the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mission Impossible?

Am I the only one who finds this whole Tom Cruise issue just plain silly?

Listen to how Viacom (which owns Paramount Pictures, the studio that is dropping Cruise) chairman Sumner Redstone said it, "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

His recent conduct has not been acceptable?

Now, don't get me wrong, Cruise isn't making any friends by passing himself off as a total loon. His antics have left us all wondering just how sane a man he is. But does jumping up and down on a couch or even acting hostile to Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer constitute unacceptable behavior? From a movie star?

What is their measuring stick, pray tell?

Mel Gibson is pulled over while driving drunk and if that isn't bad enough, subjects the arresting officers to a massive racist tirade. Robin Williams checks himself into a rehab clinic for alcoholism. Halley Joel Osment crashes his car while high on drugs. Paris Hilton is one walking scandal after another. The Lost gals. Nick Nolte. Winona Ryder. Robert Blake. The list could go on forever. From minor misdemeanors to heavy felonies, it seems that there isn't a week that goes by that some actor isn't in trouble with the law.

And what did Tom Cruise do?

Jumped on a couch.

Yep, that's unacceptable behavior all right.

Could it be Paramount, that Cruise's Scientology and off-screen antics with Katie Holmes are hurting, not your sanctimonious sensibilities but your bottom line? $394 million for his last movie not enough for you? Oh, you have a right to expect Cruise to bring in the dough and you even have a right to realize that you were stupid to ever offer him so much money per film in the first place, but don't try blowing smoke up our asses by suggesting that it is his behavior that you find so repulsive.

That's just hypocritical and childish. Almost as hypocritical as feigning righteous indignation when you lose a few million dollars but defending depravity when it makes you the bucks.


There are other words for it too.


Anonymous Ford said...

No you are not the only one that finds it silly. Do me a favor, and tell your brother to get in touch with me. Can't believe he went and had a kid and didn't say anything.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Paolo T. said...

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5:10 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

As a former resident of Italy myself, you are always welcome here Paolo!

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's about time somebody said it.
The Scientology thing is wack, but everything else easily fits within the bounds of a mere inflated ego.

The level of celebrity hate in this country is ridiculous, which is really just repressed celebrity worship. The amount of Schadenfreude displayed in this particular case with Tom Cruise, when I've heard other people talk about it, only points up just how preoccupied by the whole thing. Get over it. Jiminy. There's a war on.

I have no great love for the man. Nor do I have any great antipathy. He's just...there. He does his job, which is being a moderately competent leading man in mega-blockbusters which I may or may not pay to see, and I don't really care what God he worships or starlet he knocks up. Some people really, really care about these things, and also care about getting feet on furniture that doesn't belong to them anyway. I mean, they are like emotionally invested.

Besides, if we didn't have dumbass celebrities, we'd lose the whole point of having celebrities in the first place.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous POD said...

I think that I have to take the studio's exec's view on this one. Paramount is owned by Viacom, and it is a publicly traded company, I think that consideration was not only based upon his current bottom line results, but also his future bottom line. From what I understand, Mr. Cruise had one of the most lucrative studio deals that anyone could hope for - including sizable chunks of revenue from the box office and dvd's. MI:III did make money at the box office and subsequently money for both the studio and Mr. Cruise; however, who was really at risk with his last movie? I do not think that it was Mr. Cruise, because it wasn't him that put up the capital to make MI:III - you have a star that is potentially taking a lion's share of the profits and the studio does not benefit any more because of it - Paramount probably made less money than Mr. Cruise for MI:III.

I look back at Mr. Cruise's behavior least of all I believe that he is generally a man of strong conviction, and it is a pity that there was such a public backlash on his behavior. (I see articles on Google attesting to the shock of his release from Paramount.) But his audience is everything to him, and for hime to maintain an ideal relationship both the studio and the audience, he must strike the balance necessary to ensure that the studio (who takes the exclusive financial risk) does not suffer from any public backlash against their marquee star, resulting in a potential loss of revenue. Although I am aware that he has recently walked away from a deal with Yahoo! with a 100mil production deal (so paltry by today's standard's, by the way) he will most certainly not have the same type potential revenue opportunities that he had at Paramount. That is, unless he dicides to put up his own money and put his own creative ass on the line. It is going to take more than a best supporting Oscar nod in a P.T. Anderson film for him to really get any real traction in Hollywood. I would like to see him do this - he has the money, why not take the risk? Isn't that what we would like the opportunity to do in out lives? To be able to take financial risks, and still be able to live lavishly? If Mr. Cruise were to take a risk and win, it would be a great thing indeed.

A note on the difference between Mr. Cruise and Mr. Gibson: Mel took the risks, put up his own money and was successful. It puts him in a different category than Mr. Cruise. I would much rather see a Mel Gibson (directed) film than any Tom Cruise film personally, because with Mr. Gibson I do notice that he is a student of film and is unafraid to use cinematic convention to his advantage.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Except that I was not commenting on either the actor's behavior or the studio's rights. For me, the issue is the studio's behavior.

11:21 AM  

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