' ' Cinema Romantico: Who Are First Name Only Actors?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Who Are First Name Only Actors?

Yesterday Nathaniel Rogers, who runs The Film Experience, truly valuable for its particular cinematic blogging point-of-view, put up a Tweet that I have a screenshotted above so that you can see the raison d'être for this post. Because as it absolutely had to, this question got us to thinking. Not so much about who we call by their first names any time they appear in a movie, though we often do that with some of the people listed below, but who we call by their first names any time. Then again, many of Nathaniel’s Twitter followers did the thinking for us in the comments, cycling through a litany of names. As such, we will examine the majority of them here to determine whether Cinema Romantico sees them on a first name basis.

(Note: Cher and Madonna are exempt because obviously.)

First and foremost, Julia. Julia Roberts is Julia. To that point, last week, when My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife and I were rewatching “Eat Pray Love” as part of our Pandemic Rom Com Fest we kept referring to her character – Lisa? Lily? – as Julia.

Jack Nicholson is Jack, yes, though Jack came later. In “Chinatown”, Jack is Jake. In “As Good as It Gets”, Jack is Jack.

Do you know how I know Denzel Washington is Denzel? Because when I first saw former Michigan State basketball player Denzel Valentine I immediately knew who he was named after.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Leo and Kate Winslet is Kate when she’s penciled in as Kate & Leo but not when she’s just Kate if only because Katharine Hepburn already staked claim to Kate.

Nicole, Meryl and Clint are like Michael Jordan or Janis Joplin. Can you call them Michael and Janis Joplin? Sure, but it doesn’t sound the same, it doesn’t flow right. No, no, no. It’s Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

Ditto Marisa Tomei. She’s earned ownership of the moniker Marisa, I might argue, but just say Marisa Tomei. Seriously. Say it. Say it right now. Out loud. Mah-RISS-uh Toh-MAY.

Penélope Cruz, on other hand, is more akin to, say, Kylie Minogue. Yes, the full name is spectacular but, nevertheless, she is Penélope.

Uma Thurman is Uma. I mean, why do you think the Letterman bit was Uma/Oprah and not Uma Thurman/Oprah?

Angelina should be legally mononymous, quite frankly, and I don’t understand why this has not happened already.

Tom Cruise, I think, should potentially be mononymous on a last name basis – Cruise. But I also wonder, does the Tom tie the whole name together? Hmmmmmmmm.

Keanu? Is this a question? Speaking of which...

If there was one flaw, however, to the otherwise solid Twitter comment thread, it was the majority of the commenters betraying their age and making this Gen-Xer feel old. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because, above everyone else, there is one one-named actor who I always call by her one name whenever she’s on screen or anywhere else in the world.


1 comment:

Paul S said...

I'm surprised Nathaniel didn't mention Michelle. She'd be my choice.