Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Stardom as subject

Dzyd Jessica is part of this year's (season's?) Slate Movie Club:

Like Dana and Lisa, I felt a certain editorial detachment from most of the Oscar season's offerings, admiring the intelligence and technical dexterity of Frost/Nixon, Doubt, and (for its first two hours or so) Benjamin Button without quite losing myself in them. Revolutionary Road hit me harder; even though Leo and Kate's combined star wattage does mean you have to squint occasionally to see the actual movie they're in, I liked the meta-ness of the Titanic couple careening toward an iceberg of the soul. Actors reach a point at which their stardom almost unavoidably becomes a subject—or the subject—of whatever movie they're in. This is not necessarily a problem, as we saw this year with Robert Downey Jr. (while Tropic Thunder allowed him to disappear, Iron Man harnessed his past and persona effortlessly into the mythos of a rogue redeemed) and The Wrestler, which is virtually a documentary about Mickey Rourke—his ravaged face, his heap-of-ashes career—as much as it is a fiction about a body-slammer reaching the end of his tether.



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