Grrr! Are You Not Entertained?

"Are you not entertained?"

That is my favorite line from Russell Crowe's Oscar-winning turn as Maximus in the 2000 film "Gladiator."

It's apropos to the life and times of Crowe, as well as many other celebrities today.

Are you not entertained?

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Crowe continues to have anger management problems; Tom Cruise seems to be having a love meltdown (although you'll hear my theory on that later in the column); an ugly new term, "Brangelina," (search) has been coined by some moron in the entertainment press; and countless other celebrities are becoming known more for their personal lives than their contributions to the world of movies or art or music or sports.

From Paris Hilton to Paula Abdul, are you not entertained?

From Christian Slater to Crowe, are you not entertained?

From Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, are you not entertained?

From Michael Jackson to O.J. Simpson to Robert Blake, from R. Kelly to Kobe Bryant to Mike Tyson, are you not entertained?

After $4 million of the California taxpayer's money was spent (and who knows how much defense attorney Tom Mesereau was worth), Jackson was found not guilty on ten charges stemming from a child molestation charge, bringing a close to yet another celebrity trial of the century.

Tyson, for his part, seems to have finally come to the end of his train wreck of a boxing career. The once high and mighty heavyweight champ has fallen so low that he's taking to quitting right there in the ring.

In case you missed it, and lucky for you if you did, Tyson called it a bout in his debacle against non-contender Kevin McBride Saturday night. And he was paid $5.5 million for quitting (although after the tax man, creditors and his "management," he probably made more like $500G).

Are you not entertained?

Apparently somebody is, because more than 15,000 people filled the MCI arena, and tens of thousands more watched on Showtime pay-per-view. Hello! And they threw garbage at Tyson as he left the stadium. You see, it takes garbage to throw garbage.

In Hollywood, the bigwigs were worried — or hoping, depending on what side they were on — that "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" wouldn't do well at the box office because movies starring real-life lovers (if they are) never do too well. They were relieved — or upset — because the flick brought in over $50 million.

We'll see how, separately, Katie Holmes and Cruise do with their summer films. "Batman Begins" opens this week, while "War of the Worlds" opens at the end of the month.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to both of these movies. I don't, however, want to hear about Tom and Katie's love life together anymore. It seems nobody can turn on the TV without seeing them sucking face or declaring their love for each other.

Personally, I'm happy for Cruise.

There are a lot of theories being bandied about. One is that their affair is just a publicity stunt to drum up interest in their respective movies. Despite their love for each other, neither can recall just how they met.

Whatever. My theory on Cruise's bizarro behavior is a little more sympathetic than the next guy's. Cruise has been the biggest movie star in the world for practically his entire adult life, and by adult, I mean his early 20s. He was thrust into stardom after "Risky Business" became a mega-hit.

He followed that with blockbuster after blockbuster, including "Top Gun," "The Firm," "Mission Impossible," etc.

He was always so serious when it came to him and "Nic," his nickname for former wife Nicole Kidman, and all his roles were carefully chosen.

Were you not entertained?

He's 42 years old now, and I think Cruise has decided to just be himself. He recently fired his professional media handlers and has surrounded himself with family. Many in the media industry feel that if he were still repped by his former public relations guru, Pat Kingsley, he would not be so over-exposed today.

But I think it goes deeper than that.

Cruise, in my opinion, is tired of being handled. He's tired of having investors and movie studios and agents and everybody else who stands to make money off him telling him what he can and cannot say, where he can and cannot go, when he can or cannot fly his plane or ride his motorcycle and what shows he can appear on.

So what if he's getting a little goofy in his declaration of love for Holmes?

Would it be better if he were standing up on David Letterman's desk and exposing himself, like Drew Barrymore did several years ago? Would it be better if a sex tape starring him and Katie was "stolen" from his house and distributed on the Internet, a la Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson? Would it be better if he blew a gasket and threw a phone at a hotel clerk like Crowe did last week, or were accused of raping a hotel employee like Kobe Bryant, or arrested for drunk driving like Nick Nolte and countless other celebs?

I don't get what the problem is here. The guy's in love. Let's hope it lasts, because if it doesn't, he'll not only have a broken heart, but he'll also have lost a lot of credibility.

But I don't think this new Cruise really cares. So, movie fans, meet Tom Mapother IV. After years of being Tom Cruise, it's about time he's entertained, isn't it?

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on