Monthly Archives: June 2016

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Mike and Dave are real-life brothers who trolled for wedding dates on Craigslist. Spoiler alert: the ad did not net them true love, but it did earn them fame and fortune, so I guess there’s a happy ending in there somewhere.

Now Hollywood’s got hold of this “true story” and they’ve raunched it up to 11. It’s rated R and believe me, that’s a hard R. There were some crude laughs, some I don’t even want to admit to, but there were dozens of scenes that went on for much too long. It’s a thin story mike-and-dave-need-wedding-dateswith paper cut-out dolls instead of characters, both of which provide the sparest of backdrops for a series of lewd sketches that aren’t so much plot-driven as rude one-upmanship.

The movie is determined to check all the boxes: swearing, sex, nudity, drugs. It uses prop genitalia, merkins (a pubic toupee), and cock socks (otherwise known as “modesty pouches”). And it also features the liberal use of butt doubles. Butt doubles for everyone! (well okay, not for Zac Efron, who has yet to see one that’s better than his own). How does one go about hiring said butt double? An agency will send over a big catalogue of butts for Anna Kendrick to look through and she might select several to peruse in person before selecting her butt’s representative. I assume the temptation to upgrade one’s assets would be enormous.

A body double working under Screen Actors Guild guidelines will be paid $795 for a full 8-hour shift, while part-specific models typically get a rate of $445.30. Of course, naked cheeks net double pay, and an “elite butt double” (whatever thKHekcf3at means) can command a much higher figure. And I’m sure Anna Kendrick springs for the premium butt. Wouldn’t you?

In case it’s not obvious, I found researching body double pay rates much more interesting
than Mike and Dave’s antics. And actually, they’re quite upstaged in the movie by their dates. Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza out-bro the bros. That’s not an endorsement, mind you, just a statement of fact: in a competition of who’s downest and dirtiest, the ladies take the crown. They’re like the love children of Amy Schumer and Danny McBride. So, um, score 1 for feminism (she says as she thrusts out her tits) but score 0 for the movie going public.


The Fundamentals of Caring

I am having trouble sorting out my feelings for this movie: on the one hand, it’s plump with clichés like an overcooked wiener in a bun of unsubtlety. But that’s no ordinary mustard on this hot dog; it’s the fancy hand-pumped kind I got “on tap” from Maille in Paris, a beautiful mustard with Chablis and black truffles.

Okay, I took that metaphor too far. My point is (and I do have one): this movie the-fundamentals-of-caringhits a LOT of “road trip” clichés coupled with a lot of “my disabled buddy” clichés. And it has Selena Gomez. But it’s still offbeat and oddly charming and yes, this wiener won me over.

Ben (Paul Rudd) is a downtrodden man completing his training in caregiving, where the motto is, “Care, but not too much.” And that’s his plan. This is just a job. But he winds up working for an 18 year old young man named Trevor (Craig Roberts) with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A progressive loss of muscle function means that Trevor’s in a wheel chair with limited use of his arms. The disease has NOT touched Trevor’s razor wit, his mean sense of humour, or his nasty predilection for pranks. This isn’t going to be an easy babysitting job after all – especially when the two hit the open road with a specially-equipped van full of drugs and life-sustaining equipment. Oh the fun they’ll have literally risking Trevor’s life to see some lousy American road side attractions.

Paul Rudd is the fancy mustard. I adore him. 60% of the time, I love him every time. I mean, let’s be serious for a moment. Is therefundamentalsofcaring-roberts-rudd-bovine-770x470 a single person on the planet who doesn’t love him? He might just be the most universally beloved actor that America has ever or will ever produce. He’s adorable. He’s still playing adorable and he’s middle aged!

Writer-director Rob Burnett manages to find a few new nuggets among the usual disability tropes. He’s not afraid of dark humour, but this movie still manages to be fairly lightweight. And I have to give him mad props for finding a way to use a Leonard Cohen song. I could hardly believe my little ears; they turned pink in utter delight.

This is the perfect little movie to accompany a glass of sangria at the end of a summer night – easy watching for easy sipping. Hot dogs are never easy eating for me but I rate this movie 4 gourmet all-beef wieners out of 5. It’s on Netflix right now.

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

I know exactly what is wrong with this movie: it deviates too much from Seth Grahame-Smith’s book – and for that matter, from Jane Austen’s.

Grahame-Smith’s novel was a clever and funny mash-up that clearly honoured its source material (credit to Quirk Books editor Jason Rekulak, who came up with the idea). Fans of Austen will follow along delightedly, finding all of their favourite bits suddenly transformed by the presence of the undead and the ninja Bennett sisters’ unparalleled fighting skills. It almost feels like untitledAusten left her novel wide open for a zombie attack, having an independent heroine spoiling for a fight and lots of solitary carriage rides through unpopulated areas.

Unfortunately, writer-director Burr Steers thought he knew better than both Grahame-Smith AND Austen, and departs from their material quite substantially. This from the esteemed writer of How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days.

The movie has glimpses of period drama and some real horror gore but has no idea how to unite the two. Instead, it drives toward an action flick, concocting very weird scenarios in which the zombies are not just a plague but a formidable, willful enemy. Lily James acquits herself well as the delightful maxresdefaultMiss Bennett, and seems to remember that she’s supposed to be having fun. The movie, however, takes itself too seriously and winds up being ludicrous. All the juicy bits of Austen’s writing are MIA and the zombies lack bite (it’s rated PG-13) so it rather fails on both counts. The zombies keep looking for brains, but they won’t find any here.


That Awkward Moment

Last night at the BET Awards, Michael B. Jordan won best actor for Creed. Last night during the BET Awards I watched a movie starring Michael B. Jordan called That Awkward Moment, a mistitled piece of cinema if I’ve ever seen one because at 1h34m, you can pack in hundreds of awkward moments, and they did.

That Awkward Moment stars two promising young actors, and Zac Efron. Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan have been in dozens of movies between them these past two or three years, some exceptional, some exceptionally bad. And I get it: you’re young, new to Hollywood, new to money. Make bank! Dolla dolla dolla bills, y’all. I get it. But there’s a limit, I think, to what an audience will tolerate before turning its back, and Miles Teller is dangerously close.

Miles Teller just starred in the Oscar-nominated Whiplash in 2014, so how can he have already wracked up so much ill-will? Well, besides this movie, he’s starred in 3 increasingly apathetic Brody-Whiplash-1200Divergent movies, the critically-panned Fantastic Four, and an embarrassingly poor attempt at comedy called Get A Job. He’s been in 8 films since Whiplash and not one of them reminds us that this kid had a good thing going. He’s got a new one coming out with Jonah Hill called War Dogs and we’re all hoping it’ll be a return to form, probably no one more so than his agent, because while they’re both earning money, Teller is decided not earning praise (or success at the box office), and Hollywood has a pretty short memory for little movies like Whiplash.

Michael B. Jordan, you may note, also has that Fantastic Four atrocity under his own belt. And he’s also got a really great indie movie to his name in Fruitvale Station. If you haven’t seen it, you really must. It was robbed at the Oscars and was nominated for nothing but it was one of fruitvale-station-main1the best in 2013, recounting the true story and final hours of a young man who is erroneously gunned down by police. Jordan, who’d mostly done TV up until then  (I knew him as a kid on The Wire but he was also in Friday Night Lights and Parenthood), really proved himself on screen but has had only a small handful of films since then, unlike his frequent co-star, Miles Teller. In fact, the only one  he did without him is the only one worth mentioning: Creed. Reunited with Fruitvale Station’s writer\director Ryan Coogler, Creed was an enormous success. It honoured the Rocky legacy while establishing its own dynasty. It had important champions in Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers but quickly won over audiences everywhere. It’s rumoured that Jordan will be joining the cast of Marvel’s Black Panther movie, but that’s all he’s got on the horizon. Besides War Dogs, Miles Teller has another one in the bank, something in post-production and 2 in pre-production. So tell me: what the hell is the difference? Two handsome young dudes with great roles in their back pockets. One is working back to back to back, and the other very little.

So I’ll ask again: what is the difference? Because I can see one glaring difference, and I hate how it sounds. I hate it.

Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star

Ms. Caron is the warm kind of story-teller that makes you fall under her spell. She on her sofa, you on yours, a pot of tea (and by tea I mean wine) between you, and you’ve got a lovely way to spend an hour catching up with an old friend.

Leslie Caron was a 17 year old ballerina in Paris where she’d just gotten her first solo, dancing in Oedipus and The Sphinx. Gene Kelly happened to be in the audience that night, and happened to think she was great. Hollywood was not on Ms. Caron’s radar and she had no ambitions to be a star, but agreed to a screen test “to be polite.” Two weeks later she was whisked away to L.A., signed to a 7-year contract with a major movie studio, and was starring opposite Kelly in An American In Paris.

In this documentary by venerable Canadian film maker Larry Weinstein, Ms. Caron is chatty, humble, engaging, and candid. As a young starlet, she rebelled against the Hollywood machine and bucked against the male-dominated industry. All these years later, you can still see the dancer in Ms. Caron, and the rebellious streak in her as well. Her posture is straight and proud, and her eyes positively dance recounting stories of all the men with whom she’s shared the screen: Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Warren Beatty, and even Johnny Depp. Her career has had longevity and reach well beyond a dancer’s, having proven Gene Kelly’s hunch by earning Oscar nominations and Emmy awards as an actor in her own right.

Ms. Caron notes “I have a great deal of trouble imagining myself as an old lady” and watching her, so will you. She is alive, sparkling with insight, still an artist wanting nothing more than to practice her craft. Documentarian Weinstein has kept the story lean with a running time well under an hour, but every moment is filled with vigour. You will fall in love with Ms. Caron, and her little dog too, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll suffer intense cravings for the immediate screening of some 1950s cinematic history.


Raiders!The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

In the summer of 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark hit theatres, impressing untold numbers of children, but three little boys in particular.

Chris, Jayson, and Eric collaborated in making a scene-for-scene recreation of the movie. Just 12 years old when they started, they spent every spring break, summer vacation, and Christmas holiday shooting scenes for the next 7 years. The next 7 years, guys! How many kids do you know with that kind of attention span? Or for that matter, how unusual to keep the same interests (and friends) all throughout puberty!

Filmed over 7 years, the kids get progressively bigger. The scenes, however, were shot out of order. It’s a real document of their childhood if not totally accurate to Spielberg’s vision. The stunts and effects were all kid-conceived and kid-supervised. They lit each other on fire, they leapt from moving vehicles. They kept their parents on the down-lo.

All these years later, they reunite (as adults, some of them with kids the age they were when they first started) to do the one scene that they never pulled off in their childhood: the airplane scene. Unwilling to compromise, they raise money to build an actual plane, and plan to actually blow it up. They’ve got 9 days to pull off 124 shots, and they’re already crazy over budget. Plus, their wives and bosses aren’t too happy with them. Is this the fulfillment of a childhood dream, or a case of you can’t go home again?

Either way, this is a cool movie. It puts you in touch with that joyful passion that maybe only kids can possess. This movie has champions in Eli Roth and Ernest Cline, author of Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One. It ignites the geeky fire in all of us, and angers the responsible adult in me. It might also make you a little weepy for the dreams you left behind.




Tell me: what weird thing did you spend a lot of time doing as a kid? I wrote plays, then directed them. I also devoted a lot of time to highly-produced lip-sync concerts where my friends and I covered Jem tunes.



13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

I was a little torn about this one: it stars my beloved John Krasinski, but it’s directed by my arch enemy, Michael Bay. When I saw the trailers in theatres, it wasn’t possible to sit through the two minutes of footage without smirking – yet another opportunity for Bay to wave his proud American flag. Except it’s impossible to feel sympathy for anyone in this movie, since the Americans weren’t supposed to be there in the first place. They’re secret soldiers for a reason – as in, shhh, don’t tell the UN. I passed on the movie while it was in theatres but when I attempted to track it down now that it’s available to rent, images.jpgthe best I could describe it was “that stupid war movie with Chris Pratt.” Because in my mind I’d confused two of my most adored chubby funny guys on TV-turned ripped movie stars. Also: Chris Pratt starred in Zero Dark Thirty. Different war, same shit. And Michael Bay is not Kathryn Bigelow.

The first thing I noticed about this movie is that everybody has a beard. Everybody has a beard! Michael Bay has literally done his casting by watching whatever television shows were available on this in-flight menu (lazily casting a couple from The Office – both of Pam’s beaus!): 24, Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie. Then he told all his handsome-but-not-too-handsome TV stars to grow beards. Must be bearded.

John Krasinski plays a contractor – he’s not actually a soldier because of course the Americans aren’t really supposed to be there, it isn’t really an embassy, so they don’t rate real military. They’re hired guns, and they’re resented by the officials they’ve been hired to babysit.

It’s a Michael Bay movie, so you know it’s bloated. It’s bloated with glossy, whispery flashback scenes. It’s bloated with homoerotic, soft porn shots of sweaty muscles getting worked out. It’s exactly the kind of movie where a dude will fight a holy war in shorts and think nothing of it. Where all the characters in Krasinski’s periphery are cardboard cut-outs until Michael Bay brilliantly inserts one piddly little scene in which every single one of them krasinski2-xlargesimultaneously Skype their families so that we know they have loved ones at home and are not as expendable as they feel. They’re the same loved ones these guys abandoned to fight a war that isn’t theirs, that they don’t even understand, in a country they don’t care about, unable to distinguish bad guys from good, and won’t be rewarded for either way. It’s real uplifting!

It’s actually fairly mature and restrained for a Michael Bay movie. You would only get medium-belligerent drunk making a drinking game out of spotting crisp American flags waving around in a light breeze. Don’t worry, his patriotism is alive and erect as ever; he’s an apologist for this shitstorm if nothing else. And of course there’s no character development; its excessive 144 minutes are devoted to packing in as many explosions as possible – they still give Mikey a chubby after all this time. He never misses an opportunity to show us a dead body or a dangling limb. He lives for this stuff. Krasinski is woefully out of place, too good for his surroundings. Sticks out like a sore trigger finger. Hopefully he’s learned a lesson, and bought a ridiculously nice car with the pay cheque.

13 Hours is better than all the Transformers movies combined, which isn’t saying nearly enough. There’s still more merit in the first 5 minutes, or any 5 minutes of The Hurt Locker, than in the entire 2.5 hours of this piece of glorious war-porn Americana. God bless Michael Bay.



Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Based on a memoir, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the “true story” of Kim Baker, an American journalist sent to Afghanistan to be a war reporter despite having absolutely no experience (being unmarried and childless was short straw enough). In Afghanistan she is immediately confronted with the concept ftf-11806r_2_wide-54dfd259b4cfc0e148859666f964e90321c3fd1b-s900-c85of “Kabul cute” – women who were a 4 back home in New York are suddenly 10s. Tina Fey plays the 4. Margot Robbie plays a 15.

Afghanistan is windy and gritty, basically a forgotten war now that Iraq is a better news story, but the more she sticks with it, the more Kim elicits candid remarks from her subjects. Billy Bob Thornton plays the guy who finds her nothing but a nuisance, admonishing her not to sleep with his marines.

It’s actually not a bad movie, considering it bombed at the box office. What went wrong? Possibly people didn’t like to see one of their favourite comediennes amid such a serious backdrop – it’s hard to laugh at limbs being blown off. And the very same war fatigue mentioned in the movie may contribute not wanting to hear about it in theatres, either. Bill Murray’s Rock the Kasbah suffered the same fate. And maybe Tina Fey’s just not ready to cross over genres, or to headline her own movie alone. Martin Freeman was great support in the movie but didn’t get any screen time in the trailers. And Whiskey_Tango_Foxtrot_reviewthe trailer, for that matter, played up the movie’s comic aspect even though the movie’s a dramedy at best, lobbing one-liners like hand grenades into a pretty grim war zone.

But Fey actually does well, if you give her the chance. I thought she and Freeman were great together. The movie just doesn’t have a lot to say. It’s not a commentary on the war so much as one woman’s less glamorous version of Eat, Pray, Love. The real Kim Barker never broke any major news stories so there’s not a lot of insight and not much authenticity. I think the script had some great pieces but suffered from abrupt lurches in tone. Overall though, I’m glad I gave it my time, even if I didn’t Lima Mike Foxtrot Alpha Oscar.


The Congressman

The congressman (Treat Williams) is having a bit of a slump: his marriage has failed and the media is persecuting him for not standing for the pledge the-congressman-posterof allegiance. His job’s in jeopardy but he’s still out hitting the pavement, trying to do right by his constituents and he finds out that a remote fishing community is the perfect place to hide from a scandal.

Robert J. Mrazek, who spent 10 years representing Long Island, drew on his experience to write and co-direct with Jared Martin.

The congressman is rejuvenated by his time on the island, possibly because nature is always restorative to us humans, but also because the islanders, some of them at odds with each other, some of them direct competitors, still find a way to work together to keep their way of life alive. They overcome their differences to take care of each other – a lesson the house of representatives in Washington could stand to learn.

It’s not a flattering picture of American politics, but it’s quite sincere in its delivery.


Never Work With Children

Never work with animals or children.” – W.C. Fields.

Both kids and animals can be scene-stealing and unpredictable. They’re threats on set – not just because a tantrum might hold up filming, but because the ability of a child to do good work is pretty damaging to ego-driven actors. I know for a fact that a child could not do my job. Could a kid do yours?  It was a little controversial when 9 year old cutie pie Jacob Tremblay failed to receive Jacob-Tremblay-Spirit-Awards-2016an Oscar nomination for his work in Room, but the truth is, the members of the Academy will always be reluctant to admit than a 9 year old may have out-acted Leonardo DiCaprio. Patty Duke was 16 when she won for The Miracle Worker. Keisha Castle-Hughes was just 13 when she was nominated for Whale Rider; same for Saoirse Ronan for Atonement. Quvenzhané Wallis was 9 when she was nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild but the title of youngest nominee goes to Justin Henry who was 7 when he filmed Kramer Vs Kramer, and 8 when he attended the ceremony.

Shirley Temple: Shirley started acting when she was just 3 and broke out in the movie Bright Eyes, a film written as a vehicle for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in 1935, at the age of 7 and remained the top shirley-temple-2box-office draw for four years running in the late 1930s, with hits like Curly Top and Heidi defining her career. Her wholesome image led to merchandising opportunities and soon she had a line of clothing, dolls and dishes, which doubled what she made in movies. She was tabloid fodder too: in American people gossiped about whether her curls were real, often tugging on her hair in person. Abroad it was thought that she was not a child at all, but a 30 year old dwarf, and even the Vatican set about confirming it. At the top of her fame she even got to meet the Roosevelts at the White House, but her popularity decreased sharply when she hit puberty, a fate all too many child stars know, but her agent didn’t see it coming and actually turned down the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland would snap it up). Several films made while she was a teenager flopped and she was retired completely at the ripe old age of 22.

Macauley Culkin:Little Mac started acting at the age of 4. John Hughes discovered him for the John Candy film Uncle Buck but it was his next film, Home Alone, that would make Culkin a star. He hosted SNL at the age of 11, starred in Michael Jackson’s music video for Black or White (and also in maxresdefaultMichael Jackson’s trial for sexual molestation), and followed up with a successful sequel, and memorable roles in My Girl, Richie Rich, and The Good Son. But guess what? Puberty! Macauley Culkin retired from acting at age 14 and nobody heard much from him except for the occasional arrest for drugs. He’s since popped back up doing very sporadic work and performing in a comedic rock band called Pizza Underground (he has previously stormed off a stage during a kazoo solo, which is not weird at all), and looking so haggard at times that fans worry he’s dying. So far, still alive.

Jodie Foster: Jodie started her career as a child model at the age of 3 (she was the Coppertone girl) and made the leap into acting a couple of years later. Her breakthrough was of course in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which she Jodie Foster Winner Of Palme D Or At The Cannes Festival For The Role In The Movie Taxi Driverportrayed a child prostitute. The role earned her her first Oscar nomination. She followed that up with successful turns in Freaky Friday and Bugsy Malone, making her a bona fide teen idol and the first on this list to continue working into her teens, and of course beyond. She interrupted her successful career to attend (and graduate) Yale, and though she loved her time as a student, she knew she wanted to pursue acting as a career. [Sidebar: during that time she was stalked by John Hinckley, who later attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagon in a bid to impress her.] Roles as an adult were sparse at first but she broke through for a second time playing a rape survivor in The Accused, and this time she won her Academy Award. She followed that up with The Silence of the Lambs, a wise choice that cemented her as a star, and then turned director with Little Man Tate. Her career has had some ups and downs but she’s worked consistently and just got her star on the walk of fame earlier this year, having directed George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Money Monster.

Haley Joel Osment: He got his acting start in a commerciGTY_haley_joel_osment_1_kab_140916_16x9_992al for Pizza Hut and achieved fame by the age of 11 , thanks to a starring role in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense that garnered him an Oscar nomination (though he’d also appeared in Forrest Gump). He capitalized on his fame with follow-up roles in Pay It Forward and AI: Artificial haley-joel-osmentt-forrest-gump-today-150809_882bcb0edac984d7a624db306093e62b_today-inline-largeIntelligence, earning him praise and Roger Ebert’s assessment that he was one of the finest working actors of the time. But you know what happens next: puberty, and its accompanying acting slump. He went dormant for a while, except for the obligatory child actor DUI, but is now back at it, acting in films that nobody sees.

River Phoenix: Like many, River got his start in commercials but you all know his claim to fame: Stand By Me.  He’d grown up in a weird family and never attended school, but he was gifted when it came to acting. Stand By Me made him a household name and got him on the cover of Teen Beat and its ilk, but his next few roles were duds. Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty would earn him an Oscar nomination though and put him back on the map. His role river24opposite Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho established him as an edgy heartthrob with leading man potential, but immersing himself in intense roles was taking its toll, as were his struggles with addictions. River had turned to acting in a bid to support his family but music was his first love, and he started playing in a band. He even got to play with his friend Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), which is what his siblings were there to see that night at the Viper Room. Flea was onstage playing with Johnny Depp when River was outside dying on the sidewalk. His brother Joaquin dialed 911 while his sister Rain gave him mouth to mouth. He was rushed to the hospital but died, of a drug overdose, at the age of 23. Fans were shocked – he’d had a squeaky-clean image until then (“the vegan James Dean” they called him) and the press loved the story, so much so that they broadcast Joaquin’s 911 call and snuck into the funeral home to snap pics of him in his casket. He was slated to start filming Interview With the Vampire just 2 weeks after his death – Christian Slater replaced him, and donated his salary to two of Phoenix’s favourite causes, Earth Save and Earth Trust.

2b9e3a72f7f47cedcfbd61d1ba1ca0ddAbigail Breslin: A familiar refrain: she began appearing in commercials at the age of 3. Her first film role was with Joaquin Phoenix in Signs, but of course what you really know her from is putting the sunshine into Little Miss Sunshine, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. She later teamed up with another onAbigail-breslin-attends-the-fox-fx-summer-2015-tca-party-in-west-hollywood_1 this list, Jodie Foster, for Nim’s Island, and had a fun and memorable role in Zombieland. She also took on Broadway, playing that role that Patty Duke made famous in The Miracle Worker, and acted opposite powerhouses Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County.

Tatum O’Neal: She is the youngest person to have ever won an Academy Award, for starring opposite her father Ryan in Paper Moon. Did it fuck her up? Of course it did. She had a tempestuous, abusive relationship with her 1393376798_1512567_tatum-o-neal-zoomfather, which culminated in her getting molested by his drug dealer. She went on to star in The Bad News Bears and Little Darlings, and even became Michael Jackson’s first girlfriend, but she couldn’t hold on. Drugs derailed her. She made her one-time husband, volatile tennis star John McEnroe, look like the stable one in the relationship. She’s a millionaire smoking crack in her Manhattan apartment, unable to stop even when her behaviour was destroying her relationship with her own kids. Let’s hope the cycle does not repeat.

Anna Paquin: Anna is the second-youngest Oscar winner, for her role in The AnnaPaquinPiano, with her only previous credit playing a skunk in a school play. Did it fuck her up? Looks like no. She continued with moderate success as a child actress while also attending school, including one year at Columbia before roles in Almost Famous and the X-Men franchise helped her to transition into acting as a young adult. Then she hit it out of the park with her first role in television, starring in True Blood where she not only earned professional acclaim, she also met her husband, co-star Stephen Moyer. She has children who love her, step-children who tolerate her, and is managing to live scandal-free.

Judith Barsi: Perhaps not a household name, her biggest on-screen credit was Jaws 4: The Revenge, but she also provided voicework for some of my favourite 80s animated films, The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven. By the time she was in grade 4 she was pulling in six figures, Screen-Shot-2014-08-30-at-15_32_31supporting her parents and paying their mortgage. This made her father increasingly volatile, and his abuse made Judith act out, pulling out her own eyelashes as well as her cat’s whiskers. Judith’s mother planned on leaving him but never got around to it – he shot his wife and 10 year old daughter in the head as they slept, then soaked them in gasoline and burned them before later killing himself.

Drew Barrymore: Her first job was at 11 months old – she auditioned for a dog food commercial and landed the part when the dog bit her and she didn’t cry. Drew made her debut on film at the age of 5 but was 7 when she achieved stardom, starring in Spielberg’s E.T., and becoming the youngest SNL host that year. Crazy fame and permissive parenting meant she was smoking 5e49df114616b1b0fcfc816b66c83c63.jpgcigarettes at Studio 54 at the age of 9, drinking at age 11, and baby’s first snort of coke by 13. It’s not a joke – the poor dear was in rehab at 14 and spent 18 months in a facility for the mentally ill. She attempted suicide and went back to rehab, and it wasn’t until she lived with David Crosby and his wife that she was able to turn things around, suing for emancipation at the age of 15. The rockiness continued though. She posed nude with her fiancé at the age of 17, and then again for Playboy (her godfather, Steven Spielberg, gifted her with a quilt to “cover herself up” and her Playboy photos doctored by his art department so she appeared fully clothed). Eventually she straightened herself out and went on to act, produce, and start a loving and stable family of her own.

Jake Lloyd: Jake had appeared in Jingle All The Way and Apollo 11 before star-wars-actor-jake-lloyd-s-tragic-hollywood-story-just-got-even-worse-jake-lloyd-as-you-474872appearing in the 1999 Star Wars prequel, but you can bet it was being hand-picked by George Lucas to be the young Anakin Skywalker that was his claim to fame. Citing bullying and exhaustion, he retired from acting in 2001 and we didn’t hear much from him, other than appearances at comic book festivals, until he was arrested in 2015 for reckless driving and resisting arrest. He’d been off his meds for schizophrenia and had also recently attacked his mother so Lloyd is currently in a mental health institution seeking treatment.

Danny Lloyd: On a happier note, another Lloyd is living a different kind of life.what-ever-happened-to-little-danny-from-the-shining-one-of-the-scariest-horror-films-of-546885 You may remember young Danny as Jack Nicholson’s co-star in The Shining. He was chosen for his excellent attention span and managed to film the whole thing without ever realizing he was doing a horror film. Having hit this height so early on, he retired from acting at the age of 9 and today is a biology professor in Kentucky.