Archive for September, 2011

The Horror of the Charlie Sheen Roast

September 19th, 2011 by under News. No Comments.

In the Golden Age, when Hollywood was one vast fraternity, when everyone knew everyone, when the fan magazines printed what they were told and not a letter more, the Friars Club was the frat house of the campus’s more rambunctious element; the enclave where madcap cut-ups liable to set a studio chief’s wastebasket on fire took refuge from the stuffy world of showbiz. And in that cozy little fraternity, the Friars Club Roasts functioned as something akin to wedding banquets: occasions for the brotherhood to show their love to their most celebrated brethren in the only way wiseacres know how, by teasing them within an inch of their lives.

Sixty some years later, a panel of seemingly randomly selected comedians and tabloid fodder convened in a cavernous sound stage to rake over the coals a man known as America’s most horrific open wound with the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen, the latest installment of the network’s salute to the nation’s greatest train wrecks.

The spectacle descends from the Friars Club Roasts of old in the same way Jersey Shore descends from On the Waterfront; the setting may be similar, but all that’s missing from the original is every bit of its humanity. And therein lies the story of much of our culture during the past decades.

Read the rest at The Daily Beast

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Matt Damon: The Anti-Glam Leading Man

September 14th, 2011 by under News. No Comments.

A decade and a half after he burst into public consciousness with one of the most obnoxious debuts of modern times, Matt Damon has quietly, almost underneath the radar, transformed himself into one of the most effective actors of our day. While others of his generation have soaked up the acclaim and the trophies, Damon has turned in a string of flawless performances that have suddenly turned him into the archetype for a new breed of screen masculinity.

Looking back on the Matt Damon who stampeded onto the scene in 1997, there was little evidence to suggest the material of greatness. First appearing as half of a buddy act with fellow Bostonian Ben Affleck, the testosterone-fueled duo personified Hollywood’s cigar-lounge era. The image was capped by the pair’s fist-pumping Oscar-acceptance speech after winning the screenplay award for Good Will Hunting when Damon was the appalling age of 27.

But since that night, Damon has traveled almost in the exact opposite direction from the frat-boy trail, settling down to a series of non-showy, journeymen performances onscreen, and a reticence toward the spotlight offscreen that has, years later, transformed him into something no one could have foreseen: our most admirable of young actors.

Read the rest at The Daily Beast.

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