There are always plenty of wacky things going on in the wide, wide world of entertainment . . . but some are wackier than others. In fact, sometimes all you can do is scratch your head, roll your eyes and wonder, "What were they thinking?"
Here are a few things that have crossed my desk - or crossed my mind - lately, and prompted precisely that response:- Hollywood's 25 Greatest Actors were revealed in the Aug. 7 Entertainment Weekly. The 50 Greatest Movies on TV and Video were named in the Aug. 8 TV Guide. Last month two "official," highly publicized and controversial lists were published - 100 best 20th-century novels in English and 100 best American movies of all time.
What's next? A list of the 100 Greatest Lists?
Whether they are rankings of the most powerful people in Hollywood or the most beautiful people in the world, or the best-dressed men and women on Mars and Venus . . . nothing these days is listless.
But lists are arbitrary, frustrating and, of course, purely subjective. Magazine lists are really about generating letters.
And EW's list of the 25 best movie actors was particularly irritating.
Actually, I agree that Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Kline and Tom Hanks (to name just three) are among our best film actors. Some of the others are a bit more iffy, though.
The magazine's biggest sin, however, was leaving off Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman . . . .
Apparently they don't measure up to the enormous talent of Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and Nicolas Cage, so EW gave them a separate, ghettoized list, albeit masked as a tribute.
Duvall, Hackman and Hoffman define modern movie acting and they're as busy - busier - than Depp, Downey and Cage. Nicholson just won the best actor Oscar, for pete's sake!
You have to read between the lines to see the real reason they couldn't rank with the "25 Greatest." They are all over 60.
- On Page 2 of Parade magazine, in a recent edition of the Sunday Deseret News, Walter Scott's Personality Parade published a letter asking how "Titanic" managed to land a PG-13 rating, despite the infamous Kate Winslet nude scene.
Scott's response was as follows:
"A PG-13 was entirely appropriate for `Titanic.' Under the ratings guidelines, PG-13 warns parents to be `strongly cautioned, some material may be inappropriate for children under 13' because of nudity, violence, objectionable language or theme. If you're worried about what your children see, stick with films rated G (general audiences) or PG (parental guidance suggested; may have brief nudity or profanity)."
Now, let's get this straight - sex, nudity, violence and objectionable language are "entirely appropriate" for 13-year-olds? And if it bothers us, we should stick to PGs or Gs?
Of the former, let me just say, here's a guy with no young teens.
Of the latter, let me just say, yeah, right, like there are all kinds of PG- and G-rated movies to choose from.
- On a related subject, "The Avengers" made a precedent-setting and rather disturbing move before being released. After the film received a PG rating, it was cut by 30 minutes and a new ending was tacked on. As a result it had to be rated again - and this time it came up with a PG-13.
Why? Because Hollywood's favorite cuss word was added in the final reel.
The filmmakers aren't saying so, of course, but you can bet they deliberately threw that word in just to get a PG-13.
I'm old-fashioned, of course. I tend to think that good movies and not profanities attract audiences.
- Forty-year-old Californian Fred Barton has a unique hobby. He builds replicas of movie robots. Not little toy models, mind you, but huge "life-size" replicas.
His computer-driven Robby the Robot, for example, is a perfect copy of the metallic hero of "Forbidden Planet" (1956) and "The Invisible Boy" (1957). That is, it's 7 feet tall and weighs 75 pounds.
Robby, along with Gort, from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), and B-9, from the "Lost in Space" TV series (1965-1968), are also available for purchase.
Depending on how much you want your robot to do, the price can range from $25,000 to $75,000.
Don't I have a birthday coming up?