Tag Archives: humor
I made a return to the Lasertime podcast this week, this time to talk about Oscars and movies and my many, many grudges thus related.
If I tried to exhaust my feelings on the topic, it’d be Part 1 in a series of 11,892 of four-hour podcasts – more if I let other people speak – and I can imagine myself going hoarse and desperate and being buried under a mountain of telegrams begging me to stop like I’m Mr. Smith gone to Washington, but NO! I must tell the world that “Cavalcade” shouldn’t have won Best Picture 1932 because Frank Lloyd’s direction is inferior to Mervyn LeRoy’s.
Enjoy a wander through much more recent movies with: Oscar Grouchy!
I started looking at 20-year old Oscar shows in 2009, because the 1989 show marked the lowest moment in the show’s history – the Snow White number. Poking around the internet showed only brief references to it, and none about the Stars of Tomorrow number mid-show that is arguably worse. So I thought I’d carry on this tradition, even though the numbers in 1992 were below average, not horrible. Let’s take a look!
“Beauty and the Beast” had three of its songs nominated. First up, “Belle,” sung by the original voice actors (which is nice) on a set made of giant books, like they’re the Borrowers or something. My favorite moment: When Gaston throws a kid out of his way so he can preen and prance some more.
This is immediately followed by “Be Our Guest,” again sung by the original voice actor (Jerry Orbach) and done with the can-can dancers and kick-line it was meant to have. With his years and years on “Law & Order,” it’s easy to forget he was a song and dance man going way back. This number is the most purely entertaining, and it’s nice to see the song go this big instead of being whispered in the background of Disney Cruise commercials.
I didn’t even bother uploading the next performance, which is Bryan Adams singing “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” I remember betting this one would win, because a) it was played constantly that year and b) it’s cheesy. Up until very, very recently, the cheesiest, gooiest song would win.
It wasn’t worth grabbing the video because it’s just him and a band playing the song completely straight, sounding exactly like it does on every easy FM station every two hours. There are, like, vector triangles on the set to dress it up a little, but it’s not a production number.
The fourth nominee is “When You’re Alone” from “Hook.” Yeah, I didn’t remember it either. It’s a lullaby-ish song, sung by the child actor who sang it in the movie all wide-eyed and over-enunciating (and lip syncing). Amber Scott has literally done nothing else, unless you count aggressively Photoshopping her own photo on IMDB.In keeping with the Peter Pan thing, the dancing is mostly kids flying around and being whimsical. In other words, it’s pretty stupid. I remember a lot of weird stuff in the Peter Pan stories, but am I forgetting the giant purple butterfly people who wave back and forth a bunch, or is that an…original…..addition?
But at least it’s introduced by John Candy, and we miss John Candy.
Finally, we have the eventual winner, the title song from “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s sung by Angela Landsbury, who sang it in the movie, along with Peebo Bryson and Celine Dion, who sang it as a single. It’s a little weird to see Celine with dark curly hair with a tiny bit of meat on her, since not long afterward she went to that straight and light and slightly sunken cheeked look she’s had ever since.
Of course, we couldn’t just have these talented people sing a lovely song, so we have an “interpretation” ballet going on behind them. Is there anywhere else besides awards shows that bother with this nonsense? It’s not like the dancing they did to this song in the movie was classy or anything, without all the frou-frou.
Then it gets worse. Much worse. Here’s the show’s low-point, and the epitome of awards show nonsense. Because apparently there wasn’t enough dancing and/or spectacle during the show, or maybe just to wake people up after the sound awards, they also have a dance number during a medley of the original score nominees. These random “wake the audience up” numbers are funny in how tenuous the link is between what they’re doing and who’s doing it. If I keep doing these articles, in a few years I’ll reach the salute to film editing starring the cast of Stomp.
Here we have goofy modern dancing thanks to Debbie Allen. I guess it’s a good thing they’re not literally dancing the plot or themes of the movies, because how exactly do you dance “JFK”? (Says my husband: “You dance back and to the left.”)
As fun as it’d be for them to mime shooting each other with tommy guns for “Bugsy,” “Prince of Tides” could get pretty rapey. Although there are plenty of drag queens who can do a fierce Streisand.
But at least it’s introduced by Patrick Swayze, and we miss Patrick Swayze.
If there’s one image people know from the Oscars in 1992, it’s this one:Jack Palance doing one-arm push-ups right after winning Best Supporting Actor. It was the first award of the night, and immediately became the perfect gag for Billy Crystal to run with. Jack Palance had a weird career – great start, OK foreign stuff, terrible cheapo foreign crap, a lucky break – and he seriously did not care about what people thought. That made it awesome. Yesterday, we covered the monologue and the weird combinations of presenters. Today, it’s the rest of the show. Let’s take a look back 20 years and talk about the more interesting parts of the show.
Mercedes Ruehl won Best Supporting Actress for “The Fisher King,” but the much, much bigger story in this category is nominee Juliette Lewis‘ hair. Everybody made fun of that shit. Sadly, I couldn’t get a good screenshot of her with her then boyfriend, Brad Pitt, who broke out that year in “Thelma and Louise,” but he was sporting a straggly beard on his first trip to the big show. Maybe they were still filming “Kalifornia”? This was HER breakout role, and instead of looking like the next big thing, she looks like Betty Boop just back from Cabo.
Irving G. Thalberg award: George Lucas
I’m going to skip saying anything about George Lucas and the evil he was planning to talk about Steven Spielberg’s introduction. First, his hair is magnificent. Check out that volumizing mousse action. Second, and I can’t believe this happened, in his voiceover for the film segment, he calls Indiana Jones an adventurous anthropologist. I shit you not – anthropologist. He is SO lucky the internet wasn’t big yet, because it. would. have. exploded.
At the end of Lucas’ speech, he gets a special live greeting from Space Shuttle Atlantis. Of note on-board are the mission’s commander, Charles F. Bolden, who became the head of NASA in 2009; Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space; Michael Foale (far right), who, thanks to his later time on Mir, has spent over a year in outer space; and Dirk Frimout (second from right), who was a massive hit in his home country as the first Belgian in space. Also, he’s a viscount.
The next special award was a lifetime achievement Oscar to Satyajit Ray, director of the Apu Trilogy. You can keep your Quikimart jokes to yourself, because they’re amazing movies and you should rent them, you uncultured heathen. Ray was literally on his deathbed, so he spoke via satellite from the hospital, rambling about how he wrote a fan letter to Deanna Durbin as a kid. It’s kind of cute, but it doesn’t really tell you anything about him as a filmmaker. He actually still sounds pissed at the stars that didn’t write him back.
The lady presenting him the award? Oh, nobody. Just Audrey Hepburn. Looking fabulous at 62, few, including her, would have guessed how close she was to the end. Six months later, she suffered abdominal pain during one of her many UNICEF trips to Africa, which turned out to be a rare abdominal cancer. She passed away January 1993.
In other depressing news, a big deal was made at the Oscars about these new-fangled ribbons everyone was wearing. Billy Crystal even had to explain it – the red ribbons were for AIDS awareness. Since then, every cause has had to fight every other cause over who gets what ribbon, with purple representing everything from animal abuse to hidradenitis suppurativa, a skin disease marked by non-contagious chronic abscesses.
The red ribbons tied in with another Oscar first. When “Beauty and the Beast,” from the movie of the same name, won Best Song, Alan Menken was joined onstage by the boyfriend of his cowriter, Howard Ashman. Ashman had died of AIDS the year before, and his boyfriend accepting his award was a first.
Now, to lighten the mood, I should probably mention the ads. This is a three and a half hour show, but there are fewer ads each break than I was expecting. Few were that funny or interesting, but it is an interesting little window into the time.
First up, AT&T. They ran several ads touting their flexible plans for small businesses. Remember, this is pre-internet, and long-distance carriers were in a massive war much the way cell-phone providers are now. AT&T wanted to show businesses they can get a company all the phone lines it wants so it can do business – even in foreign countries! Incredible! If you make a lot of calls to just a few area codes, they can make that area code at a special rate, and even help if you have more than one location. Amazing!
Literally half of the ads contained this lady right here: Cindy Crawford. The then-Mrs. Richard Gere appeared in an ad EVERY commercial break for Revlon or Pepsi or whatever. She was unavoidable in 1992. Not that anyone was complaining – I’d take a statuesque chemical engineering major over a bored-looking starvation victim any day.
There were a few car ads – Chevy and Ford mostly showed off their trucks, which, to be honest, don’t look much different that a mid-size truck today. Toyota, however, showed off their models and they are true early ’90s – boxy and boring. Not much to differentiate the outside of their models except their size. It was not a good time for design – the late ’80s and early ’90s are sort of their own decade when it comes to ugliness.
Finally we have this ad. This Gap ad ran for goddamn years, and it was stupid. Maybe it wasn’t even years, but it ran so often I still remembered every line 20 years later. Click on Mr. Tuxedo here for a beat-ish poem about Gap jeans, intercut with that one chick from Twin Peaks’ butt and a motorcycle.
I have an irrational hatred for this ad. In case you didn’t notice. This one and a Nissan ad that had a lady shout-singing intercut with a car going fast on a dry lake bed played over and over and over when I was up late watching Mystery Science Theater. Also, Zima.
Let’s go back to the awards show and end on a happy note. After over two-and-a-half hours of no one mentioning it and it not being nominated for anything, we get to the end of the show and “Silence of the Lambs” sweeps. It wins screenplay, actor, actress, director, and picture – something only done twice before and has never been done since. A horror film, released in February of that year, manages to crush Oscar bait like “Bugsy” and “The Prince of Tides,” sentimental fare “Beauty and the Beast,” and brilliant-but-controversial “JFK.” Completely insane.
This is the sort of glamor we don’t have that much any more.Here and there, I guess, but seeing as there are whole publications dedicated to showing celebrities doing normal, mundane, and embarrassing things….I don’t know. Maybe it was the studio system and their training. But these two, besides being great actors, were interesting people and great humanitarians. And looked fucking gorgeous while giving an award to the guys who made the movie where a psycho is making a human suit out of fat chicks.
Up Next: Pointless Production Numbers!
A president running for re-election in the midst of a recession. Billy Crystal. Some things don’t change much, I guess.
The Academy Awards are such a big deal every year, but the show themselves disappear from memory. The academy doesn’t release the shows on video or DVD, they don’t repeat on TV, and they patrol YouTube like you wouldn’t believe. Let’s take a look back 20 years ago and see what’s happened to the participants…and make fun of the production numbers.
Billy Crystal – For his third year hosting the Oscars, Crystal announced there wouldn’t be a dumb opening production number, garnering an embarrassing amount of applause. But really, it was just a lead-in for his parody of the bad opening numbers, singing songs about the Best Picture nominees.
The monologue covered the big stories of the Oscars and some politics, since it was an election year. Some of the things he talked about include:
Warren Beatty had a great year. His film “Bugsy” had the most nominations (10) and was the likely best picture winner. His penis’ reign of terror over Hollywood had just been thwarted by Annette Benning, and they got married and had a kid.
Now: Has only made three movies since then. One (“Bullworth”) is excellent, two (“Love Affair” and “Town and Country”) are not.
Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas had bowed out of the race two weeks earlier, and won six states overall. Eventual nominee Bill Clinton and (then former) California governor Jerry Brown fought for another two weeks until the New York primary, where Brown’s considering Jesse Jackson for VP cost him Jewish voters. (Jackson has had a problem with anti-semitic remarks.)
Now: Tsongas died from lymphoma in 1997, and Jerry Brown is governor of California again.
Despite having a strong record with Oscar, including having the night’s eventual best picture winner, Orion Pictures was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Despite big hits like “Dances With Wolves,” it had too many other expensive flops, like “The First Power” and “Cadillac Man.”
Now: Bankrupt that year. It was pretty much liquidated, with MGM now owning a lot of its catalog.
There were two mini-scandals coming out of the nominations that year. Whether Anthony Hopkins was really more of a supporting role in “The Silence of the Lambs,” and that Barbra Streisand was shut out of the best director category for “The Prince of Tides.” There was talk she wouldn’t show up, but in the end, she did, with crimped hair for some reason.
Now: Has only directed one movie since, “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” and has only acted in that and (sigh) “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel.
Who grabbed that spot away from Babs? John Singleton was the first minority best director nominee, as well as the youngest ever, for “Boyz n the Hood.” He was only 24! But while presenting the documentary awards, he and Spike Lee just would not stop slouching. Stand up straight, youngster!
Now: Makes well-made but slight actiony fare. His “Shaft” remake is surprisingly good, while “Abduction,” with Taylor Lautner, really, really isn’t.
Besides the dated jokes, watching old Oscar telecasts is fun for the odd combinations of presenters (see above – Spike Lee and John Singleton together is pretty damn cool, slouching or not). Some of them are, frankly, strange and random pairings. For instance:
Christopher Lloyd and Rebecca De Mornay presenting Best Makeup. Seriously – I don’t know where they came up with this.
In 1992: she had been in “Backdraft” and “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.” Around this time, she dated Leonard Cohen – bet you didn’t know that. Lloyd had just done “Addams Family” (in fact, a remote controlled Thing brings them the envelope.)
Now: She popped up in “Wedding Crashers,” but is basically not acting anymore. Lloyd has been doing two things – charming guest spots on shows like “Fringe” and “Chuck,” and terrible things that are beneath him, like “Santa Buddies” and “Knights of Bloodsteel.” And some voiceover work.
Antonio Banderas and Sharon Stone presenting Best Sound Effects. Stone’s big break, “Basic Instinct” had opened the week before, so she was obviously quite the center of attention. He is introduced as “The Mambo Kings’ Antonio Banderas,” because no one knew who he was outside of Almodovar fans and Spanish people (which are usually the same thing). It was another three years before he got a lead role in an American movie.
Now: He’s goddamn “Puss in Boots”. She’s done nothing of note except some “Law and Order: SVU” since 2006, when she made the god-awful “Basic Instinct 2.”
Nicole Kidman. I don’t really have a joke, I just miss Nicole Kidman’s old face.
Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah presenting Best Sound. I think they just put names in a hat, because these two really, really, REALLY have nothing to do with each other (note: OK, they’re both in “Blade Runner,” but not together.) In fact, it’s kind of mean, because she just makes him look shorter and lumpier. I actually wonder if she was a replacement for somebody, because she hadn’t done anything of note since “Steel Magnolias” two years earlier. But she looked good. He was promoting his film directorial debut, “American Me.”
Now: Daryl’s been doing character-actor stuff here and there, plus “Kill Bill” back in 2006. Olmos moved back to TV with “Battlestar Galactica” and “Dexter.”
The first rule of peep jousting is you do not talk about peep jousting. The second rule of peep jousting is that joke’s kinda obvious. The rules are simple – two peeps, two toothpicks, and one microwave. Whoever pokes the other first wins. Then both are eaten. By wolves. Just like Catholic tradition demands during Easter. The crowd goes wild as the competitors enter the arena. The purple and yellow teams and their coaches have been preparing for years to reach this level of competition.
Please stand for the national anthem.
Round 1: Plessy vs. Ferguson
We who are about to die salute you.
We set the microwave for two minutes on high. The battle takes off immediately as Ferguson (yellow team) swells to disgusting proportions in a matter of seconds. Plessy is cautious.
Ferguson begins the traditional peep dominance display.
Plessy draws his opponent out with a feint and goes in low for the kill. 10-love purple team.
Plessy’s skin cracks with fury. Ferguson is visibly intimidated.
Defeated, Ferguson deflates with shame.
Losers are mushy.
The broken bodies of these noble warriors are taken to a better place. They go down chewy.
Round 2: Brown vs. Board of Education
The athletes raise their lances toward the heavens, to which they both may soon be dispatched.
Competition is fierce. Board of Education opens his maw in what can only be described as a cry of tribute to his warrior gods.
Their weapons glancing off each others’ hard armor, Brown at last is victorious. 20-love, purple team.
Second stringers are brought in as a sop to the heavy losses on both sides.
Round 3: Alien vs. Predator
Two of the amateur-leaguers take their place among the spilled gore of their heroes. Their fear is palpable.
They fall on their swords.
Their families die of shame. Their corpses are left to swell in the midday sun.
The sacred arena is getting pretty gross by now. It’s time for the headliner match.
The Main Event: Ninja vs. Pirate
We’re coming into the home stretch in the Kitchen Arena, and the crowd is going wild. Cheers are mixed with wailing and gnashing of teeth as the crowd stares transfixed at a horror they did not anticipate. It’s time to bring this to an end. Which team will be victorious as its champions face off?
“Arr! Yaarrr! Booty and grog, me hearties!'”
The noble combatants steel their jaws at manly angles. All is silent. Then they start rolling around on the ground, randomly waving their swords at each other. It’s pathetic.
Ninja and Pirate blubber as they try to see who can apologize the most.
Pirate is a broken man. Ninja is so ashamed, his ancestors die.
That bloodiest of sports, Peep Jousting Thunderdome is closed for another year. It sits silent, waiting to claim the hopes and lives of another young peep generation.
Obviously, since they’d wasted so much time on the opening number, the Oscar 1988 producers were going to keep the rest of the show lean and mean, right? Hell no! Who wants to find out the winners when we can spend 12 long minutes on the up-and-comers of today vainly trying to sing and dance?
Two Hollywood legends tell us we’ll be seeing a lot of these faces, but how right were they?
Lucille Ball Age (in ’89): 77
Since:This was her last public appearance. She died less than a month later, April 26, 1989
Blair Underwood Age (in ’89): 24
Famous Parents: none
Then: “LA Law”
Since: Pretty consistent TV work, including “Sex and the City” and “In Treatment.”
Awards: none (2 Golden Globe nominations)
Holly Robinson Age (in ’89): 24
Famous Parents: Gordon from “Sesame Street”!
Then: “21 Jump Street”
Since: Author of a girl’s guide to football (Her husband is former NFL QB Rodney Peete). Just popped up in a commercial for celebrating black women as part of African American History Month. So she wants us to celebrate herself.
Joely Fisher Age (in ’89): 21
Famous Parents: Eddie Fisher & Connie Stevens
Then: Bob Hope’s USO special from the previous year. Not much else besides her mom’s Vegas show.
Since: Small TV parts, finally got to be a series regular on “Ellen”. Now the wife on “‘Til Death.”
Awards: none (1 Golden Globe nod, Miss Golden Globe 1992)
Keith Coogan Age (in ’89): 19
Famous Parents: Grandson of Jackie Coogan
Then: More well-known as a young child on “The Waltons.” Had decent hit the year before with “Adventures in Babysitting.”
Since: Small parts in a few movies into the early ’90s, then rare TV work. According to his Wikipedia page, which he totally wrote himself, he then bummed around South America and Alaska, where he met Werner Herzog. They may do a project together.
Patrick O’Neal Age (in ’89): 21
Famous Parents: Ryan O’Neal
Then: The name seems to be a misprint onscreen – Patrick O’Neal didn’t have a son named Patrick O’Neal Jr. But RYAN O’Neal has a son Patrick the same age who went into acting, so let’s assume it’s him. Anyway, in 1988, he’d done….nothing.
Since: Some small parts in “Die Hard 2” and “Wild Hogs.” Full-time broadcaster for Fox Sports Net in LA, covering local games.
Tyrone Power Jr. Age (in ’89): 30
Famous Parents: Tyrone Power
Then: One of the aliens in “Cocoon.”
Since: Despite looking A LOT like his handsome father, very little. Some direct to video, some small parts overseas.
Carrie Hamilton Age (in ’89): 25
Famous Parents: Carol Burnett
Then: Two seasons on “Fame”
Since: First touring company of “Rent.” Some episodes of various TV shows, often with her mother. Despite a long battle with addiction, it was cancer that got her – She died in 2002. A theater at the Pasadena Playhouse is named after her (mom’s on the board.)
Ricki Lake Age (in ’89): 20
Famous Parents: none
Since: Smaller parts in film, reoccurring TV roles until the early ’90s, when she lost over 100 pounds and landed her eponymous TV show. The show ran until 2004, and since then, it’s been some TV hosting gigs and Lifetime movies.
Awards: none (1 Daytime Emmy nom, 1 Independent Spirit Award nom.)
Tricia Leigh Fisher Age (in ’89): 21
Famous Parents: Eddie Fisher & Connie Stevens
Then: A handful of bit TV parts, mom’s Vegas show
Since: Popping up on whatever show her sister’s a regular on.
Corey Feldman Age (in ’89): 17
Famous Parents: none
Then: It was the Golden Age of The Coreys – he had racked up quality child parts in “The Goonies” and “Stand By Me,” and successfully moved into more teenaged fare like “The Lost Boys.”
Since: Where to start? A year later, it was pretty much over. As you can see from the video, he’s just in his Michael Jackson apprentice phase, and, not surprisingly, was on a lot of drugs. There were more drugs, then reality shows.
Patrick Dempsey Age (in ’89): 23
Famous Parents: none
Then: “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The previous year, he married Corey Parker’s mom, who was 48 at the time.
Since: He’s on some doctor show, playing Dr. O’Kissable or something.
Awards: none (1 Emmy nom, 2 Golden Globe noms)
Corey Parker Age (in ’89): 23
Famous Parents: Well, Patrick Dempsey was his step-dad. That counts, right?
Then: “Biloxi Blues,” some afterschool specials.
Since: Short-lived show in the early ’90s, not much since. Some acting coaching in the 2000s, moved to Memphis.
Chad Lowe Age (in ’89): 21
Famous Parents: Rob Lowe’s parents
Then: Small TV roles – drag comedy “Nobody’s Perfect” was about to come out.
Since: TV guest roles, not being married to Hilary Swank anymore.
Awards: 1 Emmy for a guest spot on “Life Goes On.”
Tracy Nelson Age (in ’89): 25
Famous Parents: Ricky Nelson
Then: “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” just started on “Father Dowling Mysteries.”
Since: Beat Hodgkin’s, but has yet to beat a career of TV guest roles.
D.A. Pawley Age (in ’89): ??
Famous Parents: Since his few credits can’t agree on how his name’s spelled, I’ll go with no.
Then: Anonymous Dirty Dancer
Since: Completely disappeared. Can’t find a single thing on him besides appearing in “Hocus Pocus” as “Fireman #1” in 1993.
Christian Slater Age (in ’89): 19
Famous Parents: Dad did some time on soap operas. Mom’s a casting exec, which is handy.
Then: “Heathers.” That year. So things were on the upswing.
Since: Back and forth between good movies and bad until the late-’90s. Then more bad parts, more TV, run-ins with the law. First crack at his own show just got canceled.
Awards: none (1 Independent Spirit Award nomination)
Savion Glover Age (in ’89): 15
Famous Parents: none
Then: Broadway debut at age 12 in “The Tap Dance Kid.”
Since: Almost all stage, but big stuff – dancing/choreographing “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.” Did motion capture dancing for “Happy Feet.” Now in a show where he taps to classical music.
Awards: 2 Tony nods, 1 win
Melora Hardin Age (in ’89): 21
Famous Parents: Jerry Hardin – lifelong TV character actor
Then: Mid-size parts in “Iron Eagle,” “Soul Man,” played Baby on the failed Dirty Dancing TV series.
Since: Hey! It’s Jan from “The Office”!
Matt Lattanzi Age (in ’89): 30
Famous Parents: none
Then: Mr. Olivia Newton-John (who’s 11 years older), some bit parts.
Since: Very little. Then they divorced in ’95. After that he’s done nothing. It’s more than a little bit of a cheat including him and Powers Jr. here, since Michelle Pfeiffer (30) and Tom Hanks (32) were both up for awards that night.
Kenny Ortega, choreographer Age (in ’89): 38
Then: Had just had hit choreographing “Dirty Dancing.”
Since: …but he really wanted to direct. So he made “Newsies.” And the “High School Musical” movies.
Marvin Hamlisch, composer Age (in ’89): 44
Then: “Chorus Line,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Sting,” “Ordinary People.” He’s a busy guy.
Now: Pops conductor at 7 different symphony orchestras.
Fred Ebb, lyricist Age (in ’89): 60
Then: You may have heard of some the musicals he wrote lyrics for: “Cabaret”? “Chicago”? “New York, New York” ring a bell?
Since: Died in 2004.
Now that your eye bleach has had a nice time to soak in from the Snow White number, I figure you’re ready for the even more bewildering number from the Oscars 20 years ago.
Oscar Stars of Tomorrow!
Part 1 (optional):
Introduction with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and 20-year-old topical humor (Steve Garvey! Dan Quayle!)
Part 2 (mandatory):
19 of tomorrow’s biggest award-winning stars sing and dance for, like, 17 hours straight. Featuring two Coreys, a TV doctor, a talk show host, and an actually talented person. Plus 14 other people. Grief counselors will be available if you make it through the whole thing.
Next: Where are they now?
Sure, the Rob Lowe/Snow White opening number is awful to watch on TV, but imagine having to sit through it in person! Let’s take a look at some of the brave celebrities who endured.
Jack Nicholson Age (in ’89): 51
Then: Was on a roll. Followed up “Terms of Endearment” (for which he won an Oscar) with “Prizzi’s Honor” and “Witches of Eastwick.”
After: Has been alternating great and “eh” films pretty solidly since then. For every “The Departed,” there’s a “Man Trouble,” for every “A Few Good Men,” there’s a “Wolf.” Still has a better career than everyone on this list.
Anjelica Huston Age: 37
Then: Won an Oscar a few years before for “Prizzi’s Honor.”
After: Ended her 16-year relationship with Nicholson that year after he knocked up another woman. Then she really broke out, with “Enemies, A Love Story,” “The Grifters,” and “Addams Family.” Now she’s in everything Wes Anderson does.
Michael Douglas Age: 44
Then: Right at the end of a string of great hits, “Romancing the Stone,” “Wall Street,” and “Fatal Attraction.”
Now: Too busy staring at Catherine Zeta-Jones and thinking, “Boy, am I one lucky bastard” to make very good movies. Mostly misses since then, with some glaring exceptions (ie. “Wonder Boys.”)
Robin Williams Age: 37
Then: Had just finished segueing to serious films with “Dead Poets Society.”
Now: He’s got six movies slated for 2009 release. God help us all.
Kevin Kline Age: 41
Then: The guy about to get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “A Fish Called Wanda.”
After: A couple good movies (“Soapdish” – go rent it), a lot of bad ones, and theater. Let’s not talk about the Pink Panther remake, OK? It’s too upsetting.
Michelle Pfeiffer Age: 30
Then: Was seriously in her golden age in ’89. She’d just done “Married to the Mob,” and “Dangerous Liaisons;” “Fabulous Baker Boys” was up next.
Now: Took some time off for her kids and got much more selective. Seems to have started to work more often.
Martin Landau Age: 57
Then: Work horse character actor (he was in six movies in 1987, none very interesting.) Nominated that night for “Tucker: A Man and His Dream.” Appears absolutely delighted by Snow White singing at him.
After: Scored two more nominations in the next five years, winning for “Ed Wood.” Continues to be a work horse.
Tom Hanks Age: 32
Then: Broke several years of floundering to get an Oscar nomination for “Big.”
After: More years of floundering followed, until “A League of Their Own.” The next two years, he won Oscars. Now he’s big fancy Hollywood actor/producer/director guy.
Sigourney Weaver Age: 39
Then: Was having the best year ever. Scored the rare feat of two Oscar noms in a single year – one for “Working Girl,” one for “Gorillas in the Mist.”
After: Didn’t win either. Is now taking supporting or ensemble roles, usually in idiosyncratic stuff. Looks better at her age than you do at yours.
Sylvia Sidney, sitting right behind her, made one more movie (“Mars Attacks”) before passing on in 1999, age 88.
Dustin Hoffman Age: 51
Then: Had made up for “Ishtar” the previous year by making “Rain Man.”
After: Won Oscar that night. Also taking more supporting and idiosyncratic roles, but just got a bunch of attention for “Last Chance Harvey.”
Glenn Close Age: 42
Then: One-two punch of “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Fatal Attraction.”
Now: One-two punch of “The Shield” and “Damages.”
Ryan O’Neal Age: 47
Then: Career was chugging along, but he was about to take a break from acting. “Tough Guys Don’t Dance” got slammed hard the previous year.
Now: Recently sentenced to rehab after he was arrested (with his son) for meth possession.
Farrah Fawcett Age: 42
Then: Had tried on to critical acclaim she got for “The Burning Bed” with middling success.
After: Several brief TV shows, weird Letterman appearance, showing up here and there. Now battling anal cancer.
Cybill Shepherd Age: 39
Then: Star of “Moonlighting,” which had jumped the shark a year before. Ratings were down after a long hiatus due to a Writer’s Strike, and Bruce Willis had just had a massive hit with “Die Hard.”
After: Moonlighting went off the air six episodes later (though the last one is pretty funny.) Her ’90s self-named TV show ran for three years, since then, TV movies and gig on “The L Word.”
Then: Oh, we’ll be getting to him. But that might be Norman Fell he’s sitting with. The former Mr. Roper died in 1999.
Robert Downey Jr. Age: 23
Then: Break-out brat packer thanks to “Less Than Zero.” Sitting with girlfriend Sarah Jessica Parker – you know, that girl from “Flight of the Navigator.”
After:“Chaplin,” drugs, drugs, drugs, jail, drugs, drugs, drugs, “Ally McBeal,” drugs, drugs, rehab, “Iron Man.”
Gregory Hines Age: 43
Then: Dancer who broke out into actor/dancer roles in “White Nights,” and “Tap.”
After: Started choreographing and acting more, dancing less, showing up in “Waiting to Exhale” and “Will and Grace.” He passed away in 2003.
So, you’ve watched the ’89 opening number. Good for you.You might wonder: What’s happened to these people in 20 years? Has Rob Lowe sung since? Are any of the Cocoanut Grove folks still with us? Want to know who behind the scenes is to blame for this catastrophe? Read on!
The Oscar presentation in 1989 – 20 years ago! – was a watershed in bad taste. I usually like things that are tacky and overdone, but this just stretched all credulity. It takes something special to drive Julie Andrews to trash you to the press.
We’re going to be taking a look at the two god-awful numbers of the evening: The infamous opening number starring Snow White and Rob Lowe, and the lesser-known “Stars of Tomorrow” number which is somehow just as bad on a smaller budget.
Up first: The opening number!
Note: The videos and images are all taken from a second-generation copy of a 20-year-old VHS tape. I’m not apologizing, because all considering, they look good.