Thursday, April 3, 2008

Jessica Biel vs. Kristy Swanson

We are not here to argue which is the more talented actress, or which is the more attractive woman. What we are examining is the overall body of work both Jessica Biel and Kristy Swanson have accumulated, and examining said work in ten categories we hope to discover which of these talented and beautiful women has wasted more of their career on such horrible projects. Remember our goal is to find the lesser career, to win a category one actress must under-perform the other and grab points towards proving herself the holder of the more mediocre career. Let's get started.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. Next

I'm a much bigger fan of the Buffy television show than the movie which introduced the character. Swanson stars here as valley girl Buffy Summers who is called to become the next vampire slayer and save the world. Though the film has more cheese than I'd like it's still an enjoyable romp. In Next (read the review) Biel co-stars as the woman who a man, with the ability to see two-minutes into the future, decides to stalk. For some reason she thinks this is charming. Biel isn't asked to do anything more than look like the kind of girl someone would like to stalk, and although the film includes some okay special effects the plot is abysmal. Swanson at least carries her film.

Advantage - Biel


Living Death vs. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Living Death is a laughably bad straight-to-video release of a woman's (Swanson) attempt to kill her masochist husband only to have him rise from the "dead" (see he was only in a coma, but the autopsy was don't really care do you?) and seek his revenge. 2003's remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is pointless deja vu about five college kids (including Biel) who find themselves hunted by a serial killer. At least the production values are higher in Biel's film.

Advantage - Swanson

Romantic Comedy

The Chase vs. Summer Catch

In The Chase Swanson stars as a spoiled rich girl kidnapped by a man (Charlie Sheen) wrongly convicted of a crime and about to be sent away to prison. Temporally losing his mind and taking advantage of the situation Jack hijacks her car, tries to outrun the high speed pursuit and make it to Mexico. Most of the movie takes place in the confines of the car and is really just conversations between the pair, and includes a dangerous (and highly unlikely) sexual encounter. In Summer Catch Biel stars as a rich girl who falls for a a local boy (Freddie Prinze Jr.) trying to make it to the major leagues. The Chase is a train wreck but includes a few nice moments, Summer Catch is simply insipid.

Advantage - Biel

Comic Book

Blade Trinity vs. The Phantom

Biel stars as Whistler's daughter in the third (and hopefully final) entry into the series. Along with Ryan Reynolds she tries to look tough and fights vampires with a bow and her iPod. Aside from the few moments of comic relief supplied by Reynolds this is perhaps the worst comic book movie, E-V-E-R! In The Phantom Swanson co-stars as the love interest to the Phantom (Billy Zane), and gets to do some cat-fighting with Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Phantom is not a great comic book movie, but to beat out Blade Trinity it doesn't have to be.

Advantage - Biel

Bit Roles

Elizabethtown vs. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Although both actresses seem destined to star in mundane and bad films, at times they have taken smaller roles in projects that they hoped would be of a higher quality. Although I had a pretty mixed reaction to Elizabethtown (read the review) I will admit Biel has a fairly nice small role in the opening moments as Drew's (Orlando Bloom) girlfriend. Now, Ferris Bueller is a classic, but (aside from die-hard fans of the film) many would have trouble remembering a young Miss Swanson from her bit role in the film.

Advantage - Swanson

Dumb Comedy

Dude, Where's My Car? vs. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

I'm pretty sure the total combined brain power it took to write, star, and direct both these films could light a light-bulb, for about twelve-seconds. Of the pair Dude, Where's My Car is the most harmless.

Advantage - Biel


Soul Assassin vs. Stealth

More believable - Swanson as a hitman or Biel as an ace fighter pilot? Ugh! Read the Stealth review.

Advantage - None


The Illusionist vs. Mannequin 2: On the Move

I was disappointed with The Illusionist (read the review) for it's willingness, make that eagerness, to give away too many of its secrets far too easily and far too early for a suspense film. Biel however isn't too bad as the duchess and childhood friend of the illusionist (Edward Norton), though I don't think her look is right for the period. Swanson stars as a department store mannequin who is actually a cursed 17th Century princess in this unremarkable follow-up to Mannequin. Although The Illusionist gives away its magic, at least it had some to begin with.

Advantage - Swanson


7th Heaven vs. Early Edition

Biel began her career in earnest on the the popular show centering around the Reverend Eric Camdem and his family dealing weekly with moral and ethical issues on a weekly basis. Swanson co-starred for one season of Early Edition as a single mother who knew the series hero's (Kyle Chandler) secret. I was never a fan of either show, but Biel's character was a bigger piece of the overall show (at least during the seasons she was a part of the show), and the role launched her career, where as Swanson was only stopping over to fill a needed role for a season after she had already made several films.

Advantage - Swanson


The Rules of Attraction vs. Zebra Lounge

Okay, neither of these actresses actually made softcore porn, but both delved into the lurid pool from time to time. The Rules of Attraction is tease about drugs, bisexuality, sexual abuse, promiscuity, and love without delivering much in any of these areas. All it really delivers is some pop psychology, a host of unlikable characters, and nifty camera tricks. Biel co-stars as a promiscuous bad girl who, sadly for us, isn't really that promiscuous on screen. Zebra Lounge makes no such quibbles with what it is or wants to be. Swanson stars as one half of an experienced swinging couple who completely disrupt the lives of another couple (Brandy Ledford, Cameron Daddo) who they meet at a local club. Neither can really be taken seriously, and at least Zebra Lounge knows what it is and doesn't try to be something more. Be careful with this clip, it's NSFW.

Advantage - Biel

Our winner

Our winner, by the close vote of 5 to 4, of having the more mediocre career is Jessica Biel.

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