Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Burning Bed

We have a term in The Boston Household that refers to an actor or actress's performance, or rather the vehicle (movie) in which their performance appears. It's a phrase we use to measure the depth, seriousness and credibility of a particular role an actor/actress performs.  I guess I'm really being too inclusive when I say "we".  "I" am actually the one who uses this term the most, but the rest of the family knows exactly what I mean when I say it.

I coined this phrase in the 1980s after I watched a performance by, of all people, Farrah Fawcett.  She, of course was known for her pretty smile, killer bod and somewhat lackluster acting ability in "Charlie's Angels".  After she left the Angels she decided she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress and show the depth of her acting ability by doing a 1984 made-for-TV movie called "The Burning Bed".  It was indeed a departure from her frivilous Angel days.  She played an abused wife who sought revenge on her husband by burning him in his bed.  Farrah proved her acting chops in this movie and went on to tackle other challenging roles in her career and of course, her most challenging was her real-life fight with cancer. 
So it has come to be that when I see a particularily intense performance in a movie, I will say it is that person's "burning bed".  And this term especially applies to actors/actresses who many would not expect such a performance from.  For instance, Mo'nique's performance in this year's "Precious" would definitely be considered her "burning bed".  Meryl Streep's performances are not really considered "burning beds" because we all expect greatness from her.  Although we have come to appreciate Robert Downey Jr.'s fine acting ability, he was mainly a "teen film" actor early on until he tackled "Chaplin" and gave people an idea of his true range.

Cher - Silkwood
Tom Hanks - Philadelphia
Katie Holmes - Pieces of April
Charlize Theron - Monster
Owen Wilson - Behind Enemy Lines
Sally Field - Norma Rae

These are just a handful that come to mind off the top of my head.  Perhaps some of you have some suggestions.

As for me, my "burning bed", was last night in the backyard.  It was cold, there was broken wood from the bed debacle and there was an outdoor fire place begging to be used.  So this was my burning bed:


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

The Fashionista and I have a similar system.

Full Price Worthy
Only at the matinee price
Wait for the DVD
Not even if it comes on tv

Currently It's Complicated is FULL Price worthy. :)

The Boston Lady said...


Sammy said...

Jim Carrey - Even though I loved him for who he was way before this...Man on the Moon" and later "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" brought out a different side of him. He had a string of movies during that period that kind of pulled him in a different direction.

The Boston Lady said...

Sammy, I saw Jim Carrey in a little made for TV movie during his crazy comedy days. I can't remember the name, but his performance in it showed me a totally different side of him. I also thought he was so good in The Truman Show.