By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
As an insecure C-word, I have two favorite pastimesviciously lashing out at others and vehemently defending myselfso this particular column will combine those two endeavors, starting with my heartfelt advice to a myriad of stars, then building to a crescendo of bitter excuses as to why I'm the way I am.
So here's how I feel various celebrities can salvage themselves:
J.LO: You once had edge in movies like Out of Sight, U Turn, and even, dare I say it, Gigli. You even had it in interviews, like when you said spicy, controversial things to Movieline in '98things that made you sound fascinatingly unvarnishedthough you promptly denied having said them and never uttered a spunky syllable again. At the same time, you went after some exceedingly bland film roles, often portraying a sympathetic shopgirl generically waiting for a colorless Mr. Right. Work with SODERBERGH again. Stick your face in a blender. Act up!
JOHNNY DEPP: You too, honey! Don't ever lose the weirdness. Swashbuckling comedies, romantic biopics, and cult-kiddie-flick remakes are fine, but now that you're getting Oscar nominations, you need to start worryinga lot. You're getting a bit too lovable, too streamlined, and overly accepted (though you seem to have a healthy, bemused attitude at those awards shows). Your bizarreness has become too safe for mankind. Scare people again. Make us scream. Don't wash your hair anymore. Slap J.Lo.
LORNE MICHAELS: I adore Tina and Amy (and all the gang), but keep the Weekend Update disciplined and fast moving. No laughing or smirking after every jokeconcentrate on making the audience laugh. And don't allow so many sketches that are spoofs of TV shows, whether real (Hardball) or imaginary (The Prince Show). You're a TV show, remember? And get Horatio to learn his lines. Otherwise, things aren't as bad as the CHARLIE ROCKET days, but most things aren't.
LARRY KING: Your show is tons of fun, but you sometimes seem to run out of questions after 20 minutes. Either get more guests or get more questions.
AND FURTHERMORE . . .
JANE FONDA: You were a feminist icon, but now you freely reveal that you've done whatever your men wanted, from three-ways to staying thin in grossly unhealthy ways. Keep all that up if it makes you (and them) happyjust don't tell me about it!
ANGELINA JOLIE: You also should not change a hair for me, not if you care for me. The savior of the children image doesn't jibe at all with the breaker-up of marriages thing, but it makes you damned interesting, so keep on keeping on, baby. But please know that Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a sleek, big-time bore. I guess offscreen mating rituals don't always translate on-screen after allthough it's made bushels of marvelous money, so again, keep it up, darling.
ELLEN DEGENERES: You've dazzled with your wry, casual humor, resurging when everyone had written you off as a dead lezzie. But while you're wildly out in your life and in the press, you seem toexcept on very rare occasionsconsciously rein in your gayness on your talk show, perhaps having signed some deal with the devil assuring him that you'll be an on-air neuter. Come on, Ellen. You don't have to scream, "Yep, I'm gay!" into a mic every five seconds, but can't you let your sexual feelings slip more oftenjust once in a while, the way straight hosts do? When you did the bit looking back at your prom date, couldn't you have ended it with something like "No wonder I moved on to women"? Even Satan would have muffled a guffaw.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Watch your fragile ass in jail, girlit's going to be a bumpy ride. You will be treated like the lowest piece of scummy, skanky, slimy . . . oh, wait. You got off? Oh, in that case, you're free, kid. Enjoy the E-Z pass and learn from it. No more sleepovers. No more playing victimor playing anything. Grow upand lose the Ferris wheel.
OLSEN TWINS: Your layered homeless look is bizarrely cute, but even my mentally ill aunt with cataracts suspects you wear all that stuff because you actually think you're fat and you're covering up unsightly rolls of flesh. News flash: You're so not fat you make NICOLE RICHIE look like the Neverland ranch. Take off all those clothesand eat them!
MARCIA CROSS: Chow down on whatever's left over. I don't even care who you nibble on anymorejust eat something!
FELICITY HUFFMAN: I adore that you play a tranny in a movie by a guy named DUNCAN TUCKER. Tucker! I love it! An Oscar nomination may well be yours. Why did I even include you here? You and Angelina are fine. As a reward, I'll forward you both all the e-mails I get for "ladies drink free between 8 and 8:30" nights at bars.
RENEE ZELLWEGER: Congrats on the marriage to KEITH URBAN, I mean BRAD PAISLEY, I mean KENNY CHESNEY. But Cinderella Man wasn't a proper hookup for you at all. You're much too good to play lip-biting, long-suffering fishwives of too-swell-to-be-true boxing lugs. You're a star! Kindly remind your agent of that! And eat something, bitch!