Here's Looking at Your

By Gelman-Waxner, Libby | Newsweek, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Here's Looking at Your


Gelman-Waxner, Libby, Newsweek


LIBBY GELMAN-WAXNER is, as she will tell you, America's most beloved and irresponsible film critic. Her columns for Premiere magazine are collected in a book, "If You Ask Me."

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Forget acting, forget angst. The reason we go to the movies is to gaze with envy and adoration at the sublime genetic accidents up there on the screen.

GORGEOUS MOVIE STARS PROVE THAT THERE is no justice, and that this is a fabulous thing. That's why I really don't care for all those gritty, independent films about ordinary people. featuring handheld camera work and normal-looking actors. Excuse me, but if I want reality, I'll just leave the movie theater. The planet is not experiencing a shortage of average human beings; what we need are more breathtaking icons like Julia Roberts or Matt Damon, performers whose crooked half-smiles can influence the stock market. I don't want depth and torment; let's hear it for blissful genetic accidents.

True movie stars can also be gifted actors, but it isn't really necessary. Robert Mitchum, Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer are all terrific performers, but they're Oscar-worthy even as still photographs. Movie stars are like models perfected: they're interactive Vogue layouts. They're the opposite of role models, because they're the people that the rest of us can never possibly become, so we shouldn't even try. When I watch Brad Pitt's perfectly bleached and trimmed bangs flopping rakishly over his brow in "Seven Years in Tibet," even though he's supposed to be in a mousse-free POW camp, I don't get angry, I get giddy- Brad's hair transcends history. When I watch Tom Cruise grin, or Ava Gardner flash her eyes, or Audrey Hepburn wear oversize sunglasses, I know that there is a God, and that he's jealous.

My favorite moments in most Hollywood films are when the plot vanishes and the camera takes over, focusing on the stars as a way of proclaiming. "Oh, who cares about the characters' emotional arcs or the international drug cartel, let's all just take a good long look at, say, the platoon of bronzed fighter-pilots playing a shirtless game of volleyball In Top Gun'." This is one of those scenes where moviemaking almost achieves the glory of a truly memorable aftershave ad. Other beauty peaks include the long final close-up of Garbo, sailing into exile in "Queen Christina," a sequence that could be subtitled, "Find a Flaw, I Dare You." Amazing red gowns are also ideal substitutes for sparkling dialogue or moral complexity: Julia Roberts appearing in her Lillian Russell velvet in "Pretty Woman," Vivien Leigh in her Scarlett sequins and Audrey Hepburn descending the steps of the Louvre in billowing chiffon in "Funny Face all leave Ingmar Bergman in the dust. And when a star combines the face of a Gary Grant with the dash of a Cary Grant, well, let's Just forget about saving the human race from some approaching as teroid and spend our resources to protect a few prints of "Bringing Up Baby" and "The Philadelphia Story."

Movie beauty is probably the most rare form of physical appeal. The casts of daytime soaps and the "Melrose Place"/"90210" axis remind me of a plastic surgeon's cat-featuring idealized which can be ordered from an 800 number. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Here's Looking at Your
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.