Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Us Weekly Photo Death Match - Issue 560 - Nov. 7, 2005 (Aniston By 1)

No preamble this week. 'Cause when I give it to you, I give it to you raw. No O.J., no straw.

(1) Jennifer Aniston.
15 images.
For the second week, Aniston powers past her competition. More and more, it's difficult to deny that she's conquered the magazine simply for being divorced. Jen gets a beefy article ostensibly devoted to her recent reconciliation with her mother, but really and truly it's just an article about longing pictures of Jen and Brad's marriage (mostly collected under the banner "Moments Jen's Mom Missed").

(2) Katie Holmes. 14 images.
This week's cover girl barely loses a neck-and-neck race through 93 heart-pounding pages. Katie looks absolutely radiant on the cover and in her feature article. Really, truly stunning. By which I mean, positively airbrushed beyond recognition. You'll not find one mole on that body, much less a conspicuous mouth-lesion. It's like somebody photoshopped her hair and eyebrows onto a doll's head. The cover headline reads "Under Tom's Spell," but given the publicist-planted sheen of the photographs, I couldn't be bothered to wade through Us's mock-journalistic inquiries.

(3) Tom Cruise. 10 images.
This relationship has really worked out from Cruise, from a Photo Death Match perspective at least. Pretty much every picture counted is just Tom quitely grinning (unstably, mind you) in the background of a Katie shot.

(tie) Paris Hilton. 10 images.
Make out with MKO's boyfriend, take home a bronze. Paris's performance easily bests peers Lindsay Lohan (5), Nicole Richie (2), Bijou Phillips (1), Tara Reid (1), and Jeremy Piven (0). Nice work, Paris. Oh, and this is as good a time as any to mention Stavros Niarchos III's dedicated efforts to help the destitute and disenfranchised.

(5) Jennifer Garner. 7 images.
Yes, there is baby shower coverage, but the bulk of her pics pertain to a recent Alias shoot with ex Michael Vartan (who's first and last name inexplicably never appear together in the article). And yes, Garner does look very, very pregnant, as you've no doubt read on other, cattier blogs. But seriously, how do these people expect her to look? She's carrying the Affleck-sired harbinger of the apocalypse, isn't she?

Five shots each can be credited to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mischa Barton and, ahem, Ja Rule; four to Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron. Angelina Jolie, Kristin Cavallari, and Denise Richards all single out.

But the biggest also-ran story, and arguable the major story in the whole damned issue, is the Simpson family's weird showing. Jessica manages a pitiful three shots, which is one more than sister Ashlee and husband what's-his-name, but three less than Superdad Joe Simpson. Joe's recent appearance on Larry King Live gave him the opportunity to field questions about the decay of his daughter's marriage. Jack Trimarco, a former FBI polygraph chief who worked on the Unabomber and 1993 World Trade Center investigations, and Paul Ekman, inventor of the Facial Action Coding System that's been used in Al-Qaeda-related interrogations, examine Joe's facial expressions to determine whether or not his denials can be trusted. Overwhelmingly, the experts find him evasive. And while that's all very interesting, it doesn't come close to the shock of Superdad Joe's stealthy assumption of the Simpson family spotlight. Keeping in mind that Joe was one picture short of the winner's circle, I'd say we have a malignant threat on our hands.

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