The Nine New Entries in Leonard Maltin’s “Star Index”

Matt Damon

Many people purchase the annually updated movie review book Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, edited by beloved film critic Maltin. In the back of the book is an "Index of Stars" – the actors and actresses that Maltin & Co. deem popular enough that the average moviegoer might actually look up their names to see what movies they're in – sort of a "Hey honey, let's rent a Tom Hanks video tonight" scenario. I previously owned the 1996 guide; on Christmas, I received the 2000 guide, and it was remarkable to note how many stars had been removed from the list. Clearly it will be much more interesting for me to list the multitude of poor souls whom Maltin no longer deems as worthwhile as they were four years ago, and I will catalogue them in a couple of weeks; here, however, is a list of the stars that have been added to the list over the last 4 years. As chance would have it, ten new stars have been added, so I will cite the tenth star here: Sandra Bullock.

  1. Drew Barrymore. The increasingly zaftig and very kooky young Drew will probably age into the Shelley Winters of our time.
  2. Matt Damon. Interestingly, his buddy Ben Affleck didn't make the Index. Damon's star should shine a few more years. With time, he might grow into the next Robert Redford – meaning, specifically, that he will become old and leathery and may prefer to lurk behind the scenes.
  3. Cameron Diaz. She's highly talented, so she'll probably be able to gracefully take on the serious "mature woman" roles currently reserved for Michelle Pfeiffer. In other words, she's skinny, she's blonde, but she doesn't just play cute or stupid in her films, so she's got a long-term career.
  4. Leonardo DiCaprio. The much-loved, much-maligned Leo's future is completely uncertain. My money's on his child-like looks destining him for lonely Ralph Macchio territory.
  5. Woody Harrelson. He's not much of a "star" – everybody knows him, but nobody sees his movies. Because he's already shown great range, and is the oldest on this list, he will probably keep nailing character roles for the rest of his years.
  6. Nicole Kidman. She can only bank on her good looks for another few more years before her knack for getting naked on screen is something people no longer wish to see. She will probably graduate to stuffy period films, a la Julie Christie and Vanessa Redgrave.
  7. Gwyneth Paltrow. Yuck! I like to call her the Ali MacGraw of her generation. And what has Ali (Love Story) been up to lately? Making exercise videos.
  8. Will Smith. If he starts taking more serious roles (he was quite good in Six Degrees of Separation), Smith will probably be around for quite a long time. He will age well.
  9. Uma Thurman. Has anybody been in as many big-budget disasters as this woman? Fortunately, she's lately wriggled her way into Woody Allen and Merchant Ivory films to regain her clout. But she's not much of an actress, and I can't imagine her holding the public's interest for long. Trivia note: She is exactly 3 days younger than I am.