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Filmism.net Dispatch January 20, 2014

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In the last Filmism.net Dispatch I mentioned Stallone and Schwarzenegger and predicted that their attempt to maintain the 80s action aesthetic wouldn't last. We were mildly impressed with the old school thrills of The Expendables but the second film was like a bad rip off, and thanks to the box office reception to The Last Stand it seems we've had our fill of the Austrian Oak.

Even Escape Plan - the film 80s action fans thought we wanted because it featured the titans of action cinema head to head - bombed at the box office. We're witnessing the end of the second attempt at stardom for both men and the aesthetic they represent.

I also remember once reading that the reason 80s pop star Tiffany posed nude for Playboy was to send a message to her fans that she was grown up and ready to begin a new phase in her career (I don't think it made many waves among what few fans she had left but to be fair to Tiff, she's still performing).

Kevin Smith famously said after his horror movie Red State that he was retiring after his next film (a two-part hockey story called Hit Somebody) because he was sick of the crazy economics of making and selling movies and he was enjoying his podcast empire enough to make it his living. No hockey movie so far, he's just wrapped another horror movie (Tusk), and as I write these words he's recently announced another project about mankind recruiting Satan to help battle a monster Jesus...or something.

Michael J Fox took to the official announcement platform of choice for Hollywood celebrities (People magazine) to announce his retirement from acting after his Parkinson's diagnosis back in the late 90s. He then stayed away from screens for ages until late last year when promos and chatter appeared about his sitcom, centred on a former newscaster who leaves the business due to Parkinsons but is lured back by the love of his fans.

Why am I talking about all this? What do Schwarzenegger, 80s pop starlets, Michael J Fox and Kevin Smith all have in common? They've all left the spotlight through audience disinterest, health, disillusionment with the media or some other intent.

But as sure as the rising sun, they all come back. Or try to.

Fame is like water to these people – eventually they need more. And like giving birth, the downsides are eventually forgotten. You forget the bloat, the pain, the morning sickness and the aching back and want another baby just like they forget the paparazzi hounding them and want public adulation again, or how they never have enough budget and distributors who bury their passion projects and eventually want to make another movie.

So if you're in the business and reading this, remember to never say never. It'll come back to bite you (unless it's been so long since you had any fans nobody cares).

On screens big and small recently, I've caught up with the adaptation of Irvine Welsh's Filth. You'll immediately compare it to Trainspotting, but it's an over-eager, profane mess that's not a patch on its spiritual older cousin.

I also enjoyed the gleefully stupid White House Down, and the film Cate Blanchett is using to clean the floor with the rest of them in the current awards season, Blue Jasmine.

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