Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why Nicole Kidman owes us and herself better


Why did Nicole Kidman make Grace of Monaco?

Is a fairy tale the best she can do? Her history appears to controvert this. She's done quite respectable and even nearly seminal work, but something really seminal has not been made in Hollywood for a few seasons - in my opinion, since "The Hurt Locker."

Is anyone really surprised? This is just another attempt at Hollywood stars practicing career tactics of keeping their face before the public to maintain bank-ability by emulating themselves vicariously through semi-interesting and otherwise only famous people.

Granted Grace Kelley was a movie icon and an American Cinderella story but we are sick of the rich, privileged and media savvy/media access partners advancing themselves through starring themselves.

But we suffer from regurgitated romantic era monopolist tactics. Princess Grace was a movie star who married a King and it was as an American Cinderella a story as you could ask for. But our culture is drowning in adoration of iconic character who are not authentically icons. Icons are icons - Einstein, Da Vinci, Asimov - people who change the culture by advancing a meme that changes their domain.

People who idolize people are practicing idolizing, not portraying figurehead esteem and significant interpretation of their cultural contribution through cultural contextualization.

This kind of myth perpetuation simply does nothing but retard cultural advancement via inauthenticity. In other words, when you don't try to do something safe artistically - a sound PR move motive perhaps - you may get panned by the critics, but you won't lay an artistic egg - which is exactly what she has done and it is all over her face in every shot.

In a movie about somebody I am fascinated with (that's your first mistake, artistically, fascination is nice, but it is not compelling, and people want to be compelled to a reasonable degree in their entertainment), starring me, invested in by me, and hugely profited off of by me and I will have a ceremony about me, focusing on me, wearing dresses made for me, with a menu that I like because I chose it, where people idolize me for nearly being something more than me - a real life *American* Cinderella.

God bless Princess Grace Kelly for the films she made and the love she lived and the Royals of Monaco for taking a stand against blatant media whoredom and best business practices in self governance in the film business - were they once again to exist.

Nicole Kidman is far more talented than this, and has produced fairly amazing work, but she got a case of the risk averse choosing to back this film story. Better material could have been developed, and she is guilty for not taking the artistic risk and doing so.

Remember Mary Pickford, Ms. Kidman, who advanced women in culture and film tremendously, "Make good art and die broke." Think Martha Graham Dance Company, and you get the idea of the level of perseverance, commitment and risk individual artistic vision takes. Its the next level of talent in our business. Journey there, please, while you've got your looks to pull it off in shallow society paternalistic monetized reality.

A quality, forward looking screenplay was passed on for a surefire shot at box office dollars rolling the dice on 'me-ology' - the bane and cancer of current culture.

This safety sensibility is the reason Hollywood is losing its grip (rightly so, considering it's savage greed that makes Enron look like an altar boy - or haven't you studied it's history?) on the public trust in creativity, the very aspect of culture more important than ever in history.

A fool and her money, eh?

Lesson to be learned: avoiding risk avoids critical success. If you are in it for the dollars, don't expect popular backing - the masses are wising up cause they have the tools in their hands now. Eventually they will be good enough to compete, but for now they are YouTube. However, you can guide them into better culture with choosing more wisely what you produce as representative of your body of work as a statement of your artistic purpose.

Be authentic, you don't have to be at the top of the hill to know yourself, your personal artistic purpose and meaning to have and be financially supported by an audience while simultaneously contributing something meaningful to the culture, instead of gauche vanity in the robes of finery. As a screenwriter for 35 years, I find myself walking out of movies more now than I ever have. Film stories are just too self serving to be art for the most part anymore, and that is a bad sign for where we are going culturally.


The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM

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