March 10, 2006

John Travolta's Church

The Scientologists have expressed their displeasure at John Travolta hoping to star as a Edna Turnblad in the cinematic remake of Hairspray. They’re reportedly griping about L. Ron Hubbard – the late Scientology founder – being severely anti-gay, and that Travolta parading around in drag would be a violation of Hubbard’s beliefs.

Let’s set aside that the Scientologists are a reported safe haven for closeted gay celebrities, or that Scientology is considered a cult by most of the globe. Instead, let’s concentrate on a church publicly questioning a parishioner’s career choices.

Many utter unkind words about the Catholic religion, but not a single Catholic CEO has ever said squat to the press about Jennifer Lopez’s divorces. The Jehovah’s Witnesses never said peep about any of Michael Jackson’s activities violating their by-laws when he was one of them. And the Mormons’ felt no need to rush to a microphone to denounce any of Maria Osmond’s public downfalls as a pox against their faith.

Now, the Church of Scientology never said diddly about parishioner Kirstie Alley’s over-the-top Fat Actress escapades, or Tom Cruise portraying a killer-for-hire in Collateral, and surely those roles violated some Hubbard creed. But Travolta tries to land the part of a fat housewife, and they go ballistic?

Considering the careers of their high-profile members, and with one of the church headquarters located smack dab in the middle of Hollywood proper, it just seems queer to publicly mess with Travolta’s next movie paycheck. And he needs to keep the benjamins rolling in if they want him to continue to afford being a member of the Church.

Separation of Church & State is, currently, an eroding concept, but separation of Religion & Hollywood has remained fairly consistent. When a scandal rocks the celebrity world, we hear condemnation from every limo-driver, waitress and spurned business partner, but never from the notorious person’s church. A person’s faith is supposed to be a private affair (Madonna), and even the religions the Christian masses consider too whacky to be legit (like Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons) know to stay out of a member’s livelihood.

It's difficult to be fair about accepting the Church of Scientology as a valid religion when they’re hectoring Mr. Travolta about his career choices. They’re acting more like a bitter producer than a religion, and surely the movie community anxiously awaits Tom Cruises’ thoughts on Hairspray casting decisions.

March 05, 2006

Matt Dillon & Oscar

Tonight's the night Matt Dillon could win the Oscar.
Last night he won Best Supporting Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards, so maybe he's not sweating tonight's outcome. I'm probably more nervous than he is.

It's his time to win, really it is. At this point, he's a solid Hollywood veteran, who's worked his way up through the ranks, always giving solid and ever-improving performances. He's honestly earned the right to join the Academy ranks.

Instead, this will be the only time I'll ever be disappointed that George Clooney won.

Besides, even if he doesn't walk away with Oscar, he has finally been accepted into the club, and will have more opportunities in the future to be a contender. So, I'm still rooting for Dillon, even though he did not pick me as his Oscar date. Life's too short to hold a grudge, you know?

11:00 PM Post-Script
OK, so Matt didn't win, but he looked breathtakingly dashing, and losing to George Clooney is an honor.
Then Crash goes for the upset Best Picture victory. Whoa.

An insightful friend at the Oscar viewing party quickly noted that Brokeback obviously got the voters' nod. But because things are so dire for his administration, Karl Rove intercepeted Price-Waterhouse and made them change the winner to Crash. As far as conspiracy theories go, this one is not that far-fetched.

But most importantly, note that Matt Dillon was dateless. Uh huh.

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