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Who is Topher Grace? We’re sixteen years removed from the origins of That 70’s Show, and it’s hard to say how he’s distinguished himself. He’s played quite a few smarmy boyfriends in stuff like Traffic and Mona Lisa Smile, but practically vanished from the screen as a leading man in Win A Date With Tad Hamilton and In Good Company. He’s not good, and quite distracting, when he pops up in big genre films like Predators and Spider-Man 3, but that hasn’t stopped casting agents: he’ll be seen in this year’s Interstellar. And yet, the question remains: who is Topher Grace? Or, considering his new multimedia project, what is Topher Grace? An… (shrug) editor?
A couple of years ago, Grace picked up editing and tried an 85 minute supercut of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Claiming the trilogy "only had one good movie" in it (which surely thrilled George Lucas), he presented the footage to a few bloggers in Los Angeles. And that interest in re-cutting and reworking movies has spawned a new website, according to The Wrap. CerealPrize.com encourages people to cut, chop, slice and dice their favorite movies any way they want, reflecting the vision of an anonymous dude in front of a computer screen instead of an actual filmmaker.
Though it can’t be embedded, Grace revealed his new project to The Wrap, which was pretty much editing the scenes of Brock Landers and Chest Rockwell together from Boogie Nights. In case you haven’t seen Boogie Nights, you’re an idiot who is wasting your life and you should walk away from the computer and go watch it now. You’re still here? Idiot. Anyway, much of the Landers and Rockwell material, from the porn films within Boogie Nights, is just period-specific, meticulously-crafted background material, some of it found only on the special features. The footage isn’t recontextualized as much as crammed together, like a YouTube supercut. Why thousands of people do this sort of thing with more creativity on YouTube but Grace gets to be on a major industry blog remains a puzzle. Also, where is the shameful footage of Rock Harders as the latter-day fugazi Brock Landers?
Next, Grace is working on a "remix" of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and oh god someone stop this man right now.
"It’s all done out of reverence for the material," Grace says, forgetting that he lacks the reverence to just leave it alone. A film is a film is a film. It doesn’t need your fingerprints, and if you need to put those prints somewhere, put them on your own film. What’s to gain from shortening Atonement to twenty minutes, as Grace did, and giving it a happy ending? Where’s the reverence in basically manipulating the hard work done by Joe Wright without once leaving your chair? A retroactive happy ending? What, is he Marty McFly now? Why doesn’t he just recut The Big Wedding so that it never exists? Maybe we shouldn’t ask, ‘Who is Topher Grace?’ Maybe we should ask, who does Topher Grace think he is, anyway?