MovieChat Forums > Wild at Heart (1990) Discussion > Diane Ladd put on a clinic in overacting

Diane Ladd put on a clinic in overacting


One of the most over the top performances I've ever seen. Her performance made me squeamish every time she was on screen, it was painful. How was Diane Ladd nominated for an Oscar for that?

reply

Probably because she was a respected actress. Its still a dreadful performance though, just like everyone with a major role in this film except for Harry Dean Stanton.

reply

She was so over the top but that was the style of character they were going for. The long nails, the ridiculous wigs CONSTANTLY changing, drinking her cocktail looking right at the camera, the lipstick smeared all over her place. She was erratic and insane and Ladd was phenomenal in the part. Absolutely deserving of her Oscar nomination.

reply

Yeah, I quickly started watching this movie as an extreme parody of a melodrama and in that sense I loved the aware overacting of most actors in the movie and Ladd just took it to the next level. :P

Dunno if she deserved the oscar, I'm not sure who else was nominated that year, but I am surprised that the academy chose it.

reply

In my heart of hearts I suspect this is a terrible performance. However, I found myself laughing at every single thing she did. And whenever I had to sit through a scene that did not include Diane Ladd, I ended up wishing that it would include Diane Ladd.

I can't decide whether or not she was doing this on purpose or whether she was the victim of an elaborate practical joke -- much like the cast of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. In that case Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert were intentionally spoofing the original Valley of the Dolls, but most of the cast thought they were making a serious movie. Sort of like the cast of the original, who thought they were making an Oscar movie but ended up making trash.

reply

[deleted]

It was squeamish but not in a good way. More like, dam her acting is so bad and over the top, the immersion of the movie is gone, and I am reminded I'm watching an actress, and not a fully realized character that I find believable. And I know David Lynch specializes in the unbelievable and I love that about him, but still found her performance to have gone to far.

reply

I'd have to agree with you. I thought her performance was way too cartoonish and histrionic (not in a good way). I saw this movie the other day and one of the things I despised about it was Diane Ladd's performance. Like another poster was saying or from some online review I read here on this site, her performance was more deserving of a Razzie, NOT AN OSCAR. Thank God she didn't win the Oscar! I just wanted her character to die already so I didn't have to deal with her for the rest of the movie.

How the hell Diane Ladd got an Oscar nomination for this is beyond me. Her performance was so bad that if her performance had been a scene for an acting class, she'd get an F and the instructor would say, “Miss Ladd, see me after class.”

reply

I'm pretty sure Ladd did exactly what she was asked to do (the acting by Dern and Cage... or pretty much everyone in this film, with the exception of Harry Dean Stanton, the only reasonable character around... was similarly over-the-top and bizarrely stylized to boot) - you don't get an F for that. Not that it was Oscar-worthy or anything... and I don't personally like it much, either.



"facts are stupid things" Ronald Reagan

reply

[deleted]

[deleted]

The performance was perfect for the movie. Just like Cage's performance was perfect for the movie. Totally earned the Oscar nom.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNGxXXll3CSyafZujpWHtyQ

reply

Just watched this movie and during the film I constantly thought about how I was gonna say the same thing on every forum: how I think one of the only reasons I didn't like Wild at Heart was because of her... But in hindsight, she was meant to play a manipulative houswive; a person who isn't some kind of mastermind sociopath that can act and lie her way out of everything, but a legitimately annoying person that seems to think she can while really the only ones she can manipulate are extremely easy victims (those who already love her). And did she play this awesomely: everytime she was on screen I wanted to punch her and I felt real rage and this isn't a feeling I can get thanks to just bad acting.
So I'm still not sure how I feel about her. Either she was putting on the best performance I've seen in a while and I just so happen to hate her because she was playing an annoying character, or I did really just hate her because of the bad acting.
Watching David Lynch films, I'd say you always have to keep in mind you are watching a (succesfull or failed) piece of art. And art can be quite unsettling. If you want a movie that doesn't challenge you or that won't make you feel negative feelings... go watch the avengers.
(... I still really hated the character though. One of the first times I actually had to punch my pillow because of a fictional character, lol.)

reply