Even if I haven’t closely followed his most recent career, for a long time I have been very fond of George Clooney, who turns 58 today, and my affection brought me to see most of his early movies. It all started with Dr. Douglas Ross, the big-hearted troublemaker pediatrician in the famous tv series E.R., where I even happened to attend an exhibition of George’s actual aunt Rosemary Clooney, most famous actress and singer. From there I started to watch every Clooney’s movie I could find and developed an idea about his actor’s skills: he is so much better at comedies than dramas, no matter how deeply involved he feels in politics and social matters.
He is not just a very good looking man, he showed us how he can do in movies of different genres: war movies (The Thin Red Line, Three Kings, which at least is unconventional), traditional romantic comedies (One Fine Day, Leatherheads), action (The Peacemaker, Out of Sight, that stays one of my favourites), even cinecomics when he became Batman for Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin, hated by comics’ fans but actually funny) and cartoons when he gave his voice to Mr. Fox in Wes Anderson’s fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox. In Italy his appearances in famous brands’ commercials (Martini, Nespresso) and the talent of his dubber Francesco Pannofino undoubtedly contributed to his success and on screen he was always paired with the most famous and talented Hollywood beauties (Michelle Pfeiffer, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts…), so his greatness is beyond doubt. But I could never really fall in love with his most serious works, like Michael Clayton (boring) or Up in the Air (well done but did not soar), even those where he is both actor and director (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck, which is surely good but not unforgettable). In my opinion, George really found his perfect fit in smart comedies like Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve (I never liked Ocean’s Thirteen) by Steven Soderbergh,The Man who stare at Goats, and by Joel and Ethan Coen O Brother where art thou? and my personal favorite Intolerable Cruelty). There are then the outsiders, both gorgeous like Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn (with Quentin Tarantino and vampires) and catastrophic like Steven Soderberg’s embarrassing remake of the sci-fi classic Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky. I’d like to add that George, which especially at the dawn of his carreer starred in many tv shows, was also in one episode of my beloved Murder she Wrote. But the very sweet thing I’d like to leave you with is a 1988 movie called Return of the Killer Tomatoes (yes, it’s actually a sequel), which is not only a surprise in George Clooney’s filmography, but is actually a very funny movie which I sincerely recommend. While I’m looking forward to seeing the mini-series Catch-22, from the most funny book by Joseph Heller, I close with a loud Happy Birthday George!