Hol­ly­wood frights

Even by Hol­ly­wood stan­dards, 2006 was a weird year. PETER MITCHELL looks back

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra -

FAIRY­TALE wed­dings, bit­ter di­vorces, scan­dals, shock deaths, drunken anti-Semitic rants and Lind­say Lo­han and Brit­ney Spears sans knick­ers.

Even by Hol­ly­wood’s seedy stan­dards, 2006 was an in­ter­est­ing year.Mel Gib­son was busted for drink-driv­ing, sledged Jews, called a fe­male sher­iff ‘sugar tits’ and then, hop­ing it would be all forgotten, be­gan cam­paign­ing for an Os­car for his new film, Apoca­lypto.

Michael ‘Kramer’ Richards, of Se­in­feld­fame, com­mit­ted ca­reer sui­cide when he lost the plot and re­peat­edly dropped the ugly ‘N’ word dur­ing a stand-up com­edy per­for­mance in Los An­ge­les.

Bo­rat, the polyester suit­wear­ing Kazakh char­ac­ter with the ’70s-style porno mous­tache, took a sim­i­lar route.

Bo­rat made fun of Jews, gays, African Amer­i­cans and fem­i­nists, but in­stead of be­ing uni­ver­sally lam­basted like Gib­son and Richards, he has so far col­lected more than $US210 mil­lion at the global box of­fice and, if the early buzz is right, could score an Os­car nom­i­na­tion.

Exes Ni­cole Kid­man and Tom Cruise played tit for tat wed­dings in 2006.

Kid­man mar­ried the Ca­bool­ture Kid, Keith Ur­ban, in Syd­ney and Cruise tied the knot in Italy with new Scien­tol­ogy con­vert, Katie Holmes.But, be­fore the ink was dry on both mar­riage cer­tifi­cates, whis­pers abounded that NikUr and TomKat were hon­ey­moon­ing in Splitsville.

It did not help when Ur­ban, who has a his­tory of drug abuse, en­tered re­hab within weeks of the nup­tials.It was also a rocky year for Aus­tralia’s next big Hol­ly­wood thing, Ab­bie Cor­nish, who found her­self tagged by tabloids as The Other Wo­man in the break-up of Amer­ica’s sweet­heart, Reese Wither­spoon, and Ryan Phillippe.

The world cried when Steve ‘The Croc­o­dile Hunter’ Ir­win died trag­i­cally on the Great Bar­rier Reef in Septem­ber, while Hol­ly­wood also lost di­rec­tor Robert Alt­man, ac­tor Jack Palance and mega-pro­ducer Aaron Spell­ing. Yes, 2006 was a weird one. Here is a sum­mary of the Hol­ly­wood high­lights, low-lights and trends that marked the year. PINK IS THENE W BLACK Toss away the cot­ton-tails.Burn the G-strings.Mini-skirts with­out un­der­pants is the hot trend in Tin­sel­town thanks to the newly sin­gle mother of two, Brit­ney Spears, and her new knick­er­less buddy Lind­say Lo­han.Undies gi­ant Bonds is brac­ing it­self for a ma­jor down­turn in sales in 2007 af­ter pa­parazzi cap­tured re­veal­ing shots of the trend-set­ting knick­er­less young celebs. ADOPT AN AFRICAN The hot ac­ces­sory to dan­gle over a star­let’s shoul­der in Hol­ly­wood in 2006 was not the Louis Vuit­ton Speedy hand­bag, but a kid from Africa.Madonna scored one in Malawi.An­gelina Jolie picked one up the year be­fore in Ethiopia. Trend spot­ters say kids from im­pov­er­ished South Amer­i­can na­tions will prob­a­bly be the musthave in 2007. NOT SO VIR­GIN MARY Was it an im­mac­u­late con­cep­tion or method act­ing at its most ex­treme? Teenage Kiwi ac­tress Keisha Cas­tle-Hughes, an Os­car nom­i­nee in 2004 for Wha­leRider, was cast as the Vir­gin Mary in the $US35 mil­lion Hol­ly­wood bib­li­cal epic, TheNa­tiv­i­tyS­tory. In life im­i­tat­ing art and on the eve of the film’s world­wide re­lease, it was an­nounced 16-year-old CastleHughes was preg­nant to 19-yearold boyfriend, Bradley Hull.She didn’t make the trip to the Vat­i­can for a spe­cial screen­ing of the film. WED­DED BLISS (in­clud­ing odds of likely break-up in 2007) Stars to walk down the aisle in 2006 in­cluded Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (2-1), Ni­cole Kid­man and Keith Ur­ban (4-1), Jack Black and Tanya Haden (20-1), Pamela An­der­son and Kid Rock (no longer tak­ing bets), Pink and Carey Hart (6-1) and Tori Spell­ing and Dean McDer­mott (10-1). BREAK-UPS (with odds of likely re­union) Brit­ney Spears and Kevin Fed­er­line (2-1), Pamela An­der­son and Kid Rock (1-1), Reese Wither­spoon and Ryan Phillippe (20-1), Rachel Bil­son and Adam Brody (3-1), Jen­nifer Anis­ton and Vince Vaughn (2-1), Paris Hil­ton and Ni­cole Richie (1-1). MOST LIKELY MAR­RIAGE IN 2007 Pamela An­der­son and Kid Rock. A GOOD ...... In an at­tempt to cut down on the ris­ing costs of bill­boards, pro­mo­tion etc, Hol­ly­wood stu­dios in 2006 de­cided to give films sim­i­lar ti­tles.In 2006 we had AGoodYear star­ring Rus­sell Crowe; TheGood Ger­manstar­ring Cate Blanchett and Ge­orge Clooney; TheGood Shep­herd­star­ring An­gelina Jolie and Matt Da­mon; and AGood Wo­man­with Scar­lett Jo­hans­son. WORST FILM OF TH­EYE AR Crowe’s AGoodYear. The Kiwi ac­tor (yes, Kiwi) at­tempted ro­man­tic com­edy and it didn’t go down too well. BEST FILM Bo­rat:Cul­tur­alLearn­ing­sof Amer­i­caforMakeBen­e­fit Glo­ri­ousNa­tionofKaza­khstan. It was the best re­viewed movie of the year, with ev­ery ma­jor US critic giv­ing it an ‘A’ — a rare event. BOX OFFICEDISASTE RS

Hugh Jack­man’s The­Foun­tain — cost $US35 mil­lion, made $US9 mil­lion

Kirsten Dunst’s Marie An­toinette— cost $US40 mil­lion, made $US30.7 mil­lion.

Clint East­wood’s Flag­so­fOur Fa­thers— cost $US90 mil­lion, made $US54 mil­lion.

Crowe’s AGoodYear— cost $US35 mil­lion, made $US26 mil­lion.

Ni­co­las Cage’s TheWick­er­Man — cost $US40 mil­lion, made $US32 mil­lion.

NicUr and TomKat played tit for tat wed­dings

AC­CES­SORIS­ING . . . Madonna added a Malaw­ian baby to her brood while undies were op­tional in newly sin­gle Brit­ney Spears’ wardrobe

Vir­gin mum-to-be Keisha Cas­tle-Hughes

Who would have thought? Pamela An­der­son and Kid Rock filed for di­vorce

Drink-driver Mel Gib­son made a mug of him­self with an anti-Semitic rant

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