I spend a lot of time talking about “the A-list”. Who’s A-list, who’s not, who used to be, who’s on their way, etc. When you say an actor or actress is on the A-list, most people know what you mean. But if you start analyzing who is or is not on the A-list, you’ll find that the term means different things to different people. There’s a lot of grey area there. In this article, I intend to nail down what it means to be on the A-list.
Hollywood has been called “the magic factory”. During its Golden Age, it was associated with glamour. While most of us know the movie industry isn’t really a fantasy land, we still allow ourselves some illusions about Tinseltown. In the November 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, author David Thomson tried to strip away common misconceptions about Hollywood with twenty ugly truths.
I just got home from seeing The Lego Movie. On the surface that might seem like a dumbed down piece of product designed to sell more of the titular building blocks. But surprisingly it’s full of heart, soul and humor. Definitely the blockbuster to beat for 2014.
Unfortunately, well-done blockbusters of that type seem an endangered species in Hollywood. For every Avengers, there are ten Transformers. For every one that might succeed as a one-off you then have to deal with several lesser sequels (Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Matrix).
But there’s no law that says blockbusters must be dumb or badly written or weakly acted or poorly directed. Indeed the likes of Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Aliens, Face/off, Die Hard, Shrek, Toy Story, Lord Of The Rings, The Lego Movie and so on all prove that there can be popcorn movies with intelligence. But the majority of the ones that are released on a regular basis are the cinematic equivalent of McDonald’s.
Hollywood has a head-scratching habit of turning out two movies within a few months of each other, that are basically the exact same film. So not only do we get sequels, prequels, sidequels, reboots, remakes, and adaptations we get White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen practically back to back, because obviously if we liked something once, we want the leftovers next month. And unfortunately that’s how it usually goes, one film becomes the dish, and the other is scrapped by audiences. Studios seem to go head to head, in a pissing contest to prove that their bland actioner is vastly superior to the same thing being developed at the same time. So let’s run through some notable ones and see how it shakes out.
A while back, I did a write-up on Disney World experiences I considered to be over-rated. I had intended to follow-up with a list of experiences I considered to be under-rated. But as I was preparing to write the follow-up, I was having trouble narrowing down my list. I got to thinking that I would like to spend a little more time talking about some of Disney’s under-appreciated offerings. So instead of a single article, I am going to write a series of follow-ups about under-rated Disney World experiences.
Before anyone accuses me of jumping the gun on this one, let me state right up front that Emma Stone is not yet on the A-List. What she is is a rising star with a lot of potential. Hollywood is littered with with the hopes and dreams of starlets who never quite made it to the top. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Emma Stone will not be one of them.
Hollywood is a treacherous place. It take a certain kind of person to make it as an actor. But however hard actors have it, actresses have it that much worse. For an actress to make it in Hollywood, well, they have to be strong. Some might even say they need to be made of stone (Get it? I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.) Whatever it takes to climb to the top of the A-list, Sharon Stone had it in spades. She had the looks, the talent, the determination and she was more than a little crazy.
For a time, Stone was the among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She had the power to get a project green-lit. She could choose her directors and co-stars. Stone was A-list. But her time atop the A-list ended quickly. As the 90’s ended, Stone’s spotlight faded with it.
What the hell happened?
For a long time, I debated whether or not to write-up Mel Gibson. On the one hand, the answer to the question “what the hell happened” is known by all. Gibson’s personal life and bad behavior exploded very publicly. I’m not sure if any celebrity has ever had such a public melt-down.
It’s easy to forget now, but not all that long ago Gibson was one of the undisputed kings of Hollywood. He was so popular and so beloved that he could do no wrong. Even if he made a cinematic turkey, his legion of fans practically guaranteed a hit. And while the hits rolled in, his eccentric behavior was portrayed as charming in the media.