Richard Gere just had to do it, didn’t he? After my review of the roguish and spry, rooted-in-murky-truth caper flick The Hoax, in which I praise a nimble Gere that we haven’t seen in a long time, if at all, that old shamanistic earnestness kicked in during a Thursday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Gere had to make sure that potential ticket buyers knew of the very serious underpinnings and parallels in the film, which tells the story of novelist Clifford Irving, who fakes an autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes.
“This small lie connects to a much larger lie,” says Gere, slowly and pointedly, at the end of a long-ish monologue of narrative explication. “Which was the Vietnam War, Nixon, the Supreme Court, money laundering — it was all kinds of crazy stuff. To me what was interesting was the resonance between that time and that war and that president who lies, and this time and this president who lies and this war that didn’t have to happen.” At this point DeGeneres replies, blankly, “Yeah.”
However much one might agree with Gere about our current president being a serial molester of facts who led us into an awful and entirely unnecessary morass, the fact is that The Hoax, even in its more fanciful flights of speculative inclusion, has nothing to do with, and makes no claim on, the Vietnam War, and Gere’s attempt at linkage was pompous and maladroit — perfectly illustrative of why almost everybody outside of Hollywood looks at this guy as their buzzkill uncle.
Give credit where credit is due, however. Though her show was undeniably hijacked, and had the potential to plunge dourly and in headlong fashion into the next commercial break, DeGeneres showed why sunny aplomb is her greatest weapon of comedic return, gracing Gere with a TiVo, which was apparently part of some earlier referenced joke, inclusive of previous visit(s) to the show. And it was a 40-hour TiVo, just for those wondering…