Citizen Staff Writer
This year’s crop of celebrities behaving badly didn’t escape the wrath of our Turkey Awards committee. We just decided to hand out the citations later this year and rename them our Holiday Turkey Awards. The honorees of 2008′s dubious achievements in entertainment include familiar faces and impressively obnoxious newcomers who our esteemed Calendar staff felt worthy of such low praise.
TURKEY OF THE YEAR
JOE THE PLUMBER
The pipe dream image of Joe the Plumber has gone down the drain. Turns out Samuel J. Wurzelbacher was a fraud on several levels. For starters, he wasn’t even a plumber and had no license to work as such. As a so-called “American icon,” he was a fake. His book and recording contracts show just how bankrupt our society has become. Joe/Sam’s latest profound thoughts came last week, when he trashed John McCain during a radio interview. Add to his list of shortcomings: disloyalty to his “friends.” Joe/Sam could pull his image from the crapper, however, were he to use any money made during his 15 minutes of fame to pay down those delinquent taxes.
HALL OF SHAME
It’s the same sorry story every year: Tempestuous Supermodel (and cage fighter wannabe) Naomi Campbell loses her temper and physically attacks those who try her patience. After pleading guilty to kicking, spitting and swearing at police officers on a plane at Heathrow Airport in April, she was sentenced to community service and a fine. Last year she also did community service, for “reckless assault” after hurling a mobile phone at her housekeeper. She apparently has issues with her servants. In 2000, she beat an assistant and pleaded guilty in Toronto to assault. Girl, get yourself to some anger-management classes – pronto!
Having just read the record producer’s biography, “Tearing Down the Wall of Sound,” we know Phil Spector is a go-to guy for eulogies. The funerals for Lenny Bruce, John Lennon and plenty of others saw Spector at the lectern. So it wasn’t a surprise when he gave songwriter- musician Ike Turner a send-off late last year. What was shocking is how Spector reportedly saw the funeral as an appropriate time to dismiss Tina Turner’s stories of abuse. Spector rambled as he’s known to do, so hopefully most attendees just nodded off.
Football players have a bad rep these days, but one New York Giant takes the cake. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh. At a nightclub. With a gun that was illegal. Then, in the city where he’s a star with the Super Bowl champs, he gave a false name at the hospital. And as a result of his idiocy, he missed a game in Washington, D.C., which honored Redskin safety Sean Taylor, fatally shot by an apparent intruder in his home a year earlier. Oh, and Plaxico did all this in the company of former Wildcat Antonio Pierce. We’re so proud.
Maybe if “Frost/Nixon” wasn’t such a brilliant film, if Frank Langella hadn’t given such a powerful performance as Richard Nixon arrogantly estimating he could manipulate British talk show host David Frost, it would be possible to cut Oliver Stone some slack for making “W.” Not since Gus Van Sant remade “Psycho” shot for shot in 1998 has there been a more pointless film than ‘W.” Film critics were unanimous in agreeing Stone’s film regurgitated on the big screen every threadbare fact of George W. Bush’s life as the party animal who met Jesus and became the 43rd president of the United States. The predictability was like reading those old Holiday Inn advertisements boasting of the hotel chain’s conformity: “Where the best surprise is no surprise.”
TV SHOW WRITERS
We sometimes love and sometimes love to hate television writers. On our hit list are those on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Heroes.” After the writers strike, both these shows seemed to replace their writers with monkeys. Or perhaps the producers felt they would fit the bill. Either way, the shows took horrible turns for the worse. Plots twisted, characters lost motivation and, in some cases, changed altogether. Why is it that the things we love always have to change?
Youth isn’t all that is wasted on the young. So is fame. Actor Shia LaBeouf gets a Turkey Award (sans lucky wishbone) for his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in a 3 a.m. collision in west Hollywood last summer – all while his next starmaker movie “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was in production. Injured when his pickup rolled, LaBeouf needed surgery for his left hand and the megamillion-dollar sequel had to hold up shooting for a month, costing an estimated $200,000 every day. There’s a reason why fame is considered fleeting. The 22-year-old actor should stop reading his celebrity news items and take another look at his lame performance in the latest Indiana Jones sequel, which also came out last summer. Or maybe he did take a look, which would explain such erratic behavior.
Stop the presses! News flash: Madonna is egotistical!! Or so claims her brother, Christopher Ciccone, in a book he co-wrote with Wendy Leigh. There’s nothing like trashing your sister for a few bucks. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing new between these covers, if you get our drift. The bottom line is that if Madonna is the original Material Girl, her nasty little brother is a snake out of the same nest. Can you say “opportunist,” boys and girls?
While being photographed at LAX airport in September, our beloved and talented Kanye West flipped his lid, grabbed the photographer’s $10,000 camera and smashed it into bits on the floor. The best part about the incident was that the entire ordeal was caught on another, less-destroyed, camera. Then later in the year, the rapper called himself “the voice of his generation” and described his latest CD as “great art.” We knew humility was not his strength, but if Kanye doesn’t watch it, Webster’s will have his photo accompanying the entry for “megalomaniac.”
Yes, the actor-comedian has done a lot of good with tireless work on his annual muscular dystrophy telethon. In fact, in February he is set to receive an Oscar for his humanitarian efforts. Correct us if we’re wrong, but one of the qualities of a humanitarian is showing tolerance and good will toward all people, including gays. Lewis has insulted the gay community not once, but twice. Last year during his telethon he called a cameraman an “illiterate faggo” before stopping himself. He later apologized. But then this year while in Australia, he referred to cricket as “a fag game.” As far we can tell, he never expressed regret about the remark. Jerry, get a clue: Homophobia is not funny.
Fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez and first lady-to-be Michelle Obama both are praised widely for their modern takes on classic looks. But what was he thinking when he transformed that sexy little black and red number into a knee-length shift for her? She gets some blame for “grandma’ing” it with that little black cardigan. Still, it was not a flattering look for her. At least the dress had some color, unlike virtually all of the rest of his 2009 spring collection. If he’s creating her inauguration gown, let’s hope he gives it some thought and has her try it on a few times throughout the process. He shouldn’t be a “yes” man.
LAME AWARDS SHOWS
Has Hollywood forgotten how to entertain us? Awards shows – with their glitz, glamour and star power – are supposed to be fun. But this year’s Oscars and Emmys were snoozefests. Not even charming host Jon Stewart could save the three-hour-plus Oscars telecast from sinking into painful tedium. As far as the Emmys, not only were they boring and long, they were also stupid thanks to the rotating hosts of reality-TV honchos. The unfunny and obnoxious emcees even had the stars taking digs at them. Note to Oscar and Emmy planners: short good; reality-TV bad.
We think “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin realized her mistake as soon as she released her stilted and whiney statement criticizing Beyoncé for calling Tina Turner “The Queen” in introducing her during this year’s Grammy Awards. Aretha knows that there was never a time in her life when she could have pulled off the silver lamé crop pants and vest outfit Tina did and dance like Tina did at age 68. And, Aretha couldn’t muster even a hint of diva ‘tude, ending her statement with “love to Beyoncé anyway.” The controversy Aretha created took away both from Beyoncé’s well-spoken praise of legendary women singers – including Aretha – and Tina’s AWESOME performance.
People, people, don’t you know that hypocrisy will land you a Turkey Award every time? Cinemark’s chief executive contributed $9,999 to the anti-gay-marriage Yes on Prop 8 campaign in California, yet his company (which owns Century Theaters, among others) is screening “Milk.” As Alan Stock well knows, the film is about Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco supervisor who was assassinated. You have your choice of seeing the film locally at either Cinemark-owned El Con or Harkins.
Americans throughout the country wept like children when O.J. Simpson was cuffed and taken away to the slammer this month in Nevada. The former NFL star-turned-actor told the rather dour-looking judge, he had no idea he had done anything wrong or illegal. Doesn’t everyone charge into motel rooms with guns drawn? The real tragedy isn’t that The Juice will spend at least the next nine years of his life as a guest at the Graybar Hotel, it’s that Simpson’s search for the “real killer” of former wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman,will have to be suspended.
We know it’s not fair to kick someone when they’re down, but we would be remiss if Amy Winehouse’s 2008 downward spiral weren’t mentioned. After being caught on film smoking crack, the singer didn’t provide the theme song to “Quantum of Solace” because she was too stoned, too confused, too hospitalized. A mini-Turkey goes to estranged husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who now claims he introduced her to heroin and crack. But still, folks, personal responsibility. Amy, please, tuck this Turkey Award in your beehive so you can pull it out whenever you need: Pretend it’s a microphone and get back to doing what we all knew you for in the first place.
Let’s face it, intelligent discussion on “The View” has gone down the drain. The luster of offering “a female perspective on current issues” has been dimmed by the “hear me roar” attitude of its bickering hosts, especially polar opposites Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Not long ago, Big Cheesette Barbara Walters was a journalist in a league of her own, interviewing some of the most influential people in the world. Now she’s sunk to the same level as the show’s sharp-tongued hosts, whose catfights and disses have stolen the spotlight from the real issues facing women today. Come on, girls., get back to basics and present a fresh view – one of caring, not tearing.
Do you really want to hurt me? If you ask former gender-bender Boy George, his answer just might be a resounding “yes.” The former lead singer of Culture Club last week was convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort in April. According to The Associated Press, Norwegian hustler Audun Carlsen said he was handcuffed to a wall hook in the Karma Chameleon’s London apartment for an hour after a naked photo shoot and that the singer swung a metal chain at him when he freed himself and fled. George O’Dowd said he restained the escort until he could determine whether Carlsen had tampered with his computer.
Whatever. Georgie Boy, we don’t care if you get freaky – just make the sure the other guy is a willing participant.
This isn’t the singer’s first brush with the law. In 2006, he did community service for falsely reporting a burglary of his New York home, where investigating police found cocaine.