Lady Has No Taste

It’s been eight years and 9 days since the 9.13.00 opening of Cameron Crowe‘s Almost Famous, and the launching of the career of Kate Hudson, then 21 years old. Hudson’s touching, vulnerable, sexy-sunny performance as Stillwater groupie Penny Lane — not a “supporting role” but something close to that — sealed the deal and led to a string of starring roles in lesser vehicles. And as a result of all the stinkers she’s been in since — 11 awful awfuls — Hudson has just about killed the aura.

I think it’s fair to say that the hope-trust factor that every movie star needs has been eliminated in Hudson’s case, as in totally. Is there another actress out there whose name on a movie poster is a more reliable assurance you’re going to have a dispiriting or lousy time in a theatre (or in your living room)? Okay, one — Ana Faris.
When was the last time you saw a trailer for a Hudson movie and said to yourself, “Hey, wow…that one looks good.” I’ve been saying the exact opposite for about five years now. Since the time, to be precise, of Le Divorce, Alex and Emma and How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Then came The Skeleton Key, which was shit, and then You, Me and Dupree, which was strained and silly and sloppy. And then the dreadful Fool’s Gold with Matthew McConaughey, and now My Best Friend’s Girl, which is said to be unwatchable. (Although I’ve yet to see it personally.)
It’s obvious she has no taste in scripts — she’ll make anything. It can be deduced that she isn’t terribly perceptive. It can be assumed she’s not Albert Einstein. And it’s just a shame. Everyone thought she was a huge find and a natural-born charmer when Almost Famous was fresh in the mind, and now look at her — she’s done. Her name is synonymous with mediocrity and ditziness. What are the odds of a director of serious calibre ever offering Hudson a role as good as Penny Lane again? Next to nil at this point.

  • Mark

    Her script and men choices go way beyond bad taste and are firmly entrenched in self destruction.

  • NDH

    I didn’t think The Skeleton Key was all that bad actually (in terms of Hudson standards). A few ridiculous scenes, but it maintained a genuinely creepy vibe. Regarding her slew of romantic comedies however, there can be no excuse. She needs to find a new agent, make some more daring choices and reboot her career. Dare I say “Indie route?”

  • insidah

    I disagree about Skeleton Key. I thought it was an effective and creepy southern fried thriller with a delish gena rowlands and kate was fine in it.
    although, seriously, i don’t feel sorry for her. she didn’t have to try to hard to make it in this town. hence, the lack of passion in her choices and craft.

  • York “Budd” Durden

    Perhaps she just hasn’t gotten a script offered to her from a writer of Crowe’s calibre, or otherwise a part like Penny Lane: A glimpse of a real personality filtered through a good writer’s nuanced lens.
    Her roles since then have been in Hollywood toss-offs based not on life, but on contrivance and artifice. Is she a great actress based on one stand-out, out-of-the-park perf (for which she was probably robbed of an Oscar, too, BTW)? I don’t know. But I understand what you’re getting at here, gruver. After a while you just give up. You just know. You don’t want to waste 2 hours. Life is short, etc etc.

  • cinefan

    If I was to compare Hudson’s career to another actress’ career, it wouldn’t be Anna Faris’ but Sandra Bullock’s. Both actresses are really bad at choosing scripts (especially in the romantic comedy genre). After starring in several mid-90s hits (Speed, The Net, While You Were Sleeping), Bullock starred in the following stinkers: two if by Sea, A Time to Kill, In Love and War, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Practical Magic, Forces of Nature, etc.

  • actionman

    She sucks. I cannot stand her. I rarely bring up my negative movie feelings but she’s the worst. Every movie she’s in either blows and then bombs. Well, almost every one. She was the only problem with Almost Famous; her line readings and behavior in that film was phony and amateurish. She also looks like a ten year old boy. No breasts. No body. She’s all squints and queasy smiles. She has no talent. None. I defy anyone to prove me otherwise. There is only one reason she has a career, and that reason is her mother.

  • swordandpen

    Hudson seems to have the same bad taste in scripts her mother did.

  • cleopatrajones

    Kate Hudson=Jennifer Aniston=Sandra Bullock. All three are experts at choosing bad scripts- all with the same plot line. Cute girl with great wardrobe and hair looking for love. Cute girl finds loves and then abruptly loses love and then learns to love herself. You have to look back at least 6 years to find a role where any of the three have hit one out of the ballpark.

  • JD

    I think a person’s taste in men says more about them than their taste in scripts… and she DOESN’T have bad taste in men. Not only has she dated one of the most peculiar and unusual comic actors of recent years (Owen Wilson), but she was married to one of the most talented and genuinely interesting musicians of this generation (Chris Robinson). Let’s face it, she simply decided — probably because she’s being advised by two parents who know how unforgiving the movie industry can be — to put career before personal taste. And, like it or not, it’s working for her. She’s the Julia Roberts of her generation (with all the shitty movies that implies). Maybe she’ll mature into an Erin Brockovich or maybe when she hits forty and loses her mainstream appeal, she’ll do a string of Kidman-esque hit-and-miss indies.

  • kinks541

    Glad you highlighted Matthew McConaughey, because between the two of them, it’s a wonder there are bad movies left in which other actors can star. Both of their career trajectories look like a line drawing of the flight path of a man jumping out of a building… McConaughey’s guy just happened to bounce off of a few overhangs (“Tropic Thunder,” “Amistad”) on his way down.

  • Mark

    She doesn’t have bad taste in men? Is that a joke? I love him as a talent, but I’ve heard 1st-hand stories that the Butterscotch Stallion is a unapologetic dog, and you would block the doorway if he tried to take out your sister. And he apparently, shhhhh, has issues. Don’t know about Chris Robinson, but Dax fucking Sheppard? Then Lance Armstrong, another dog? You kidding?

  • pchu

    It’s sad to see Penny Lane like this. However, I do think that’s not all her fault. I am sure she auditioned for other ‘roles’ that’s probably more challenging and stuff. But she get passed over for more accomplished actress or perhaps better ones. I think she could have done something more challenging after Almost Famous, then she would be considered for more serious roles now instead of doing one rom-com after another. Maybe it’s time for her to do a low budget indy (if it still exists) and hope that could revive her career. I still think she has talent…

  • iamjoe

    The wonderful and talented Sarah Polley was supposed to play Penny Lane in Almost Famous, and had to drop out for reasons that I can’t remember at the moment. She would have painted an even deeper portrait of the character and the film, while already great, would have been much greater for it. And imagine the films Polley would have made with the capital from that!
    It’s funny, Wells. I was just talking with a beautiful gal the other day how Kate Hudson has done the same thing over and over since having one great role. Which is worse, me talking about it or what she has squandered in terms of film?

  • p.Vice

    No surprise here, considering Almost Famous is one of the worst movies of the decade. I’d say Hudson has just about lived up to my lowest of low expectations.

  • BurmaShave

    It’s been 39 years since the opening of CACTUS FLOWER. Let’s hope Ms. Hudson’s drought is not quite as substantial as her mother’s.

  • Christian Licorice

    yeah but that photo…* wolf call *….

  • KeithNYC

    Howard Stern played an audio clip of Hudson last week promoting her new movie. Hudson giggles about bad dates and actually talks about walking out on a guy at dinner during a first date because the guy was “boring”. This lead to a hilarious and angry riff by Stern and Artie Lange about how shallow she is and how disgusting of a person you actually have to be to do that. Of course, they started to imitate her:
    “…the guy was so boring because he didn’t have celebrity parents”
    “the guy was so boring because he actually had to work for a living”
    You get the idea, very funny stuff. Artie actually called her the “C” word which, judging by Hudson’s words, I can’t disagree with.

  • arturobandini2

    Gag, I can’t stand this broad. She even makes her freakish mother look talented (although Goldie *was* good in SHAMPOO). Hudson’s lack of appeal is bad enough, but knowing she only got her break due to nepotism makes her all the more repulsive. And don’t you especially hate actors who act coy and charming on camera when they’re divas in real life?
    And I agree with Iamjoe — it was impossible to enjoy Hudson’s Penny Lane knowing that Sarah Polley originally had the role. IIRC, Polley had to drop out after waiting months and months for Brad Pitt (originally cast in the Billy Crudup part) to learn how to play the guitar.

  • bmcintire

    I thought THE SKELETON KEY had the makings of a great thiriller, had Hudson not been cast. Everyone else was great, the intial story line was great, but you could tell it had been”massaged” once she was given the role, turning into an eventual mess.
    I have generally not felt vitriol for her, but after reading this posting, I now realize I have only sat through two of her movies: SKELETON and FAMOUS. As for the rest, caveat emptor. If it looks like a shitty rom-com, it’s going to be a shitty rom-com, Hudson or no.

  • ZacharyTF

    I think p. Vice should be banned for life for saying that Almost Famous is one of the worst films of the decade. To quote Dr. Cox from Scrubs: You’re wrong, You’re wrong. You’re wrong.
    Funny how IMDB lists Almost Famous as the movie in parentheses when you search for Kate Hudson.
    Did you know that Kate Hudson is the only Oscar nominee from the 2001 ceremony that has only been nominated once? The other 19 nominees have been nominated at least twice in their careers.
    I think if Kate wants to get better work, she should give the Bootleg edition of Almost Famous to the casting directors and tell them to watch it, especially the scene when she dances alone on stage to Cat Stevens.

  • Yuval

    I was also very much disappointed of Almost Famous and thinks it has a very shallow view of music (although not the worst movie of the decade). The main reason is that while I was watching the beginning of the movie I felt it was desperately trying to make me fall in love with Penny Lane and Crudup’s character, and they weren’t that interesting or appealing. It was like having a friend play you a song he thinks is great and you just nodding your head trying to say as little as possible, hoping it ends soon.
    While Hudson makes her little speech at the beginning and the little kid watches her adoringly, I felt I was in trouble.

  • dangovich

    She’s clearly trying to run down Stallone’s bad movie record.

  • astrophore

    this is something that we cinema-heads have to deal with on a regular basis.
    trying to separate the role from the person, from the celebrity, from the spouse, the moppet kids in the bugaboos, the crappy vanity projects and terrible scripts, the eco-consciousness, the japanese whisky commercials, the sex tapes.
    kate hudson in almost famous.
    matthew mcconaughey in lone star or dazed and confused.
    tom cruise in risky business.
    goddam, it’s hard to think about them doing good work. until you pop in the dvd and let the movie do its job. then all is forgiven. for two hours anyway.

  • JD

    Sarah Polley is a terrific filmmaker, but she’s one of the most bland, expressionless actors around. People like her for what she doesn’t do, not for what she does. Anyway, all hope is not lost for Hudson: she’s signed-on to star in Scott Alexander and Larry Karasewski’s Margaret Keane biopic… so maybe she’s back on the right track.

  • arturobandini2

    JD, some of us prefer actors who hold something back instead of preening for the camera, as Hudson ALWAYS does. Polley’s subtlety in THE SWEET HEREAFTER had more cinematic punch than anything Hudson has done or ever will do. Without Polley, GO simply would’ve been 200 CIGARETTES.

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  • Circumvrent

    Say what you want about Kate Hudson, but leave Ana Faris out of this. Kate Hudson isn’t fit to carry Faris’s jock, and anybody who’s seen Faris in anything knows it.

  • Chapman Carruthers

    I’ve seen Faris in a jock and I can tell you for certain that Kate Hudson doesn’t have the arm capacity to carry what it’s holding.
    Chicks got a dick people. Big one.

  • Chapman Carruthers

    Why the Sarah Polley hate? Are you confusing her with Sarah Palin?
    I have a hard time imagining her in the Penny Lane roll — and not because of her Sam Shepard like teeth, to carry over a discussion from a previous post — but then again, I can’t picture Brad Pitt in the Billy Crudup roll either. I thought the casting was one of the best things about the movie, and it’s the quintessential example of a movie that wold have played much much differently if it were different.
    But, to get back to the point, Sarah Polley has an impressive resume, and her roles are always consistently engaging, at least for me. Last Night, The Sweet Hereafter, Go, the Isabel Coixet flicks. She may have a mangled mouth and no pigment, but I’ll tell you what, neither Kate Hudson nor Ana Faris could carry her jock.
    Yup, still gross.

  • MartinBlank

    Seconding the Faris defense. Yeah, House Bunny was bottom-feeder stuff, but she was the best thing in it. (Well, her and Kat Dennings.) I certainly wouldn’t have sat through Smiley Face twice if not for her.

  • Jamie

    Not sure how big her part is, but all the reasons listed above are why I am terrified about her casting in Nine.

  • erniesouchak

    I wasn’t even impressed with her in “Almost Famous.” As annoying as Goldie is, she at least did a certain limited thing well. Kate’s just another too-skinny no-talent broad in Tinseltown.

  • lonniechung

    I think some of Hollywood’s stars who have very little to offer on the screen are more content to let their accountants pick the scripts. Kate Hudson is not trying to fit into cinema, she’s collecting money. There are people out there who like this kind of shit, who can’t wrap their heads around anything more involved than a love triangle involving Dane Cook. She fulfills a role – it’s not wasted talent.

  • rgmax99

    Here, here on the support of Anna Farris. House Bunny was crud, but she made the pain worth it. She’s one of the brightest and funniest comic actresses around.
    Putting her in the same boat with Hudson is insane.

  • vp19

    I understand the antipathy towards Kate Hudson, but I would argue the scripts she’s offered probably has something to do with her slump. Romantic comedies with a touch of sophistication — the type Kate’s mom, Goldie Hawn, used to do at her career peak (e.g. “Seems Like Old Times”) — are hard to come by these days. Instead, rom-coms are inane, lowest-common-denominator formula written for the adolescents who dominate multiplex attendance these days.
    I’m not saying that with the right script, Kate Hudson could transform herself into Carole Lombard. I am saying that for actresses these days, the deck is stacked against them — as Goldie and Carole themselves would find out if they were Kate’s age and working in films today.

  • Richardson

    The thing is, I can’t disagree with Jeff on what he says about Faris here. Her name on a poster is a bad, bad sign for the quality of the movie. But, unlike Hudson, Faris puts 110% into it, and is always the best thing about the movie. Hudson sinks to the level of mediocrity of the movie around her.
    I honestly don’t think Hudson was acting in “Almost Famous”, but, even if she was, it’s not surprising that she could act like that; that’s how every girl who goes to acting school acts in real life, so I’m sure Hudson has met a few people like that along the way.

  • DavidF

    The Sarah Polley comparisons are interesting because she turned down the role precisely to avoid becoming what Hudson has become.
    Instead she’s directing Oscar-nominated films. Hmmmm….
    JD, however, takes the thread with one of the funniest non-DZ comments I’ve ever read. Chris Robinson is “one of the most talented and genuinely interesting musicians of this generation.”
    I had to take three lithium just to stop laughing long enough to type this. It’s hard for me to think of less interesting, less innovative “artists” than the Black Crowes but, for what it’s worth, I’m sure they exist.

  • rr3333

    I remember writing Jeff when Almost Famous was out and saying that Hudson was the worst part of a terrific movie (certainly Crowe’s peak).
    While she is a beauty, I couldn’t believe a word that came out of her mouth in that flick.

  • Sean E

    “Kate Hudson is not trying to fit into cinema, she’s collecting money.”
    I have no problem with anyone in the entertainment industry who views their career the same way 90% of people in other professions view theirs. As an audience member, it may mean I ultimately end up caring less about the movies they make, but holding it against them on a personal level just makes no sense to me.

  • Spacelamb

    Thanks actionman, you saved me a lot of typing: 100% agreed. BTW, the only thing Sarah Polley has in common with Hudson is that they’re both female and North American. Oh, and Almost Famous is about the only thing in the world more overrated than Kate Hudson.

  • Richardson

    Does Kate Hudson count as overrated? Is she even rated at all? If she is rated at all, then, yes, I would agree that that’s overrating her.

  • pchu

    Sarah Polley dropped out because she felt she’s wrong for the role and doesn’t want to have any part to do with Hollywood. When you looked at her resume, it’s mostly smaller films that Hollywood wouldn’t go near (except for Dawn of the Dead). So basically, she is the anti-kate Hudson.
    Having said that, not everything Sarah Polley is in works. But she does bat a better average than Hudson.

  • Nighthawk

    Harsh, but very true words. Kate Hudson squandered any good will that came from her role in Almost Famous.

  • D.Z.
  • John R

    Harsh, but very true words. Kate Hudson squandered any good will that came from her role in Almost Famous.

  • Arthur101

    Young actresses especially have to watch the ratio between how much idiotic press they gather and the actual level of cinematic output. There was waaaaaay too much hearing her opinions on marriage, babies, life in general…(she was quoted too often as saying she didn’t want to do the whole star-taking-over-life situation, or some slacker angle like that) and in the end it got too thin. The chance for one movie to make it up is pretty slim at this point. She needs to consider…gulp…tv.

  • Doug

    As a big fan of romantic comedies, “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” is a favorite of mine, and it made over $100 million. Kate has “Bride Wars” with Anne Hathaway in January which should be a hit, and she’s currently working on a classy project, the musical “Nine” directed by Rob Marshall.
    Anna Faris is wonderful in “The House Bunny,” and the movie is funny. I saw “The House Bunny” and “Tropic Thunder” in full theatres and “The House Bunny” got more and bigger laughs.

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