As I have said a number of times, when I was 40 I thought I knew pretty nearly everything........now, not only do I feel like I know nothing, but, worse yet, I understand nothing. I have kept my mouth shut mostly about my total bafflement about lots of things, but particularly about the young celebrities in the news and plastered all over everything. Vapid blondes with faces as distinctive as a bowl of unflavored yogurt; young men so undistinguished looking that you almost miss them when you are looking right at a picture of them, or so weird looking that you find that, if your life depended on making a choice between the two types, you would have such a helluva time deciding that maybe you would actually prefer the odd ones. At least with odd and ugly, you would have a chance of recognizing them and being able to pick them out of a crowd (solely to be able to avoid them).
Sorry if my ranting here ends up spoiling what might have been a nice movie experience......I just couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer. I really hate to be an old curmudgeon and name names , but last night I watched a movie on TV (The Ides Of March) which featured one of my favorite actors and favorite faces in the whole universe, George Clooney, but actually starred a young man whose name I have seen here and there but have never actually SEEN, if you know what I mean and whom I felt I had still not seen, despite watching him for an hour and a half. And I found myself in a puddle of befuddlement as the closing credits rolled. I had to quickly go back and check the cast to get his name......it seems to be Ryan Gosling.......a rather interesting name for the most innocuous, indeterminate non-face I have ever tried to look at. Please understand, I know nothing about this person as a person. He may be the salt of the earth, kind to animals and children a paragon of virtue.......a prospective Saint even. I am not talking about his entity.......I am talking about his appearance and this performance as an actor.....some of the main things that usually figure into hiring an actor to be in your movie.
Holy moly, if I were married to that guy for 5 years I would still be unable to pick him out of a lineup much less a crowd. It would have been necessary for me to bonk him on the chin or cheekbone with some blunt object on our Honeymoon, thereby creating a definitive scar which I could recognize. I do not know what would have made me notice him in the first place much less marry him......I would have to think about that. I suspect I would have had to go through our relationship calling him "whatshisname" even though his name is more distintive than his visage. I will briefly comment on his skill as an actor.......I cannot tell if he has any.
I realize how much I depend on facial characteristics and expressions and even voice and subtle vocal intonations to establish acting talent and, to my eye and ear, there just ain't anything there. I am not even saying he is a terrible actor......he is just a nearly invisible one.
I am baffled about what the movie moguls and the public see in this young man that I have missed. And I am using him as a symbol of all of the bland young things who dominate our entertainment world and who can hardly be distinguished visually, one from the other. Can anyone out there help me.?
By the way, the movie itself was OK.....George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman (both of whom have gorgeous recognizable faces) give good performances and, thank heaven, they have faces that enable me to tell one of them from the other. The plot is Philosophically sound and it did grip me occasionally though it made me sad when virtue did not really triumph. (Reality, especially political reality sucks.) I do think it might have been improved by a leading man whom I would have been able to recognize from scene to scene but then.....hell.....what do I know? Nuthin'
The New Yorker covers: August 18, 1975
11 hours ago