When I first heard about Twitter, honestly, I thought it was stupid as hell. (In retrospect, probably because the person explaining it did such a poor job.) Later, when I checked it out, in fairly short order I grasped its value as a micro-blogging site and sort of social media bulletin board, without all the attendant clutter of Facebook. I don’t envision myself as being the guy checking in places via Foursquare, but, hey, more power to those users who’ve synched up Twitter with every other social media account and aspect of their daily routines.
As for me, I still like a bit of comparable simplicity. Twitter is an interesting place to share ideas and thoughts, so I value that elected, “opt-in” give and take, as well as conversations, not monologues. I tend not to follow a lot of celebrities, and certainly not “volume tweeters” or those interested only in relentless self-promotion. So who’s in my top five?
1. Diora Baird – @DioraBaird1
When not confessing the “sad-in-a-funny-way” sole contents of her refrigerator (cat food and champagne, it turns out), actress Baird, of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many other films, gives lie to the notion that beauties are humor-deficient automatons, pulling faces in pictures with her dog as she waits to go to set, or posting short videos of herself enjoying a kiddie slide. She’s disarmingly honest, about everything from her diet to offscreen neuroses (“Thanks to all my daddies for giving me a lifetime supply of things to tell my therapist”), and she’s funny to boot (“It’s so stupid how people need people. It’s 2011. Like, enough already, ya know?”). Candid, charismatic and powered by a joy for life — what’s not to love?
2. Michael Ian Black – @michaelianblack
No little secret, he, multi-hyphenate Michael Ian Black has over 1.6 million followers (though I was there earlier than most). Something like Twitter was made for the wit of this writer/actor/author/comedian and amusingly reluctant father, who’s funnier than Glenn Beck tripping headlong into a wading pool of poop and ball bearings. Observational humor from his home and life on the road abound (“The weather in Connecticut must have taken its Lexapro because it has stopped being a cranky little bitch”), but pin-prick takedowns are Black’s specialty (“Please stop asking me to RT to cure diseases. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work”), though he’s just as apt to turn the abuse on himself and his loved ones. To boot, Black recently started up a unique YouTube channel, “Sad Sad Conversation” (@sadsadconvo), with Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina), which means that the next time I run into the latter in a SoCal Target, I’ll perhaps have a more timely conversation starter other than how crappy it was that SportsNight got canceled.
3. Jennifer Coolidge – @JENCOOLIDGE
She’s fairly new to Twitter, but I enthusiastically endorse Jennifer Coolidge (yes, Stifler’s mom) because we once met and sat together on a flight, and she kindly gave me a ride to my hotel when the car that was supposed to meet me didn’t show up. Come on, how cool is that? She’s totally warm and real, plus she’s filming American Reunion now, so there have been a few updates from the set of that sequel, set to bow next April.
4. Rachel Nichols – @RachelNichols1
No, not the ESPN reporter, who never met a gesticulation she didn’t like, the actress. For reasons similar to Baird, Nichols is a hoot. What’s the point, really, in following a celebrity if there isn’t some element of not only openness, but also shared perspective? Despite a questionably high amount of tweets for someone of her stature invoking solo wine-drinking in sweatpants, Nichols reveals herself a charmingly goofy slinger of truths. She has a name for her clunky car, and has the ability to somehow singlehandedly counterbalance Perez Hilton and make the phrase “Amazeballs” amusing again. Nichols also doesn’t come by her reputation as a foodie falsely; if one doubts, check out her “Movie Star Next Door” blog entries for Men’s Health.
5. Adam McKay – @GhostPanther
It perhaps sounds corny or overblown to say, but a good Twitter feed encompasses the full spectrum of human feeling, and writer-director Adam McKay’s account does just that. It’s personal, it’s political, it’s funny. There’s a stamp of authentic personality on it. Whether turning away claims that he somehow got Jim Breuer canned from Saturday Night Live, posting videos from Funny or Die, lobbing a topical zinger, or lending a voice to the demand for a proper ethics investigation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, McKay doesn’t shy away from expressing his point-of-view or opinions. He comes across as relatable - just like his deliriously outlandish comedies, I would argue.
If you like my suggestions, or simply enjoy reviews, musings and other occasional updates from a hustling film critic in the City of Angels, you can follow me at @SharedDarkness. Because, you know, that’s what we all do when we enjoy films and television together… we share a little darkness, sometimes in the hopes that it clarifies the light.
By Brent Simon