You know that guy who posts in the comments section of every blog post, anywhere, that mentions a Dean Martin movie? The one who always writes in Rat Pack-ese? The one whose comments are always something like "Hey, pallie, thanks for posting about Dino, the king of cool," etc.?
Well, he has a blog. Where everyone, writer and commenters, writes like that all the time. It's really rather terrifying, though I suspect it's tongue-in-cheek.
I like Dean Martin, but I'm of the opinion that many Dean Martin cultists like him for all the worst things he did. That is, much of his TV, movie and recording work is the product of a very talented actor and entertainer who didn't want to do much with his talent. (Or as Homer Simpson put it: "Screw you, Dino! You squandered your gifts!") I don't blame him for that; it was his life, and his talent, and to do consistently good work would have required that he be a workaholic, spending all his time and energy on his profession. I don't get to tell anyone how hard they should or shouldn't work. But I find it odd that the Dean Martin cult -- and there is one, even if that blog isn't serious -- primarily celebrates the stuff he did when he wasn't working very hard.
By the way, this gives me a chance to bring up something I've been thinking about for a while. A friend who watched Rio Bravo for the first time was surprised to find how good Dean Martin was in it; I explained that in this movie, and a few others (mostly in this late '50s period where he was trying to prove he could succeed on his own), he really did buckle down and work hard, and when he did that, he was an excellent actor. But that got me to thinking: are there many actors today who clearly show whether or not the material engages them, or who clearly work less hard in some movies than others? And I don't think there are, to the same extent. Of course, you can still tell if an actor isn't fully engaged with the material, but there's a certain baseline level of professionalism that most modern stars bring to everything they do.
In the past, and especially when the Rat Pack ruled, this was not the case. You could actually get the amazing sight of a highly-paid star in a big-budget movie who clearly, obviously and ostentatiously didn't give a damn about the project at all, and wasn't even trying a lot of the time. Martin was the king in that respect; if the script didn't interest him, he'd just zone out. But think of Sinatra, or Cary Grant in some of his later movies, or Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever. We may never again get the perverse thrill of being able to say that a star is sleepwalking through the role; today, even in bad movies, you can sort of see that the star is working hard (maybe not working well, but probably working harder than Dean Martin is working in the average Matt Helm movie).