Tom Ford and Jason Reitman: Narcissism and Status Anxiety


We have many, many things to say about Tom Ford, which we will get to over the next week. For now, we are confronted with a Times Styles profile. Let’s put our concerns in order!

1. Let us look at the boys in the background of this on-set picture. Hot, identically-clad in high-end flannels… I see. Working hard, boys! I mean, I also enjoy hiring pretty, fashionable boys? (And from a quick overview of the crew list, it looks about 75% male.) But sometimes, in the real world, we find that the best person for the job is a not-pretty, unfashionable girl.

2. The quote from a friend. “Ms. Eisner added, ‘When people think of Tom they think he has sex a million times a day.’” You might think there was more coming after that quote! Apparently there was not. The meaning, however-that Tom Ford is actually asexual-is clear.

3. Weinstein paid all of $2 million to distribute. They, at least, will make that back. And yet there is an obsession with doing big business in this piece. Ford says he had a hunger to have a “voice in contemporary culture.” And the writer says: “For Mr. Ford to have a bona fide hit, the movie must appeal to as wide an audience as possible…. If ‘A Single Man’ manages to garner a few Oscar nominations, too, the attention could propel Mr. Ford back into the familiar role of cultural arbiter.” Okay, first of all: why? Why this weird big dick Hollywood movie talk? He made the little movie he wanted to make, for better or for worse (in may ways for worse, as we will discuss later), and it is about a sad gay widowed gay guy who wants to kill himself. BOX OFFICE GOLD? No. Cultural arbiter??? Not really!

4. So these ideas about business and art are not only all messed up in the Styles section, as they usually are, but also in the mind of Tom Ford, and everyone else’s mind. What’s a business product and what’s a piece of art, and where are they the same thing? Everyone is super-confused about this.

5. Have people been talking about what a pompous jerk Jason Reitman is? So at the end of this profile, Reitman staggers over and starts blathering. He is such a blatherer! I heard him talk after a screening a couple weeks ago and I was blown away by his pronouncements and his self-regard. It’s kind of funny? Because he is like, THIRTY ONE or something. Let us just enjoy, and God bless the reporter for just letting this one roll:

AS if on cue, Jason Reitman, the Academy Award-nominated director of “Juno,” approached Mr. Ford’s table at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He had seen the film in Toronto and wanted to say how much he loved it.

Mr. Ford brightened at the unexpected visitor. Earlier, he had been discussing how different viewers — gay men, straight women — reacted to a poignant moment where Charley professes her love for George and threatens their friendship. “Were you moved emotionally, even though you are straight?” Mr. Ford asked Mr. Reitman of the scene. Mr. Reitman looked confused. He wondered aloud if Mr. Ford was hitting on him.

“No, I wasn’t coming on to you,” Mr. Ford said.

Mr. Reitman did not recall the scene. When Mr. Ford’s guest began explaining its particular resonance with some viewers, Mr. Reitman scolded her: movies “are not meant to be told that way,” he said.