Russell Crowe's Mouth

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Bit of a firestorm over at The Movie Blog over whether Russell Crowe is a hero or an ass for dissing Georgy Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro for taking overseas advertising work. So what do you think? Here's an actor you probably already either loved or hated; has this changed (either reversed or strengthened) your opinion of Crowe?

Thanks stumpy. I'm awfully sorry to hear about your Dad.

(oh, and it's Harrison Ford that's the tobacco puppet, according to Crowe.)

look i'm sorry to hear about this stuff too... and i didn't mean any disrespect by it and i am sorry it was taken that way... but if you play with fire you get burnt

and i can read your posts a million times over and i still get the impression you are of the opinion the world would be a better place if tobacco was outlawed and the industry shut down... it's pretty damn obvious that what you resent about the tabacco industry IS them SELLING cigarretes... and i do too, but that is no different than any other industry, they will sell whatever they can to whoever they can to make more money, only difference is they are selling cigarettes, so you either have a problem with all the industries selling, or you have a problem with cigarettes.

btw, i don't expect a response nor do i want one... i too am now done with this particular convorsation.

I feel sorry for smokers for whom entire cities have basically become off-limits. But smoking doesn't just affect those who smoke, it affects those nearby smokers.

My own reasons for disliking the tobacco industry are their incessant lies and coverups and apparent apathy for their afflicted (smoking has nasty health effects) customers. (Ever seen 'The Insider'?)

Those are my two cents, anyway.

Really, not even one?

Nope. I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke, so the thought of putting one in my mouth never appealed to me.

I figured it's one of those things everyone at least tries. Since they're always thrown together, I won't buck tradition: I've tried alcohol and cigarettes, don't care for the taste of either, and don't need them for any other purpose. Same goes for coffee.

Wise man, wiser than I.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Tobacco, in my mind, is inseparable from the tobacco industry. Just as you can't imagine an honest tobacco salesperson, I can't imagine a decent tobacco industry. It's a business which kills its customers.

Commercials are designed to convince us to buy something we don't need, by exploiting our weaknesses or desires. Movies exploit our weaknesses and desires, too, because our enjoyment comes from our emotional involvement in the film. Movies must convince us to buy into the ideas, images, people, and actions presented in the film. Both commercials and movies use manipulation to "sell" us, except with movies, the movie is the product.

I think any media which has the power to persuade and influence people is like a commercial, if it manipulates our senses to achieve a desired result, for profit.

Interesting. I still fail to see the distinction between movies and just about all art (is it just a matter of scale?). There is precious little art produced without money changing hands somewhere along the line. Is a painter that decides to sell her paintings making commercials? Or a painter that takes commissions? Are you saying that all works of art are commercials?

At this point in the conversation I'd personally still distinguish between art that engages you with itself vs. art that engages you with something else.

Found this statement from Natalie Portman in the March 2005 issue of Premiere magazine: "And then the other thing, I was trying to make a theoretical inference between stripping in a nice club where you're not going to be hurt, and dancing or acting or any kind of live performance. What distinguishes acting that's different from stripping? Is it that strippers are naked? Well, a lot of people on stage or in modern dance are naked. Is it the personal contact with the audience? No, there's performance art that has personal contact; I mean, Cats has personal contact. [laughs] The closest I could come is that stripping desires to cause only one reaction, namely sexual arousal, while most art should be more open, try to get more than one response. That was surprising to me--the line was much fuzzier than I imagined."

Yes, I guess so. Works of art seek to sell themselves as such. Artists seek to sell themselves as such. I see no self-less art.

"Commercials are designed to convince us to buy something we don't need, by exploiting our weaknesses or desires. "

I perhaps am a nitpicker by nature, but is this always true?

What about food commercials? We need food; the commercials are sometimes (not always) about encouraging us to try Tropicana orange juice rather than Minute Maid's brand. In a crowded field full of competition, sometimes folks do not need to be convinced of what they need or want, but which product they should indulge in to satisfy that need or want.

What about commercials from the Ad Council?

Don't get me wrong; I think you are largely correct. I am just not sure your statement covers all ads.

By nature, I say. Perhaps. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

It's all about the Benjamins.

Ah, Rosie, you are always so much more street than I am... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Suh-weet!

If actors are prostitutes because they "manipulate the senses," then we may as well consider chefs, masseuses, and house painters prostitutes also. This might make a good argument for de-stigmatizing prostitition, but not for defending actors in commercials.

The crucial difference between commercials and movies is that when I go to a movie, I pay expressly to have my senses (and maybe my emotions and ideas) manipulated. Commercials manipulate us in order to sell something other than their manipulation--this can be done honestly or dishonestly, but it is always at least one step removed from the object.

Now obviously, with product placement, movies become partly commercials, but this by no means involves all actors or all movies.

If we could separate the actor's skill from his self as a person, then I would not think of it as prostitution as much, but there are so many actors who experience a degrading loss of identity, dignity, boundaries, when they sell themselves to the public. It is that ability to sell themselves, as well as movie tickets and magazines, which transforms them from people into products, in a way which no tradesman ever experiences.

I agree that actors often participate in their own exploitation, but disagree that other people are immune. What are resumes, job interviews, and references beyond attempts to sell oneself? But I still think there's a big difference between resisting this as much as possible and diving in without any qualms.

Wow, this has to be a record for "flattest Listology discussion ever." Lots of posts, but no replies to other posters.

I do like a guy who speaks his mind, and on the side I was quite surprised and disappointed to learn that Harrison Ford shills for Big Tobacco.

not to sound pretentious or anything... but i think that is because we are all smart enough to know there is no real issue here... except for the fact that stupid people think there is an issue because the media says there is.

I like that interpretation.

Actors do this all the time. They create a public persona that's similar to the roles they play, so that we begin to think of them as exemplifying those character traits. Russell Crowe usually plays angry, rebellious badasses, so he says things like that to build his image.

As for advertising products overseas, I think he's making a big deal out of something harmless. Crowe can do whatever he wants, but he shouldn't criticize others for making a different decision. And it's not like Robert De Niro is going to go hungry (especially with three craptastic movies coming out each month), so he might actually care about endorsing these products.

This makes me like Crowe a tiny bit better. It will be interesting to see if he can stick to his ideals. That being said, I don't necessarily have a problem with a celebrity doing an ad for a foreign product that for all we know, they may actually like. When it's an American product that's being hawked overseas, that obviously changes things.

I can't understand why people always get so het up about celebrities' comments. Just because the media repeats every word they say doesn't make them gods. For what it's worth, I've always admired Russell for not being afraid to speak his mind.

Say what you will about Crowe, but at least he's not appearing in shite like "Hide and Seek." The guy says what he thinks and cares very little about what people think of him. I admire that, although I'd never want to work with or for him.

I don't see what the big deal is... first off all, the only thing he says was he didn't do that crap... it was a pretty damn mild "slam", if you can call it that... and second of all, he's kind of right... we all get dissapointed with great actors for doing shitty movies for the payroll, well doing shitty comercials is like taking it to the next level, not to mention foreign ones.

This is a very specific case of an actor who buys too much into his own hype. What a jerk. He better be careful, or he's gonna lose a lot of fans, and that equals losing revenue. Yeah, he's a good actor, but most moviegoers buy tickets to see actors they LIKE, not actors they respect as artists even though they're jackholes.

I disagree with Crowe's argument. I think it's fine to use your assets (in this case, celebrity) to further your interests (usual qualifications apply). I think Crowe's overly harsh slam was an ass thing to do. But I don't know enough about Crowe's 'extra-curricular behavior' (seriously, I don't) to make the leap from 'Russell Crowe was being an ass there' to 'Russel Crowe is an ass.'

Actually I could never stand Crowe, and this statement has just strengthened my opinion about him. What could have been the motivation for what he has said? Is he jealous, because he is not as well-known and popular as Ford or De Niro or because nobody asked him to make this advertising works? Or is he just an idiot? Sorry, but that isn't OK. Nobody has given him the right to make such a statement about an almost legendary actor like Robert De Niro. Lets wait, and we'll see that, sooner or later, Crowe will make such advertising work too.