Thursday, August 30, 2007

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ ON OWEN WILSON


The only piece about Owen Wilson so far that is worth your time was posted Tuesday by Matt Zoller Seitz. It’s called ”A Sunbeam in the Abyss”:

“Wilson's a good-time shaman; when he appears, you smile, because know you're about to have fun. He makes good films better and bad films tolerable. Onscreen, he's a human sunbeam. Offscreen, who knows? I don't -- and frankly… it's not my position to speculate on what demons he might have been wrestling with when this horrible incident occurred. But I will say that when I read news stories expressing incredulity that a well-liked comedic actor might be depressed enough to try to end it all, I wonder what planet these writers are from, and if they've ever spent time among the humans that populate this one.”

To paraphrase a comment I left on Matt’s site, I've talked to or rebuffed several people over the last few days who've not only asked me what I thought about the recent awful circumstances surrounding Owen Wilson (as if there's a chance I might be in favor of a suicide attempt), but also who have insisted that the whole thing is some kind of ridiculous mystery-- "Why would a guy with that much money wanna kill himself?" When it comes to depression that is profound enough to inspire such self-destructive impulses, there often is no "why," or certainly no single "why," and just because Wilson is a public figure doesn't mean that it's anyone's goddamn business even if there was. As tasteless as is the tabloid reportage of Britney and Lindsay and Paris and Nicole and Brad and Angelina and whoever else you see on the rack while in the grocery line, the scavenger reporters and paparazzi seem poised to reduce Wilson’s anguish down to the same kind of processed celebrity scandal fodder. Suicide, even the attempt thereof, ought to sell as well as sex, drugs and shaving your head, right? It would be a nice surprise if, for once, the vultures lost their taste for this meal and granted Wilson the privacy his family and friends have requested for him while he recovers. And I hope someone forwards him a copy of Matt’s piece. I can’t help but think it might help that climb out of the abyss just a little bit easier.

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5 comments:

RC said...

that is a good pull quote. i totally understand zoller...i don't know why people are shocked a comic actor who be serious.

i mean, this is royal tannenbaum, life aquatic writer too...he's not like fluffy happy man.

Thom McGregor said...

Matt's original comments, and then Dennis's responses are like a balm to all the confusion and sadness I've felt since I heard the news. I am a fan more of his writing than his acting, and Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are all lovely, happy, yet filled with pain. Typical Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson elements. Thanks to both of you, Matt and Dennis, for giving me something to read about this situation that makes me feel sane and human. And as a person who suffers from a lifelong struggle with depression, I especially appreciate your compassionate and unhysterical words. Thanks

bill said...

I read Matt's piece a few days ago, and it's good stuff. Being an enormous fan of all of Wes Anderson's films, it logically follows that I would be a big Owen Wilson fan, and I am. As Matt said, he's one of those people who I'm always happy to see onscreen, though, as Thom said, I think I'm even happier to see his name in the "Written by" credit.

I see that I'm essentially repeating what others have already said. I guess I just wanted to chime in, and say that I hope he gets well soon.

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

Nothing profound to add here, but I saw Robert Redford in Hot Rock the other day, and he had this rueful, "I know, it's just me. That's ok, it will be good enough, I hope." look that reminded me of someone. Owen Wilson, another aw-shucks blond.
I'd never seen the resemblance before, and I'm not even sure it exists. I don't suppose Wilson modelled his style on Redford, but there's something about them.
Anyway, I hope he recovers, finds some peace, and brings us more smiles.

Ken Lowery said...

But I will say that when I read news stories expressing incredulity that a well-liked comedic actor might be depressed enough to try to end it all, I wonder what planet these writers are from, and if they've ever spent time among the humans that populate this one.

Yes, god, yes. What baffles me further is the people writing these things are so often creative types, or at least exposed to creative types, and yet they've never quite made the final (seemingly obvious) leap into realizing the funniest people are often the most bitter people, too. So much of the best comedy is born of rage, and so much rage is born of tremendous sadness. It's just the way of things. Why are these writers acting oblivious to this? Is it just to score more points on a celebrity while he's down?

I probably just answered my own question there.