After almost 30 years in the business, Madonna has just dropped her 12th studio album, MDNA, and her directorial debut, W.E., will be released on DVD May 1st. Both projects are being received in as polarizing a manner as the pop-diva, herself.
Indeed, Madonna’s forays into film have been a source of great amusement, even to her most loyal fans (of whom I proudly align myself with). I would single out Who’s that Girl, The Next Best Thing, and Swept Away as the biggest embarrassments, but there is certainly room for debate.
Here’s the thing, though: Madonna also has good films and performances on her resume. She does best when she sticks to what she knows, her strongest work basically being Madonna playing some version of herself, or poking fun at her persona. Desperately Seeking Susan, A League of Their Own, and Evita all prove this point, with the Material Girl as natural as she’s ever been on-screen. Possibly the most fascinating Madonna film is Truth or Dare, the 1991 documentary that revolves around her Blond Ambition tour. Madonna, the figure, tops any other role she could portray.
Of course, sticking to Madonna’s musical career is the safest and most rewarding bet. For my money, the 1983-89 Madonna is where it’s at, which encompasses her self-titled debut album, Like a Virgin, True Blue, and Like a Prayer. The1998 album, Ray of Light, is generally considered her commercial and artistic resurgence, which continued with 2000’s Music.