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Celebrating Jennifer Lopez

by Murtada Elfadl

Hustlers opens today, so let's celebrate Jennifer Lopez. She's getting the best reviews of her career - including a rave from Chris right here. There's Oscar buzz. The movie is poised to become a substantial hit this weekend.

Answer these 3 questions for fun:

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Jennifer Lopez?

Is it that green dress that has its own wikipedia page? That infamous interview from the late 90s? She's a big big star who's been involved in many memorable cultural moments. Tell us what comes to mind...

What's your favorite Jennifer Lopez performance?

Mine has always been Out of Sight (1998), and I think the Oscar buzz is 21 years too late but I'm happy it's finally here. I've been asking friends this question all week, and I got Selena (1997) as an answer as much as Out of Sight. Any others?


Who do you think matched Jennifer Lopez well on screen?

George Clooney, Jane Fonda? She has worked with many A-listers including Jack Nicholson, Viola Davis, Sean Penn, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and many others.


Whether or not the nomination happens, the months from now until nomiations are going to be fun if the press tour for Hustlers is any indication. We will leave you with Lopez's genuine reaction to her Oscar buzz:

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Reader Comments (61)

Delete this.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Castleman

1 - Glamour or the Waiting for Tonight video.

2 - I think she's very solid in Selena but I adore The Cell and her quiet vulnerabilty in it

3 - Clooney and Fonda who is so gr8 in MIL.

Is this Tiffany Haddish all over again or is this the moment when a liked star is anointed.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

1. I usually think of the song "Waiting For Tonight"

2. I think her best performance is Selena.

3. Probably Jane Fonda.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew St.Clair

Phony diva who didn’t sing on her albums and is not a singer.

None. Bad actress.

No one.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMango

1 - The nickname "Jenny from the block." As someone who grew up in the Bronx, it was inescapable.

2 - While I concede that she's probably better in Selena and Out of Sight, I've actually re-watched Maid in Manhattan a handful of times. It's just always on and it's light and fun. And she's effortlessly charming.

3 - Hmm. I don't have an answer to this. Don't know why.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I've realized I've never seen any Jennifer Lopez movie ever. But whenever you ask me for a JLo and movies I remember an interview on 2010 when she said she should have been nominated for El Cantante. I LOLed so hard, fuck humility.
Is an oscar nomination really possible? Since 2010, she's been invited to almost all ceremonies, more than some actual oscar nominated actresses. She's been building her road to oscar nomination just waiting for a role critics will love... Yeah, why not? Give her a career achievement oscar nomination, hope the same for Antonio Banderas.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

It sounds like her voice in the verses after hearing her voice live but on some of the songs she has recorded i am aware of the stories of mixed in vocals on choruses etc.

She has star wattage and self belief,sometimes it comes off arrogant but she has proved herself.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Out of Sight best performance, and it's what I think about when I think about Jennifer Lopez.

I was thinking about how so many of the post-Julia movie stars (Reese, Kate Hudson, Sandra, Jennifer Lopez) really had to settle for turning constant subpar projects into hits through charisma, because the really juicy roles so rarely come.

It's nice for J.Lo to be getting a great part! After Out of Sight, it should have been happening all the time!

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Jennifer Lopez?

Wasted talent - as a promising new actress in the mid-late 90s, she had echoes of Elizabeth Taylor... a mega-wattage star who also had a lot of ability. Then she "diversified" into music and other stuff and... left me wondering what could have been... until now, obviously...

What's your favorite Jennifer Lopez performance?

Out Of Sight
Maid In Manhattan
The Cell (not much of a role but she's fine and the film itself remains astonishing)

Who do you think matched Jennifer Lopez well on screen?

George Clooney and Ralph Fiennes in a tie - Maid In Manhattan is ridiculously underrated by the way - a Classic Hollywood Romance with two movie stars playing against type (him suave, her meek) and it's both convincing and works.

FINALLY, is this the thread where we can discuss why an army of misogynists arises simply because she receives praise? It feels a little sinister to me...

Markgordonuk - it's pretty well-known now that she historically "sings" the verses of her earlier hits but kept the demo vocalist for the chorus... most obvious when said demo singer is known in their own right (see: Play-Christina Milian and I'm Real/Ain't It Funny Remixes-Ashanti - listen with your eyes closed...)

Her most recent songs don't really have sung choruses so I imagine it's just her on those...

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Mike In Canada - after Out Of Sight, Jennifer Lopez could have ploughed away in indies, improving her craft and taken that route to mega-stardom... but she actively chose not to and to instead build her "brand" through music, fragrance, fashion and carefully-selected movies that presented her "persona" in a certain way - as a Latina actress who could easily be pigeonholed as "feisty" and "sexual" and nothing more, this was probably wise if she intended on having power and clout... which she of course now has.

That said, it does make a little sad that her artistic legacy is a LOT weaker than it should be for someone with her natural talent - hopefully this success will push her to reconnect with acting and show the Joan Castlemans of the world that she IS an equal to any actress with the right material (like she used to constantly tell us in the late 90s)

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Lmao at the "delete this".

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

1. Big butt. No, seriously i think she is just a famous character who i don't take serious as singer and less as an actress. But i have to admit i like her songs "Play" and "Get Right" (guilty pleasure)

2. Favorite? No one. Selena could be a good effort in acting but i think Maya Zapata (a GREAT actress) did a better job playing the character.

3. I only seen movies with her in TV and usually don't watch them till the end so, i haven't seen enough of her chemistry with other actors.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

true story - Lalito a restaurant in downtown New York has a bathroom that is designed like the set from Waiting For Tonight. It plays the song on loop inside the bathroom. That's the power of JLo. The food is good too, so go!

September 13, 2019 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

She's getting raves in a buzzy, well-received movie, and many actors have been nominated and even won Oscars for less, so if this is her moment, so let it be.

The Cell always has been one of my favorite "rainy day" movies, and Anaconda a longtime guilty pleasure.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

For those who've seen Hustlers, is she co-leading with Wu or is it a clear supporting role?

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax

First thing(s) that comes to mind: J.Lo, Jenny from the Block, Bennifer, big ol' booty, Versayce, etc.

That said, it'd be easy to dismiss Lopez as little more than a super-sized brand, but I can't deny that she was quite good in Money Train, and very good to great in Selena and Out of Sight (and, later, The Cell)—a remarkable run. Who can say if her career pivots weren't by necessity? I mean, Hollywood already had appeared to be trying to pigeon-hole her early on as the "spicy Latina" minx (ex. Blood & Wine, U-Turn), so what exactly <I>were</I> the options available? I certainly can understand and appreciate that she had the opportunity (or created one) to diversify her oeuvre and branch out into other areas of entertainment which, frankly, were almost groundbreaking for a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx. That she seemed to fritter away her considerable acting gifts for more charisma-fueled endeavors that ultimately fed her sizable ego/bank account, well, we still are talking about (and celebrating!) her 20+ years later, so...she clearly made an indelible mark. And more power to her!

It's curious that she never re-teamed with Clooney and/or Soderbergh, but maybe Hustlers will open up doors for her to work with A-list actors and auteurs, à la Sandy Bullock post-The Blind Side?

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Oscar next year promises to be funny: Lopez, Pitt, DiCaprio, Joker, Zellwegger... Well...

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFeline Justice

My fav performance of hers is Out of Sight. And mye fav movie with her is The Cell. Such a gorgeous, haunting and innovative movie!

The sexual and sensual chemistry with Clooney is to die for!

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

1. Her infamous interview in the 90s where she dished everybody from Madonna to Gwyneth. Her publicists must be MIA on that day.

2. Probably Out of Sight. I have to agree with Kermit's comments. She, for me, is like Halle Berry. I think she is going after fame and nothing wrong with that. Of course she has problem with Hollywood; she is a woman of color after all; but she has been rich and famous for so long and I never see her branch out to develop a challenging projects or pursue upcoming or indie directors. She stays comfortably in her comfort zone which is romcom. Also, I think she has some talents but IMO, she is like somebody in high school who gets involved in many activities but not very good at each of them. Her pop career with all these singing voices that are not hers definitely doesn't help.

3. Jane Fonda, I guess?

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

true story - Lalito a restaurant in downtown New York has a bathroom that is designed like the set from Waiting For Tonight. It plays the song on loop inside the bathroom. That's the power of JLo. The food is good too, so go!

This is what I call information we need to know.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Jennifer. Sigh. She was very ambitious and did anything to succeed. It's not even her voice on Waiting for Tonight. None of it is her. That is the great delusion of her career.

For sport, I would like a Jennifer v. Renee showdown, since they each will throw anyone under the bus or do anything to get ahead.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGP

1. Waiting for Tonight
2. Besides Out of Sight and Selena.... I mean I LOVE Anaconda. Fight me.
3. Clooney

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

Jlo’s overexposure muddles the fondness I have for roles she played well like Selena, a classic favorite. The overexposure includes her annoying pop music, which is fun, but not really any good. Remember the butt song she did with Iggy Azalea? Or whatever pop star
…it’s so obvious she WORKS HARD to stay relevant, and when someone who claims to work hard NEVER GOES AWAY, and then gets Oscar buzz for playing a stripper while displaying a clearly botoxed, straight-hipped, professional athletic physique...I’m sorry, I don’t care how good the movie or the performance is. I’m over it and not interested.

I'm more excited to see what the Kaitlyn Dever’s and Saoirse Ronan’s are doing.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJess K.

I'm just here to mention that Jennifer Lopez presented Randy Newman with his first Oscar. It was memorable for three reasons:
1) Randy Newman's first Oscar (duh)
2) She announced the winning movie as "Monsters Incorporated, not "Inc" (my preference as well)
3) There was a little jump in her step when she announced his name, proving that she knew her Oscar history and that his win was long overdue

I honestly haven't seen many of her movies, so I'd have to go with the default choice, "Out of Sight"

The answer to question 3 is definitely not McConaughey ("Wedding Planner" was pure awfulness), so let's go with George Clooney. Hey, not many people get to be stuck in a trunk with him.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

J.Lo, in her way, is great. And I love that she clearly set her sights on becoming a major star. As easy as it is to criticize her for it, in a Hollywood that tells woman of color that they don't matter and should make less, she's found a way to thrive and become massive. And her films still make money.

Out of Sight is, obviously, her best performance. She clearly can do good work when with a great director, and she succeeds as Karen Sisco.

Clooney was also her best match.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

1. J-Lo dancing to rainforest laser lights in the Waiting for Tonight video. And also Will Truman screaming "Waiting for Tonight" at her concert.

2. Out of Sight but The Wedding Planner is way underrated. Easily her best rom-com.

3. I'll stick with the above and say McConaughey, but she and Rodrigo Santoro were the best part of the otherwise blah What to Expect When You're Expecting.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Her best partner was Eric Cartman

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

‘Joan Castleman’ you are a less funny novelty account than ‘Faye’ who finally hit her first laugh a few posts ago. Please delete any further comments you make.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterThe T

Murtada, want to meet there?

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I don't know her.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMariah Carey

1. the green Grammys dress
2. performance: "Selena"; song: "Waiting for Tonight"
3. hmmm, gotta say Clooney

Seeing "Hustlers" as soon as I'm done with work today!!!

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterYT

She and Clooney are electric together in Out of Sight.

If she is part of the awards race, we know we'll have some fabulous fashion on the red carpet this year.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The Cell is completely underrated. Never going to be an Oscar film, but it was terrific and she did a great job with her role.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I'm trying to be more loving, open and less judgmental, so here goes. I have never quite "gotten" J-Lo. Yes she is beautiful and has a beautiful body. I tried watching one of her videos. Didn't get very far. Watched Maid in Manhattan and it was fun but also very predictable from the beginning. I'll probably wait for one of the streaming services to show Hustlers; Netflix will probably pick it up.
Even though I think it will be tawdry, it will probably be a box office smash. I can't imagine that her acting will qualify her for an Oscar.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrrrich7

Originally, as soon as it was announced, I expected HUSTLERS to be dreadful trash; however, my discerning boyfriend was optimistic, and ours had become a house divided over whether or not to see it together.

Much moved by A.O. Scott's NYT rave of Jennifer Lopez’s performance (in which he proclaimed, "She’s Denzelian, Pacinoesque, downright Anna-Magnanimous"), I became nearly as excited as my beloved.

We attended a screening last night in Los Angeles wearing fake furs, leather, and lace, and we both found it to be utter garbage, and most of the theater seemed to agree.

Several straight men, who had successfully been HUSTLED into buying a ticket through the film’s seemingly successful marketing campaign, filed out of the theater throughout the running time (which felt as punishingly long as IT 2) never to return.

The movie isn't funny, it sure isn’t sexy, and it fails us gays profoundly as camp.

Furthermore, I believe it would be truly misguided to call HUSTLERS a message movie. I am incapable of extracting If there is a single powerful or unique feminist message to be found in the film. I would argue that there is not and that the script has no interest in exploring the moral dilemma the titular hustlers face to any satisfactory degree.

I’m, admittedly, no mindreader, but the groups of female friends leaving the theater mostly appeared to me as if they had been bored nearly to death at best and intellectually assaulted at worst. I think HUSTLERS' purported thesis is better developed in under 4 minutes in two songs from the turn of this century: Wyclef Jean’s “Perfect Gentleman” or City High’s “What Would You Do?”…

As for her rabidly hyped performance, Jennifer Lopez is no revelation here. She never fully sells any of her monologues, often fails to listen to her scene partners, only has fleeting moments of vibing with her co-stars, and appears to have arrived on set knowing exactly how she was going to deliver each line reading. She only ever comes close to impressing while dancing provocatively, which has already been established as being well within her wheelhouse (with dancer far surpassing the other alleged skills of this multi-hyphenate).

I continue to find Constance Wu aggressively uninteresting. Wu and Lopez’s overly earnest attempts at motherly-daughterly-sisterly chemistry reach such preposterous heights that I involuntary cackled in one scene taking place on a cemetery bench.

Lizzo and Cardi B were serviceable at best and barely featured.

Julia Stiles continues to come off as some sort of Ivy League-educated android.

The state of the brilliant Mercedes Ruehl’s film career is nearly as disheartening as what the actress has done to her face (and, incidentally, the only element of HUSTLERS which aroused any emotion within me).

It would be remiss not the praise the song selection (a borderline genius and period-specific use of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More”, Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation”, a genuinely fun cameo by Usher to his own “Love in This Club”, and especially the climactic start-and-stop use of Bob Seger's "Night Moves”).

Lorene Scafaria does take an interesting stylistic approach at times (especially the opening scene where Constance Wu walks out of her dressing room and into her first shift to Janet Jackson's "Control”), but some of her creative tricks only exacerbates the many shortcomings within the script.

I really hope I learn to trust my instincts and become less impressionable to reviews by A.O. Scott, Peter Travers, and these other critics I suspect are cognitively in decline - or on Jennifer Lopez's payroll! I miss Roger Ebert, and I trust he would be a voice of reason as mainstream film has become so godawful (and our standards so low) that a performance which can hardly be called a stretch and is filled with glaring weaknesses is being passionately pushed for awards consideration.

On our disappointed ride home, as my man and I were feeling like victims of a con ourselves, an LADP cruiser pulled beside us at a red light, and the officer in the passenger seat inquired as to why I was wearing a (faux) fur coat on an 80 degree night. I told him the name of the movie from which we had just emerged and that I hated it.

I wished I could ask the two officers to arrest the offending cast and crew of HUSTLERS for crimes of bad taste and even worse art. He merely said, “J-Lo’s not much of an actress.” The officer driving was thrilled when I mentioned the Usher sequence as a high point and said that was all the reason she needed to see it…

Grade: D

FYC: Usher Raymond in MAGIC MIKE 3

FYC: Jennifer Lopez, People's Choice Award, (“…And it means a lot to me because it’s from the people.”)

Postscript: I’d like to apologize on behalf of A.O. Scott to Denzel Washington, Al Pacino, and, especially, the divine and dearly departed Anna Magnani.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

I only like her in Selena and in Will & Grace.

Y el anillo pa' cuando?

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

1)Big Butt

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMissy

Haha, people bothering to waste their time at hating on Jennifer Lopez on a post entitled "Celebrating Jennifer Lopez." Pathetic.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRon Cruz

1. South Park-I eat burritos y tacos!!!!

2. Out of Sight.

3. George Clooney.

I really don't think highly of her at all as I think she's overrated and overblown. Plus, Can anyone here name a great movie she did after Out of Sight not counting The Cell?

Seriously, anyone?

El Cantante was shit. My parents are Honduran and were familiar with Hector Lavoe and HATED this film. THEY HATED IT!!!!!!

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Wowza. Who knew a post celebrating Jlo was the place to come and direct all your misguided and bizarre anger. Nothing like a successful and unapologetic woman to bring out the worst in people.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterZach

1: I think of two things, the actress who can be surprisingly good, and the celebrity that I ignore.

2: I have seen 9 of her movies. The ones I like best are Out of Sight, Shall We Dance, Parker, and for comedies, Monster-in-Law.

3: She’s best when she’s not playing a “romantic” lead. I like her with actors that she doesn’t need to flatter, appease, accommodate, that she can treat like an equal professional. George Clooney, Jason Statham, Bob Hoskins.

When her character can look at the male lead and say “I don’t need to please you”, then an interesting, pragmatic, straightforward performance comes out.

When she’s pleasing, I find her kind of creepy. When she’s saying “f**k off”, I quite like her.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

* The first thing I think of when I think of J Lo is the green dress. But I also think that she seems to have a persevering spirit and spectacular work ethic, which I really admire. She's continued to work hard and work steadily for several decades, and has not been deterred by failures.

* I have only seen three of her movies--Out of Sight, U-Turn, and The Cell. Out of Sight is easily my favorite film and performance that I've seen of hers. I didn't particularly like the other two.

* She had great chemistry with George Clooney.

I totally plan on seeing Hustlers, and I'm looking forward to it! I generally don't read reviews before seeing films--I'll check out trailers and Metacritic scores, and that's about it. I love reading film reviews, but I hate spoilers--so I read them afterwards. I've heard she's quite good in this, so that does have me curious. I love it when undervalued performers get good material and surprise us.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

Leave me out of this Milli Vanilli mess.

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

1. Oddly enough, The Wedding Planner is what usually comes to mind! Mostly because my old man was impressed that I was able to say McConaughey's name right at 8!

2. The usual suspects of Selena and Out Of Sight. She should've been nominated for them, and WON for OOS (as much I love G.Palts in SIL...)!

September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I saw Hustlers tonight. It is an enjoyable movie although it runs a little long. She is no revelation in the movie (I don’t think she will be nominated since she does not play the prostitute with a heart of gold). My biggest problem with the movie is that it is mostly narrated; hence almost everything is told and not shown. As to lead or supporting, I’ll say supporting. Constance Wu is the real lead character (and mostly the narrator).

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

1) Waiting for Tonight

2) OUT OF SIGHT and/or SELENA...I like THE CELL, but not necessarily for her, and I agree that MAID IN MANHATTAN is a lovable movie

3) George Clooney

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

Anyone watching "World of Dance"? I can appreciate that J-Lo is giving such a grand showcase to a new generation of dancers. Back to the questions. I first noticed J-lo as a Flygirl on "In Living Color" (Google it, kids). I really would have nominated her for "Selena." Best onscreen chemistry had to be with George Clooney in "Out of Sight," though I loved her battling with Jane Fonda in the otherwise disposable "Monster-in-Law." If Jlo's Oscar-worthy in "Hustlers," that would be fantastic! Why the resistance? She's not "suppose" to be in consideration ever for anything except Razzies? Or for a "stripper" movie that's not in the upper echelons of British period dramas or retrograde, feel-good race relations buddy roadtrip flicks? Fuck that noise.' I'll hopefully get around to seeing "Hustlers" before it's out of theaters.

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVann

I'm glad some one else mentioned Will and Grace. They had Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Britney Spears on and knowing that I was surprised to find myself thinking "oh, she's the one who gets this show." So I'm going to suggest Sean Hayes for comic timing, George Clooney for dramatic energy, and David Gandy for eye candy.

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClayton O

Maid in Manhattan is the only movie of hers I have seen and even if the film wasn’t the best I loved her in it.

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChinoiserie

Peggy Sue mentioned Will and Grace! She's the only with good taste around here

September 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Castleman

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