[caption id="attachment_4260" align="alignright" width="271" class=" "] Tom Jones[/caption]
There's an inherent cruelty to this stunt. I'm aware of that and it does make me occasionally tut and hiss when one of these mashups come out and it doesn't look particularly flattering to the subject. I know this little game is meant to be (somewhat) funny but I'm not a naturally cruel guy and, I admit, I've made a couple of these that I just didn't think it worth showing because they were simply too cruel.
The difficulty is particularly acute on photographs of actresses and the fact that I feel bad about the results for actresses I've attempted this with (but haven't published) perhaps says something about my own perceptions of beauty. The gentlemen in most of these photographs don't look too bad. In fact, I think the last few blog posts back up something I've always said about generic Hollywood actors: that they generally look better as they get older. Of course, 'better' is subjective and perhaps what I mean to say is 'more interesting'. I preferred Clint Eastwood's movies when he got older. My favourite actor, Gene Hackman, got better the more he aged. Not that he was classic film star material to begin with but that is one of the reasons I'd always watch him. The same is true of Piece Brosnan, who made better films once he was too old to play James Bond. This also happened to Sean Connery, who made some truly great films once he turned grey. Liam Neeson is an example of a star who found real fame once he got older. Walter Matthau, another of my absolute favourite actors, was old the moment he was born but that was his appeal. If you're not watching a movie to admire the looks of the actor, then there's little or no point making you lead actor good looking. Dare I say even Brad Pitt will find more interesting roles now he's hit 50? Every day I wish Connery or Hackman would come out of retirement because I'm damn sure they'd still be more compelling to watch than half the actors I've had to endure in recent films.
What I think these experiments show is that Hollywood is stupidly obsessed with bland, tediously fresh-faced youth. I know Mel Gibson has done some dumb things in his life and I know there are many people out there that still won't accept his apologies. Yet the films he's made recently are, in my humble opinion, the best of his career. He is in that perfect zone that Clint Eastwood made his own as he got older. Give me Payback (1999), We Were Soldiers (2002), Edge of Darkness (2010), or the brilliant Get the Gringo (2012) over any of the Lethal Weapon movies or even, for that matter, Mad Max 1, 2, or 3.
The deeper truth, I think, is more troublesome. It's probably a trite thing to say and now doubt it has been said countless times before, but there's such a disparity between how we think of actors when they get older and actresses. I don't know who first pointed out that as some men get older they become more distinguished yet there isn't an equivalent for women. That, I think, is where feminism has been completely powerless in facing down that deep bias in our collectively psychology. It doesn't suggest that we are wrong in the way he think about aging actresses . It suggests, instead, we have the wrong attitude to actresses in their youth. Great acting ability means little compared to their looks. If we stopped trivialising young actresses, then we might have more respect for them as get older. Only then might we stop making them feel like they need the face lifts that turn nearly all of them into rictus mannequins of our celebrity sick times.
[caption id="attachment_4256" align="aligncenter" width="432"] Michael Caine[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4253" align="aligncenter" width="428"] Mickey Rooney[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4262" align="aligncenter" width="421"] Felicity Kendall[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4248" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Mel Gibson again...[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4254" align="aligncenter" width="684" class=" "] And Tom Cruise looks exactly the same...[/caption]