When Journalists Try to Become Stars

The movie “Sideways” stars Paul Giamatti as a divorced English teacher who has written a novel and is touring California’s wine country with a pal while waiting for his agent to sell the novel to a publisher. It’s a good movie but two hours and seven minutes long and by the end Giamatti, a noted character actor, is increasingly hard to look at and listen to. Enough of this guy.

Character actors, like Giamatti, are known for a distinctive look or voice and are effective in supporting roles. But in starring roles they quickly get tiresome.

Remember Seinfeld and the show’s great cast of supporting actors: Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Wayne Knight as Newman? After the Seinfeld series ended in 1998, the careers of most the Seinfeld supporting actors pretty much ended.  They were one-trick ponies. [The exception was Julie Louis-Dreyfus, whose acting career blossomed.]

Watching Giamatti in “Sideways,” I couldn’t help thinking that almost all journalists are like character actors—best in supporting roles. But when they try to become stars, they often get tiresome.

Making a lot of look-at-me noise is a big reason why most Americans say they have lost trust in the media.

Speak Your Mind