Friday, 20 August 2010

The Case of the Starless Star

It was a hot August day in Hollywood. The wags were saying that it wasn't bad because it was a dry heat. So is your oven at 400 degrees, doesn't mean I'm going to crawl inside and enjoy it.

Anyway the heat was putting a damper on the sort of business news pieces I usually gripe about, leaving me to do one of my parody detective stories where I get all meta-fiction and acknowledge that I'm actually in a story.

There was a rap at my door.

It was something by the Fat Boys, which sparked a terrifying flashback to the 1980s. When I regained consciousness I heard a thump at the door.

"Open up Furious D," demanded the voice from outside, "and let me in, for I am a PRINT JOURNALIST!"

I got up off the floor and made my way to the door. I opened it and there was a paperboy, carrying a bag of newspapers.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"I'm Patrick Goldstein," answered the paperboy as he jabbed me with a rolled up newspaper, "I'm an entertainment reporter with the Los Angeles Times."


"A print journalist."

"What's that?"

"Listen I got a case for you," said Goldstein, "do you want it?"

"Will I get paid?"

"Take this case and I'll bury the story about all your sleazy personal life," said Goldstein.

"How are you going to do that?" I asked.

"I'll print it, but not put it on the website."

"That would do the job," I said, "except I'm too poor and boring to have a sleazy personal life."

"Damn, you called my bluff!"

"Why not offer to pay me money?" I asked.

"I work for the LA Times," answered Goldstein, "we haven't got any money."

"Just hand over what you got," I demanded, "and I'll take your case, we've dragged out this scene way too long anyway."

Goldstein passed me a handful of seven quarters, six dimes, two nickles, eleven pennies, and a ticket stub to a screening of Eat, Pray, Love.

"Will you take my case?" asked Goldstein.

"What do you want," I said, putting the coin in my piggy bank, much to the pig's consternation.

"I want you to find out why Jennifer Aniston's a movie star," said Goldstein.

"Sounds tough," I said, "but tough is my business."

"I thought trouble was your business?" asked Goldstein.

"I do have a life outside of trouble you know."


I hit the streets looking for the truth, but that hurt my knuckles, so I started asking people. The first person I asked was Bill Simmons of ESPN. I found him in a sports bar that was next to the crow bar watching a football.

Not a game, but a football, just sitting on the table.

"Hey Simmons," I said loud enough to heard above the cawing from next door, "I need you to tell me your theory as to why Jennifer Aniston's a movie star."

"Sure," he said, not taking his eyes off the motionless football, "she's like an athlete who never made it to the championship game. She lost her husband to Angelina Jolie, then they started popping out kids like Mormons, while Aniston has a crappy personal life, and a mediocre professional life."

"You mean all those forgettable movies that don't make much money?"

"Yeah," said Simmons.

"So you're saying it all boils down to sympathy?" I asked.

"Yep," said Simmons, still staring at the football.

"But Hollywood has about as much sympathy as a sociopath komodo dragon," I said, "so there has to be more too this."

"Have it your way," answered Simmons, "I'd join your crazy quest, but I'm too wrapped up in the excitement happening right in front of me."

I left the sports bar and pounded the pavement again, but this left my knuckles even more sore than when I hit the streets. So I thought I'd go right to the horse's mouth...


The horse told me that I was looking in the wrong place, if I wanted the truth I should go to where they decide who becomes and stays movie stars.

I stepped into the checkout line of the grocery store, and asked the lady in front of me if she knew who gets picked to be movie stars in Hollywood.

"Oh," said the lady, pointing to herself and the other ladies in the line, "that's us."

"Really," I said. "I thought it had something to do with box office appeal, and charisma, two things Aniston is kind of lacking."

"How naive," said the lady. "Look around you."

I looked at the shelves and found literally dozens of Jennifer Anistons staring back at me with their blank expressionless eyes.

"Great Caesar's Ghost!" I exclaimed, and was immediately sued for copyright infringement by Perry White of the Daily Planet. "She's everywhere!"

"And we buy those magazines and tabloids," said the lady, "we buy them by the millions."

"We also watch her on TV where she begs for privacy from the media," said another lady, "in a series of so-called 'exclusive' interviews on every entertainment news show."

"The studio people see the magazine sales, and the ratings for her interviews," explained the first lady, "and they assume that we'll pay money to see her in a movie."

"But you don't," I said. "Her movies usually close the day after they open unless she's got at least 15 other co-stars or a dog carrying the picture for her."

"We know," said the first lady. "We don't really like her acting, we just like hearing about rich good looking people being miserable."

"We love schadenfreude," said the second lady.

"But studios are losing millions casting her in these forgettable romantic comedies," I said, "do you realize the waste you're causing?"

"Of course," said the first lady, "but they'd just waste the money on some other crap."

"And if they didn't," said the second lady, "we wouldn't be able to derive joy from her misery in constant media coverage."

"It's a carefully balanced self perpetuating cycle," said the first lady, "one you nominally touched upon in an earlier blog."

"Are you saying that this story is just rehashing some points I made before?"

"It's August," said the first lady, "there are bound to be some reruns."

I nodded in agreement and declared...


1 comment:

  1. Dirty Dingus States:

    Nailed it in One!