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A-List: Charlize Theron

By Sean Collier

July 8, 2008

A-List indeed.

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Charlize Theron embodies the classic Hollywood success story. Born and raised in Johannesburg, Theron came from a wealthy but troubled childhood, witnessing the death of her abusive father at the age of 13. Given a check and a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, Theron found success almost immediately, and transitioned from South African farm girl to Academy Award winner in just over ten years.

Theron's career to date, however, has seen just as many clunkers as hits. Award darling though Charlize may be, she's also slogged through the likes of Æon Flux, The Devil's Advocate, and the unbearable remake of The Italian Job. I'd say that such films could be forgiven, though, in the light of her role in Monster – almost certainly the finest performance of the decade thus far, bar none.

On screen, Theron is simply captivating, no matter what she's doing. It's impossible to take your eyes off of a barely-recognizable Charlize in Monster – somehow, she's just as charismatic as the psychopath as she is as the bombshell. Which is to say nothing of the fact that she's devastatingly attractive; she's the currently reigning Sexiest Women Alive, a designation decided in an undoubtedly scientific and precise manner by Esquire Magazine.

If reviews (I haven't made it to the theater for Hancock yet) are any indication, Hancock might end up in Theron's misstep pile; however, I'm going to go ahead and bet it's not her fault. In honor of drunken superheroes and gigantic July 4th opening weekends, The A-List presents the best of Charlize Theron.




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Tina in That Thing You Do!

Tom Hanks' rock nostalgia trip has always been a guilty pleasure for me, partially due to a cast full of underrated actors usually relegated to dreadful comedies (message to Tom Everett Scott and Ethan Embry – new agents. Now. Steve Zahn – okay, you were in a Herzog film, you're doing fine.) Aside from digging through thousands of submitted songs to find the title track, penned by alt-poppers Fountains of Wayne, Tom Hanks was also among the first to discover young Charlize, casting her in a small-but-memorable role as the hometown girlfriend of drummer Guy Patterson – at least until she's smitten at the dentist's office. This film was supposed to be the launching pad for Everett-Scott – instead, it was Theron's career that received the biggest boost.

Candy Kendall in The Cider House Rules

Here's the thing – I'm absolutely positive I've seen The Cider House Rules. I have the DVD right here. I even remember where I watched it. But somehow, I forget literally everything about this movie. I try to think about the plot, and Michael Caine just says "Good night, you princes of Maine," over and over again. But anyway. After That Thing You Do!, Charlize experimented with ill-advised comedy (Trial and Error,) ill-advised kiddie flicks (Mighty Joe Young,) and ill-advised overwrought drama (The Devil's Advocate.) The Cider House Rules and its two Oscars, however, pushed her firmly into the limelight.


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