Spotlight on Short Films: “The New Tenants” (2009) Best Live-Action Short Film Oscar Winner 2010

Short films don’t get the recognition that they deserve. They are often the springboards for feature films.  The 2006 feature film Cashback, was actually the expanded version of its 2004 counterpart. In fact, the feature film version of Cashback includes the full 18 minute Oscar-nominated short film within it.  Short films have a running time of 40 minutes or less, and are fairly easy to overlook. However, many actors, from big name stars, to every day working actors, participate in short films. I have done several short films that can rival any feature film in terms of their quality and production values. They are fun and a great way for us actors to build our resumes.

The 2009 short film, The New Tenants, won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film in 2010. It is a Danish Live-Action short film that stars name-actors like Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Whole Wide World) Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Superbad) and Liane Balaban (Last Chance Harvey.)

Summary via IMDB: A prying neighbor, a glassy-eyed drug dealer, and a husband brandishing both a weapon and a vendetta make up the welcome wagon. Set amidst the as-yet-unopened boxes and the hopes for a fresh start of two men on what might just be the worst moving day ever. Their new apartment reveals its terrifying history in a film that is by turns funny, frightening, and unexpectedly romantic.

It is definitely worth checking out. In fact, here is the film in its entirety. The running time is 20 minutes 41 seconds. And it’s totally worth it. From the acting, to the simple plot, to the cinematography, it’s a wonderful film:

Two By Two: The Revenge of Julia and JLo

Back in the day, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez actually acted. Like legit, acted. And, back in the day, they both made the same crappy movie–a decade apart. Well, not the same movie. But 2002’s Enough was definitely a rip-off of 1991’s Sleeping with the Enemy. All they did was add a kid to the mix. Thanks, Hollywood. Are there NO ORIGINAL IDEAS ANYMORE? What gives?

Okay, here’s the run-down. Julia Roberts stars in Sleeping with the Enemy fresh off of her successes in Pretty Woman and Steel Magnolias for which is received Oscar nominations for both films respectively. According to the summary, “A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.”–via IMDB.

Jennifer Lopez, on the other hand, is the driving force behind Enough; coming off of such hits as Tarsem’s The Cell, Oliver Stone’s U Turn & c0-starring with George Clooney in Out of Sight. According to its summary, “On the run from an abusive husband, a young mother begins to train herself to fight back.”–via IMDB.

Hmmm…something’s fishy. I really want to know who green-lit Enough because it’s essentially the same damn movie. And I paid to see it in the theater. I was 18 and going through a “JLo is a good actress” phase. She’s still a good actress, but she let the fame get to her head. Anyways… Is a decade too long to ask for your money back? Here’s the sitch: Wife is abused by her husband. Wife escapes husband. Husband searches for wife. Husband finds wife. Wife fights back. Wife kills husband. The end. In BOTH movies.

Need proof? Here are the trailers:

The voice-overs for the trailers are nearly identical. I rest my case.

The most prominent differences between Enough and Sleeping with the Enemy are the fact that one has a kid, one doesn’t; Enough has a fight coach, SwtE has a love interest. But BOTH are being pursued by their vicious husbands and take revenge. Grrr. GIRL POWER!

I gotta give the creepy husbands some credit though. It takes a strong actor to play the stereotypical abusive husband and do it differently. Although, Patrick Bergin (SwtE) and Billy Campbell (Enough) both play characters who are excessively wealthy. The difference comes in the snake-oil salesman approach with which Patrick Bergin plays Martin. It’s truly an over-the-top performance. That doesn’t help Julia Roberts performance, which is actually quite good in this movie. Again, Billy Campbell has the suave businessman approach to his character as well, but JLo just seems to be recycling what every other actress who plays an abused wife does–until the end. Then she kicks some serious ass. Too bad the exciting part is only at the end with Enough.

I also think that the writer was trying to play the sympathy card with JLo’s plight because she had a kid. You add a kid to mix and suddenly, it’s the ultimate revenge movie. I noticed this with Ashley Judd’s performance in Double Jeopardy as well.  If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then I don’t even want to imagine what that’s like when a child is involved. Apparently it includes massive amounts of strength training and target practice. Julia Roberts, I’m sorry to say, missed out on target practice. Probably because her storyline lacked the “I’m a mother protecting my offspring” element.

If you want to see Julia Roberts rebuild her life after faking her death, or JLo kicking some serious ass, watch these movies. For the time being, Sleeping with the Enemy is available to stream on Netflix. Just for the hell of it, put Enough in your queue and when you get it, just fast forward to the last scene.

Oh, and as a side note, WHY does every movie that has someone “building a new life” include the painting of room? My guess is art therapy for the actors so they can handle  the stress of being in a bad movie.

Film, Theater, Television, New Media and Everything In Between: Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and honored to get to share my passion for the arts with the world on WordPress. There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with the topic of entertainment. However, I think that there are very few blogs  that come from the perspective of an actor. I’m not talking about your Hollywood starlet or your dashing leading man; I’m talking about your honest to goodness, work for the day and still has to audition every day-ACTOR. Technically, I’m considered an actress, but for the sake of clarity and to not get too gender-specific, I’ll use actor.

Now, for the introductions. My name is Stephanie Gould and I am an actor. I have union status in both theater (AEA) and film & television (SAG-AFTRA) and have been living and acting professionally in NYC for about 6 years now.  My goal with this blog is to provide my audience with a unique view of the industry and the craft itself. I’ll equate it to being in battle (in a sense, fighting for what you want) and reporting from the trenches.

I’m still in the trenches. I fight every day for my career. I want to keep nurturing it and grow from my experiences.  I also believe that in order to grow and thrive as an artist, no matter what the medium, there needs to be a community that is, dare I say it, supportive.  More often than not, I see other artists (especially actors) try to tear each other down and raise themselves up through gloating or a “know-it-all” attitude. I, at times, especially early on, was guilty of this too. But I can’t blame actors. It might come from the fact that we are really proud to achieve something, whatever it is, in an industry that prides itself on being very exclusive. It’s the big boys club. Like Frank Sinatra said of New York, “If I can make there/I’ll make it anywhere…” And it’s true. As an actor in New York City, it’s difficult.

The whole industry is difficult. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. That’s true of any profession. If being a doctor were easy, we would all be doctors. It takes a very special individual to realize their talents in a given field and pursue them. I have a talent for acting, I know that. I also have a talent for writing. In some respects, I’ve been writing before I could actually physically do it. Apparently, I would tell my mother stories and she would record them on either a tape recorder (old, I know) or write them down. I’ve been telling stories, whether fictional or not, since a young age both on paper and on stage.

I’m glad that I get to meld my two loves into one project. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper called the Crier and I reviewed films (mostly) and occasionally predicted awards shows. I want to use that as a jumping off point for this blog. Not only do I want to review films, television, theater and the ever expanding “new media” categories, but I also want to do it from a specific perspective. I’m an actor who is, in general, at the beginning of my career. I’ve only been considered a “professional” since I filmed the movie Dribbles in 2005.

I’ve been acting professionally for the past 8 years or so. And I’ve been in the unions since 2009. However, I feel I can offer enough of a daily insight to make things interesting. I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth.  I’ll relay the information about auditions (without mentioning specific casting people, directors, etc.) and even general frustrations and triumphs.

There is a blog that was acquired by the industry trade publication Backstage called Audition Update. And, while it’s a wonderful resource to use for audition purposes (i.e. where they are held, who is in the room, whether or not they are seeing non-union) it has it’s drawbacks. There is a specific section that rubs me the wrong way. It’s called The Bitching Post. Up until very recently, I was one of those people (although not active in the forums) who, for lack of a better word, bitched about anything and everything that went on in the industry. It’s not to say that one can’t vent their frustrations, but when it bleeds over into your everyday life and makes you a Negative Nancy, that’s when things have gone too far.

From the audition process to projects themselves,  I want to say, here and now, that a bad attitude, whether it is in jest or not, doesn’t help move things along. In a great many ways it hinders the growth of an artist because they are so hung up on faults and things that they might find irksome. The industry is hard enough, so why do we as actors make it even more difficult through self-deprecation and put-downs? I think the important thing to note is, the entertainment industry is a wonderful industry with artists who look at life from a different angle. Why not make it a positive one? Let’s take this journey through the industry together. Let’s review films, watch television, go to the theater and watch web series with gusto. Let’s learn from each other. Thank You for taking time out of your day to come and visit my blog.

Happy Viewing,

Stephanie

For more information on my career please visit my listing on: IMDB