You Probably Hate Anne Hathaway Because of the Economy

While everyone is fawning all over Jennifer Lawrence this week (well, everyone but me), it appears that the public opinion of Anne Hathaway has slipped even lower than before, with her supposed perfection inducing riotous masses of women to rampage fashion houses that manufacture nipply couture gowns and public burnings of Les Misérables special-edition Blu-rays. Well, it’s not that bad, but I’m thinking we’re getting close to it. But maybe you’re like me and don’t understand the hatred of Anne Hathaway—she is, after all, just as annoying as any other celebrity (J-Law included). Perhaps there’s a psychological reason behind all of this?

Salon’s Daniel D’Addario takes a look at what makes Hathaway so polarizing, and learns that it might be our problem, not hers.

[I]t may, indeed, be Hathaway’s face that fuels her haters, if only subconsciously: “When times are good we prefer actresses with rounder faces,” says psychology professor Terry Pettijohn, who has conducted academic studies on actress preference. “They convey these ideas of fun and youth.” Hathaway, on the other hand, has a “mature face” made distinctive by its slender shape and bone structure: “It suggests she would be popular when times are more challenging.” As the economy improves, Hathaway—whose peak of fame, post-boyfriend, pre-Oscar-hosting, came amid the 2008 economic crash—may just be a reminder of bad times.

More likely, though, Hathaway is just the latest iteration of a long-held tradition: the star we love to loathe. And, indeed, Hollywood historian Ed Sikov says that this could be a path out for her: “There are two ways to win over the public: You can make the public love you, or you can make the public hate you. Maybe it’s better to say, ‘You can make the public love to hate you. Take Bette Davis.’” The “All About Eve” star was willing to make herself look mean or aggressive, and had a career that lasted decades.

“She wasn’t afraid to be hated, and audiences respected her for that.”

See, guys? You don’t really hate Anne Hathaway, you hate the recession! And also yourselves. I suggest we all go watch All About Eve. Why not? That movie is awesome! It might not help you with your Hathaway hatred (or me with my disdain for Jennifer Lawrence’s irreverent charm), but it’ll probably distract us for a couple of hours. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Personal Faves: Lindsay Lohan’s Wild Ride

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Jennifer Wright details her love for this year’s brightest burning star: Lindsay Lohan.

It’s hard to write about Lindsay Lohan.

Not because she’s not interesting. She’s interesting in the way only a true star can be interesting.

The thing that makes writing anything about Lindsay Lohan nearly impossible is that, by press time, she will have at least three more things no one could possibly have predicted. She seems to live in a wonderland where she can do six impossible things before breakfast. Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay supposedly punched a psychic in the face over a weird dispute involving a member of a boy band. I cannot imagine what she’ll do this week. But I know it will be bizarre, and I know I will turn my attention to her for at least a moment, because Lindsay Lohan was honestly the only truly fascinating star to watch in 2012.

Do you know what happens when you Google “Reese Witherspoon last week?” Or “Kirsten Dunst last week?” Nothing. Just like us! Oh, well, a bit. They were working on some projects. They had relationships. Maybe if it’s a crazy week they were dieting, probably for a project.

Most people’s lives, even if they are famous people, at their apex of oddity, are about as interesting as a very slowly paced sitcom. Not Lindsay Lohan’s. Lindsay Lohan seems to have found her way to make her life mirror a soap opera that would almost certainly be canceled for being too outrageous.

That much decried, comically melodramatic scene in Lohan’s recent Lifetime Elizabeth Taylor Biopic Liz & Dick wherein Lindsay screams “I can’t live without you!” and then runs down the hallway, grabs a bottle of pills, gobbles them down like M&Ms, and then flings herself onto the bed? I do not think that scene seemed like melodrama to Lindsay Lohan. I think that seemed like “Tuesday.”

And that—not because she gave a decent performance in Mean Girls, though I know we cling to that as an explanation—is why Lindsay Lohan is an object of national obsession. She could very well have given that Mean Girls performance, and, if her private life had not been insane, she would likely be just another semi-remembered teen idol. You can turn to anyone in a room and say, “How about Lindsay Lohan?” They will probably have something to say. She will make them sad. She will make them angry. She will make them jealous. Try doing that with Rachel McAdams. People will say she has nice hair and wonder why you’re asking.

Lindsay is fascinating for negative reasons, of course, but the definition of a fascinating person may be one going through experiences most of us can barely imagine. Those experiences—outrageous bar fights! Theft! Fiery brawls with lovers!—might not be ones we’d want to experience. But surely someone is supposed to experience them, the way someone is supposed to walk on the moon, or explore the depths of the ocean.  

While every other star seems to be getting photographers from US to take “candid” shots of them helping out at soup kitchens and loudly proclaiming that they are “just like us,” and, really, generally behaving just like us… Well, Lindsay Lohan has no apparent interest at all in being just like us. Or perhaps circumstances conspire against her being like us. Either way, if you put her picture next to the vast morass of humanity, you could play “one of these things is not like the other.” 

Just look at her 2012.

A brief rundown: in 2012, Lindsay Lohan posed for Playboy. She hit someone with her car. She found out she had a secret half-sister. She punched that psychic. She sold her own clothes for cash. She was given $100,000 by Charlie Sheen. She was on Saturday Night Live. She slept with Terry Richardson. She was on Glee. She got into a fight in a limo with her mother, who she claimed was on a lot of cocaine, and her father told her the limo driver was kidnapping her. She was almost strangled by a congressional aide.

These are the things I remember off the top of my head.

Other things almost certainly happened at the rate of about one a week. And isn’t any one of them more interesting than the stories we read about nearly anyone else?  

Because, if we’re honest, there’s almost nothing less interesting than the endless articles about how stars are keeping their marriages spicy and raising great kids while watching their weight. Honestly, I don’t care I don’t care about how they’re doing that, unless their secret is living on kale and human blood, and even then, I don’t care about the kale.

Meanwhile, I would buy a whole magazine entitled What Lindsay Lohan Did This Week.

Like Addison Dewitt of All About Eve, I have absolutely no interest in stars being just like us, given that, as he points out, “their greatest attraction to the publicis their complete lack ofresemblance to normal human beings.” Stars aren’t stars because they’re just like us. They’re stars because they are vastly removed from us, burning brightly and briefly somewhere out in the ether, not at all subject to the rules that govern mortal man.  

And for most of, well, the history of movie stars, this was understood. Gloria Swanson had her toilet made out gold. Charlie Chaplin ran off with a 16-year-old girl. Loretta Young supposedly had a secret baby that she covered up and then “adopted.” Montgomery Clift was so into drugs and alcohol that in The Judgement At Nuremberg he had to ad lib all his lines. Elizabeth Taylor, who Lindsay Lohan played with around three different kind of accents, had so many personal scandals that it is too difficult to pick just one.

It seems impossible to say whether those scandalous, unusual elements of their lives occur because they’re famous (Marlon Brando claimed that, at the height of his fame, he couldn’t open a door if he wanted to—they were all opened for him, which says something), but they do occur.

All of this madness provides the rest of us out in the dark watching with a sense of envy, but also a sense of pride in our own decisions. We envy Lindsay Lohan, and all the really brightly burning stars with lives unlike our own, because we wish we could get away with things the way they do. I wish I could crash cars and emerge unscathed and suffer no real consequences (time after time after time). A great part of the interest in Lindsay Lohan—at least my interest in her—is that in addition to seeming reckless she seems somehow, well, wreck-less.

A few weeks ago, the Twitter account “God” tweeted that “the human race is so busy reading about Lindsay Lohan it doesn’t realize it IS Lindsay Lohan.” A great sentiment, but entirely untrue. Most of us wouldn’t survive acting like Lindsay Lohan for a month, let alone a lifetime. At the very least, we’d be in jail. But really, we’d probably be dead.

Yet, Lindsay continues to make films, and recently, during an interview detailed in The New Inquiry, she told a reporter that her goal is “to work with Oliver Stone. And I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to get it.”

I read it and thought, “Well, she might.”

Lindsay Lohan was arrested because she ran someone down in her car this year. And yet, the idea of her working with Oliver Stone still doesn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility.

That is not what it is to be human. To be human is to be bound by rules. That is what it is to be some kind of Greek God.

While the idea of a life without rules might fascinate us, we also know that none of this is very good for Lindsay Lohan. We know that we will probably live longer and have happier relationships. We know that, because we know that living without rules and repercussions, and burning at such a dazzling rate is synonymous with self-immolation. 

No one actually wants Lindsay Lohan to die.

At best, probably, she will fade into a minor sort of obscurity, periodically popping up for roles in made for TV dramas and otherwise living somewhat quietly. That would be good for Lindsay Lohan, but, God, we’d miss her exploits. Because know that, like Edna Saint Vincent Millay, if she continues burning away at her current pace Lindsay may not last the night. Still, while she burns, she gives a hell of a light.

Follow Jennifer Wright on Twitter

Ten Movies I Like Better Than ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Vertigo’

Film buffs are all in a tizzy about Sight & Sound‘s most recent list of the greatest films ever made, which resulted in an upset: for the first time in 50 years, Citizen Kane is no longer considered the best movie ever made. Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo has taken the top honor this year. What does this mean? Well, not much, because who knows what will be number one next year. But here’s what I do know: while both Vertigo and Citizen Kane are pretty good movies, neither of them are films that I really want to watch again. Instead, here are my ten favorite movies. Why? Why not?

(Is this the whitest list ever? Possibly!)

1. Broadcast News

2. Rushmore

3. Harold & Maude

4. Wet Hot American Summer

5. 8 1/2

6. Marat/Sade

7. All About Eve

8. Days of Heaven

9. All That Jazz

10. Mulholland Dr. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda on ‘Bring It On: The Musical’

If every Tony Award-winning Broadway show was a country, Bring It On: The Musical would be the UN. Why? Because the creators behind this musical, a show loosely based on the movie of the same name, are the same people that have produced some of the decade’s most beloved Broadway musicals: Avenue Q, In the Heights, High Fidelity, and Next to Normal. So when you take out the puppets, add a bunch of cheerleaders, and stick them in two very contrasting high schools with very contrasting music to sing, dance, and cheerlead to, you get more than just drama; you get a show that teems with all the energy, comedy, and heart of its creators, but with a sound and style all its own. Here, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the co-composer and co-lyricist of Bring It On: The Musical and the writer of In the Heights, shares what he’s loved most about working on this show, why it’s record-breaking, and his experiences in high school. 

What was your first memory of seeing Bring It On the movie? What did you think?
I was in college, it was 2000, and I remember thinking, "Wow, this is a really funny movie." I had the same stereotypes about cheerleaders that most people who don’t grow up in that world have. What excited me most about working on this show was that our bookwriter Jeff Whitty didn’t want to adapt the original movie. He really wanted to take the world of competitive cheerleading and find what was stage-worthy in it. Jeff had an idea that was a totally different plot that, based on All About Eve with cheerleaders, which has been fantastic.

What is about cheerleaders that you find musically inspiring?
Well, they do what musicals do already; they dance to music. But they also do these incredible feats, like acrobatics, making cheerleading this weird nexus of athleticism and showmanship. It’s this weird world with its own rules, and it’s been fun immersing myself in that world for the past three years, and meeting some of our cast members who live in that world, who are just fucking indestructible.

While watching the show, I was thinking to myself: "What are these character breakdowns like?" To be in this show, you must have an incredible voice, acting skills, and you must be incredibly good looking and a pro cheerleader. Where do you find these people and how do they exist?
We do our best to delineate it so that each skill set is in its own track , but it’s crazy; we saw over 3,000 people and we cast 14 cheerleaders. And we have a very young cast. We have something like 32 Broadway debuts – which is a record. It’s exciting. For me, my last show on Broadway was my first show, In the Heights, so to get to experience that sort of energy with the next show has been a real joy because they’re all experiencing the Broadway community for the first time. It’s not a cliché; if you’re working at this level, you make friends with all the people in the shows around you, and it’s been a joy watching that happen.

For Bring It On, you’ve shared the writing room with Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, High Fidelity), Amanda Green (High Fidelity), and Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q). What’s the energy in there like?
Oh, well right now it’s funny because we’re really on the tail end of working on and changing the show, so everyone’s getting weepy and nostalgic. We’ve been writing this show pretty nonstop since 2009, which is super fast for a musical. In the Heights took seven years. What helped that go fast was that Jeff and director Andy Blankenbuehler had a really clear take on the story they wanted to tell. That takes a lot of the guesswork out of that. And divvying up duties was really fun. We thought that I’d write my songs and they’d write their songs, and we’d just meet in the middle, but that went away really quickly. 

Lin-Manuel MirandaHow separate and how interwoven was the collaboration? 
We started borrowing themes from each other pretty instantly, so Tom would take a theme from a song I did and interpolate it into one of his songs and vice versa. There are songs where Tom wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics, and songs where I took a pass at the lyrics and Amanda revised the lyrics, so we’ve worked in every combination; everyone’s fingerprints are on every song in the show. But it also helped us to write it faster. It helped us get closer to what our show sounds like, like, "Oh, that’s very much in this world."

"That’s the Bring It On sound."
Exactly.

Describe this show in just three words, what this show is really about.
Love of collaboration – though I’d hate to use one of my three on "of." What I love about this show is what I love about theatre; not one person can make a musical, you can’t do it by yourself. And not one person can make a cheerleading team. One of the things our main character learns is that she’s actually not in it to win first place at Nationals and win all these trophies. They don’t mean anything. What she finds is that she loves the joy of making something bigger than yourself, and that can only happen with other people. That’s very much how I feel about writing this show. The fact that this was a composing team means that I couldn’t have written this by myself, and they couldn’t have either. That was so much longer than three words.

I’ll take it, I’ll take it. The show pokes fun at a lot of high school cliques. What were you like as a high schooler?
I was definitely a floater. My wife and I joke about this because we socialize at different frequencies; if you put the two of us at a party, I’ll have five-minute conversations with everyone there, and she’ll have an hour-long conversation with one person. I always ran around a lot. I was always a theatre geek. I don’t remember school in terms of semesters; I remember it in terms of play in the fall, musical in the winter, original plays in the spring.

So you were writing shows even in high school?
Yes, we had plays that were written and directed by students. I would always write all year to try to get a play produced in the spring. I wrote two musicals and one play in my 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

What was the first musical about that you wrote?
It was about a fetal pig that a kid dissected in bio coming back for revenge, and all of the kid’s other subconscious fears start to come out. My mom’s a psychologist. It was all very Freudian.