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The Loss Of Mystique

Posted by bmac on May 7, 2008

Ran across this article in the Hollywood Reporter about A-List movie stars and their drastically falling box office numbers, and this paragraph jumped out at me.

The decline of star power comes as consumers are viewing film actors differently. Such voyeuristic media outlets as “Access Hollywood” and TMZ.com have demystified celebrities even as they feed unprecedented interest. Why turn out for a favorite star’s movie if you can watch him walk his dog on TV and the Internet?

“Demystified celebrities.”

“Mystique is what draws people to the movies,” PMK publicist Catherine Olim says. “People want to go to the movies to get lost in a performance. And it’s hard to do that with so much interference.”

This insatiable interest in knowing every single mundane detail of celebrities lives has definitely ruined a lot of my own enjoyment of movies, and music. With a camera stuck in their face 24/7, I just can’t escape finding out their idiotic political views, or just how fucking retarded they really are.

This is exactly why studios used to control their stars, and limit and monitor their exposure to the media, so that you could accept a five foot tall freak like Tom Cruise as an action hero, or romantic lead. Tom’s career is over now because he couldn’t shut his fucking ignorant yap.

Actors and musicians depend on you thinking they know something you don’t, and as soon as you find out they’re drooling morons in real life, good luck selling them as a brilliant master of espionage, or a nuanced commentator on social issues through poetic lyrics and music.

This is also why Rock and Roll is dead. MySpace has killed rock. Killed it completely by giving us too much information, and allowing fans to interact directly with their beloved stars. An example:

Led Zeppelin used to have final approval on EVERY photo of them that was ever used. If a magazine published an un-approved photo that didn’t meet “Hammer Of The Gods” standards, that magazine never got to speak to Led Zeppelin ever again. They almost never gave interviews. Music journalists were granted very limited access to them. Led Zeppelin treated the press like the useful idiots they are. No one knew their opinion about politics or the environment. They understood the power of Mystique, and that holds up for them to this day.

Can you imagine Jimmy Page Blogging about inane bullshit? Robert Plant answering a moronic fans question about boxers or briefs?  I can’t, it would ruin the whole thing.

I think I listened to “Dark Side of The Moon” at least a thousand times, before I even knew what Pink Floyd looked like. Their lyrics could be interpreted a million different ways. Roger Waters didn’t go on MySpace and explain his lyrics right after he told you how hard it is to find a good cheeseburger in Tulsa. They understood Mystique as well as Zep, and they understood that without it, they were a pretty boring, unattractive group of fellas.

MySpace, TMZ, Perez Hilton, Access Hollywood, and the women who are the main consumers of this shit, have killed Rock and Roll, and are killing movies now by wringing every last tedious detail out of anyone that might have ever been remotely interesting, with endless “reporting” about shopping sprees and “Baby Bumps.”

Posted in Pop Culture | 31 Comments »

Alexander Supertramp…A Follow-Up

Posted by bmac on April 29, 2008

I’m about to have my one year blog-aversary, if you will, and I thought I’d mark it with a follow up to the most popular post, hands down, in the one year history of this blog. This one, about Chris McCandless, aka Alexander Supertramp.

For a great read, check out John Krakauer’s original 1993 article that inspired the book and film.

This story has extraordinary staying power, for a lot of reasons. It appeals to the spirit of wanderlust in all of us, the thrill of leaving the system behind and doing what you want, and it also has a tragic ending to boot. With pictures. It’s also interesting that fame has been posthumously cast onto a guy that probably never would have wanted it, a guy that, during his 2 year sojourn, didn’t tell anyone his real name.

It also helps that he was a good looking kid.

I still get about 2 or3 heartfelt comments a week on that post, now almost six months old. That’s pretty unusual, at least for me. When I wrote it, I was only commenting on the episode of “Iconoclasts” I’d seen on TV. I’ve since read John Krakauer’s book, and I hate to say, seen Sean Penn’s film adaptation. As much as I loathe Sean Penn, I will say he did an outstanding job adapting Krakauer’s book. He’s still a world class douchebag, but credit where credit is due.

In hindsight, there’s not really a political slant to the story. It is what it is. I wouldn’t call Chris a liberal now, in fact, I don’t think he had a specific political leaning at all. Like his own brief life, his politics were all over the map. It’s the rest of us that project politics onto him, myself included.

It’s hard to not like Chris McCandless, even if you think he was an idiot. There’s just something about his story that makes you hope it’ll turn out alright, even though you know it doesn’t. His beaming smile and enthusiasm for adventure are contagious, and that makes his tragic end all the more compelling.

It’s a complex story, and it doesn’t have a happy ending, but what it is, is thought provoking. That’s what makes it a fascinating topic, and one that has gotten so much mileage. Love him or hate him, he did what he had to do, and he did it with no regrets, at least as far as it seems. That last photo of him smiling, hours before his death, is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. Maybe that’s what grabs people, a guy that took his fate into his own hands, and fully accepted the consequences.

Posted in Pop Culture | 17 Comments »

Panhandling Pays!

Posted by bmac on April 26, 2008

I kinda knew this. A good spot on a freeway exit can be pretty lucrative.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time at Venice Beach, and there were some world class panhandlers out there. At Venice, there was a guy, probably still there, that juggled a chain saw, an apple and a bowling ball. He had a cardboard box out for “donations”, and I looked in it. Musta been 2 or 300 bucks in there. And he probably did 3 or 4 “shows” a day. That guy was making great money, tax free. He was really good though. At least he worked for it, but his schtick was complete bullshit, and tourists ate it up. In fact, here he is:

He’s been out there for years. Although, when I used to see him, it wasn’t this elaborate, with the fire and everything. Here”s another guy you may recognize, a total fixture on Venice Beach, Harry Perry:

This guy has been there at least 25 years, so it must be working for him. We used to talk to him, and I have a feeling he goes home to a nice house. He sells his wacky CD’s. He’s not real aggressive about it, but I bet he sells enough to make a decent living. He acts all crazy, and he’ll skate around you in circles singing songs about aliens. Most people just get annoyed with him, but if you are ever in Venice, and you see him, (Trust me, you’ll see him) ask him to sing “Invaders” and he’ll launch into his “greatest hit.” And then he’ll be all normal and ask if you want to buy his cd, and tell you all about the new one he’s working on in “his studio.” Pretty funny.

These guys are harmless, and I’m pretty sure their system of “Panhandling” is just kind of an alternative job. They never seemed like druggies or alcoholics to me. Unlike the super aggressive bums on Hollywood Blvd, that used to threaten and harass people, or scam artists like this girl in the link. Anybody that’s dealt with big city bums has probably lost a lot of empathy for the homeless, and for good reason. Myself included.

Posted in Personal Stories, Pop Culture | 15 Comments »

Harold And Kumar Jump The Shark

Posted by bmac on April 25, 2008

I liked “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.” Even though it was a pretty brutal painting of whites with the broadest possible negative stereotypes, it still had a sense of good nature to it. It was meant to be a broad swipe at whites, and I get the joke. Plus it was hilarious, and had the best celebrity cameo ever.

The joke’s wearing a little thin however, with “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.” Actually, “a little thin” is an understatement, as Harold and Kumar take that ball and run with it past the goalpost, and right out of the stadium. I understand it’s getting rave reviews. No doubt, someone will call it “A smart, comical take on racism, blind patriotism, and the war in Iraq.” Or how about this actual review from the Philadelphia Enquirer:

but the gratuitous nudity (male and female) and crazy cannabis-ness are there to serve a greater good: to mock social and political hypocrisy, a culture steeped in prejudice and pretense.

Or this one, from the NY Times:

its idiocy serves the cause of good sense and intelligence. And no, I’m not smoking anything.

Here’s one from TV Guide:

Hurwitz and Schlossberg’s sensibilities are coarse, juvenile, lewd, relentlessly tasteless and sometimes surprisingly perceptive when it comes to the glorious variety of racial stereotyping.

Yes, it’s “surprisingly perceptive” “serves the greater good”, and “serves the cause of good sense and intelligence,” to portray the entire staff of Guantanamo Bay as racist, idiot, gay rapists. Or every white passenger on a plane as an Islamo-Phobe. Or every white southerner as an inbred hillbilly KKK member. Didn’t we cover most of that in the first movie dudes?

It’s passed the point of parody, and entered the realm of hatefulness, and critics are eating that shit up.

See for yourself how they’re “serving the greater good”. Warning: Extreme profanity, and nudity NSFW!!

I’m no Debbie Schlussel, I can laugh at raunchy stuff, I don’t see Islamic sympathising in every movie, and I can take a joke directed at white people, but to call this in any way smart, or perceptive, or serving anything but the most over the top racial and political stereotyping possible, is fucking retarded.

It was funny the first time guys, this time it’s just kind of hateful.

Just FYI, I understand Kal Penn, (Kumar) is a MAJOR Obama guy.

Posted in Pop Culture | 1 Comment »

Lowe Down Nanny Blues

Posted by bmac on April 16, 2008

Have you heard about this Rob Lowe/Nanny thing? He’s suing her for something or other, and she’s alleging sexual abuse or something. I don’t really care, but I’m not at all surprised the Lowes have a problem with a hot young nanny they hired to live with them.

I find the whole nanny culture interesting. It’s like buying a family member, or hiring a dog trainer to raise your children because those damn kids just don’t seem to understand that you have a fucking tanning appointment!

Here’s the other thing: If you just cannot give up afternoon cocktails, and shopping for just the right purse for your chiuaua, don’t hire a hot young live-in fuck buddy for your husband. Because unless your nanny (or for you east coasters, Aupair) looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, that’s pretty much the way it usually ends up.

Either that, or the hot young nanny becomes a paid for, live-in drinking/drug buddy for the wife. I’ve seen it happen. Basically, the kids are the lowest part of the priority totem pole when a nanny gets hired.

Why would a hot young chick even want to be a nanny? Probably because it’s easy. You get free room and board (usually very nice digs) some decent pocket money, and you hang out with spoiled kids who probably play Wii all day anyway. It’s just a little easier than being a stripper. And I’m pretty sure a good number of these chicks have designs on getting the old broad out, and becoming the new wife, with a built in family, and then they can be the ones having a drunken tanning session every day.

It pretty much never ends up like that.

If you hire a (hot young) relative stranger to be a live-in, de-facto “mom” to your children, I just have no sympathy for you when it all goes so predictably south.

Posted in Celebutard, Pop Culture | 3 Comments »

Charlton Heston

Posted by bmac on April 7, 2008

End of an era. Just about the last real man in Hollywood. I especially liked Charlton Heston because he looks a lot like my dad. They could be brothers. I don’t need to go into what a great guy Chuck was, everybody (at least in the dextrosphere) has covered that pretty extensively.

I will add that I think the most despicable thing Michael Moore has ever done in his completely despicable career, was ambushing Charlton Heston for his POS anti-gun propaganda film. Heston was gracious and kind enough to let that dirtbag into his home, only to be edited to look like a racist. This man that stood up for civil rights when it was not fashionable to do so.

There’s a very special circle of Hell reserved just for Moore, just for that.

            Heston      

                        Heston                                                        My Dad

Don’t they look like they could be brothers?  

Love ya dad!

Posted in Personal Stories, Pop Culture | 5 Comments »

Dog Town and Z-Boys

Posted by bmac on April 4, 2008

Dogtown And Z-Boys is one of my favorite documentaries. Please don’t confuse this with the absolutely horrible Hollywood movie it inspired starring Heath Ledger, “The Lords Of Dogtown.” As a documentary it’s fascinating, but it just doesn’t translate to a dramatic interpretation.

It’s old, I think it was released in 2001. Made by one of the Z-boys, Stacey Peralta, it’s the story of a group of teenage surfers/skateboarders/criminals from Venice Ca. in the 70’s, that pretty much started what today is known as “extreme.” Yes I hate “extreme” too, no worries, it’s not that kind of film. Jam packed with some awesome classic rock and incredible footage, even if you don’t have the slightest interest in skateboarding (like me) there’s still a great story here.

What’s known as “vert” skating today was started by this rag-tag group of juvenile delinquents when they broke into backyards to skate empty swimming pools during the California droughts.

While many of the kids who idolized these guys, like Tony Hawk (Peralta was his mentor) went on to make millions, these pioneers of modern day skateboarding mostly ended up in normal jobs, or in jail, or are just… missing.

I especially relate to this movie because I grew up in a similar neighborhood in the 70’s, and these guys were kind of the template for how we, as poor white dudes in a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood, looked and dressed, to have our own identity. Skateboarding was never really big here in Vegas, but being only 250 miles away, we definitely felt their influence, not so much in skating, but in look and attitude.

It’s actually kind of funny, because the whole “Dogtown look” has been adopted by young skateboarders these days, the long hair, Vans, and jeans.

It’s on Netflix, and I think it won some Sundance awards, definitely worth a rental.

Posted in It's Friday, Pop Culture | Leave a Comment »

Sean Penn Never Fails To Amuse Me

Posted by bmac on March 19, 2008

I always like when Drudge has a hyperbolic headline, and the story is not even close to what you expected. In this case, it was “Sean Penn Unleashes On Fox News,” which led to this story about Penn doing a film about a prominent gay man in San Francisco that was murdered….30 years ago.

Knock Knock? Who’s there? OSCAR!

Apparently Penn was improvising a speech because he was “method acting” and seemed to lose track of what decade it was supposed to be, (70’s) and said something stupid about Fox News. Or, maybe he just got swept up in all the fabulousness of a big gay crowd in San Francisco, and “broke decade.”

A production assistant followed Penn around the front of City Hall with a large navy blue umbrella. She held it over his head to shield him from the sun. Seeing he had a captive audience, Penn broke loose of the umbrella to deliver an impromptu speech that Milk would have loved.

“I almost wish Jerry Falwell were alive to see this. Almost,” Penn shouted to the crowd. After dropping some names of conservatives who are still with us – “Bill O’Reilly, who is too stupid to talk about,” and “Sean Hannity, the butt boy of Rupert Murdoch,” Penn said, “We know something more. We know their end is near.”

I love the fact that a poor production assistant had to follow Penn around with a fucking umbrella to “shield him from the sun.” And then he “broke loose” of the umbrella, as if from the very chains of oppression itself.

So much for the tough guy image there Nancy. God forbid rays from the sun actually touch the method acting face of “bad boy actor” Sean Penn. I wonder how much abuse that P.A. had to take from him, especially if sunshine ever breached the No Sun Zone around the precious National Treasure of Mr. Penn. I can totally see it playing out like this:

P.A. slips and let’s a sliver of damaging UV ray lick the weathered, homely, yet ruggedly handsome face of Sean Penn.

Penn-“Did sunshine just touch my weathered, homely yet ruggedly handsome face?

P.A. “I’m sorry sir, I momentarily blacked out because I haven’t had a drink of water or a bathroom break for 12 hours, it won’t happen again.”

Penn-“Hand me that umbrella.”

P.A. hands Penn umbrella, he closes it. Proceeds to beat the production assistant with it, one beat for every word. “Don’t. You. Ever. Let. The. Sun. Touch. Me. Again. You. Piece. Of. Shit.

P.A. “Yes sir Mr. Penn, please allow me to clean all my blood off of that umbrella.”

Penn-“Leave it. It’ll be a warning to your incompetent replacement. You’re fired.”

Or something like that.

I also love how he attacks O’Reilly and Hannity, two guys who collectively make up about seven and a half whole hours a week of programming on 24/7 Fox.

Dude, pull that piece of coal out of your ass, it’s a diamond now.

Update: Pajama Momma reminded me of what a bad-ass Penn is:

penn_boatingjpeg.jpg

What, no umbrella? He is a bad-ass! I hope the people of New Orleans realized what a sacrifice he made to help them, with all that sunshine raining down on him.

His complexion must have aged a full day in that shit.

Posted in Celebutard, Pop Culture | 10 Comments »

American Idol Nearly Beats Oscars

Posted by bmac on February 26, 2008

Smallest audience since Nielson began keeping records in 1974.

Ha! Newsflash Hollywood, the only people who care about the Oscars are gay guys and single women. That’s it. Nobody has seen any of the movies nominated, nobody wants to see any of the movies nominated, nobody really cares “who the stars are wearing.”

Maybe get Peter Jackson to do Lord Of The Rings again, or perhaps a sequel to Titanic if you want anybody to watch your self congratulatory circle jerk again.

Don’t try to blame it on the writers strike either.

And Jon Stewart is not funny. The people who write for Jon Stewart on the daily show are funny, Jon….not so much. In fact, he borders on horrible, and I offer his standup career as proof. Never seen his standup? Jon would like to keep it that way. Because it sucks. Because he’s not funny. At all. Without a team of writers.

Actually I’m shocked there were no Michael Moore Moments, I totally expected some kind of Hillary pimping to go down, but as far as I know, that didn’t happen. And none of the anti-war movies won anything that I know of.

So maybe this was the best Oscars ever!

Posted in Pop Culture | 5 Comments »

Another Celebtrity Is Killing Herself…….Yawn……

Posted by bmac on January 22, 2008

Amy Winehouse was filmed smoking crack, and we should all be alarmed….or something. This stuff is really getting tired. If she wants to kill herself, can’t she do it in private, like rock stars used to do?

winehouse.jpg

This is exactly why Rock n Roll is dead. All the mystery is gone. Hell, when I was a teenager, I didn’t even know what the dudes in Pink Floyd looked like, let alone what their politics were, or what they ate for breakfast, or where they hung out. The music did the talking, and it still is. Not knowing a bunch of superfluous details made them more interesting.

Can you imagine Jim Morrison chatting online with every drooling moron who wanted to talk to him on MySpace? How about Jimmy Page blogging the notorious Shark Incident? The stuff those guys did was legendary precisely because we didn’t have video of thier antics. Rock stars in those days had very strict control of their public persona’s, for the exact purpose of retaining mystery. For example, you never saw a picture of Robert Plant doing something mundane, like eating a cheeseburger, it was better if you just assumed he ate the hearts of sacrificed babies. 

plant.jpg 

That kind of secrecy made the music all that much better, and left it open to all sorts of interpretations, and the fact that the music from those days lives on 30 years later is testament to how powerful a little mystery is. In 30 years nobody is gonna give a damn about Amy Winehouse, or her music, or just about any artist today that we know way too much about.

Posted in Pop Culture | 8 Comments »