Not many famous people can make me angry just by looking at them, but John Travolta is one of the elite few who possess such an ability. Look at him; the sun bouncing off the many curves of his huge, podgy face, the huge arse on his chin offsetting his smug, self-satisfied grin, his doughy cheeks screaming out "I'm worth millions and millions of dollars and there's nothing you can do about it!" How did a man who looks like the bastard lovechild of the Pilsbury doughboy and the Michelin Man manage to dominate Hollywood for so long? That's unfair - both the Pilsbury doughboy and the Michelin Man have talent in their own respective fields; Travolta, on the other hand, has been coasting on auto-pilot for years. Often literally.
But hey, I'm not so shallow as to just rip into the guy's unfortunate physical defects - let's go through his back catalogue and tear the guy a new a-hole. Way back in the early days, you have Saturday Night Fever - people thought Tony Manero was cool at the time, but he's since been outclassed in the funky dancing stakes by David Brent. A middling decade later, there was his hilarious comedic master class in Look Who's Talking - together with the trailblazing sequels, they broke new ground in the 'talking baby' genre. Even back then, Tony Manero looked like he had well and truly lost his mojo.
Then came his role in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and the much discussed 'career resurrection'. True, Vincent Vega was a fantastic character, but let's face it - it was a part that could have been nailed by anyone, and it's not as if Travolta had earned the role in anyway. Offer a past-it actor a plum role and he'll gleefully accept it; ask a tramp to dance in exchange for a sandwich and he'll do the Charleston until his knees fall off - it's the exact same principle. A definite spike in his career chart though it was, it didn't take long for the shit to rise to the surface. Turds like Phenomenon followed (quick capsule review: he dies at the end), with other such travesties as Michael, The General's Daughter and Mad City mere stink nuggets in comparison to the biggest cinematic dump of all time - Battlefield Earth. Thanks to John Travolta and Tom Cruise, any shreds of dignity that the crazy faith of Scientology might once have had have well and truly been flushed down the toilet.
Notice how I deftly ignored some of Travolta's more successful movies of recent years, namely Get Shorty, Face/Off and Primary Colors. I got them covered. Get Shorty isn't as good as you remember it (and has since been tarnished with his mongoloid performance in Be Cool), he was only good in Face/Off because he was pretending to be Nicolas Cage and even Russ Abbot could pull off a better impression of Bill Clinton than Travolta did. Did anyone really think his performance in army 'thriller' Basic warranted his $20m fee? You could hire 20 Bruce Campbells for that amount, and possibly have the best film ever on your hands as a bonus. Frankly, Travolta's recent work is so boring, I hear he's not allowed within 100ft of any hospitals, in case any of the comatose patients slip under and die.
But here's what really turns my crank. John Travolta is a fully-qualified pilot and owns, and flies, his own aircraft, thanks to the gigantic runway in his back garden. The only thing worse than a big fat smug talentless Hollywood superstar is one that's into his aeronautics. You just know that he makes his kids call him 'Captain Dad' and finds it hilarious to park his Boeing in the school car park when picking them up after class, his head sticking out the window, twirling his hat around like a goon. This guy loves planes so much, he named his son Jett, and that's simply inexcusable.
Recently, the Trav has taken to saving the world from his very own cockpit and whizzed on down to New Orleans to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina, presumably dropping off aid packages including food and thousands of unsold Domestic Disturbance special edition DVDs. Does this mean we can expect more daring Travolta rescues - perhaps saving damsels in distress from burning buildings, or swooping down to save genocide victims in Africa? Don't count on it, unless there are a million flash bulbs there to capture it, giving the moon-faced mound another excuse to flash his pilot's wingpin and remind the world he's not just an actor. Three words: nobody cares, asshole.
Some people deserved their career resurrections - Bill Murray, David Carradine, Jesus at a push - but given a whole ten years to fully digest his return to the big screen, it's still a complete mystery as to why good ol' QT decided to dig up his decayed corpse. The only things he's shown to be any good at over 30 years of fame are dancing and flying planes, and unless he's willing to combine the two in a disco-fuelled aviation epic any time soon, the sooner he shoves his Boeing sideways up his arse, the better. Captain Travola, you have permission to get bent. Over and out.