Tag Archives: Sleeping With the Enemy

JULIA ROBERTS: THE GOLDEN YEARS

So many of you will be rush, rush, rushing out to see the new Julia Roberts movie Eat, Pray, Love, opening mañana.  The book evokes derisive, polarizing, debate for a variety of legitimate reasons.  Regardless of personal opinion, never have so many approached me as when I read this book on vacation a few years ago.  Eat, Pray, Love lives in the realm of white female privilege.  If you can get past that, the kundalini discussion is pretty interesting.  So yeah, in honor of Mz. Roberts, please enjoy a retrospective of her earlier guilty pleasures.

Satisfaction, a 1988 cult classic staring Justine Bateman as the lead singer of Mystery, and Liam Neeson as the curmudgeony barkeep.  Julia Roberts embarrasses herself with her rhythm-less, pouty portrayal of Daryle, the slutty bass player in a nearly all-girl band.  This marks the beginning of a string of roles where Julia plays the lovable, ditzy skank.  The soundtrack, while hard to find, contains some memorable moments – consider tracking it down.

Also right outta ’88, let’s enjoy a slice with the gang from Mystic Pizza.  Strong performances by Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish challenged Julia to step up her acting a notch in her portrayal of Daisy ArujoJulia captures Daisy’s yearning to abandon her towny-waitress life by using her significant wiles to leverage her ivy league boyfriend as a ticket to the good life (remember, this was the 80’s).  Don’t even attempt to watch this without your favorite pizza handy.

Steel Magnolias marked a shift in the public perception of Julia Roberts.  Abandoning slutty to play Shelby, Julia proved she had acting chops and gravitas.  Julia’s humility allowed her to learn from those around her, and she obviously absorbed a great deal from the talented cast that surrounded her in Steel Magnolias.  It is still the gold standard for conjuring laughter through tears.

Turning towards slightly darker fare, Sleeping With the Enemy is a well-paced, (if slightly cheesy) thriller about an abusive husband and his long-suffering wife who escapes to reinvent herself.  Divided into essentially three parts, this movie delivers a little of everything: great interiors, a makeover montage, and a well-thought-out plan executed with a little luck and a lot of preparation.1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding still holds up as the best of those misogynistic wedding-themed movies.  Julia brings true star power to this role, filing up the screen with her toothy mopish grin.  She creates fizzy chemistry with Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett, proving she can magnanimously share the laughs.  My Best Friend’s Wedding marks the last film Julia made before she lodged that giant self-righteous rod up her ass.