For a number of years now something’s been missing. Apart from there being an inadequate number of really good films to merit even watching the show, I mean. However, this year there were some great motion pictures with fine acting and so I decided to give it another chance. Consequently, this year, once again, I watched the……(wait for it)……Tah dah!…. Academy Awards!
Something is still radically wrong. It’s just so far removed from the days of Sophia Loren, James Dean, Robert Mitchum and Audrey Hepburn. The days of Bogart and Bacall. The show just doesn’t feel right, from the arrivals on the red carpet to the tearful acceptance speeches in the hall. And it’s not the giddy interplay of young starlets lacking the sophistication of yesteryear, when both men and women were “groomed” by the studios to fill the roles they play when parading before the public. Although that’s definitely a part of it. No, something more is going on.
For quite some time, Hollywood forgot how to dress. I fantasized that Louie B. Mayer would come back from the grave, the ghost of moguls past, and haunt those who were pushing themselves off as fashion designers into coming to their senses. Following several years of doing all they could to force the stars into dressing down to the point that some looked downright laughable, the designers finally came back to their senses (Blackwell, may have had something to do with it-RIP) and once again appear to be doing what they can to make some of the most attractive people on the planet look like stars. Except for the unshaven men. Get over it and shave. But there’s more to it than that.
Last night, while watching Anne Hathaway going all giddy over just being there, and James Franco continually stumbling over the words he was attempting to read from the prompter (studio grooming wasn’t such a bad thing after all), it popped into my head. It’s the high-def tv. It makes movie stars appear less star-like and more like everybody else. The harsh, cold reality of high definition exposes every wrinkle, overdone makeup job and out of place hair. It makes our movie stars look more like people you’d bump into at the supermarket. Here in L.A., anyway. Except that they’re all dressed up and wearing a lot of makeup and borrowed jewelry. When compared to the much softer and more forgiving video of days gone by, it’s just too real. It’s turned the glamorous fantasyland of Hollywood into a reality show that can’t hope to live up to the image it once had. The image it’s still trying to achieve. The image those of us who have been around for a while came to expect. An image that was in the industry’s best interest.
People don’t turn to the movies for reality. In Hollywood, image is more important than reality. High-definition kills the image, tearing it away from the soft, inviting world of fantasy and serving it to us all undercooked and bloody, as stark, cold, realism. With nothing left to hide behind, except too much makeup, high-def tv has turned the once unattainable perfection of our movie stars into real people. What a shame. It’s over. High-def tv killed it. Generations to come will never know the illusion of perfection our movie stars once were.
Technology has taken us one step forward and three steps back.