Michael Fassbender, 'Hugo,' and 'The Artist': Ask Libby
First of all, I would just like to say that I am totally thrilled to be answering questions from my devoted readers, who are simply the most culturally aware, emotionally available, and physically attractive people on earth. I’m not claiming that people who read other critics are small, misshapen creatures with wasted lives, but only because, like my readers, I have perfect manners.
Hello Libby — I see every new release that comes into theaters, I love cinema, but for the life of me, I cannot understand the love of Hugo. Sure, it was shot beautifully, but I felt it was choppy, as if a multitude of stories were being told at once, with no single thread coming to an acceptable conclusion. Am I crazy?
I enjoyed Hugo, especially because it was set in the most gorgeously art-directed, turn-of-the-century Parisian railroad station; it was like an enchanted French food court, from a time before Pinkberry. Hugo himself was such an adorably tousled waif that for a second I thought he was Amelie’s kid sister, but he got to live in the train station and keep all of the station’s clocks running on time, which is a perfect form of child labor for a cinematic fairy tale. Was the movie choppy? I would say the film was a touch leisurely, but even when the plot took a hairpin turn and began depicting the birth of cinema, I was happy, because I knew that the director, Martin Scorsese, was blissing out.
Movies which celebrate moviemaking can get inbred, like The Artist, that French indie which is a glossy, meticulous re-creation of a silent film. At first I thought that a silent movie would be a great idea, because for once, everyone in the theater could chatter on their cell phones without glaring at each other. But after about 15 minutes of The Artist I wanted to scream at the screen, “You can talk! We have the technology! Stop being so cute!” Although then I scolded myself, because I realized that maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a silent movie, but that perhaps some of the actors were embarrassed because they couldn’t speak English.
But what are your feelings about the revival of 3-D, Libby?
I’m a little divided about 3-D, mostly because whenever I glance around the theater, I always wonder, why is everyone wearing the same eyeglass frames? Was there a sale? Are we in communist China? What if that particular frame doesn’t flatter your face? Also, watching something in 3-D never makes the movie seem more realistic; it turns the movie into a pop-up book. For some films, 3-D is great. In Hugo, for example, you can tell that the director really thought about how to use the process effectively, especially when a runaway train comes right at you. Of course, if you’ve ever used the New York City subway system, a train either arriving on time or at all is pretty much a special effect. Avatar really needed 3-D, because while that movie was addictive in the theater, whenever I catch a few seconds of it on HBO, with all of those skinny blue people jumping around those emerald forests, the whole thing looks like the print on a Versace blouse or a Diane von Furstenburg wrap-dress.
At the Golden Globe Awards, Zooey Deschanel wore a green and black Prada gown (which looked nice) but she also had her fingernails painted with little tuxedos on them. Ms. Deschanel said, “I am wearing a gown but my nails are wearing tuxedos!” My question is, if I find her and slap her with a flyswatter, how much time do I have to do in prison?
Dear heavenly Cindy,
Zooey has become a law unto herself, and she will not rest until the Hello Kitty logo is wearing a kooky, oversized pair of black eyeglass frames. I’ve decided that it’s impossible to resist the power of Zooey, so I’m currently lounging in a frilly tutu, a Care Bears T-shirt, mismatched polka-dot socks with high heels, and I’m carrying a bedazzled bicycle helmet as a purse. And I have to confess…it feels good. Because people assume that I’m either the giddy star of my own sitcom or a homeless person with a hot-glue gun. I’ve tried to figure out why so many men have such huge crushes on Zooey, and I’ve decided that it’s because they think she’s a character in their favorite wussy-man movie, Toy Story 3.
Hello, I am thrilled to see your column in our magazine that came yesterday. Premiere is a mere graveyard of ghosts since you left. Here is my question: Since Chaz Bono is no longer on Dancing With the Stars, and broke up with his girlfriend, does he have a future with Courtney Love at all? I know she is circling British aristocracy right now, but could those two adorable kids get together? Oy. Tell me quick, Libby.
Love, James R. Wilkinson
Winter Park, Fla.
I think Chaz Bono is terrific, because he’s been an eloquent spokesperson for the transgendered, because he managed to appear on Dancing With the Stars and still maintain his dignity, and because he reminds me just a tiny bit of a young Tony Soprano. And it’s been fascinating to watch Cher as she supports her son and struggles to understand him. My daughter Jennifer asked me how I would react if she told me that she was transgendered. I thought about it, and I told her that of course I’d be fine with it, as long as she never wore a pork-pie hat, a biker wallet on a chain or Red Wing work boots, like one of those Brooklyn hipsters; I stressed that there’s a difference between being a man and being what the psychiatric journals term an a–wipe.
As for Courtney Love becoming a royal, well, why not? I love Kate, but she’s a little anxiously perfect, and Pippa’s butt is too intimidating. As for Chaz and Courtney hooking up, it’s certainly possible, but I feel that maybe Cher has had enough to cope with. She’s been through a lot lately, and I’m not just talking about her return to the screen in Burlesque. I loved that movie, especially the scene where Christina Aguilera, playing a small-town waitress who dreams of becoming a star, looked at a scale model of an office building and asked, “What is that?”
It’s so good to have you back! Finally, someone who can tackle the really
important questions in modern cinema, like “Is Michael Fassbender
hotter in Jane Eyre, X-Men, A Dangerous Method, or Shame?” We await
I will be addressing the Fassbender question in an upcoming column, because at the moment Michael and I are still at a very delicate place. After I’d finally broken things off, once and for all, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper, and at least two of Mitt Romney’s sons, I thought that I’d never love again. But then Michael arrived on the scene, and for right now, I will only allow myself to make the following comments: In Hunger, Michael tore my soul apart when he played an imprisoned IRA martyr who went on a hunger strike, because he embodied my two favorite topics: frontal male nudity and dieting. Regarding his work as a villain in X-Men, I only have three words: tight white pants. And as for Shame, well, it’s a very good thing that this particular movie wasn’t shot in 3-D, because at every show, there would’ve been head injuries, if you ask me.
In addition to her recurring Ask Libby post here in PopWatch, Gelman-Waxner is writing a monthly column in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, where she tackles all things pop culture. In the meantime, be sure to send your burning questions to Libby online, and come back in a month for her next edition of not-necessarily deep thoughts.
Toy Story 3