' ' Cinema Romantico: Rip(ping) Up the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Start(ing) Again

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Rip(ping) Up the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Start(ing) Again

Last week President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed by virtue of a pick axe as a means of protest. There is a debate to be had about defacement of public property, whether that is good or bad or of any value in terms of, shall we say, critical commentary. I’m open to that debate, but let’s just take a moment to remind everyone that the original Sons of Liberty would gleefully, viciously have taken a pick axe to the Thomas Hutchinson star along the Boston Wharf Walk of Fame if the Boston Wharf Walk of Fame existed. That, however, is a subject for another sermon on a differently themed blog. No, what concerns Cinema Romantico is Donald Trump having a star on the Walk of Fame in the first place.

There is irony in such a notable all-caps opponent of inclusivity having a star on the inclusive, in a manner of speaking, Hollywood Walk of Fame. After all, Hollywood Boulevard’s most infamous stretch contains stars for Lionel Barrymore and Chris Berman, for Leslie Caron and Sean Diddy Combs, for Judy Garland and Leeza Gibbons, for Lana Turner and, yes, Donald Trump. Then again, that inclusivity comes at a steep price because $40,000 is required from each recipient to – cough, cough – “earn” a star. (That $40,000 goes to the Hollywood Heritage Trust non-profit to help maintain the Walk, or so they tell us.) Indeed, Ana Martinez, the chamber of commerce’s VP of media relations who oversees the Walk of Fame, as her 2012 New York Times profile makes clear, is not as interested in who gets a star as where whoever has paid to get a star gets to have their star placed. This makes the Walk of Fame sound like a political campaign donor event where contributors are angling to get the best seats at the ballroom table. In the end, it is less about inclusivity than insider access, but what else is new?

Hollywood, as we have to come see, has long been stricken by misogynistic sexual predators. So perhaps Trump – who, if the $40,000 mandatory payment amount is accurate, would have paid, what, $110,000 more to keep Karen McDougal quiet – and all the others like him should keep their stars as scarlet letters, and everyone else can have theirs moved somewhere else. Or, maybe we could just bulldoze the Hollywood Walk of Fame and start from scratch? I mean, an average of two stars, the actual Hollywood Walk of Fame website tells us, are added on a monthly basis, which is about as concise an explanation as I’ve heard as to why the term Movie Star has been devalued to such a point that, as we noted in our dissertation of the state of the Movie Star last summer, idiots claim that one is nothing more than “an actor or actress who is famous for playing leading roles in movies” which is so useless and vapid just GTFOH. In the same melancholy manner, 2,400 stars, or thereabouts, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame devalues all stars too.

They will never rip up the Walk and start again, of course, but let’s say that I was put in charge of Hollywood. Because if I was put in charge of Hollywood I would absolutely rip up the Walk and start again. And if I did, I would jettison the Walk’s absurd allowances for Radio/TV/Recording/Live Performance personalities because please, son, this is Hollywood, La La Land, ground zero for the Motion Picture industry which supersedes all those other tiddlywink industries, savvy? And I would cap the New Hollywood Walk of Fame at 16 stars for a minimum of 550 years to really let these cultural ingrates get ahold of what a Movie Star is supposed to mean. Drumroll, please.

The New Hollywood Walk of Fame

Lauren Bacall gets a star because she’s Cinema Romantico’s Hollywood’s lodestar.

Humphrey Bogart gets a star because he’s the flagship of the fleet.

Jean Harlow gets a star because, for God’s sake, she’s Jean Harlow, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, the Anglo-Norman god of the flickering image, or motion picture.

Cary Grant gets a star, but that’s a no-brainer.

Ingrid Bergman gets a star because, hey, the New Walk isn’t amateur hour, okay?

Marilyn Monroe gets a star not least because I assume that upon demolishing the old Hollywood Walk of Fame to make way for the New Hollywood Walk of Fame her star will survive the blast.

Olivia de Havilland gets a star because having a Hollywood Walk of Fame without her is like having an Earth without a Jurassic Period.

Donna Reed gets a star because cinematic cronyism, yo, and my Iowa homegirl is in.

Montgomery Clift gets a star because night on the New Hollywood Walk of Fame would be noticeably less bright without him.

Denzel Washington gets a star because he’s never phoning it in even if he’s just shouting from the other side of the office next to the coffee machine.

Nicole Kidman gets a star because the kids deserve a legitimate superhero on the New Walk of Fame.

Tom Cruise does not get a star even though he probably should because he’s responsible for “Top Gun.” But, Nicole comes first, always, and we don’t want to make her uncomfortable, and anyway Tom is probably cool just having the Scientology Freedom Medal of Valor.

Elizabeth Taylor does not get a star, but that is only because we still have to deal with pesky zoning laws to get her a planet.

Harrison Ford does not get a star, but we take solace in knowing that he doesn’t give a shit.

Keira Knightley does not get a star because we do not want to appear too biased, though we should stipulate a deal is already in place for the only advertising within a 100 foot radius of the New Hollywood Walk of Fame to be a Keira Chanel Billboard.

Prototype of the New Hollywood Walk of Fame’s lone advertisement.
Kevin Costner does not get a star, but his above-it-all, I-Don’t-Even-Want-This, your-little-TV-programs-are-so-cute acceptance speech at the 2012 Emmy’s will be the New Hollywood Walk of Fame’s official mission statement.

Marisa Tomei does not get a star, but all New Hollywood Walk of Fame Tour Guides will double as Mona Lisa Vito impersonators.

Chaplin and Keaton do not get stars, and we have no pithy reasons why other than the room fills up fast. All we can do is beg forgiveness.

Gene Hackman gets a star even though he would probably tell me in no uncertain terms to keep it.

Julia Roberts get a star because even if the star machine was the product of the studios the studios were, and continue to be, driftless without their stars.

Danny Trejo gets a star to show that the data often fed into the star machine is wholly flawed and stupid.

Mary Steenburgen gets a star because when I’m put in charge of Hollywood then Hollywood will become a cinematic constitutional monarchy and its ruling Queen, hear ye hear ye, will be Queen Steen.

And finally, Parker Posey gets a star because I damn well said so.

So, there you have it, the New Hollywood Walk of Fame. Don’t like it? Fine, fund your own with some Monopoly money, just so long as you send the old one where it needs to go.

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