Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Whose C List Is It Anyway?

A writer examining the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes romance recently referred to the couple as ''the A-list star and his C-list TV-star fiancée.''
You can see the contempt dripping off that ''TV-star'' reference, especially in the context of ''C-list,'' even more so given Holmes's focus on the big screen, and that ''Dawson's Creek'' ended its run two years ago.
But where Cruise is a much bigger star than Holmes, let's not forget that millions of people saw her on ''Dawson's,'' probably more than went to any one of her movies -- and I'm not exempting ''Batman Begins.''
Television still gets tagged as low-rent compared to movies, but that comparison has more to do with budget than either quality or audience size. Sure, a lot of TV is garbage. So are a lot of movies. Where would you rather see James Gandolfini -- on ''The Sopranos,'' or in ''The Last Castle,'' ''The Mexican'' or ''Surviving Christmas''?
Those last two big-screen titles are of note because they featured a couple of guys who've also been in movie-TV relationships. ''The Mexican'' co-starred Brad Pitt, also known for his now-defunct marriage to Jennifer Aniston of ''Friends.''And ''Surviving Christmas'' starred Ben Affleck, whose current relationship is with Jennifer Garner of ''Alias.''
Pitt has had pretty good success at the movies lately, but I'd still argue that Aniston's audience from ''Friends'' is on a par with whatever Pitt musters at the box office. Affleck, meanwhile, would probably have jumped for joy if the ''Alias'' crowd went to his last few movies. (For a look at stars' box-office records, see
Now, I know I'm shading the argument a bit here by focusing on what people watch on TV and at the movies. If we start adding in the celebrity media (from magazines to supermarket tabloids to who gets to sit with Oprah), then Cruise and Pitt and Affleck are still very big stars.
Still, I'm always irked by snipes like that ''C list'' reference, because it underrates TV viewers. And a movie actor is just making product that will end up on the same video-store shelves as the DVDs of a hot TV show.


Blogger Ben said...

Still, I'm always irked by snipes like that 'C list' reference, because it underrates TV viewers.

Maybe the writer should have described her as a "C-list TV-and-Film star." I mean, "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" and doing litter more than flashing her breasts in "The Gift" doesn't exactly make her an A-Lister.

11:29 AM  
Blogger curiostrip said...

I never saw Dawson's Creek, but was familiar with Katie Holmes from Wonder Boys, Pieces of April and The Ice Storm, which to me were roles more interesting than Ben's "litter more", whatever that is. And who says anything but "A list" is derogatory? There's plenty of quality down the list. That's what the long tail is all about. And rather than use "C-List" as a general derogatory, find out it what it really means and where Katie Holmes really does rank. (I would, but I don't want to shell out the $175!)

12:28 PM  

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