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June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'" 
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Post June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
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Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:19 pm
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
good article. really liked it.

why did i know princess di was going to be mentioned when i read the first sentence?


Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:47 pm
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
There are some good insights in the article James wrote but it all feels a little familiar at this point. There was a long article in The Atlantic last year about tabloids/paparazzi that covered similar ground. I'm wont to believe that most people wouldn't argue with any points in the "Say 'Cheese!'" post but, given the structure of the tabloids and their insidious presence, the blame that can be passed around is too de-centralized to even name a few examples. If anything, an argument could (though won't be by me) be made on how the paparazzi feel 'locked in' to their ridicululous jobs.

If there's any theme that connects this latest Reelthought to the one before it's that the people within the industry, actually creating the product, are part of a system to large and infamous to easily break away. As James points out, Spears/Lohan may be part of that system -- any press is good press, undergarment or not. Why wish the cameras away?


Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:21 pm
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
Quote:
Thus, Paquin gets attention when she walks the red carpet, but no one follows her home, climbs a tree, and tries to get a shot of her emerging from the shower.


Is this fantasy time with James B? Because I think you meant Zooey Deschanel ... ;)


Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:23 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
As many of you and James will know, interestingly the term "Paparazzo" derives from the name of a character in Fellini's "la Dolce Vita", who is, well, a "Paparazzo". I wonder whether this phenomenon first occured in Europe and around the time "La Dolce Vita" was made (1960 I think). This could mark the tipping point from star-building to star-pestering.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:19 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
A very accurate and well written article on the subject, James.

Simply put, I'm somebody who refuses to pick up a tabloid or visit paparazzi websites, because frankly, it's a waste of time. Do I honestly care about what Tom Hanks or Kate Winslet are doing in their spare time? No. After all, I don't personally know them, so honestly, the one thing I concentrate on when it comes to stars is if they give a good performance on screen. Tom Cruise is a very talented actor, so do I honestly care what he likes to do on a Friday night or what his daughter looks like? Not in the least. I'm not his friend nor his bodyguard or other such employer. All I am is an audience member watching him play a German soldier or a sports agent or whatever other role he is playing at the moment.

The tabloids are a bunch of rubbish, to put it simply and I simply ignore them, so I'm happy that I'm in no way contributing to the bad eggs of the photography business.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:16 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
I'm curious.

James, while you obviously are not gracing the cover of People Magazine these days, have you ever had an uncomfortable encounter with someone who recognized you?


Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:03 am
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
x1874 wrote:
I'm curious.

James, while you obviously are not gracing the cover of People Magazine these days, have you ever had an uncomfortable encounter with someone who recognized you?


I can't recall an uncomfortable encounter. Most of the encounters I have had have been positive.

One anecdote (which I'm going to relate in an uncoming ReelThoughts dealing with the dangers of "Internet anonymity"): In the late 1990s, there was a vicious on-line diatribe directed at me because I made a derogatory comment about the "video game mentality" of some Hollywood blockbusters. Her exorciated me in a forum using a username that was clearly not his real name. By sheer coincidence, he and I had a mutual aquaintance and we met face-to-face at a film festival (can't recall which one). The guy who brought us together dropped the dime on him, outing him as the one responsible for the anti-Berardinelli rant. I can't remember ever having seen someone so embarrassed and uncomfortable. He was profusely apologetic, but it highlighted something I believe: most of those who are so strident in their on-line negativity fall to pieces when put in the same room as the object of their derision. Or, to put it another way, never write anything on-line that you wouldn't have the guts to say to the person face-to-face.

That's my thesis for the upcoming ReelThought. It's called "Cry Havoc" and will be posted after the next one, "Let's Get Digital."


Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:14 am
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
Do you know how old this individual you speak of above was when he targeted you? I think that age has alot to do with it.

I think the Reelviews.net forum is a perfect example. From the civility of the posts here, I would assume its users are professionals and adults.

After this question though, let's get this thread back on topic!

I look forward to these next few ReelThoughts.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:40 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
This entry brings to mind two entwined guys who've negotiated their relative celebrity in distinctly different ways: Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck.

Kevin is one of the reasons that I became so engaged with the internet in the late '90s. The way in which he engages his fans and the public at large speaks to why so many of us comfortably refer to him on a first-name basis. I've long since fallen away from the View Askew forum, but even as I post faithfully on a few select boards, I never forget where I came from.

Regardless of what extent that Kevin Smith enjoys success, he even now still seems like "one of us." I guess it helps that he's not ridiculously (or even remotely) attractive thus the average guy has an easier time relating to him. Plus, he's a damn good orator. He can preface a discourse by admitting that he is as high as a kite and then go off like a slightly blissed out college professor.

Most importantly, he's manages to stir up his own sense of celebrity in a way which transcends the quality or desirability of his work. You don't have to actually like any stretch of his movie career to like him as a person or want to listen to him talk for hours at a time.

And it's through keeping an ear on Kevin Smith that I've come to like and sympathize with Ben Affleck. Affleck (last name basis, but hey, even Kevin refers to him that way) is a guy who old school View Askew fans were privvy to long before ARMAGEDDON, GOOD WILL HUNTING and Bennifer. Love him or hate him, he always seemed like a regular guy at the beginning (albeit a regular guy who often appeared to be somewhat sloshed). The tabloids give us one view of Ben Affleck, the overrated leading man and Kevin Smith gives us a portrait of a guy who would come over to play Sega even after fame was starting to have its way with him.

Over the years, as the public's interest in Ben Affleck waned, I got the sense from listening to Kevin Smith that Affleck realized the error of courting fame and seeked to distance himself from it. And so he has! He allowed his talented brother to take center stage in his directorial debut, GONE BABY GONE and I for one am looking forward to seeing his James Franco-style stoner performance lark in Mike Judge's EXTRACT.

Mind you, I've never disliked the guy (certainly not as much as the public at large seemed to), but I applaud his example. Ben Affleck has proven that it is indeed possible to gracefully extricate oneself from the searing, invasive limelight.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:46 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
James Berardinelli wrote:
...and will be posted after the next one, "Let's Get Digital."

Great, now I've got Olivia Newton-John stuck in my head.

While reading Mr. B's post, I couldn't help but think about those celebrities that have lashed out at photographers a la Sean Penn and Bjork. I have to be honest, while I don't like the idea of socking someone out, some of these photographers are asking for it...and I think they deserve it.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:35 am
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
ram1312 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
...and will be posted after the next one, "Let's Get Digital."

Great, now I've got Olivia Newton-John stuck in my head.


The play on words worked, then.


Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:59 pm
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
My question is what qualifies someone as a paparazzi/media target?
What did someone like Tom Hanks do or not do that makes him "immune" to the paparazzi/media?


Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:20 pm
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
What bugs me is that these tabloid stories are now in the mainstream media. Today, in my 'respectable' newspaper (yes, I still read a newspaper) I read a story about about John Mayer updating his twitter while using the lavatory. Why the hell did I need to know that? Better yet, why did I see the headline and still read it? Goes back to staring at a car crash, I guess.


Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:28 pm
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
What a tedious, frustrating topic. While I agree that media has all but prevented movie stars from getting their pictures taken, I think the entire concept of being famous has no value anymore. Your previous reelthoughts entry waxing nostalgic about Paul Newman struck me as very curious, because I guess I never got to see the era of when being a "star" meant anything. In any case, we should stand up as the vanguard to prevent the invasion of privacy madness from getting any further.


Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:19 am
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
Will Hatch wrote:
Your previous reelthoughts entry waxing nostalgic about Paul Newman struck me as very curious, because I guess I never got to see the era of when being a "star" meant anything.


I think the "star" era pretty much died with STAR WARS. As special effects began to dominate big movies, the age of the movie star died away. For decades, Hollywood was dominated by the mystique of the star. Most of those stars are gone now, and their places really haven't been filled. Today's "stars" (Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and a couple I'm forgetting) aren't as compelling or enticing.


Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:27 pm
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Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
I actually feel bad for the children of actresses/actors. They didn't ask for the paparazzi to follow them, or even had a choice. But, it always makes me feel bad when young children are photographed with their parents. Can't they have any real time with their parents, without camera's around? Sometimes, they look really upset--I just saw a picture (by accident) of Suri with Katie Holmes, and she was shopping for a toy--and there were photographers there too! Seriously. These little children never had a choice about it--I wouldn't want to be a child of someone famous!


Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:43 am
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
Starearedkid wrote:
I actually feel bad for the children of actresses/actors. They didn't ask for the paparazzi to follow them, or even had a choice. But, it always makes me feel bad when young children are photographed with their parents. Can't they have any real time with their parents, without camera's around? Sometimes, they look really upset--I just saw a picture (by accident) of Suri with Katie Holmes, and she was shopping for a toy--and there were photographers there too! Seriously. These little children never had a choice about it--I wouldn't want to be a child of someone famous!

Yeah no kidding! I remember reading in article in Entertainment Weekly about the effect the paparazzi have on children of celebrities, Angelina Jolie lamented how her children would grow thinking that having people taking snapshots of you everywhere you go is normal, the paparazzi is the main reason why I don't care about being famous.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:15 pm
Post Re: June 15, 2009: "Say 'Cheese!'"
I feel that the media industry is trying to put accross the impression that they are trying to aid society by giving them news that they need.
In reality if there is an article on how World hunger could be reduced by 1% ( which in terms of saving people's lives comes into millions) or Michael Jackson's body full of drugs, you can guarantee that Michael Jackson will be on the front page and savign the world will near the middle.
this is because the media is not interested in helping anyone.
the only thing they care about is selling newspapers, advertising and making money. that's it.

Also the people who try and attract the attention of the media in this way ( Lindey Lohan, Britney, deserve everything they get. Also anyone going forward into the fame game should know that if they court the media then they have to put up with the media


Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:55 am
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