Celebrity apologies I couldn't bring myself to care about
1) Two weeks after Jay Leno’s cringeworthy interview with Ryan Phillippe, in which he asked the actor to relive his earliest gig (as a gay teen on One Life to Live) by offering the camera his “gayest look” (see clip below), the Tonight host has issued an apology to gay people and whoever else was offended. Which is nice, but Leno’s done this before (just a couple years ago) and may well do it again, given the opportunity. Dude’s giving up his chair to Conan in a year; what’s he got to lose? Kudos to Avenue Q playwright Jeff Whitty, who first confronted Leno this time (and two years ago, as well), but it seems doubtful that anything is going to change, or that any Leno fans who were truly outraged will do anything as drastic as switch allegiance to Letterman.
2) A few days after New York magazine’s film critic David Edelstein peed on the fresh grave of director Anthony Minghella, Edelstein is apologizing, sort of. He essentially suggested that, after Minghella’s brilliant, personal, small-scale first film Truly Madly Deeply, Minghella devolved into a middlebrow hack who made overrated Oscar-bait movies (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain), for which devolution Edelstein blamed the heavy hand of then-Miramax co-chief Harvey Weinstein. In his apology, Edelstein’s not backing down from his opinion of Minghella’s work, but he’s sorry for blaming Weinstein, though he insists that the famously arm-twisting mogul did not twist his arm to wrest this mea culpa.
Now, reasonable people can disagree on the merits of Minghella’s work (if anything, argues EW’s Mark Harris, Minghella didn’t get enough credit for the careful crafting of his movies), and a lot of folks (a la Seinfeld‘s Elaine) really didn’t get The English Patient and found it long-winded and boring. Of course, that’s another argument against Edelstein’s earlier thesis that “Harvey Scissorhands” snipped Minghella’s work too eagerly in the editing room. So what Edelstein’s concession seems to say is: Sorry, Harvey, that I blamed you for your recently deceased friend’s hackery; apparently, he became a hack all by himself. That’s supposed to sound less rude and insulting?
UPDATE: And now, it’s time for my own apology, to David Edelstein, who, in the comments below, writes that I have mischaracterized his initial article and accused him of saying something he explicitly did not say. I apologize for my use of the words “hack” and “hackery,” which overstate Edelstein’s description of what he sees as the decline in the quality of Minghella’s post-Truly work. I should have taken him at his word that he did not mean to go so far as to call Minghella a hack, just as I am willing to take Edelstein’s word that no Weinstein arm-twisting prompted his apology. By the way, no arm-twisting prompted mine, either.