EXCESS HOLLYWOOD: HALLE BERRY’S HAIRBALL

(I would’ve never written this column, but after hearing that our hero was thinking of doing a “Catwoman” sequel — it had to be done.)

Halle Berry is no stranger to playing a superhero character. She was Storm in the X-Men movies, and even though she didn’t do much in that role, she was at least competent. (I still think Grace Jones would’ve been a better Storm, but she would’ve scared the fuck out of eight-year-olds. Hell, she scares me.) My mind reeled, however, when I heard she was playing Catwoman. Halle Berry? Oscar winner Halle Berry? Topless in Swordfish Halle Berry? The woman I’ve had this dream about where she ties me up and uses her tongue to … well, never mind.

Unlike a lot of comic book fans, I didn’t mind that Catwoman would be black. I just questioned Berry’s choice of roles … and then I saw the costume and totally understood. Berry had gone insane.

The minute that costume hit the Internet, the movie was doomed. Not even comic book fans wanted to see it … and it had Halle Berry looking like an extra in a Cameron Diaz sex video! Then the trailers started, and millions of comic book and movie fans knew they were right. DC Comics, home of the Catwoman character, even distanced itself from the film by repeating in trade publications that this was a Catwoman, not the Catwoman. The Catwoman from comics is an on-again-off-again thief who loves Batman. She’s been a prostitute, a hero and presumed dead. She doesn’t really have super powers, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no cat god that brought her back to life. That mess on the screen — I don’t know what it is.

How this film got made is beyond me. I can only figure the studio saw that it had Berry as a superhero and looked at it as a license to print money. Maybe it thought because “girls kicked ass” in Kill Bill Vol. 1 that Berry doing it would create ten times the returns.

Then there is the question of why Berry would take this role. Money? A chance to shit up her career? Maybe she wanted to show the X-Men that she could branch out on her own.

Kudos, Berry. You did well.

I don’t believe any actor, writer or director sets out to make a bad movie. There’s too much time, money and reputation at stake to engage in such foolery. I do believe, however, that films kind of get lost along the way and that some just start out bad, but people are blind to it for one reason or another. Catwoman is one of those films that had to start out bad. There was no way it was screwed up by a committee. Nope. This was a dud from the start, and Berry should’ve known that going in.

Sharon Stone should’ve known that, too, but I don’t give her too much credit these days. As far as I’m concerned, she got famous for one reason and one reason only: It’s a word that rhymes with vagina. Oh yeah, it is vagina.

Berry and Stone, both actresses who have been around the ticket line more than a few times, should’ve thought twice before agreeing to do the film. Berry, who is still pretty fresh off her Oscar win, should’ve asked herself what it would do for her career, though I think she only asked what it would do for her bank account. Stone, on the other hand, should’ve asked herself if this was something she wanted her name associated with this summer. I don’t know if many good scripts are coming her way, but even she can afford to be picky.

“Catwoman” should’ve starred people like Brandy and Sarah Michelle Gellar. That would totally negate the gape-mouth effect that Berry’s casting caused. It would’ve eliminated the head scratching involved when Stone’s name appeared on the credits. If Brandy and Gellar were the leads, people would nod in understanding, and maybe the movie wouldn’t have sucked as bad because people would’ve expected less from it.

Michael Moore doesn’t make documentaries about crayon manufacturing. Ridley Scott doesn’t do animated films about families on a safari. It is doubtful you’ll see Meryl Streep in a role where she plays a pedophile with a strap-on. There are some things people just don’t do.

“Catwoman” should’ve been one of those things for Berry. She didn’t lose all credibility though, because frankly, nobody expected her to make this a passable film. Her stock has gone down, however. She goes from Oscar winner to “Oscar winner who starred in ‘Catwoman’.”

Maybe next year, Berry will continue her career assassination and do a porn (she doesn’t want to be typecast until the “Catwoman” sequel). If she does, I’ll be first in line to rent it (since you can’t see them in the theatre anymore). Hell, I’ll even audition for it. I’ve got this script where she ties me up … well, never mind. I don’t want to give away all the secrets.

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Posted on September 2, 2004 in Features by
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