Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Tribute to Emmanuelle Vaugier

Emmanuelle Vaugier. I absolutely love her. Careful readers (not that I think I have any "readers" per se, but I digress) will have noted by now my weakness for large beautiful eyes and a big toothy grin - guilty on all counts. I find Ms. Vaugier to be, indeed, ravishing, and yet, as we all know - beauty is only skin deep. SO, this post is actually another entry in my "Girls I was (or am) Ga-Ga Over series, but simultaneously it is a treatise on other more salient issues I wish to raise where this gal is concerned - namely, her Work Ethic.

The first thing that I just adore about this stunning Canadian actress is, well, quite simply - her looks. She's beautiful! Cut from the dark features template that God created to torture me with all these years. Raven hair, spectacular smile, harvest moon eyes, and a curvy, but slender figure. Yes, Emmanuelle's not too tough on the optical nerves. But the bulk of this entry will be dedicated to something FAR more valuable than looks (at least in my estimation - after all - looks, like everything under the sun, will fade...) This brings to the front and center stage if you please, her work ethic. Emmanuelle Vaugier is roughly today's equivalent to Cheryl Ladd. By that I wish to suggest that, much like Ms. Ladd, Emmanuelle is grateful to be a "working actress", not inhibited by ego, pride, or vanity, she simply takes one project after another. Both actresses willingly went from A-list Television shows to B-list movies and back again no worse for the wear. And, above all else, they did so with grace and real talent. Indeed, Emmanuel Vaugier has serious acting chops. Remarkably adept at comedy (which is ridiculously hard) and uncommonly skilled at dramatic roles, it would seem that she can do it all and do it all easily (or create the illusion that it's easy - the mark of any good actor) simple verisimilitude. We believer her.

When one stops to consider the ridiculously shallow and materialistic lives many very fortunate and privileged celebrities often lead, it is a crime that they squander their image and "success" - winding up stupid, drug-addicted, jailed, vapid, materialistic culture industry whores, (do I really need to name names here, [Paris Hilton] just steal a peak at the rack while your groceries are being rung up). I am not suggesting that being a high-profile celebrity is "easy" - I can only imagine the torments they suffer having completely jettisoned any chance of a "private life". But, in my book, that's a poor excuse for sheer idiotic behavior, the best celebs (often, the most cerebral ones) know how to use the media and paparazzi to their advantage. I often think that these tragic, idiotic celebrities maybe just need a dose of critical thinking skills - perhaps they should just go to college. Learn how to think for themselves about something other than wealth and materialism. Well, Emmanuelle seems truly grateful for her successes (click her name at the top and see her resume - she takes on projects that are, shall we say, not exactly on a par with her talent, but does so anyway and emerges UNSCATHED every damn time). Without fear or consideration of what this project will "do to her career". She just plows ahead fearlessly. I can't tell you how much I admire this. Let's take for example, House of the Dead 2.

House of the Dead 2 is a pretty poor film. Why is it a pretty poor film? Well, it doesn't hold up well against the standard criterions used to evaluate narrative cinema, especially well-defined genres. The plot and story are built upon extremely standard narrative tropes found within the horror genre. The conventions of the zombie sub-genre are also not too subtly deployed, in fact there's nothing remotely "new" or "fresh" about this movie. The script is weak, the dialogue is often classically "on the nose", the story and visuals lack vision and imagination, and the acting is heavily transapant. To compound this, the characters are archetypes built up of stereotypes. Macho idiots babble "macho idiot" throwaway lines, stuff like - "I'd stick my dick in her, but I'm afraid of what might happen." (referring to a recently killed, naked, zomibe girl). Or, of course, there's my favorite line in the whole film, which Emmanuelle has to choke out. She talks about developing antibodies for the zombie "virus" and states "...If we're lucky, the zombie plague will end up as a footnote in the history books, no worse than AIDS or the Bubonic Plague." Huh? No worse than AIDS of the BUBONIC PLAGUE? As much as I love Emmanuelle, I wonder just how she could say that line with a straight face. "Hey, this guy here wasn't so bad, no worse than Hitler or Pol Pot. How does a line like that make it into a shooting script???? The Black Death reduced the world's population by over a THIRD. We're talking like 200,000 million people. I don't know about you, but if someone told me something wasn't gonna be much worse than AIDS or the fucking Plague, I'd be well on my way to finding the remotest place in the world I could find. Anyways, enough of House of the Dead 2. It's just that it's, sadly, a very very flawed film. Not even the dream team of Sid Haig and Emmanuelle Vaugier can save this enjoyable turkey. What's of importance to me - is that she made it. Credit the producers/casting director/whoever is responsible for approaching her to be in the film. She's the only reason I own it. I'm loyal.

Here's a great scene from Charlie Sheen's Two and a Half Men: Emmanuelle is flawless and has great chemistry with Sheen, who, is always excellent.

I'm always interested in what she's doing and will watch ANYTHING she's in. When I love a celeb, I'm in for a penny in for a pound. Keep up the great work Emmanuelle, you have a lot of fans, I number myself among the more dedicated variety.


ewaffle said...


Rereading your post on Emmanuelle Vaugier, especially the last paragraph, I was reminded of my attitude toward Hong Kong actress Teresa Mak Ga-Kei. Like you with Emmanuelle I will seek out and watch anything I can find with her. She isn’t a star in Hong Kong, typically getting roles such as the leading lady’s best friend (Shu Qi, “Love Me, Love Me Money”), part of a good ensemble cast (“Sexy and Dangerous”, “Martial Angels”), part of a really terrible ensemble (“Brush Up My Sisters”) or even as the toplined star, the one who keeps her clothing on, in some Category III dreck (“Tortured Sex Goddess of the Ming Dynasty”). I am not making up that last title.

She shares some of Emmanuelle Vaugier’s characteristics: great physical beauty, extraordinary screen presence and a willingness to work whenever given the chance. She appeared in 49 movies from Hong Kong between 1994 and 2006. While that is not extremely busy by Hong Kong standards it is, along with shooting at least one television series. Teresa Mak often plays street wise, tough talking characters with a heart of gold—and always does it well.

She is one of the actresses whose fan I became the first or second time I saw her in a role. While it is difficult to pin down why such artists appeal to strongly—at least I find it so—you have gone a long way in helping define that indefinable something that they have.

Chick Young said...

Eduardo - many thanks for your astute observations! And special thanks for your kind words regarding my prose. I am not familiar with Teresa but will seek her out right now. I am always in awe of your knowledge and wisdom on all things - but when it comes to Chinese and Hong Kong cinema, you are nearly without peers. Thanks for frequenting my blog, which is purposely made up light fluffy reading - I engage in the opposite all too frequently these days.