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Even in bad movies, Kristen Stewart’s crushing it

Kristen Stewart’s latest movie, “Underwater,” is not what you would call great art. Or even a decent movie. It’s a campy horror flick with a premise and visuals that are equally murky (to be fair, it’s hard to see when you’re at the bottom of the ocean and there are tiny pieces of your imploded colleagues floating all around you).

Still, like many a film before it, Stewart, 29, gives a performance that makes you want to keep watching — and not just because director William Eubank (“The Signal”) has her inexplicably running around in her underwear while playing an engineer whose deep-sea space station is disintegrating. With her blond buzz cut and gruff heroism, Stewart taps into a Ripley-from-“Aliens” vibe even while the movie around her, like its infrastructure, falls apart.

This is the genius of Stewart, who rose from the ashes of the cheesy but popular “Twilight” franchise to blossom into a virtuoso actor who refuses to be pigeonholed.

Even during the run of that series of vampire movies, Stewart broadcast her intention to break away from her starlet image, taking the role of Joan Jett in the 2010 rock biopic “The Runaways,” and two years later a small part in an adaptation of the Beat classic “On the Road.” Neither turned out to be a hit, but Stewart’s portrayal of Jett got a lot more acclaim than the movie itself — and, as it turned out, she didn’t seem to care much what anyone thought about her choices or her life anyway.

For a while she was relentlessly mocked in the media for not smiling in photos, and then scrutinized for being caught in a clinch with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders, who was married. During her first gig hosting “Saturday Night Live” in 2017, she made fun of the president for tweeting about her then-defunct relationship with “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson, adding, “If you didn’t like me then, you’re really not going to like me now, because I’m hosting ‘SNL’ and I’m like, so gay, dude.”

Over the past few years Stewart’s built up an interesting and wildly diverse résumé, careening from indies like 2019’s “JT Leroy,” in which she played a woman who became infamous for playing a non-existent male literary wunderkind, to last year’s “Charlies Angels,” a reboot that won as many raves for Stewart’s daring, funny action-hero performance as it did mockery for its overall lameness. She played the love interest of ax murderess Lizzie Borden in 2018’s “Lizzie,” and an activist film icon in last year’s “Seberg” — yet another movie in which her acting chops surpassed the project around her.

To see Stewart at her best, check out a pair of roles in films from French director Olivier Assayas: 2014’s “Clouds of Sils Maria” and 2016’s “Personal Shopper.” To see her at her goofiest, track down her Totino’s Pizza Rolls ad parody from “SNL” or the 2015 action-comedy “American Ultra” co-starring Jesse Eisenberg.

I submit that the “Twilight” movies themselves are enjoyable for Stewart’s increasingly twitchy performances as she realizes what a ridiculous franchise she’s become the center of. To witness a good actor in a bad wig and garish makeup trying to convincingly portray the center of a deadly serious vampire-werewolf love triangle can be great entertainment, of a sort. (Not to mention generating the kind of money that allows one to make interesting choices down the road.) Besides, Stewart seemed to take the “Twilight” reputation in stride, saying in 2014: “I stand by every mistake I’ve ever made, so judge away.”

No judgment here: Even Stewart’s mistakes are proving great fun to watch.

On This Day: 26 December 1973

Horror movie “The Exorcist” was released in the U.S.. (Dec. 26) Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress Website: https://apnews.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP Facebook: https://facebook.com/APNews Google+: https://plus.google.com/115892241801867723374 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/APNews/ ​ You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/4905d0ddf071434ca4ef283e6ef66990 read more

On This Day: 18 December 1969

In 1969, James Bond movie, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” premiered in London. (Dec. 18) Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress Website: https://apnews.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP Facebook: https://facebook.com/APNews Google+: https://plus.google.com/115892241801867723374 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/APNews/ ​ You can license this story through AP Archive: … read more