What the Hell Happened to Reese Witherspoon?

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon started her career in independent films in the 1990s.  With the new millennium, she entered the mainstream.  For a while, she seemed like the heir apparent to Julia Roberts as the Queen of Rom Coms.  She scored an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance in Walk the Line in 2005.  Since then, she has had one live action box office hit, a handful of disappointments and an embarrassing arrest for disorderly conduct.

What the hell happened?

Reese Witherspoon - Man in the Moon - 1991

Reese Witherspoon – Man in the Moon – 1991

Witherspoon made her film debut in 1991 opposite Sam Waterston and Jason London in Robert Mulligan’s coming-of-age drama, The Man in the Moon.

Witherspoon played a head-strong 14-year-old girl (is there any other kind) who finds love with the guy from Dazed and Confused.  They meet during one of her nude moonlight swims in the neighbor’s pond.

Man in the Moon was one of those little films that didn’t get a wide release.  Director Robert Mulligan was upset with how airlines recut his movie for in-flight showings.  So he had his name removed from the credits.  He was so disturbed that he retired from film-making.  After more than three decades in the business, Man in the Moon was Mulligan’s final film.

Reviews were mostly positive.  Roger Ebert praised the film and named it as one of the 10 best of 1991:

“Nothing else [Mulligan] has done… approaches the purity and perfection of The Man in the Moon. As the film approached its conclusion without having stepped wrong once, I wondered whether he could do it – whether he could maintain the poetic, bittersweet tone, and avoid the sentimentalism and cheap emotion that could have destroyed this story. Would he maintain the integrity of this material? He would, and he does.”

Reese Witherspoon - Wildflower - 1991

Reese Witherspoon – Wildflower – 1991

Later that year, Witherspoon appeared opposite Beau Bridges and Patricia Arquette in the TV movie Wildflower.

Arquette played a partially deaf girl with epilepsy who is being kept by her abusive stepfather.  Witherspoon’s character befriends the poor girl and hopes to help her escape her stepfather’s brutality.  Diane Keaton directed.

As TV movies go, Wildflower was well-received.

Reese Witherspoon - Desperate Choices: To Save My Child - 1992

Reese Witherspoon – Desperate Choices: To Save My Child – 1992

In 1992, Witherspoon appeared in another TV drama, Desperate Choices: To Save My Child.

Her parents were played by Bruce Davison and Growing Pains’ Joanna Kerns.


Reese Witherspoon – A Far Off Place – 1993

In 1993, Witherspoon starred opposite Ethan Embry (credited as Ethan Randall) in the family adventure film, A Far Off Place.

Witherspoon and Embry played survivors of an attack by a gang of poachers.  They befriend an African bushman who helps them escape the poachers and travel to safety.

 Reviews were mostly negative and the movie was barely noticed at the box office.

Next: S.F.W. and Fear


Posted on August 10, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 144 Comments.

  1. How Did Reese Witherspoon’s Career End Up In The Crapper After Her Oscar Win?

    First of all, congratulations to Reese Witherspoon for getting knocked up! That’s very exciting news for she and her new husband, Jim Toth. But now that the obligatory response to her pregnancy is out of the way, let’s focus on her career and what the hell is going on with it.

    In 2006 she won the Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line and ever since, her choice in roles have been, well, shitty. Even before Walk the Line she was in such great movies like Pleasantville, Legally Blonde and Election. She was also in Fear with Marky Mark which is still one of the greatest films of our time, but yet for some reason very few ever remember that one.

    Her most recent movie, This Means War, looks so bad that there has yet to be an adjective created to convey just how bad it looks. It’s a spy movie with Chelsea Handler. Chelsea Handler! Who looks at a script, sees that it’s about spies, that Chelsea has already signed up for a part and says, “Sure, I’ll do it! Looks like a winner to me!” Apparently, Reese does.

    Let’s have a quick walk down memory lane of the other movies she’s been in since Walk the Line. I understand that she can’t play June Carter Cash forever or always be opposite Joaquin Phoenix, but there are still other options. I would think. Or maybe her agent has just been holiday since her Oscar win.

    This Means War: Is Reese Witherspoon squandering her Oscar?

    What happened to Reese Witherspoon’s career? In This Means War, a “cheesy” spy-flick–meets-romantic-comedy directed by Charlie’s Angels’ McG that hits theaters Friday, the once-acclaimed actress plays Lauren, the love object of best-bud CIA agents Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine). Since winning the Best Actress Oscar for Walk the Line in 2006, Witherspoon has delivered a series of box office and critical disappointments, and few expect War to break the losing streak. As the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips advises Witherspoon in his review, “This Means War is the sort of consumer product you’re supposed to test before you win an Academy Award, not after.” Is she throwing away her talents?

    What was Reese thinking? If movies had a scent, This Means War would “reek of cheap cologne,” says Mary Pols in TIME. The “hyper saturated color and lighting scheme” makes everyone look bad, both FDR and Tuck are casually misogynistic, and even the promising pairing of “ladylike Oscar winner” Witherspoon with “foul-mouthed late night comedy queen” Chelsea Handler falls flat. Still, “the one to worry about is Reese Witherspoon.” She’s better than “immature garbage like this.” Could she not “smell disaster?”

    Let Witherspoon have some fun: Is the movie “totally frothy”? Yes, says Leah Rozen at The Wrap. But “that’s a good thing, at least here.” In this deliberately un-ponderous “adult version of Mad magazine’s venerable Spy vs. Spy feature,” Witherspoon “gives a likable performance, always impressing as just a little smarter and more competent than either of her swains.” Sure, This Means War isn’t Oscar bait, but at a time when Hollywood seems to have lost the knack of making “glossy, light-hearted fare,” it’s shamelessly entertaining.
    “Spy vs. Spy love triangle makes peace with its frothiness”

    Witherspoon has to pay the bills somehow: Like any good romantic comedy, the movie “is full of longing looks, tender touches, and deep professions of eternal love,” says Stephen Whitty in New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger. “Unfortunately, they all pass between Pine and Hardy.” It’s a little embarrassing seeing Witherspoon play “such a disposable character,” but that’s what she signed up for. She may have won an Oscar for a biopic, but “rom-coms pay her bills, and if taking parts like this keep her in the game,” who can blame her?

    Reese Witherspoon’s Sad, Swift Descent Into Boringness:

    Her bland role in This Means War raises the question: What happened to the actress who played Tracy Flick and June Carter?

    For a while, Reese Witherspoon was really good at a making unlikeable characters likeable. In Legally Blonde, she played ditzy sorority girl Elle Woods—the type of character who’s usually a punchline—and managed to transform her into an icon of female empowerment. In Walk the Line, she was June Carter, the other woman to a married Johnny Cash, and somehow she came off as more sympathetic than Cash’s long-suffering, always-pregnant wife.

    And, of course, before Elle and June, there was Tracy Flick, the insufferable heroine of Election. Tracy is the girl that everyone in high school hates: a prissy, uptight teacher’s pet who dots her “i”s with stars and always has the right answer. Witherspoon’s performance highlighted Tracy’s detestable qualities—her vindictiveness, her arrogance—but it did not ignore her redeeming ones. Tracy is very, very smart, and she’s aware of the world outside the Omaha suburbs in ways that her classmates aren’t. The most poignant scenes in Election show Tracy wrestling with the deep loneliness of being a bright, ambitious girl in a small town.

    It was these sorts of roles that made movie audiences fall in love with Reese. Witherspoon herself is a type of woman who sometimes has trouble getting people to like her: blonde, pretty, perky, talented in all sorts of ways (besides being a gifted actress, she’s also smart—she went to Stanford for a year before committing to acting full time), she could inspire jealousy rather than adoration. She married young, to the cutest guy in the high school that is Hollywood, and though they divorced after seven years, their breakup only confirmed her relentless perfection. She lost weight, dated the new cutest guy in Hollywood for a year or so, and then married a very handsome non-actor who promised her, “I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to do it so much that you’re going get used to it.” Yet somehow, despite her infuriatingly charmed life, Witherspoon became one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. In 2007, she topped a list of most likeable celebrities.

    But then, a few years ago (right around 2007, actually), something changed, and Witherspoon started playing a different type of character, one who’s perfectly unobjectionable but deeply, deeply boring. In Four Christmases her marriage-averse San Francisco career woman Kate is just window dressing for a cast of much more colorful characters: the manic Vince Vaughn, the sparkling Kristen Chenoweth. In How Do You Know, playing Lisa, a professional softball player (!?) who plunges into an identity crisis after being cut from the national team, Witherspoon was outshone again, this time by her hilariously self-absorbed suitor, Owen Wilson. Water For Elephants offered more of the same. Her Marlena, a circus performer, was upstaged by the man (Robert Pattinson) who swoops in to save her character from an unhappy marriage.

    And now, she’s Lauren in This Means War, a mediocre action-romance that opens today. Lauren is an LA-based product reviewer dating two CIA agents who are also best friends (which she doesn’t know, of course—she thinks they’re a travel agent and a cruise-ship caption, and assumes they’re strangers). Setting aside the huge suspension of disbelief that’s required to watch this movie (Patriot Act notwithstanding, there’s no way the CIA would allow agents to spy on a woman they’re dating), This Means War’s most frustrating flaw is Lauren’s lack of personality. In one scene, the agents are briefed on Lauren’s likes and dislikes, and it reads like a parody of boringness: She likes animals, classic rock (no specific band names or song titles are mentioned—just the vast, vast category that is “classic rock”), red wine, bath salts, and paintings by Gustav Klimt. This woman, who’s so desirable that two men are stretching the bounds of the law to pursue her, has the same tastes as a college freshman. The rest of the movie is no help in filling out her character. She spends most of the film acting out various romantic-comedy cliches: She runs into an old boyfriend in her workout clothes; she orders “sushi for one” so often the guys at the Japanese restaurant know her by name; she dances around half-naked while listening to “This Is How We Do It” and making microwave popcorn.

    What happened? How did Witherspoon go from the refreshing exuberance of Tracy Flick and Elle Woods to the limp dullness of Lauren Collins and Lisa Jorgenson? Part of the answer may lie in a poignant quote from an interview she did with Vogue in 2008, not long after she finalized her divorce from Ryan Phillippe:

    Comedy is what I want to see at the movies these days. Life is frickin’ hard, man. I want to go to the movies and see people happy and enjoying themselves and having some fun. I’ve made other kinds of movies, for sure. But it’s pretty apparent to me that’s what people want. That’s what I want. I enjoy those kinds of movies.

    It’s not hard to read between the lines here: Witherspoon went through a painful, public divorce, and now all she wants to do is laugh. Fair enough. And indeed, with the exception of the troubled Marlena in Water for Elephants, Witherspoon’s recent characters have been happy—neurotic, maybe, but happy. Many of these women have found themselves in a situation that must seem appealing to a recent divorcee: being fought over by two attractive men. So maybe Witherspoon is valuing happy characters (with happy endings) over interesting ones as she selects her movie roles.

    But she this isn’t a sacrifice she actually has to make. Happiness and interestingness can exist in the same character. Textured, unconventionally winsome roles do exist for women, and not just in dark movies: Think of Anne Hathaway’s prickly, sex-obsessed Parkinson’s patient in the dramedy Love and Other Drugs, or most of the parts Rachel McAdams has played in the past few years (in particular the bitchy Inez in Midnight in Paris and the sweetly spastic Becky in Morning Glory—both comedies). And that’s not even getting into the explosion of female comedy parts that Bridesmaids ignited.

    And it’s not clear audiences really do want to see Witherspoon in her newly bland onscreen persona. Four Christmases was a modest hit, but both Water For Elephants and How Do You Know flopped, and This Means War has a sad 24 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The people want Elle Woods, not Lauren Collins. Soon, hopefully, that spunky Witherspoon will come back to us. In the meantime, Election is available on Amazon instant video.

    Assessing Reese Witherspoon: Perky Blonde Seeks Resurrection:

    Subject: Reese Witherspoon, 35-year old American actress and producer

    Date of Assessment: April 20, 2011

    Positive Buzzwords: Mainstream, indie, romcom

    Negative Buzzwords: Poor script quality, romcom

    The Case: This week’s subject is a tricky one, for Reese Witherspoon’s career has been littered with both indie and mainstream success despite the fact that her box-office clout has recently (and rather unexpectedly) faltered in a huge way. While Reese is still one of the only actresses who can greenlight a film merely by signing on (the other two, frustratingly, are Julia Roberts and Katherine “Rainbow Killer” Heigl), her career is in a precarious position. Her most recent box-office effort to date, How Do You Know? was made on a hefty $120 million budget, $15 million of which went directly into Reese’s pocket, but grossed a measly $30 million in ticket sales. Yes, this is merely one financial flop, but it’s a hugely unanticipated one because it’s always been the case, financially speaking, that her romcoms (including Sweet Home Alabama and Just Like Heaven) fare well. Further, Reese herself has made it abundantly clear that she’s worried about the after effects.

    We’ll get to that part in a moment.

    Witherspoon commenced her career with a string of impressive smaller films — Man in the Moon; Freeway; Fear; Overnight Delivery; Pleasantville; Election — followed by a taste of mainstream success as the sweet, corruptable girl in Cruel Intentions (that very dubious teen retelling of Dangerous Liasons). From there, she had a very small but effective take on the role of Evelyn in American Psycho and went onto the hugely successful Legally Blonde (hey, I liked that one), but then she went and ruined the character of Elle Woods by participating within the insipid Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; even worse, she subsequently had the audacity to produce Legally Blondes, for which she should always be ashamed.

    For certain, Reese has been in some frustratingly terrible movies — Rendition; How Do You Know?; and the poorly adapted Vanity Fair — that make one wonder exactly what she was thinking after reading the scripts. Also, she’s attached her name to some outright money grabs — Four Christmases; Monsters vs. Aliens (as the voice of Ginormica’s ass) — that, if nothing else at all, prove that she is willing and able to go entirely commercial at the expense of quality. However, Reese hasn’t completely forsaken her former self, since the past decade has seen her put talent to use in a few rather wonderful movies, including The Importance of Being Earnest, Walk the Line (she actually did do a pretty marvelous job as June Carter Cash, including recording her own vocals), and (as both actress and producer) Penelope.

    Now, back to the troublesome state of Reese’s career prospects, the manifestation of which has spread throughout the Water for Elephants promotional trail. Until very recently, she’s been very protective of her own privacy and wasn’t much of a publicity whore, but things have definitely changed. Since the financial failure of How Do You Know?, she’s sold her wedding photos to People magazine (while still publicly mourning the loss of her privacy) and given lip service to more magazines than she ordinarily would. In a recent promotional interview for Vogue, Reese lamented, “There’s not a part for a 34-year-old in a robot movie.” This perhaps was a not-so-subtle reference to the Transformers franchise and its tendency to employ the next hot piece, but I do believe that Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver prove otherwise as far as female age and robot movies are concerned. Besides, why would Reese even consider acting within a Michael Bay movie? She probably wouldn’t actually sign onto such a project, but I guess she’d be more comfortable with the option. After all, Hollywood is a breeding ground for insecurities.

    Prognosis: At this stage of her career, Reese Witherspoon has probably milked the romcom genre for all it’s worth as far as she’s concerned. She’s still generally considered to be a big box-office success, due to her choices in costars just as much as her own appeal, but her luck really ran out with How Do You Know? Her early career featured many indies with truly adventurous roles, and she really needs to return to her roots by taking some risks again. Reese does have a few films in production, including This Means War (which, oddly enough, is an action movie), and eleven films in development plus a likely MvA sequel in the future. In summary, she’ll probably be alright no matter what, but she does have a hell of a lot riding upon the success or failure of this weekend’s Water for Elephants.


    • How Does Reese Witherspoon Stay On The A-List?

      Back in 2005, Reese Witherspoon was a top star; she was earning $15 million a picture, was a reliable box office draw in romantic comedies, and proved her mettle as a dramatic actress by winning an Oscar for “Walk the Line.” Today, she’s a performer whose last $100-million hit was four years ago, who starred in one of Hollywood’s costliest recent flops, and whose current romantic comedy (20th Century Fox’s “This Means War”) suffered a last-minute release date change, away from its initially scheduled Feb. 14th premiere, apparently because she wasn’t a big enough draw for Valentine’s Day date-night audiences. Yet she’s still earning a reported $15 million per picture. Which raises the question: how does Witherspoon manage to remain an A-list star, in demand for leading roles in big-studio movies, even as her box office drawing power has waned?

      Last fall, Forbes ranked Witherspoon fourth on its annual Most Overpaid Actors list; according to the magazine, only Drew Barrymore, Eddie Murphy, and Will Ferrell offered Hollywood producers a lower return on investment. The chief reason: the high-profile failure of her 2009 romantic comedy “How Do You Know,” which cost $120 million to make but returned only $30 million at the domestic box office. Before that, her last big hit was 2008’s “Four Christmases.” That comedy earned $120 million, but arguably, at least half the credit could be attributed to her co-star, Vince Vaughn. Otherwise, her record since 2005 includes the flops “Rendition” and “Penelope” (both of which topped out around $10 million in the U.S.) and the modest success “Water for Elephants,” which cost $38 million and earned back $57 million in North America.

      “This Means War” which sees spies Chris Pine and Tom Hardy sabotaging each other as rivals for Witherspoon’s affections, looks on paper like the kind of romantic comedy that drew ticketbuyers back in the days of such Witherspoon hits as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Just Like Heaven.” Actually, however, it’s more of an action comedy, about guys blowing stuff up, with a romance angle to it, a la “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (which shares a screenwriter, Simon Kinberg, with “This Means War.”) So it’s far from a traditional Valentine’s Day movie, despite the way it’s been marketed. No wonder Fox decided to move it away from Feb. 14, where it would have competed against the newly-opened “The Vow,” a more traditional, tearjerking romance starring Rachel McAdams, who is practically a sure thing at the box office in that kind of movie.

      Also confusing: Witherspoon’s apparent effort to create a sexier image for herself. After more than a decade in America’s Sweetheart roles, she’s now in a movie where two hunky guys are literally battling over the opportunity to date her. She’s also showing up at the movie’s premieres in low-cut dresses that show off a lot of cleavage. But audiences aren’t used to thinking of her that way. Notes a marketing consultant from a studio unaffiliated with the movie, talking to New York magazine’s Vulture blog: “She’s not that type of girl. Reese Witherspoon is the modern Doris Day: She’s the girl you marry after the hot chick has moved on to the next guy.”

      Finally, the fact that Witherspoon doesn’t make as many movies as some of her peers has also dimmed her luster, as she’s seldom out in public promoting herself. “Reese Witherspoon’s career has definitely tapered off compared to a decade ago when she was the ‘it-girl’ in Tinseltown,” says Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co. “She is a rare commodity in Hollywood that seems to choose family over fame, as she routinely only does a single film per year. No doubt that has been part of what has cooled off her star status, but there is no doubt one hit could amp her wattage back to where it was previously.”

      Making only one movie per year, Witherspoon needs to choose her projects especially carefully. “I think Reese Witherspoon is still a bankable actress, but it depends on how commercial the project is in the first place,” says Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru. “‘Four Christmases’ performed very well a few years ago putting her with a big male co-star in a broad adult couples comedy released over the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Put her into a war movie about the Middle East [like ‘Rendition’], and theaters will be empty.”

      Witherspoon’s continued ability to command top-dollar fees for high profile projects recalls other A-list actresses who were able to do the same, even after they were no longer hitmakers. Throughout the 1990s, Winona Ryder continued to land high-profile leading roles long after her last blockbuster (1992’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”). In the last decade, Nicole Kidman continued to be in demand for top parts for nearly 10 years after her last smash (2001’s “The Others”). Of course, it helped that these women (like Witherspoon) had talent and beauty. They also had tabloid notoriety, which can be a double-edged sword. Ryder spent the ’90s enjoying well-publicized romances with famous actors and musicians, but the fallout from her shoplifting bust seemed to halt her career in its tracks. In Kidman’s case, she rode for years on the fascination over her 2001 split from Tom Cruise, but studio interest in her seemed to wane once she settled down with Keith Urban in Nashville, far from the Hollywood paparazzi. Both actresses attempted comebacks by taking supporting roles in Adam Sandler comedies (“Mr. Deeds” for Ryder, “Just Go With It” for Kidman).

      Witherspoon had her own entanglement with the tabloids during her split with Ryan Phillippe in 2006, coinciding with the start of her decline as a box office draw. These days, she’s remarried (to her agent, Jim Toth) and is no longer a subject for gossip, except for her fashion choices. At least she already got her Sandler cameo out of her system when she was on her way up, in 1999’s “Little Nicky.”

      Ultimately, for Witherspoon and actresses like her, talent can keep them on the A-list, but so can Hollywood inertia. Casting directors would rather go with a name, even a tainted name, than with someone new and untried. Says Bock, “I think that in the case of Reese and Nicole, they are both extremely talented actresses, and that really does go a long way in terms of career longevity. Truth is, once you’ve had huge success, and then lost it, there is always the mindset that the next project could re-launch their career. Name recognition is a huge draw for studios in terms of advertising their products, so having a lead actress that people are familiar with is essential for a studio vehicle.” Bock adds, “Once you’re on the elusive A-list, you are offered top-tier scripts from top-tier talent. Plus, they are definitely allowed a few more flops, as long as they produce a hit every few years. And that’s really the prime perk of being on Hollywood’s A-list.”


      • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

        I like to think her How Do You Know?/This Means War era was a really hard lesson from Reese, because after that she seems to have gotten a lot more picky after that. And the truth is, she’s hit that space where she can’t be the young girl in love anymore, but she doesn’t feel old enough yet to pull off the whole “mature woman finds new love” space that Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun or Cher in Moonstruck did. (Which is actually kind of funny, because Diane Lane was about 37/38 in that, while Reese is 38, but Diane Lane just seemed so much older and mature.)

        Oct 6 2014. 4:25 pm

        I think Reese might have that problem where people can’t really buy her as an older, more mature woman even if she’s at the age where that should be what she is. But I think people look at her as that perky ingenue type still. That can be hard for actresses with those types of personas as they get older.


    • 10 Actresses Whose Careers Went Downhill After Winning An Oscar:

      Reese Witherspoon

      When Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2006, she was a proven box office draw. In the past eight years, however, she’s had just one hit: the critically-panned 2008 film Four Christmases, which co-starred Vince Vaughn. Yikes.

      You might think her Oscar-winning performance in Walk The Line was an anomaly, but when she initially started out, Reese Witherspoon’s career could not have been any more promising. Fear, Overnight Delivery, Pleasantville, Cruel Intentions, Election, American Psycho – not all of these movies were great, but at the very least, she played interesting characters. It seems the breakout success of Legally Blonde in 2001 has since typecast her in other similar, rom-com roles even after the acclaimed she received for portraying June Carter Cash.

      The good news is that Reese Witherspoon finally seems ready to break out of her comfort zone. After appearing in the critically-acclaimed film Mud last year, Witherspoon hopes to build on that success with roles in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild. Jean-Marc Vallée’s last film was Dallas Buyers Club, which has seen Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto pick up dozens of awards. Can the director also breathe some new life into Reese Witherspoon’s career?


  2. Nice as usual.
    I have to say that Witherspoon carreer is particular. “Legally Blonde”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Walk The Line” were hits in the US, but most people outside the US have never heard of those films. She’s probabily too american to have international appeal?


    • I remembered your comments while I was writing the article and what surprised me is that her films have actually done very well overseas. Sometimes better than they did in the US. I don’t know which countries she is popular in, so maybe she’s just not as well known in Italy. But she seems to have some international appeal.


      • Well, here in Italy she’s almost unknown. But also in other european countries like France and Spain her movies failed to have the same success they had in North America. UK (but UK is almost the 51st state of the USA 😉 ) and Germany are probabily the lone exceptions. However, the most curious thing, “This Means War”, that flopped in the US, became her biggest hit outside the USA ’til now, being the first, and to date only Witherspoon movie to gross 100 mln outside the USA. So strange.

        In Italy her biggest hit has been “Water for Elephants”, that peaked at #3 at the box-office, but the main reason for it was all Twilight obsessed teens who were looking for Robert Pattinson. “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Four Christmases” barely entered in top 10, both at number 10, while “Legally Blonde” and “Walk the Line” have not even been able to enter in top 10.


        • And also just look at this. These are Witherspoon 5 biggest hits in the USA to date, look what is the percentage of domestic gross

          Legally Blonde-68%
          Sweet Home Alabama-70%
          Legally Blonde 2-72%
          Walk the Line-64%
          Four Christmases-73%

          That’s why I say she got some troubles being marketable outside the USA. Not that outside the USA she’s unknown like in Italy, but compared to other actors her lack of international appeal is somewhat evident. Her five highest grossing movies gross two thirds of money in domestic market only. The irony is that, as I wrote before, her lone true worldwide hit, “This Means War”, flopped in the USA.


        • But look at the movies she made that didn’t do well in the US:

          This Means War did 65% of it’s box office overseas. It was actually a hit outside the US.

          water For Elephants was 50/50 between US and domestic.

          Rendition was 64% foreign.

          Yeah, her big hits were predominantly US-driven. I think she was America’s Sweetheart for a short time. But clearly she has some recognition overseas.



          Weird. In Switzerland – bordering to Italy – she is a well known actress. Sweet home Alabama was a decent hit over here.


        • Adam Sandler tops Forbes’ list of most-overpaid actors:

          Reese Witherspoon, the star of recent films “Water for Elephants” and “This Means War,” was third on this list, with an average return of $3.90 for every dollar she was paid.


      • I don’t really think she has international appeal like Nicole Kidman or Julia Roberts. “This Means War” was a comedy – action movie, people here in Asia ate up this type of film.


        • She does seem to have more appeal in the States than overseas. But I think she must have some international appeal given the overseas performance of some of her films. Still, few actresses have the global appeal of Roberts and Kidman.


  3. Do I have to proofread your articles??? It was Jeff Daniels who starred as the soda guy in Pleasant ville!!!

    Another great article!! As always well researched and written. I actually liked Sweet Home Alabama. Easy to watch and is a cable TV movie staple. As hound dog owner, her crying over the dog she abandoned grave site was heartfelt

    Great job again!!


    • Did I say Jeff Bridges again?!? I did that in the last article. Yeah, would you mind proof reading for me? Fortunately, you guys catch my typos so I can go back and fix them. Hang on. I’m going to go check. *face palm* Yep, I did it again. Thanks for the catch. It has been corrected. *sigh* Just wait till I write up Jeff Daniels and get his name wrong every time. 😉

      I’m glad you liked the article otherwise. As I said, I had a very negative reaction to Sweet Home Alabama. But it had less to do with the movie itself than my growing frustration with the state of rom coms in general. I’m not always fair but I like to think I’m at least up front with my biases.


      • Watch out, Lebeau! Daniels and his friends at the Newsroom will take you down if your information isn’t 100% accurate! Apparently they’re going through a little of that themselves this season.


        • No press is bad press right? Maybe I should mess up his name on purpose. Go for an on-air rant. 😉

          Seriously, sometimes you get something in your head and you just can’t stop making the same stupid mistake. I’m going to have to start copying and pasting Jeff Br— Daniels from now on.


      • I’m watching two movies at the same time starting yesterday. Just finished “the Proposal” which was huge box office and which has just caused me to (gasp) swear off romcoms for a while. I really think I’m going to be sick. So there is no way I can put Sweet Home Alabama on the list, although it was there for a while. The second movie is Bonfire of the Vanities, which is a far more interesting film.


  4. I absolutely adore Pleasantville. Anybody who hasn’t seen it should check it out. That also goes for Election. She really seemed to be making very interesting movies for a while there, but then she succumbed to the Rom Com thing and it resulted in a quickening of her career fast up and fast down.

    Witherspoon was always appealing to me as a supporting player, while I avoided her lead role projects like the plague.

    I guess I don’t have much more to say on this topic. It was an interesting article, though!


    • That pretty much sums it up. I was a fan circa Pleasantville and Election. And as I said in the article, Sweet Home Alabama caused me to institute a ban that was temporarily lifted for Walk the Line.

      Writing is getting harder and harder to find in mainstream movies. That’s because movies start production before the script is started and producers, directors and even actors feel free to rewrite the script if there is one. The screenwriter is the lowest man (or woman) on Hollywood’s totem pole.


  5. Despite its nice cast, the only reason to see the 1998 Twilight is for the nice view of Reese’s peanut butter cups (bad pun, but the only one I could think of)


    • lol – I don’t feel good about myself, but this made me laugh out loud.

      As I have mentioned before, I do a lot of image searches for these articles. I usually put in the actor’s last name and the movie title. Sometimes the year if it requires clarification or a co-star if I want to include someone specific in the picture.

      Anyway, when I include an actress and a movie title, I can almost always tell you whether or not they did nudity. Because the search will be heavily weighted towards results that show the actress topless. If they didn’t do nudity, the results will typically be dominated by images from whatever scene the actress was the most scantily clad.

      It would be a job hazard if this was a job. Is there such a thing as a hobby hazard?


  6. Well, I think that her career is over. Her performance in Mud wasn’t getting good reviews and it is well known that she is difficult to work with, like a female Mike Myers. Also, she is set to make some more romcoms like Don’t Mess With Texas and Men Are From Mars. Plus, her arrest showed us the real her and her excuse-ridden “apology” won’t change things. It won’t ruin her career but it does change what the public sees her. Even her own husband, in a different arrest video, admitted that she can be like this sometimes, so it’s disheartening to know that the marriage might not last. Not to mention after her “apology”, she wore a fake police cap to mock the police:

    It’s a classic tale of one’s ego being their own downfall.


    • Really, most of the reviews I read of Mud singled out Witherspoon’s performance for praise. Who did you read who didn’t like her performance?

      I read a few things about her being “difficult”. But I’m reminded of one of many double standards in Hollywood. Take the Vince Vaughn story and reverse the genders. Say Vaughn was showing up on time prepared and Witherspoon was the one winging it. Do you think the story would take the same tone?

      My guess is it would not. Vaughn would be hailed as a professional and Witherspoon would be blasted as a party girl who shows up late and unprepared.

      Yeah, I get the impression Witherspoon has an ego. I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with her. But that’s probably true of most of the subjects I cover.

      And yes, I hate that I am now in the position of defending Witherspoon – an actress I disowned years ago.


      • That’s an interesting point about the gender swap on that story. Robert Downey Jr. (who is a great actor) was in rehab almost as much as Lindsay Lohan before Iron Man & Sherlock Holmes came along. He’s now praised more than ever as a genius, while Lohan is regarded as a joke. Would you say that double standard is at work there, too?


        • To a large degree yes. However, I have to give Downey credit for doing something very difficult that Lohan has yet to do. For a while, Downey was a punchline too. But he cleaned up and really committed himself to his career. He paid his dues all over again. If Lohan does the same, she may be able to earn back some respectability.


    • Re: Reese Witherspoon: Racist Backstabber?

      I actually remember reading about Jennifer Anniston and how she got Reese Witherspoon kicked off Friends and that’s why she was replaced with someone else to be Rachel’s sister.


  7. The first “Legally Blonde” movie is one of those ultimate enpowering chick flicks, one which my daughter and I watch every so often. (My son liked it but only for one viewing). It was well done and to my mind, showcases what Reese Witherspoon can do with a good script. The part of Elle was all hers, it’s tough to imagine any other actress who could have done such a slam dunk. However, the sequel didn’t look as good so we have not seen it. Will get around to it eventually.
    “How Do You Know” I saw on DVD and enjoyed it, although I don’t kid myself that it was a great movie or anything. It was just so much fun to imagine for a while, that life’s worst problem could be having to decide between Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.
    “Four Christmases” was more fun than expected, with the Witherspoon/Vaughn matchup. They do have totally different styles. I went into this one expecting it not to work, but for some reason, it did. Despite being a romcom leading lady, I don’t really see Reese so much as a comedienne, I think she delivers when the script is good.


    • I have to admit I kind of want to see How Do You Know and Four Christmases now. Legally Blonde 2 is really, really bad from what little I have seen of it. I didn’t mind the first one.


    • Four Christmases, zero laughs, and a whole lot of nastiness:

      The repellent Four Christmases, which was the 21st highest-grossing film of 2008, and these days is talked about in warm terms by no one, ever, belongs to the considerable subset of Christmas movies that are 90 percent lump of coal, and 10 percent gaudy tinsel. Four Christmases focuses on Brad (Vince Vaughn), a wealthy lawyer who spends every Christmas in a tropical locale with girlfriend Kate (Best Actress Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon) pretending to do charity work to avoid their divorced parents. Brad and Kate are impossibly hate-worthy yuppies who answer strangers’ questions about when they’ll finally tie the knot by explaining how they would never be enslaved by such primitive and cruel traditions as marriage or children, and would rather be hunted down and killed for sport in a Most Dangerous Game scenario.

      Instead, Brad and Kate luxuriate in their superiority to others, knowing marriage and parenthood would only complicate their perfect lives of enjoying partner massages in Fiji, or pretending to be strangers so they can pick each other up and have hot, unmarried sex in public bathrooms, as they do in an opening fake-out sequence audiences should see coming a mile away.

      Brad and Kate are better than others, and aren’t too humble to let them know it. But fate and the gimmicky machinations of screenwriters Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Scott Moore, and Jon Lucas interrupt their plan to enjoy another perfect Christmas avoiding their gross, poor, sex-loving relatives when all the flights to Fiji are cancelled. They’re reduced to spending time with not one parent, not two parents, not three parents, but all four of the divorced parents they so actively love to avoid and ignore.

      First, they visit Brad’s father (Oscar-winner Robert Duvall) and Brad’s street-fighting brothers, including the mulleted Denver (Jon Favreau) and Dallas (Tim McGraw), who physically assault fancy-pants Brad as a way of saying hello. Normally, viewers’ sympathies would be with the leads, but Brad deserves every bit of physical punishment he receives, and much worse, whether he’s being wrestled by his man-child brothers and nephews, or plummeting off a roof while trying to place a much-resented satellite dish. Imagine dumber, more violent clones of Cousin Eddie from the Vacation movies, and you have a good sense of this particular side of Brad’s family.

      Next up is Kate’s mother Marilyn (Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen). Four Christmases isn’t shy about broadcasting its misanthropic gags, so before they even leave their vehicle, Kate warns Brad that her family’s house is a “den of cougars.” Sure enough, her family treats Brad like a stripper at a bachelor party, and subject Kate to a “bouncy house” that was the source of her greatest trauma as a child.

      Next comes the home of Brad’s mother Paula (Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek), which would be a rare oasis of normalcy if Paula wasn’t enjoying a hot sex life with Brad’s childhood best friend. They’re both only too eager to share the details with the disgusted Brad and Kate, because Four Christmas finds the idea of anybody who doesn’t look like Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon and occupy a top income bracket both gross and hilarious.

      At each stop in this Bataan Death March of Christmas cheer, Brad and Kate learn something new and humiliating about each other. At his father’s house, Kate finds out that Brad’s real name is Orlando, because Dad named his sons after the places where they were conceived. (It’s funny because poor people are dumb!) At Marilyn’s house, it’s revealed that perfect Kate was a fat little baby who may have gone through a lesbian stage in high school, which she was possibly too oblivious to understand as such.

      These tacky little traumas nearly force a breakup between Brad and Kate, the two worst people in the world, until visit number four calls for the Big Christmas Twist. These occur when the movie, which has previously devoted its entire running time to making family time look about as appealing as shoving rusty nails into one’s own eyeballs, decides that family is what Christmas is all about, and what baby Jesus wants for us all. The unlikely vessel for this pro-family message is Kate’s father Creighton (Oscar-winner Jon Voight), who gives Kate some pro-family perspective. Meanwhile, Brad learns from his own pops that in spite of everything, people really aren’t the worst, they just seem and act that way.

      Four Christmases only lasts 80 minutes (once the insanely padded credits are subtracted), or 20 minutes per each unwanted family gathering, but those 80 minutes stretch out into eternity as the film repeats the same sort of sex-phobic, classist gags over and over again. Sometimes that means Kate’s baby-obsessed sister Courtney (Kristin Chenoweth) cavalierly mentioning that she had sex with the entire water polo team in high school, while her husband had same-sex experiences of his own in his past. Somehow, even in 2008, Four Christmases still found homosexuality inherently funny, just like it finds amusement in the idea of naïve poor people whose idea of a fancy hotel is The Radisson. Assuming Four Christmases was not enjoyed overwhelmingly by trust-fund managers and other members of the 1 percent (and considering its healthy box-office, both domestic and abroad, it’s safe to assume its audience, if not its appeal, was pretty broad), it’s difficult to name another movie with this much withering disdain for most of its audience. And its characters. And humanity as a whole.

      There is not a single laugh to be found in Four Christmases. The only time I chuckled at all through this experience was at the absurdity of having to write “Oscar-winner” five (five!) separate times when writing about a movie The Lifetime Network would have rejected as alternately too raunchy and too wimpy. After many mean, smug gags that never land, Four Christmases goes limp and gushy in its final 15 minutes during a long, joke-free segment where Brad and Kate concede that maybe there is something to this whole marriage-and-family thing after all.

      The ostensible arc of Four Christmases should be Brad and Kate realizing just how arrogant they’ve been in judging everyone else’s lives as so inferior and repugnant. Then they could join the brotherhood of man, newly appointed as people who view family as something other than disgusting. But the couple seems just as smug at the end as they were at the beginning. For all they endure, Brad and Kate’s humbling remains a mild one, and they end the film still clearly feeling superior to everyone else they encounter, a viewpoint the film inexplicably seems to share.

      Four Christmases should at least soften at the end, when Brad and Kate do the unimaginable/completely expected, and roughly a year after the titular Christmas boondoggle, welcome a baby of their own. Given the half-assed, “Christmas is about family, and family is good or something, when it’s not actually the worst thing in the world” message of the film’s last 15 minutes, it feels like Brad and Kate should want to have their extended family with them during delivery, that Spacek, Duvall, Voight, and Steenburgen would all return, and all would be forgiven and forgotten in the golden glow of new parenthood and the miracle of a new baby.

      But nope, Brad and Kate don’t even tell their parents they’re expecting, so when the adorable little baby is born, the extended families are nowhere to be found. Only a reporter spilling the beans on their little bundle of joy, since the baby is the first one born on New Year’s Day, alerts others to its existence. In a moment that encapsulates the film all too neatly, Brad and Kate’s baby begins life by projectile-vomiting all over Kate’s face. It’s apparently the film’s way of saying, “God bless us, every one!”


  8. Another great article, lebeau. Keep it up!
    By the way, you wrote ‘based on’ twice at the beginning of the American Psycho bit, just thought I’d point that out. 😉
    I actually really enjoyed Penelope, it’s in my top 3 of Reese’s movies.

    Off topic: would you please consider doing an article on Linda Hamilton? That would be awesome!


    • You know what that is? That’s being interrupted. If I write at work (shhh), it’s employees. If I write at home, it’s the girls. That’s my story anyway. Thanks for the catch.

      I’ve been doing a little clean-up on some of the older articles this week and I can’t believe some of the stuff I’ve missed that no one has ever pointed out to me! I need an editor to work for free.

      I remember when Penelope came out being mildly interested because I hadn’t seen Ricci in a long time. The premise is really out there! But I’ve heard it’s pretty watchable. If I get a chance, I’m going to have to check it out purely out of curiosity.

      Linda Hamilton will go on the poll next for the ladies. I’m making myself a note. 😉


  9. “In the end she makes the obvious choice since the movie isn’t called New York, New York.”
    Indeed. There are many films which basically give away how they will end in their trailers, but I do believe “Sweet Home Alabama” was the first film to give away its ending just with its TITLE.


    • I don’t know why, but this comment reminds me of the trope of the Ghost Ship moment. Someone observed that the characters in the movie Ghost Ship took most of the movie to realize what the audience knew from the title – that they were on a haunted boat. Most movies have a GS moment and usually its fairly late in the picture. For Sweet Home Alabama, it was the end.


  10. “Penelope” isn’t that bad, actually, since James McAvoy is in it. The film is on various “Best kisses in movies”-lists (Reese Witherspoon is not in it). As far as I know, the kissing scene was cut in the US version.


  11. He’s on my radar. But it will probably take a looong time to get to him.


    • Whatever Happened to…?: Vol. 5 – Josh Lucas:

      Though not a household name whatsoever, Josh Lucas came surprisingly close to becoming one in the early 2000s. Starring or co-starring in a string of critical and commercial hits like American Psycho (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Sweet Home Alabama (2002, and one of the highest grossing Romantic Comedies of all time if I’m not mistaken), Lucas was well on his way to becoming an A-List actor. With good looks and a charisma not terribly far off from that of Bradley Cooper or Ryan Reynolds, Lucas had the potential to become a bankable leading man in Hollywood, but never entirely reached that plateau. So, whatever happened to this guy?

      Josh Lucas’ first high profile role was in the 1993 Frank Marshall survival film Alive, an Ethan Hawke-starrer that recounted the horrifying tragedy of a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane had crashed in the Andes. The role didn’t lead to much immediately for Lucas, but in 2000 he appeared in the critically acclaimed Laura Linney-starrer You Can Count on Me as well as the aforementioned American Psycho, which Christian Bale and future Lucas co-star Reese Witherspoon headlined. These high-profile roles in low-profile films, however, eventually lead to Lucas earning meatier leading man parts in much bigger Hollywood film productions.

      Unfortunately, none of these projects had any real lasting power. Lucas’ most high profile role to this point in time was as the villainous Talbot in Ang Lee’s disastrous 2003 film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ The Hulk character, titled simply Hulk. The film, more an art house experiment than a true blockbuster summer movie, was not exactly a flop per se, but was considered widely disappointing by audiences, who panned nearly every aspect of the film. Marvel would reboot the Hulk film property a half-decade later to a better reception overall. It is hardly Lucas’ fault that Hulk was a borderline flop, however. He just happened to be in the wrong movie at the wrong time.

      Just two short years after Hulk, Lucas was headlining a movie once again, this time in Rob Cohen’s even more disastrous Stealth, which co-starred Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx. With Foxx hot off of his Oscar win for Ray and Cohen coming off both the Fast and the Furious and the xXx film franchises, Stealth was expected to do gangbusters at the box office. The late-summer release bombed in theaters however, becoming one of the biggest box office busts of all time at that point in history (it has since been easily surpassed by the likes of John Carter, Battleship, and The Lone Ranger).

      Subsequent film projects for Lucas included Glory Road – the umpteenth white person/black person race-relations feel good sports dramedy. The film drew mediocre reviews and was controversial for its portrayal of legendary basketball coach Adolph Rupp but did solid box office, grossing just over 40 million dollars. Glory Road was released direct-to-video in many markets, however, because its subject matter (college basketball) was not deemed commercial enough for foreign theatrical release. Additionally, compared to other films in this sports movie subgenre such as Remember the Titans or even We Are Marshall, Glory Road is an almost completely forgotten movie.

      It was Lucas’ next role, in the mega-budgeted The Poseidon Adventure remake simply titled Poseidon, which sank his career for good. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who had delivered on entertaining summer fare in the past with works like Air Force One and The Perfect Storm, Poseidon was a 160 million dollar would-be blockbuster released in May of 2006. The high-profile release also starred Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss (who I’m sure all the kids were clamoring for) and featured cameos from awful people like Fergie. Though Poseidon was praised for its use of special effects (it was also nominated for an Oscar in this category), the film was an enormous flop, grossing just 60 million dollars domestically. Wolfgang Peterson hasn’t directed a film since.

      High-profile work for Josh Lucas disappeared almost immediately after Poseidon flopped. He starred in several indie productions, including the non-Nicolas Cage film Stolen, the minor hit and Matthew McConaughey vehicle The Lincoln Lawyer, Clint Eastwood’s Oscar bait biopic J. Edgar (another outright flop), the Nicolas Cage film Stolen (yes, Lucas was in two movies called Stolen), and the critically reviled drama film Big Sur, a film that grossed a staggering 35 thousand dollars. Lucas was eventually given his own TV show however, where he starred in an episodic version of John Grisham’s The Firm, which had been adapted into a mega-successful Tom Cruise film in 1993. The television version lasted just one season before being unceremoniously axed by NBC. One critic referred to it as “tedious, but not terrible” which sounds about right.

      Josh Lucas never made it big in Hollywood, and starring in a string of box office disappointments pretty much killed his budding high-profile movie career. He has three recent movies in the hopper, none of which looks to be released wide theatrically (one of them is even generically titled Space Warriors, which sounds like a SyFy original movie). Though I don’t imagine Lucas will ever have the sort of career he hoped would after being cast in high-profile films 10 years ago, he probably never imagined he’d star in a failed television version of a Tom Cruise vehicle ever. Lucas isn’t a terrible actor, but he isn’t terribly gifted in that department either. More charismatic actors like Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Wilson, and even Josh Duhamel have kind of usurped his career in the ensuing years. Though he didn’t hit it big, he’s at least still a working actor, which is worth something.


  12. I hope you can read this, but “absolutely handled it correctly”? No she didn’t. Those were disingenuous apologies and she was so fake saying them.


    • Maybe. But she walked out of the scandal unscathed. She pulled a Hugh Grant instead of a Mel Gibson.


    • I think it fell into “She’s defending her man”- and not “She’s taking shots at every minority group in the US”

      It does lessen my opinion of her- but frankly I think her age and recent flops have hurt her more than this incident.


      • The story was a blow to her “sweet girl next door” image. It let the general public see the entitled “Do you know who I am?” princess/b—- she has been rumored to be. But then she got out in front of the story and spun it back the right way. Was she genuine? Probably not. Those who were inclined not to like her weren’t going to accept her apology anyway. Those who already liked her were willing to let bygones be bygones. In the end, I don’t think it will dappen her career all that much. But it certainly could have if she had handled it differently.


        • Reese kind of “reaped what she sowed” so to speak by seemingly consciously creating her public image as being I guess, a bit morally upright. Take for instance, her speech at the MTV Movie Awards several years back:

          The actress earned praise in 2011 when she made an inspiring speech
 while accepting the Generation Award at the MTV Movie Awards about how it is cool to be a “good girl” and avoid the pitfalls of reality shows, sex tapes and sexting.


        • Other than Meg Ryan and maybe, Winona Ryder, is there any female celebrity or actress (to be more to the point) at least that for much of their career (or at the very least, the peak years of their career) had a “sweet/down-to-earth girl next door” image, which they proceeded to immediately shatter via negative publicity?


        • Lindsey Lohan takes the gold- went from Mean Girls and Freaky Friday to Court TV

          Amanda Bynes- totally a Nickelodeon GND- then a rapper groupie- now a very disturbed woman. Just sad.

          Tara Reid had it in American Pie- but killed it almost immediately.

          Oh- honorable mention is Marilyn Chambers – who went from Ivory Soap to porn (but played up the soap commercial to get press for her porn career)


        • Sure there are. The one that comes to my mind goes back to Old Hollywood. Ingrid Bergman had a good girl persona but was bainshed from the country when she started a scandalous affair with an Italian director. She wasn’t allowed back into the US for years! It was actually discussed in Congress.


        • Yeah- Ingrid was a huge scandal- but that was in the McCarthy era- they probably thought she was a Red as well-

          Gotta stay a little current.


        • Okay. Hannah Montana? 😉


        • So you’re saying that while she may not have been really sorry, she handled the PR the right way? I guess she did, but that is the point of PR. Someone like Christian Bale, he seemed genuinely sorry for the rant. I got the feeling that Witherspoon apologized only for the sake of her image, and since there were already more people in this world that already like her and are willing to accept her apologies, I guess her image won’t be tarnished, but if you ask me, she should really stop being so egotistical and know that the world doesn’t revolve around her.

          BTW, did you hear how the director of Legally Blonde, Robert Luketic, hated working with her because she was a control freak on set?


        • That is exactly what I’m saying. She sounds like a prickly pear (some would use other words to describe her I’m sure). But most of America considers her a sweet All-American girl like she plays on screen. Those people were more than willing to overlook what they saw as a momentary flash of diva in defense of her man. Whether or not that is true is a matter of perception. I suspect she’s more diva than Sweet Home Alabama.


        • Reese Witherspoon: Racist Backstabber?

          [CDAN] This actress is A list through and through. She has achieved about the most success an actress can receive. Money, fame and awards. She wanted to be the world’s sweetheart, but if they knew how she got to her lofty position they would be rethinking their judgment.

          When Backstabber came to Hollywood she thought she was hot and that she could make it on her looks. Back home she was always the prettiest and she figured she would be here too. Nope. Not even close. She was smart enough to figure that out and also learned about the casting couch really quickly. Her first roles were secured via the casting couch and also led her to do some things she has never done since on film. It is true that she has attempted to buy some of those earlier films and then make sure no new copies are ever released.

          In one of her casting couch experiences she met a mentor who has guided her almost every step of the way. Although they stopped sleeping together after six months when Backstabber threatened to tell his wife, they have been good friends ever since and Backstabber makes sure to send over some young actresses she runs into looking for a break to his office to keep him happy.

          It came to Backstabber’s attention that there was a role which would be perfect for her but the lead had been promised to someone else. Another actress who had very similar qualities and beat out Backstabber for a career defining role and made her white hot. Destined for A list (and still with great name recognition, but not Crash & Burn from yesterday), she made a few more movies and now has one bomb after another on television and in movies. Backstabber started whispering in ears that this actress had a drug problem and could not be relied on. She told everyone she could about the drugs and booze and erratic behavior. None of it was true, but what was a shoo in for the actress and her spot as the actress to watch disappeared in a flash and went to Backstabber.

          This is where it gets interesting. On the set, Backstabber met her soon to be husband, but he was already having sex with two of the other still B list co-stars and would have laughed if you told him what Backstabber had in mind. Aside from the casting couch, Backstabber was not and is not a sexual person. She does it out of duty. For this guy though, she knew that would not work. She seduced and teased and the next thing you know, the guy had left the other two co-stars in the dust and was on his knee in a second trying to marry Backstabber. To be the world’s sweetheart you needed a husband. Mission accomplished. The only misfire Backstabber had was that her husband would chat in a second and with Backstabber only having sex with him once a month at the most, he would go wandering and straying. She did not mind when he was quiet about it, but after she paid for the third abortion for him, he was out the door.

          While they were married, Backstabber continued to climb the Hollywood ladder. Dr*g accusations here, sending over some of her “friends” from back home to spend the night with a studio executive. To get the ultimate prize, she actually did have sex with a few people who could make or break things for her. She has no actress friends left in Hollywood because she has talked smack about everyone of them. She works for charities but only because it is expected. She has said privately that she keeps every penny she has ever made and that she is not going to give her money to a bunch of broke people or the N word on the street. Oh yeah, she is racist. Probably more so than anyone at a KKK rally. Movies with black people? Not if she can help it. Earlier in her career she could not control it. Now? Casting approval. No black people. Other minorities? No thank you. If she sees you drinking she will try and have you fired. Swearing? She better not hear you. Yeah, so it was a real treat when she had to work with a guy who dropped F bombs every five seconds and had a string of hookers and booze in his trailer the whole shoot. You can see her grimacing the entire movie.


        • The Unholy Tale of Greasy Reese Witherspoon (by Kevin Smith):

          It’s Friday night at eleven o’clock, and me, my producer Scott Mosier and my wife Jen are sitting around the patio bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles with Cruel Intentions actress Selma Blair. What started as a routine meet-and-greet has now become a five-hour gab session, during which Selma has just let slip that she knows where Greasy Reese Witherspoon lives.

          “You must tell me where,” I gravely say.

          “Why?” Selma asks, a little uncomfortable, due to the sudden change in my demeanor, brought on by the mere mention of Greasy Reese Witherspoon.

          “Because I want to egg her house.”

          Yes. I so want to egg Greasy’s house. Granted, I know she’s married to Ryan Philipe, and they have a baby daughter now. But none of that matters to me. We’re not talking about a drive-by shooting. We’re talking about a drive-by egging. I mean, fuck it; it’s Friday night, we’re in L.A., and we’ve got nothing else to do. What could be better than whipping eggs at the home of a couple B-listers?

          Now I’ve got nothing against Ryan Philipe, mind you. And their baby’s in the clear with me too (so far). But Greasy Reese herself? Man, I don’t like her. And I’m not talking about her work here (because, like any sane human being with a modicum of taste, I’m a big fan of Election; even – as much as I hate to admit it – Greasy’s performance in said picture); I’m talking about the person Greasy Reese Witherspoon is. I’m talking a personal gripe here – more personal than the shark’s beef with the Brodys in Jaws 4: The Revenge (or did that infamous tag-line refer to the Brodys’ beef with the shark? I could never tell). The reasons for this beef are sundry, and don’t warrant getting into here.

          Ah, f*** it. Yes, they do.

          Waaaaay back when we were casting on Mallrats, Mosier and I are really anxious to meet Greasy Reese Witherspoon (who I then referred to without the “Greasy” moniker), because we’re both huge fans of the coming-of-age drama Man in the Moon. Back then, our casting agent, Don Phillips, would meet with the actors and actresses before we’d audition them, precluding the meet-and-greets I presently am engaged in all week. For the Greasy meet-and-greet with Don, Mosier and I arrange a drop-in, as we’re eager to see what she’s like, this young actress who so dazzled us as Sam Waterson’s daughter. So Don is meeting with her in his office at Universal, and Scooter and I pop in like we don’t know she’s there, and start jawing with her. What a disappointment.

          First, she comes off faux-erudite as all hell, and condescending to boot (personality traits that make for the kiss of death in my book). Secondly, she compares her Stephen Dorff-starring flick S.F.W. to Clerks, calling them “…the same movie, essentially.” If you’re me, and you’ve seen S.F.W., this is tantamount to saying Clerks licks balls. By meeting’s end, we tell Don there’s no reason to bring her back for an audition, as we’re now non-Reese fans.

          Now whether this registers at all with Ms. Witherspoon, I have no idea. But on two future occasions, I have run-ins with Reese which are not at all pleasant, and may reflect what one can define as a grudge being held against me for not letting her audition for Mallrats (a slight that she should’ve sent me roses for, all things considered).

          The first such run-in takes place at one of Details magazine’s “Young Hollywood’ Parties. I’m dragged to the shindig, kicking and screaming (I hate parties, and I hate ’em even more when they’re wall-to-wall with creepy young actors in L.A.), by my then-girlfriend, Joey Lauren Adams. We see Reese there, holding court, and Joey wants to extend her a congratulations on her performance in Overnight Delivery.

          To understand the mammoth gesture this is, you have to know Joey’s history with this flick. Many months prior, she and Reese were up for the lead in the picture, the script for which I did an uncredited re-write. It was being directed by the same guy who’d also crafted that contender for the cinematic throne of Citizen Kane, Bio-Dome.

          While Overnight Delivery would eventually be unceremoniously dumped straight-to-video by New Line a year later, it was something of a hot project then, and Joey was up for the female lead (indeed, at one point, Joey was going to not do Chasing Amy — the film that earned her a Golden Globe nomination — and instead do Overnight Delivery; and people say there is no God…). Ultimately, Reese was cast instead, as New Line was grooming her for stardom. After the initial understandable bout of disappointment, Joey found peace with this decision, especially once she’d gotten Amy under her belt.

          So it’s a year later. We’ve shot Amy but it hasn’t come out yet. Joey and I have seen an early cut of Overnight Delivery, and she wants to say something nice about Reese’s performance to Reese — a real stand-up gesture that you’d never catch me making, were I in her shoes. We jockey up to Reese (me, quite unwillingly), and Joey tells her that she’s seen the flick, and she thinks Reese was really good, adding she’s glad Reese got the part when all was said and done. And how does Reese react?

          She sneers at Joey. Then turns away.

          Children, I wouldn’t say it unless I’d witnessed it with my own two eyes. Greasy Reese Witherspoon sneered at the compliment like the third grade girl with the most Valentines sneers at the third grade girl with the second most Valentines after all the Valentines have been given out, just prior to the distribution of the holiday cupcakes. It was an ugly, ugly moment. There was no offer of even an insincere, Hollywood-type “Thanks.” Merely a sneer.

          But that doesn’t earn her the nickname “Greasy.” Reese becomes Greasy when I’m later informed that, on the set of Overnight, she quite audibly mocked me.

          Me! Radio Raheem!

          The mockery was thus: Reese and Paul Rudd (the male lead) are doing the closing shot of the flick, where they walk away from camera. They’re supposed to be talking playfully, but since it’s understood this is the closing shot (and, presumably, end-credits music will be playing), no dialogue is written. So the director tells the actors to just make stuff up, as it’s not going to be heard anyway. What follows is the exchange, as told to me and my elephantine memory (and ass), by someone who was there.

          REESE: Who wrote this s***?

          PAUL: I think Kevin Smith.

          REESE: Ugh! Didn’t he write Mallrats?

          PAUL: Yeah, but he also wrote Clerks.

          REESE: Who cares? No wonder this dialogue sucked.

          Needless to say, when I’m told this, I am livid. Enraged. Mildly amused, yes (hell, it was a good dig), but more enraged.

          And from that moment forward, I’ve never referred to her as anything but Greasy (pronounced “GREE-ZEE”) Reese (pronounced “REE-ZEE”) Witherspoon (pronounced accordingly).

          So when Selma lets slip that she knows where Greasy lives, I’m agog. I’m begging her… BEGGING her to give me the address so I can drive by and egg the motherf***er (I’m talking about the house now, not Greasy herself; or am I…?). Selma insists I’ll get caught and give her up as the address-provider in the process, but I counter that not only would I not give her up, but I’ll endure hours of police questioning following my apprehension and still remain zip-lipped.

          “So you’re already sure you’re going to get caught?” she asks.

          I offer that getting caught is a must, because how delicious is it going to be to have Ryan Philipe chasing me down the block in his skivvies, all piss and vinegar, after the yolks have hit the fan? And how infinitely more delicious will the moment be when Way of the Gun catches my ass (which, assuredly, he would, as he’s extremely physically fit, and I can barely find the energy to make it to the bowl; unless it’s a bowl of Lucky Charms)? I fantasize about him tackling me on a lawn a few yards from his own home (no homoerotic subtext, mind you; the boy’s no Affleck), turning me over to see my face, and discovering that the guy who made Dogma is the egg-man.

          I harp on this for half an hour, but Blair will have no part of it. Sadly, she eventually heads home, without me having procured so much as a general direction in which Greasy lives.

          It is the biggest disappointment thus far on the road to Jay and Silent Bob Striking Back.


  13. She’s a viable candidate.


  14. Scratching my head after reading the gossip items above. It all sounds like stuff that someone just made up, and really what is stopping the writers from doing so? Especially where they take pains not to mention names, maybe because they know they can get even more creative without getting sued.


    • True or not, blind gossip items don’t interest me very much. There are enough stories out there about Witherspoon that I already know she has made enemies. And the America’s Sweetheart thing is all about image. I could believe a lot of other stuff in those gossip items, but what difference would any of it make whether its true or not?


      • I really don’t know if this is a fair or good analogy or comparison but Reese sort or reminds me of like an acting version of the figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. What I mean is that it seemed like Nancy’s PR team and to a certain extent, the otherwise lazy media tried to paint her as the sweet, all-American girl-next-door (especially after her attack prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics).

        Unfortunately, Nancy like Reese has if you looked closely, shown signs of real unpleasantness and entitlement. For example, Nancy during the medal ceremonies was got on camera making some sarcastic remark about Oksana Baiul, who had beaten her for the gold medal in figure skating at the ’94 Olympics, crying. Then, she was at some parade at Disney World and was caught on camera saying to Mickey Mouse about how the whole parade was “the corniest thing that she’s ever done”.


  15. 10 Huge Hollywood Actors We All Loved (But Now Hate):

    9. Reese Witherspoon

    We Love You Moment: Legally Blonde (2001)

    Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was marked as a rising star following her great turn in the underrated Freeway, playing Texan trailer trash in an updated road movie version of Little Red Riding Hood released in 1996. The following five years saw her star in Fear, Cruel Intentions, Election and American Psycho as she slowly but surely built a career as a talented and versatile actress.

    She found worldwide fame following the release of Legally Blonde in 2001. The role of Elle Woods, lovable blonde sorority girl-cum-brainiac was tailor made for Witherspoon and she smashed it out of the park. Industry topping pay cheques and Oscar glory followed. America had found its latest sweetheart.

    We Want A Divorce Moment: Drunk & Disorderly (2013)

    There are some things all famous people should be careful not to do to. For example; telling the world what a nice young man the leader of North Korea is when you’re an ex-basketball player with the intelligence of a sprout. At the top of the celebrity no-no list however is getting caught on camera uttering the immortal line ‘Don’t you know who I am?’. Getting caught on camera saying a variation of that to a Police Officer (while absolutely bone-soaked) is about as wise as taking style tips from Dennis Rodman, but that’s exactly what happened to Reese Witherspoon.

    Following the release of the arrest video the whole world saw the actress at her worst, petulant and self-important, but the situation was amplified by the fact that she had made so many box office bombs in the years leading up to the arrest. The following were all critically and commercially panned; Rendition, Four Christmases, How Do You Know and This Means War. Unfortunately for Reese, this all means America now needs to find a new sweetheart.

    Chances Of Getting Back Together: She was illegally bombed but if she can walk the line who knows.


  16. Another Celebrity Wants To Tell Us How To Live Better:


  17. Just thought I’d say, the actor that played opposite Reese Witherspoon in ‘The Man in the Moon’ is not Jeremy London. It’s his twin brother, Jason London.


  18. Let’s bid Resse a happy 38th today!!!


    • I’m having trouble reading the article. Every time I scroll down to read it, my browser pops me back up to the top of the screen. Weird.

      Seems like Oscar bait. But I wouldn’t go handing out trophies based on release dates. Lots of Oscar hopefuls go home empty handed. Best of luck to her though.


    • How Reese Witherspoon Got Messy And Saved Her Career:

      In The Good Lie and especially in Wild, the 38-year-old actress has finally rekindled the spark that launched her career.

      TORONTO — It is no simple task to shake off the squeaky-clean title of America’s Sweetheart, but Reese Witherspoon appears to have finally done it. All she had to do was get her hands dirty.

      Two upcoming films featuring the 38-year-old actress recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival — Wild and The Good Lie — and in both, Witherspoon plays characters who are a far cry from the high-achieving women she built her career playing in films like Election, Legally Blonde, and Sweet Home Alabama.

      Those kinds of characters — buoyant, sharp, tough, and not to be underestimated — became Witherspoon’s movie star brand, up to and including her Oscar-winning role of June Carter Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line. In that film, Joaquin Phoenix played the deeply flawed Johnny Cash, a talented musician saddled with demons and prone to self-destructive behavior. Witherspoon’s June, while not nearly perfect, was his savior, the far calmer port in their stormy relationship. Her big night at the Academy Awards was a crowning point in Witherspoon’s career, officially canonizing her as one of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest A-list stars. But Witherspoon was still also seen as Hollywood’s most prominent A student, studious and responsible — and not particularly vulnerable.

      And like so many other Best Actress winners before and since, the heat of that spotlight wilted Witherspoon’s career just as it was hitting full bloom. She took on “prestige” movies like Rendition and Water for Elephants that failed to capture the live-wire spark that had endeared Witherspoon to audiences in the first place. When she tried to swing back to a commercial Hollywood picture, with 2012’s action-comedy This Means War, her role was so soufflé light that any number of other actresses could have played it (and made the same shallow impression).

      With The Good Lie and especially Wild, Witherspoon has finally found roles that capture her flinty intelligence and resolve, but — thankfully, refreshingly — also allow her guard to drop, and for a more richly complex actress to emerge.

      In The Good Lie, in fact, while Witherspoon has top billing, she doesn’t even dominate the movie as its central star. The fact-based film instead starts and largely stays with the Lost Boys of Sudan, child refugees who fled a brutal civil war in their own country by trekking hundreds of miles on their own across an unforgiving landscape. After 13 years spent growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp, three of these refugees — the earnestly ambitious Mamere (Arnold Oceng), the quiet and pious Jeremiah (Ger Duany), and the excitable and homesick Paul (Emmanuel Jal) — are plonked into Kansas City as part of a United Nations relocation program, with essentially zero preparation for the dizzying culture shock awaiting them. (Duany and Jal are actual Sudanese refugees, part of director Philippe Falardeau’s desire for authenticity.)

      They are greeted by Witherspoon’s flustered Carrie, who we meet roughly 40 minutes into the film as she skips out on a one-night stand and rushes to pick up Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul at the airport. Carrie, tasked by her employment agency with finding jobs for her new charges, isn’t particularly warm at first, exasperated more by their inability to, say, know how to pick up the telephone when she calls. Her home is a disaster of empty takeout boxes, discarded laundry, and stacks of paperwork — upon seeing it, Mamere says he finally understands why Carrie doesn’t have a husband.

      In another film, or with another actress, Carrie would be our dewey-eyed conduit to “understanding” the plight of these Lost Boys, and watching her grow to be a kinder, more friendly person would the film’s true arc. In Falardeau and Witherspoon’s hands, however, Carrie does change, but subtly, and without much fanfare. As it should be, we spend far much more time tracking Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul as they struggle with their new lives and strive to reunite with their sister Abital (Kuoth Wiel), who was sent to live in Boston after they all arrived in America. Meanwhile, liberated of having to carry the film’s central story — and of having to play a woman who is all things to all people — Witherspoon may not have all that meaty of a role, but she is looser and more natural that she’s been in ages.

      With Wild, by contrast, Witherspoon is the film, and if The Good Lie keeps to the middlebrow conventions of an uplifting true story, Wild’s tough, fractured portrait of its real-life subject, author Cheryl Strayed, pushes Witherspoon into what is arguably the richest, most alive performance of her career.

      We first meet Witherspoon-as-Strayed as she is roughly halfway through her 1,100-mile trek through the Pacific Crest Trail. She’s sitting atop a cliff, screaming in what sounds like orgasmic ecstasy but is actually pain, as she removes her too-small hiking boots and socks to reveal a big toe reduced to bloody hamburger. As she winces and removes what is left of her toenail, the boot falls down a steep cliffside. In a flash of rage, she grabs her other boot and throws it down the cliff, screaming, “Fuck you, bitch!”

      In roughly five minutes, we already understand this is unlike any role Witherspoon has ever had before — and the film has hardly even started.

      Director Jean-Marc Vallée, working from author Nick Hornby’s adapted screenplay of Strayed’s 2012 memoir of the same name, continually hops through Strayed’s deeply complicated life as her hike forces her to confront the reasons she has set out into the wilderness with a gargantuan hiking pack and zero hiking experience. We come to understand that Strayed had been serially cheating on her husband (Thomas Sadoski) and abusing heroin, a sharp downward spiral that began with the sudden death of her mother (an incandescent Laura Dern).

      On paper, these problems could seem perhaps a little well-trod for an intimate character drama, and a downer at that. But Witherspoon breathes such vital life into them that it elevates Strayed’s story into a deeply poignant portrait of grief and regret. She is the tenacious fighter we remember so fondly (most recently, in Witherspoon’s infamous arrest video), but she also allows herself to be fragile, and angry, and a dervish of harmful choices. It helps enormously that from the first frame to the last, Vallée refrains from dipping into sentimental cliché — in a way that he couldn’t quite avoid with Dallas Buyers Club, actually. And Vallée’s cinematographer Yves Bélanger captures Strayed’s natural surroundings with an Ansel Adams-like clarity that gives Strayed’s emotional journey that much more epic heft.

      It’s Witherspoon, however, who made this movie happen: She optioned the movie rights for her production company Pacific Standard, and is one of two credited producers. She clearly understood that this time, she would be the one to play the person who is saddled with demons and prone to self-destructive behavior. But what makes Wild such a stirring, remarkable story is that Strayed becomes her own path to a better life; she saves herself in a way no one else can. It’s a lesson that Witherspoon appears to have taken to heart — the only savior her career needed was herself.


    • Why I’m Not Wild About “Wild”

      If you don’t think this year’s field of potential Best Actress nominees is the weakest one in recent memory, consider this: You may soon hear the words “Oscar winner Jennifer Aniston.” To be fair, I haven’t seen Cake yet—nor has almost anyone else, as it hasn’t been released—and Aniston may be a revelation as a victim of chronic pain. But I’m still in pain from watching her last attempt at Serious Acting, The Good Girl, in which she did most of her character work by slumping her shoulders.

      I haven’t gotten to see a couple of the other would-be nominees yet either. Julianne Moore’s Still Alice (in which she plays a victim of early Alzheimer’s) just completed its token one-week release in New York and LA to qualify for consideration, and I blinked and missed it. And Amy Adams’ Big Eyes doesn’t come out until Christmas, but considering that I’ve been less-than-impressed by the three most recent of her five nominated performances (her unsteady turns in The Fighter, The Master and American Hustle), it seems unlikely that she’ll change my mind about the fact that she’s America’s Most Pleasant Yet Overrated Actress.

      As for The Theory of Everything‘s Felicity Jones, she’s great but in another year with more worthy lead female performances, she’d be a lock for Best Supporting Actress, which Jennifer Connelly won for a very similar role as a genius’ long-suffering wife in A Beautiful Mind. (Why Jones is entered as a lead actress and The Imitation Game‘s Keira Knightley is considered a supporting actress for a very similar role is something only a genius could explain to me.) Then there’s Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. I confess: I don’t get it. Her character, her performance, any of it.

      I would’ve preferred to see Reese Witherspoon, who produced Gone Girl, play the title role, even though she would’ve been wildly miscast. Especially since she’s just as wildly miscast in Wild, which has inexplicably given her a serious shot at a second Best Actress Oscar. I won’t quibble with her winning a statuette for her pleasingly plucky performance as June Carter Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line. But I just don’t find her a compelling enough actress to command the screen nearly alone for two hours in this poky adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about how a grueling 1,000 mile hike along the Pacific Coast Trail somehow healed her of heroin addiction, promiscuous infidelity and grief over the death of her impossibly optimistic mother (Laura Dern, an actress who’s truly Wild at Heart and who really should’ve switched parts with Witherspoon—hell, there’s less than a 10-year age difference between them).

      This movie should be wild, but with the bland-as-skim-milk Witherspoon in the lead role, it’s merely mild. She gets physically naked in the film, but never reveals herself emotionally. The acclaim she’s received seems mostly to be attributed to the fact that—just like Jennifer Aniston in Cake—she dared to go make-up free. In 2014 Hollywood, apparently this equals great acting.

      For a truly strong female lead performance that may get passed over by Oscar, check out Hillary Swank in Tommy Lee Jones’ satisfyingly tough-minded Western The Homesman. As flinty spinster Mary Bee Cuddy, she accompanies Jones’ titular ne’er-do-well on a grueling journey of their own, transporting three mentally ill women through dangerously unsettled territory. She’s rivetingly brave and unsentimental.

      If there’s any justice, Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby winner Swank will be gunning for a Best Actress three-peat, while Reese Witherspoon would be in the Supporting Actress race for a role that’s much better suited to her, drug-addled detective Joaquin Phoenix’s straight-laced lawyer girlfriend in Inherent Vice. But Witherspoon’s peeps have clearly decided to put all her Oscar eggs in the Wild basket, and the likely result will be: No justice; Yes, Reese!


  19. Don’t think he quit because of the airline cut of Man In the Moon. He was pissed, no doubt. Think it was more the booze talking though. I didnt know until today anyone knew about that…though I do remember a young Reese calling and asking why Alan Smithee was the director of her in flight movie…


  20. Elle Woods Makes A Comeback As Reese Witherspoon Records A Video For A Sick ‘Legally Blonde’ Fan:

    Proving that she still has some of the “America’s sweetheart” magic in her smile, Reese Witherspoon decided to respond to a woman’s email about her sick 4-year old son in the best way possible. According to this woman named Julie, her son Will is “putting up a very tough fight against cancer in the Midwest,” and one of the only things that makes him happy in his hospital bed is when Legally Blonde comes on TV and he gets to see the “Pink Girl.” As Witherspoon wrote on her YouTube post:

    The email read “Legally Blonde is on the hospital TV and Will has been watching it, like four times a day. When he feels good enough to want something, he wants Legos and “The Pink Girl”. He finds comfort in it and loves the Pink Lady. So, if anyone knows Reese Witherspoon, and she would be willing to take a picture of herself holding a note that says “TeamWill”, or any other shout out that she can dream up, she would give a little four year old boy fighting cancer (and even more so his mom) a big pick-me-up. Hop on the bandwagon and join #Teamwill Reese?”

    If the cynic in you thinks this all sounds a little wonky because of the vagueness of the details, it’s only because Witherspoon says she left last names and other personal details out of the message “out of respect to the family.” Otherwise, the actress is hoping to ride some of that hashtag awareness lightning in sending this young boy some positive vibes from around the country, and there’s never anything wrong with that.

    #TeamWill This is for one of the strongest little four-year-olds I can imagine. Will – I hear that you’re fighting so hard and strong against cancer and that in the hospital you’ve been watching a lot of Legally Blonde and loving it. I hope it makes you laugh! I wanted you to know that I made this sign in your honor – and I’m sending a big big hug and my hope and prayers. Just know – I’m a really big fan of YOURS! PS anyone else – feel free to make your own sign for Will and post it with the hashtag #TeamWill so he can see it….I’m sure he’d love that!

    Let’s just hope that Julie skips Little Nicky if it comes on the hospital TV next, because nobody needs to be reminded of that one.


  21. did u also read the article about costner oscar buzz on black and white u think it looks good


  22. wild got bad review but her performance good praise


  23. i liked this means war it was funny cute likeable i liked how it was a different take on spy movies these spy spend more time impressing a girl then fighting bad guys thats what made it interesting it focused on there personal lives more i dont know how it flopped and got bad reviews i liked it dont care what people think reese was charming


  24. i liked how they used there spy skills for common things


  25. Can Ryan Phillippe “Reclaim” His Career?

    Like John Cusack—his costar in the new direct-to-VOD thriller Reclaim—Ryan Phillippe made the transition from teen star (Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer—which will soon be rebooted) to serious grownup actor (he was impressive as a servant with a secret in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, an LAPD officer in the Oscar-winning Crash and an FBI agent in the underrated Breach). But both have seen their careers crash and burn in recent years and ended up in… well, direct-to-VOD thrillers like Reclaim. While Cusack may be on the verge of a major comeback with his acclaimed performance as Brian Wilson in the upcoming biopic Love and Mercy, Phillippe’s still in pursuit of a professional renaissance.

    That may be because Phillippe’s off-screen pursuits seriously tarnished his star, especially with female audiences. He went from hunky sex symbol to the guy who allegedly cheated on America’s Sweetheart, ex-wife Reese Witherspoon (before her DUI imbroglio triggered the need for a comeback on her own, which may soon arrive with the highly touted Oscar contender Wild). His magnetic performance as a Julian Assange-like secret-leaker in Damages should’ve done the job, but too few people saw the DirecTV series to recast his image in the popular consciousness.

    Phillippe is seriously miscast in Reclaim as a bland American family man who travels with his wife (Under the Dome’s likable Rachelle Lefevre) to Haiti to adopt a young girl and sees the child taken back by the shady agency that arranged the exchange. The trouble is that slumming two-time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Animal Kingdom) and Cusack are so obviously villains from the get-go that you don’t feel sorry for Phillippe and Lefevre because they seem so stupid.

    With his perpetual pout and slightly sleepy speech patterns, Phillippe just isn’t cut out to play a good guy. Perhaps his next role, as a washed-up Hollywood actor who gets kidnapped and caught up in a sex scandal in Catch Hell (which Phillippe co-wrote and directed), will show he can poke fun at his image and endear him to audiences again. But sadly it looks like a sub-Deliverance Southern Gothic shocker.

    Phillippe’s second stab at TV, in ABC’s midseason miniseries Secrets and Lies, could prove to be his redemption. Based on an Australian drama, the mystery casts the star as the prime suspect in the death of a young boy. Considering how riveting Phillippe was as an accused murderer in The Lincoln Lawyer, this may just be the kind of killer role that can finally bring his career back to life.


  26. what abt Reese’s legally blonde co-star Selma Blair. She was everywhere in early 2000. She’s very beautiful and her acting is not bad. I wonder why she’s not big in States.


  27. selma blair never had the success reese did people knew her face but not her face she was everyhwere in 2000s but her films werent hits didnt get much publicity only films she made that were was hellboy and legally blonde

    Liked by 1 person

  28. knew her face not name


  29. i see ryendls being on the list one day


  30. Reese Witherspoon Has Always Been Wild:

    Hollywood just refused to see it.

    Anne Helen Petersen
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Think of Reese Witherspoon without makeup. She’s been walking for days — traversing hundreds of miles. Without water, she might die. Her face is dirty and tanned, her lips are parched, and her eyes stare forward, at nothing, in startling blue clarity.

    It’s how you’ll see Witherspoon in Wild. But it’s also how we saw her in A Far Off Place, which was released 21 years ago, when she was 17 years old. They’re very different stories — Wild is set along the Pacific Crest Trail; A Far Off Place sends Witherspoon to the Kalahari Desert. This is not to say that Wild is derivative; rather that the months of media claims that Witherspoon’s “gritty” and “honest” turn as Cheryl Strayed in the new movie offers up some new, heretofore unseen Reese are simply unfounded.

    Like so much Hollywood publicity, it’s just a catchy claim that’s somewhat blind to history. This “wild” valence of the Witherspoon star persona has been present from the very beginning of her three-decade career, manifested in a cluster of films that live large in the VHS-defined memories of most of us who were teens in the ‘90s. There’s A Far Off Place, but also the 1991 coming-of-age super classic Man in the Moon, the 1996 super-creepy Mark Wahlberg star-maker Fear, playing the ultimate in sexy dirty in Freeway, and what, in my mind, will go down as the definitive proof of Witherspoon’s intelligence as an actor: 1999’s Election.

    That the Hollywood publicity machine has elided this early Witherspoon underlines just how efficiently — and, oftentimes destructively — it flattens the star image. A star becomes the least common denominator of their attributes and roles: Tom Hanks is nothing but nice, Matthew McConaughey is everything tan and smarmy, Sandra Bullock is steely cute, Will Smith is cheerful, unthreatening black masculinity, and so on. They play variations on those roles, on repeat, on the screen, and their “private” lives are molded to reflect the same overarching values.

    That univocality of those messages — this is what this star means — is the source of superstardom. It’s so legible, easy to understand. Some stars escape the flattening by retreating into “their art” — Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis, for example, have chosen such diverse projects, and kept their personal lives so relatively private that the only thing they “mean” is acting.

    But for most, they must settle into an image — oftentimes one not of their choosing — and decide whether to hang out for the ride or rail against it. Chris Evans, for example, was slotted into a very precise sort of future with his casting in Captain America, but has denounced it; Zac Efron unsuccessfully attempted to leave his teen idol image behind before circling back to it; Miley Cyrus has made her contemporary career out of acting out the antithesis to her Hannah Montana image.

    Sometimes, as in the case with Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, or Angelina Jolie, the strategy works. They change the conversation of their stardom from the superficial (innocence, beauty) to the cerebral (complexity, talent). They direct; they play ugly; they take on charity causes. But that’s the privilege of the contemporary superstar: When they’re rich enough, they can stop taking the roles that made them famous. They can afford, both in fiscal and career management terms, to alter the way people think of them — a club into which Witherspoon has only recently elbowed her way.

    That’s a privilege that was never available to even the most behemoth of classic Hollywood stars. They arrived at their studios as raw material and, through the magic of the studio machine, emerged as ready-made stars with new names, biographies, hobbies, and interview talking points. Margarita Carmen Cansino became a femme fatale named Rita Hayworth; Roy Harold Scherer Jr. became the flannel-shirted heterosexual ideal Rock Hudson. Attempts to break free from those preset images often resulted in scandal (Ingrid Bergman) or backlash (Marilyn Monroe).

    A star could, however, take a role that was significantly outside of their image wheelhouse, but only as a means to reinforce that image. Against type, in other words, to reinforce type. Bette Davis, whose image was that of a slightly bitchy but ultimately hardworking and kind New Englander, played super evil — like, kill-your-husband evil — in Little Foxes, which earned her an Oscar nomination. Davis was an amazing actor, but the Academy recognition was, at least in part, due to how effectively she diverged from what was assumed to be her “true” self, aka the type of role she played in every other film.

    We see the same thing in contemporary Hollywood, in which performances are lauded when they manifest the epitome of the star’s essence (Bullock in The Blind Side; Brad Pitt in Moneyball) or mark such a significant departure (Amy Adams in American Hustle; Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer’s Club) that they effectively re-establish the integrity of the original, core image.

    Which is all to say that it’s really, really difficult for a star to break out of the mold that’s been created for them. The conservative logic of contemporary Hollywood prevents it: A star is only valuable inasmuch as they are a static commodity; studios will bank on products in which the star promises to reproduce that known commodity value but balk at those who threaten to compromise it.

    There’s a reason, in other words, that stars like McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl, and Vince Vaughn get mired in the rom-com death spiral of deeply shitty movies: Studios would rather green-light a sure thing, no matter how horrible, so long as it reproduces the roles of past hits. In this way, each performance becomes a slightly less vivid reproduction of the one before; a copy of a copy of a wearied, worn out, once-charismatic star.

    The last nine years of Reese Witherspoon’s career have exemplified this slow degradation. Her image as the perky innocent first began to coalesce in 1999’s Cruel Intentions, was solidified in 2001 with Legally Blonde, and was then ossified the following year in Sweet Home Alabama, the mid-budget, totally inoffensive, sometimes adorable rom-com beloved by everyone who’s ever watched a movie on cable on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Witherspoon’s character Melanie in Alabama is tough, sophisticated, and New York on the outside, but soft and Southern in the inside. The “real” Melanie just wanted to shed her high heels and black pencil skirt and hang out with her high school sweetheart, drink beer, and maybe have some babies — a sentiment mirrored in Witherspoon’s own life, as she married her Cruel Intentions co-star Ryan Phillippe at the age of 23, and gave birth to a daughter, Ava, later that year.

    She reprised, and thus reified, that image in 2003’s Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, played a slightly more conniving version of Sweet Home Alabama’s New York Melanie in Vanity Fair the following year, and won an Oscar for playing the much beleaguered June Carter in 2005’s Walk the Line. Her performance is excellent, but it’s not a revelatory one so much as one based on a much beloved historical figure in addition to being serious, and thus, in Hollywood logic, worthy of being taken seriously.

    Witherspoon’s post-Oscar career can only be characterized as banal. There’s a high-minded bomb of a thriller (2007’s Rendition), a surprisingly lifeless adaptation of an immensely popular book about the circus (2011’s Water for Elephants) and a laundry list of highly forgettable rom-com-ish dreck: 2005’s Just Like Heaven, 2008’s Four Christmases, 2010’s How Do You Know, and 2012’s This Means War. It was at this point that a New Yorker profile of Ben Stiller grouped Witherspoon with a list of actors, including Mel Gibson, Demi Moore, Russell Crowe, and Keanu Reeves, “who were big stars 10 years ago,” but no longer.

    Witherspoon read the profile and took action. She told Vogue earlier this year, “It’s not that the roles dried up … They just weren’t as dynamic or interesting as anything I felt I could do,” which reads like code for, “They were the same damn thing over and over again.” She was, according to one director, too “Southern and sweet and huge” of a star. Hence the image renovation, or what Vogue calls “the girl next door find[ing] her edge.”

    That “edge” includes roles as the antithesis of America’s sweetheart opposite McConaughey in 2013’s Mud, one of several films that put McConaughey’s career rejuvenation into motion, and dressed down for a supporting role in this year’s The Good Lie. The movie told the story of four Sudanese refugees and, after a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, quietly disappeared from theaters.

    Still, those films were but a prelude to Witherspoon’s “new” image, first as a producer of this year’s highly anticipated and hotly debated Gone Girl, then as the driving force behind the adaptation of Wild, which she read and pursued before it became a global phenomenon. Once passive to the predetermined trajectory of her image and career, Witherspoon is now regularly described as literally and figuratively owning it.

    But similar to what I argued in my “alternative reading” of the McConnaissance, that component of Witherspoon’s image has been there all along. In 1999’s Man on the Moon, she’s a stubborn tomboy; in A Far Off Place, her sidekick, Harry (Ethan Embry), is the bumbling, incompetent damsel in distress to her highly skilled Nonnie as they make their way across 2,000 miles of desert. In both movies, she’s a teen, but she’s by no means the teen that would grow up to become Elle Woods: With her makeup-less face and utilitarian attitude toward boys, this early picture personality is far more JLaw with The Hunger Games franchise than ditzy blonde in a bubblegum-pink power suit.

    Witherspoon’s first high-profile “adult” role was opposite Mark Wahlberg, at his most sociopathic, in Fear. She played fairly girl-next-door, but with the exact sort of sexual edge that critics ascribe to her turn in Wild. Mention “the roller coaster scene” — in which Witherspoon guides Wahlberg’s hand while he brings her to orgasm while “Wild Horses” plays — to a woman of a certain age, and she will know exactly what you’re talking about.

    And then there’s Election, in which Witherspoon satirizes the sort of buttoned up, perfectionist persona in which her future films would mire her. Usually stars lampoon their images after they’ve come to define them, but Election shows a weird sort of prescience about what was to come in Witherspoon’s career, as if director Alexander Payne saw exactly what Hollywood would do with the type of precocious, heart-faced girl whose parents gave her the nickname “Little Type A.”

    The brilliance of Witherspoon’s performance in Election lies in its illumination of the embittered underside of perfection: The harder you hew to its prescribed boundaries, the movie suggests, the crazier you become. Not only is it the truth to the lie of Witherspoon’s future performances, but it also suggests an intelligence about what it means to be a woman in the world that a film like Legally Blonde, for all of its Harvard law degrees, obscures.

    Witherspoon’s performance in Wild has the same rawness, anger, bravery, and vulnerability of her performances in those early films, many of which have been largely forgotten, but they nonetheless evidence her startling, invigorating capacity as an actor. It’s not as if Witherspoon, herself, didn’t realize as much: “When people underestimate me, it’s actually a comfortable place for me,” she told Vogue. “Oh, that’s what you think I am; well, no I’m not. I’m a complex human being. I have many different shades.”

    While those sides are perhaps most visible in her earlier work, it’s not as if they disappeared when she started playing rom-com heroines. As Gawker’s Caity Weaver brilliantly pointed out last year, Witherspoon’s “private” life can be divided into two spheres: the proper Southern belle, who writes prompt thank-you cards and looks great in modest mom shorts and goes on three-mile runs, and the darker, “terrifying” Reese, whom Weaver dubs “Laura Jean,” Witherspoon’s birth name.

    If Reese loves posting inspirational quotes and photos of her shoes in falling leaves on Instagram, then Laura Jean wears a dress that shows a lot of sideboob to a big celebrity function, gets drunk, and tells a supermodel in the elevator that the “most important thing in a name, for a girl” is “that a man can whisper it into his pillow.”

    Laura Jean also got wasted and mouthed off to cops when her husband was pulled over for DUI; Reese apologized sincerely for it on Good Morning America. Laura Jean drops the f-bomb constantly; Reese dresses up to walk through a parking lot. Laura Jean stars in Wild; Reese clunks her way through Four Christmases.

    Of course, there aren’t two Reese Witherspoons — there’s just society’s generalized incapacity to allow a woman to contain multitudes, especially if they’re seemingly at odds. The problem with the virgin/whore dichotomy, after all, isn’t virgins, or whores, but the idea that a woman couldn’t possibly contain vestiges of both, and embrace them equally. After all, that’s what makes a text like Wild so exquisite: its ability to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable or, as Strayed puts it in the passage that ends both the memoir and the film, “What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently that I had done?”

    Hollywood loves a comeback, and will certainly embrace this one from Witherspoon. The reviews of Wild, in which she appears in nearly every scene, are glowing, and predictions of another Oscar are gaining strength. The irony, of course, is that the powers that have and will continue to celebrate her performance are, in large part, the same ones that would’ve prevented it from happening.

    The lesson of Witherspoon’s career — and, by extension, contemporary Hollywood stardom — is thus startling in its simplicity: The very image that shot you to stardom will, unchecked, also lead you to the end of it. The solution, however, isn’t necessarily to abandon it altogether — there’s something in any superstar image, after all, that has and will always resonate. Rather, it’s to expand, and amplify, the valences that have been there all along.

    Reese Witherspoon has always been some sort of wild. It just took a film of her own producing for us to remember.


    • Actors who should have been huge?

      « Reply #51 on: July 15, 2010, 05:16:18 AM »
      What about, and maybe this should be a different thread, but what about actors/actresses that you wish wouldn’t have gotten boxed in to certain types of roles.

      I’ll say Reese Witherspoon. When I saw Freeway way back in the day I had high hopes, and then her career kind of went the “America’s new sweetheart” route and hasn’t been much of anything else lately.


  31. Reese Witherspoon Blames Divorce For Career Rut:

    Reese Witherspoon has come back in a big way in 2014 and continues to enjoy the high praises coming in for her performance in Wild including both a SAG and Golden Globe nomination.

    While things seem to only be getting better and better for the 38-year old actress there was a period of time a little while ago where it seemed the best of Reese Witherspoon’s career had come and gone.

    In an interview with Charlie Rose, which aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday December 21, the star opened up about the rut she fell into and it seems it all began with the breakdown of her marriage to fellow actor Ryan Phillippe.

    Witherspoon had huge success with the 2005 film Walk the Line playing June Carter Cash but the turmoil in her personal life put a halt to any extended success, for a period of time at least.

    “I got divorced the next year and I spent a few years just trying to feel better,” she revealed. “You know, you can’t really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs. I was just kind of floundering career-wise cause I wasn’t making things I was passionate about, I was just kinda working. It was really clear the audiences weren’t responding to anything I was putting out there.”

    While Witherspoon was receiving harsh critiques for her movie choices she was then involved in a now infamous arrest in 2013 after her husband, Jim Toth, was pulled over for driving under the influence while she was a passenger.

    A drunk and irritated Witherspoon challenged the officers and used the fame card to try to get out of it.

    Now with her family by her side the actress has pulled her self out of the dreaded Hollywood downward spiral and is a definite frontrunner for the 2015 awards season.


    • I saw the 60 Minutes interview. Her explanation makes sense. I’m glad to see Witherspoon has righted the ship and wish her well with her business endeavor. She’s certainly off to a great start with Gone Girl and Wild this year. I’m going to have to do some updating to this article!


  32. Reese Witherspoon’s Hot Streak Comes To An End With ‘Hot Pursuit’:

    Reese Witherspoon doesn’t get enough credit for the way she’s currently circumventing the Hollywood norms. As she approaches her 40th birthday next year – an age when a lot of famous women in Hollywood seem to disappear from movies – Witherspoon is experiencing a career resurgence. After her 2013 arrest (which, on a scale of Hollywood arrests, is pretty low, despite its media attention), Witherspoon did get notice for her performances in Mud and Wild (the latter leading to an Oscar nomination), with a lot of comparisons to her Mud co-star Matthew McConaughey’s career reboot. But we’re not talking enough about why this is happening. Namely, that Witherspoon is now producing her own movies.

    Between 2008 and 2012, Witherspoon starred in four live-action films: Four Christmases, How Do You Know, Water For Elephants and This Means War. Only Water For Elephants was a modest critical success, the rest were pretty brutally panned. That’s a difficult run for a veteran actor to recover from.

    But, as Witherspoon told David Letterman on Tuesday night, she bought the rights to both Gone Girl and Wild before either book was released. Then, after those books became best sellers, they were both adapted into critically acclaimed films. It’s not as if Witherspoon is the first famous actor to produce films, but, like Brad Pitt’s Plan B, this isn’t a token production company. It’s obvious that she’s invested and, more importantly, both Gone Girl and Wild were great films.

    Unfortunately, not everything can be good… and that brings us to this week’s new comedy, Hot Pursuit, that Witherspoon both stars in and produced.

    The thing is, Hot Pursuit is a movie that I’d like to see do well — a buddy comedy starring two female leads — because there just aren’t a lot of those and The Heat is now two years ago. In no way am I advocating the making of Hot Pursuit 2 or Another Hot Pursuit or Hotter Pursuit, or whatever it may be called. But it would have been great to see a Midnight Run-style film starring Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. Unfortunately, Hot Pursuit has no aspirations to be something like Midnight Run or The Heat.

    Witherspoon plays a by-the-books police officer named Cooper who is assigned to escort the wife of a drug dealer, Daniella (Vergara), to witness protection in Dallas. Before they even leave Daniella’s house, they’re ambushed by two different factions of gunmen and Daniella’s husband is killed. There are dirty cops involved, so Cooper is framed for the ambush, which leads both Cooper and Daniella to go on the run from both a drug cartel and the police. Hey, not a terrible setup!

    It’s then that Hot Pursuit goes after every lowest common denominator joke possible. A typical scene finds Cooper held at gunpoint by a man named Red (Jim Gaffigan). To distract Red, Cooper and Daniella pretend to be lovers, thinking that if they make out in front of Red, he will let them go. During this, Red somehow shoots his finger off. Oh course, after, we see the old, “Oh no, the dog ate it,” joke. But the dog didn’t eat the finger, somehow Daniella has the finger in her hand, which they trade to Red for their freedom. This is an extremely convoluted scene that, somehow, makes no sense and yet still feels cliché. The whole movie feels like this.

    (Hot Pursuit also continues the weird trend in which Mike Birbiglia shows up in one scene, then disappears for the rest of the movie. He also did this in The Fault in Our Stars and Annie. Every movie would benefit from more Mike Birbiglia.)

    Regardless, it’s still remarkable what Witherspoon is doing. Yes, Hot Pursuit is a dud, but her producing track record still looks pretty good. There’s a lot of talk about the way Hollywood treats women once they approach 40, but here’s Witherspoon actually doing something about it. And even though a movie like Hot Pursuit is hard to recommend, that doesn’t mean that the deeper story behind it can’t be heralded.


    • What’s a Smart Actor Like Reese Witherspoon Doing in a Disaster Like ‘Hot Pursuit’?

      By Jason Bailey on May 7, 2015 12:30pm

      When the first trailer hit for the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara vehicle Hot Pursuit a couple months back, the universal reaction seemed a widespread, “But… why?” For Vergara, it’s almost understandable — an above-title studio starring role for a charismatic performer who’s usually stuck in supporting roles. But why on earth was Reese Witherspoon — an Oscar winner and recent nominee, one of our savviest and smartest actor/producers — wasting her time with an aggressively stupid buddy-cop throwaway? Did she owe somebody a favor? (Like, a serious, fine-you-saved-my-life-so-I’ll-star-in-your-terrible-movie favor?) …


    • 15 Most Critically Hated Films From 2015

      Hot Pursuit

      Rotten Tomatoes Score: 7% (3.1/10)

      Why Critics Hated It: An aggressively unfunny buddy movie starring two talented actresses who are rendered temporarily unlikable, Hot Pursuit might’ve been more effective as an R-rated raunch-fest, but at the PG-13 level, it feels ridiculously tame and dull.

      Yes, Reese Witherspoon is a straight-laced southerner and Sofia Vergara is a gorgeous, sassy Colombian: they disagree and shout at each other a lot and chaos ensues, but they eventually become friends. You’ve seen this plot dozens of times before, and this certainly isn’t one of the more spirited or lively attempts to make it fun or interesting.

      It’s bottom of the barrel cinema, going back to the well repeatedly for a variation on the same, simple gag. At least it’s mercifully short, but still not short enough.


  33. Bad Movie Beatdown: This Means War

    Who knew stalking and invasion of privacy could be so “romantic”? Film Brain goes deep undercover to review the action rom-com that will probably make you go a bit paranoid…


  34. Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Reese Witherspoon!


    The Prosecution: Hot Pursuit, Devil’s Knot, This Mean’s War, Water for Elephants, How Do You Know, Four Christmases, Rendition, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Overnight Delivery, Fear, S.F.W., A Far Off Place

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you might be questioning why Reese Witherspoon is up for Movie Jail, since she rebounded from her “love triangle period” in a big way with Mud and last year’s Wild, with the latter arguably being her best work to date. But the actress went on to star in and produce Hot Pursuit, and the prosecution can’t ignore how awful it was, or how she pretty much flushed her renewed goodwill down the drain with this film.

    Miss Witherspoon’s performances can be hit-or-miss as well. Besides receiving mixed reviews from critics, many also criticized her turn in Water for Elephants, and the prosecution didn’t care for her take on Becky Sharp in 2004’s Vanity Fair, although some may argue that had more to do with how it was adapted from the book for the big screen. She has also starred in one of the most d unnecessary sequels ever made (Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde), a straight-up terrible Christmas movie (Four Christmases) and the completely bland and forgettable romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama.

    But really, this is about the actress pulling an Eddie Murphy a la Norbit by following up her recent well-received films with Hot Pursuit. Combined her previous crimes against cinema, the prosecution feels Miss Witherspoon, at the very least, deserves a few months in the slammer.

    The Defense: Inherent Vice, Wild, The Good Lie, Mud, Penelope, Walk the Line, Just Like Heaven, Vanity Fair, The Importance of Being Earnest, Legally Blonde, American Psycho, Best Laid Plans, Election, Cruel Intentions, Pleasantville, Twilight, Freeway, The Man in the Moon

    Ladies and gentlemen, regardless of the size of the role, my client has done solid work throughout her career, from her lead roles in Election, Walk the Line and Legally Blonde to her supporting roles in American Psycho and Inherent Vice. Without a doubt, the past several years have been a little rough for Miss Witherspoon, but the defense doesn’t think her career is in danger, even with Hot Pursuit fouling up her filmography.

    Sometimes, we forget that actors and actresses are people too, and their personal life can affect their professional life. Miss Witherspoon actually took a hiatus from acting when she first started dating Ryan Phillippe, and took another break after filing for divorce from the actor in 2006. My client has admitted that she wasn’t making movies she was passionate about for a while, and is fully aware that she wasn’t the draw that she once was. So maybe she was hoping Hot Pursuit would be an accessible crowd pleaser, similar to some of her previous films like Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and will probably go down as one of the worst movies of the year.

    However, it’s not like my client isn’t a talented performer and can’t find quality roles. She was fantastic in both Mud and Wild, and earlier this year, was cast in the new Alexander Payne film Downsizing. Ok, so she’s also set to star in a live-action Tinkerbell flick for Disney, but there are definitely worst movie projects out there she could be eyeing. While Hot Pursuit is a hot, sticky mess, and Miss Witherspoon has starred in a number of poorly received movies, the defense doesn’t believe we need to lock her up in Movie Jail.

    What should we do with the actress? Do you think Miss Witherspoon belongs in Movie Jail, and if so, for how long? I ask you, the jury, is Reese Witherspoon GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?


  35. Ranking The World’s 10 Highest-Paid Actresses From Worst To Best:

    Reese Witherspoon ($15 Million)

    Reese Witherspoon was once lauded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, but it seems fair to say that her career slumped somewhat in the aftermath of her Oscar win for Walk the Line in a performance that she’s yet to beat. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t capable of near-unrivaled charisma whenever the right role comes her way, though.
    There have been lots of terrible films since Walk the Line, many of which have been forgotten: bores such as Just Like Heaven, Water for Elephants and How Do You Know, and unforgivable travesties in movies such as Four Christmases and This Means War.
    The actress’s most recent hit was the critically-acclaimed Wild, though it makes little sense how Witherspoon has cemented herself as the 8th highest-paid actress in the world based on that fairly modest movie alone. Consider, however, that Witherspoon likes to play producer, too, and she just so happened to be one on a little film called Gone Girl, which raked in $386 million. Acting and producing: now there’s a way to make big money.


  36. Good Bad Flicks: Fear (1996)

    That’s right, the Marky Mark extravaganza. This movie is 97 minutes of pure, concentrated, awesome.


  37. Reese Witherspoon Just Called Out Hollywood Ageism And Sexism And It Was Beautiful

    “I’ll probably have to play your grandmother in the movie, by Hollywood standards.”


  38. Shailene Woodley is set to join Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman on HBO

    According to Kidman, Woodley is expected to play one of the “triumvirate of killer moms” on David E. Kelley’s limited series Big Little Lies. HBO has yet to make Woodley’s casting official.


  39. Reese Witherspoon reveals she was offered ‘terrible’ role as ‘girlfriend in a dumb comedy’… but just who was the Oscar winning actress who took it?


  40. Reese Witherspoon and Nicolas Cage on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Celebrities Who Married Normal People


  41. Reese Witherspoon Hits 40: The Rise of a Hollywood Leading Lady

    Equally as comfortable in period dramas and indie thrillers as she is in big-budget romantic comedies, Reese Witherspoon has been a fixture in Hollywood since starring in the coming-of-age film The Man in the Moon when she was just 15. The New Orleans native won a Best Actress Oscar in 2006 for her role as country music star June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. She ended her eight-year marriage to Cruel Intentions co-star Ryan Phillippe in 2007, and the couple had two children together. Witherspoon then dated Jake Gyllenhaal before marrying CAA talent agent Jim Toth in 2011 and welcoming son Tennessee James the following year.

    In honor of her 40th birthday on March 22, here’s a look back at Witherspoon’s long rise to the top of the Hollywood A-list.


  42. Reese Witherspoon invites NFL rookie to book club


  43. Cast Of Sweet Home Alabama: How Much Are They Worth Now?

    Reese Witherspoon

    Estimated Net Worth: $120 Million. Trying to list all of Reese Witherspoon’s accomplishments would be difficult, considering the stunning actress has starred in so many successful films over the years. It all started with her role in 1991’s The Man in the Moon, and before long she was starring films such as Fear alongside Mark Wahlberg, Pleasantville and, of course, the cult classic Cruel Intentions. Many more of her best known films include, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line, Just Like Heaven, Mud, This Means War, Wild and Sweet Home Alabama as Melanie Smooter. Along with her acting career, Witherspoon has branched out into business and as made an incredible $120 million.


  44. Reese Witherspoon splits from producing partner Bruna Papandrea


  45. Hey, it’s been 3 years since her arrest. I know it’s been a long time since but I was looking at the comments and I noticed you said how she may not have been sincere in her apologies but at least she made everyone else believe it. I kinda agree with you there. Both her written and TV apology sounded too calculated by checkmarking every box on how to do an apology for the press. She never seemed genuine in her television appearance.

    Not to mention displaying egotistical behavior before and after the arrest. I looked at her Instagram account and it reeks of self-absorption. It is a shame since she always seemed to be sweet but I guess she really is that good of an actress.

    I can’t get over her arrest video though. I know it’s been a long time but re-watching it here, I was disgusted. You don’t ever think you’re above the law. Kudos to the officer and her husband for handling the situation. And according to people who know her or have worked with her, what we saw in the video is the real her.

    But regardless, after 3 years, what did you think about her arrest in hindsight and do you think she was genuinely sorry?


    • My opinion really hasn’t changed much. Witherspoon has had a reputation for being cold, calculating, cut-throat, and driven since before she ever became famous. She did a really good job of manufacturing that girl-next-door image for a while. The arrest is where the image slipped and the truth came out for a bit. She smoothed it over as far as most people were concerned, but it didn’t matter all that much because she’s a 40-year-old actress and Hollywood isn’t all that interested in actresses once they hit that age. I give Witherspoon a lot of credit for creating opportunities for herself at a point in her career where no one else is likely to hand them to her. But don’t believe the America’s Sweetheart bit. That was never real.


      • Yeah, the arrest doesn’t seem to hurt her image when it likely could’ve. Her presence on social media, like I said, is so disingenuous and pathetic in her attempt at trying to maintain that image. There was a group interview with EW where she was talking more than anyone else and had an entitled aura around her. Have you seen it? I’m not saying she should act like a diva in public but she should be more authentic. As it stands, that arrest may have been the real her but has done a good job so far not acting like that again.

        And yeah, it’s good she has her own production company to make more roles for women but so far, she’s made roles for her. Gone Girl was close to being her role. Wild was a success but Hot Pursuit has brought her back to square one as far as I’m concerned.


  46. Reese Witherspoon admits she thinks the time may now be right for Legally Blonde 3


    • Ratatoing Sucks

      Didn’t she choose not to make another film? Guess she must be that desperate to be an A-lister again, joining the likes of Jim Carrey (Dumb and Dumber To) and Renee Zellwegger (Bridget Jones’ Diary).


  47. ironic she called tom hanks washed up his career is doing better then hers . his box office still higher. his last 4 flicks saving mr banks captain phillips bridge of spies and sully all box office hits


  48. Reese Witherspoon’s Best Type-A Maniacs

    It’s hard to think of a role that’s a better fit for Reese Witherspoon than Madeline Martha Mackenzie, the uptight type-A supermom at the heart of HBO’s Big Little Lies. Madeline, on her second marriage (to a bearded Adam Scott), is still obsessed with her first husband, played by James Tupper, and rages impotently against his New Agey new wife (Zoë Kravitz). She treats her daughters with all the affection of a Soviet gymnastics coach, and her singular goal currently, other than getting those daughters into good colleges, is to stage a community-theater production of Avenue Q. In the hands of a lesser actress, Madeline would amount to a pile of nonsense in yoga pants. As played by Witherspoon, she’s funny, intimidating, and when she reveals the cracks in her moisturized facade, a little tragic.

    More to the point, with Witherspoon playing her, Madeline gets to be the center of the story — or near the center, as Nicole Kidman’s Celeste, who harbors dark secrets in her home life, plays the moon to Witherspoon’s abrasive sun. She’s playing a kind of character she’s perfected: the type-A maniac. Witherspoon can take characters broad enough to be bullies, villains, or jokes, and make them the most compelling thing onscreen.


  49. I’ve recently read the argument that Reese Witherspoon is one of those actresses (like Goldie Hawn before her) is talented comedic actress that’s no longer being cast in those roles due to age discrimination. Reese therefore, is a good example of a an actress who is changing her career to be more of a dramatic actress (i.e. “Wild”) and producer.


  50. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Reese Witherspoon

    Reese Witherspoon is one of the few child stars to have had a tremendous amount of success in her adult career. She’s been nominated for two Academy Awards – winning one for her role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line – and she’s also become one of the most influential producers in Hollywood. Since she’s celebrating a birthday, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Reese Witherspoon:


  51. ‘There’s no love lost at all’: Reese Witherspoon ‘furious with co-star Nicole Kidman after fallout over their new TV show Big Little Lies’


  52. Rewatching “Sweet Home Alabama” with Reese Witherspoon and this movie is racist!!?p=31001636&viewfull=1#post31001636

    This movie came out in 2002/2003 so I was a child back then and I missed a lot that was wrong with it. But my God it’s bad. Confederate flags all over the place, only black people shown are servants and look scared, and the make southerns seem dense as hell. Just weird.


  53. ‘Actors are NOT machines’: Reese Witherspoon nearly ‘lost her mind’ during Big Little Lies shoot… and says she regrets working when pregnant


  54. ‘It’s hard being an actress over 25’: Reese Witherspoon admits she feels ‘liberated’ in her forties as she continues to fight for female importance in Hollywood



      Last year, Reese Witherspoon took part in an Entertainment Weekly round-table discussion for leading ladies or multi-hyphenate actresses or something. She told a story of why she decided to start her own production company as a way of producing female-centric movies with good roles for women and good jobs for female directors, producers, etc. Reese basically said that she was sent an awful script for a romantic comedy and there was a “girlfriend part” and she was told that a bunch of different A-list women were chasing this terrible role in a terrible comedy. And that’s when she knew she needed to start her own production company. Reese was rather blatantly talking sh-t about this movie that got made, which is how it became a huge blind item. She ended her story with “And by the way, two Oscar winners did it.” We discussed the blind item here. Well, Reese took part in another roundtable discussion, this time for The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmy preview/potential Best Actress nominees. The whole piece was good, albeit long-winded and if you want to see the full THR package, go here. But Reese talked about that awful comedy again, plus she shaded someone else in a blind item.

      Blind Item #1: “I started a production company five years ago because I was looking at maybe the worst script I’ve ever read in my entire life and it had two parts for women. I called my agents and said, “This is such a terrible script.” They said, “Well, seven women want it so … you’re the only one who’s not vying for the part.” And I thought, “God, if this is what we’ve come to, I have to get busy.” Because you can either complain about a problem or you can be part of the solution.” “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried)

      Blind Item #2: “I was talking to this very famous actor and I said, “How did you prepare for this role?” He said, “Well, I went into the woods for three weeks and I didn’t talk to anybody.” And this person has a lot of kids and is married. And he’s like, “You did the same thing for Wild, right?” I was like, “Uh, no.” If I went away for three weeks and no one could call me, everybody would’ve had a mental breakdown. I got on a plane and was shooting within 24 hours. I wish I had prep time. I love the preparation. I love watching and reading and digging deep. Matt Damon “The Martian”; Matthew McConaughey “Mud”


  55. Celebs who let fame go to their heads

    Reese Witherspoon

    When most people think about out-of-control celebs, Reese Witherspoon probably doesn’t come to mind. But in 2013, the actress let her fame get the best of her when her husband/agent Jim Toth was pulled over for drunk driving in Atlanta. Instead of cooperating with the police, the presumably drunk Witherspoon allegedly began arguing with an officer and found herself charged with disorderly conduct, according to TMZ. 

    Even worse, the whole thing was captured on dashcam video. Witherspoon is seen and heard dropping the “Do you know who I am?” card before busting out the now infamous line, “I’m an American citizen. I’m allowed to stand on American ground!”

    What she should’ve done is let the police arrest her husband for committing a dangerous and illegal act, which is exactly what Toth told her, after making it a point to the tell the cops, who’d just received an earful of A-list actress, “I’m sorry. I had nothing to do with that.”

    To her credit, the Legally Blonde (2001) actress apologized for her actions and hasn’t shied away from addressing the embarrassing incident. “I guess maybe we all like to define people by the way the media presents them, and I think that I showed I have a complexity that people didn’t know about,” she said a press conference (via HuffPost). “It’s part of human nature. I made a mistake. We all make mistakes. The best you can do is say sorry and learn from it and move on.”


    • 15 ‘Nice’ Celebrities Who Are Secretly Jerks


      There are few things worse than when a celebrity pulls the “Do you know who I am?” card in order to try and threaten their way out a sticky situation — which is exactly what Reese Witherspoon did when she found herself in an altercation with the cops.

      After Witherspoon and her husband were pulled over and suspected of drunk driving, the actress failed to adhere to the officer’s simple instructions of remaining in the vehicle. She also lied about being pregnant at the time of the traffic stop (which makes her look doubly worse for being drunk) and tried to say that she could do whatever she wanted simply because she was an America citizen.

      Though the actress has since apologized for her immature antics, it’s hard to let slide the fact that both Witherspoon and her husband thought it was okay to drive while under the influence of alcohol.


  56. Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston team up for new TV series

    Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are delving into the world of New York morning shows for a new TV series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show will reunite the two actresses, who previously played sisters on Friends.

    Not much of a plot description for the show was made available, but it is said to explore “morning shows and the larger New York media scene they inhabit.” The series does not have a network attached yet, but it set to be shopped to premium cable and streaming services, where it is likely to attract quite a few bidders.

    Both actresses are set to executive produce and star in the series, which has a script from House of Cards writer Jay Carson based on an original idea from former HBO head of drama Michael Ellenberg. Steve Kloves (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them) will also executive produce alongside Lauren Levy Neustadter, of Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company.

    Witherspoon recently made a very successful jump to TV with the buzzy HBO series Big Little Lies, which earned her an Emmy nomination. While the actress still has exciting upcoming film roles in movies like A Wrinkle in Time and Tinker Bell, she definitely seems interested in further expanding into TV both behind and in front of the camera.

    For Aniston, the project marks a long-awaited return to the medium, which brought her a Golden Globe and an Emmy win, among many nominations, for her part as Rachel on Friends. (She also holds an Emmy nomination for her guest turn on 30 Rock.) Aniston previously told Variety that she would be interested in returning to television, saying, “That’s where the work is. That’s where the quality is.”

    There is no word yet on a timeline for the series, but, with two A-list actresses attached, we should definitely be hearing more about it in the future. For now, see all of the TV shows that will blow you away this year. 


  57. Monroe 55th anniversary

    Post by karl100589 on 5 hours ago
    I always felt Marilyn was somewhat underrated as an actress; People often paint this idea that she was this bimbo that got as far as she did because of her looks, when I feel she was an underrated comedic actress who worked well in the ditz-with-a-heart role (i.e. Some Like It Hot).

    She was basically the original Reese Witherspoon.


  58. Reese Witherspoon Knows Rom-Coms Need an Image Makeover

    Why do you think the romantic comedy has fallen out of favor as a genre?

    The romantic comedy as it existed 15 years ago just isn’t viable. I think people know that every life doesn’t have a happy ending, and they’re not going to be force-fed some idea of what romance is. Also, people know their lives aren’t necessarily defined by one romantic relationship solving all their problems. So there’s that reality check. But I don’t think of this as a romantic comedy, I think of it as a modern comedy. It’s those life decisions that change the course of human experience, and a woman’s experience, that are just as big in scope and as profound as any kind of big thriller movie. Because we’ve all faced those decisions.

    Aside from “Legally Blonde,” your career hasn’t been sequel-driven. How does it feel to have fans clamoring for another season of “Big Little Lies”?

    We had no idea there was going to be such a reception for it, and it’s just been fantastic. I think people really want to see older women on film, women working together on film. I’ve never had an opportunity to work with my contemporaries in that way — we all had leading parts, and got to dive deep on character. They should be making more shows like that.


  59. Top 10 Reese Witherspoon Performances


  60. Reese Witherspoon: “How Mindy Kaling Helped Me See My White Privilege”

    In an essay published in the October issue of Glamour, Reese Witherspoon talks about starting her production company, Pacific Standard, to “create more roles for women onscreen and behind the scenes.”

    Witherspoon writes that she believes things are looking for up for women in entertainment, citing films like Wonder Woman and Rogue One and noting that “today 38% of major characters on TV are women, which is not equal, but it’s pretty good.”

    But despite her overall optimism, the actress/producer says a conversation with Mindy Kaling, one of her co-stars on the forthcoming film adaptation ofA Wrinkle in Time (which also stars Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Ava DuVernay), was a stark reminder that minority women face far greater barriers in Hollywood than their white counterparts:

    Another thing I think about a lot is how it feels to be a minority woman in America, so rarely seeing yourself onscreen, and it’s unconscionable. When I asked Mindy Kaling, “Don’t you ever get exhausted by always having to create your own roles?” she said, “Reese, I’ve never had anything that I didn’t create for myself.” I thought, Wow, I feel like a jerk for asking that; I used to have parts that just showed up for me. I can’t imagine how hard it is to write your own parts and simultaneously have to change people’s perceptions of what a woman of color is in today’s society.

    The problem—for both minority and white women—isn’t just with the dearth of women characters, writes Witherspoon. It also extends to roles behind the camera; women account for just 17% of film directors, writers, and producers. With A Wrinkle in Time, DuVernay is “making history as the first African American woman to direct a movie with a budget of over $100 million,” Witherspoon says in her essay.

    What’s more, writes Witherspoon, “she is creating a world where an African American girl, Storm Reid, is the hero of a huge supernatural story about good versus evil.”

    Beyond her work with Pacific Standard, Witherspoon says plans to use her new multimedia company, Hello Sunshine, to “seek out women from all over the U.S., to hear about their joys and struggles, and encourage them to be storytellers in all kinds of mediums.”


    • Reese Witherspoon reveals she was assaulted by a director at 16: ‘We live a lot of ugly truths’

      “We live a lot of ugly truths. I have my own experiences that come back to me very vividly and I find it very hard to believe and hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having,” Witherspoon said. “The anxiety about being honest, the guilt about not speaking up earlier, or taking action. True disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old, anger that I felt at the agents and producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment…”

      “The things that we were always told, to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it’s made me want to speak up. And speak up loudly,” she said, noting that she’s felt less alone this week than she has in her entire career.

      “I’ve talked to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences, and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. And that’s very encouraging to me and to everyone in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth.”

      Witherspoon told the younger women in the room that she and her colleagues have their back and is committing to doing her part to raise consciousness and create change.

      Witherspoon was just one of the many presenters and award recipients who touched upon the current dialogue happening in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein situation. And she was just one of many who used their time at the podium to admit to being victims of inappropriate male activity in the past.


  61. ‘I know I’m good at things’: Reese Witherspoon poses in a swimsuit as she declares she’s ‘over’ hiding her ambition in a bold new interview


  62. In three months, Reese Witherspoon has gone from TV newbie to one of the industry’s busiest producers.


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