by Matthew Thompson
Emma is confused.
While watching an interview of Emma Stone, the hot girl from Superbad, I realized the full measure of my disdain for pretension. Prior to this interview, unknowingly, I had become a little bit of a fan. Emma Stone was slightly typecast, but her characters proved to be intelligent, sharp-tongued, and most importantly complex. She continuously brought character and depth to her roles. And, she’s pretty, so I liked her. And then, just as my appreciation for her as an actress was growing, she was asked to name her 5 favorite movies of All-Time. She rattled off 5 obscure movies, with the exception of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, all dated between 1976 and 1931. She explained that in one of the movies, two actresses genuinely disliked each other and that hatred showed in the film. All these things may be true. Those actresses could have loathed each other. She could also actually love these movies; she obviously has an intimate knowledge of them. Or these could be movies that Stone watched in film school while trying to become a “serious” thespian. I may be wrong; Emma Stone could be the most knowledgeable film buff of her generation. She may be able to reference scenes from silent films and be able to spout lines from foreign cinema, but I don’t believe that she can. Every movie she named is older than she is. Were there no movies during her lifetime that rivaled Manhattan? I think that she, like many Hollywood celebrities, take themselves entirely too seriously to be taken seriously by the general public. Maybe I’m being obsequious, but I expected a different list, a list with the hearth and guile that she embodies on screen. Her entire career is based in comedy. Teen comedy. And her list is that of an 80 year old? At 22, can she really appreciate the artistry of these movies enough to name them her 5 favorite? No. She seemed bright and intuitive as she explained why she liked each movie. Her answer just screamed, “I’m Hollywood.” How many times can an audience hear, “I take my craft very seriously. It’s not easy.” and believe you Hollywood? You get paid to play make believe and look good. People adore you because of it. People would die to be your position and some would die just to meet you, so when you’re asked some inane pop question, don’t pretend to be more than you are. If you like Anchorman or Friday, I can respect that.
I’m a fairly intelligent guy that works a simple job too. My job is physically demanding, but mentally uninspiring. There is something therapeutic about the simplicity of it. For a cerebral person, a person who is always in his head, physical labor is a welcome break. I’m okay with that. I don’t have to prove my intelligence by quoting William Shakespeare or Sun Tzu to impress people with whom I have no real connection. The level of pomp in Hollywood is disgusting. I’ve heard again and again that acting can be somewhat therapeutic, but I’ve never heard someone say how taxing it is. Everyone tries to astonish the next guy with their work in Hollywood. Stars “save” babies from rural areas in the world, but the money spent giving one child an extravagant lifestyle in California could rejuvenate and empower the child’s entire village. They donate money to their causes and eschew all other causes. The money donated to rare, specific causes could feed and house all the homeless in our nation. Poverty is the biggest cause of illness in our country, not some isolated pinky toenail cancer.The real problem is that Hollywood is too into themselves and too into what their peers and fans think of them to make a tangible difference. This is the very foundation of pretension, needing everyone to know how amazing you are. Unfortunately, this need is founded in confusion and insecurity. Any man or woman that knows who they are, does not need the approval anyone to do what is necessary. What could we do if we stopped trying to bedazzle others with our accomplishments and just achieved all that we could?