Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fug the READ poster - Orlando Bloom

Yes, yes, I'm a huge fan of Go Fug Yourself. I can't get through the day without a few photos of rich and famous women who have made sad and tacky fashion choices.

I so rarely run into debutantes and starlets, but there's a whole genre of seriously awful images that I know all too well, and I think I'm the one to fug them. I have complained about the American Library Association's READ posters before - the ALA has the uncanny ability to honor any good-looking celebrity willing to take time out of his or her busy schedule (making out with other celebrities, shopping, learning to swing from vines) in order to promote literacy - by making that person look like a grimly hung-over version of Mickey Rourke.

I figure Orlando Bloom, shown here endorsing the work of some obscure British fantasy writer, is an apt choice for promoting reading. He's English, which always at least sounds educated, and he has been in at least three movies based on fiction (and three more based on a ride at Disney World, but, well, you take what you can get I guess). And you have to assume he was named after the gender-irrelevant Virginia Woolf hero/heroine. Either that or his parents tragically misremembered the title of the first Police album, thinking it was "Orlandos d'Amour," which at least wouldn't make any less sense.

Not that I think names are predictive, at least not to the extent that Kirsten Dunst's character does when she meets Orlando Bloom's character in Elizabethtown, which we just saw, but come on: Orlando Bloom is one of just a few men I can think of who has to wear facial hair just to make it clear that he's a fella. He's so slight, so fine-boned, he barely held up against Dr. SunkenTits, who basically defined our modern idea of "wispy" when she made The Virgin Suicides.

Maybe he should stick with buckling on the swash: Elizabethtown was not so good. It's one of those movies that goes: uptight guy meets beautiful, boyfriendless, free-spirited girl; girl removes stick from boy's ass. Garden State is also like that; Along Came Polly; and that movie with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock and a hurricane (Forces of Nature, thank you imdb). Beautiful Girls, oh please.

These movies make me crazy. Why should these gorgeous women give a crap about the likes of Ben Affleck, Orlando Bloom, Zack Braff, or for god's sake any character played by Ben Stiller? In fact, these movies make their quirky lasses pursue the crap out of our dour heroes - what's that about? In Elizabethtown, Kirsten Dunst would not leave Orlando Bloom alone. Overnight, she recorded 42 hours worth of mix tapes for a cross-country trip he had not yet committed to taking. If she weren't gorgeous, her nutbag behavior would be completely creepy. As it is, the movie has us rooting for her - Oh, Orlando, don't pass her by! She's a keeper! Oh yeah, until day 3 of the honeymoon when she's sobbing on the bathroom floor for reasons clear only to her poor bipolar brain.

Cameron Crowe routinely writes female characters whose behavior would seem to indicate major self-esteem issues, and then casts unbelievably beautiful women to play them. Their behavior makes them approachable, but their beauty makes them acceptable: the fantasy of the down-to-earth knockout, the girl next door who doesn't know how beautiful she is. Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, and here, Kirsten Dunst.

At least Zack Braff, when writing Garden State, acknowledged that there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG with a Natalie Portman who would spend time with a Zack Braff (under any circumstances), but even so, instead of making her mentally unstable, he gave her brain cancer or something.

But. We're talking about Orlando Bloom and that fugging poster. He's little, no doubt, but by no means as wee as this slender reed we see hunched over a volume of Tolkein in the classic model-with-cramps pose. They could at least let him wear his leather wrist thong, which he rocks better than anyone else on the planet, instead of that silver bangle. Or they could have brought out the tight head-shmatte he wears at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when, after 3 movies of doing outraged and/or confused, he finally looks good.

You have to imagine the photographer trying to get this shot: "Orlando, can you give me thoughtful? But, like... manly thoughtful! And pining! You're pining manfully about a girl... or a guy, that's your business... or you're thinking about a really nice bow and arrow..."

Meanwhile, Bloom is thinking, "How come it's only me and Elijah have to do this? Where the hell is Mortensen? At least they don't have me up in a tree wearing the wig. Poor little fucker - guy knows everything there is to know about rock and roll and just because he's got glazzies the size of buckeyes he always ends up playing either endearing or psycho. Hey, did somebody check that I'm holding the book right-side-up? Did anybody tell these guys I'm dyslexic?"