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George Clooney, You’re No Cary Grant

 

What happened to real film stars with real faces? I’m talking Cary Grant caliber, who brought not only savoir faire to film but had that “It” factor that ruled Tinseltown, especially in the late, great ‘30s.
 
George Clooney may be close, but no cigar. His talent and choices have ebbed and flowed, and he can still open a movie with legs, but let’s face it: He’s just another Hollywood entertainer. Pretty and talented but not the heartthrob of those studs.
 
I was weaned on Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Paul Newman, Audrey Hepburn, Edward G. Robinson, Bogart & Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Mitchum. Just to skim the star cream.
 
Manly men. Manly women. Who cared or even doubted sexuality in the way-back machine?
 
These were “faces” bound with mega-wattage talent. No doubt their oversized screen presence and unreachable star status created mystery and intrigue. Was he gay? Was she? Great press.
 
I miss story lines that had a purpose and real-deal actors, not cartoons ripped off from previous films (“Up” for example, which I found tedious and boring.)
 
And if we’re not bombarded by CGI and 3D we’re treated to remakes of comic-book heroes. Are you going to see the “G.I. Joe" movie?” Or another fabled Nazi story, regardless of its glorious weekend? Does a movie that features baseball bat-head-bashing have legs?
 
And those “chick” flicks: indispensible Renee, Julia and Sandra. Yawn. These are talented stars? Granted, they make a zillion dollars, but for us plebs, their movies are typically dreckful and unfunny.
 
When I read last year a remake of “The Women” was in the works, I ordered two copies of the original and held hostage friends who were planning to see the dreadful remake. After watching the antics of those glorious “faces” and witty dialogue that didn’t depend on men how could anyone torture themselves with a crap redo? They never got to the remake, thank you. Why mess with perfection?
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m planning to see “Julia & Julie” because Meryl Streep may be the only one of her generation to generate as much heat as light.
 
Jane Fonda used to really, really try and did, a few times, before descending into B-list, video-hawking tapes and sharing her food disorders. Cameron? What did she ever do that didn’t depend on sight gags and pouty lips?
 
We need faces! Not teenage boys posing for the dreaded paps or teenage girls practicing stripper moves on poles, known more for their boring lives picking up coffee than producing anything of real value.
 
Thankfully, there are alternatives to the dreck that’s mostly served at the multiplex. TCM shows the oldies but goodies, and once in a while you’ll find a video store (not B or N) that stocks indies and classics. When they had faces.
 
And don’t get me started on Disney’s plan to redo the trippy, perfect “Yellow Submarine.” They’ll probably go all politically correct and rename the Blue Meanies the “Green Friendlies” whose purpose is to rid the planet of plastic bags.
 
It’s one thing to see Disney-fied Bambi’s mother get taken out, it’s quite another to have the perfect Beatles cartoon turned into soft, cuddly rule-abiding druggies. No animals were harmed during the making of “YS.”
 
Even those guys had faces — just rent “A Hard Day’s Night” and tell me you don’t love the scene when Ringo wanders off, sad and lonely and kicks rocks into a river.
If we can’t have the real Cary Grant, at least we have him forever on celluloid. This “real stars” will always be ready for their close-up, sans pratfalls or junk in their hair.
 
I’m just sayin.’

 

Naomi Serviss has covered Broadway, celebrities, lavish resorts and high-end spas. Based in New York City, she's still hooked on Hollywood.