It’s a happy birthday to Ashley Judd, who turns 39 today. Her misguided affection for Kentucky basketball notwithstanding, Judd has a direct line to deep well of vulnerability that, to be blunt, not a lot of beautiful people have. There have been some harsh commercial judgments passed on Bug, her forthcoming film adapted by Tracy Letts from his own stageplay. And I’m not sure LionsGate is quite the right distributor for it, to be honest, given the critical animus toward the Saw franchise, and the fact that they ripped off their own poster, to a certain degree.
Still, I confess I’m looking forward to the movie, about an unhinged war veteran who drifts back into the life of his ex after a couple years in jail, and ignites… well, some bad times. And a large part of that has to do with Judd. William Friedkin directs, and clearly Harry Connick Jr. got the Jim Caviezel part, which is a good thing. But Judd can convey smart, pent-up fragility with the best of them, and Bug seems to be a claustrophobic character piece, a la Richard Linklater’s Tape, about the different sorts of hell we create. Perhaps a glimpse of things to come, too, given the thousands of psychologically traumatized young men and women returning home, date uncertain, from Iraq and Afghanistan.