one of the greatest performers to grace the silver screen, or for that matter a live stage.

I'll be shocked if she doesn't wind the Best Actress Oscar for it.

Below is a trailer of the movie.

Garland once famously said, “If I'm a legend, then why I so lonely?” This is aptly illustrated in the movie. One of the most touching scenes in the movie is how Judy asks two fans to grab a bite to eat with her for just this very reason: with celebrity comes awe, which creates a crevice between the famous and those leading normal lives.

I saw this first hand,  when interviewing celebrities for feature articles.

Debbie Reynolds came to San Francisco, to make the movie, Mother, written, directed, and co-starring Albert Brooks. At that point, and that time in her life, movie roles had essentially dried up for her. She realized it was a great break, perhaps even a comeback role. In fact, it garnered her a Golden Globe nomination.

At the beginning of our interview, she was nervous enough that her hand was shaking as she sipped her coffee.

When she heard that, as a little boy, my son insisted on watching Singing in the Rain over and over again, she kindly replied, “Did you bring a cassette tape? I'd sign it for you.”

Silly me, I didn't even think of doing so.

By the end of the interview, she hinted that she'd like company for a meal. Again, I was so stupidly awestruck that I didn't say, “Sure, let's grab a bite.”

I've always regretted it.

If you get that opportunity, take it.

Here's to those bright lights that entertain us.

—Josie

 

Today, would Bridget Jones be fat? I’ll take Renee Zellweger’s side: NO.

Bridget PlumpNovelist Helen Fielding is hard at work on the third installment of Bridget Jones's Diary. That's fine with me. I loved the first book, and its movie version. 

Not to mention that enough time has passed to make the sequel's rushed-to-cinema-in-a-mere-three-years-I'm-joking-folks mistakes a passing memory. I have no problem revisiting enjoyable characters. Just be sure to give them a dash of realistic conflict, and sprinkle scintilating dialogue liberally throughout. Helen and her gang (director and gal pal Sharon Malone, screenwriters Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis) are great at that.

This time around, however, Renee Zellweger, the actress who's name is synonymous with the lead role, has begged off packing on the pounds to play up Bridget's renowned weight issue. "I had a panic attack with all the specialists talking about how bad this is for you long term, putting on that much weight in short periods of time," the London Daily Mail quotes her as saying.

She's absolutely right. 

But does that make for good cinema?

Granted, we love Bridget because she is us: lovable, albeit flawed. But let's look at it another way: it's been fifteen years since the book hit the shelves, and ten years since the first movie was released. I'd like to think that a smart gal like Bridget would have grown in so many ways–

Not necessarily around her waistline. 

Perhaps she'd have finally conquered that issue. Or maybe she's traded it in for the stress that comes with balancing a relationship with a career, not to mention aging parents and the desire to have children.

As it turns out, that just so happens to be the hook for the new movie's plot: that Bridget can't have children with Mark…and turns to Daniel.

Sometimes a too-thin physique can weaken a woman's ability to make the necessary hormones and/or ovulate, hindering her from having children. Perhaps that could be written into the plot?

Renee-zellweger-met-ball-2011 Let's think out of the box, people. Renee deserves to keep her couture-perfect bod.

Unless the Academy wants to give her an Oscar for pulling a Russell Crowe (The Insider) or a Robert De Niro (Raging Bull).

But Renee already has her Academy Award: for her best supporting actress turn in Cold Mountain. That was payback for passing her over as best actress in Rob Marshall's brilliant adaptation of the musical Chicago.

Those roles were golden. Bridget is just (nonfat) icing on a great slice of life. What a wonderful body of work

What a wonderful body, period,

— Josie

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