I went to a Seattle Symphony holiday concert on Friday, and it was jarring because it's been so long since I've really celebrated the end-of-year holidays in a blowout style. In the interim, I wonder if I've become too diseased with irony to appreciate the simple messages of carols. This singer, Brad Little, came out on stage, all 6 feet 8 inches tall (maybe more) and started talking about holiday cheer and twinkling lights and young children frolicing and all I could think of was Troy McClure from the Simpsons, or any of Phil Hartman's character sketches from old SNL. He had that kind of voice. Frighteningly, I think he was serious. I wonder if he cusses in private.
Saw Ocean's 11 yesterday, and it was charming good fun. For me, that is mass popcorn entertainment, much better than the summer spectacles from earlier this year. All about capitalizing on movie stars for their basic star power, good looks. Give them good lines, dress them up nice, let them show off a bit. Good guy wins, gets the girl, gets the money. None of the characters are more than sketches, mannequins which the actors can drape themselves over for the duration of the film.
I've realized a few things. George Clooney is a big movie star (he has recovered nicely from his Batman and Robin debacle). He even has the necessary womanizing rumors floating about him to qualify as a modern rat packer-lite. He also looks good in a tuxedo with the collar undone and the bowtie slung around his neck, untied, like a scarf, an essential quality for any leading man. It says, "I'll dress up, but not all the way, because I'm not a black tie stiff, I'm a little bit of a loose cannon, but not sloppy. I'm fun and style, a rule bender, not a rule breaker. And damn, I look good with this tux half on, imagine what I'd look like if I tied this damn tie."
Brad Pitt dresses more and more flamboyantly in each successive movie as if to say, look at what I can look good in, I'm so damn good looking. Seriously has he worn the same pair of ridiculous sunglasses in any consecutive scenes in the last four movies he's made? My main grips with Pitt is that I have no idea where he comes from. What is he all about? It's a mystery. Pitt and Clooney fall into the category of guys that I don't mind my girlfriends drooling over, because even though I'm not gay, I have to admit that they've got that I don't know what, and if one of my girlfriends dated them, then hey, I'd get to hang out with Brad Pitt or George Clooney, and that wouldn't be so bad.
Julia Roberts, too. She radiates movie star power, but she's never really done it for me. I'm not sure what it is. Yet you know she's just something superhuman.