HE WAS the biggest movie star of the summer, the one who had everybody talking. So how come I couldn’t understand a word Robert Downey Jr. said?

First, I saw “Tropic Thunder,” in which Downey plays an Australian actor portraying a black American character in a war movie. His performance won rave reviews, but I found at least half of what he said unintelligible. Maybe it was the theater’s sound system or the accents he used, but I really had trouble making out his lines throughout the film.

So I finally got to see “Iron Man” yesterday, and wouldn’t you know it, Downey kinda mumbles his way through this one too. I swear to God, about half of his lines are delivered as whispers or as tossed-off, smart-alecky asides. I was so distracted by his low-key yet rushed line readings that they were all I could focus on. It doesn’t help that director Jon Favreau decided to go a little Altmanesque and have his actors talk simultaneously in several scenes, to mirror natural dialogue. That would be fine in a lot of movies. But c’mon, Downey, you’re playing a superhero, for chrissakes … E-nun-ci-ate.

In other “entertainment” news:

Natalie Cole has basically made a career out of being her father’s daughter and singing the old man’s tunes — one of “her” biggest hits was “Unforgettable,” a “duet” with the dead guy, for crying out loud. Seventeen years later, she’s grave-robbin’ again — with a new album and another duet with the crooning cadaver. The name of the album? “Still Unforgettable.” Umm, Natalie, if you have to remind us you’re unforgettable…

So I was reading an article in Entertainment Weekly about Disney’s hottest new product, Demi Lovato, and how she’s poised to take over Miley’s teen-pop throne (no, I don’t know why I was reading it) and the story quoted “an equities analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research who follows the teen-entertainment market.” For real? Maybe we should just let our economy collapse and start over…


2 Responses to “IRON MAN, MARBLE MOUTH”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    That post on Natalie Cole begs the question: “If you could do a duet with a dead singer/musician, who would it be?”
    I’m thinkin’ Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Tiny Tim.
    OK, kidding.

  2. I actually interviewed Tiny Tim once, over the phone. It was my brush with greatness. (Actually, he was a very sweet man.)

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