You’ve heard the old saying, familiarity breeds contempt? It seems to prove especially true when it comes to any quasi-famous person who spends a little too long in the limelight. For some it takes only a 30-second film clip (think Joe the Plumber) before people have had enough. Others, athletes and movie stars for example, take…oh, say about the second time they open their mouths in public.
I think the stars of my parents’ generation had the right idea. Let the film persona speak for them and keep their real selves…well, to themselves. Did anyone need to know that Rock Hudson was gay? Should they care? And Gregory Peck. Wasn’t he the most stalwart, quietly intellectually heroic leading man of the time? And that was all accomplished without him feeling the need to go on weekly talk shows and, well…talk.
Wasn’t it okay to believe Jimmy Stewart was every bit as earnest and good hearted as he appeared in films? Do we need to hear any different? (For the record, from everything I know, he was.) I happen to believe Errol Flynn and Clark Gable were hot precisely because they weren’t followed by papparazzi and featured on Entertainment Tonight ad nauseum. Because it turns outs that the famous don’t always wear well once we know more about their personal iives and opinions.
Some of the actors who have lost their luster for me–due to overexposure–are Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Charleton Heston, Tom Selleck, Melanie Griffin, Charlie Sheen and Meg Ryan. Sigh. Sometimes I want to cover my ears and sing “La-la-la” very loudly when the news comes on so I won’t ruin future movie goling experiences. But some train wrecks are impossible to evade indefinitely (think Mel Gibson). I don’t need to be deprived of my Johnny Depp fantasy life with details of his hillbilly roots rate and failed marriage. Likewise, I happen to like Demi Moore, and really don’t want to be bombarded with constant scuttle of her addictions, failed marriages and life-threatening (or not) escapades.
Less really is more.
I’m not trying to romanticize the old Hollywood. I know that stars of yesteryear were almost slaves of the movie studios and had personal lives that were just as tragic and dramatic as those today. But their mystique was preserved due to the fact that the public wasn’t bombarded with those facts. When I go to movies, I want to be entertained, not recall the leading actor’s deranged couch jumping, Neanderthal outbursts, infidelity or sexual preferences. I want the fantasy. For eight bucks a ticket, I think I’m entitled to at least that.
By the way, saw Wanderlust this weekend. Would have preferred NOT to have been thinking the whole time, “Ewwww. *That’s* Jennifer Anniston’s new boyfriend????” Maybe it was the facial hair 😦
Do you have a favorite ‘oldie’ movie star? Who’s the celebrity that you’ve heard *way* too much about lately? Is there anyone whose movies you no longer want to watch or whose music you turn off because they’re overexposed?