Hollywood loves a bit of Hollywood.
Whilst this statement might seem blatantly obvious, it’s hard to fathom just how narcissistic Hollywood is. For years and years, they have fooled audiences into believing that what we are seeing is an “inside look” at their business, when really we’re just getting the glorified, censored version.
Why am I saying this? Well, mainly because of two recent navel-gazing projects that have come out of Hollywood. The first is the movie Tropic Thunder. Directed (and starring) Ben Stiller, it is surprisingly good (when you take into consideration the rapid downward slope his career has been on). It’s fairly funny in patches, mostly those featuring Robert Downey Jnr.’s Australian playing an African American character- especially hilarious is the following interaction between him and Jay Baruchel:
Baruchel: Didn’t you read the script?
Downey: I don’t read the script. The script reads me.
Baruchel: What the hell does that even mean?
Tropic Thunder also features a great deal of action, which easily satisfies the minimum required explosions per blockbuster (also known as the Michael Bay Rule. On the other hand, it is a Ben Stiller movie, which results in a main stream of humour being his impersonation of a disabled farmhand. So as a whole, Tropic Thunder is reasonably entertaining, yet ultimately forgettable.
Since it is a movie about making a movie (sort of), Hollywood has ostensibly upgraded the film from “a slightly above average comedy” to “a genius satire on the excesses of show-business”. This inexplicable glorification culminated in Robert Downey’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards; as his character in the film was a perennial Oscar nominee, this provided me with the possibly the most delicious irony I have ever heard. Nevertheless, Tropic Thunder somehow managed to sneak into many a film critic’s top ten of the year.
Similarly, the television show Entourage deals with the life of a Hollywood star and the eponymous guys who live with and work for him. This program plays up the hedonistic aspect of a Hollywood lifestyle, showcases the dirtier, and often lampoons the nature of celebrity- an intriguing premise, especially to the self-absorbed business it was pitched to. Unfortunately, the show seems to have taken the easy way out, and gone with a Simpsonsesque approach (the actions of characters seem to hardly have any consequences), though sadly it lacks the satirical social commentary of the legendary animation. In addition, the acting is substandard- Jeremy Piven seems to be the only one putting in any effort, and as a result looks like the reincarnation of Marlon Brando (Adrian Grenier would be a stoned Steven Seagal, minus the martial arts skills). Simply put, the show is popcorn television- easy to digest, but unsubstantial and horrible-tasting when burnt. Seriously, is there a worse thing to do to popcorn than burn it? I’d rather eat the uncooked kernels than devour a blackened one.
Both of these endeavours, whilst sometimes glamorising the entertainment industry, often tear into the idiotic nature of showbusiness with aplomb. And though we know egoism runs rampant in Hollywood, wouldn’t the financial backers draw a line somewhere, at the very least to keep up the façade that this industry is a modern day utopia? You’d think so, yet there is a small detail that I haven’t discussed yet: that any publicity is good publicity. And who’s to blame for this? Paris Hilton.
I’m sure you all know who Paris Hilton is, but do you actually know why this is so? Here’s arguably the top five reasons she is a pop culture identity in Australia:
- The sex tape that originally catapulted her to fame- One Night in Paris (probably the greatest porn title in history)
- The Simple Life, which thankfully brought the incredibly talented Nicole Ritchie into the public spotlight
- Having sex with Mark Philipoussis and resultantly breaking up his relationship with Australia’s darling, Delta Goodrem (who then stole Brian McFadden from his wife, possibly for karmic reasons)
- A horrible, horrible single- so bad I’ve blocked the title out of my mind, and do not dare look it up on the WikiBible
- Having sex with Millsy of Australian Idol fame (fame is used in the loosest possible way here)
So three of the top five reasons involve sex. Possibly due to the desexualisation of sex, she became famous, despite having no discernible talents (fornicating with random guys is not a talent in my opinion. At least, in my sober opinion.) Regardless, the popularity of this vacuous heiress has caused a rethinking in PR worldwide- essentially, Hollywood sees Entourage and Tropic Thunder not as disparaging comments on the state of their industry, but rather as a way of increasing its ubiquity.
In a way, Paris Hilton is to blame for the world’s problems. Then again, I’m just being melodramatic.