Celebrity

Contracting an illness is not something most of us long for. It’s often an unpleasant, uncomfortable, and incapacitating affair to be ill. For the highly-skilled technicians of the Lucas Clinic, disease is their discipline. Turning common cold into commodity, the Lucas Clinic offers fans the unique opportunity to become physically connected to their favorite celebrity by having the diseases of those celebrities injected into their own bodies. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, actual biological material from these stars has been reproduced into slabs of meat that are then devoured by the masses. Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) is one of the clinic’s most accomplished employees, but he’s bitten off a bit more than he can chew…and no, we’re not talking about a broiled pop singer steak. He’s injected himself with a virus from a particularly popular starlet, a virus from which she ends up dying. The clock ticks away as Syd struggles to make sense of her demise before death becomes a common bond between the two of them.

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Boiling Point

I gripe a lot about the speed of the internet in transmitting information. It’s almost incorrect to use the word “information,” as I think about it. It’s the spread of thought, maybe. Information should be useful and perhaps true. Thought can be absolutely wrong and still be a thought. From wrongful death notices to outright lies to painful gossip, word spreads across the internet at speeds that boggle the mind. It is this speed, coupled with twenty-four hour news channels and content hungry blogs that creates a massive demand for words, thoughts, or information. Add to that our innate desire to watch others fail, and we’re often faced with a ton of shit we shouldn’t care about. I, for one, have had enough of hearing about celebrities and all the sad shit going on in their lives.

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Boiling Point

This isn’t going to be some touchy-feely deal on how to come to grips with death, because, as you may recall, I think most people overreact to celebrity deaths and for the most part you should just man the hell up and deal with it. Not that you actually have anything to deal with, since you were about as close to any celebrity as you are to the mailman. Less so, even. But if you want touched and felt up, come see me in San Diego later this week. I’ll do you right. But that would be a rehash of my feelings if I just harped on you about growing a decent sack of testicles and not getting all sad faced that someone you never met and someone you never knew (they’re actors, after all, portraying fake characters) has passed on. I mentioned it briefly in this boiling point about things I hate and fellow Reject Kevin Carr dubbed the overflow of emotion the “Heathgasm.” So just what the hell is this about?

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Culture Warrior

A few weeks ago, as the indie group Here We Go Magic traveled through Ohio, they encountered a tall, skinny hitchhiker who they quickly recognized to be the inimitable filmmaker/public personality/pencil-thin mustache enthusiast John Waters. The band members took pictures of themselves with Waters and sent them out to the twittersphere. John Waters’s presence in their van did not transform into a difficult-to-believe apocryphal story between friends over drinks, nor did it grow into the stuff of urban legend, but instead became a certified true web event simultaneous to the band’s immediate experience of it. For any fan of the ever-captivating and unique Waters, this unlikely scenario which was still somehow consistent with Waters’s personality was truly bizarre, interesting, funny, and perhaps even enviable. But Mr. Waters’s is simply the most recent in a string of out-of-the-ordinary celebrity encounters. Celebrity has changed greatly over the past few decades. Whereas stars of film, television, and popular music formerly dominated the imaginations of their public through their creative output and carefully orchestrated public personae (through interviews, red carpet appearances, etc.), today’s celebrities are characterized more by their public personae than any output to warrant it. The Kardashians, the Hiltons, and the VH1 reality stars of the world are simply famous for being famous (or, more accurately, for being born into incredible wealth). There is no longer a sense that one earns fame through creating something or contributing to culture.

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Culture Warrior

Amongst the many reactions to Steve Jobs’s death last week, I found one comparison that people drew to be quite compelling. In order to find a fitting historic analogy to illustrate the cultural significance of Jobs’s life, comparisons ran the gamut from Nikola Tesla to, erm, John Lennon (“think different,” I guess?). But several people, including, Roger Ebert, brought to light continuities with Thomas Edison. Edison, like Jobs, was an industrialist: part inventor, mostly capitalist. But specific to his own life, Edison spent most of his career securing patents and making improvements to existing technologies rather than building something from scratch. Edison’s reputation associates him with a great deal more invention than he was actually involved in. I’m not trying to be cynical about Jobs. Far from it. In fact, I’ve been more than a little annoyed with the backlash to consumer mourning about Jobs than any initial hyperbole associated with Jobs’s death in the first place. I don’t give a flying shit about executives in pretty much any industry, but saying “he’s just a CEO” does not negate the great intellectual worth and cultural interest of Jobs himself. Jobs, like Edison, developed a cult of personality that extended well beyond the person.

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Editor’s Note: With Ashe taking a much needed vacation, we turn to the insightful talent of writer Maxwell Yezpitelok for this week’s list. Go read more of his work. But read this first. And then go check that stuff out. Woody Allen has to have one of the greatest casting directors in show business, if we overlook the fact that for some reason they keep casting short middle-aged Jewish guys opposite women like Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron. But seriously, look at all the big name stars that keep showing up in his movies, sometimes for the whole movie and sometimes for just a few seconds. In honor of that genius scene in Midnight in Paris where Adrien Brody completely kills it as Dali (only to never again), here are the greatest actor cameos in Allen’s forty-something films:

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Movie Style Guy: A Touch of Class

What can you learn from actor Ted Raimi? More than you’d think. Our Movie Style Guy Robert Fure tells you everything you need to know about super-director Sam’s brother.

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The news of using illegal steroids and performance-enhancing drugs is nothing special. We see that every day… in the sports pages.

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Keifer Sutherland heads to the clink a little early, thanks to the writer’s strike.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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