Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hollywood actresses: 3D House of Wax

This is how this post got started.

I saw an ad on TV for this not-very-promising-looking new movie called Joyful Noise. Cashing in on the wild and unlikely success of Glee, it's all about some gospel choir in the South, or some-such, and it has Queen Latifah in it, along with -

Jeez, who's that?

That fossilized Muppet with a horizontal slit where her mouth should be? That dead-eyed mausoleum-piece whose smile is so tight it has to go sideways? The one with the blown-up lips and the dead-looking immobile cheeks that scream "implants!"

Ye gods. It's Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton, she of the self-deprecating wit and earthy humor (i.e. when someone once asked about her height and weight, she said, "Five foot none and a hundred and plenty"). She of the now-self-deprecating-about-all-the-plastic-surgery-she's-had wit, only it's not funny. Not funny to see an embalmed Dolly who, it must be admitted, hasn't grown old, but hasn't grown either, hasn't matured facially because the stars have all seemingly gotten together to take a vote: ageing, or showing your age in any way, is an abhorrent, disgusting process that must be stopped. At any cost.

Even at the cost of looking human.

Oh, God, what a sad parade! Admittedly, it looks like Liza is without makeup in this shot, but her face has that weird bent-out-of-shape look that seems to happen a couple decades after you first start fucking around with it. You can move stuff around all right, freeze some things, lift other things, or even remove them, but as you get older, genetics will out: the underlying musculature will insist that you resemble your great-great-great-aunt Zelda, and begin to pull and wrench at the deadened tissue in a desperate attempt to make it so.

The more you fight it, the worse it gets. Tiny little noses unmoored from their natural facial roots start to bend and twist, cheek implants slide down towards the chin, collagen injections melt like candle wax. Which only necessitates more screwing around.

Like this, maybe.

I don't know who this is, but just the fact that someone like this exists gives me the heeby-jeebies. But how much better is this?

Oh my God, it's Mary Tyler Moore. I know she has a younger husband and all, but did she have to erase herself like this? The sideways smile is bad enough, the hardened cheeks squished up into tiny apples. But the eyes. I don't know why this is, but after too many procedures the eyes seem to turn into nearly-closed, tiny little slits.

And it's hard to believe a "blonde" could look so Chinese. In this case, Joan Rivers looks like she's wearing a rubber Halloween mask, and to my eyes it's mighty scary.

Those other dames I can understand, since they've been in the Museum of Hollywood History for some time now. But Darryl Hannah: didn't she used to have a natural, unaffected beauty? Why has she donned the deadened fright-mask that makes everybody look the same?

I think this hurts me most of all. Plainly, Meg Ryan and Mary have the same surgeon, since they now look so much alike it hurts.

Cheek and chin implants have become standard now, but as you get older they look plain lousy. They jut out like they've been bee-stung, squeeze the eyes nearly shut.

Let's not get into the famous Botox forehead which is so anaesthetized that you can't even raise your eyebrows.

I remember, I swear this is true, someone doing an interview about Botox and saying, "What's all the fuss? If you want to raise your eyebrows, just use your fingers."

Men can be pretty good at ruining their looks, too, even rendering themselves unrecognizable. Kenny Rogers gave up his craggy cowboy features for a sort of frosted chipmunk look, his eyes vaguely Tibetan. He can now walk around the streets of Nashville unnoticed.

Wayne Newton, well. . . Madame Tussaud's isn't going to bother making a wax model of him. They'll just wait until he croaks and keep him on ice.

You shouldn't look at a formerly-beautiful actress and say, "Ewwwwww." That shouldn't be the first thing out of your mouth.

Your first thought shouldn't be, "My God, what has she done to herself?" But all too often, it is.

Bad plastic surgery (and is there any good plastic surgery?) provokes a visceral disgust that registers in a nanosecond.

Doesn't anyone have the courage to tell these people how heartbreakingly awful they look?

There's another way to do this. I don't think Susan Sarandon has done anything to her face, because she doesn't have to. She is just plain gorgeous.

Vanessa Redgrave is an example of someone who has decided to let the magnificent Redgrave genes blossom with age. Wise choice, don't you think?

Is this face smooth, unlined, immobile? No, it is not. It's much better than that.

This "older woman" has a fiery beauty that lets her get away with supershort hair and flaming colors. Being intensely alive helps. Brava, Judi.

Gee, what's that in Helen Mirren's hand? Don't know, but I'll bet she deserves it. Some women still know how to use their faces to capture a character.

Cheekbones to die for, but I'll bet you any money they're real.

Would they have chosen a Botoxed, pinned and tucked actress to play Margaret Thatcher? Imagine plastering ageing makeup over a face that has been ruthlessly de-aged.

For once, Hollywood said "no thanks".


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