Jenette Goldstein. Who? If you grew up in the ‘80’s, you know her best work, you just don’t realize it. A talented actress who held diverse roles in classic movies from that era (late ‘80’s early ‘90’s). You also either had a huge crush on her or had the crap frightened out of you by her, or both at once, like me.
She was one movie short of a hat trick of appearing opposite both Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen (for years I thought she had the Paxton ‘80’s hat trick, but it was Maria Conchita Alonso in Predator 2 in the role my damaged memory said was her, but rectified that in 1997 when she appeared in Titanic (she could easily have hit an Ovechtrick having the looks and the chops to have pulled off Deborah Van Valkenburgh’s role in Streets of Fire, Rae Dawn Chong’s role in Commando, or dare I say it, and I dare it, Kelly LeBrock’s role in Weird Science. (Which reminds me, one day I must wax wistfully on the wonder of Streets of Fire, which maybe the most movie movie ever))). That’s right, I triple parentheticalled the hell out of that sentence and no one stopped me. She acted across from both these masters of ‘80’s sci-fi schlock in Near Dark and Aliens.
In ’86, she featured heavily in the first half of Aliens as Pvt. Vasquez. Sarcastic, macho, and decidedly hardcore; the movie, and her part in it, has held up remarkably well for being a 25 year old sci-fi action movie based off a late ‘70’s horror film directed by a then relatively unknown writer/director who really only had two cheap horror films under his belt (one of which also had Bill Paxton who seems to pop up in almost every great ‘80’s classic. It’s like a sign from Odin or a lost formula from Pythagoras …Bill Paxton +‘80’s = Fun Movie. Even Predator 2 is bad in an entertaining way).
A year later, in Near Dark she was the dangerous and sexy Diamondback, the blood thirsty matriarch of the vampire gypsy clan headed by Henriksen’s Hooker. There was a deep, smoldering, irresistible malice in her gaze that hit the dual buttons or attraction and frightening at the same time, like trying to get Bayou Billy to jump kick. And like the kick, even when mastered, you couldn’t beat the game she was playing.
Why do I bring this up? I dunno, why do I bring anything up? Other than I caught 5 minutes of Near Dark on IFC a few weeks back and it made me nostalgic. So, look in on those movies, appreciate their glory, and warm yourself with the fleeting feeling of youth misspent watching crap on HBO late at night at a friend's house.
Images from: dmentdcinema.com & thefancarpet.com respectively.