Madonna and Tinseltown

I have been writing about Madonna and now it is time to talk about her career as an actress. Madonna can’t act.

It must be heartbreaking for a talented dancer, singer and songwriter not to be a triple threat but she isn’t. Time and time and again she has given it a shot and most of her movies have flopped at the box office. Sometimes even all the influences and contacts in the world cannot fool an audience.

Madonna first appeared in two low budget movies in 1985. A Certain Sacrifice was directed by Stephen Jon Lewicki (also known for Madonna: Exposed (1993) and Driven (2001)). and the other movie was Vision Quest, directed by Harold Becker (also known for Mercury Rising, Sea of Love and City Hall) and starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino. Both films were targeted to teenage audience and the critics were not impressed.

In 1985 also she starred in a movie that would become a Cult Hit: Desperately Seeking Susan.

Desperately Seeking Susan

A bored suburban housewife, looking to find adventure to her life, accidentally gets hit on the head, wakes up with amnesia, and is mistaken for a free-spirited New York City drifter named Susan. There is intrigue and romance and “stalking”. The movie was directed by Susan Seidelman (She – Devil (1989) and Smithereens (1982)). The lead character is played by Rosanna Arquette (iconic 80´s film star, from a Hollywood family, and who inspired the song “Rosanna” by the band TOTO) and the male counterpart is Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall (1994), The Mission (1986) and most recently the TV series Weeds (2001)). The movie had an estimated budget of $4.500.000 and made $1.526.098 in the United States. The soundtrack is ok, with credits for David Bowie, Aretha and Carly Simon, but the song associated to the film is Madonna´s ´Into the Groove´

Into The Groove – Madonna

In 1986 Madonna and then-husband starred in Shanghai Surprise

The picture had a budget of around US $17 million but only recouped about US $3 million at the box-office. It was  surrounded by controversy, Penn was having a lot of fights with the paparazzi.  Of the stars of the movie, George Harrison said: “Penn is a pain the ass . . . [whilst] she has to realize that you can be a fabulous person and be humble as well”. The best thing I can say about it is that is was produced by HandMade Films (George Harrison was the co-founder, executive producer and principal partner of HandMade Films, a position he held until 1994) and the soundtrack is also by George Harrison, it is important to say that the original soundtrack was never officially released. In 2004, two of the songs written for the movie appeared in the re-mastered version of Harrison´s album ´Cloud Nine´, he performs five songs on the movie’s soundtrack.

Shanghai Surprise – George Harrison

In 1987 Madonna made my favorite of her movies: Who´s That Girl. One of the reasons (let´s face it, the main reason is because it stars Griffin Dunne). Griffin Dune is one of my first movie star crushes and still is. The man looks like this:

Griffin Dunne

Dunne plays an uptight New York tax lawyer who gets his life turned upside down, all in a single day, when he’s asked to escort a feisty and free-spirited female ex-convict (played by Madonna) who asks him to help prove her innocence of her crime. Directed by James Foley (Fear (1996), Perfect Stranger (2007) and more recently House of Cards (2014)) the movie is fun and entertaining and there’s chemistry between the stars.

Who’s That Girl trailer

The soundtrack is of course remembered for including this gem

Who’s That Girl – Madonna

In 1989 Madonna made the movie Bloodhounds of Broadway and then in 1990 she starred in Dick Tracy


The movie was Directed and Starred by Warren Beatty, Al Pacino and Madonna. Based on the comic strip, All Tess Trueheart wants is to settle down to a quiet life with her boyfriend, detective Dick Tracy. But there’s something pretty rotten going on in town, with someone pretty rotten behind it, and Tracy has his hands full with the likes of villain Big Boy Caprice and with the almost irresistible Breathless Mahoney. It had a budget of $46.000.000 and grossed $103.738.726 in the United States alone.  Whether you are a fan of the acting or the plot, there is one thing I do think is stunning and it is the cinematography of the film. The color palette is gorgeous. I think it was the first time something like that was done in a large scale movie, I mean having each scene look like a comic vignette, gorgeous. Madonna did this great number for the soundtrack:

“Sooner Or Later” – Madonna

In 1992 she starred in A league of Their Own, with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. It´s the story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league (in times of war men were away and fighting) and the sisters struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. The estimated budget was $40.000.000 and it grossed $107.458.785 in the United States. I think it was Madonna´s best received role by the critics. She also had a hit with the soundtrack song.

This Used To Be My Playground – Madonna

Madonna has done other movies since, she caused a stir in South America when she was cast as Evita Peron in Evita alongside Antonio Banderas in 1996. She also starred in The Next Best Thing with Rupert Everett and Benjamin Bratt. And she also flopped when she released (along with her then husband Guy Ritchie) the terribly reviewed Swept Away in 2002. Her last appearance on the big screen was for the James Bond film Die Another Day.  She also had the soundtrack song which I personally think kicks ass! love it. I will leave you with the video for that song and say that she gave it a shot, and everyone deserves that, but she should definitely stick to singing.

Die Another Day – Madonna


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