Movie Mom

Two awful movies released last week, “Extract” and “All About Steve,” give me an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics, character actors. One of the best appears in both of them, the wonderful Beth Grant. Character actors are those people who seem vaguely familiar, but don’t often get mentioned in reviews or photographed on red carpets. They play the family members, best friends, thorns in the side, co-workers, explainers, or, often, the fiances/fiancees who get dumped so that the big romantic arc of the movie can reach a successful conclusion.

Beth Grant works steadily and often plays high-strung, picky types, as in “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Donny Darko.” Her appearances in these two most recent films provide some of the very few bright spots. I especially liked seeing her in “All About Steve” in a less straight-laced role.

Here is one of her most famous scenes, from “Donnie Darko:”

I was lucky enough to meet her at the Critic’s Choice awards in January of 2007. I made a short video of her dancing at the party afterward. She was gracious and completely charming.

So, cheers, Beth Grant! I hope you’re in a better movie next time, but know whether it is as good as “Donnie Darko” or as awful as “All About Steve,” you will never let me down.

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