Actors Vs Movie Stars

Written by Eric

First Posted: June 17th, 2001

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

In my opinion, one of the most annoying little things is when someone uses a word or phrase incorrectly to make something sound better than what it is. For example: "I met this chick last night at the bar and we went back to my place and made love." Had sex, fornicated, screwed or fucked apply much better. Love has nothing to do with one night stands.

The same can be said of movies, and in particular, acting. I recall seeing the results of a poll that concluded Whitney Houston to be a better actress than Janet Jackson. Let it be known that this poll was done shortly after Janet appeared in the coolly received Poetic Justice and Whitney had starred in the vastly popular The Bodyguard. Do you actually think people voted for the best actress or their favorite movie star? Me thinks the latter. Whitney had one dramatically light movie, several videos, and one episode of Family Ties to her acting credit and people were judging her to be a better actress than someone who appeared in movies, videos, and regularly on three different TV shows. Popularity is not always based on talent.

There are actors and then there are movie stars. They are not the same thing. Actors can convincingly play one or several different parts. Such as Al Pacino who has played a brooding mobster, a gay bank robber, and a grumpy old blind guy, to mention just a few of his many roles. Movie stars can convincingly play just one character. Keanu Reeves is an excellent example. He has starred in several memorable films, the Bill And Ted movies, Speed, Parenthood, and The Matrix. All of the characters he portrayed are monosyllabic, emotionless voids. The only slight difference is in Bill And Ted, and Parenthood where he uses a little more slang than in other roles.

 Now this isn't to say that actors are more entertaining than movie stars. John Wayne appeared in more films than probably any other movie star, and played pretty much the same independent, take no crap, good guy character in every one of them. Yet he was and is one of the most popular movie stars ever. Fans always knew what to expect from him. He never disappointed his fans by playing some candy ass punk.

Meryl Streep, the perfect example of what an actress is, has played convincingly women of every social class and country. Now does this not make her a movie star? Of course not. An actor can be a movie star, but a movie star alone does not make an actor. Marilyn Monroe was and still is one of the biggest movie stars ever. She was also an actress. Watch Niagara, Bus Stop, and Some Like It Hot and you will see three very different characters. Her movie star is so bright that people rarely take time to notice that she actually could act.

Now go rent The Bodyguard and Poetic Justice and tell me who the better "actress" is.