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The Last Movie Star?

May 9th, 2008

I just read the article by Joel Stein over at Time.com where he calls George Clooney the last movie star. You’ve got to be kidding me, right? George Clooney? The guy whose movies no one sees besides the awful Ocean’s Trilogy?

To be fair, Stein mentions that there are plenty of box office draws (he names Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp) and even more famous celebrities (Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Lindsay Lohan), but as Joel Stein puts it “no one besides Clooney is so gracefully both.” Really? You mean this guy?

George Clooney

I don’t think so. People are quick these days to write about the demise of movie stars and anoint their
favorite actor as the last movie star. The problem with this is that as long as there are movies, there will always be movie stars.

What people miss is the mystery and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden era. What they forget is that many of the stars in that era were manufactured by the Studios. Sure, many of them were talented or effortlessly charming as if they were a different breed from you and me, but the vast majority of them were created by the studio system that controlled every aspect of their public personas. How they talked, how they walked, who they could be seen in public with…, that’s hard to do these days with all the instant media and the tabloids and the paparazzi and sites like TMZ.

Still, that doesn’t mean that movie stars are an endangered species. And as for George Clooney, I still find it hard that anyone would even consider him a movie star. If he’s a star than he’s a manufactured star; a product of magazine editors like Matthew McConaughey. Except for the Ocean’s Trilogy and the special effects spectacle The Perfect Storm, none of his movies make any money. Tyler Perry’s movies make more money than Clooney’s. And even though he’s won an Oscar, it’s because he’s more well liked by the industry than talented. He certainly hasn’t turned in an iconic performance. Not like Cary Grant being chased by a plain in North By Northwest or Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca. As for his overrated charm, Clooney works a little too hard to be charming and cool. He gets press because the industry and magazine editors like him. You want someone who’s cool, charming and at ease with his celebrity without much effort, cast Hugh Jackman.

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