Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Jack Goldstein, 1975. [via]
Oh, stars. Sometimes you are unavoidable when discussing the cinema! And there are those who walk among us and discuss them with such erudition, like Anne Helen Peterson in her recent post on Brad Pitt. An amuse:
Every time he does a film that challenges his existing image, he has another in the pipeline that reinforces it. It’s brilliant, and it’s why he’s been the biggest male star, both domestically and internationally, for more than a decade. Brad Pitt opens movies, even when Brad Pitt isn’t playing “himself.” Brad Pitt playing himself, however, as he does almost perfectly in Moneyball, can turn a film into a global (even if not domestic) blockbuster. (For those of you who disagree with me re: Moneyball, please see: hilarious eating, bonhomie, asshole-mixed-with-charisma, golden-boy past, lots of emotive staring-into-space. No womanizing, but he makes up for it with the comedic timing and ubiquitous chin-ups).
More on Brad's cinematic snack attacks from the tireless scribes at Vulture:
If you saw Moneyball this weekend, perhaps you walked out of the theater thinking, Wow, that Brad Pitt really is a charming and handsome movie star. Or maybe instead you thought, Huh, Brad Pitt eats a lot in movies. The man does not stop feeding. (Except to throw a chair across the locker room, and then: more food.) Popcorn, Twinkies, Christmas cookies, a cheeseburger — it all ends up in Brad Pitt's perfect mouth. When Terry Gross asked him about this exact phenomenon, Pitt ascribed the tic to the intensity of the real life Billy Beane, but Ocean's Eleven aficionados will remember that Brad is chowing down in almost every scene of that movie, too. In fact, he eats in a lot of his movies. And so to prove the Brad Pitt Eating in Movies Theory, Vulture put together a list of every single item of food that Pitt has ever eaten in a movie, ever.
Some more empty calories masquerading as nutrition: Just how tall is Jake Gyllenhaal? No, really. The answer? It's epic.
I’m not the sort of person who thinks much about the height of celebrities. (I’ve always assumed most famous people are about seven feet tall.) The fact that I caught myself wondering about Gyllenhaal’s height suggested there was something uncanny about it, in the way an unsettlingly warm afternoon can bend one’s conversation toward the topic of global warming.
As soon as I got home, I typed “How tall is Jake Gyllenhaal” into my web browser’s search box. The internet deposited me at CelebHeights.com, “an Entertainment site estimating the heights of famous people, including fan photos and celebrity quotations about their own height.” Bingo. Surely CelebHeights would provide the concise, definitive answer to my question!
Friends, the CelebHeights entry on Jake Gyllenhaal runs to 11 printed pages. It spans 21 months. It is the Infinite Jest of Jake Gyllenhaal–height-related discourse: a maelstrom of heated debate, contested recollections, and esoteric theories of mind-numbing potency.
The entry begins with a quote from Jake Gyllenhaal's website: “I’m happily 6 feet tall.” What would seem a benign proclamation is actually the fuse to a powder keg. Before I knew it, a message-board user had whisked me away to an exclusive party for the express purpose of witnessing Gyllenhaal’s towering ... mendacity.
The cinetrix must applaud the kids over at This Recording for starting their week-long look at the films of Roman Polanski with Frantic and Bitter Moon. Shine on, you crazy contrarian diamonds! With such a Seigner-heavy selection thus far, I expect the entry on The Ninth Gate to go up any second now.
I like watching people fall in love onscreen so much that I can suspend my disbelief in the contrived situations that occur only in the heightened world of romantic comedies. I have come to enjoy the moment when the male lead, say, slips and falls right on top of the expensive wedding cake. I actually feel robbed when the female lead’s dress doesn’t get torn open at a baseball game while the JumboTron camera is on her. I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from “Alien” and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it.
It makes sense, then, that in the romantic-comedy world there are many specimens of women who—like Vulcans or Mothra—do not exist in real life.
To wind up this star-studded melange, Cecil B. DeMented, which I only finally watched this weekend after meaning to see it ever since I first thought, hey, that Maggie Gyllenhaal -- what else has she been in? Now it's the rest of the cast that amuses, as such a letter-perfect assemblage for that moment: Jack Noseworthy? Adrien Grenier? Alicia Witt? Stephen Dorff? Michael Shannon? "Continue eating the oysters or you will be shot and killed!" Indeed!