In this celebrity-obsessed culture of ours, much of that obsession focuses on celebrity disdain. It’s natural, I suppose, for the rank-and-file of the world to both exalt celebrity and root for a celebritastrophe — why should they get millions of dollars and fame bleeding from their assholes for six weeks’ worth of work while we toil away at our computers, banging away at spreadsheets and Power Point presentations?
The Charlie Sheen debacle is the perfect example: We’re getting off on this man’s downward spiral of crazy, and some of us even see it as karmic retribution for getting paid $2 million an episode to inflict “Two and a Half Men” on the world. What’s little discussed, however, is Sheen’s obvious mental deterioration, his addiction problems, his psychosis and delusions. He’s six months from dead, and most of us are celebrating it. We’re just too overjoyed by the spectacle of it to come to terms with the sadder aspects.
The Oscars is another demonstration of this: The Academy Awards is not just the so-called Women’s Super Bowl — it’s the Super Bowl of Snark and Judgement. Celebrities are let out of their movie-set cages and allowed to roam free in the wild, and we at home get to judge them from the comforts of our mustard-stained sweatpants. We may not have taken a shower on Sunday, but that doesn’t take away our right to judge a celebrity’s Oscar gown. It’s the price they pay for being famous, I suppose.
But there has to be a line, right? A select few that are free from our judgement, that are always given the benefit of the doubt, that are so likable and earnest and seemingly good that we’ll let it slide. I’m not saying it’s not possible to dislike these eight people, I’m just saying: If you do, you’re probably a giant douchebag.
Michael J. Fox
Even before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and was given lifetime immunity from criticism, Michael J. Fox could do no wrong, no matter how many bad movies he made (For Love or Money, Greedy) or how many times he was miscast (Bright Lights, Big City, Casualties of War). Most of those slight comedies he made in the 80s — Doc Hollywood, The Hard Way, The Secret of My Success — are now revered because Michael J. Fox had a way of making everything entertaining to watch. And now he shows up in guest roles on the occasional television show, and even when he’s playing the antagonist (“Scrubs,” “The Good Wife”) we can’t help but like the guy. Of course, one person hasn’t shied away from criticizing Michael J. Fox in the past, and that’s Rush Limbaugh, which kind of illustrateds the title of this post.
Sure, after two years of wall-to-wall Betty, we can complain about her overexposure, but no one is actually complaining about Betty herself. Say a bad word about Betty, and she’ll sic Jay-Z on you. She’s a goddamn national treasure, folks, and after 60 years in the industry, she’s earned her immunity. She could wear a scarf made of newborn kittens, a trucker hat, and a thong to the Oscars, and we’d just love her more.
Rudd is this generation’s Michael J. Fox: A guy that makes quite a few mediocre-to-bad movies, but a guy so nice, so irresistibly charming that we don’t care. We don’t have to see his movies; it’s just nice knowing that they are there. And who knows? In 20 years, maybe Over Her Dead Body, How Do You Know and Dinner for Schmucks will carry some nostalgic affection, as unlikely a prospect as that sounds. I mean: It’s already starting to happen for Object of My Affection. Plus, he dances. You can’t hate a man that dances like this:
How? How could you dislike Hanks? Maybe if all you were familiar with was the Da Vinci Code movies, then maybe. Even still, have you seen this guy on a talk show? He does it better than anyone in the business. There’s nothing about Tom Hanks that seems affected. He’s charming, self-deprecating, witty, makes mostly good choices, made That Thing You Do!, and he’s been married to the same woman for decade. It’s hard to say anything bad about Hanks because he’s never had a bad word to say about anyone else. The man doesn’t judge. He’s also charitable, responsible for “Band of Brothers,” and if you ever start to feel your affection for Tom Hanks wane even a little, just re-watch this, and you’ll feel it all come back to you.
Show me the person that dislikes Helen Mirren, and I’ll show you the world’s biggest douchebag. The woman is adored on six continents, and there are even colonies of microscopic organisms in Antarctica impressed with her bikini body. She’s a brilliant Oscar-winning actress; she’s hot, and not just for her age, but for any age; she doesn’t take herself seriously; she can shoot a machine gun like nobody’s business; and she’s Russian aristocracy. (Fun Fact: Her real name is Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov, and she’s alive only because her father was in London when the Tsar fell). A woman this much fun oughtn’t be so good at playing stuffy old ladies.
Despite the downward trajectory “The Office” has taken over the last couple of years, and despite the fact that Carell often plays one of the most obnoxious, unlikeable characters on television, it’s impossible not to like the guy, even after Dinner with Schmucks and Get Smart. He’s rich and famous and will take any paycheck, but the sense is that he’s not any different a person than he was on “The Daily Show.” Just wealthier. Given the man’s schedule — a sitcom plus two or three features a year — you know he’s got a solid work ethic, too, and he seems like the kind of guy who does what he has to do and goes home as soon as possible to hang out with his awesome wife. His got “Dad” written all over him, and it’s nearly impossible to dislike a Dad guy (
Not only is there a scarcity of unflattering images of Nathan Fillion in existence, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that dislikes the guy. Has he ever given anyone a reason to dislike him? Has he ever comported himself in an obnoxious fashion? Has he ever been anything but charming? Fun Fact: “Chuck’s” Awesome character was modeled after Fillion. The unfortunate downside to Fillion’s massive likability? He’ll never be able to convincingly play a villain.
Has there ever been anyone whose likability is so far removed from interest in his actual films? The Tooth Fairy? Faster? The Game Plan? Is he even capable of making a great film? Does it matter? Who could hate this face? Douchebags, that’s who.