Nostalgia & the Nineties: Why I want to be Jennifer Lopez, in Out of Sight.Posted: August 26, 2014
She’s sexy in a way that even if I gathered every ounce of sexy I could muster and borrowed some of yours, her left ear lobe would always be sexier than the whole of me. Us. Whatever.
I can only muse upon what it must be like to be attached to the body that US Marshall Karen Sisco inhabits.
Sisco is not just sassy-ass sexy, she’s funny, strong and clever. Blended together, you have the perfect woman smoothie. I want to be that smoothie.
This is a woman who is brave enough to wear a brown knitted cardy and make it look less Comic-con, more Body-con. The woman whose dad thinks is cool to give her a hand-gun for her birthday whilst reprimanding her for seeing a scumbag married cop. She’s assured, sentimental and appears to never need any sleep. She’s the Nineties before it all went a bit rubbish.
Out Of Sight was released before Lopez became the music phenomenon that is J-Lo. She’d knocked it out of the park as the tragic Latina singer, in the biopic Selena, and this was her mainstream breakout. It was not only a critical success for Lopez, but also her co-star George Clooney and director Steven Soderberg. The movie quickly paved the way for Soderberg and Clooney’s stellar movie careers but sadly, not for Jennifer, who decided instead to r ‘n’ b her love of “the block” and put Ben Affleck in her music videos. Oh dear god, did that really happen? Yes it did.
But before we shed a tear for an episode of Inside The Actors Studio that will never air, let’s take a moment to appreciate the genius of Karen Sisco.
First up, and key to her steely magnetism, is Clooney. In 1998, he was still best known as Dr Doug Ross from the telly. Shove him in a boot with Lopez, add a smattering of guns, grease and bath-time and you had instant movie gold.
Fast forward 16 years and what I love is that Sisco now has this wonderful ability to conjure up the younger, more obnoxious (and perkier) version of myself.
When I watch her back-chat Clooney’s bank robber Foley, I’m transported to the prime of my life, where that kind of chutzpah was a turn-on, and worked even better when I was smoking a cigarillo. (A crass admission written down but frankly, a welcome respite from the been-there-done-that middle-aged grump costume that I inhabit most of the time now).
Sisco’s always ready with a snappy retort, a lightening reflex and superior shade of plum-red lipstick. There’s enough vulnerability to make her likeable but because it’s mashed up with her patent leather inner lioness, she gets a pass. She knows the power she wields.
But here’s where the human spirit is so darned wonderful. I’m not ready to give up just yet and I have Karen Sisco to thank for that. Jennifer‘s Sisco shows me that I can still access that sexy, dynamic woman, even if it’s just for a few fleeting seconds, and even if it’s just in my head and actually, even if it’s not real at all. I’ll take the illusion and the whisper of a memory. (Otherwise what the hell do I have to look forward to? Hot flushes, gout and another evening trying to understand the nuance of Tinder?)
When I first saw this movie I remember thinking, “Yeah Sisco, you think you’re all that and then some but here I am, in my All-Saints combats and vest top, with my faux-Rachel hair-do and Touch Eclat-covered eye-bags. I’m ready to give you a run for your money, so bring it sister.” (Re-reading that sentence I want to simultaneously hug and slap the me of ’98). Cocky as I was, I filed Sisco away in the back of my mind, somehow foreshadowing the knowledge that having this honeyed Nineties specimen immortalized on film, while I withered like a crumpled sock, would be useful somewhere down the line.
Well, we are now well and truly down the line.
And we all need hope. Karen Sisco is mine.