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December 17 2008

Sarah Michelle Can Do No Right? A New York Post commentator hopes "Veronika Decides to Die" adds some lustre to Sarah Michelle Gellar's post-Buffy career.

For some reason the link title combined with your summary made me think that this was going to be criticizing her performance in Veronika Decides to Die and I almost panicked. But then I read it and agreed with what the writer had to say and felt much better. I am confident that SMG is going to be amazing in this movie.

No one can break my heart the way she does.
Hmmm...

This new film looks rather gimmicky--which has nothing to do with SMG. And also:

"You have damaged the mechanism to the heart, which has caused irreversible damage to it."

Seriously?
Well, even though I haven't read the book, it's based on a Paulo Coelho novel, which I feel moves it beyond the realm of gimmick. But that's just me.

You're right, though, that line is awful. I know nothing about anatomy, but even I realized how ridiculous that was.
I have to admit I haven't read the novel, and I may be judging too harshly just from the trailer. But yeah, that line sort of made me shut down, haha.
That line also stood out for me. I can only hope that it was edited down (and edited poorly) for the trailer and that the actual line makes sense.
Yeah, that's my suspicion, Knuckleball. Otherwise it makes no sense.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2008-12-17 05:31 ]
I think there was some bad editing involved, but "damaged the mechanism to the heart" still doesn't make any sense. Aside from that, it actually looks like it might be a good movie.
I think the column should clarify -- Sarah Michelle Can Do No Right Picking Projects. "Southland Tales", for instance, may have been incoherent nonsense, but I thought she was really funny in her role, this ultra-earnest, contemplative porn star-as-social commentator. I really enjoyed her in "The Return", too -- I thought it was better than "The Grudge". And I can't think of a single time I read a review of a movie that implied it was worse off for having her in it.

Rather than her acting, she apparently has almost no instinct for is finding projects that are going to hit commercially *or* critically, let alone both. I keep thinking of so many things that could be made movies that I'd love her in (such as any of the major female roles in "Y: The Last Man"), or things that I think would have been better if she'd been in (I loved what Katie Holmes and Maggie Gylenhaal brought to their respective portroyals of Rachel Dawes, but Sarah could have captured both the idealism of "Batman Begins" Rachel and the world-weariness of "The Dark Knight" Rachel).

I wonder if the answer is television. Wouldn't she be great on "House", for instance? Or "Heroes"? Or as yet another two episodes worth of love interest for Chuck on "Chuck"?

I also wonder if she's free to take any project she likes now -- I remember her saying she and Freddie had a deal where they took turns, but since he has himself in a steady writing gig, can she go back to television or take any movie she wants now?
"I also wonder if she's free to take any project she likes now -- I remember her saying she and Freddie had a deal where they took turns, but since he has himself in a steady writing gig, can she go back to television or take any movie she wants now?"

What does that mean, did they say they didn't want to take roles at the same time? If so, is it me or has he not done anything in years besides this new WWF gig? (or whatever it is.)
Not Heroes, please. Please. I'd have to start watching it again, and I don't want to put myself through that level of torture again. Not even for Sarah. ;)

But I agree with you on one level. On another...well, if the right scripts aren't given to her, what's she going to do? She can only choose from what's offered to her, and since I have no idea of what projects she could have been a part of, I don't know that I can judge it, you know?
The title to that article is *really* misleading. I thought they were going to bash Veronika Decides to Die but they're actually hoping the same thing I am - that it finally gives her the film respect I've been expecting for her.

"You have damaged the mechanism to the heart, which has caused irreversible damage to it"

Yeah, that's just a bad line. But everything else about the film and the snippets of SMG's acting we can see in the trailer look great.
There was an interview where Sarah said that she and Freddie took turns choosing movie projects to work on, and that she'd missed on some stuff (with no regrets) because it wasn't her turn. Can't remember what parts.

I don't know what he's done other than the WWE gig. Being a wrestling booker is pretty much a full time job, though, so I assumed it wouldn't "count" as part of whatever their deal is, though.
KingofCretins: I agree with your assessment. It's not that SMG isn't talented. We know she is. It's just that she hasn't really worked with other talented people in the past few years. I think she always does great with what she's given; but if you have a terrible script there's not much you can do to save it.

Also, I love your idea of her working on Batman. She would bring a lot to that role. Who knows, maybe if they make another one???
I get more of a feeling she's picking roles, roles that challenge her and let her stretch her acting skills, rather than worrying about the money. I'm sure she knows she can make more money if she tries for movies that are 'safer', but perhaps she has enough money to not have to worry about the money every time.
Changed the link description, as its summary of the article was a little misleading.
Oh sorry, you guys think my title was misleading? It's the writer's title "Sarah Michelle Can Do No Right" - it's totally sad but that's what it says, so I kept it. I admit it alarmed me too when I first saw it.

Back to the other alarming thing: I can't believe her husband is now a wrestling booker. How does that happen? Also, I feel that's she's been sad/somber in almost every post Buffy film she's made (with the exception of Southland Tales.) What's up with those choices?
SMG passed on starring in Stardust because it wasn't her turn. That's one example I can think of.
She could've been in Stardust? Dang. I would've loved to see that. (Well, maybe not at the time because I hadn't discovered the Whedonverse yet, but you know.)
Here's a link to one of the articles discussing her decision.
Halfway through the trailer, when SMG slaps that guy, I half expected him to fly across the room.
I noticed no one mentioned The Air I Breathe. I thought it was a good movie, with a great cast and she was amazing in it.

FPJ is no longer working as an actor? Oo
Stardust? Now that makes me a little mad at FPJ. I love that movie(regardless of other people's opinions)and having Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lead would have made it even better.
I agree. I found Clare Danes a bit insipid and think SMG would have fit the role beautifully.

As for this - it could be good, it could be bad, it's most likely to be mediocre. Whatever, I'm pretty certain that I'm going to enjoy watching it.
Everyone needs to stop trashing the doctor's line about the mechanism in the heart and using it to question the movie. The doctor's reasons for saying it are central to the plot, and make perfectly good sense if you have read the book. Also, there are bological mechanisms in the body that send electrical impulses to the heart to keep it beating regularly, and it is possible for this "mechanism" to become disturbed.

It's an amazing book, and from the film clip, it looks like Sarah has captured Veronica. This will be good.

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-12-17 09:53 ]
Coincidently, I saw The Air I Breathe for the first time just a few days ago. I thought it was excellent (if really depressing) and SMG was just wonderful.
Also reminded me that Brendon Frasier is really a fine actor, something you'd never guess if you've only seen him in the ghastly Mummy films.
The doctor's reasons for saying it are central to the plot, and make perfectly good sense if you have read the book. Also, there are bological mechanisms in the body that send electrical impulses to the heart to keep it beating regularly, and it is possible for this "mechanism" to become disturbed.

Even given that some doctors do talk about 'mechanisms', the line's clunky ('mechanism to the heart' ??). That said, if it makes sense by the time we get to the end of the film that's OK by me, judgement reserved for now (any judgement of a film - especially its dialogue - from the trailer has to be preliminary anyway, they're chopped about so much you can't even always tell who the line's being said to).

Of what i've seen of her films so far, I reckon the best work from SMG was probably in 'The Return' and 'The Air I Breathe' (neither were great films though with TAIB especially seemingly trying for a sort of 'Crash' style of 'stories converging lends emotional resonance' that it just didn't manage IMO - the cast was great, the writing was at least OK, the premise is exactly my sort of thing, it just ended up being one of those films which was less than the sum of its parts IMO). Somehow contrived to not watch 'Southland Tales' yet though so that could change (whatever the film's like, the performance from SMG could be fantastic).
"You have damaged the mechanism to the heart, which has caused irreversible damage to it" This line will be explained in the end.

And I loved SMG performance in The Air I Breathe.
@MysticSlug: I think what makes the line badly written is the double use of the word "damage" so close together, especially within the same sentence. Speaking as a writer, it doesn't read well. It makes the doctor sound unintelligent, which can take the viewer out of the scene and lessen the emotional impact. If you say it out loud to yourself, it won't sound right to the ears. I'll see if I can do better off the top of my head:

"Veronika, you've injured the mechanism to your heart. The damage is irreversible."

And to put it another way...

"Veronika, you've damaged the mechanism to your heart. It's irreversible."

I could do this all day, but you get the idea. Both examples start with the doctor addressing Veronika by name, and refers to her heart as "your" rather than "the". It makes things more personal, as opposed to the cold and clinical writing of the line, originally.

I've also separated the "irreversible" declaration as its own statement for dramatic effect. It also helps to put a point on the severity of Veronika's predicament. Basically, it's the old trick of, "Here's some bad news. Now, here's some worse news." House does this very well almost every week, my favorite probably occurring in the season two episode "Safe", which starred a certain Slayer's younger, taller Sister. :)

Whether those attempts actually succeed at being better written, well, I'll leave for you to decide. Having said all that, I agree with you. This will be good, or at least it very much looks that way.
See, this stinks because this is a movie that sounds far too depressing for my own movie-going tastes (it's a rare "sad" movie that I'm actually enthused to see, I like movies to excite or amuse most of the time), but I want to see it just to support Sarah's own marketability -- the more money her movies make, the more stuff gets sent to her to consider. Same as I couldn't bring myself to watch Suburban Girl because I didn't want to watch the Lovely and Talented make out with the father of the year.

And, Michelle was on "House"? Argh, how did I miss this? That's probably my favorite show right now besides "Heroes" and "Chuck".

EDIT: Heh. I actually had seen that episode. Can't believe I forgot that.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-12-17 13:58 ]
Actually, the phrase 'mechanism to your heart' sounds a little too English-as-a-second-language to me, also. Am posting on this thread to the Whedonesque, Veronika, which is a posting to the website Whedonesque on a thread, Veronika, also.
All your base are belong to us !
It makes perfectly good sense if you have studied Latin American literature. The line is from the book, albeit from the English translation, which by the way kept a lot of the beauty of the expression in the original Spanish. I understand exactly what the doctor really means. Rikardo is right. It will be explained in the end, and perhaps then everyone can appreciate the depth of it. And with that, I am done commenting on this as it is a pointless discussion.

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-12-17 15:33 ]

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-12-17 15:38 ]
Sarah on Heroes? Hope not. Having just suffered through the mid-season finale I swear I'm never watching that disaster of a show again. Two and a half seasons I've given it to improve or become even remotely watchable again. I think I've been more than fair. "Fugitives" can go on the run without me, I'm afraid.

Now, Sarah on Dexter? That would rock.

I'll be honest, I've seen pretty much all the movies that Sarah has done since Buffy ended, as well as the ones she did during it's run, and I've yet to see one that made me want to buy the DVD or even watch it a second time. Not that Sarah ever did a bad job. In several cases she was probably the only reason I stuck with the movie to the end. It's just that she has yet to do a movie that really hooked me. It's a shame because the girl can act her ass off.
Stardust? Now that makes me a little mad at FPJ.


Well, now, I don't think that's fair. Freddie's not sitting there like a dictator saying "No! You can't work on that project!" They decided, together, that each would get an opportunity to work while the other would take that same time off so they wouldn't be forced to spend their lives on different sides of the globes. I have a lot of respect for them making that decision, and putting their relationship over their careers.
I agree, Arcane. I was so happy they , the last reason to watch the show was gone, no need to waste my time on that trainwreck. I really don't want any new reasons to even remotely consider watching more of it.

Now, about this movie. I do hope Sarah gets to show some of the talent we saw on Buffy, frankly she has been pretty bland in the movies. Big part of course goes to the quality of the movies themselves, Scooby doo, yet another asian horror remake, etc etc. I haven't seen The Air I Breathe yet, can't comment on that, but pretty much everything else has been pretty bad, and unfortunately she hasn't really risen above the movies... This one at least sounds promising.
Its not that we don't understand what it means, its that the sentence construction (and maybe its the translation that's at fault?) takes you out of the trailer by virtue of it being horrific.
If all my ESL students were that communicative, zeitgeist, I'd be out of work.

Coelho is a great writer--not that we know how the film writer/s translated the actual Portuguese -> English -> English screenplay lines unless we've read the book--and I'm really, really looking forward to this film. Granted, I was so hoping for "Alice" but oh well. Back to Cohelho. He can write a hell of a novel, so here's hoping for substance in the screenplay.

Think I'm going to buy the paperback today. Merry Christmas to me.

All your heart mechanism are belong to us!

ETA clarification

[ edited by April on 2008-12-17 16:46 ]
Actually, googling to remind myself of the wording the 'all your base ...' transcript is eerily applicable to the premise of 'Veronika Decides to Die' (swap 'Captain' for Veronika and 'CATS' for the doctor).

CATS: All your base are belong to us.
CATS: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CATS: Ha ha ha ha ....
Operator: Captain !! *
Captain: Take off every 'ZIG'!!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move 'ZIG'.
Captain: For great justice.

OK, the 'ZIG's may not be entirely apropos (though, full disclosure, I haven't read the book/seen the film/any idea what a 'ZIG' is).

Mere coincidence ? U decide.
One could extrapolate that ZIG is a nickname for someone named zeitgeist.
Makes perfect sense.


... wait, what does 'sense' mean again ?
Re: taking turns- I'm happy if she's happy. Haven't seen Stardust yet, but from what I've heard, it's a love/hate thing.

I haven't been supportive of her recent projects. As mentioned before, it's not her, it's the projects she takes on. We ALL know what she can do, and it pains my eyes to not see what we've all come to love over the years.

I agree that this might get a new audience to truly see her acting chops. The trailer makes it seem pretty sad for my usual taste, but I'll watch it to support her on this project. The trailer hints at what I've been waiting to see of her since Buffy.

SMG on TV? Meh. I don't want to see her as a guest actor. I don't think I'd be happy with her as recurring. If she'd do TV, I'd want her to be the lead. The likely-hood of that is improbable, though. Maybe, MAYBE, I'd be happy if she stole the show like JM did on Torchwood, and came back because of it. That'd make me happy.
She is doing TV BTW. Or has HBO declined to pick that show up ?

I quite liked 'Stardust' myself, it might've been better with SMG instead of Danes but stuff like that is hard to judge (and Danes did a fine job anyway IMO).
She hasn't shot that pilot so HBO haven't made any decision yet.
We don't even know that Claire Danes' part in Stardust would've been the one she was going to audition for. SMG might not've been Evain/The Star. She could've just as easily filled Sienna Miller's role of prissy Victoria, the girl Tristan is initially crushing on, which is a role I can better see SMG in (though Miller was fine in it) for that particular film.

I didn't think Danes was right for the role. Really not the right look, somehow...I imagined Evain different while reading the book and also accepted the drawings/paintings of her in the Charles Vess illustrated editions of Stardust, but Claire Danes just didn't look the part and I don't think long blonde hair suits her. Her acting in the role was fine, for the most part (she did a better English accent in Stage Beauty with Billy Cruddup).

I still haven't seen Southland Tales or read the three prequel comics that Richard Kelly wrote and released before the film came out. I plan to soon. I hear Sean William Scott surprised as a strong dramatic actor there, haven't heard much else about the performances. I still like that guy, even when he's basically playing Stiffler from American Pie over and over (recently saw Role Models--he and Paul Rudd, who is awesome, were a great comedy duo).
Mystic Slug said:

Everyone needs to stop trashing the doctor's line about the mechanism in the heart and using it to question the movie. The doctor's reasons for saying it are central to the plot, and make perfectly good sense if you have read the book.


If that makes the ending to the film what I think it is, then I withdraw my unreserved love and replace it with some mild derision and a roll of the eyes.
If that makes the ending to the film what I think it is, then I withdraw my unreserved love and replace it with some mild derision and a roll of the eyes.

I'm thinking the exact same thing, curlymynci. Maybe that's not what it means? *crosses fingers*
We don't even know that Claire Danes' part in Stardust would've been the one she was going to audition for.


Well, you don't have to know if you don't want to, but I know it ;).
Well, you don't have to know if you don't want to, but I know it ;).


I presume the poster meant it was never officially confirmed in interviews etc .People just started saying it in public blogs and on IMDB .
SMG originally just said she turned down a movie in Scotland and then a few months later people started to say it was that part in Stardust .

[ edited by garda39 on 2008-12-18 01:07 ]
Saje:
She is doing TV BTW. Or has HBO declined to pick that show up?

Well, I think the description of this show fulfills my criteria to be excited.

me:If she'd do TV, I'd want her to be the lead. The likely-hood of that is improbable, though. Maybe, MAYBE, I'd be happy if she stole the show like JM did on Torchwood, and came back because of it. That'd make me happy.
Oh good, Saje's back. I wasn't getting my usual required number of giggles over breakfast this past week. Don't you realize you have a job to do now that I have nothing to watch on TV?

I haven't seen Stardust but I love Claire Danes almost as much as I love SMG. It's rare that either of them makes a movie I really want to see, alas. But maybe this one will be a good one, in spite of the damaged mechanism to the heart. I did like her very Un-Buffy little sarcastic smile in the trailer when she asked "I have to wait that long?" after being told she had a week. Fingies crossed - I'd love her to have a hit!

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