So anyone that reads this site regularly knows that I have a more than average size hate-on for “beloved” actress Renee Zellweger. For whatever reason (and there are many), she just gets under my skin. I don’t know if it’s her squinty eyes, her “bitchy face” or her generally snooty attitude. And on more than one occasion I’ve taken her to task. You can read my rants about Renee HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
Flash back to the middle of March, I posted a column called “My Top 5“, wherein I wrote a little list of the “Top 5 Discarded TheJay.com Post Ideas”, and number two on the list was “50 Reasons Why I Like Renee Zellweger”. Now, never in a million years would I have ever really considered writing that piece. It’s tough for me to find fifty things about people I actually do like, so finding even half that about someone I seriously despise is like my Everest. A couple days after I posted the piece I asked my Mom what she thought. Her only comment was that she would have loved to read a post about fifty things I like about Renee. Being a Renee fan herself, she hasn’t been thrilled about my very public non-devotion to the Chicago star. I agreed it would probably be a funny post, but (not) regretfully informed her that it would never, EVER happen.
So then, you may ask, why the column title?
Today is my Mother’s birthday. And among the things she wanted for her birthday, one was a special column written just for her, so that she can read it during her birthday lunch. Since I like to be the good son (Suck it older and younger brother!), I was only too happy to oblige. Originally I was going to do a piece on the Best Movie Couples That Never Happened. Basically a piece on how it sucks we never got to see Arnold and Sly on-screen together, or Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (Though this is happening next year in Aaron Sorkin’s film Charlie Wilson’s War.), or the ultimate never-happened couple, Rachel McAdams and The Jay. It’s a nice enough idea, but doesn’t really afford me the opportunity to be the sarcastic, cynical dick that I love to be. So I went back to the drawing board.
Then I thought maybe I could do a piece on Baby Boom, which is one of my Mom’s favorite comfort movies. The problem is I’ve never seen it. About the only thing I know of Diane Keaton is that she was great in The Family Stone, once was really great in Annie Hall and flashed a surprisingly nice rack for old chick in that Jack Nicholson movie. Maybe I could write about Hope Floats, but insulting that movie would get me excommunicated and I like my Mom, so no dice there. Maybe a piece on leading men that my Mom had crushes on, who now are either bat shit crazy (Mel Gibson) or just really old and cranky (Harrison Ford)? I liked that idea… a whole piece on cool male stars that have aged badly in the public eye, both mentally and physically. Jokes about Val Kilmer getting puffy, Geena Davis getting too bulky in the neck region (What? She’s a guy, right?), and a serious of biting remarks about “cutie patootie‿ Jon Stewart getting a little annoying and full of himself (Mom loved him in Playing By Heart.). It would be a perfect TheJay.com article replete with all the things I like to have in my work: celebrity insults, bad celebrity pictures and me not ever taking the high road. I was set, except for one thing.
My Mom doesn’t it like it when I’m negative. She still thinks it’s funny, she just prefers it when I do it in a non-hurtful manner. And that’s fair. There’s more to comedy than just calling Tom Cruise bat shit crazy. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ll do some research on it and get back to you. So I had to find a Plan C; something that would be funny, special to her and not negative. And then it hit me. Renee Zellweger.
So I celebrated Passover, ate myself full of brisket and chocolate-covered Matzoh and sat down to climb my Everest. What follows is my (often hellish) journey into my very own heart of darkness, my secret, evil love (shudder) for the Oscar winning actress known as Renee Zellweger. I hope you guys like it, because it sucked to write. Well, I guess there’s one positive thing to come out of this column. At least no one can say I’m not a good son (Again, in your face older and younger brother!).
(NOTE: These entries are in no particular order.)
50. Seemed genuinely grateful for her Best Supporting Oscar, despite having lost in the Best Actress category two years in a row.
49. I like anyone who is in any way linked to the movie Dazed and Confused (Renee had a bit part).
48. Looked great as a Doris Day clone in Down With Love.
47. Does not currently live in Los Angeles, which is great because it means less of a chance of me running into her and her punching me in the face for calling her “bitchface”.
46. Despite being the star of the movie, let Catherine Zeta-Jones steal Chicago right out from under her. Then went on to support her win for Best Supporting Actress, while she lost out to a barely-deserving Nicole Kidman in The Hours.
45. Was partially responsible for killing the career of Chris O’Donnell, after starring with him in the flop The Bachelor. Have I mentioned I don’t like Chris O’Donnell? Meredith deserves him on Grey’s Anatomy; two obnoxious people, making each other happy. I just wish they didn’t have to do it on my television.
44. I like that she doesn’t give people hell for forgetting to put the tilde in her first name, which is great because I refuse to do it. I mean give me a break, she’s from Texas, she’s ain’t French.
43. Gave me the opportunity to put the word “Bitchface” in the title of a column. You gotta love any celebrity that gives me an open invitation to drop a well-deserved B-bomb on my website.
42. Has really good hair (Look, 50 is a big number, I gotta start out slow).
41. Has never done a cheesy, irredeemable romantic comedy. Warrants mentioning.
40. Refuses to get naked on film, which is a conviction I respect in actresses. Especially in ones I have no desire to see naked. Preach on, Renee!
39. Eloped to the tropics with Kenny Chesney, thus sparing us the tabloid wedding crap that most celebrities usually foist upon us (ahem, Tom!).
38. Once called Bridget Jones’s Diary co-star Hugh Grant a fat ass. Which is eight kinds of awesome right there.
37. Is famous despite having the most diabolically spelled last name this side of Gyllenhaal. It takes talent to overcome bad etymology. Just ask our Governator.
36. Gave the world this dialogue jem from Empire Records: “Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior.”
35. In an interview for Cinderella Man, called Russell Crowe out on all his tough guy shit. I’m glad somebody finally did. The man is talented, but that’s no excuse for being an asshole.
34. Doesn’t tan well, which as a fellow Casper-skinned person myself, I can relate and sympathize with.
33. Was the love interest for Morgan Freeman in Nurse Betty and for Will Smith in Shark Tale. I dig that she is so cool with promoting and showcasing interracial relationships. It’s a small stride in a still racially stunted Hollywood, but definitely a worthy cause for her celebrity. Now compare that to Julia Roberts, who sings Denzel’s praises in the press, yet didn’t push to have a relationship with him in The Pelican Brief (when she easily could have). One comes out looking like an open, tolerant, progressive person and the other looks like a fake. And with a slightly horsy-looking face.
32. Looks great in a ball gown. Assuming you like seeing skeletons in formal wear.
31. Got herself a piece of George Clooney and never once tried to push him into marriage (Krista Allen) or use it to further her career (Teri Hatcher).
30. Not afraid to look really ugly on film (see Bridget Jones 2).
29. Also not afraid to look ugly in person (see any red carpet picture of her).
28. Is the other half of the only great actress rivalry we have today; Renee and her Cold Mountain co-star Nicole Kidman. Kidman beat her out for the lead in Moulin Rouge, and then beat her for the Best Actress Oscar in 2002. But Renee bounced back by stealing Cold Mountain from Nicole and winning an Oscar while Nicole wasn’t even nominated! That was a BURN.
26. Beat out Cameron Diaz for the role of Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire. And let me just say, THANK G-D!
25. When she came out wearing only an apron at the end of Empire Records. Hot. Girl used to have a crazy acceptable body, too bad she became a star and vomited her hotness away. Sorry, I know, I’m supposed to be trying to stay positive.
24. Has never tried to pass herself off as a classical actress, and then turned around and appeared in a cheesy, for-the-paycheck action movie (ahem, Nicole Kidman – The Peacemaker).
23. Actually graduated from college (University of Texas at Austin) thereby proving that not all actors are stupid. Just most of them.
22. Divorced Kenny Chesney and called him a fraud. Suck on THAT, country music!
21. Is my favorite of all Jim Carrey’s former girlfriends. I think they made a cool couple.
20. Her nickname is “Zelly”, which rules, because now I can give her the even more awesome nickname of “Zelly Bean”. Jelly beans rule!
19. Looks better when she puts on weight. Not a bad trait to have when you get older.
18. Too her enormous credit and unlike some of her contemporaries, Renee does not act with her mouth (Naomi Watts), is not Botoxed beyond recognition (Nicole Kidman), has not put out dreck (Sandra Bullock), and is not trying to cling to her youth by dating a pop star (Cameron Diaz).
17. Jerry Maguire.
16. Bares more than a passing resemblance to indie actress Joey Lauren Adams. And I love me some Joey Lauren Adams.
15. Once worked as a waitress in a strip club, which is cool because if you were dating her she probably wouldn’t mind if you got a lap dance.
14. Played a believable Jew in A Price Above Rubies, making her the best unbelievably Aryan-looking actress to support the faith since Melanie Griffith in A Stranger Among Us.
13. Has a great singing voice. And I don’t mean from Chicago. She rocked the mike way back in 1995 in Empire Records, that long ago era when my love for Renee was pure and sincere. Those were simpler times.
12. Was a cooler Mom than Michelle Pfeiffer in White Oleander. Not an easy task to pull off.
11. Was also very subtle and extremely likable in White Oleander, making her the sole redeeming factor in an almost unwatchable chick flick.
10. Because my Mom told me to like her. And she has impeccable taste. After all, she likes Hope Floats. Crap! Now I’m getting kicked out of the family. There go my Hanukkah presents.
9. Co-starred with the immortal Luke Perry in the bull-riding non-classic 8 Seconds. I praise anybody that will help extend the career of Dylan McKay.
8. Does a really good British accent. It’s about time we start doing the Brits well, because most of the time they prove to be better at doing us than we do.
7. Turned down (a then huge) one million dollars to star in Godzilla, opposite Matthew Broderick. What did I tell you? This is a smart girl.
6. Nurse Betty kinda rules.
5. Was Morgan Freeman’s first on-screen kiss. How cool is that? I wonder if he was narrating the kiss in his head?
4. Helped to ruin the life of obnoxious child actor Jonathan Lipnicki. Warrants mentioning.
3. Was in a great Jerry Maguire parody sketch on SNL a few years ago, which sparked a brief return affair of me liking her again. It all stopped five minutes later when the sketch ended, but for those 300 seconds there was no hate whatsoever.
2. The girl’s got great taste. She dated Damien Rice after all, which means she can’t be all bad. Damien Rice freaking rules!
1. “Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello.”
I don’t care if it makes me look like a girl, but whenever I hear her say that line, I tear up. It’s almost uncontrollable. And in the end, I think, that’s where my hate-on for Renee really begins. I LOVED her in Jerry Maguire. And in just about everything she made before it. But I’ve been dissatisfied, or openly disliked her in just about everything since then. I don’t know what it is; maybe the stardom went to her head. Maybe Tom Cruise brainwashed her with his Scientology and like a succubus, stole all her charm. Or maybe it’s that she always looks just a bit too desperate for everyone to like her. But I am angry at her for making me dislike her. For making me turn my back on her. She was one of my girls, and now I look back at Empire Records and it’s all just tainted memories.
I don’t want to call her “bitch face”. I don’t want to shake my head in disappointment every time Jerry Maguire comes on TNT (Though that would happen anyway since Tom Cruise is still the star of the movie.). I don’t want to have to hate another talented actor, lord knows I already hate enough of them. I just want to go back to liking her. I just want her to go back to being likeable. And if nothing else, I just want her to stop squinting all the time. Is that too much to ask.
So there, HA HA, I have climbed my Everest. I can now scratch that off my list of “Things To Do Before I Die”, where it sat right behind “Shake Jack Nicholson’s hand” and “Touch Jenna Jameson’s boobs”. Next up on my list: “Convincing the world that Keanu Reeves is the best actor on the planet.” That’s my new Everest. Time to start climbing…
Happy Birthday, Mom!