Sunday, July 17, 2005

Brad vs. Tom, and other diversions...

I enjoyed reading David Ansen's column in the July 11 Newsweek, "Is anybody making movies we'll actually watch in 50 years?," especially thinking about the longevity of current bankable stars. Ansen and others think Tom Cruise is a very good film actor, and will have longevity, while he praises faintly the work of Brad Pitt. I agree, though my housemates hate TomKat, and greatly prefer Brangelina.

I think much of Hollywood fare is fun and interesting in the same way as a trip to DisneyWorld or the Mall of America, two vacation "destinations" at which our daughter insisted we spend scarce summer free time over the years. Fun, but not somewhere I would like to frequent, fundamentally unintellectual as they are, says this stuffy academic.

I did enjoy reading from a new acquisition, David Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, and agree with my friend, Courtney Dimwiddie, that Thomson is razor sharp and his assessment of Cruise is spot on. Dimwiddie is a smart fella, a fellow academic in another state who has some Hollywood acting credits to his name.

I urged Dimwiddie to read the Ansen Newsweek essay, and this is his reaction:

Well, I am now in the library having read the Ansen article, and I confess that I don't think many of these movies are worth talking about, much less the actors involved. I believe that actors are not very important pieces to the cinema puzzle and that Hollywood movies generally ought to be buried in the deepest part of the sea, along with organized religion, Fox News, and the Bush Administration. I admit to being a little bitter about the election (what seems to me to be the possible end of democracy in America) and about the continued commercial vitality of the Hollywood fantasy-as-reality movie industry. Hollywood is like McDonalds, I think. They convince millions of people a day that what they pass off as food is nutritious. The fraud exasperates me. I hope I haven't offended you.

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