How to be one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood

So you’ve seen the highest grossing actors list, dollar signs have fluttered like birds around your punch-drunk noggin, and you’ve realised that with your unique acting chops, winning charisma and burning lust for fame, you too could become a bona-fide Forbes listed gold magnet in Hollywood’s perpetually booming movie machine. Your parents always told you that anything was possible, and they were right, but here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re aiming to shoot for the stars:

Start out sporty and don’t ever give up on your six pack. Without a doubt, action heroes are the biggest money-makers, and revealing your innards like Thor doesn’t happen over night. Aside from vigorously hitting the gym, finding an exhilarating passion is probably a good idea: Chris Hemsworth has a lifetime love of surfing [1], Dwayne Johnson wrestled since childhood, rising to fame as WWE nutcase ‘The Rock’, and the late Paul Walker started every morning with a few hours of Brazilian jiu jitsu [2]. Even the oldies have athletic backgrounds; John Goodman won a football scholarship to university, Billy Crystal obsessed over baseball and Steve Carrell has always had a knack for ice hockey.

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The Fish Child – an example of a genre

I’ve just watched The Fish Child in order to provide a review for smellofnapalm.com and I found it epitomised something I’ve encountered before in films of this type. They are atmospheric, artistic, very well directed and produced, and yet I struggle with their overarching aim. You see, when you trip to the cinema to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, you can be sure to some degree of what you’re going to get. It may be shallow, it may be violent, it may be shocking or thrilling, or it may be none of these things, but you will know that it has one goal: to entertain.

The problem I have with films like The Fish Child, and there are many of them, is why am I watching them? What do they want from me?

It is hard to say they aim to entertain; a comedian entertains, a car chase entertains, even a feisty scene between celebs entertains, but frankly, a film in which the protagonist is a teenage lesbian in love with her maid whose father impregnated her as a child, who then gave birth as a very young teen, drowned the baby and left it in a lake, and after all that ends up in a female penitentiary, is not entertaining – it’s fucked up. And I’ve slimmed it down.

So if they’re not entertaining, and they’re not educational (other than from a film making perspective), what is it about them that makes them worth watching? I find it comparable to art. Think of looking at a warped, unpleasant painting. Something disturbing that you definitely wouldn’t want in your living room. It exists as a statement from it’s creator. ‘This is what I was thinking about, this is how I feel, this is what I want you to know I’m conflicted by…’ Art makes some sort of proclamation. You’re looking at it and you can’t find anything to like, and yet you are moved in some way. You feel affected, as if you’ve emotionally developed since experiencing it. The thing is, a painting or a poem can do that to you in a matter of seconds. Is it worth spending two hours watching a film to achieve the same sensation? I don’t know.

Perhaps you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about and you love this kind of film, or maybe you think you know the answer…either way, I’d love to hear opinions in the comments below.

Piracy and Hollywood – the big picture?

So I was having a think, as is my penchant, and I realised: Hollywood are all “piracy supports terrorism/ piracy is theft”, and they’ve made a film about pretty much everything else so where are all the anti-piracy films? (They could run a clever PR stunt and leak it so it’s put online early and proves their point). It would be great…

Maybe Johnny Depp is in: PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: THE FBI CRACKDOWN

Or Daniel Day-Lewis stars: “If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your film revenue…”

But joking apart – there’s a film for every criminal, why aren’t pirates gracing our big screens? I’d love to know the inside scoop on aXXo or FXG…

So ‘piracy and hollywood – the big picture’ seems yet to be made!

More E3 Rambling

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAw9MrIW7JM[/youtube]

Why don’t game studios choose players who have some skill to showcase their incredible new games? As a friend of mine pointed out, the spokesman who presented Halo: Reach made a phenomenal game sound actually quite bland. Equally, when they played the demo of Reach, whoever was at the controls had terrible aim and terrible tactics, assault rifle from a distance?? Is there a more nub approach? If they really want to reach out to their ‘hardcore’ gaming fans, maybe they should show the games being played at their best.

Other than the incredible technology revealed by Nintendo in their spec-less 3DS and Valve’s Portal 2, I don’t think I was particularly blown away by this years E3. RAGE seems to be totally ribbing on Borderlands, AC: Brotherhood looked like more of the same – Ghost Recon: Future Soldier had some sweet gameplay, but not sure I’d pick it up, and a lot of the other much anticipated titles were less novel than I’d hoped. What we need is a developer to really blow everyone out of the water with a game that’s just totally unlike anything we’ve seen before – I blame sequels.

Too many sequels spoil the broth. Gaming Studios and Hollywood both need to learn that people love originality. The best games throughout history have been original concepts. I wish producers would just quit playing it safe, show us they’ve got some balls and take some exciting risks. I’d have a lot more respect for the industry. Anyone agree?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKPqRcAw7Hg[/youtube]

Cannes Looks Dull

So it opens with a bang as Ridley Scott’s new epic Robin Hood takes center stage, but as Mike Goodridge, Screen International Editor, points out: it looks decidedly art-heavy this year and could use an injection of razzle dazzle.

I’ll be honest. I’ve never been to Cannes. I would love to go and hopefully will one day, but so far my experience of the festival is what I read in the papers. So what am I going to read when the press don’t have much reason to dig their teeth in? Goodridge is right, hollywood glamour is the lure for the journalists who then end up writing about films that would never have seized attention before. As one commenter writes: “We love Cannes for the heady combination for it all” but then he also writes “we set a girl on fire”, so who are we to believe?

I’ll keep an eye out for the usual multiple page spreads about Cannes but I’m not sure how many there will be this year.