It took me a while to figure it out. But that is the crux of it all.
I like being led into a world of pure imagination. I want to believe while I’m watching this flick from 1981 that there is no Hollywood, there is no Stephen Spielberg or Harrison Ford. I want to believe that I’m actually in the jungles of South America or in the mountains of Nepal or in the sandy dunes of an Egyptian dig site.
You don’t want to be looking at Cameron Diaz in a movie and only thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe she got syphilis from Morgan Freeman!” It’s distracting.
I want to be taken away and immerse myself into a place, a land, a time, a circumstance that is wholly different than my own. That’s what I want and expect from a movie experience. In general, anyway.
There are times when I want that connection between the real world and the movie to be strong. If it’s a documentary, or some insightful take on politics or big business, or it’s based on a true story, that’s one thing.
But when it comes to escapism and suspension of disbelief, that’s my wheelhouse. And those are the moneymakers, anyway.
And that is why celebrities suck.
Celebrities are the people who are photographed by tabloid photographers while they’re walking their dogs or buying smoothies. We see pics of celebrities on the beach revealing tattoos that we knew nothing about. They drive really expensive cars while under the influence of exotic substances. They get arrested for banging on a bongo at three o’clock in the morning while wearing nothing but Air Jordans.
And there is an audience for all these things. High consumption of entities such as TMZ and Star magazine indicate that a lot of people want to know what Tom Cruise has for breakfast.
My thinking is this: The more you know about the personal goings-on of the people you see on the screen, the more baggage they carry with them into the role. They have to act through all of the expectations in order for their characters to connect with you. This is why, for many big projects and summer tentpole movies, you’ll hear about the producers and directors wanting to cast a “fresh face,” an unknown.
You don’t want to be looking at Cameron Diaz in a movie and only thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe she got syphilis from Morgan Freeman!” It’s distracting. It’s not conducive to the moviegoing experience.
There is something to watching a movie with Bruce Willis in it and referring to him exclusively as “Die Hard.”
I feel the same way about music. I feel that a musician’s art should speak for itself. But this is a column about movies, so I write about movies and such.
This is not to say that if you commit a crime and you’re a big movie star then you don’t actually get punished. On the contrary; they should be treated like any other citizen of these United States.
I don’t want to be privy to any part of the casting or production process. Just show me a trailer. I’ll decide if I want to see it based pretty much on the trailer. As far as I’m concerned, all the worlds Hollywood creates with all them movies are best gauged with a two-minute sample that begins with a narrator saying “In a world…”
So, the point of this article is to not get to know the folks in the movies. I know most people won’t listen, but there is something to watching a movie with Bruce Willis in it and referring to him exclusively as “Die Hard” … There are people who can’t help but do it, and God bless them for not knowing that he used to be married to Demi Moore or never having heard of Planet Hollywood. To them, he’s an actor, plain and simple.
Granted, I’m sure all those people are rather disappointed in what he’s done lately. But it’s not like they’re going to write him a letter. They don’t know his damn name.