There's a line in comedy 'Team America: World Police' - spoken by a puppet Janeane Garofalo - that goes:
"As actors, it is our responsibility to read the newspapers, and then say what we read on television like it's our own opinion".
Now watch the latest video of actor Sean Penn talking about the mini-crisis in the Falklands - specifically Prince William's deployment there — and see if you can spot the connection.
If you can't bear to sit through it, the Oscar-winning star said: "It's unthinkable that the United Kingdom can make a conscious decision to deploy a prince within the military to the Malvinas, knowing the great emotional sensitivity both of mothers and fathers in the United Kingdom and in Argentina who lost sons and daughters in a war over islands with a population of so few.
"There are many places to deploy a prince. It's not necessary when the deployment of a prince is generally accompanied by a warship, to send them into seas of such spilled blood."
It's an Oscar-worthy performance and comes just days after he first slammed the UK's "colonialist" presence in "the Malvinas Islands of Argentina". He said back then: "The world today is not going to tolerate any ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology."
A humble movie blog like this isn't the place to dissect the ins and outs of the issue, but judging by the comments under our initial news story, the vast majority of Yahoo! readers reckon he's talking cobblers.
What's making a lot of you angry isn't Penn's actual stance on the whole Falklands thing, but why, as a Hollywood star that once made a guest appearance on 'Friends', he's getting involved at all.
Penn has got history when it comes to pontificating on world events. In 2010 he said any journalists who referred to Hugo Chavez as a 'dictator' should be put in prison. Eight years earlier he called on President Bush to be impeached in a full page ad in the Washington Post.
And he's not the first film star to decide their opinions on important events really matter. Delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2005 were treated to the bizarre sight of Sharon Stone imploring them to buy bednets for malaria.
Richard Gere got involved in the fragile Middle East peace process in 2005 when he visited Palestine and urged folks to go out and vote.
Even Angelina Jolie, once famed for big lips and 'Tomb Raider', has got in on the act. An episode of 'The Andrew Marr Show' in 2008 saw the presenter fawn over Ange and ask her questions about the war in Afghanistan and the Obama presidency. And so the list goes on.
'Team America: World Police' (see the trailer below) expertly skewered this kind of thing, mocking the likes of Alec 'Arec' Baldwin, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Helen Hunt, Tim Robbins and Penn himself. In one scene a puppet version of the actor talks about how nice Iraq was before America invaded it.
"They had... flowery meadows and rainbow skies and, and rivers made of chocolate where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles."
Typically Penn didn't get the joke and sent a furious letter to Trey Parker and Matt Stone - who made the film - accusing them of encouraging "irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world."
He signed off with: "All the best, and a sincere f**k you." Nice!
We're all for actors using their profile for good causes and Penn has done his fair share, including helping out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.
Not only that, when he does remember he's an actor, the star is usually superb, as anyone who's seen 'Mystic River, 'The Thin Red Line', 'Carlito's Way' and many more will know (let's ignore 'I am Sam').
But his bizarre Falklands comments risks audiences forever associating him with increasingly nutty political rants, rather than his talent. I'm sure plenty of you will never pay to watch another Sean Penn film again.
So Sean, a plea from this movie fan: stick to your day job!
By Orlando Parfitt
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