Friday, July 6

With the Beat, Beat, Beat of the Tom-Tom

Do you hear the drums across the land?  They're beat, beat, beating the message that Tom and Katie are divorcing.  It's getting louder and louder each day.  They are calling it the "divorce shocker."  Are you shocked?  Huh?  C'mon, you know you're not.  First of all, in general, we're rarely surprised when a movie star couple divorces.  We're more shocked when they meet some milestone in wedded togetherness.  While I am not married to my partner, we've been together 36 years.  Now THAT'S a shocker.  But old Tom (he's just turned 50) and his bevy of actress-wives don't last long, do they?  Soon we'll refer to Katie simply as Number Three and there will be a four and perhaps a five.  Can you imagine?  But hey Cary Grant had five wives so why can't Tom?

I've never much cared for him.  His offscreen persona screams here I am, notice me, notice me.  I don't much ever want to do that when it seems demanded of me.  And in most of his films he is so much more important than anyone else in the film; he is always your go-to man, the word, the final word.  So dreary.  I first noticed him, I guess, in 1983's The Outsiders but I can say I paid more attention to two or three others in that film.  The same year when he was on everyone's tongue because of Risky Business and sliding across a floor in his undies, I was still unimpressed and that was a behavior that might have captured my attention but I yawned.

I did like him in Rain Man (1988) but it's nothing that has stuck with me.  I also admired A Few Good Men (1992) and The Firm (1993), but I liked the films more than I liked him in them and had another actor been the lead, I would have liked them more.  I had both of those films in my VHS collection but when I changed over to DVD, I did not replace them.  The only film of his I have today is The Last Samurai (2003), which I just love, but again it is really the film I love.  When technology gets to the point where I can take my copy of that film and replace him with an actor of my choice (or can I do that now?), I will.  I will not own another one of his films.  Truth be told, I just don't like watching him on the screen.  The wee little thing just puffs up and prances and pontificates and then drives his mega-important point home with a flash of that kilowatt smile.  It is then that he's had enough and he decrees that you have too.  

If I were to name my 10 alltime hated movies, he would have two on the list.  They were during the Nic years.  How's about Magnolia and Eyes Wide Shut, both 1999?  You think all I do is gush about movies?  Get me started on these two.

It was another film with Kidman where I went from I don't think I like this dude to I really, really do not like this dudePeople Magazine, which I was devoted to at the time, stated that while the couple was making Far and Away (1992) they had as part of their contracts that extras were not to initiate conversations with them.  If it was a contractual thing and so as not to incur the wrath of the wily twosome, then everyone (and this was a cast of gazillions) had to be told not to speak to them.  Can you bloody imagine egos that gigantic?  I can imagine that it made for wonderful working relationships.

I was not enamored of Kidman either when she was linked to him.  But after the divorce, something changed about her.  Perhaps she blossomed into her own self after having gained independence.  She certainly became a better actress and an Oscar winner, which must just piss him off.  Hey, who's the Big Deal around here?

I've never paid a lot of attention to Katie either but in and around her Dawson Creek days, didn't she seem a whole lot bubblier than after she married? 

Hollywood is about selling illusion and that's both on the screen and off.  It's been going on for years and it will continue for as long as there are celebrities.  It went a little better back in the good old days with those iron-clad morals contracts and where you did what you were told to do.  The studios took care of all the publicity.

Little Mr. T sees to it that the publicity is controlled.  This would be a good time to use that cute expression Cruise Control, but he would never leave the speed up to the car.  The public, we civilians as they call us, hears what he wants us to hear.  In some ways he's  no different than most other actors.  With him I always expect his coterie of protectors are locked arm-in-arm to keep the rumors and the rumor-mongors at bay and he is in the back of them jumping up and down and telling them what to say.  Once in awhile it gets out of his control... the Oprah couch-jumping and subsequent Paramount Studios head honcho Summer Redstone brouhaha,... but in the main, what you know about him is what he wants you to know.  He might say he values his privacy; I prefer to think of it as he values his secrets. 

When he was still happy with Katie, were you taken in, feeling all mushy and gooey when you saw the countless times they were caught kissing?  Do you think that if the Mighty One didn't want you to see them kissing in public that you would?  Isn't it a lot more plausible that The One Who Controls All wants you to see the smooches and then as they unsmooch, sparkles come from the flashy smile.  Are you taken in?  Hey, maybe a free ticket to Mission Impossible FIVE if you are taken in.

Cary Grant controlled his likeness and his image with a zeal that few others did in those days.  Grant went way beyond what the studio publicists were ramming down our throats.  He was a control freak with some surly moods often in evidence when he wasn't somehow having his picture taken.  He had secrets, too.

One of Cruise's secrets, a more open one, is Scientology.  It's not a secret that he belongs to it or is anything less than a BFD in it.  But  could it be that what newshounds are yapping about these days has some truth in it?  Has Scientology just become too much for Katie and she doesn't want her daughter further influenced by them.  What is she thinking?  

I say that by and large what we hear is what Tom orchestrates.  Maybe if Katie has a chummy little sitdown with Diane Sawyer, I may weaken and believe what she says.

The control freak in Tom-Tom must be beside himself with the way his career has turned out.  He has made some good films, but when was the last one?  No, no, no, let's not throw up the Mission Impossible films or I will throw up.  He likely enjoys those big paychecks that have made him fodder for the news these days but what he wants is more acclaim.  No actor who slips into a franchise late in his career does a lot of crowing.

So, oh my yes, let's stay tuned to what's going on with Tom and Katie.  Maybe we should put them on Google Alert and we can have the spin pumped into our veins.  I am, however, a smidge interested in the fact that her father (and is it a brother as well?) is a divorce lawyer.  Oh my, this reeks of hugeness, doesn't it?

I am reminded of one of the most famous lines said to him in a movie... you can't handle the truth.  Was that in the script or just something Jack Nicholson blurted out? 

I can handle the truth.  I still hear those tom-toms beating and can now see the smoke signals too.  Are they telling the truth?  Technically, of course, it's none of our business why their marriage is ending and I don't care.  But the thought of being spoon-fed a lot of nonsense just makes me wanna throw my blanket on the smoke and go home.  


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