Ahh, Julia Morris – you might not crack a smile at anything she’s ever said or done, but you can’t deny that she keeps on saying and doing things. In fact, so good is she at saying and doing things – from purchasing a title so she can call herself “Lady Julia Morris” to pulling faces on any TV show that’ll have her on to trying to hijack our very own Tumbleweed Awards to promote her excretable book – that’d you’d be forgiven for thinking that that’s pretty much all she does. But you’d be wrong: she also does this:
COMEDIAN Julia Morris has joined the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Robert De Niro and Robert Redford in launching her own film festival.
But the Julia Morris Film Festival – or JMoFest for short – has a catch.
Every three-minute short film entered in the festival must feature a life size Julia Morris face mask.
So what, you might say: as far as entrants go, Australia isn’t exactly short of budding horror film makers. And we all know Morris has been the true face of Australian terror since her gurn-heavy days on the late 1990’s version of IMT. It’s the sheer pointlessness of this particular swipe at self-promotion that galls. This isn’t a publicity stunt to push a book, or a DVD, or a tour: the only thing being advertised here is Julia Morris’ face.
“I know it couldn’t be more bizarrely egocentric to ask people to make a film with my cut-out face in it but it’s not really about the mask it’s just about the laugh.
“There are so many insanely talented young people around, I thought this would be a wonderful way to showcase anyone who can be bothered to work,” she said.
Seriously? It’s a showcase? But does anyone think that when the “winner” of this exploitative nightmare is announced that it won’t be Morris’ name at the top of the article? Does anyone think it’s a big break for an actor to appear in a short film wearing a Julia Morris mask? Does anyone think that Morris is putting together a film festival based around her own face as a way to showcase anything else but her own face?
More importantly, can anyone else think of a way to show more contempt for your fans than by getting other people to make comedy films in which actors are forced to wear a mask of your face then show said films in a festival bearing your name while not actually having anything at all to do with the films yourself?
If, say, Tom Cruise said “I’m making a new Tom Cruise movie, only I won’t actually be in it, it’ll just be some guy wearing a mask of my face”, there’d be riots in the street: Morris is doing the same thing, only she’s expecting other people to spend their own time and money making “her” film. Based around, let’s not forget, her own face, so if the film – that she had nothing whatsoever to do with – turns out to be funny, she can soak up the laughs simply by association.
[And to take a leaf out of Morris’ book, any snide comments about how the results are bound to be funnier than anything the “real” Morris could come up with are entirely up to you.]
If you were an evil, soulless person concerned only with exploiting others, you couldn’t help but admire Morris’ latest scheme to get others to boost her career. Hell, you couldn’t stop yourself from admiring her entire career: while other, equally marginally talented people from the no-talent era of Full Frontal have no 21st century media careers to speak of, she’s still turning up all over the place, grabbing gossip column inches while rabbiting on about going to LA where she “has already captured the hearts and imaginations of many of LA’s top industry execs, appeared on NBC’s The Bonnie Hunt show and entered into discussions for television show development” (from her blog). Astute readers might spot that only the middle one of those “achievements” is a result that can be actually measured, but what the hey: it’s all part of the PR shitstorm.
The worst thing in this increasingly Human Centipede-esque long list of worst things is that it’s not even funny. Oh, the idea itself isn’t that bad; if we still had sketch comedy in this country it’d make a good four- or five- minute fake current affairs segment about some grotesquely self-obsessed monster. But to actually try to get wanna-be film-makers to make short films based around your face and then show them in self-financed film-festivals as a real-life celebration of yourself to the exclusion of all others because it can’t be said often enough that entry into this film festival involves obliterating your own identity by WEARING A JULIA MORRIS MASK – well, that stopped being funny right around the time everyone else realised you weren’t kidding and had actually made the masks available. Is it Halloween already?