Sunday, July 10, 2011

Working the Poll; "Makeup Movies"

Many feature films offer the kind of poignant introspection that changes your thought process and forces you to confront your emotional state. Others are only made to be seen.

I remember gazing dumbstruck at Nomi Malone's overdrawn lipliner and breeze-inducing lashes for the 128minutes she mutilated the English language in 1995's "Showgirls". But I also remember being deeply moved when John Cameron Mitchell ripped off his wig and smeared his lipstick in the closing sequence of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".

Whether the script was tight, the lighting hip or the characters developed, these five featured films would have been nowhere without makeup.

Dreamgirls (2006) chronicled multiple transformations of the trio loosely based on The Supremes from early 60's monotone skin to the glitz and glam that succeeded the summer of love. See the girls change shape in character and form with contour to match.

If Christina Aguilera wanted to go from farm-girl to stage-siren, she had to forgoe her trademark winged liner and red-lip and get back to basics with satin skin and nude gloss before becoming the star of Burlesque (2010) sporting lashes so heavy they gave her instant bedroom eyes.

Even documentaries need a little making-up. Trantasia (2006) chronicled the lives of genetically born men competing for the title of "The World's Most Beautiful Transsexual" in Las Vegas. And whether they were pre or post-op, sometimes "every boy has a dream" that can only be achieved with the right shade of lipstick.

Already painted before she hit the Las Vegas strip, Elizabeth Berkley's portrayal of a girl-on-the-run had to pile on the product before taking off her top next to the likes of Gina Gershon. Reknowned as one of the 25 Movies So Bad They're Unmissable, Showgirls serves no other purpose than a cheap thrill and inspiration for drag queens around the world.

Hitting high notes and living low ones, Hedwig (formerly Hansel) left East Berlin to live a decadent Western life only to learn that all the glitter in the world couldn't hide the darkness of betrayal. Laquered and layered, she worked every trick in the makeup drawer to become a rock n'roll icon with her Angry Inch in tow.

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