It’s cold and rainy in Hollywood.  Like this town ain’t miserable enough. 


In Praise of Vapid Souls

No
one likes talented people.  They’re assholes.  Especially if they’ve
graduated from “talented” to “brilliant”.  Whenever I sit across the
table from a master like Michael Mann, I’m consumed with the urge to
throttle the peerless form and content out of his unassuming frame.  “I
don’t like that you’re great,” I simmer.  “Where’s the mediocrity in
you?  Where’s the settling?  Go make another The Keep, you offensively talented prick, so that I might see your tawdry molecules!”

This
is why I much prefer the company of mortals.  Some folks dream of
scoring a one-on-one interview with an elusive “genius” like Terrence
Malick; I live for a crowded roundtable with the tangible and tameable
Thomas Gibson (he’s forever forthcoming on what it’s like to work with
Joe Mantegna*).  The average make no demands.  They expect nothing
because they have less than that to offer.  But they’re always grateful
for the attention.  And they’re certainly not given to snappishness. 
For example, Scott Speedman may not have much going on under the hood,
but at least he’s not going to lambaste you for asking boilerplate
questions.  If you want to grab Tommy Lee Jones by the horns, you’re
more than welcome to that goring; I’d rather coast through fifteen
minutes of Underworld and Felicity softballs, and get the hell home.  

‘Cuz these talented people… man, they make you work.  You have to engage them.  Find subjects of mutual interest
Pretend that you wouldn’t rather be back in the hospitality suite
cycling through emails on your Blackberry and noshing on a delicious
assortment of homemade pastries. All for a whole lot of pretentious
prattle that would test Charlie Rose’s capacity for aimless discourse? 
No thank you.  I can sell Eva Longoria’s thoughts on Versace’s spring
collection; I get validated parking for Mark Ruffalo extolling the
“startling empathy” of Kenneth Lonergan (i.e. the writer of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle aka Discount Shrek).

It’s
a goddamn struggle working this beat, jack.  Truth be told, I only go
to movies to see bright shit hit a white screen in dim lighting.  This
is why the last three Star Wars
films are the best thing to ever happen in my empty, loveless life. 
The louder the spectacle, the quieter the failure.  Go away ambition! 
Come again when my standards are low enough for a staff writing
position on Meteor Man: The Animated Series!


They Bungee Carreys, Don’t They?

I
roused myself from a Tommy’s-stained couch early this morning (don’t
ask) for a rush hour slog out to Pasadena to see Jim Carrey bungee jump
from the Colorado Street Bridge.  I’d never seen anyone bungee jump
before, so I figured if I was gonna pop that cherry, might as well do
it watching the star of one of the decade’s best movies plunge to his
dangling non-death.   

Every media outlet imaginable was in
attendance, so if you’re desperate to see Mr. Carrey swan dive for your
own edification (before the December release of Peyton Reed’s Yes Man),
you needn’t Google too strenuously.  And since you didn’t see anything
about this on the evening news, you are correct in assuming that the
stunt went off without much of a hitch (it was touch and go with the
weather for a second, but the rain subsided).  But there are no snafus
when stunt coordinator Gary Hymes is in charge (he’s overseen mayhem on
everything from Tango & Cash to The Untouchables to this summer’s Pineapple Express).  

All
in all, it was a memorable set visit that did nothing to sell us on the
actual film (which is about a man who challenges himself to say “Yes”
to everything over the course of a year – an inspiring tale until he
visits Haiti).  It appeared as if they were setting everything up for a
DVD extra where Carrey surprises the crew by asking to take the place
of his stunt double.  Cute.  Too bad the excess coverage of the event
will spoil the faux-sponatanaiety.  

I don’t mean to flatter
myself, but if I don’t, who will?  Clearly, I was the only reporter
mulling about with any interest in chatting with director Peyton Reed,
who was all but hidden away from the press.  As a fan of his work since
the sublime Down with Love (and, hell, Bring It On),
I would’ve been content to camp out in video village and get his take
on why Ian Roberts would’ve been the best, most psychosexually
compelling Reed Richards ever.  

Still, this was Carrey’s day.  And he survived it.  But if you can walk away from The Number 23, jumping off a bridge is nothing.


Like So Many Dan Rathers…

All of my fellow journos seem convinced that they’re the only ones planning to ambush Paris Hilton during the junket for The Hottie and The Nottie.  I admire their play at principled mischief, but this chick is far too media savvy.  Between David Letterman and TMZ, she’s dealt with worse.  That said, if some brave reporter happens to walk into her suite, plunk a c-note down on her dresser, and ask if that covers anal play, I’ll do everything in my power to get them nominated for a Nobel.


*”It’s
like going to acting school every day.  He’s a wonderful man.  I just
wish I wouldn’t get a big boner every time his teenage daughter visits
the set.”