Monday, June 06, 2005

She Blinded Me With Scientology

Pasty and depraved politicos on the Goering Right in the country always take joy in making Hollywood its copiously modified, Pilate'd and permatanned bitch during election season, painting the purveyors of the world's entertainment as hopelessly out of touch with "the working people."

Granted, no one is likely to confuse Brett Ratner with Studs Terkel, but politicians taking global golfing tours on Jack Abramoff's (who Timothy Noah of Slate used to call "Abraham Jackoff" in high school) dime are not exactly rubbing elbows with Millie, the retiree who greets you at Wal-Mart because her pension won't quite cover her weekly menu of Armour Star Treet and Fancy Feast.

Still, it would not be terrible if some of Hollywood's finest pretended that they actually worked for their $20 million + points on the gross. Recently, Tom Cruise has been doing some kind of Frank T.J. Mackey routine, jumping around and looking as though he were ready to bite Oprah with those freakish gleamers that could take down a Sequoia. He bounds onto furniture, acting like a 13-year-old boy pitching his first denim tent over Katie Holmes, and castigates Brooke Shields for using SSRIs to treat post-partum depression -- something that is strictly forbidden in Cruise's Dianetics universe. The Holmes thing bothers us for various reasons, and not just the ones that recall Jerry Lee and Myra Lewis, but going after Shields for the treatment she described in "Down Came the Rain" makes Cruise, to be charitable, a fulminating assclown.

But, let us set aside our misgivings about the aging deflowerer of precious "Dawson's Creek" alumni, and let's look at what he is supposed to be doing: promoting a film for which he was characteristically paid all too handsomely.

As Sharon Waxman reported in the New York Times last week, Cruise is starting to worry the legume counters at Paramount and Dreamworks, which co-financed this summer's touching art-house sleeper, "War of the Worlds." It seems that Cruise's couch-humping is becoming a concern, since he cannot seem to talk much during interviews about the film itself:

Many Hollywood stars are involved with the Church of Scientology, and there is nothing particularly unusual about trumpeting a new love. But some executives at Paramount and DreamWorks have voiced concern that fans were becoming distracted from the movie, which cost some $130 million to produce.

"You can have so much attention on a particular issue that maybe the movie doesn't get as much attention as it might," Marvin Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Spielberg, a partner in DreamWorks, said of the show. "It's the topic of conversation, for many reasons."

When Cruise acts like he's being Tasered during these camera ops, he is not only neglecting a significant part of his contractual obligation -- those salaries pay for promotional work, as well -- he is playing into the hands of the country's worst culture warriors by, well, not really working. Cruise cannot be blamed if Karl Rove and Sen. Rick "Man On Dog" Santorum launch another intifada against Hollywood in '06, but he certainly did not help.


At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Darrin Stephens said...

Tom’s current train wreck certainly reflects well on sweet, sweet Nicole. Either his brain was fried by the breakup, or it was ALWAYS fried and Nicole is merely a hall-of-fame-caliber stabilizing influence.
Either way, her hotness has been dialed up from 10 to 11.


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