SICK AND (RE)TIRED
I’M announcing to you all right now that I’m retiring from blogging so I can concentrate on keeping track of young celebrities who announce their retirements.
Take Joaquin Phoenix. Please. To rehab, preferably. Late last month, the 34-year-old Oscar-nominated actor formerly known as Leaf announced (well, mumbled and slurred, actually) that he was leaving acting to focus on his music. I don’t think Phoenix even had the reporter in focus when he announced his decision. (There’s a “Walk The Line” joke in there somewhere.)
A week ago, on a red carpet, he made sure dyslexics got his message too, with “Bye! Good” written on his fists.
Don’t worry, Joaquin fans — this Phoenix will rise again. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that young celebrities who announce their retirements are usually back to work before we can even start missing them.
Like superstar rapper Jay-Z. He made huge news in 2003 when he announced he was retiring from recording at the age of 33. Wonder whatever happened to that guy.
Daniel Day Lewis announced he was leaving acting in the late ’90s (he did qualify his retirement with a “semi-“) to focus on woodworking and shoemaking in Italy. Midlife crisis much?
How ’bout M.I.A.? The Sri Lankan rapper announced at this year’s Bonnaroo that she was pulling the plug on her career of being splooged over by music critics and making albums that no one else heard. Turned out she was just pregnant, and then a song of hers got popular because of the “Pineapple Express” trailer and voila — she was back on the job! M.I.A., my ass.
Four years ago, Hugh Grant said in a charmingly befuddled way that he was retiring because, for him, film acting is a “miserable experience.” Try it from our end, Hugh.
Eminem announced in 2005 that he would be taking a break from performing to focus on producing, and that his “Encore” disc was “certainly the cap on this part of his career,” as his manager put it. But would he retire? Slim chance, Slim Shady. Look for his new CD, “Relapse,” under your Christmas tree.
Sean Penn announced his retirement from acting in the early ’90s and was never seen again — except for “Carlito’s Way,” “Dead Man Walking” and the 20 or so other movies he’s been in since. And who retires from acting and then does a couple episodes of “Friends”?
Everyone should take a cue from Clint Eastwood. The guy cut back on acting years ago to focus on directing, and he hasn’t acted for any other director in more than 15 years. But did he ever feel the need to tell the world? No. There were no announcements, no photo ops, no messages scrawled on his hands. He just kinda slid over into directing without calling much attention to himself — he did it so quietly and confidently that few people even noticed he wasn’t acting that much anymore.
So, Joaquin: Act, don’t act. Work, don’t work. Stay, go away. But show us, don’t tell us. Let your work speak for itself. And if it’s good, we’ll pay attention.