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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Respect that actor! #1

#1: Sharon Stone

People don't like to admit they like Sharon Stone. Which is a shame. There's no doubt about it, she's starred in some absolutely trogloditic, god-awful, films (Diabolique is diabolical, Gloria is far from glorious, and let's just forget about Catwoman) but yet she maintains this refreshing 'fuck you' attitude which many actresses aspire to but never achieve. I use the term 'actress' very carefully: had she been born twenty years earlier, I truly believe Ms. Stone would've been regarded as something quite special. Instead she'll be forever synonymous with puerile trash; someone who cemented her stardom by flashing her flange.

If all she's remembered for after she's gone is Basic Instinct I don't think that's entirely a bad thing. Even with the proposed (and admittedly limp) sequel, Catherine Tramell is a character so universally-recognised people actually view Stone as this person. And that's the mark of a job well done, to still have a role permeate into popular society over a decade after its release. Let's get one thing straight, though, Basic Instinct is a far from perfect film but it's no Showgirls: it's shameless entertainment. People forget the sleaze is deliberate and this in vein feel free to lord superiority over it and Stone's performance. It's the same with Total Recall -another Verhoeven film in which she gets her groove on sufficiently well. But throw in Arnie, a three-breasted woman, and a guy with another guy sticking out of his chest and it must be dumb, right? Wrong.

If Sharon Stone is good enough for Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese, she's good enough for me. Broken Flowers and Casino were certainly uncharted territory, but both roles demonstrate an underlying grace and versatility to her abilites as an actress. So even if Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction flops -which I'm sure it will- and serves as the lid on her prematurely assembled coffin, don't feel bad for Sharon. Just consider it a divorce.

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