Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007

Clooney at Last

By David Luhrssen
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Clooney at Last November 25, 2007 | 09:20 AM George Clooney has come to represent the survival of socially and politically engaged filmmaking in Hollywood. According to entertainment writer Kimberly Potts, he's also The Last Great Movie Star, the title of her new book, published by Applause. It's never a bad thing to scrutinize any claim for first and last—publicists and pundits as well as politicians sling the words too casually. Whether or not Clooney is the last of the line, he is a movie star in the classic mode—good looking, charming, talented and charismatic. Clooney carries himself well on and off camera and uses his acclaim to draw attention to issues. He riled the likes of Bill O'Reilly, who questioned his patriotism because he dared criticize the Iraq war in 2003. In 2007 Reilly and his confederates are the ones who look foolish. Clooney—and Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks—are standing tall by contrast. Potts is a familiar name to anyone who carefully scrutinizes entertainment bylines. She does lively work in The Last Great Movie Star, racing through a career that began with schlock such as Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1983) but had long ago grown up by the time of Good Night and Good Luck (2005), for which Clooney won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. It's a fan book, complete with an appendix listing Clooney's top 100 films, but a fan book that is informed as well as fun. The Last Great Movie Star? Let's hope Hollywood nurtures a few more before climate change puts Los Angeles at the bottom of the sea.
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