How to Lose Fans & Alienate the Rest of Us
Date of Assessment: June 18, 2010
Positive Buzzwords: Attractive, sex appeal, youth
Negative Buzzwords: Verbal diarrhea, ungrateful, disposable
The Case: This week's subject has already been widely discussed in the context of her notable absence from the third Transformers movie. Now, whether or not Megan Fox was fired from or, according to her publicist, actually quit her role as Mikaela Banes (a.k.a. "slo-mo bouncing boobs") matters very little at this point. More to the point is that Fox will no longer appear in the only successful movies of her career, and she's got nothing of interest on the horizon. Essentially, her days as an actress are numbered (in the single digits), and we all know it, because that's what happens to an actress with no talent and a pesky habit of badmouthing her boss at any opportunity.
Whether or not you like MIchael Bay, it's difficult not to respect the guy's continued box-office draw. He's known for directing absolutely atrocious movies like Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon, and has also thrown his mullet-shaped hat into many successful producing endeavors. Of course, Bay's work is utter crap, but he's never pretended it to be otherwise. Furthermore, he gave Megan Fox her start in movies back in 2003 in Bad Boys II as the "Stars-and-Stripes Bikini Kid Dancing Under Waterfall." Then, a few years later, Transformers followed; suddenly, Fox was inexplicably famous, yet she never fully grasped that this wasn't due to those 37 episodes of "Hope & Faith" that nobody had ever watched. One would think that Fox would have been grateful, but no. Instead, she made a few other movies -- How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and Jennifer's Body -- that were both critical and commercial failures. Then, during any and all press tours, Fox used her platform to talk smack about Michael Bay.
In some circles, the theory has been floated that Megan Fox has been needlessly vilified while her Transformers co-star, Shia "Freeballin'" LeBeouf has gone unpunished for the same sins. This is a fruitless comparison, and while it wouldn't be terribly useful here to regurgitate all of Fox's bizarre rants about Michael Bay (for the curious, there's a rather impressive timeline), but here's one particularly choice quote:
He's like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he's a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he's not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he's so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it's endearing to watch him. He's vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set he's a tyrant. Shia and I almost die when we make a Transformers movie.
Let's compare this with Shia LeBeouf's isolated statement about Transformers II:
When I saw the second movie, I wasn't impressed with what we did. There were some really wild stunts in it, but the heart was gone.
The differences between these statements are fairly obvious, but the most striking distinction is that Shia constrained his very general remarks to the movie and included himself within the blameworthy parties. His criticisms were also at least somewhat constructive and backed up by his previous participation in a number of blockbusters. In contrast, Megan directly attacked Michael Bay both in his professional and personal capacities, not the least of which was a terribly uncreative Hitler comparison. Further, it's common knowledge that no one would know who Fox was if Bay hadn't cast her as the (willing) tits-and-ass in the Transformers franchise. Yet, Fox's entitled behavior has no basis at all, considering that she's failed to prove her own box-office mettle outside of the franchise. If anything, Fox's very public manner of airing her own frustrations is not merely unprofessional but evidence of her own lack of social graces and unwillingness to work as a team player -- things that all of us must learn in order to function in the real world. We are all disposable in our professions, and Fox is no exception. Yet, even after the box-office flop that was Jennifer's Body, Fox persisted in insulting her boss as if she were indispensable.
Look, I continue to agree with the general population in regard to Fox's physical attractiveness (despite an awe-inspiring amount of plastic surgery). And I'd have no problem with Fox if she were only as gracious as Reese Witherspoon or countless other actresses that have paved the way for Fox herself to make far too much money just for being attractive. Still, any woman who criticizes Megan Fox is often described as "jealous," because all women supposedly make it their goal in life to capture as many men as possible, and Fox somehow ruins this goal for the rest of womankind. What an entirely simplistic and, quite frankly, sexist assumption. For whatever reason, many men seem to revel in the idea that women automatically hate a starlet because she receives lots of male attention.... but, listen up, male attention isn't exactly a prize we'd covet enough to hate Megan Fox, who certainly annoyed enough men to ensure that virtually none of them bought a movie ticket for her sole outing as a lead actress either.
One other reason that Megan Fox doesn't sit well with many women is that, at least for several months, she was getting away with badmouthing her boss in a very public manner. Look, we've all had terrible bosses. To be certain, many of them were chauvinistic, small-penis types just like Michael Bay. But that's life, and you learn to deal with it and either get along with unsavory types, or you move on. Or, if you've got an actual legal basis for complaining, you sue their asses in court. Naturally, Fox didn't have this sort of basis, so she decided to just run Bay through the mill of public opinion. She frequently and publicly whined like a little brat and expected to keep her job because of some odd sense of entitlement. Any one of us, male or female, who did that sort of thing, would have lost their jobs nearly instantaneously.
In closing, I'd also like to make another point about "jealousy," which is more of an origins-based argument. Remember way back to when you were in elementary school, and a classmate made fun of your glasses or horrible Princess Diana-styled haircut. In response to your tears, your mother probably assured you that these cretins were just "jealous," right? Think of how little sense that makes to your adult brain, and you'll realize that mom lied. Of course, mom did so with the expectation that you'd someday understand this little white falsehood when it came time to act like an adult. Unfortunately, Megan Fox missed that stage in development, but there are plenty of other actresses willing to pick up the slack.
Prognosis: The act of rehabilitating a fallen Hollywood career is always difficult (just ask Robert Downey Jr. or Drew Barrymore) but, quite simply, impossible for those who are both ungrateful and unwilling. With a performance in Johan Hex that has already been widely panned, and short of learning how to actually act (both as an actress and as a human being) Fox should probably stick with modeling Emporio Armani underwear. You know, something that doesn't actually require her to open her mouth.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.