Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trek and Winona Ryder

So here's the thing about Winona Ryder's small role/large cameo in Star Trek. I was happy to see here, although in fairness, she has never really left for people who see lots of films. The last I saw of her was in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly a couple of years ago. That film featured a pre-comeback Robert Downey. It would be nice if it could do the same for Ms. Ryder.

But what bothers me about Winona Ryder is the way that this one-time semi-defining star of an era has been reduced to a single punchline. The appearance of her name invariably forces a less talented writer somewhere to issue a bland wisecrack about shoplifiting. It seems so undignified. There was a time in my high school and college years when she was the single hip female star of the era. Beyond that, she was an actress readily accepting of challenges. Where a lot of young actresses leave a string of romantic comedies, she left a string of adventurous films - Heathers, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Age of Innocence, Night on Earth, etc. Her career has often been likened to that of Natalie Wood, and like Wood, she made a strong impact on American film in a relatively brief period of late adolescence and early adulthood. That something got in the way of lasting stardom does not diminish her accomplishments. To reduce her to a joke is .... well, I just hate to see it. And I hope Trek is the beginning of good things to come.

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