February 25, 2005

Academy Award Special Report (Big-mouth Ass-hat Celebrities, Boycotts and the Movie-Going Public)…

I know quite a few people who refuse to see certain movies if they feature a particular actor or actress who is known for running their mouth off about U.S. foreign policy, the President, Iraq, etc. I admit, it’s a bit unseemly for a Hollywood big to use the spotlight to push their little pet crusades be it a social issue, a policy decision or just your average every-day ad hominem attack on Bush or their cabinet secretary of choice.

Do these folks have a right to their opinions, no matter how insipid or ill informed? Sure they do. Does the ticket-paying public have a right to vote with their wallet? Of course. But to what end? I mean, the whole point is whether or not you can get past the image of a celebrity on their soapbox and enjoy the performance. Apparently, a lot of people can’t. In most cases, however, I can. That is, I can if the skill and talent of the actor in question is good enough.

For example, Sean Penn’s antics in Baghdad just before the war were pretty embarrassing. Especially since he only realized too late that Saddam duped him into being a propaganda tool. But his award for “Mystic River” was well-deserved. To be honest, Jeff Spicoli aside, Penn is a brilliant actor and had I let his stupid crap bother me enough I would have missed out on a powerful film. Tim Robbins, another outspoken Lefty, was excellent in that movie as well.

I just saw the remake of “Shall We Dance” with Richard Gere, J-Lo, and Susan Sarandon. Now, when I see Sarandon (Tim Robbins mate, BTW) screeching away on the evening news about WMDs I instinctively want to retch. But you know what. She was so good in that role that those horrible visions never factored into my enjoyment of her performance.

What’s your point, dude? That you’re jedi mind powers are superior to those of the average movie-goer? Well, whoop-di-do for you!

No, no, no. What I’m saying is that life is short. I consider going to the movies to be one of life’s special treats. And when you have three kids, the chances to get out of the house and kick back in a cozy theater become fewer and farther between.

I could easily avoid Johnny Depp on screen because he often dumps on the U.S. while sipping chardonnay with his French wife at Cannes. But that means I have to miss out on a lot of films, many of which I would otherwise be glad I saw. I think the key is to “let go” of the negative feelings that build when I see or hear these ego-maniacs prattle on about what’s wrong with everything I believe in or support. I suppose when you’re surrounded by an entourage of ass-kissing sycophants who tell you how brilliant you are all day, it’s easy to think that you’re some kind of iconic sage whose every utterance is transferred to the Big Book of Famous Quotes.

Celebrities do need to remember that they bear a certain amount of responsibility that comes with their fame. But if you let them dictate what you will or won’t enjoy in your own life, you give them much more power than they really deserve. Something to consider the next time you log on to Fandango.com.

Posted by: Gary at 12:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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