Four days ago this Matt Zoller Seitz/Stormy Monday video essay (i.e, Kim Morgan reading from Roger Ebert‘s 1988 review) appeared on Indiewire. It’s an intriguing piece — I’d love to see similar video essays about ’70s and ’80s films using Pauline Kael ‘s New Yorker reviews — but Indiewire didn’t supply embed codes so I didn’t repost. This morning it finally appeared on Vimeo with codes.
But to be honest, something was suppressing my interest in this essay to begin with, and in fact had diminished interest when I first saw Stormy Monday 23 years ago. It’s the same thing that kept me from staying with the recently released Criterion Bluray of Something Wild, Jonathan Demme‘s respected dramedy-farce. And to varying degrees has compromised my ability to get into The Milagro Beanfield War, Working Girl, A Stranger Among Us, Nobody’s Fool, Mulholland Falls, Lolita, Celebrity and RKO 281.
That thing is Melanie Griffith. I used to roll with her manner and personality and raspy, pouty, mincing voice, but I just can’t anymore. To me she’s always been the ultimate Hollywood ditzoid. Obviously not the brightest bulb and not well educated. (That Holocaust remark she made in ’92 while promoting Shining Through, about the six million Jews exterminated by the Third Reich in the 1940s being “a lot of people,” will haunt her until the day she dies.) She can ably convey hurt, vulnerability, flirtatiousness, tenderness. But she never seemed to be dealing from a full deck.
The only film in which she doesn’t convey this flaky affected quality is in Arthur Penn‘s Night Moves (’75), made when she was 17.
On top of which the supermarket tabs have been telling us for years about her struggle with this and that personal issue that reflect an unstable, uncertain mentality. Plus she has trout lips.
Griffith is basically why I’ve never re-watched Stormy Monday on DVD. I’ve been a fan of director Mike Figgis and costar Tommy Lee Jones for a long while so there’s a part of me that would like to watch it. But I just can’t. I can’t do Griffith anymore.