Monday, 28 January 2019

Dead-eyed actresses (and, to a lesser extent actors)

I have for a long while been underwhelmed by the leading actresses in major movies - and I now think I know why: because they are dead-eyed.

Why this should be, and why actresses more often than actors - although some actors have the same 'problem' and for the same reason, is obvious enough (i.e. chronic psycho-sexual abuse, which may or may not be strategic - often exacerbated by self-mutilation and chosen spiritual evil; therefore worst in those who became 'stars' youngest); but it is also pretty obvious that acting-impact is severely limited by zombie eyes...

Furthermore, and increasingly, the actresses have 'dead' (i.e. immobile) faces - particularly as they age (i.e. through their thirties) due to the massive use of plastic surgery.

Whether or not 'Hollywood' actresses strike you as 'attractive' is a matter of taste (certainly they are not to my taste - but then they are not intended to be); but that mainstream female stars they do not, and cannot, act really well due to dead eyes and immobile faces is just an objective fact.

Maybe this is a reason why I mostly prefer animated movies? The acting is more life-like, because the eyes are more alive?...

13 comments:

Seijio Arakawa said...

I also much prefer animated movies, especially for fantasy subjects. I'm curious how you feel hand-drawn animation compares to 3D computer animation in this regard.

For me, far more than unemotive actors (worst case, I can just pretend they are puppets), the deadness of Hollywood movies comes from the fact that the puppets never say anything interesting because the scripts are written by committee. So one version of the script might be written to 'sell' to an actor or producer, then a 'team' of 'experts' goes over the script to improve it... likely this 'peer review' process happens several times until the result is unpalatable left-brained Frankenproduct.

Another big problem was pointed out by Hayao Miyazaki, who said "the problem with Japanese animation is that it's made by people who watch Japanese animation"... but this applies just as much to Hollywood. All the inspiration to make movies is being drawn from looking at other mass media rather than the real world.

Also, I sometimes find the very fact that characters in live-action movies are portrayed by famous named actors to be inordinately distracting. Only a few of these actors cultivate the skill of blending into a role in the first place, and that skill is easily disrupted by dead faces or the inordinate amount of mass media exposure used to create the actor's "brand". Not all roles require the actor to efface themselves, but when a role does require it, putting a brand-name actor in that role destroys the sense of a secondary world.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seijio - Most of the talent and genuine creativity has gone into 3D animation over the past couple of decades; and there haven't been many 'hand drawn' animated movies of similar 'ambition' (Toy Story 2 and 3, Monsters Inc, Rise of the Guardians etc). I have seen several shorter (c 10-20 min) traditional cartoons that were excellent, but I see that one I was going to mention - The man who planted trees' is from 1987.

It's interesting that what I would regard as the pinnacle of cartoon animation - at least as regards fluidity of movement - came very early; with Tom and Jerry in its middle ('Fred Quimby') years - that has never been surpassed, indeed I don't think it has ever been equalled.

Of course there has been much better scene painting (as with many of the Ghibli animations) but the Japanese don't bother animating movement in detail.

Bruce B. said...

Forgive the crudeness of the phrase, but there’s a term used in the manosphere: “thousand ____ stare.” Fill in the blank with a reference to male anatomy.

Like a lot of things discussed in the manosphere, it’s plausible but I can’t know if it’s a real thing or not. If it’s real, it could be the result of extensive, degrading sexual experience.

I wonder if it’s the same look you are describing.

Seijio Arakawa said...

I perceive Ghibli's character animation as fluid (certainly more fluid than the standard assembly-line 'anime' style), but I'm aware that a number of people are simply unable to watch it because it's only twelve frames per second (half as much as the American animations), and that frame rate makes them feel like a cat trying to watch television. Interestingly, I do perceive a major 'glitch' with their panning motions (shots where the camera is dragged slowly across a hand-painted landscape) where everything on the screen becomes blurry and illegible to me. Perhaps the distributor digitized the low frame rate improperly -- a very battered and scratched analog reel of 'Princess Mononoke' that I saw in the Toronto Film Festival movie theater did not have the problem.

In spite of the technical limitations, I'm exceedingly biased towards Studio Ghibli as some of their more mythical/ambiguous stories fit into my Golden Thread whereas (for all the prowess of the American animators making it) something like Tom and Jerry does not.

mostly dead said...

I haven't thought about this too much but yeah, I do find the newest generations of actresses increasingly off-putting (this is especially prominent in those movies or shows that feature a number of younger actresses, such as Game of Thrones, or the trailers for the recent Suspiria remake). It is much harder to put my finger on the exact reasons for that though. This industry was certainly filled with depravity for ages, but this is something that strikes me only with the latest generations of performers, at least so consistently.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seijio - I have watched a lot of Ghibli movies - at least 20! - so I clearly like them - although no specific one stands-out as a favourite. But they don't make the kind of impact on me that the best Pixar and Dreamworks movies have.

In general - movies hae never had the effect for good on me that the best books have; although some movies - especially in my young adult life - have encouraged bad aspects of myself.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bruce B - I think the cause is much worse than simple promiscuity, and its attendant degradations - although promiscuity (in women especially, but in men too) is extremely damaging from what I have seen (i.e. before and after).

I still sample some of the main 'manosphere' bloggers from time to time, to see if I misjudged them or if they have maybe repented; but every time I am struck by the obvious mental pathology of the individuals.

I find them so inadvertently self-revealing that it is simply too excruciatingly embarrassing for me to continue reading. In some ways I feel pity for their apparently desperate mental state; in others I am just appalled at the destructiveness of their activity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@md - I think you are correct. It seems to take very little time for a young actress to get 'that look' - so whatever the means being used mentally to subjugate them, they seem to have become more 'efficient'.

Ingemar said...

Bruce B,

There's no need to use the dysphemism when the original phrase "thousand yard stare" is perfectly serviceable.

Stephen Cooper said...

Bruce - for the record, and as you almost certainly know, throughout history, actors and artists have always been known for their dead eyes. The makeup (kohl), the masks (impenatrable and unchanging), the slavish recitation of words of others (think about it)....
that is usually no way to spend a life!

We are exceptional in our day, because out of thousands of directors and actors and actresses, all of whose work would have vanished with the wind in years past,

there are a few who, to the eyes of someone who "judges not the heart" but still can see that look of lechery or cruelty or pride or simple selfish lack of concern for others - there are still a few who randomly did not show those looks, because they love God.

.... It is that seemingly random (but not random at all, because God loves us all) way that a woman who later becomes a saintly mother portrays, in an otherwise forgotten old Hollywood movie, an ingenue who just wants a good husband - it is in that way that such a person, not one in a hundred but one in a thousand, is remembered. I bet the people who went to the plays of Shakespeare never once saw that look .... never once ..... but we who have access to thousands of old movies can seek out that look, if that is what we want to do with our free time in this sad world .....

By the way, when I read Dante, I never forget that he was almost certainly unkind to the woman God was so kind to give to him as a wife. I feel sort of reluctant to go along with his lyrical path of genius, because I know that in my heart ....

and When I look at almost any painting, even paintings by the saints - Rublyov, Fra Angelico, artists like that - I remember how likely it is that they who painted those images, no matter how lucky they were to be inspired by one of the angels who looks at God, were likely not much more kind-hearted , for most of their lives, than the average successful monk or lay brother of their day.

As a penance for the sins of our day, I refuse to listen to the music of Wagner for very long, and, absent greater knowledge than we have, I reject the notion that the rich Tolstoys and flattering Shakespeares - who would have been Hollywood celebrities in their day - of the world deserve respect for the random luck they had in writing something, every once in a while, that is true: because we are real people, who live with real people and, if we love God, we love those people: and I obviously completely reject the notion that contemporary Hollywood, where not a single Oscar nominee for the last 50 years has ever spent a single afternoon protesting outside an abortion clinic; I completely reject the notion that a person who has been successful in that environment has, absent a miracle, any chance - any chance at all - of accurately portraying, with a full kind heart, true goodness and kindness in this sad unkind world. (that being said I believe in miracles...)

I hope I do not sound harsh but it is what it is. All actors and all actresses that you have heard of are or were rich people, and rich people only sometimes have hearts full of love .....

Old Hollywood was just as bad or worse in many ways: nobody cares or remembers, though, because what is important is eternity, and nostalgia and gossipy information about previous generations and their sinfulness are, in their way, the least important things one can imagine: because either we want God to forgive, or we do not. And of course we do, to the extent it is possible...

For the record, no child of mine will ever go to Hollywood to seek their fortune, in any capacity. God has been good to me, and that will just not happen.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Stephen - What you have said is probably true, and yet (my point is meant to be) matters are (in this respect) indeed worse now than they were even thirty years ago; and the worseness is accelerating.

Stephen Cooper said...

Thanks for reading: I do not disagree with what you said .... rereading my comment, when I said Old Hollywood was "just as bad", that was just a useless rhetorical flourish, not a disagreement with your observation - with which I agree - that the worseness is accelerating.





dearieme said...

Movies went downhill after Buster Keaton.