FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Dec 20, 2009

RIP Brittany Murphy

According to most everywhere, Brittany Murphy died early this morning in Los Angeles. Cardiac arrest, they're saying. There will undoubtedly be speculation until there's an official toxicology report- after all, young people don't normally go into fatal cardiac arrest...especially so soon after one's spouse almost suffers the same fate. Whatever the truth is, it's irrelevant except as, perhaps, serving as a warning sign to other girls (and boys) headed down the same dark path. What matters- what's the most heartbreaking- is that a young woman is gone, and the world has lost a remarkable actress who'd barely had a chance to tap into her potential.

I can't believe I'm typing any of this. I don't normally get attached to celebrities, but there was something about her that just riveted me. There's not much more to be said beyond this is so, so sad and condolences to her family. I'm going to repost below what I put up on her birthday only last month. Thirty fucking two.

Jezebel has a nice write-up.

Y'all, I have an unabiding, irrational, and unconditional love for Brittany Murphy...the kind of love you have for an actor that makes you sit through movies you wouldn't normally watch with 10-foot eyeballs (yes, I've seen Uptown Girls), the kind that causes you to deny all the rumors outright (even when you hear them from a really good source), the kind that makes you sad when the actor's career ends up...not where it should be.

She gets such a bad rap in the court of public opinion for...well, I don't know why, really. There are other celebrities out there raping, murdering, drunk driving, having affairs- yet Murphy is almost universally maligned for making some bad movies and assumptions about her private life. Really, though, that's all neither nor there, and as I said I deny all rumors anyway. The point is, I think she's a rather extraordinary actress who's vastly underappreciated. Once the elder generation of lauded actresses retires- the Dench-caliber ladies- who the fuck from the younger generation is going to take up the crown? It's a short list, in my opinion, and I hope Murphy can pull her career out of the basement to join it.

Yeah, she underwent some sort of transformation that seems, to be, "Hollywood" mandated and yeah, she'd made some caca mainstream movies that flopped. But then there's Clueless (fucking classic), and there's Girl, Interrupted- the film for which Angelina Jolie got all the glory. Jolie's performance is pretty damn good but it feels a bit showy to me, all surface- contrast it with Murphy's turn (or Angela Bettis's, for that matter), where there's a few more layers added to your standard "crazy" character. Watch Spun, watch some King of the Hill, watch Sin City and Common Ground and Freeway and for fuck's sake watch The Dead Girl, a fantastic movie which she (along with Toni Collette, Kerry Washington, Mary Beth Hurt, and Marcia Gay Harden) tears up, and see what you think. She's got range, and she's one of those few actors who has the ability to make you forget their real name while they're on least for me, but again, this is maybe an irrational thing.

She's dabbled in horror a bit, most notably in the darkly comedic slasher flick Cherry Falls, which I really need to get around to reviewing. There, now I've tied this odd diatribe about one of my favorite actresses into my usual content here at Final Girl. Hooray!


Chris Otto said...

Rest in Peace.

Anonymous said...

So sad =( When I heard the news I immediately came here b/c I remember you were such a huge fan. I liked Brittany a lot - starting from Clueless and heading through Cherry Falls, Girl Interrupted, etc. So sad to see her go at such a young age.

Theron said...

Such a waste, and such a shame.

Anonymous said...

You know...I will admit, I had o real attachment to her... she was in movies I liked...movies I did not.

But one thing I hate when a famous person dies is how there are those that will happily declare how much they just don't care. Fuck you. This was somebody who had folks who loved them. And they were important to people. How would a person who can be so casual about the death of someone-simply on the basis that the person was famous-but not actually important to their own lives feel if their loved one died and somebody responded to their pain with "So?"

I'd rather people thoughtfully eulogize Murphy rather give a convicted rapist a new found career in comedy films.

Thirty two is just two damn young. My condolences to her loved ones and fans. This just sucks.

K. R. Seward said...

Also a fan. She was great in Drop Dead Gorgeous (yeah, yeah . . irony, be damned). Indeed, she was a contender as you say and will be missed as such.

Thanks for your post.

Sgt. Harold Lorenzo said...

How sad. I can't say that I ever saw a movie because she was in it, but I was always happy to see her pop up. She had a great expressive face and unique voice that she really knew how to use (I didn't even realize until the obituaries that she was the voice of Luanne on King of the Hill), and just seemed like a total sweetheart. I'd sort of been waiting for her to leave teenybopper movies behind and make a name for herself as a scene-stealing character actress. Major major bummer. I'll be watching Freeway tonight.

How is Cherry Falls, by the way?

ed said...

you can read more about Brittany Murphy's death @

Stacie Ponder said...

Joel, Cherry Falls is pretty good. Not quite as good as it could be, but it's clever and fun enough. Better than most contemporary slasher films, but I don't know that it can stand up to the classics.

NSFW said...

She was very good, and very different, and very watchable, in more than half a dozen films. Not many people can say that. RIP.

Sgt. Harold Lorenzo said...

Man, something about this is bringing the anonymous message board trolls out in full force (not here, but pretty much everywhere else I've looked). So, in the spirit of positive remembrance, let's take a moment and watch her make fun of Ashton Kutcher on national television:

Anonymous said...

It's almost a year since Brittany Murphy passed away and I still can't wrap my head around it. She was my all-time favorite actress and inspiration. She might be gone, but she will never be forgotten. May God bless her beautiful soul.