In this extra episode, I continue talking about the actor Matt Bomer, because I can't get enough of his performance in The Last Tycoon. Someone, rescue me…
The Last Tycoon trailer: https://youtu.be/KnRIv-QNtjg
Pure glamor: https://condenaststore.com/featured/norma-shearer-and-irving-thalberg-in-a-garden-edward-steichen.html?product=poster
Oh, this picture: https://artsmeme.com/2009/01/15/jewish-prince-of-hollywood/
More about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thalberg in Hollywood: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/11/16/slow-fade-arthur-krystal
The Last Tycoon/The Matt Bomer Experience
Stuck on Matt Bomer in The Last Tycoon. Stop. Need rescuing Stop. Stuck in classic Hollywood drooling over powerful men in well-cut suits Stop.
I did a recent confessional on Matt Bomer, the actor who stars in The Last Tycoon miniseries, and I can't stop thinking about him and this show.
Let's get this up front: he is devastatingly handsome but more than that, he nails the charismatic central character Monroe Stahr based on the handsome, Hollywood fixer and “Boy Wonder” Irving Thalberg, who was made head of MGM production in the 1920s at age 26. He was that powerful.
The plot of The Last Tycoon is based on the unfinished F Scott Fitzgerald novel set in the early Hollywood of the 1920s and 30s, when Fitzgerald started to work there.
Matt Bomer as Stahr struts around the studio lot in his impeccible suits …enters rooms like he owns them…. Incredible performance. Kelsey Grammer plays the studio head.
Thalberg died tragically young, but he produced a huge body of films, like Grand Hotel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Barretts of Wimpole St. He was well-read, "not just a movie guy" and he specialized in literary adaptations. He made American culture look seductive to people around the world.
I'm a huge classic film nut, so of course I found a glamorous picture of Thalberg and his wife Norma Shearer—she was a silent film star who got tons of juicy parts in the 1930s. They were ledendary hosts and a power couple. Her rise to fame is fascinating, too.
To me, the photo of two of them epitomizes the glamour of that era. I'll try to link to it in the show notes.
The possessiveness I feel over the character of Monroe Stahr reminds me of when I fell in love with Alan Jackson and country music. I took a road trip with my country loving BFF to see him and some other country stars.
At that point in my life any good looking guy in a cowboy hat who could set clever words in a country song was my obsession. We were so nuts that we actually stood in a crowd to see Alan Jackson get out of his limo for an award show.
Yeah I think we stood there for two hours to see him for about 69 secs.
I also remember us trying find his house. We didn't see ourselves as stalkers— just really really devoted fans, or stans, as kids say. Sure stans occasionally end up in court, but that didn't seem to worry us. At no point do I remember us discussing climbing over his fence, so that's something.
It was like for a brief time, I couldn't get close enough to him or details of his life. I definitely recognized at the time that my feelings for him were more than a bit over the top. It felt like I couldn't help myself. Like I was in love.
Film critic Laura Mulvey connects movie star fans in classic Hollywood—when fans would collect head shots, magazines or movie stills of their favorite stars— and its modern cousin, the rewind button and the DVR. Technology still allows us to feel possessive of an actor.
She's right— when I'm on the 19th rewind of a love scene, my feelings have tumbled over into mild obsessive possessiveness. It's like I can't get close enough on celluloid or in pixels, I need more.
Matt Bomer’s whole vibe and manner as Munro Stahr in The Last Tycoon is irresistible like that for me. When I watch him as Monroe, falling for the starlet Kathleen , he makes me feel like I’ve felt when I’ve actually been in love. Squirmy stomach, whole deal…He pursues her so charmingly in this clip—just for a goodnight kiss from her, and it's so dang sexy.
The romance gets more and more intense and the love scenes are brief, usually in wide shot but incredibly sensual.
If a guy looked at me like Stahr looks at Kathleen, I would think I’d won the love lottery… and also want to turn and run from his intensity.
I'm so sad that Amazon didn't renew the series because it's full of fascinating classic Hollywood history and even has an intriguing mystery at its center.
The costumes, make up, hair and sets are glossy and gorgeous, as you would expect from a show set in the 1930s. Time for my friend, Mr. Rewind.
I don't think White Collar is my thing but I'm going to need to develop a taste for it, if I want to mack on Matt some more…