Intro for Jul 06, 2011
Have you read the Bill Simmons article on the Movie Star yet? It was posted last week, just as people were leaving for long weekend and holiday. Wanted to wait until now for most to return before discussing. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, click here.
As you know, I’ve been lamenting the death of the Movie Star for a while now. My reasons aren’t quite in line with Simmons, and for whatever reason he makes no mention of the ladies, but perhaps that would take too long, since there seem to be infinitely more Camilla Belles coming at us from Hollywood...which is, I think, his central point: that Hollywood is forcing them upon us, forcing us to accept the likes of Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds as Movie Stars based on what he considers, especially in Reynolds’s case, not all that much. (I agree on Evans, disagree on Reynolds.)
Simmons goes on to sh-t on Will Smith too. He acknowledges that Smith is a true Movie Star, one of 24 of them, in fact (more on this later), but one who has squandered his talent on playing it safe – summer blockbusters based on aliens, explosions, and not much thinking. Simmons’s analysis of Smith’s seemingly scientific approach to his career though is fascinating and, at times, hilarious. If you’re unfamiliar with the background, it’s worth your read too.
These are strong, salient points. I get it. They keep selling us B List product in Hollywood. Sure. But if you are going to present me with a list of 24 of what you call the so-called All-Stars of Movie Stars because “all of them can open any movie in their wheelhouse that's half-decent; if it's a well-reviewed movie, even better”, and KEVIN JAMES makes that list, I think you have more than Hollywood to blame. This to me is what Simmons doesn’t address. Or should address later.
If you’ve been reading my site long enough (and I’m sorry if it’s become a familiar refrain but I’m just so OVER the “Hollywood is to blame for everything” argument without taking into account how WE were the ones who allowed the Kardashian to become a thing), you know, especially as it relates to TV and why no one ever watched Friday Night Lights, that I don’t think it’s enough to blame Hollywood and the networks and the reality show producers. Much, if not most, of the culpability has to rest with the viewer. Simmons says himself that he only understood the “Kevin James Era” when he took his daughter to a movie and the Zookeeper trailer came on and she got all excited.
Right. So Kevin James is on the list because 8 year olds decide on Movie Stars now?
And I’m not sure you can put that all on Hollywood.
Hollywood, for the most part, only responds to a demand. Lately the demand has been for sh-t. We keep asking for sh-t. In its simplest terms, if you run a restaurant, and you could spend all your time serving the most wonderful, delicious, artful things on the menu, but 9 out of 10 people walk in and say, “I’d like to order some sh-t with some more sh-t on the side”, how much time, as a business owner, are you going to spend on the non sh-t???
I’m totally with Simmons when he says that Will Smith could have been so much more had he stayed with the level of performance he gave in Six Degrees of Separation. I understand what he’s saying when he says Jeremy Renner is just medium for him so far. Bill Simmons is smarter and wiser than all of us. And he does allow for the role of gossip and strategery at play in a celebrity’s career, something so many other journalists are afraid to acknowledge. Simmons is right, totally, totally, totally. These days, we are getting so much Medium at the Movies. 100%.
But I’m not sure about this “wheelhouse” list and the people he’s listed on it. I don’t know if Tom Hanks, especially given what’s happened lately, and Russell Crowe belong on there anymore. Based on how their vehicles “open”, Hanks and Crowe may need to cede their spots to Shia LaBeouf and Dwayne the Rock Johnson. I mean, if we’re including Kevin James (!!!), how can we NOT include the grosses of three Transformers and decent returns from Eagle Eye and Indiana Jones?
Yet Simmons’s inclusion of Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe, STILL, even though in the new world they may not be able to stand up to Kevin James (!!!) isn’t so much an indictment of Hollywood’s support of Medium than, conversely, testament to the fact that, for some reason, in Hollywood, and maybe only in Hollywood, these two still have some value even though the days of them ruling the box office have passed.
In other words, Hollywood might still be propping up Hanks and Crowe when the viewer long since bailed. Can you blame that on Hollywood? Or can we acknowledge that, in large part, we really do suck?
Again, he made a list of Movie Stars and it included KEVIN JAMES. I’m telling you: we SUCK.
Would love to discuss this on a liveblog soon. I’m still in Toronto though on my ma’s schedule so it may not be until next week. In the meantime, please click here to read Bill Simmons’s brilliant piece and please do send me your thoughts!
Yours in gossip,