I feel protective of John Travolta. And I know that’s a weird thing to say because let’s face it, there are things here to point out. The Xenu worship. The, um, “hair.” The open secrets.
Yet there is a kindness to him, isn’t there? He’s the type of person who, I think, would be courteous to the wait staff. And that doesn’t mean much for real people, but for male movie stars his age… it means something. He’s 62. He’s within a hair of a generation of male movie stars – many who consider themselves very serious and important – that we have watched, over the years, falter and “comeback”. Sean Penn is 56. Johnny Depp is 53. Tom Cruise is 54. Mel Gibson is 61. When John Travolta had to make his big comeback, it was because his career had stalled, not because he got caught doing something very bad.
“But how can you compare Johnny Depp to John Travolta?!” Um, here’s how: John works, a lot. He doesn’t do a whole f-cking song and dance about it and disappear into a costume, but he consistently knocks out projects. Many of his peers look happy, some even delighted, to say hello to him. Bruce Willis, at 61, is his contemporary. Is anyone ever happy to see Bruce Willis?
He got a ton of cutaways in a night of minimal cutaways, which tells me they felt he was reliable. They knew he would be listening, laughing, engaged. He wasn’t going to be a grump about it. He’s not above it, but he’s not out there begging for votes, either.
There is, at this stage, little desperation for the accolades. John is a ham. He butchers names. He is goofy. He has survived decades in a brutal, ruthless business.