Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Kelly McGillis: Quintessential Natural Beauty

14 Oct

Kelly was my first major film crush. Seeing her on the big screen in Peter Weir’s classic Witness with Harrison Ford, I was immediately enchanted. There’s something about the intimacy created when you see a beautiful woman on a 40-foot high screen.

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For me at least, Kelly was the answer to a young boy’s conception of qualities the perfect woman embodied. Qualities like wholesomeness, integrity, intelligence and a smile that lights up an entire room. Kelly has all of these qualities, both as an actress and a person. She’s persevered through so much pain in her life, that for me her inner beauty transcends time.

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Witness was a beautiful film with a timeless love story. A spin on the city boy meets country girl with a great thrill-ride built in. John Book (Harrison Ford) shows incredible restraint when he comes up against the raw sexuality of Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis) in her natural environs – a natural beauty with a tranquility and grace that has been rarely portrayed as poignantly as in this 1985 film.

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The story is deceptively simple with an ending that is foreshadowed but no less heartbreaking when it arrives. This is one of my favorite films because it captures the chemistry of two on-screen lovers in scenes that are as straightforward as they are magical. Ford turns in an amazingly understated yet powerful performance. McGillis, however, is the heart and soul of the movie and her ability to convey innocence simultaneously with strength and sexual yearning is sublime. Can you tell I’m biased?

By comparison, Top Gun with Kelly and Tom Cruise is a dated and contrived affair. A vehicle for two stars who have limited on-screen chemistry. There are many reasons, not the least of which Kelly towers over Cruise both in stature and acting ability. She literally had to crouch through most of the movie, so as not to appear taller than her leading man. Tom doesn’t help things either, with a super-macho performance that leaves no room for subtlety. Yet as mismatched as they are, there’s still enough steamy scenes that are enjoyable to watch. And Kelly’s long blonde tresses and come hither stare never disappoint.

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Kelly McGillis will always be one of my favorite leading ladies. My early cinematic crush has grown into a long-lived admiration for an actress who has endured a lot and still come out on top, in life if not on-screen. That said, I hope to see more of her in the movie theater and on TV in the years to come. Until then, we’ll always have Witness.

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Nicole Kidman: To Die For And More

27 May

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My fascination for Nicole goes way, way back. The impossibly beautiful Aussie found her way predominantly as an Irish Lassie in FAR AND AWAY with Tom Cruise, her future and past husband. Directed by Ron “Ritchie” Howard, the move was a wonderful frame for the redhair-flamed Nicole. Not only did America fall madly in love with her, but supposedly her leading man lost his mind for as well. Hindsight being 20/20, I think he saw what a star she was destined to be and fell in with the Nicole love-fest more than the purported on-screen shenanigans.

I love Nicole and have no doubt that what she found with TC was true love…for her. Just like I have no doubt that she loved him up to the very moment he served her divorce papers through his attorneys (classy, Tom). Now, how you divorce a woman as beautiful, talented and loving as Ms. Kidman is way beyond my comprehension. Your truly would probably die of a heart attack if he ever MET Nicole, let alone was lucky enough to be with her. It would be like lassoing that full moon for Donna Reed in ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE and living happily ever after in Bedford Falls, but I digress.

Nicole is one of the sexiest leading ladies ever to bare her bum on the silver screen. And what a bum she has! From BILLY BATHGATE to DEAD CALM, MALICE to COLD MOUNTAIN, BIRTH and TO DIE FOR and the upcoming PAPER BOY, Nicole has never been shy (thank god) showing off her amazing natural assets. It’s this kind of courage and talent that makes watching her movies – even AUSTRALIA with Hugh Jackman – such a distinct pleasure. It’s not that she gets naked as much as she gets naked with the intensity and conviction of every character she portrays being a fully-realized human being. Now, that is sexy and lasting.

One of my favorite movies of Nicole’s is THE OTHERS. I love everything about the film: the atmospheric ghost-story is a tour de force for Nicole. She can portray period characters better than virtually any actress ever to grace the silver screen – due in no small measure because her beauty transcends time and space. Nicole has THE FACE the Divine One, Greta Garbo, had and the knockout, lean and lanky body the Swedish Sphinx slinked around in portraying a vamp in the 30’s Pre-Code extravaganzas. Yet even when Nicole is buttoned-up in a ghostly mansion in The Others, she is sensuous and intimate. The immediacy of her acting has an uncanny spontaneity and naturalness that belies the process of moviemaking. How she does it time and again is a wonderful mystery, instinctual and meticulous at the same time. In short, Nicole is a natural actress who has cultivated her craft over the last twenty years and will be remembered as one of the greatest movie stars ever to grace the medium.

Now, here’s the kicker: Nicole Kidman is getting better with age. She is as sexy, magnetic and irresistible now as she has ever been. Most actresses careers begin to fade in their late thirties and early forties. Not Nicole. I truly believe she will be beguiling audiences for decades to come, with her natural beauty and sophisticated style. She’s just so damn beautiful and talented that we’ll be ogling this beauty well into her 60’s. And if the fates allow, I’ll still have my opportunity to meet her, Keith Urban be damned – and finally fall on bended knee in front of my favorite Irish/Aussie rose.