Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hollywood Hunks - Aging or Not?

he life-cycle of the leading man used to be predictable: the bigger the film star, the more you could bank on the four phases. Every 10-12 years these male actors would metamorphose, thereby holding old fans and gaining new ones as they aged. Think of Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, James Stewart and Henry Fonda. The changes wrought by aging were embraced, or at least capitalized on.

The NYTimes cites the 1959 classic western Rio Bravo as a freeze frame of the "Four Ages of the Movie Star:"

"[f]irst comes the rebellious young adult (Ricky Nelson, as a cocky gunfighter) who evolves into the conflicted middle-aged professional (Dean Martin, as the deputy with a drinking problem), who turn into the trustworthy elder statesman (John Wayne, as the self-sufficient sheriff), who eventually gives way to the lovable old coot (Walter Brennan as, well, the lovable old coot)."

Interestingly, RioBravo is a film in which the plot is simply a token and it is the nuanced characters which are essential.

Contrast this with today's aging action figures: nothing slows them down. They capitalize on the franchise, no older, no wiser. The biggest stars of yesterday didn't resist the transition to sagging jowls and character-etched visages. Today's stars make use of every trick that drugs, surgery, and the camera can offer in order to appear trapped in a time warp.

Sylvester Stallone (61) notoriously did it with hGH, gym time, and lots of plastic surgery. Before filming the comedy Oscar (1991) he had his first surgery, a unilateral direct browlift to correct a birth injury brought on by high forceps. Since then Rocky has had his nose broken, more brow work, belpharoplasty, and a facelift (2006). And probably botox and facial fillers.

Harrison Ford (65) went in for reputedly once went in for hair transplants & coloring in the 1980s and now a very young wife. But even without plastic surgery, his upcoming appearance in the upcoming 4th installment of Indiana Jones seems to confirm what's changed about today's leading macho man roles. Nothing.

Ford plays the same archeologist adventurer over a 20 year span doing the same stunts. The script may joke about aging, but essentially he doesn't age. Ditto for Bruce Willis (52) who is dying hard for the fourth time in 20 years. Hollywood uses every digitalized sleight of hand to make them appear unchanged.

Perhaps the exception to the pre-video cinema time machine was Cary Grant, the epitome of the seductive man – sauve, sophisticated, marvelously dressed. He never looked really young even in the 1930s when he landed on-screen and he never looked really old when he left the screen at age 62.

George Clooney (46) is heir to the Grant's bespoke shoes. Male actors can command a long life as romantic leads, just as they do in real life. The standards for masculine sex appeal are broad and encompass some aging, unlike the standards for action hero virility which requires that time stop.

Will Clooney make it to 62 without resorting to surgery? If he continues to emulate Cary Grant, it will be by making no attempt to hide his true age. So far, he hasn't.

According to the NYTimes, "[t]he stars who emerged in the 1960s and early ’70s — before cable television, home video and the Internet began to divide the audience into discrete demographic groups — will likely be the last generation to make it into coothood with their popularity more or less intact: Clint Eastwood (77), Jack Nicholson (70), Al Pacino (67)."

Stars like these have moved on with the times and chosen roles reflective of their age, despite modest plastic surgery. Jack Nicholson had a direct browlift after his first film success Five Easy Pieces. Robert Redford (70) had a blepharoplasty many years ago. Eastwood (despite misleading pictures) has not. Robert Duvall (77) has not. Warren Beatty (70) has perhaps had an upper blepharoplasty years ago, but nothing obvious.

Their behaviors and mates may not be age-appropriate, but their looks are.

But for stars who arrived in the late seventies, after movies moved out of the theatre, the options are very different. They are a generation of young actors aging on the small and large screen, their films out of chronological order. It includes the likes of Tom Cruise (45), Leonardo DiCaprio (33), Brad Pitt (44), Matt Damon (37) and Will Smith (39). Will they do without plastic surgery?

It's unlikely today's fans will tolerate their favorite stars getting any older. Tell us what you think.

Like the songs you heard on-air?

Karaoke - Ameritz - Big Karaoke Hits Vol.32 - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (In the Style of Amy Winehouse)

Dinah Washington - Blue Gardenia - Teach Me Tonight

Diana Krall - Live in Paris - Just the Way You Are

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Roses are Red, Violets are Violet

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I get so turned on
Just by thinking of, no wait, I mean you, YOU.

So who will be your FBFF or FGFF this year? What, you haven't picked out your Hollywood Valentine yet? Let's get that done!

You can say it with an e-card, if you like. My personal favorites reside here. But how do the rich and famous usually meet up? Not online at surely (or is that why those men don't post their photos??). No, no, no, they do it the old fashioned way – via work!

Sarah Jessica Parker did not have to resort to any of the obsessively sleezy tactics used in "Sex and the City." Future hubby Matthew Broderick was directing her brother in a play production and got an introduction that way. Julia Roberts met her cameraman husband on a set. Jessica Simpson met Nick Lachey at the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Will Smith auditioned Jada Pinkett for his hit show and hired her as a bride instead. Rita Wilson first met Tom Hanks on the set of "Bosom Buddies." Ditto for Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. And on and on.

Alright, so maybe you won't be having that chance meeting Brad Pitt over movie scripts. But you never know! Get that special dispensation from your current spouse/lover/FB to indulge with the Hollywood star of your choice – should the opportunity arise.

So, you've picked him/her? Good.

Now, let's say you do meet George Clooney shopping in the local produce aisle. He thinks you're hotter than the tomatoes. You take him back to your candle-lit love pad (the better to camouflage the school science project that overtook the family room). You want to seduce him. Now, what mood-music do you put on to make your Hollywood hottie feel a bit squidgy down there? It's going to take something kind of unconventional, don't you think? Here are some suggestions.

Is your celebrity FGFF/FBFF:

money-hungry? F-Me Pumps
recently dumped? Last Request
May-December sex? Baby Love
party-hardy? Tainted Love
serial dater? Oops I Did it Again
narcissistic wonder? Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You
what, another narcissistic? To Know Him Is To Love Him
another? I'm Too Sexy

Or maybe you just want to BE your Hollywood celebrity. Why resist?

I want Angelina Jolie's lips....
There are hundreds of OTC topicals that promise to make our lips look fuller. They irritate the skin and cause inflammation, temporarily making the lips rosier and plumper. It's quick, it's cheap, it's soon gone.

But the Angelina Jolie look? We're talking lip fillers here, mondo amounts, to even approximate what nature gave Jolie. The injections are painful and the result is a little unpredictable – so plan ahead.

Never, never agree to let someone stick needles in your lips without a dental block first. Remember the homunculus man? There are more sensory nerve endings in your lips than in your genitals! Of the various brands on the market, most fillers need topping up every four to six months. You may bruise and puckering is temporarily inhibited, so go two weeks before that hot date for best results.

I want Beyonce's bootie....
If you're looking for a quick bootylicious fix, you can create the illusion with padded lingerie. Check out the "butt bra" modeled after the coveted Brazillian derrière. Or you can go for buttock augmentation surgery ("Brazilian butt lift") using silicone implants or fat grafting and transfer from other areas of the body.

The long-term plan? Go for "skater's butt": anything requiring lots of squats and hip extensions will maximize the gluteus maximus.

I want Nicole Kidman's wicked eyebrows....
You can have them, as you can see she isn't using them just now, whilst gestating. Yes, her forehead lives again!

Just a small amount of Botox will give you a more natural result – if malevolent isn't the Valentine vibe you're going for. Schedule the first session at least two weeks ahead so more can be added if needed. The FDA is looking into a dose effect phenomenon; there has never been a death reported with cosmetic use of Botox. The wrinkle reduction dosage in the face can be 20 to 25-units, a fraction of the 600-unit dosage that may be used to treat a muscle spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.

I want Scarlett Johansson's cleavage....
This could be a bit of a problem if you're less than a DD-cup. But surgical breast augmentation is always an option, and the price has come way down (market demand, you know).

But something in time for Valentine va-voom? Let's try a colorful push-up bra. Don't go cheap, either, since you want to both have it look and feel good (so to speak). Enhance it with a strategic application of eye shadow and Eau de parfum. Then, don your gown and go for it. It's casual? Perhaps then something sleeveless that buttons down the front: men really go for the accidental peek-a-boo gap or escaping bra strap.

Me? I've got on my Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick – in the shade "Brilliant," thank you. I'm ready.