Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Bad Movies Happen To Good Casts: Monster's Ball.

If there's any such thing as an overrated theatrical talent, it's Halle Berry. We all know she's great to look at, but let's face it, the chick couldn't deliver a line if she drove a Verizon truck.

Her filmography is pockmarked with a What's What of Bad Flicks. From The Program, to The Flinstones, from Bulworth, to Gothika, to the dreaded B.A.P.S. If it's criminally turrible, she probably was listed somewhere in the credits. No movie illustrates this point more than Berry's career climax (literally), 2001's Monster's Ball.

Don't worry, this clip is the movie trailer and completely safe for work!!!

I only watched this movie once, in the theaters, so my recollection of it is a bit hazy. Still, the cast was star studded. Billy Bob Thornton plays a racist correctional officer who along with his son (Heath Ledger) is slated to assist in the execution of Berry's baby daddy (played by a youthfully amateurish P. Diddy), a convicted murderer who's Stranded On Death Row.

When Berry's morbidly obese child stumbles into the street and is killed by a passing car. Thornton just happens to be driving by, and takes Berry and her son to the hospital. A grief-stricken affair of convenience develops, until Berry and Thornton discover their collective link. Clocking in at 112 minutes, it was just as boring as my synopsis makes it sound.

Let's cut to the chase: the only thing even remotely memorable about this poorly paced and overhyped film is Berry and Thornton's hot bucked nekkid love scene. The racial implications of this scene in an otherwise forgettable movie, and Berry's subsequent Best Actress award have been discussed ad nauseum, so I won't bother rehashing here.

What's amazing is how such an amazing assembly of talent could add up to such a doddering, boring film. In addition to Berry, Thornton, and Ledger was Peter Boyle and Mos Def. But much like the 2003-4 Lakers, the whole is far less than the sum of its parts.

Despite how truly crappy the flick was, the Oscar allowed Berry to cross over into realm of megastar, and now she's got the ability to get even worse films greenlit. We can thank Monster's Ball and it's inexplicable success for such cinematic crap as Catwoman, Perfect Stranger, and Things We Lost in the Fire.

And the world was truly a better place.

Question: Did you think Halle Berry deserved an Oscar for Monster's Ball? Did the "love scene" disturb you? Do you think she sold out?

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