I've spent the last few weeks leading up to seeing "War of The Worlds" doing something I truly, deeply hate: Watching news about "wacky" celebrity behavior. I did so not by choice, as I am generally want to avoid entertainment "journalism" unless I'm trying to see the TV debut of a trailer. In this case, "celeb wackiness" journalism has crept into "mainstream" journalism based on the antics of Tom Cruise. For those luckier than me who HAVEN'T heard, apparently Mr. Cruise has a bit of an ego, a bit of a temper, a very public relationship with otherwise completely unnoteworthy starlet Katie Holmes, and that much of this has been amplified in one way or another by his adherence to the religion of Scientology.
Evidently, the fact that a popular movie star has turned out to be a bit of a nutter is more worth devoting news broadcasts to than the status of American soldiers in the ongoing Iraq conflict, or the slate of recent Supreme Court decisions, OR the overall notion that we're still living in an age of worldwide terrorism. Who knew? In any case, watching Mr. Cruise's endlessly-repeated blowup opposite Matt Lauer i.e. the science of psychiatry, it occured to me that someone was in need of an intervention. No, not who you think.
WE are in need of an intervention. What the hell is the matter with us? There's a pretty good-sized war going on, we're told it's part of an even larger global conflict, there are health and financial crisis breaking out all over the world and how much did YOU pay for gas this week? Amid all this, the placement of any sort of entertainment "news" in a "front-page" setting is damn near vulgar. Even a serious, insightful, art-centric dissection of a film of major cultural importance would be too frivolous to devote major news time to in these circumstances; devoting it to the religious eccentricities of an actor still best known for a winning smile is damn near pornographic. And not the good kind of pornographic, either.
What I'm driving at, guys, is that it's pathetic enough that the "Tom Cruise is a nut" story has unjustly overwhelmed the arrival of his and Steven Spielberg's new movie "War of The Worlds," but it's almost a SIN that we've allowed it to overwhelm actual news. People, we need to get a collective grip here: Tom Cruise being a religious nut ("Dianetics-thumper?") is not important or worth a massive public debate about. Hell, as movie-actor religious nuts go he doesn't even measure up to Mel Gibson, having yet to have produced a feature length work of torture-porn propaganda for his respective daffy sect.
SO, then, we should all take a deep breath and ruminate on the following: Mr. Cruise is the star of "War of The Worlds," which happens to be an excellently-mounted scifi feature that you should really check out. Stop giving this person's public eccentricities more attention than they deserve (read: ANY attention) and put your minds to something worthy or at least not-as-unworthy as this. At the very least, let's have more discussion about this fascinating new spin on the summer scifi blockbuster motif and less on any "wackiness" attributable to the guy who stars in it. My review of "War of The Worlds" appears below (if I've got this Blogger posting thing figured out.) I reccomend you check out the review, in which I reccomend that you check out the movie.
I'm glad we had this talk.
I'm also accutely aware of the irony at play in talking down cultural obsession with something by spending five paragraphs bitching about it, so no one needs to bring that up :)