Julia Roberts as an ugly duckling? Hobbit hysteria? Josh Wolk says he ain't buying it

By Josh Wolk
Updated August 01, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
America's Sweethearts: Melinda Sue Gordon

America's Sweethearts

  • Movie

Some Hollywood bad ideas that should stop now

Mariah Carey has been hospitalized for exhaustion, according to her publicist. Whether it’s the fatigue of starring in and recording the soundtrack for her movie ”Glitter” (which opens August 31), putting up with public adulation 24-7, or those unspecified other issues that are wearying her so, she decided it was time for a break. Hopefully, others will follow her lead and take a little exhaustion time, such as:

Movie studios with twisted views of who is ”just plain folks”
Perhaps it was too much time running around Hollywood (as a former head of Disney) that twisted ”America’s Sweethearts” director Joe Roth’s perspective enough to cast Julia Roberts as Catherine Zeta-Jones’ supposedly dowdy sister. This was the same studio logic that made Janeane Garofalo the stereotypical ugly pal in ”The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” even though she was damn good looking, and only when placed opposite the reedy Uma Thurman would she be considered overweight. If you want for us to believe a fable about how glamour doesn’t matter, get an ugly actress. I want weeping sores! Give me a hunchback and at least one club foot! Roth and any other directors planning an ”uggo finds love” tale should leave L.A. for uglier climes to relax and just take in the vast, ab muscle-less tapestry that is America. THEN come talk to us about ugly ducklings.

”Lord of the Rings” fans
Ever since Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema announced they’d be turning the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy into a movie, diehard fans’ heads have been spinning like 12-sided dice wondering how the movie could do justice to the Hobbit lore. There is even a sense of veiled threat to their endless quest for info (”If you’ve done ANYTHING to upset the legacy of Gandalf, so help me…”). All these fanatics should just put down their mouses and relax. We’re five months away from the first installment’s premiere, but it’s all been shot, and all the emoticons in the world aren’t going to change Jackson’s vision. Just take some time off and develop some other interests. Oh, and bitching about whether Chris Columbus was the right director for the Harry Potter movie doesn’t count as ”other interests.”

The film libraries of Comedy Central, Independent Film Channel, and TBS
Pity the film librarians at these networks, who must have repetitive stress disorder from reaching up to grab the same damn movies over and over again to air on their weekly schedules. At Comedy Central, it’s ”Mo’ Money,” and at TBS, ”Dumb and Dumber.” Meanwhile, IFC runs ”Clerks” like they want viewers to memorize it. Seems like each station could probably fit its entire collection in a college dorm fridge. These networks’ heads should spend any extra cash they have on a few new movies, before their weary employees snap from the tedium and smash them over the head with a copy of ”Just One of the Guys.”

Those who always speak in reverent tones about Michael J. Fox
Fox is a beloved TV actor, and, by all accounts, kind, funny, and down to earth. He is not, however, dead. Whenever he is interviewed or profiled, the TV anchor always concludes with a ”that poor, brave man” look. Yet from all of his own reports, Fox is dealing with his illness and continuing to work on other projects. How irritating it must be to be trying to be a productive member of society, only to have everyone speak of you with pitying tones, as if you’re walking around giving the Grim Reaper a piggyback ride. So please, if you’re already rehearsing your weepy looks for when Fox guest stars on ”Spin City” next season, give it a rest.

What’s exhausting you? ”Planet of the Apes” hype? The word ”Eminem” anywhere near ”estranged wife” or ”censorship”? Let us know.

Episode Recaps

America's Sweethearts

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 100 minutes