Hagiography – noun, plural – phies
- The writing of the lives of the saints
- Biography of the saints
- any biography that idealises or idolises its subject
There was at one stage an embryo that grew in a womb and which was birthed as a bouncing baby boy. It was decided shortly thereafter that the boy was a ‘Sam’, a name that means ‘His Name Is God’ or ‘God Has Heard’. This was clearly auspicious.
Sam the embryo-that-was with the auspicious name makes for a nice story – the high school dropout turned rebel outsider who came good.
It’s a lie.
Sam Rockwell wasn’t born in the conventional sense, but the truth has been covered up, until now. One night a comet, nearing the sol side of its orbit, shifted some asteroids into one another. Well one thing led to another, as it does in space and on dates, and some of the debris and a few smaller asteroids were flung Earthwards where they caused a meteor shower. The sky lit up – more pyrotechnics than a Rammstein gig. One meteorite made it to the ground without burning up. It caused an electromagnetic pulse that took out all the electronics and communications in a tri-county area and caused millions of dollars worth of other infrastructural damage, somewhere in Southern California. When the authorities reached the crater, there, sitting at the very epicentre of destruction, was Sam Rockwell drinking a cocktail.
The rest, as they say, is history.
You want a biography, use Wikipedia. You want an accurate biography with facts in it, don’t use Wikipedia.
If the Academy Awards had any integrity, which they don’t because Braveheart won Best Picture, there would be an annual Sam Rockwell Academy Award For Superb Awesomeness.
I’ll stop there before this mess digresses into a general, unfocused rant about the Oscars and what criteria they can possibly use to choose Best Picture. Shakespeare In Love.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking why Sam Rockwell, why not all the other deserving men and women? For example, why not Christopher Walken?
Walken is elevated beyond the realm in which trinkets and baubles can be accolade enough, like a super-evolved, supra-dimensional higher being made entirely of pure energy and facial tics. That’s why.
Now we’re not about to call Sam Rockwell a saint. This is a hagiography in the sense of unbecoming, fawning adulation. The sort of thing one tends to regret the next morning when one has sobered up, rather like the Academy probably did when they woke up to realise they’d given Best Picture to Chicago rather than The Pianist.
I know what you’re thinking now, you’re thinking that if we’re going to hagiographise and rhapsodise, shouldn’t we, you know, get on with it?
No we shouldn’t.
I think it’s what Sam Rockwell would’ve wanted.
Great art doesn’t bother explaining itself; it’s inscrutable. You hardly expect me to point out how that applies to Sam Rockwell. …And you can’t get much more hagiographic than that.
Moon, being the only part of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Martin Freeman aside, that the film-makers didn’t mess up, adding some element of subtlety to the lead role in Choke, being a grade A shit in Green Mile, not being shit in Green Mile, not letting on that he clearly only did Iron Man 2 for the money, improving every film he’s in, whatever the quality of the film, let’s gloss over that one where Daniel Craig David (bo selecta!) fights aliens while dressed as a cowboy, let’s not gloss over that other cowboy one he appeared in with the ridiculous title, suppressing his natural ability effortlessly to upstage other actors in Frost/Nixon, being described by Roger Ebert as his generation’s Christopher Walken (go-to guy for ‘weird’), being so much more than that faintly damning praise, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Lawn Dogs, being a serious professional without admitting it or being too luvvie about ‘the craft’, Moon.
Just don’t call him a poster boy for indie cool, because that’s the sort of phrase that ought to make one wonder whether we should ever have gone to the trouble of evolving from single-cell organisms. The Academy’s judgement certainly doesn’t inspire hope for our ability to develop into more complex creatures: Dances With Wolves.
Next time on Frood: back to foul-tempered histrionics.