Whitney -vs- Whitney: The Match-Up No One Wanted to See

Whitney Houston 2012 @ Movie Smackdown

Normally, here at The Smack, we approach the entertainment industry with a certain attitude of skepticism and humor. Not today, of course.

Many, many billions of words are going to be expressed in the news coverage about the death of Whitney Houston and the tsunami of social media and no one needs to pile on.

We simply note, through our graphic (the image from her 1992 hit The Bodyguard) that this was a battle we never wanted to see and a decision we aren’t happy to hear about.

Movie Smackdown is, obviously, not about music, but movies. We weren’t around in 1992 for her film debut but everyone’s favorite film critic Roger Ebert was. He noted in his review at the time:

This is Houston’s screen debut, and she is at home in the role; she photographs wonderfully, and has a warm smile, and yet is able to suggest selfish and egotistical dimensions in the character.

Many critics were less kind than Ebert, and Whitney Houston was nominated for a Razzie. Audiences, however, responded far more favorably to her performance as a version of herself, playing pop star Rachel Marron who hires a former Secret Service agent, played by Kevin Costner, to protect her from a stalker. The Bodyguard was the seventh-highest grossing movie of 1992. In the film, she covered Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and completely made the song her own. She also appeared in 1995’s Waiting to Exhale and 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife.

The point is she had presence. When singing and acting. But she also had vulnerability in her performances and in her life.

That life is over. We all know the reasons, even as we await an autopsy report. Does it matter what they will find? The scourge of modern life, addiction, turned her away from her calling and purpose and took her life. For this conflict, there was no bodyguard to protect her. There should have been, of course, but on this struggle, friends and family can only do so much. The news coverage over the next week will shine some light on this.

My wife, daughter and I were returning from a screening of Albert Nobbs in Beverly Hills last night when we ran straight into the Wilshire street closure near the Beverly Hilton before the news was announced. We first thought it might be a film shoot (it was the pre-Grammy party) but then realized nobody pays to shut down Beverly Hills on a Saturday night for a film shoot that can happen out of prime time, so we speculated it might be a crime scene. By intent or not, that’s what it turned out to be.

Even though it was late in her fight to save her life, we all were pulling for her to do just that. This is very sad.


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One Response to Whitney -vs- Whitney: The Match-Up No One Wanted to See

  1. Eric Estrin says:

    If we were to Smack Whitney Houston’s life against a film, the competition would have to be Lady Sings the Blues, the 1972 story of Billie Holiday, another supremely talented singer whose drug addiction overcame her in her 40s. Holiday was portrayed by Diana Ross (speaking of Supremely talented), who won one of the film’s five Oscars that year. I’ll leave it for others to draw further comparisons between the lives of Holiday and Houston, but both their stories elevate us with hope, inspiration and beauty, before crashing ignobly to earth. In this Smackdown, there are no winners.

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