Monday, 21 April 2008

maybe alec baldwin?


What is cool? Surely that is the question of adolescence, as we try to work out which of our various fantasy profiles we can actually pull off. Gretzky? Hannibal? Oprah? (For me it was always a toss-up between Casanova and Sergeant Bilko.) Socrates urges us to be what you would like to seem. Sounds like he was interested in cool, too.
Sorry, got sidetracked before I started. That's maybe too big a topic for today since I am beavering away here on the zombies and am this close (hold up your thumb and forefinger. No, closer than that) to the BIG SCENE.
Cool is the topic -- maybe not what is cool but rather who is cool, and what makes them cool? Over the weekend I saw a framed photograph, hung proudly in a friend's living-room, and the moment I saw it I knew it was cool. Not valuable or beautiful, not sexy or useful or morally uplifting or unique - cool. And I have been trying to work out what makes it cool. Maybe you can help me.
Not, it's not the one on the right. But it's like it: a publicity shot of Robert Goulet. Across the bottom the star scrawled: to Bill, Keep it real. Now, is that perfect, or what? If you owned that picture, wouldn't you frame it and hang it? I sure would.
I am not a fan of Robert Goulet's. I own none of his recordings. But there is something about his persona -- the tuxedo, the big room, the confident minor celebrity, the ability to take himself seriously and to laugh at himself -- I don't know, he's just cool. So my question to you is: who else fits this mould? Yes, there's irony involved, but it's not just about finding celebrities to despise. Lots of them around but they are not wall-worthy. I wouldn't hang Britney Spears' picture, or Dr Phil's. There's a hard-to-define factor, an element of admiration mixed with the irony. I told Imo and Thea about the Goulet picture and their eyes bugged out. That is SO cool, they said. They know.
So, people, my question is... who would you hang on the wall? Who else is cool?

13 comments:

Marilyn said...

Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas are cool.
It's in their attitude. Their easy smiles.
I wouldn't hang them on the wall though.
Danny DaVito is cool too, but it's because
he's hilarious. I would put a picture of him
on the wall bossing somebody around, or
standing beside someone really tall and looking up and bossing them. He is cool
because he's fun. I think I'd like him as a neighbour. Maybe coolness is one great personality trait or a way someone moves
or smiles.

Richard Scrimger said...

Yeah, you're getting it. Not the guys you admire straight up. (Michael Douglas? Really?) Danny is pretty cool all right. RS

Anonymous said...

Well, of course you have an 11" x 14" of me on your wall as the epitome of cool, right? right? Really though, 'cool' to me is someone who is confident in themselves, needs no one's approval but is not cocky about it, is sincere and charismatic. Low key and intelligent. THE most cool person, ever, was MacGyver. Without a doubt!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Alec Baldwin's pretty cool. Infamous (just what you would expect from a guy who makes a film called Running With Scissors), reckless but cool.

And I think his infamy is undeserved. His brother Bill defends him as a decent if distant dad.

Can't decide if Cat in the Hat, The Shadow or The Aviator are my favourite movies of his.

Which one is yours?

Sand

Richard Scrimger said...

Guys guys -- no pure fandom, please. You're missing the irony quotient. Would you hang a signed portrait of someone you really admired? Would I hang a picture of, I dunno, Jane Austen, or the Coen brothers, or Raoul Wallenberg, saying -- To Richard, Keep it real! That's cringe-making. It has to be a picture of someone you can smile at, someone whose second-rate essence is in the cliche tag line. Englebert Humperdinck comes to mind, ecept he's not famous for humour. Tom Jones is maybe better.
And, Sand, I agree with you that Alec Baldwin can be a good actor. I like his character on TV right now -- 30 Rock can be really funny. Don't know about him as a person, though -- he's probably a shmuck. Which is why he's part of this cool search ... RS

Marilyn said...

Michael Douglas when he did "Romancing the Stone".
He was a cool character.
What about cool girls? Are there any? Any you would
put a picture up of?
Are zombies cool?

Richard Scrimger said...

Marilyn, I agree that back in the day Michael Douglas may have had a genuine coolness. I thought his Gecko character in Wall Street was really well done. What I am searching for is wall-hanging cool ... which must include an element of risibility. But not over-the-top risibility. So while I have admiration for Leslie Nielsen, and I laugh at him, he doesn't go on the wall. Nor William Shatner. These guys are too obvious. Give me a self-important not-cool cool character -- he (or she) is wall worthy. Queen Latifah? Maybe too good. Andie MacDowell? Dunno ....RS

Anonymous said...

True, I may admire Alec Baldwin's work but I wouldn't be hanging him on any walls. Or on a dart board for that matter. If the guy sent me one of those corny photo Christmas cards I may stick it on my mantel...if I had one.
Can't hang Samuel Johnson either...admire him too much. Plus his signature would be worth a fortune. Can't hang Boswell 'cause, well, he was an idiot. I'd definitely sell his signature for a buck. This one's tough. Maybe the guy who wrote Shamela?

Sand

Richard Scrimger said...

Okay, Sand -- you're getting closer. I'm a big Johnson fan myself. But I wonder about Boswell. I think he'd be pretty good choice - see, part of wall-worthiness is a subtle goofiness of the choice. (Think Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil, say.)RS

Anonymous said...

Good movie that. Humphrey Bogart may be wall worthy as Charlie Allnut in the African Queen. Will have to sleep on this one, though now I want to dive into my DVD collection.

Sand

Richard Scrimger said...

Yeah, a publicity photo of Bogie as Charlie might be worth it. Cause that really wasn't his role. And Touch of Evil is an almost fine movie -- but Heston as Mexican is laughable.

Marilyn said...

Have to go back to Danny DeVito then. In the picture
on my wall, he is sitting in a restaurant with a bunch of people, laughing at something someone else said.
They are out for breakfast at a busy New York restaurant. He has piles of notes beside him....scripts for a new film he is directing. He has a big plate of eggs, pancakes etc. and is on his fourth coffee. He is just becoming known as a director everybody wants to work with. How's that?
This is a good conversation you started.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Goldblum