July 31, 2003

Why I Don't Work for Entertainment Tonight. I just got back from seeing Seabiscuit with my sister, and while I can't in good conscience review the film on account of me having fallen asleep during one of the thirty or so soft-focus excerpts from some Ken Burns documentary about the Depression, I did learn that Seabiscuit was beloved by 40 million really poor people during the 30's (most of whom crowded the infield at Santa Ana to watch him race). He was a hero to the underdogs everywhere because he fought back from great odds, showed terrific heart, saved two babies from drowning and apparently created the Works Progress Administration. Oh, and apparently he was a horse, and not any kind of a biscuit at all.

But that's not what I wanted to write about tonight.

The reason we went to see Seabiscuit is because the movie I really wanted to see, Desperately Doomed Career Destro— I mean, Gigli — doesn't open until tomorrow night, and frankly, I can't wait. Like most people I come into close contact with, there's nothing I enjoy more than a good train wreck or car crash. I've been known to pull my car over to the shoulder, pull a lawn chair out of my trunk, and just set a spell watching a particularly juicy pileup.

So when there's not only gonna be a huge train wreck, but a scheduled one with multi-million dollar ad/PR budget...well, folks, I'm gonna be there.

I'm sure you've heard some of the posionous buzz and reviews, so it's time to look past the actually existence of this sure-to-be-bomb (my brother tells me that his multiplex is only showing it one small theater, as opposed to the three or four large ones normal for big openings) and look at the aftermath — namely, who is this gonna take down?

There's the obvious candidates, like Jennifer Lopez, who must be in full diva fury right now. At the supermarket yesterday Angelina Crazyeyes was staring at me from just about every single magazine cover (which is fine with me, by the way) while, during what should be a huge month for her, J-Lo is about as visible as Woody Allen's colleagues on "Take Your Daughter to Work Day."

And then there's Jersey's own Kevin Smith, that poor bastard, who's spent the last two years thrilled to death that he's snagged two of Hollywood's biggest stars only to now realize he's in post-production on Ishtar 2.

But most of all there's Ben Affleck. And folks, just the mere mention of Ben-Aff's name makes me a little sad, and a little angry. There was a time, not that long ago, when Affleck and Matt Damon seemed like decent guys, fun guys, ones I'd enjoy hanging with, and now... I mean...why, Ben, for God's sake, why?!?! Why would someone who seemingly had everything a man could want — a promising Hollywood career, good pals, an Oscar, good looks — throw it all away to become the Most Whipped Man in America (MWMIA)? I mean, one minute the world is your oyster, and the next you're looking like a tool in front of pissed-off Vegas dealers and you can't even go to the Super Bowl unless you rent the place next door for your girlfriend and her freakin' mother!

Slate tried to explain the pairing last month.
Until recently, J. Lo was tarting around with the sleazy P. Diddy. By hooking up with Captain America Ben Affleck, and endlessly milking their relationship for publicity by co-starring in movies, posing for magazines, and discussing wedding plans, J. Lo has sweetened herself. She is a darling again. (What does Ben get out of it? He gets to sleep with J. Lo.)
But really, is it worth all that? Sure, it would make sense Ben were somebody like...well, me. If I somehow found myself in a relationship with — and I'm just gonna throw a name out there at random — Jennifer Connelly, it would make perfect sense for me to be a pathetic lapdog. "What's that Jennifer? You want me to cancel my poker game to make sure that I'll wake up early in order to act as your personal snooze alarm, buzzing soothingly every nine minutes from 5:30 a.m. until 7? No problem!" I mean, that makes sense!

And even if you think that J-Lo is the ginchiest, you know, there's a ton of damned-fine-looking women in this world, a high percentage of which are attainable should you happen to be Ben Affleck. Walking across 14th Street last week I passed by at least five incredible women who almost compelled me to remove my shoe and rhythmically smack my head with it while screaming "Ah-OOO-gah! Ah-OOO-gah!" And I've taken several trips to LA, and can confirm that its visionary breeding experiment, which has involved over 75 years of importing small-town beauty queens and pairing off their offspring, has worked spectacularly well. So the women are out there, lots of them, many of whom don't mind if you go a few weeks without buying her entire family new Bentleys.

Ah well, there's a lot in this crazy world I don't understand, and the inner workings of the famous is part of that lot. But maybe the next few days are gonna cause Affleck to step back for a second and think about what has happened, how this infatuation has caused him to accept roles he can't play in terrible movies just because his girlfriend wants to spend more time together, how he can't see his friends anymore, how he's a punchline to everybody but a few eleven-year-old girls. Or it could bring the two of them closer, like manatees in a foxhole. In any case, whatever happens, I just realized I've written something like 800 words about these two goofballs, and frankly, I'm a little frightened.
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