Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm worried about Anne, and you should be, too

Hi, it's me again, and I'm worried about Anne Hathaway.

I don't usually worry about Anne Hathaway. I don't usually even THINK about Anne Hathaway, which in no way is meant to be a slight against her. She's a fine actress and, I'm sure, a decent human being. But I can only keep track of about four different things at any given point, and up until now, Anne Hathaway never actually made the list.

But now she's there. And I'll tell you why.

I didn't watch a second of the Academy Awards telecast last night. Or are we supposed to call it The Oscars? I think we're supposed to call it The Oscars now. That's how the people at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences want us to refer to it. This is called "branding." It's part of what I do for a living, and I'll be the first to admit it's annoying. We want to control the way you think and feel about the products, services and events we're promoting, and it's shocking how good we are at it. You people are like sheep. We tell you to do something, and 90% of the time you do it. Of course, everyone already calls it "The Oscars" anyway, I think, so it's not like it's difficult to get people to stop saying "Academy Awards." But the point is, we're supposed to call it The Oscars (capital "The"), so in the interest of making my fellow marketers feel good, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Anyway, I didn't watch The Oscars last night. Not by choice or anything, I was just busy. I coach Chloe's high school girls indoor soccer team, and we had a 9 p.m. game to play. It was our third Sunday-evening-at-9 game of the season, which doesn't bother me so much but seems to amaze a lot of other people. "You're playing when? Sunday night at 9?!? Why so late? That's ridiculous!" And I tell them that almost everything related to kids' sports is ridiculous these days, so I don't get phased by the scheduling.

But getting back to my point, I didn't watch The Oscars last night. I have nothing against The Oscars, I just didn't watch them. But today I read two different fashion-oriented articles about The Oscars, and both expressed shock and borderline outrage at the dress worn by Anne Hathaway, whom you may recall I'm starting to worry about.

I Googled a picture of said dress (in the interest of blogging research), and honestly wasn't all that moved by it. As Oscar dresses ("The Oscar" dresses?) go, it wasn't any more revealing than the other stuff you see women wearing as they walk down that red carpet. But it still wasn't something I would ever allow my own daughters to even contemplate wearing, which is why I'm worried about Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway burst into our collective consciousness 11 or 12 years ago as the star of the surprisingly successful film "The Princess Diaries." She was pretty, endearingly nerdy, and almost exactly what we, as a society, prefer our 19-year-old actresses to be. The movie was a hit with the preteen set, and at the time I had a couple of preteen girls in my house, so I was fine with it.

Over the next few years, Anne Hathaway went on to make a few more innocent flicks, including a Princess Diaries sequel (or two? I can't remember) and "Ella Enchanted" and we all maintained that sort of low-level awareness of her existence that kept her in a position to make big money in show business.

But then she started making Adult Films. And by "Adult Films," I don't mean the stuff you pay Time Warner 10 bucks to watch on demand. I mean movies that deal with more grown-up subjects and themes. And we, as a society, gave our cautious approval.

And then it all went wrong. Some years ago, Terry and I rented "Brokeback Mountain," which in retrospect was not a good thing to do. Live and learn, I guess, but I could have gotten by just fine without having seen it. I remember we were watching "Brokeback Mountain," and there was a scene in which things were getting hot and heavy between Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in the backseat of a car. Fine. That's a good example of something that happens in real life between consenting adults (or teenagers...whatever), so it was cool.

But then, in an instant, my Anne Hathaway bubble burst. Without getting into too much detail, suffice it to say that in a matter of seconds, Ms. Hathaway removed her top and whatever else she had on that covered her upper half. And we were horrified. Not because, you know, "OH NO, BOOBIES!" But because this wasn't what Anne Hathaway was supposed to do, as far as we were concerned. This was unacceptable for the girl who played Mia Thermopolis.

And in that moment, I became Old Dad Guy. I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and say, "Put your clothes back on! Don't you see what you're doing here? Don't you see this is a point from which you can never turn back? Don't do it, Anne Hathaway! Don't do it!"

Now I realize this is my problem and not Anne Hathaway's problem. She's an adult. She can do what she wants and make her own career choices. But, it's just...that's not the direction I wanted her to go, and she did it anyway. I wanted her to do nice little Disney movies (and to voice the occasional animated movie) forever. But she got the Serious Actress Bug, and there was no going back after that.

Anne Hathaway went on to reveal vast acres of flesh in other movies after "Brokeback Mountain," but I never saw any of them. Couldn't bring myself to do it. Princess Mia was no longer Princess Mia for me, which again, I realize is my problem and not hers, but it has been disappointing nonetheless.

Anyway, Anne has gone all sorts of crazy in other ways, too, losing so much weight for her Oscar-winning ("The Oscar-" winning?) role in "Les Miserables" that even her director looked at her and said, "Hey, hey, whoa, whoa! Slow it down there, Kate Moss!" And understand, Hollywood directors are not known for having outpourings of compassion for their $20 million starlets if whatever the starlet is doing makes her more convincing for the role.

So the point is, I'm worried about Anne Hathaway. And I guess not so much worried as disillusioned that things didn't go the direction I wanted for her. But hey, whether or not Anne is happy, none of it is really my business. It's just that, you know...sometimes I want to go all Simon & Garfunkel on her: "Where have you gone, Anne Hathaway? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

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