Home Of Pure Retro Movie Love.

Monday, October 19, 2009

♥ Holly Hunter

I love Holly Hunter.

Not so much the Holly Hunter of TNT's SAVING GRACE (I've never given that show a fair chance as I ignore TNT completely except for Law & Order reruns) but more of the Holly Hunter of the 80's and the 90's.

During those years Ms. Hunter came into her own as an actress and brought a unique sensibility to every one of her roles. She made every performance completely memorable and managed to wring truth out of characters that seemed teethering on farce.

Holly first caught my eye in Raising Arizona as Edwina "Ed" McDunnogh. The Coen Brothers took a big chance by hiring their friend (and ex housemate of Frances McDormand) but the role was tailor made for her and Holly played it to perfection. Ed was a mess of emotions and her misadventures in baby snatching with husband H.I. are pretty hilarious. She made you believe and care in her struggle to get a child as crazy as things were going around her.

Holly's next great role was in Broadcast News and she nabbed her first Oscar nomination. She should have won as I can't think of another performance that year as memorable as her turn as a Television producer caught in between her love for her job and the advances of friend and a co-worker. Her character would often allow herself some private time to cry and you absolutely understood every one of her emotions without her ever having to say a word.

1989's Miss Firecracker and 1991's Once Around were largely forgettable dramedies, but Ms. Hunter was the standout in both. She elevated far and above the material.

The Piano from 1993 was Holly's Oscar winning role, and she was absolutely mesmerizing. I still believe her performance was so strong that she helped Anna Paquin win the Oscar as well for all their scenes that they play off each other.

Holly Hunter managed to score yet another oscar nomination in 1993's The Firm simply by being so absolutely awesome in her rather small role as a trashy secretary who knows too much and is in fear for her life. I would have never thought I'd love a character that stemmed from something out of a John Grisham novel so much.

1995's Copycat and Home For The Holidays were roles that seemed like night and day for Holly, yet she absolutely plays each brilliantly. In Copycat she's a tough, no-nonsense cop on the hunt for a serial killer and the other a broken down just-fired from her job woman finding herself marching towards an early mid-life crisis. Holly Hunter made both movies so much better than they had any right to be, an in effect I am still watching both films with a smile on my face to this day.

1996's David Cronenberg J.G. Ballard adaptation of Crash was the ballsiest role yet for Ms. Hunter. At the height of her fame she took on a role that many may have just dismissed as perverse, and she made it something unique. She was fearless.

Living Out Loud from 1998 was another movie tailor made and written for Holly Hunter, and yet again she rocks it like no one's business.

After LIVING, Holly took on a string of small roles in small films and found her niche on T.V. She scored a hit with her vocal work in The Incredibles and thankfully that afforded her the opportunity to play the roles she wants without having to star in those tired vehicles reserved for past oscar winners.

Holly is an actress first and foremost and in a business with so few great roles for actresses, she manages to find the ones that make her truly shine. I suppose I should finally get around to watching that show of hers!


laura linger said...

Don't forget her hilarious, and heartbreaking, take on Wanda Holloway, aka The Cheerleader Murdering Mom.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Ah, yes. Good one!

Tommy Salami said...

She's one of my faves as well, ever since Raising Arizona.

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