We’ve lost some writers recently, but McCarthy Culkin and Joe Lies will continue on with a new blog. We’ll have more information to come next week. We’ll keep you posted. See you soon!
Hollywood great Steve McQueen would have been eighty today had he not died thirty years ago. Steve McQueen was a cool dude. And one that I feel a kin to because his nickname, like my son’s, was Mac, and he seemed to be able to kick anyone’s ass even though he stood at a mere 5”9’; sort of like my dad, who by the way would kill to be 5”9’. Also I am allergic to animals and find them kind of stinky so I’ve gotta love a man who was quoted as saying “When a horse learns to buy martinis, I’ll learn to like horses”. Amen, to that.
So today we celebrate the birthday of the King of Cool. A day he shares with some less cool celebrities. There is nothing worse than having your birthday soiled by sharing it with people who suck. Trust me, I know first hand. I wish someone cool like McQueen was born on my birthday. Instead I share it with Gypsy Rose Lee (the actual stripper, not Natalie Wood), Joe Pesci, and a real life suckafool who I won’t be so rude as to mention here. So Steve, in honor of your birthday, let’s take a moment to bust on the other losers who were born today so we can be sure you continue to reign supreme even from the afterlife.
Al Reynolds AND Star Jones – They share a birthday and the marriage didn’t last? How could that be? Oh, right, he’s gay and she’s a crazy person. Those kinds of relationships never work out.
Louie Anderson – I’m sorry, he just seems like a dick. He’s not funny and I get the feeling he’s mean in real life. Maybe, I’m wrong and he’s just swell and I’m the mean one but I usually have pretty good instincts on these kinds of things so let’s just call him an ass and move on.
Donna Pescow – She played the pathetic Annette who kept trying to get with John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and then she played the title role in the 1979 sitcom Angie about a waitress who married millionaire Robert Hayes. She seems like a nice enough person but she’s no McQueen. She should have been born with other lesser knowns on the 23rd or the 25th.
Kelly LeBrock – Sure, her body was amazing but her face was weird and she was dumb enough to marry Steven Segal. Boo!
Lake Bell – Casting directors seem to think she’s sexy. I think she looks like a man.
Lara Flynn Boyle – I kind of love her because, like most of my family, she’s Irish and crazy, but she’s no McQueen. More like McQueen’s nutso cousin who shows up at family reunions with men like Jack Nicholson and David Spade. You know what? I do love her and I bet McQueen would have, too. Stay crazy, Flynn Boyle!
Lark Voorhies – Two words for you: Lisa Turtle. She almost deserves this day just for putting up with Screech all those years.
Matthew Peck – Never heard of him? Your loss. He’s my 4 year old’s little bud and he knows more about Bakugans than anyone on earth. McQueen would actually think this kid was cool and be honored to share a birthday with him. Have fun turning five, MP.
Megyn Price – She was on Grounded for Life with Donal Logue and now she’s on Rules of Engagement with David Spade and Seinfeld’s Putty. She always plays up her boobs. Bobby and I call her “Slutty Mom” because that’s how she’s usually typecast. She’s likable enough but a little too low rent to share a birthday with McQueen. Plus I hate people who don’t know how to spell their own names. It’s Megan or Meghan but not Megyn.
I’m sure there are others. There always are. The great ones never get to have their day all to themselves. And I guess who is great is relative. I mean, maybe some of you actually think Kelly LeBrock or Louie Anderson has given more to the world of entertainment than Steve McQueen did. I sort of want to punch you for thinking that, but to paraphrase the great Bobby Brown “it’s your perogative”. However, I am sure if you were stuck at the top of The Towering Inferno trying to decide whether or not to get on that outdoor glass elevator, you’d want Steve McQueen not Al Reynolds by your side. And that’s why anyone can call March 24th their birthday, but the day really belongs to only one man. Happy Birthday, Bullitt.
His name was Kelly Leak. He rode a Harley. He wore a fringe jacket. He smoked. He played Centerfield and hit clean up for the Bears. He seemed at least 5 years older than his foul mouthed shortstop, Tanner Boyle. He was the engine that helped the Bears be Bad News, Break Training, and go to Japan. His look defined the mid to late 70’s teenage derelict. He was their best player and the most identifiable character to come out of The Bad News Bears Trilogy. In a lesser known role, Kelly Leak also played for my late 80’s computer baseball Boston Red Sox Team. He was a monster. Besides Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans and Roger Clemens, that team also featured an aging catcher, Crash Davis, and a rookie pitcher, Nuke Laloosh. Suffice it to say, my team was unbeatable. Just ask the guys who captained the Yankees, Mets, and Orioles in the summer of 88. There was no stopping that lineup and Kelly Leak was the anchor. Just a great character, and it wouldn’t have been as iconic if he hadn’t been played by Jackie Earle Haley.
Jackie Earle Haley parlayed the success of Kelly Leak into another great role as Moocher in the Academy Award Nominated film, Breaking Away. Even though he was only 17, he held his own with cast mates, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, and Daniel Stern, who were already well into their 20’s. Moocher had a temper and liked to hit people. Kelly Leak was the same way. He must be a phenomenal actor because he is incredibly small. Maybe 5’5”, yet he pulls off being a tough guy. It doesn’t make sense on paper, but somehow it works on screen. I expected big things from Haley, but after a few television roles, and some B-Movies, by 1993, he had vanished. Stopped acting completely. Instead, he delivered pizzas, drove limousines, and worked for a while as a security officer. If Kelly Leak were on patrol, I’d think twice about causing any trouble. He didn’t make his return to acting until 2006, when Director Steve Zaillian cast him opposite Kate Winslet in All The Kings Men. Zaillian remembered Haley’s late 70’s lexicon and brought him back into acting. That opened the flood gates. That same year, he was cast opposite Winslet again, in his Academy Award Nominated performance in Little Children. He’s great in that movie. Disturbing, yes, but an excellent performance.
I was happy to see him return to the screen. You always wonder what happens to these child actors when they grow up. Some end up doing drugs like the Two Coreys and that girl from Full House, some rob liquor stores like Dana Plato, some find religion like Kirk Cameron, and some do steroids and lift weights constantly like Danny Bonaduce. All tragic stories. There are very few Ron Howard’s out there who have transitioned into successful careers. The train wrecks always make the news, but I imagine most of these child actors went the route of Jackie Earle Haley. They made their livings outside the spotlight of Hollywood. So when someone makes as dramatic a comeback as Haley, it’s something to be applauded. He didn’t descend into darkness, he just waited it out until people recognized he still had talent. It’s great because this guy was born to be a character actor. He’s odd looking and small, yet his presence in a film always makes an impact. He has a very small role in Shutter Island, but his few minutes on screen are the most memorable.
Over the last few years, he has had big roles in big films. He starred in Semi-Pro and Watchmen, and has a recurring role on that new show Human Target. But it wasn’t until I saw a preview for the re-make of Nightmare on Elm Street that I knew he was totally back. Yes, he plays Freddy Krueger. I imagine he’ll bring an even creepier vibe to that legendary character. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with it. I wasn’t looking forward to that film until I realized he was Freddy.
I think I’ve done a relatively good job of not just referring to Haley as Kelly Leak. It was difficult. When someone jumps into your consciousness in a particular role, it’s hard not to refer to them as that forever. It’s the same reason I’ll always call Seann William Scott, Stifler, and I’ll always refer to Julie Bowen as Carol Vescey. They’ve had many parts since American Pie and Ed, but none that can wipe those roles out of my head. Kelly Leak was on the bench for a while. 13 years to be exact. But like Robert Redford in The Natural, you can’t keep that kind of talent down. It needs to get to the surface. It’ll always find a way. Now lets see if Tanner, Engleberg, Ahmad, and Ogilvie can find their way back too.
I’m posting this because I forgot to write something last night and I also happen to be a horrible, horrible human being.
I’m Irish. And I’m proud of it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that I was Irish or when I didn’t think it made me better than everyone else. I have a lot of friends of different backgrounds and I love them all, but I do feel a tad bit sorry for the ones who weren’t lucky enough to be born Irish. One friend in particular was born with the gift and turned his back on it despite the irish flag tatooed on his calf. It broke my heart. How could you disregard your heritage when it is so storied and strong and proud as that of the Irish? I’ll never understand.
See for me, being Irish is more than just looking at the family tree and figuring out where the grandparents came from. It’s who I am. At the worst moments of my life, I have found my strength knowing that I’m Irish and the Irish never give up. They drink and they fight and they drink somemore, often times amid the dead; who if the story of Tim Finnegan’s Wake is correct (and you bet I believe it is) get a drop of whiskey and come back to life kicking and screaming. Growing up my family had a dog named Tim Finnegan. Who names their dog after a song about an Irish Wake? We do. Because everything about the Irish is at once hilarious and charming and tragic. Like John Wayne in the Quiet Man, when the Irish get punched they just keep getting up for more.
Because of my love of my own heritage, I have always loved St. Patrick’s Day. The way I celebrate it today with two small children is very different then the way I celebrated it as a younger person. Back when I would be at the bars at noon and stay there until the next day. Back when if they weren’t playing traditional Irish music, I would request the DJ spin “Come on Eileen” and out dance Michael Flately. Back when wearing something that said “Kiss Me I’m Irish” could get me in trouble. Those days were good. Now I make corned beef and cabbage in a crock pot for my kids and watch Waking Ned Devine, a movie I love for many reasons but mostly for the scene when Michael, pretending to be Ned, gets attend his own funeral and hear the eulogy his friend Jackie gives:
Michael O’Sullivan was my great friend. But I don’t ever remember telling him that. The words that are spoken at a funeral are spoken too late for the man who is dead. What a wonderful thing it would be to visit your own funeral. To sit at the front and hear what was said, maybe say a few things yourself. Michael and I grew old together. But at times, when we laughed, we grew young. If he was here now, if he could hear what I say, I’d congratulate him on being a great man, and thank him for being a friend
It’s beautiful and it’s true. Most people never say the things they need to say to the living. And that’s why we mourn the dead so much. There’s always regret.
I didn’t know the last day I ever spent with my mother was the last – but she did. And when we were saying goodbye, she hugged me in a way that was different than how she’d hugged me before and then she told me that I was a wonderful daughter and that she was sorry for being so hard on me because although she’d never said it before she thought I was perfect. At that moment, I just thought we were having an really awesome day, but later I knew that she was saying goodbye and at the same time giving me the greatest gift of my life. Absolution.
So this St Patrick’s Day, while you’re drinking your green beer and singing “Danny Boy”, don’t forget to use your gift of gab to cut through all the blarney and thank your family or your friends or the drunk guy next to you for being there because you never know when it’s your last chance to speak up and trust me, you don’t want to miss it.
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
Saturday Night Live finally got it right last weekend. There was a time that they didn’t just go after the most famous star, or best looking, or It person of the moment. There was a time where they pursued funny people. The object was to make a funny show. They had guest hosts like Steve Martin, George Carlin, Buck Henry, Carrie Fisher, Richard Pryor, Rob Reiner, and Lily Tomlin. There were a number of seasons when Steve Martin and Buck Henry hosted multiple times. The reason for this is that they were ridiculously funny and made for a great show. They didn’t try to make Lebron James or Michael Phelps into comedians. They went after professionals and the show thrived because of it. Now, they mainly go after celebrities like Zac Efron or Jon Hamm. Nice guys, I’m sure, but not exactly hilarious. But this week it was like they stepped back in to a place where all that mattered was the funny when Zach Galifianakis absolutely killed as host.
It’s good to see Galifianakis’ career take off like it has since he starred in The Hangover. He was the funniest thing in an extremely funny movie. I’ve been a fan of his for years. I think his stand up comedy is incredibly strange and really funny. I even enjoyed his work in bad films like Out Cold. Just a horrible movie, but he saves it with every scene he’s in. He took bad material and made it a riot. In The Hangover, he finally had good material, and he made that great. Currently, he also co-stars in HBO’s Bored to Death. He plays Jason Schwartzman’s sidekick and steals every scene. The show especially shines when they get Galifianakis and Ted Danson in the same scene. They play off each other very well. He even had a short lived talk show on VH1 called Late World with Zach Galifianakis. It was all kinds of strange. I loved it. But it was probably too weird for society in general. I liked that VH1 gave it a shot even though they pulled the plug pretty quickly. They had good intentions, just no follow through.
I couldn’t believe SNL actually had the foresight to cast him as host. During a season in which we’ve had do endure Blake Lively, Taylor Lautner, and Sigourney Weaver, seeing a pro like Galifianakis take the helm was a breath of comedic air. Right now, SNL has some great cast members like Bill Hader, Jason Sudekis, and Kristen Wiig. All three of them are outrageously versatile. Hader is by far my favorite. All of his characters make me laugh. He’s really weird, in a good way. Same goes for Sudekis. He’s a little more mainstream with his humor, but he always saves the sketches he’s in. Wiig can play anything and the writers know that. She’s in almost every sketch. But SNL also has some severe handicaps and it almost ruins the show. I’ve said this before, but Kenan Thompson is arguably my least favorite person that has ever been on SNL. He’s not funny. He’ll never be funny. And the fact that they keep trying to shove this guy down America’s throat almost makes me not want to watch. Also, I don’t care for Will Forte’s brand of humor either. He’s the opposite of funny. Again, I’m sure the reason they still have jobs are that they are really nice guys. Everybody probably likes them. It doesn’t change the fact that they are the original butchers of comedy. Absolutely horrible.
When Zach Galifianakis came out for his monologue, I knew the tone of this particular show was going to be different. He didn’t come out and talk about how this is his dream to host SNL, or rely on cast members to help save his opening bit. No, Galifianakis came out and did stand up.
It was excellent. Everything worked. From the bit about him being backstage Febreezing his beard, to him saying, “We’ve got a great show, Hoobastank is here. Wait, no it’s not Hoobastank. Oh, we’ve got Vampire Weekend.” It was all gold. Even the sketches he’s in take on a different tone. He’s a very odd guy. He brings a weird energy to everything he does. Personally, I think it’s outrageously funny. He immediately unnerves you because you aren’t sure what will happen next. That’s good comedy. As opposed to Kenan Thompson where you know exactly what will happen next. He’ll talk real loud or dress up as a woman. It doesn’t take a genius to see where his “comedy” will go. It must have been a pleasure for Hader, Sudekis, and Wiig to be able to play off another comedian. Someone who actually brings something to the table besides celebrity.
My hope is that SNL continues to hire comedians to host. Or, if they find someone who works like Justin Timberlake and Alec Baldwin, bring them back a couple times a season. They did this in SNL’s heyday, they can do it now. Or take more chances like Galifianakis. Bring in a Patton Oswalt or Jim Gaffigan. I know why you feel the need to cast Gerard Butler, he’s really popular, but I doubt he’s ever stood in front of a crowd in a small comedy club in Idaho and brought down the house. Go make another crappy movie. Let the comedy professionals handle the heavy lifting.
Galifianakis has a lot of projects coming out soon. That’s good news. There just isn’t enough funny out there. And when there is, they try to shoehorn people like Ashton Kutcher and Brendan Fraser into those roles. It almost never works. Lets put the funny people in the funny movies. We’ll all benefit. And lets hope SNL has learned a valuable lesson. It was a show built on bizarre humor for people who stay up late at night. Lets get guest hosts who understand that ethos. Last week, they most certainly did.
So I turned on my computer this morning, went to CNN.com and discovered that my 4th favorite Corey – Corey Haim – passed away last night. (In my book he ranks behind Corey Feldman, former Cleveland Indian Cory Snyder and former PM of the Philippines Cory Aquino). Of course, none of us should be surprised by Haim’s passing– celebrities with drug addiction have a limited shelf life. The fact that a 38-year old man who hasn’t been famous in about 20 years ODed, died in ignominy and that this made frontpage news is more surprising – Andy Warhol would be psyched. Apparently in the 21st century our 15 minutes gets put on repeat.
Now, I was never all that into the Two Corey’s. This is mostly because I’m a dude – but I get that all the single ladies in the late 80’s had the Corey Haim posters up on their walls next to their posters of John Stamos, Corin Nemic and Kip Winger. And Lucas was a pretty awesome movie, although I was more into it because of Winona Ryder (I really wish she was still doing movies… she never quite got over that Johnny Depp break up, I think. Nice Jewish girl.)
Corey Feldman will always be the superior member of that particular duet in my eyes. He was rough and tumble – a bad boy. He could have been the ugly kid in any number of boy bands (Donny Wahlberg, Chris Kirkpatrick – I’m looking at you). Plus, the man was in Goonies – maybe THE coming of age classic of my generation. This, along with a little film I like to call Meatballs 3, puts Corey F way over the top.
But Corey Haim certainly had his appeal. He was the male version of Alyssa Milano – all the girls had crushes on him (Oddly enough, the two used to date). Needless to say their careers have gone in different directions – while Corey Haim developed an addiction, Alyssa Milano developed awesome boobies. Would License to Drive 2 have been a success if Corey Haim had smokin’ man tits? It’s a question to which we’ll never have an answer.
Speaking of boobs – Mr. Haim’s passing should prove to be a cautionary tale for one Lindsay Lohan. It’s a familiar path, no? Both had early success in film, and then sank into a world of partying and addiction – resurfacing occasionally with the direct to video production or tabloid headline. Her lawsuit against E-trade is ridiculous, right? How did she even find a lawyer to represent her?
I hope for all of our sakes that Lindsay is able to get control of her life so she doesn’t wind up in the same desperate straits as Corey – at least long enough for her to start what will undoubtedly be a stellar porn career.