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Samuel L. Jackson introduced Sophia Loren at last night's Globes as "a real life movie star". Now this got me thinking - do movie stars still exist in this day and age? There are a number of takes on the definition of a movie star. Many people see it as a term for a celebrity that is well known for acting in films. So that definition alone states that every single person that appears in a movie is a movie star. Would you say Ashton Kutcher is a movie star when you compare him to people like Meryl Streep or George Clooney? Err I don't think so. Then there's a definition of a movie star being a marketing tool - you can put them in any movie and that movie will always bring in a sizeable profit. Basically the movie star can command any genre with the audience always flocking out to see the movie purely because he or she is in it. Now that sounds more like it! But it's difficult to single out even one person that fits that bill. You could argue that Tom Cruise still has this power, but with polls showing large decreases in his popularity this doesn't seem to be the case. I for one wouldn't see a film purely because Tom Cruise was in it. Have you seen Lions for Lambs? I sure the hell haven't. Judging by the low worldwide gross a lot of people haven't either. So it's not Tom. It's not even Clooney or Meryl - they don't bring in the young audiences (unless we're talking Mamma Mia!). Katherine Heigl is pretty popular these days so let's make her the leading lady in an action movie - oh wait that doesn't work, it's a complete miscast.
In essence it's a difficult one to fathom. But if I was asked to name an actor today that has the title of movie star attached, only one name comes to mind - Will Smith. Who doesn't like Will Smith?