Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Brad Pitt-y Party

Brad Pitt is immersed in a fresh round of interviews complaining about how difficult it is being Brad Pitt.

This strikes me like carpenters complaining about nails or florists becoming disgruntled over the sight of yet another bloomin’ rose.

I just don’t get it. He makes movies and that may involve hidden tedium unseen by me, but essentially movie producers pay him millions to be Brad Pitt. They want him to look dashing, be charming and strike poses that make women swoon. If he’s not up to it then perhaps Pitt should quit being Pitt. Really, I can’t imagine the acting side of it’s all that tough.

In every grinding interview he goes to great pains to assert how important it is to spend time with his enormous family and I don’t doubt him. Tribe time’s important to me, too. But I have so few occupational burdens our oldest daughter often gets exasperated enough to beg me to go out with my buddies so I didn’t intrude on her girlie games with Mommy.

I pretend I’m wounded and grimly shuffle out the door like a repentant killer being dragged down Death Row for a court-ordered doom date with Ol’ Sparky (see, Pitt’s not the only one who can act).

He just released a well-received movie that clocks in at nearly three hours. I’m not familiar with movie production, but I can imagine filming took more than a few months away from Angelina, those eight or so kids and the hypo-allergenic squads of hand sanitizer-wielding nannies and other associated house help.

Maybe he should stop making movies. We could all do without him. There are hundreds of pretty young boys waiting tables in Hollywood who could, guaranteed, do what he does just as well without all the whining.

His biggest problem, it seems, are the paparazzi. He doesn’t want people taking his picture. Or pictures of his family. Or his now-oppressive wife who just a few years ago was so outrageously exhibitionist she made Madonna seem demure. (Billy Bob Thornton probably cracks open a beer and giggles with relief every time Angelina and Brad adopt another orphan).

But he knew when he was striving to be famous and when he chose to date and marry equally famous and whiny women that the ticket-buying public would want to see pictures of him smiling, digging around in his nose and tripping on his way out of limousines. The rules haven’t changed.

Him complaining about paparazzi is like me complaining about commas. I don’t like commas. I wish we could get rid of them. I ruthlessly delete them every chance I get.

Sometimes I secretly play childish cat-and-mouse games with commas by using ridiculously long and structurally untenable run-on sentences that go on and on but in the end the winking little punctuation points usually assert themselves and bring order to grammatical chaos by doing their nimble if annoying little jobs, by golly.

I bring this all up because over the weekend Valerie and I dropped the kids off with grandma and enjoyed some sweetheart time. We considered Pitt’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” but at three hours it was too much time away from the kids so we chose Clint Eastwood and “Gran Torino.” It was outstanding. Go see it.

“That man can do no wrong,” Val said. “We’re so lucky he’s still around, still looking great and still making these wonderful movies.”

She’s right. Eastwood’s a bigger and more enduring star than Pitt could ever hope to be, but he’s never complained about the burdens of being famous. He, like Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, and the late and much-missed Paul Newman all gave us fantastic and relevant work that’ll be enjoyed forever. And none of them has ever made the job description “movie star” seem equivalent to ones like “bus driver” or “trash hauler.”

On the contrary, they seem to enjoy it for the pleasure the rest of us suspect it must be. Eastwood’s never been reclusive, hosts a PGA golf tournament and once served as Carmel’s mayor. Redford does important environmental work and unselfishly nurtures generations of aspiring filmmakers, and Newman’s warmth and philanthropy are as monumental as his movies.

Nicholson? Well, his dissolute personal life is as audaciously entertaining as anything he’s ever filmed so no one cares that he’s never devoted even a second to adopting underprivileged orphans or making charity salad dressings.

I remember a few years ago when Nicholson got into some petty open-container trouble for inviting paparazzi into a NYC liquor store where he was hooch shopping and offering them a swig with a make-peace toast to the good life.

Maybe I should try that with commas.


Anonymous said...

I wanna see Gran Torina! YaY! Maybe this weekend. Did see Curious Case Of BB pic, was too long, but still good!

Hate commas, no need for them, no, no, no need, whatsoever. ; )

Chris Rodell said...

Yeah, it was great. Very moving, funny and thoughtful. I like Clint, but sort of went in expecting to be underwhelmed.

We'll probably wait until BB comes on TV (which, as you know, we never watch).

And while I hate commas, I'm always charmed by your winking little emoticons.