AND 'PASSION' MAKES LIST OF 12 GREATEST ADVERTISING MOVIES EVER MADE
Last week, a trailer for the upcoming Antoine Fuqua film Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, hit the web. "If you saw the trailer," states Forbes' Scott Mendelson, "you probably noticed Rachel McAdams as the 'girl' in the picture. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate, as she gets killed in the first third of the trailer, which in turn sends Gyllenhaal into a downward spiral. There was a moment ten years ago when she seemed primed to be the next big female movie star. But now she gets 'fridged' in male-centric melodramas and gets to be 'the girl cop' in True Detective season 2, which is quickly becoming something of a career rehab home for former movie stars and would-be movie stars who never quite made the sell. I have written so very much about the lack of female-led multiplex releases over the last decade or so, and I have long believed would-be 'It Girl' McAdams to be among its primary victims. You can’t be the next great movie star when Hollywood isn’t making movies for you to star in."
Mendelson's mini-recap of McAdams' career mentions Passion as one of her rare genuine lead or co-starring roles:
"Rachel McAdams had the bad luck to spring to stardom just as the so-called female-centric studio release was becoming something of an endangered species. She of course came to fame in 2004 and 2005 with a flurry of high profile vehicles. She was, in 2004, a defining villain in Mean Girls and the co-lead in the generational romantic drama classic The Notebook. She had three major roles in 2005, including the heroic lead in Wes Craven’s Red Eye, a supporting role in the Sarah Jessica Parker-led ensemble The Family Stone, and the 'prize to be won' romantic interest in New Line Cinema/Time Warner Inc.’s Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy smash The Wedding Crashers. Take one guess which role would come to define the next decade of would-be stardom. She took a break from acting for a couple years and returned in two low-budget independent films. Married Life was a martial fidelity drama starring Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and McAdams as the would-be temptress. The Lucky Ones (Lions Gate Entertainment) was an underrated and little-seen drama co-starring Tim Robbins and Michael Pena about three Iraq war vets adjusting to life after service.
"She returned to so-called mainstream movies in 2009 and it is at this point the pattern began to emerge. By 2008/2009 we were seeing a real lack of not just female-centric films but movies that required more than one role for a woman matching McAdams’s respective gender and/or age. She is a young blogger journalist in the (terrific) Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck/Helen Mirren/Robin Wright thriller State of Play (Universal) who exists mostly to be schooled on the purity of old-school journalism and she was 'the girl' in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes for Warner Bros. She reprised that role in a glorified cameo for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, because the film didn’t have room for two major female roles and Noomi Rapace taking that slot this time. She was the co-lead in The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2009 (even though for all intents-and-purposes it is Eric Bana’s story) and she co-starred as a memory-impaired young spouse alongside Channing Tatum in The Vow. She did have a genuine lead vehicle in 2010, starring as an ambitious morning show producer trying to work with Harrison Ford’s cantankerous news vet in Morning Glory.
"And aside from Brian De Palma’s blink-and-you-miss it 2013 erotic indie drama with Noomi Rapace entitled Passion, that’s it for lead roles or even arguably co-starring roles for Ms. McAdams. She played the girl-to-be-discarded in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and one of Ben Affleck’s handful of would-be love interests Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, played 'the girl' in the father/son time-travel drama About Time, and was basically the only woman in an otherwise male-centric ensemble in A Most Wanted Man, which was notable for being Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final starring role. [Editor's note: this description really gives short shrift to that film's other distinguished female turns from Nina Hoss and Robin Wright.] Her output for 2015 involves being the one woman in a sea of dudes (Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, and Billy Crudup) in the 'Boston Globe investigates Catholic Church sex scandals' drama Spotlight, being the married former lover of star Bradley Cooper as he also 'bonds' with Emma Stone in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha for Sony, and the aforementioned 'gets accidentally shot so Jake Gyllenhaal can have a sad' role in Southpaw. Oh, and she’s also in the cast of True Detective season 2 as the lone female cop in a cast that includes Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, and Taylor Kitsch.
"The vast majority of McAdams’s mainstream roles in her post-stardom career have been 'the girl' in an otherwise male-dominated cast. That is arguably because that was becoming even more of the so-called status-quo right as she was becoming a would-be movie star. Her relative lack of mainstream starring vehicles is mostly due to the fact that so few female-centric star vehicles get made in Hollywood anymore. There are few female-centric films that get made in Hollywood, especially the kind of somewhat melodramatic dramas or thrillers that used to give someone like Ashley Judd a career. The kind of mainstream films, be they romantic comedies, family melodramas, and everything in-between, that once starred Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock are all-but-extinct in modern Hollywood. The Hollywood of the 1990′s had room for Meg Ryan vehicles, Sandra Bullock vehicles, and Julia Roberts vehicles with room to spare. They were romantic comedies like French Kiss, family melodramas like Something to Talk About, or even supernatural comedies like Practical Magic. Those films don’t get made anymore, to the point where now even something like a female-driven romantic comedy like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck is considered a 'big deal.' [Once] you age out of the young-adult literary adaptations and/or the newest live-action adaptation of a Walt Disney animated feature, you’re basically stuck playing 'the girl.' And just as importantly, the male-centric films that do get made usually have room for just one or two major female roles in the cast."
AS 'MAD MEN' WINDS DOWN, CHERNOV SUGGESTS THE 12 GREATEST ADVERTISING MOVIES
At Agency Post, Matthew Chernov (who a couple of weeks ago included Dressed To Kill's Liz Blake on his "12 Hookers with Hearts of Gold" list for Variety), anticipating the final season of AMC's Mad Men, yesterday posted "The 12 Greatest Advertising Movies Ever Made," or "a list of 12 movies that could teach Don Draper a few things about the business." Included on his list is De Palma's Passion. "Brian De Palma’s welcome return to the erotic thriller genre is actually two movies in one" states Chernov. "The first is a stylish black comedy about advertising executives stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. The second is a surreal horror film about a masked psycho slashing necks to get revenge. Swedish sphinx Noomi Rapace plays a mousy copywriter whose conniving boss steals credit for her viral ad campaign, setting in motion a gruesome string of murders. As the body count rises, Passion proves that advertising can be a cut-throat business."
Also included on the list is Robert Downey Sr.'s Putney Swope. Chernov writes, "Robert Downey Sr. wrote and directed this counterculture satire about a lone black man on the executive board of an advertising firm who’s accidentally put in charge by the white members during a secret election. Renaming the agency 'Truth and Soul, Inc.' the new chairman fires his fellow board members and institutes a policy forbidding them to accept business from companies that manufacture alcohol, tobacco and war toys. Eventually, the U.S. Government takes notice and declares the firm a threat to national security. Shot in black and white, the outrageous TV commercials seen throughout the movie appear in color."