Where Have All the Actors Gone?

Sometimes I wonder if YouTube and reality TV has ruined our taste and discernment when it comes to talent. With the exponentially expanding universe offering a plethora of opportunities for celebrity, it seems that everyone is getting into the fame game. I’m often shocked at what people laud as wonderful.

I watch a parade of rock star wannabes on American Idol. I used to think that the program would show people the difference between the good and the bad, thus logically discouraging the bad from embarrassing themselves on national broadcast. My hopes were dashed. It appears the chance to be on TV, no matter why, is a greater pull than some can resist.

Thousands of people post YouTube videos every day, hoping that their antics will “go viral” and they will be the next big thing. When I was a kid, anything viral was a bad thing. People sing, dance, cry, jump off of things, play video games, and generally, do anything they can imagine to grasp at fame.

Some of these folks are amazing. I said it. They are. But for every one remarkable video I see, there are four more than I wish I could un-see.

What does this have to do with movies?

The other night my hubby and I watched a little late night television before bedtime, and we happened to see a clip from an upcoming film that its director was promoting. Before the clip aired, the host absolutely gushed about the actors in the scene. My expectations soared. Then I saw the 30 second snippet. Never mind.

Though the costumes were nice, the acting was flat. The leads could have been reading cue cards and conveyed as much emotion. My husband and I could have jumped out of bed and acted out the scene in our bedroom—if we’d had a tree to spiral around like the actors in the clip.

Maybe that was the idea. Instead of insisting that the actors do their job and emote to help the audience feel anxious and troubled, the actors circled a tree several times, making the audience woozy. Woozy is close to anxious and troubled.

The next program also included an actor with a film clip, but there was a difference. The stars in the second clip were Glenn Close and Mia Wasikowska. These women have talent. Using approximately a third of the dialog as the actors from the first clip—and standing completely still, I might add—these actors tugged at our hearts.

In a season of awards shows, I want to lift my voice and ask that we all reward real talent. Let’s applaud their work in order to raise the bar for the others.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

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