Clive Owen is 47 years old today. (He’s on my list. He used to be number one but that was before I fell under the spell of Gerard Butler many moons ago.) And while I wish Clive many happy returns of the day, there’s nothing remarkable about that…is there? In the youth obsessed film industry, he’s still getting work as a leading man, which is wonderful, although I am anxious to see how well say, Jennifer Aniston, now 40 but looking 30, will fare in seven years.
In “King Arthur”, he was cast opposite Keira Knightley. She was 19, he was 42 at the time of the movie’s release (which I suppose isn’t so bad considering that according to the film’s timeline, he was supposed to be playing 25.) How long before they start pairing Clive up with Hayden Panettiere? They’d better hurry up, she’s already turned twenty.
I saw “Duplicity” recently and I loved it. It was written and directed by Tony Gilroy who has penned some of the smartest films of the last few years, including Oscar nominated “Michael Clayton” which was his directorial debut. “Duplicity,” in addition to being well written, was incredibly well acted by a cast that included the wonderful Tom Wilkinson and the brilliant Paul Giamatti. It was the best movie about a sting since, well, “The Sting.” Perhaps I’m naive but I did not see the ending coming from a mile away, always a plus.
But what really stood out for me about this film was the fact that the leads, the ROMANTIC leads (Clive Owen and Julia Roberts), were both over 40. When was the last time that happened? I couldn’t tell you. I do, however, know of at least one instance where it will happen again. In 2010,when “The Bounty” with the above mentioned Aniston and Gerard Butler, who won’t technically be 40 until November of this year, but will be by the time it is released. This is, of course, a film I am very much looking forward to. And as usual, I digress.
I am wondering if this in some small way signifies a sea change, not a tsunami but perhaps a ripple, in the Hollywood machine’s thinking. While our culture as a whole, magnified to the nth degree by the movie industry, is still youth obsessed, is it possible that this is the start of a comeback for ‘Adult oriented’ (that was with a capital A, I’m not talking porn) entertainment? Are they starting to get that as the 18 yr olds who have developed a passion for the movie going experience age, that their tastes age and mature as well? That they may even have a few more bucks to spend on that passion than a teenage boy, at whom most entertainment is aimed?
“R rated” comedies did extremely well this summer, and while their content might not be considered high-brow, it should mean that there is an audience for entertainment in which nothing blows up and is not targeted squarely at the youth market. In the past, film makers have been forced to edit films, sometimes gutting the life right out of them, in order to avoid the dreaded “R”. The theory has always been you won’t get as many butts in the seats unless you dumb it down and make it palatable to a PG-13 audience.
Which brings me to my point, if I have one, that if we, as thinking adult film goers, don’t want to be spoon-fed sophomoric pablum, we have to support the mainstream releases that are not just the latest rehashing of the “Porky’s” blueprint, with OUR butts in the seats. Sure, we will occasionally seek out the little independents, like the current “Bright Star”, but we’re more likely to wait for dvd. Even big budget productions like “Duplicity” did better on dvd than in the theaters. Very often these days a movie’s real money is made in the home market, but to the powers that be, the Box Office still matters.
If we want more entertainment geared toward our demographic, we have to prove that our demographic buys tickets. To that end, I think I’ll take myself to see “The Informant” this afternoon. It’s rated R.
And now for My Daily Moment of Zen…