ELEVENTH IN LINE
About This Blog
A blog about my life, universe, etc. At any given time you might find something endlessly interesting or just me ruminating on something else, which no one (not even myself) finds interesting. That's the way blogs go, I suppose. Anyway, I was eleventh in line, and you weren't. Hah!
Temp @ JPMorgan Chase
Ohio State University
Political Science, International Studies
High School: Home Educated Hobbies:
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My mom is a lawyer in Pickerington; my stepdad and dad are computer guys, and my stepmom (who works with my dad) is an engineer. My sisters are, in order of age, a photographer, an artist, and a person too young to have her own website. My brothers are, in order of age, living up north, and again, a person too young to have a website. At some point soon I'll be collecting links for my aunts, uncle, and cousins. ^_^
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Sunday, March 21, 2004
CONTENT I decided to write up some content for y'all, in honor me feeling like I should, you know, actually write some posts before the end comes. This one is extemporaneous, and it's almost 6am, which means CRAZY TALK FROM THE NUTTY LADY IN THE DARKENED CORNER TIME (TM) for your reading pleasure. No, not really, it just means that I need to be less self-focused and cut down on the rambling and probably excise about two thousand excessively personal details from this piece. Before considering hyperlinks, this one comes out to about 2200 words. It took an hour to write it, and another hour to get all the links formatted. Yeesh. Incidentally, my apologies for the overlinkage. I'm pretty sure I'm overcompensating for months of cybersilence and general irresponsibility.
Why Do I Care?
I have to admit, and I hate this sort of thing because it seems patently ridiculous, that I really wish Sean Astin hadn’t done "50 First Dates" (his most recent movie release, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore). In fact, and this is really embarrassing, I’m pretty much in a state of functional denial (“He do any of those things in that movie I didn’t see, which he wasn’t even in”) every time I happen to think about the subject (which happens more than I’d like it to, what with the billboards and TV spots and my friend Jackie, who knows how much I hated the movie and Sean’s role in it and therefore speaks with a lisp just to make me mad). It’s frustrating, because I really don’t like being the sort of freaky judgmental fan who thinks she has a license to dictate the terms of some random celebrity (who she doesn’t even know) just because she admires his work (or looks, or hobbies, or whatever), and yet I honestly think the universe as a whole would have been better off if he hadn’t taken that role (actually, the universe would be better off if the movie had been done completely differently, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make at the moment – and bizarrely, that sort of statement [“This movie stank and should have been made with all of the following changes…”] makes me feel far less uncomfortable than the one about the individual actor), because, well, I think he’s better than that.
Yeah, I know, creepy and bizarre and let’s just NOT get into how much I admire and respect this man’s work (not to mention his looks, and hobbies, and – oh, for heaven’s sake), because it’s embarrassing! I’d like to think of myself as a well-reasoned, well-educated young woman who doesn’t fall into stupid immature traps like this, where I go beyond saying “Such-and-such former Mousketeer is such a slut” and straight through the creepy flame-lipped dungeon door labeled “And this mortally offends me and makes me want to cry and write her and her agent and her mother to decry their actions and never ever name my children after her which I was SO planning to do because my gosh, I just love her…” And yet, here I am, sitting comfortably in a lounge chair with about a thousand Britney fans, wondering how I got into this mess and whether my sanity is in question, or merely my good taste. And hoping for another random Sean Astin appearance on TV (yes, on Friday I woke up to him at a race track here in LA, on Channel 11, and yes, I did call Jackie and leave a voice mail…)
See, I don’t fall into the whole really-liking-celebrities thing very easily. Usually when I do, it’s for reasons that I like to hope aren’t as shallow as “ohmygoshhe’ssohotIwishhecouldtakemetothejuniorprom” fantasy images of the characters they play on TV (well, okay, that’s why I liked Wil Wheaton, for a long time – but deep down I really wanted to be Wesley Crusher, rather than date him (same goes for Doogie Howser, and Lucas Wolenczak), so I’m going to pardon myself for that one). It took a while to get to the point where I really admired Sean Astin – I loved the Goonies but didn’t really feel intrigued by any of the characters, I didn’t see most of the movies he was in between that and 2001 (and I didn’t connect him with his characters in "Encino Man" or "Bulworth," which I did see), and wasn’t especially moved by his appearance in “The Fellowship of the Ring.”" In fact, when he came to visit the Star Wars line in Hollywood, CA in 2002 with Elijah Wood, I gave them my usual celebrity treatment (to stand way, way, way back, and mutter to myself about how I’d hate to be mobbed the way they were by my more uninhibited friends, then later on wish I’d gotten their autographs). They sat in the row in front of me (directly in front of my friend Autumn, as a matter of fact – I was some 11 seats to the right of her), and I hardly gave their presence a moment’s thought once the movie started, after I’d gotten over how they were allowed into the theatre before us (after all, I’d earned my eleventh position in line, and due to a lack of sleep and excess of anticipation, emotions were running a little high). My conversations at the IHOP afterwards were all about the movie and the line experience, and not the Hobbits in the next row down.
Then came the Two Towers line, and the movie itself. Sean got a meatier role, opposite Andy Serkis (who I met that night, and actually did get an autograph from – I read the LA Times article about Gollum the next day, and finally pieced it together – but I’d like to think that the final exam the night before and 21 hour marathon session of wakeful line-standing had something to do with the lapse in my usual celebrity attitude) and Elijah Wood again. Still, I wasn’t that huge a Sean-in-particular fan, and far more of a Lord of the Rings/fantasy fan, which is why I didn’t completely freak out when he, Elijah, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, John Rhys-Davies, and a whole bunch of other LOTR celebrities showed up at the Two Towers: One Party Oscar viewing event in 2003. In fact, it was Sean’s attitude and words that night that really got the ball rolling, strange as that sounds – I came away with the thought: “No wonder he’s already married, he’s sincere and sweet and intelligent and well-spoken, not to mention talented and charming and yeesh…” Yeah, it was definitely that night.
Anyway, largely thanks to that mindset, I attended Comic-Con International 2003, and spotted some glimpses of the Hobbit actors (plus Andy Serkis, who hung out a lot at the TORn booth) doing autographs and so forth. I remember feeling disappointed when Sean relocated later on during the Con to the booth run by the folks who always charge for autographs (he was there with the kid who played Boba Fett in the second Star Wars prequel, as well as the man who works from inside the body of R2-D2 in all of the Star Wars films). But not just disappointed because I couldn’t afford an autograph – oh no, there were the beginnings of the Judgmental Path Of Doom right in front of me, and I began to head down it with some rather scathing internal dialogue in which I didn’t include even a mention either of the Star Wars actors. Fortunately I became distracted with hunger, and the memory didn’t stick, much, except when I got annoyed at celebrity antics in general and that moment resurfaced. I watched the Two Towers extended DVD at my friend Larry’s house with a newfound appreciation for Sean’s talent and so forth, though it’d been months since I’d thought much on the subject, and thankfully the incident didn’t come up in my memory.
Then my friend Jackie got that same DVD for Christmas. We’d just done the Return of the King line, and were determined to sit down and watch all the extended DVD features for the previous two films (she already had the Fellowship extended version). That was when the real attachment, such as it is, really coalesced into the disgustingly typical fangirl type thing I live with on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure it was the moment where Sean discussed the previous career of the helicopter pilot who medevaced him to safety after a glass-shard-in-foot type of incident occurred during filming – either that, or the other three Hobbit actors bemusedly recounting his directing all the helicopters they had traveled to a particular location shoot with to a safe landing (while the other guys goofed off, apparently). Anyway, we both, Jackie and I, came to the conclusion that Sean was exactly the sort of person I ought to marry someday. Later on, during a viewing of the actors’ commentary for The Two Towers, I remember thinking that I could probably get over his political views (which are in some ways radically opposite to my own) in time. Seriously, it’s like a disease.
Then we heard about 50 First Dates. While scanning the internet for Hobbit actor pictures (Jackie and I have the four divided in two – she prefers Elijah and Billy Boyd, whereas I like Dominic Monaghan and of course Sean) to use as background images, we came across a production shot from this new movie. I was skeptical – I’m not exactly the world’s biggest Sandler or Barrymore fan on the best of days, though I liked “The Wedding Singer” – but she was excited, and after all, it was a new movie that had Sean in it. The prospects for new materials (since I don’t have cable, I can’t watch him in Jeremiah) seemed bleak until the release of the extended ROTK DVD, so I decided to be excited, too. After all, if Sean was doing a project, then clearly it must be Great Art of the Highest Order, or at least entertaining. At a minimum, he wouldn’t embarrass himself, and by bizarre and completely unrealistic connections that don’t exist, me, by his performance.
Alas, and alack, that was not to be the case. While hardly the worst film I’ve ever sat all the way through (“The One” is the worst, and I only sat through it because I didn’t want to spend $6.50 to see a trailer for “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” and I thought it unethical to ask for a refund, even when the movie turned out to be dreadful), it certainly ranks right up there. It was downright painful at times to watch (though it had redeeming moments) – but far worse than that was the character Sean Astin portrayed. The very antithesis of Samwise Gamgee (not to mention my largely speculative preconceived notions of what he’s like as a person in real life): a steroid abusing buffoon, a caricature of himself, a person who is made a mockery of by almost every character and by the filmmakers themselves. He’s one of the three worst characters in the entire movie, a one-dimensional creature with few redeeming qualities, none of which are showcased particularly by anyone during the film. His only blessing is that he’s not particularly stereotypical, as far as I can see (well, and he basically doesn’t curse or do much of anything seriously evil), which is more than I can say for the two characters in the film I hated more.
What’s really disturbing is that this hasn’t disabused me of my somewhat beyond creepy appreciation for Sean Astin as a person. Instead, I have apparently decided to give him some kind of a “freebie” – oh, it was just one movie, he’s friends with the people who made it, he has to make something that’s a real departure from his epic works, it can’t all be Shakespeare or Tolkien, I’m sure it was lots of fun to film, and there’s probably a lot that got edited out that would have made his performance far better and less stupid. BLECH. I’d feel better if I just hated him from now on. I stopped admiring Britney and Justin and the rest of the former Mousketeers (whom I hated in a very jealous kind of way as a child, then really hoped would succeed and be model examples of the right kind of entertainer when I got a bit older and got over not being a Mousketeer myself) pretty much as soon as they stopped doing things that were admirable on the surface. I have very realistic appreciations for a number of other entertainers and public officials, on the other hand, with limited expectations and a very low level of emotional and sentimental involvement on my part. In general I’m a firm believer in separating the artist from the art (where applicable) and don’t follow celebrities’ private lives (the photos of the celebrities I do have, are all production stills or promo work – I find candid or personal photos creepy, and don’t even go for the home magazine “look I have a wife and children” spreads; it feels like an intrusion). I figure I should be less involved in strangers’ lives than I am in my friends’, and anyway it’s creepy and pathetic to be that interested in a celebrity, even one who does admirable stuff in his or her public life.
So whence this creepy judgmental attachment thing for Sean Astin? Why do I wish with my heart of hearts that he not have done that movie, or say he wishes he hadn’t done it, or something? Why do I throw things at Jackie (don’t worry, they’re mostly soft, and my aim stinks) when she does that lisp? What’s up with the bizarre fantasy proto-world creation I’ve got now, where I dictate the actions of a total stranger just to satisfy my own notions of what his life should be like?
It’s 5am, and I don’t feel quite up to expounding on the role of celebrity and public figures in a modern hyperconnected world right now. That can wait till after I’ve gotten some sleep, I think. But it bears thinking about. Anyway, there you have it.
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Because only so many people can be eleventh in line.