Category Archives: Judy Davis

Judy Davis

JUDY DAVIS MEMORIAL: POTLUCK AT THE PARK: Sat. June 27th at 4pm


Saturday is going to be a beautiful day! Please join us for a picnic to celebrate the new bouncers that were installed thanks to donations from the friends and family of Judy Davis (mother of Katy Cox and grandmother of Judine, Tots Park kid). We will lay a stone in Judy’s memory in our new little garden in the southwest corner of the park. Special thanks to expert gardener Kory Riesterer for designing the plantings and working hard through all this rain to get the garden ready.
Special thanks also go out to Dan Marks and Keri Powell for spearheading the effort to raise the money for the bouncers in honor of Judy Davis.
See you at the park on Saturday!

Judy Davis

Judy Davis.

I think I know who she is.

Is she the one in the Woody Allen film? Husbands and Wives….

And I think she was in Impromptu with that actor my sister likes. What’s his name?

My mind is drawing a blank….

Wait….

I got it.  

Hugh Grant.

Let me make sure I’m right about who Judy Davis is….

I am.

That’s good.

Baby Judy was born on 23 April 1955.

Birthday website time!

She’s a Taurus and an 11. My last 11 was Julian Burnside, I think. I loved writing about Burnside. Hopefully I’ll love writing about Davis as well.

Judy Davis was born in Perth. Her family was Catholic. For school she went to a place called Lorento Convent. I can’t find any current websites for that place, so I’m guessing maybe it closed down.

Davis later attended The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). This is in New South Wales, so I guess she left Perth.

Did I write about this place before? I can’t remember.

Okay. I probably did because Toni Collette went there. There’s a few names I recognize from their alumni list. Three actors from McLeod’s Daughters attended the school.

Davis married an actor Colin Friels. They’ve been together since 1984. That’s pretty impressive for a celebrity marriage. They did have some problems in their marriage; something that included a court order. Yikes. But they overcame that. And Friels overcame something else…Pancreatic Cancer. Wow. He was diagnosed in 1997. Lord Wiki says he’s one of the few patients to go into long-term remission. Yeah, I’ve heard most people die of that. Well, I hope he continues to do well.

Okay. Now Lord Wiki goes into her career…..

Her first real movie (if I’m getting this right) was My Brilliant Career. I need to read that book. Why haven’t I read that book yet?

Speaking of books….

I’ve decided to stop buying nonfiction.

I read enough nonfiction stuff online.

I think for now on I’m just going to buy fiction books, preferably mostly young adult and children stuff.

I have seven nonfiction books left on my bookshelf. Once I get through those….I’m done. I might read an occasional autobiography (such as Helen Reddy’s) and a VERY occasional self-help book (there’s an eating disorder one I’m interested in). But that’s it.

Back to Davis…..

She won a BAFTA award for My Brilliant Career. BAFTA is British. I just learned that about ten seconds ago. I’m looking at the awards for 2008. It doesn’t seem they differ much in opinion from the American awards. Well, at least in terms of movies. For TV shows it’s definitely different nominees and winners.

My Brilliant Career came out in 1979.

In 1981 she portrayed Israeli leader Golda Meir in a docudrama. Well, she played the younger version of Meir. Ingrid Bergman played the older version.

In 1984, she was in A Passage to India. I sadly haven’t seen that movie either. Davis was nominated for an academy award. So, who did she lose to?

Sally Field.

Is that where Field did the You like me. You really like me speech? I’ve seen Field’s movie…Places in the Heart. Gennie James played the little girl in that movie. James was in the movie Alex the Life of a Child. That’s the movie that pushed me into becoming obsessed with Cystic Fibrosis. And Cystic Fibrosis is why I met Tim….

But back to Judy Davis.

She was in a movie called High Tide. It’s about a woman who tries to reunite with her child that’s being raised by its paternal grandparents. She received AFI awards for that.

Basically Davis has been in a bunch of movies I’ve never seen.

I’m not in the mood to list all of them.


I’m going to see if I can find any interesting info for the two films I’ve definitely seen.

Well, there’s not much from Lord Wiki. He just lists awards. She received the Independent Spirit Award for Impromptu. I’m looking at their nominees for 2009. Charlie Kaufman has a new movie. I like his stuff; well, at least the two I’ve seen (Being John Malkovitch and Adaptation). I also saw part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I loved the little bit that I saw.

For Husbands and Wives, Judy Davis received many awards…National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, National Society of Film Critics….oh well, I’m tired of naming them. You get my drift, right?

She was nominated by the big guys, but didn’t win. For the Oscars, she lost to Marisa Tomei. Whatever happened to Tomei? I haven’t seen her in awhile. Oh well. It seems she’s in stuff. I just haven’t seen any of it. I’m out of touch when it comes to movies.

I think I’m done with Lord Wiki.

So far, I feel this post isn’t very exciting. I hope it gets better.

I’m going to look at IMDb.

It seems currently Davis is on a TV Show called The Starter Wife. Is that American or Australian?

I feel completely out of it here.

Okay. It’s American. What channel is it on?

The USA network?

Really.

I don’t think I ever watch that channel. I haven’t added it to our favorite channel list thing on our TV. 

I kind of always pictured the USA network to have trashy stuff. I didn’t know they had shows starring award-winning Actresses.

Well, you learn something new everyday….

Now I’m going to look at the trivia/bio stuff.

IMDb says she often plays brittle neurotic women. I’m neurotic. I might be brittle too. But I’m not sure what that means exactly. This dictionary has two definitions when applied to people. First, there’s easily hurt or offended. That’s DEFINITELY me. Then there’s lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit. I don’t think that’s me.

Davis has two kids. Charlotte and Jack. I like both those names. I love the second one.

She did Romeo and Juliet at school with Mel Gibson.

Her family can trace their family back to the original British settlement in Perth. Wow.

She didn’t get along well with the director of A Passage to India. That’s David Lean and it seems he didn’t do any movies after A Passage to India. Maybe Davis traumatized him or something. I’m joking. There was probably another reason for his retirement.

Davis was miserable doing My Brilliant Career. Now things are getting more interesting…..

She was not allowed to see movies as a child.

She began filming Celebrity two weeks after giving birth to Charlotte. And in the midst of playing supermom, her husband had pancreatic cancer.

Although she works in a lot of American film, she insists on living in Australia. I wonder if that’s still true. How does she manage to do a TV show? Maybe she lives here temporarily?

All right. I think I’ll go find another website now.

You know….maybe I’ll go on YouTube and see if I can watch some of her work.

Here she is playing Judy Garland. Is she really singing or did they dub in Garland’s voice? I’m going to guess Davis is lip-syncing. If not, I’m very impressed.

I’m going to watch her interview on The View…even though I usually strongly dislike that show.
 
This is about The Starter Wife. Debra Messing is there too.

I love Davis’ voice.

She says she doesn’t like doing award shows. She’s not into all that Hollywood stuff.

She says she’s shy. I think a lot of actresses are.

Here’s another interview with Davis. Her voice is so low. It reminds me a little bit of Mercedes McCambridge. in The Exorcist. I can totally picture Davis and her voice saying Now kindly undo these straps.


Interesting. It seems she never did an Enough Rope Interview. I guess because she’s shy. Maybe I can find other interviews though. Well, I know I found the one on YouTube, but I’d rather read transcripts. I’m better at reading than listening. Plus, then I can copy and paste the interesting stuff I want to quote.

Here’s an article about Davis. Maybe it’s more of an essay. I don’t know.

They say that some critics have compared her to Katherine Hepburn. I can see the similarities…although I haven’t seen much of Hepburn’s work.

About a Brilliant Career, Davis said I thought it was a children’s film. It was so simplistic. What’s wrong with children’s films? I think simplistic can be very nice sometimes.

The New Age
sounds like a movie I might like. It’s by the same guy who made The Rapture with Mimi Rogers. Have any of you seen that movie? It’s about religion. I liked it.

Or maybe I won’t like this one. The synopsis doesn’t sound that interesting to me.

The essay says that in American films, Davis is usually part of an ensemble cast. In Australian films, she’s more often the star, and the one that carries the film.

Here’s a story about Davis having an uncomfortable encounter with Germaine Greer. Apparently Greer really liked the movie that Davis didn’t like.  A Brilliant Career. Greer saw the movie as iconic feminism. She grabbed onto Davis in a party and paraded her around to meet her friends. Davis wasn’t happy about that and wanted to get away.

Okay. Here’s an interview that was done in 2001; not long after September 11. It’s about the movie The Man Who Sued God. That actually looks like a pretty good movie.

She liked working with Billy Connolly.

Davis says Connolly is shy and hypersensitive. Doesn’t that describe most people who choose acting as a career?

Davis fell in love with Judy Garland while playing her. I can totally imagine how that would happen. I sometimes fall in love with the people I research, but then I usually move on the next day when I have to write about the next person.

Davis says she doesn’t spend much time in self-reflection. We differ strongly there. I’m so often reflecting on myself. That’s one of the reasons I hesitate going into therapy. I think of therapy as being more for people who never think about themselves…the ones that are always in denial. I mean I go for denial sometimes, but I at least think and consider the thing I’m trying to deny. I think some people don’t even consider or think about what they’re hiding from themselves.

Here’s another essay. It’s from Bomb Magazine. The author says, Mention Judy Davis, and immediately many women (and men) will say “My favorite actress.” I’m one of them.

I don’t know who my favorite actress is. I probably don’t have one.

I feel like I’m totally failing with this entry.

Sorry.

Link
I’m going to look at Google News. Maybe I’ll find something there.

This article says Davis stars in a recent miniseries called Diamonds.

It’s about the blood diamond thing.

I hate diamonds.

I mean as a gemstone they’re okay…in the spiritual or geology kind of thing. But I hate how they’re used as a status symbol. I just don’t understand all that.

Well, I’m glad they did this movie. Maybe it will brainwash more people into sharing my viewpoint. No, I’m joking. We have all have our loves. I love Australia. Some people love jewels. That’s fine. I just hope they try to buy ethical ones.

Why am I having such a hard time with this entry?

I’m going to try again to find more interviews…..

No luck.

Here’s an article about her suing a newspaper for defamation.

Davis shuns the media. She lives a private life. And that probably explains why I can’t find that much information about her.

Apparently she went to some council meeting. Reporters were there and they wrote about her. She didn’t like that. The newspaper said she stormed out of a meeting because she disagreed with the idea of floodlights. Davis believes the newspaper was trying to push the idea of her being a child-hater. I guess people who love children like floodlights, and those who hate children are against floodlights. I love children so that must mean I love floodlights. What are floodlights?

Okay, it’s lots of light over a large area.

I wonder why Davis was against it. Well, I guess that’s her private business.

She won the case though.

Anyway, I feel for her. I know what it’s like to feel misunderstood and ganged up on. It’s NOT fun.

I give up on trying to find out stuff about Davis.

Instead, I think I’m going to return to IMDb and look at the descriptions of her work. I’ll see if there’s anything that looks particularly interesting to me.

Before My Brilliant Career, she was in an Australian movie called High Rolling. Well, it doesn’t actually look like something I’d like. I just want to make note that My Brilliant Career wasn’t technically her first movie.

My Brilliant Career sounds good. It’s about defying family expectations. I like that. I can see why Germaine Greer might have taken a liking to the film.

Ah! I might have found something. I got to A Passage to India and remembered the clash between Davis and David Lean. I googled that and ended up finding another interview! It was done in 1997.

Davis says she’s never been political. That’s something else we don’t have in common. I’m somewhat political.

I like this quote from Davis. It’s raw and honest. She’s told she’s like her characters in that she doesn’t care about being popular. Davis responds, I do care if I’m popular. I’m just not good at playing the game. I wish I was better at it. I can relate to that. I like being popular. I like being liked. The problem is I happen to be the type of person who’s not liked by that many people. I’m difficult. I’m weird. I have a hard time pretending something I’m not. And that which I’m not is what most people are comfortable with.

Davis says she was frightened of David Lean.

She said she tried on costumes for him and he dismissed them. I guess he was acting insensitive and difficult.

Davis says she likes working with Woody Allen. I have to admit. I like the guy. Yeah, it was kind of rude of him to run off with his wife’s daughter. But they’re still together. Maybe it’s true love. I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m getting tired.

IMDb is working slow so it’s hard to click on all the movies to see if I’m interested in any of them.

I’m going to give up.

Bye.

„In Dollars, It’s much Less“ – Kritik: TO ROME WITH LOVE

O: To Rome With Love, ITA/USA 2012 R: Woody Allen mit Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Ellen Page, Flavio Parenti, Fabio Armiliato, Roberto Benigni und Greta Gerwig 

Woody
Allen, der kultig-ulkige (Stadt)Neurotiker, der, der so etwas an sich hat, so eine
spezielle Art von Humor – schwer zu beschreiben. Seine Filme sind namhaft für
erzählerische Leichtigkeit, weil sie meinen, was sie zeigen und dabei immer
menschlich bleiben. Sie stehen für einen lockeren Rhythmus in
Schrittgeschwindigkeit und sind doch immer recht… dezent? Aber vor allem sind
sie sehr charmant!

Um was geht’s?
Ein Ausschnitt: Der italienische und in Rom lebende Architekturstudent Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) lernt auf dem Weg nach Hause den bekannten amerikanischen Architekt John (Alec Baldwin) kennen, mit dem er sich schnell anfreundet. Seine Freundin Sally (Greta Gerwing), mit der er glücklich eine Beziehung führt, nimmt indes ihre frisch getrennte Freundin Monica (Ellen Page) bei ihnen zu Hause auf, zu der sich Jack ziemlich schnell und ziemlich heftig hingezogen fühlt – oder besser: Sie hat so eine (sexuellen) Aura. Währenddessen reisen Jerry (Woody Allen), ein ehemaliger Opernregisseur, und seine Frau Phyllis (Judy Davis) nach Rom, um Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti), ihren zukünftigen Schwiegersohn, und dessen Familie kennenzulernen. Als Jerry den Vater von Michelangelo unter der Dusche singen hört, weiß der vom Rentenalltag gelangweilte Amerikaner genau: Auf ihn wartet eine große Karriere…

Die Kritik:

Okayokay,
um Lügen und die Beichte morgen früh um Acht zu umgehen: Ja, ich sündige, das
war mein erster Allen! Aua. Aua! Nicht schlagen! Ich weiß doch, dass es eine Schande
ist, und der ein oder andere wird sich  nun vielleicht an die Stirn fassen, sie runzeln und sich fragen, wie ich es soweit im Leben gebracht habe. Den Allen umgangen,
so eine Schweinerei. Ich gelobe mir aber Besserung, denn vor nicht allzu langer
Zeit habe ich es getan. Ich habe Allen geguckt! Mit TO ROME WITH LOVE habe ich die Affäre begonnen. Und nur so viel
vorweg: gerne wieder. Aber das nächste Mal dann lieber in Paris, der
Abwechslung halber.

Szenenbild
Wobei
die Abwechslung immer da sein dürfte, wenn ich es mit Woody mache. Stilistisch
und in Sachen Tempo und Größe hängt der den anderen definitiv hinterher. Aber
die Lieblichkeit, mit der Allen den Regiestab führt, hat mich doch so sehr umgarnt, dass ich mich kaum zügeln kann, bis wir unsere Rendezvous in Paris in Nacht
fortsetzen. So erzählt der Film (Synonym: mein erster Allen) romantische
Kurzgeschichten aus „Amore Roma“, die nicht wirklich viel bieten, dennoch aber
unauffällig sympathisch sind. Etwas trottelig sind sie derweil alle, die Menschen,
die wir durch Rom und ihre ganz persönliche Odyssee des „Amore“-Faktors, der
Liebe begleiten. TO ROME WITH LOVE ist
keiner dieser verstrickten Episodenfilme, wo Person A Person B streift, während
Person C die Schwiegermutter von A erregt, die rein zufällig die
Zwillingsschwester der Oma von B ist. Auch der Froschregen bleibt erwartet aus.
Es ist vielmehr eine Aneinanderreihung von untereinander unabhängigen
Kurzgeschichten, aus denen sich das römische Liebesspiel zusammensetzt – wie ein
kleiner, sinnlicher Sommernachtstraum (bei -10 Grad draußen). Ein Traum, bei dem sich die Bilder an kulturelle Plätze und Prunkbauten haften, und die Schauspieler, darunter Alec Baldwin als skurriler US-amerikanischer Architekt, mindestens einmal im Film irgendwie damit in Verbindung kommen.

Das hat mir
überaus gefallen. Ich könnte suchen und ich würde finden, wenn es um Fehler
geh
t, die Allen begeht, wie etwa die äußerst oberflächliche Kehrseite des Berühmtseins, aber ich bin ehrlich: Ich wurde lange nicht so locker
leicht und charmant durch einen Film geleitet. Dabei begehe ich jetzt bestimmt
den Fehler, dass andere Allens noch sehr viel besser sind, und ich das
fatalerweise nicht weiß, und ich diesen hier jetzt viel zu hoch bewerte. Aber
wenn dem so sein sollte, und das tatsächlich so ist, dann ist Woody genau mein
Mann! 
So also ging ich TO ROME WITH LOVE, um übermorgen am Chateau de Versailles in Frankreich auf dich zu warten. Wenn du mich siehst, wackel einmal neurotisch mit dem Kopf, damit ich dich seh’. Einen Espresso bringe ich dir mit. Versprochen.

****

Judy Davis Film Festival: Husbands and Wives

JW and I decided to cut to the chase and go right to the first movie that comes to mind when I think of Judy Davis, the under-appreciated Woody Allen movie Husbands and Wives.

It seems more significant now than it did when I originally saw it. This may be because it stands head and shoulders over To Rome With Love, so fresh in my memory and such a comparative trifle. No matter, I’ve decided that it’s up there with top-tier Allen; it’s formally distinctive, raw, and often painfully funny. You should check it out if you haven’t seen it lately.

I remember seeing Husbands and Wives as a teen when it came out and finding it repellent. And it’s not an easy movie at any age. Its faux-documentary experimentation still comes off as abrasive at times. The whole movie is just so brown, too; everyone’s in these drab sweaters, and New York has never looked sadder or droopier in his films than in this one. The unfortunate timing of its release didn’t help either, when he was being vilified in the press and everyone saw the movie as a commentary on the collapse of his personal life.

Watching it last night, I was pretty stunned. It’s astounding the jarring liberties he takes with the documentary-style approach. I know he wasn’t the first person to do it, but this was before we’ve become so numbed by the era of the slick handheld gimmickry of shows like The Office, where it’s all style and no resonance. In Husbands and Wives, on at least one occasion a character shifts mid-monologue from an intense personal argument to look directly at the interviewer (and the camera). It’s a shocking, powerful trick. It also accentuates the theme of marriage-as-performance. It’s something that’s part of the film’s larger preoccupation with perceptions — about the opposite sex, the object of one’s affection, the object of one’s desire, one’s marriage, other people’s marriages. And so on.

As we were walking out of To Rome With Love, JW mentioned that Ellen Page was essentially playing Barbara Hershey’s role in Hannah and Her Sisters. It’s a reasonable comparison, but what struck me the most was how lop-sided the film is toward the men in the picture. Page was not given anywhere near the material Hershey was. They’re very different pictures, but it’s nice that Hannah and company are deemed important enough to get the title of theirs. And while the women share the title of Husbands and Wives with the men, they sure are given more dimension than any of the major actresses he cast in To Rome with Love.

I could focus on To Rome‘s weaknesses, but as with Allen’s lighter fare, it announces itself so immediately and warmly as such that it seems beside the point. I do think it’s fair to say that he’s written better female characters than those in that movie, even if he’s able to cast Judy Davis to mesmerize the audience into not caring that much.

Take by contrast, Husbands and Wives, which has three killer roles for Davis, Mia Farrow (who plays another Hannah here, although not a thankless variation), and Juliette Lewis. Even Lysette Anthony’s character (Sydney Pollack’s younger bimbo girlfriend) is treated with empathy. It’s so unsettling when he drags her out of that party more or less kicking and screaming. She might be ridiculous but she doesn’t deserve that.

One could argue the movie offers a caustic attitude about its women. But I think that attitude comes less from the movie and more from the movie’s heterosexual males. And all of them are frumpy, unattractive middle-aged men complaining about their passive-aggressive, sexually frigid, or otherwise remote spouses. The only guy who gets even the slightest pass is Liam Neeson. Handsome as he is, he still can’t stop himself from collapsing into a pathetic obsession with Judy Davis. Meanwhile she couldn’t send him more negative vibes.

Still, the women don’t fare all that much better in their presentation. Davis is funny and fantastic and looks amazing in her perfect lipstick and Elaine Benes hair, but that doesn’t make her character any less insufferable. My favorite line she has is to Liam Neeson, who she invites in for a drink. She yawns and then reassures him with something like, “Oh I’m not tired! I’m just hyper-oxygenating because the car ride made me a little sick.”


I wanted to find a clip of her in the movie, but I think one of the best scenes to talk about, particularly in the film’s depiction of women, is a scene in a cab with Juliette Lewis. She’s a young, budding novelist and she’s just read the new manuscript of her mentor, played by Allen, who’s become infatuated with her.

Two things are remarkable to me here. One is obvious — even as Allen becomes more upset, calling her a twit and swearing at her, the camera never gives him any attention. It’s all about her as she lets him have it for how badly his male protagonist misperceives the women in his life. How it’s beneath him. The other is the final exchange between the two:

Allen: I’d hate to be your boyfriend! He must go through hell.
Lewis: Yeah, well I’m worth it.

She is, of course. And if pressed I think Allen, and all the rest of them, would agree.

Judy Davis in “A Passage To India”

Judy Davis received her first Oscar nomination for playing Adela Quested, in A Passage To India.
A Passage To India holds a special place in my heart, as it remains the only Oscar nominated film I actually fell asleep during. Even the awful, pointlessly long Around The World In 80 Days (which took me three days to finish) seems more interesting then Passage. It’s very good to look at, but the story is flat, and the direction moves at a snail’s pace. Add on top of that some very quiet acting from the entire cast. The story follows a bride to be, journeying to India to see her fiance. Along the way she meets up with an Indian doctor, who she eventually accuses of molesting her.

Judy Davis plays Adela, the bride to be. She goes to India, to not only see her fiance, but to experience the real India, the countryside and it’s people. She loves her fiance, but she always seems to want someone more risky and interesting then him. She’s more liberated in her sexuality then most women in the early 20th century, but oddly, Judy Davis never explores that aspect of the character. We know about her sexual conflicts, but it doesn’t surprise me Davis didn’t show alot of the shadings of Adela, since her performance is on one, long, note.

Judy Davis has always been an actress who I feel never gets in touch with her characters, even her adaptation of Judy Garland felt flat and uninteresting. Here, she never raises her voice, cries a little, but it always seems like too much. Her characterization and the elements of liberation and accusation Adela possesses, never fully connect, as Judy Davis always seems mannered and not to mention, boring. It’s not entirely her fault A Passage To India isn’t entertainment at all, but still, she doesn’t do much to make it interesting either.
Judy Davis’s performance just did not impress me. It’s not interesting, entertaining, or even reliable in the characterization of Adela.