The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Sucks Appeal

Written by: Rob Van Winkle, CC2K Staff Writer

We've all made peace with the inevitable success of beautiful people, but when ugly people make it big (and bag the babes) — that's sucks appeal


Behold the full glamor of Hollywood!

In most cases, the notion of success in our country is different depending on where you live. In New York City (and the vast majority of other urban areas), money is the barometer by which a person is judged; the more you have, the more respected by society you are.  In Washington D.C., by contrast, money does not matter nearly as much as power, since the people who run the country (and some would argue the world) live there, yet are not necessarily the richest people in town (present administration excepted). Hollywood is even more unique, in that fame holds the most weight, and in most cases leads to the other two.

And yet, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you own, there is one commodity that transcends everything else in predicting one’s success: sex appeal.

Even as children, we came to accept that the best looking (or “cutest,” depending on age) kids got the most attention from peers and adults alike. No one ever questioned it, because deep down, we all believed it to be appropriate, even if we didn’t know why.

Then, once puberty hit, the reason became apparent.  From the moment that sexual desire enters into our awareness (and tortures us for the rest of our lives), we not only UNDERSTAND this phenomenon, we ENFORCE it.  We are drawn to sexy people, and like it or not, we can’t look away. And they know it; hot women have been manipulating men to get what they want since time immemorial, and great looking guys seem to coast through life with an ease that is almost frightening (and certainly infuriating).

For this reason alone, I think we tend to accept the fame and fortune of most major Hollywood stars when they’re especially good looking. After all, we’ve spent our lives deifying the hotties we’ve actually known in our lives, so why would we begrudge gorgeous movie stars from cashing in on a universal currency? (it’s interesting to note that, in a recent CC2K article , an attempt to completely dismiss Matthew McConaughey’s career was at least somewhat sabotaged by his attractiveness.)

The fact is that, from birth to death, we all come to accept that people who are better looking than we are generally become more successful too. However, when people who are NOT attractive reach that same level of success…that’s when the anger sets in, or to quote comedian Dan Rouhier, “Your success makes me angry that I am not successful.”

The following is what I imagine will be only the very beginnings of a list of some of these people. In some cases, they are indisputably ugly. In others, they are performers whose attractiveness sparks debate and divisiveness. In either case, the anger they evoke grants them inclusion on the list.

1. Amanda Plummer – I thought I’d start with an easy one.  There is not enough beer in the world that could make this chick attractive. Can you imagine the day that she told her dad that she wanted to follow in his (overrated) footsteps? Or how about the day that Christopher went to his agent and demanded that he (the agent) find movie roles for his mannish, featureless progeny? Nepotism might be all well and good for most industries, but when it comes to movie stars, shouldn’t we have the right to demand at least a BIT of attractiveness out of this agreement?

Her very existence as a major film personality would be jarring enough, but to make matters worse, she appears in TWO of the iconic films of my generation. At least she’s cast appropriately as the “so creepy looking she MUST be psychotic” creepy and psychotic sister in So I Married an Axe Murderer (co-starring along side my good college buddy the Enormous Head), but she also shows up in the classic Pulp Fiction. When I think about this movie, there are a few moments that stand out in my head as being particularly jarring, and watching Tim Roth call her “Honey Bunny” and then kiss her is inevitably one of them. Now THAT is what I call acting.


The STUNNING Billy Bob Thornton…’s crotch.

2. Billy Bob Thornton – I was all prepared to give this two-slot to Harvey Keitel, as the strangest looking person ever to be considered a sex symbol by anyone, anywhere, ever, but two things happened to change my mind. First of all, I realized that I don’t have any real issue with Keitel, as his acting is normally pretty good, and despite what people might have thought way back when, no normal person would ever REALLY consider him a sex symbol today. Secondly, I remembered Billy Bob Thornton

Thornton, like Keitel, is a middle-aged actor whose sex appeal has to be considered “niche” at best. However, Unlike Harvey, Billy Bob seems to give off the sense that he truly is the king shit of sexiness, no matter how pathetic it comes across. For example,  on Billy Bob’s OFFICIAL FAN SITE   (where you can buy his new CD, HOBO, for only $16.98 plus $4.50 Shipping and Handling), there is a page of links. I will merely mention thathe has the temerity to list the Allman Brothers’ Band first in the list of “Fellow Travelers: Muscians.” However, I will draw special attention to his “Billy Bob on the Web” section. Here, he posts a link for a special tribute page created by “Planetteer (?)” Judi. This page, an extremely poorly produced little site where this woman openly fantasizes about being with him. The proof is in the photo section, where she doctors photos to make it look like she’s in bed and making out with Thornton. Let me state again because it bears repeating: BILLY BOB THORNTON LINKS TO THIS SITE FROM HIS OWN HOMEPAGE!!! Could that be any creepier?

In fact, it can. Because what really galls me about this glorified redneck is not that he thinks he’s so damn hot (he wouldn’t the first, and he certainly won’t be the last) but that he continually finds himself fucking extremely hot chicks. His current wife is gorgeous. His ex-wives are all extremely hot, and lest we forget, he was once married to ANGELINA JOLIE! In exactly the same way that a person can make themselves feel taller merely by standing near people much shorter, Thornton – by causing us all to associate him for even a short time with Jolie – propels himself from merely unattractive to a marquee member of this list.


The Very Definition of Beauty…as Defined by Publicists and Handlers, that is…

3. Julia Roberts – When I was in sixth grade, I performed in a play called “Calamity Jane.” When my character left the stage after a song and dance, Calamity Jane comments, “He IS really good.” Even at my young age, I realized how shallow this “praise” really was. No matter how good or terrible my performance was, each and every night (there were only three performances, but go with me here), that actress would ALWAYS remark how well I had done, because that’s what the script told her to say.

Having said that, I wonder if I’m the only person who has noticed how many times, in her movies, someone is forced to talk about just how hot Julia Roberts is.

I CAN’T be the only person to notice that Julia Roberts is actually quite creepy looking, with enormously big lips that are seemingly forever plastered into a perma-scowl. Since this is her most startling feature, I am forced to conclude that everyone else can see it too. Therefore, I am forced to conclude that everyone else has been brainwashed by her films.

Let’s do a quick partial run-through of some classic Roberts roles:

  • Pretty Woman – Look at the name! She’s SO PRETTY!
  • Hook – In the play, Tinkerbell is a beautiful little fairy, dressed in a revealing outfit, who loves Peter to distraction and schemes to keep him for her own. She’s every boy’s first fantasy…and she’s played by Roberts!
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding – Poor Dermot Mulroney has to choose between Julia Roberts…and CAMERON DIAZ. He’s TORN about this.
  • Notting Hill – Julia Roberts as a glamorous, beautiful movie star who everyone is in love with. It’s the part she was born to play!
  • The Runaway Bride – Julia Roberts as a woman so desirable, men line up to be with her, even with her reputation of breaking their hearts at the altar (confession: I’ve never seen this movie, but let’s face it, I nailed it anyway.)
  • Erin Brockovich – Julia Roberts as a take-no-prisoners single mom who uses her brains (and FABULOUS body) to save the day.
  • America’s Sweethearts – In this delightful comedic romp, John Cusack breaks up with Catherine Zeta-Jones, only to fall for…Julia Roberts!
  • Ocean’s Eleven – With Matt Damon following the evil Terry Benedict’s girlfriend around the casino, he announces her arrival by saying “This is the best part of my day,” before we see a slow-motion tracking shot of…Julia Roberts.

In each film listed above, the inherent truth of Julia Roberts’ beauty is hammered home to us repeatedly, and just as with our parents and the tooth fairy, we learn to believe it without question, or in this case, cause.

This concludes my initial list, though I have to believe that there’s more. As with all of my articles like this, I encourage everyone to respond, and let me know of what I missed.  They’ve hidden in the spotlight long enough. Let’s tell the world that the emperor has no clothes…and that we’re begging him to put some on again.