From Jezebel comes the heartwarming story of how actor Justin Long headed off an internet flame war with one of the sweetest internet comments left for a movie critic by an actor, possibly ever. Short version: Michelle Orange wrote a review of Going the Distance for Movieline and had some not nice things to say about Justin Long’s looks, saying:
How a milky, affectless mook with half-formed features and a first day of kindergarten haircut might punch several classes above his weight is a mystery…we are increasingly asked to accept on screen.
Long read the review and quoted it word for word on national television. Orange was mortified and wrote a response to the events. Long commented on the latter piece, saying:
Michelle, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get to be in one movie, let alone several over the course of the last ten years – never had any delusions of grandeur. I always wanted to be a theatre actor like my mom, always assuming the movie roles were relegated to the good looking people…Then I started idolizing guys like Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell, Woody Allen, and Philip Seymour Hoffman – I found myself relating (I hope you’re not wincing at my use of that word now) to them and formulating some wild fantasy of one day pursuing a career in movie acting – if guys that looked like that could do it, I thought, maybe this milky mook could role the dice. So while there’s no defense for my performance in the movie (everyone is obviously entitled to their opinion), I have to say, I’m surprised by the amount of stock you seem to invest in my looks. I absolutely agree with you too, I’d be hard-pressed to hold a candle to even a fraction of Drew’s beauty – in my humble opinion, she’s the most beautiful girl in the world…Maybe you’re frustrated because it so rarely works the other way – I don’t remember the last time I was asked to accept a female romantic lead who was “punching above her weight class” – though it does happen (I just don’t want to name names at the risk of offending – I leave that to the experts)…Regardless, I really meant what I said about your writing – I love film too and I love reading about it – so keep up the good work and I’ll try to pick better projects…Take care and hopefully one day our paths will cross so I can compliment you in person. Until then, best wishes and be proud and confident in your role as a film critic – you’re a damn good one.
ps I swear to god it’s me and I swear (as emphatically) that I’m not being sarcastic.
You win this battle, Justin. And the battle of life too.
[Side note: I don’t understand writers’ occasional withering fixation on people’s God-given looks. I was reading GQ’s profile of Robert Gibbs’ this weekend which described him as follows: “His 39-year-old face is more like a shield, with an immense forehead and tiny eyes that scarcely radiate. The smile, affable and empty, could be that of a small-town gas-station attendant or a hired assassin.” I wonder how the writer would enjoy being described in similar fashion.]