Friday, June 12, 2009

AFI Tribute To Michael Douglas - Gustavo Hits The Red Carpet


The American Film Institute gave its 37th Life Achievement Award to Michael Douglas last night. I want to thank Mitchell Squires and Wendy Coto of TV Land and MTV respectively. They are amazing and always come through. You need to be watching all of the TV Land shows you can find so Mitchell and company keep letting us hit these red carpets. You can see the entire AFI Award ceremony on TV Land on July 19th, but here is an account of the red carpet last night that I think you will really love.

**

I'm an investigative reporter by trade, not a star f**ker. I know more about evil pedophile priests in Southern California than I do the latest fashion or films. So what the hell was I doing at the red carpet for the AFI Michael Douglas love-fest at the Sony Studios lot on Thursday?

Having a date night with my chica, for one. She's an avid reader of Crazy Days and Nights, and won the contest to be this blog's correspondent to the event (I must admit I enjoy the blind items—the man has his sources!). But as someone who's more used to hurling tough questions at scoundrels than love letters at starlets, I viewed the red carpet as an opportunity to see my papparazzi brethren in action.

Following, then, is notes, quotes, and observations from the event:

*There were at least 50 photographers, 20 camera operators, five bloggers and assorted print and radio media. For movie stars! The political wonk in me doesn't get it. If all those "reporters" focused their vigor on exposing corruption instead of yelling at movie stars to pose, public corruption would be as extinct as polio.

*Photographers were at the front of the red carpet; bloggers, last. If I were a photographer, I'd lie on my application and say I'm a blogger. While arrivals had to deal with a den of screaming hyenas (a cliché, yes, but the howls they emitted! More than 100 feet away, we could hear "KATHLEENMICHAELKATHERINEGODKNOWSWHOELSE!"), us at the end could get the stars alone. The only problem was that the special's handlers by that point were ushering the stars away. Still, the end: hidden secret.
*We were told the stars would start arriving at 5:30 in the afternoon, but the first A-list name didn't start walking until 5:54: film critic Leonard Maltin. I was impressed that people still knew who he was. I was even more impressed that he patiently walked down the line, talking to everyone and always maintaining his easy grin. By the time he got to me, I only had one question: was Michael Douglas more influential as a producer or an actor? "Both," he said. "When you win an Oscar like he did for Wall Street, that shows your talent as an actor. But when you produce One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, that shows he's done pretty well, too." Total class act, and my girlfriend LOVED his Jimmy Durante lapel pin. Do people know who Jimmy Durante is?

*Kathleen Turner was nice but had some type of insect—an ant? Gnat? Fly?—on her chest for looooong periods of time. She was nice, if a bit saucy.

*What the hell was former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley doing there? Other than both of them looking similar, I had no clue. Riley didn't acknowledge any reporter.

*The main guy from Will and Grace was a dick; Jessie Metcalfe, very nice.
*Hugh Hefner looks OLD. He had three handlers in addition to three blonds and seemed as if he didn't know what the hell was going on. You know it's bad when Kirk Douglas—who suffered a stroke that still impairs his speaking ability and is 10 years older than Hef—looked WAY better. Kirk, by the way, though 93, walked strongly and spoke to everyone. Great guy, and inspiring.

*People who sneaked in to not face reporters: Matthew McConaughey, Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito to name a few

*Sorry I didn't get more quotes, but what could I ask people? Michael Douglas this-and-that? The only Michael Douglas films I've ever seen is the Romancing the Stone ones! The only real interviews I did were political, which leads to...

*Benicio del Toro. The guy reeked of arrogance from a mile away, grinning behind sunglasses. The only thing I know about del Toro is that he's Puerto Rican, so I asked him what did he think about the nomination of fellow boricua Sonia Sotomayor to a seat on the Supreme Court. "Excellent, excellent," he snickered while turning around to speak with another reporter. Note to people: never ignore an investigative reporter, as they won't stop until they either get an answer or fight trying.

I decided to go even more political. "Puerto Rico: independence, commonwealth, or state?" I asked. He stopped. "What's your plan?" he shot back.

"I asked you—answer the question," I responded, peppering in some Puerto Rican slang to soften him up. It didn't work.

"What's your plan?" he yelled again. A handler was trying to guide him to safer terrain, but he tried to get closer.

"You're Puerto Rican; I'm Mexican." I said.

"Gimme a plan! Gimme a plan!" he started rambling before finally walking away.

COWARD. For someone who's expressed undying love for the commie Che Guevara, for del Toro to not take a stance on his homeland's limbo nature is weak.
*At least Warren Beatty had fun with my cajoling. I tried to ask him if he thought California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ruined it for politicians who wanted to run for actor office one day. "I can't talk about Arnold," Beatty responded with a grin. Then, his wife Annette Bening, jumped in. "I think you meant ACTORS who want to run for POLITICS," she said in a sweet manner. Bening could've been a bitch defending her man, but she was an absolute lady. Kudos to the both of them.

*Tobey Maguire posed for the cameras, then ran off not wanting to face question. Wimp.

*What happened to Melanie Griffith's Working Girl curves? She's super-skinny now. Most people thought she was The Cougar from TV Land as she ran by.

*Michael Douglas was one of the last stars, was trying to answer all questions, but kept getting shepherded out of the red carpet by the AFI people. I asked him the only question that mattered to me: "Your hair is so great; I'm 30 and balding. What tips can you give me to keep my hair?" He laughed a sincere laugh and said, "Look at my father. He's 92!"

47 comments:

Gustavo Arellano said...

My girlfriend's store is called The Road Less Traveled, website www.roadlesstraveledstore.com. That's her day job

DNfromMN said...

Nice job, Gustavo! It doesn't surprise me that Benny the Bull's a jerk.

I love Kathleen Turner, would've loved to get more dirt from her.

faithy said...

I love that you asked such relevant questions. Great job with B.D.Torro!

AnonMom said...

Very cool!

Gustavo Arellano said...

Forgot to say: my chica took the great shots! Oh, and my regular job is with the OC Weekly, www.ocweekly.com. And, for the people in Southern California, I have a radio show every Tuesday @ 4pm on KPFK-FM 90.7! Gracias for any nice comments, and a special gracias for any nasty ones!

Mooshki said...

Awesome! I bet CDaN never gets invited to another event, LOL! Well, Enty, now we know what happens when celebs get asked "real" questions.

Caroline said...

Did Catherine Z run out of time to do her hair?

Pookie said...

thx, gustavo!

and thx for calling a spade a spade when it comes to benicio del toro. i've had a few interesting run-ins w/ him too and have absolutely no respect for his coke-laden, commie murderer-loving ass. oh don't even get me started. he's the reigning king of doucheachusetts.

great recap, hope you and gf had a great night. :)

thx enty!

brendalove@gmail.com said...

You should write for the blog more often!

Stardust said...

You are deliciously bitchy Gustavo!

Cancan said...

Gustavo, I hope you get sent out to cover every event. This was a pleasure to read. Hope you had fun doing it!

GladysKravitz said...

Gustavo, I really wanted to get this gig, but I couldn't make my schedule wrap itself around my plan.

But you did a great job! I love how persistent you were with The Bull and how willing to laugh at yourself with Annette Benning.

Nice, nice work. Thanks!

jax said...

lol Gustav, well done. totally worth not getting invited again!

Harriet Hellfire said...

Fun read, thanks Gustavo!

Marisa said...

Gustavo,

Kick ass! Def would love for you to cover any other events in the future. As an investigative reporter you have the balls and perspective to not be afraid to ask great questions that stir the pot. Ent should pay you for a job well done!

robert said...

I read today that Catherine Z's real age is 51, dunno if I believe it or not.

Embo said...

Gustavo, man, I know: Michael Douglas seems leathery and sleazy on film so you don't want to see his movies. I've heard it before.

But give "Wonder Boys" a chance, honestly. It's fantastic.

Gustavo Arellano said...

Marisa: The only payment I needed was seeing how happy my gal was at getting picked by Enty. He's so cool!

Lisa (original) said...

Robert, I believe there was a blind about CZJ's age. Something about her claiming to be 10 years younger than she really is.

Adriana said...

Good job D & G! (not Dolce & Gabbana -- but two talented people with way more taste)

That is a little disappointing that Del Toro couldn't answer your question. With so many of these "stars," you have to wonder how they function without a script.

But as we know, in seeking other answers, the silence or evading an answer can be equally revealing.

Mama Theresa said...

kicked ass. thanks!

Marisa said...

Gustavo-

Next time I'll pay you just to give out my number...If Paul Rudd is there. Thxkbye

Sis said...

Thank you Gustav0...loved every word!

jw12 said...

Gustavo- great job and fun to read.

AnonMom said...

Hey Gustavo - Adriana from Latino Politics Blog is a good friend of mine.

amazonblue said...

OMG! My favorite OC Weekly reporter on CDAN? Heeeee!

Gustavo is a fabulous investigative reporter, columnist and restaurant reviewer.
Check out his Ask a Mexican! column here: http://www.ocweekly.com/columns/view/32466

What a nice treat before the weekend.

Thanks Enty and Gustavo.

nancer said...

kathleen turner was 'saucy?' does he mean 'sauced'? cuz i think she usually is.

jax said...

read some of the Ask a Mexican- hilarious. nice work.

rosie said...

Enty, you need to make this guy a regular contributing reporter. Fantastic, and fun to read! Gustavo, I'm a fan!

ardleigh said...

Great job Gustavo! You and your lady did a fantastic job. Thanks for peppering them with hard hitting questions. I'm tired of paps who kiss their ass. Come back again.

not on my dollar said...

Thanks Gustavo, your writing just made my day.


By the way I think Michael Douglas is a good actor and would rather watch his movies instead of Brad, Angelina, Jennifer, Twilight, etc.

He is still an Actor, not just some celebrity.

Sheri said...

Great job, Gustavo! And I love your book!

ardleigh said...

P.S. About Mr. Durante. Those with good taste and addicted to Old Hollywood do. Proof you say?

He role in my favorite movie -It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World was brief but memorable. And of course..

"Good Night, Mrs. Calabash where ever you are."

Eileenie McMeanie said...

Outstanding!!! Love how you put that a-hole BDT on the spot!! Good job!!

Aussie Wench said...

Great job, Gustavo.

It's so incredibly refreshing to read an entertainment interview by a journalist who is not a sycophant or in the pocket of a publicist. Not only did you inject some welcome political perspective into your questions, but you have a measure of self-deprecation absent from most "interviewers" in this field. I hope this isn't a one-off event for you. We need intelligent reporting in every sector, even entertainment.

Sacred Yoli said...

Dude, juu are everywhere! haha. I had to take a double take at your name.

Orale,

Sacred S, uhh Sacred Yoli

Katja said...

The whole Zeta Jones age thing has jumped the shark, She needs to say "Snap, you all** I am the same age as Michael - and I look GOOD!"

Oh, wait that is more a JLo thang...

Katja said...

I was just looking at the Kathleen Turner photo gallery. Chaz Bono poped into my mind AND WILL NOT GO away!

?? look at face/body structure.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3221002496/nm0000678

linda said...

Gustavo, you're a hit!. Love you, jealous of your girlfirend! Hope to read more from you!

janele said...

I heard on a radio station who interviewed him that BDT has the worst breath. Did you find this true?

a las doce said...

Definitely need more from Gustavo!

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

great to see you on CDAN, Gustavo. I live in the OC and enjoy yr articles in OCW. Also love it when you visit Kevin and Bean. Great job!

shakey said...

Loved your plan, Gustavo. It was a little short, though - why was Kathleen saucy and why was Eric a dick? Or was it a case of "they just were".

Jenny Lerew said...

You don't think that the red carpet walk-in to an AFI tribute to Michael Douglas maybe wasn't the place for any actor, puerto rican or not, to try and tackle an in depth answer to a non sequiter, not to mention a pretty complicated question? You know these guys are walking in and have a couple of seconds at best for each reporter, because you were there, right?

Not saying Benicio's a sweetiepie, super-swell guy, but come on.

Winston Ono said...

this spot was made of win. nice work!

Bad Fish said...

Ask A Mexican has been my favorite column for awhile now! So awesome you did this!

SFG said...

LOVED this read!! And loved the questions you asked! Way to go Gustavo!!