I’ve mentioned from time to time certain things that actors do in a film that are so offensive that they just alienate me like that. Once this happens they have to work like hell to get back in my good graces although usually I just say “the hell with it, I don’t want to know this guy or girl” and write them off.
And this isn’t just me and my quirky neuroses. Over the years I’ve heard a lot of people say “I was with him/her until he/she did that repulsive thing, and that was it.” It’s been said, for example, that Paul Giamatti lost out on a Best Actor nomination for Sideways (which he was brilliant in) because of that scene in which he stole money from his mother’s bedroom bureau. Does that make any sense? No, but people react the way they react and there’s no talking them out of it.
Anyway, an offensive thing I’ve never mentioned hit me last night. I will turn against any actor in any film who licks his/her fingers after eating. In a movie or in real life, I really and truly can’t stand the sight of this. I couldn’t even take it during the much-admired eating scene in Tom Jones. (Now that I think back on it I’m not sure if Albert Finney and whatsername actually do this.) The first time I realize I had this aversion was that first-act scene in Once Upon A Time in America when the young kid gobbles down the pastry and licks all five digits. I was cringing.
To me finger-licking is worse than watching an overweight person reach inside their pants and scratch. If your fingers are sticky after eating something (which in itself indicates a lack of refinement on your part), go to the sink and wash them off.
Perhaps if enough people repeat this objection often enough actors will think twice before going there.