Latest vs. Greatest looks at directors, actors, actresses, screenwriters and composers to assess the state of their career as it stands. We’ll look back at the latest 10 movies the artist has done, rate them and then average them out to see where they stand today. We’ll also rank their 10 greatest movies and give them the same treatment to compare what they have been doing to their very best work. (A quick side-note: if an artist is/has been a regular on a TV show we’ll also grade the seasons individually; artists need 10 projects to qualify).
Angelina Jolie is the first actress that we’ve examined in this column and, I swear, it’s not for lack of trying on my part. In doing research for these columns (which amounts to compiling a list of movies and watching them all), you can clearly see the gender bias in Hollywood. There are few parts for women to showcase their talent outside of the “Oscar Window” and even then there are maybe six or seven who have most of them already nailed down. Name a single actress that pulls people into a theater. Go on. If Denzel Washington opens a movie, a fan base comes. Guaranteed. You cannot make that claim about a single actress. Jennifer Lawrence is close, but she needs to show she can open a movie without a bow or being in blue make-up. The closest thing Hollywood has to a superstar, box office draw actress is Angelina Jolie.Jolie is not, in my opinion, a great actress. She’s not on the level of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman or Emma Thompson, who I think are the three greatest working actresses who are not Maggie Smith (I have a Maggie Smith fixation insomuch that if there is a fan club with t-shirts, I want to be in it).
Jolie makes the news far more for things that have nothing to do with her movies than actually acting. Either she’s adding another child to her private collection or, more recently, for her brave decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy. Breast cancer has taken members of my family and her high-profile decision to take that bold step will, I hope, encourage other women at high risk to follow her lead. In saying that, I do so without my usual degree of ironic snark. I admire her tremendously for what she did and how she did it and I wish her good health to an old age.
This column is about a person’s movie career, though, so we’ll stay on track from hence forward. Jolie is the daughter of Jon Voight (how did something that good-looking come from something that…not?) and won an Oscar very early in her career for Girl, Interrupted. From there she has largely made a career as the leading actress for action movies. Beginning with the two Tomb Raider films (which are crap but you have to admit, she eerily looks the part) and continuing with films like Wanted and Salt, she’s most bankable as the leading lady in a film where things ‘splode.
Though she won her Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, she occasionally does stretch herself beyond action films and voice work (where she’s found another franchise in Kung Fu Panda) and when she does, you see the talent behind the glitz. I think her two strongest performances are, though, in movies where the rest of the film was not as strong as her: Changeling and A Mighty Heart.
Let’s look at the last ten films she’s made (and because of her gaggle of kids, she doesn’t work as often as most actresses…which is how I was able to catch up with her movies).
JOLIE’S LATEST TEN:
1. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)…….7.00
2. The Tourist (2011)………………..3.50
3. Salt (2010)………………………………..7.25
4. Wanted (2008)……………………….9.00
5. Changeling (2008)…………………7.50
6. Kung Fu Panda (2008)…………8.50
7. Beowulf (2007)……………………….7.25
8. A Mighty Heart (2007)…………6.25
9. The Good Shepherd (2006)..4.75
10. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)…….5.50
ANGELINA JOLIE‘S CURRENT AVERAGE: 6.650
(Higher than Brad Pitt‘s if she wants to brag at home)
Because she’s fairly choosy, she hasn’t been in too many horrid films (though I wanted to konk out during The Tourist), but she also hasn’t been in any films that are particularly great. Wanted is a film people either love or hate. I hate the comic series it’s based on, but love the movie. I think it, actually, is the best movie she’s ever been in as you can see below in her greatest ten.
JOLIE’S GREATEST TEN
Kung Fu Panda (2008)……….8.50
Girl, Interrupted (1999)…….7.50
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)…….7.00
The Bone Collector (1999)..6.50
A Mighty Heart (2007)………..6.25
Gone in 60 Seconds (2004)..6.00
ANGELINA JOLIE’S GREATEST AVERAGE: 6.675
Lowest yet; first actress reviewed
Three of her greatest films are for voice work, and her career average is a little better than “rotten” on the Rotten Tomatoes scale of looking at things. She doesn’t have a particularly impressive body of work despite her draw and her celebrity. Her next film is extremely intriguing in that it has the potential to be the film that defines her career and tops this list or ruins the greatest Disney villain of all-time as she stars in the live-action Maleficent next summer. After that, she’s loosely attached to a sequel to Salt and the inevitable Kung Fu Panda 3.
I want to see more of the potential that came out in Changeling and A Mighty Heart. Perhaps, with age, and a little less tabloid fuss, she can decide if she wants to make a go at more serious films. I think she’d surprise people with what she could do. I’ve seen glimpses of it. In the first bit of footage from Maleficent, she looks every bit the part and there’s certainly potential, but if you look at her body of work as it stands today (Oscar or no), it’s not a particularly impressive bunch of films.
- Angelina Jolie: From sex symbol to cancer crusader (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Angelina Jolie: ‘Maleficent’ Teaser Trailer with Daughter Vivienne! (justjared.com)
- Angelina Jolie Is Stunningly-Scary in Disney ‘Maleficent’ Poster (Photo) (thewrap.com)