Top 5 Cringeworthy Films Because The Stars Had Work Done

5. Pangea Day  (2008) – Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan in the same movie.

4. Tie: Big Fish (2003) – There is that surgery thing where the woman comes out having this strange, new, faint essence of witch. It’s in the horrible smile and the eyebrows. Jessica Lange should have kept her face to herself. Moonstruck (1987) – Cher was only 41 in this one, but already you could see what was coming.

3. Rain (2006) – Faye Dunaway is 70 now. If I didn’t like Chinatown (1974) so much, I’d probably just let it go. She suffers from “madamism,” which is the process whereby a person, with repeated plastic surgeries, begins to look more and more like Madam the puppet.

2. Rocky Balboa (2006)  – 60-year-old fights for the heavyweight championship. I like Stallone and his surgeon has made his mug look ugly 56 rather than ugly 60. Good work, but I still cringed.

1. Sextette (1978) – Mae West was born in 1893. You do the math.

Honorable mention: Danny Thomas was famous for looking like a mummy at the end.

Child Stars: Are our children growing up too fast?

I was out on location in Glendora as a script doctor when I ran into a child star who shall remain nameless. I said hi to her, because I was working on her lines.

“F**k you,” she said.

I walked over behind the lights to her mother, who was talking to the producer.

“What do you want me to do?” the mother said when I complained. “She’s bigger than I am.”

The mom’s in costume design. I asked about the girl’s dad.

“He’s on contract to Paramount. When his daughter says jump, he acts like a mime on a pogo stick. When she tells him to zip it, he’s like the fly on a nun’s bluejeans.”

“Kids,” the producer says. His former son, now his daughter, is serving time for “acts of an otolaryngological nature with a palaeopropithecidae specimen belonging to the City of Industry.” In his/her defense, he/she was high on something all three times. She/he is the only person in zoo history  to have his/her pictures (both sexes) posted at the entrance turnstiles with a skull and crossbones superimposed upon them.

“She’s eight and she’s already booked a procedure at Planned Parenthood,” the mom says of her daughter. “It’s on a Monday four years from now.”

“They’re like feral cats,” the producer says. “Feral cats or, or, or lemurs, for Christ’s sake.”

“The other day,” the mom says, “she went into her room, gathered up all her clothes, carried them out into the back yard and dropped them on the lawn next to my phlox bed,  poured a bottle of Hendrik’s all over them, lit my Zippo and tossed it in, and burnt the whole pile to a god-damned crisp. Thank God it wasn’t a Spare the Air day.”

“That’s what they’ll do to your heart, too,” the producer says, “The part about the Zippo.”

Meanwhile, the star is talking to a gaffer who is sweating profusely as she tries to pull the wedding ring off his finger.

What’s ironic about all this is that I spent the morning working on her line “Daddy, is Mommy sick? Why was she moaning like that when I came home from school and her bedroom door was locked?”

Night out with one of the biggest, and I mean biggest, stars in Hollywood

So frustrating. I wish I could say his name. But I can’t.

Some hints would be ok, though, I think. He’s tall, not a runt like so many of them. In his 30s. In great shape. Made a movie sort of like Failure to Launch (2006), but bigger. Another one sort of like War of the Worlds (2005). Another one sort of like Atonement (2007).

I was just back from China and got called over to his house in Malibu by my agent, to tweak a script that “a mega director” is about to shoot. I’m in this ridiculous man cave working on my laptop and, well, I’ll call him The Star, says “Let’s go get a drink.”

The next thing I know, we’re over at Moonshadows Blue Lounge drinking Seelback cocktails and fending off beautiful young women. The Star spots a couple of grips he knows, anti-slumming, and we drink with them.

Then we’re in a cab heading over to the Father’s Office in Santa Monica, where we drink Tempteds and swap lies with a set decorator and three women from the makeup department on a straight-to-video shoot in the Valley.

The next thing I know, The Star is puking in the men’s room and begging me to find an A.A. meeting he can go to. No shortage of those, believe me, and the next thing I know, we’re in the cab again on the way to a church on Wilshire. We walk in and the guy talking takes one look at The Star and sits down. Now they’re all watching us and then The Star is asked to say a word or two. He drops into a chair with an audible clank from the two bottles of U’Luvka in his sports-coat pocket. He doesn’t say anything. After a long and uncomfortable silence, the meeting starts up again. The Star looks a little green and he finally stands up, takes out one of the bottles, uncaps it, takes a long drag, and the guy next to me is licking his lips. Bad karma all around.

The Star wants to see his mom, who lives in Glendale or Burbank, somewhere up that way, and we’re in her front yard with The Star lying in the grass weeping. She won’t come out. His father is a drunk somewhere in Texas or Montana. The Star is a complete mess and I’ve got nothing done on the script. Plus, I’m probably drunker than he is.

“I bought her this house,” he says.

The cab takes us home but he won’t let me come in, even to get my laptop. My agent has to retrieve it the next day. I had hoped to be able to say that The Star acted like a complete gentleman and you know what? Because I swiped a picture of him and “one of Hollywood’s hottest women” from his bedroom, in which they are doing something that never appeared on any DVD, even in the outtakes or blooper reel, because I’ve got that picture for my scrapbook, I’m going to say that he did act like a gentleman whenever I’m asked.

Top 5 movies about a cat that turns against its master

5. The cat gets rabies and traps the mom in her car in the driveway.

4. The family cat dies and is replaced by a step-cat, which turns out to be a serial killer.

3. The family cat is secretly replaced by a robot that looks like the cat but has been sent from the future to kill the mom and her son.

2. The cat escapes with the children and flees through the mountains because the dad is a Nazi. There is singing.

1. The cat is crucified in a graphic fashion that I thought verged on torture porn, but returns to that life or one of its other nine lives on Easter.

Best 5 Firewall Movies

1. Let’s see… In most movies, the guy at the keyboard, who never uses a mouse, blasts through the firewall in seconds. Sometimes, though, he makes us sweat for a minute or two before hacking through to complete access. “Best 5 Firewall Movies” features those films in which the firewall stands firm. Nobody gets through. Nobody, by God. So… right off the bat, I can’t think of any.

Top 5 Gruel Movies

Not Oliver, in any of his many versions, just because.

5. Let’s just get this one over with: Requiem for a Dream (2000), because ha ha it’s grueling.

4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – I like it when Leone in his westerns has the good guy or the bad guy sit at a table and eat from a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon. Probably not gruel, as bright green and red morsels are visible, but still. Van Cleef in TGTBATU does a great job with his spoon and those spatulate fingers, before finally pulling his gun and doing the bad thing.

3. Raise High the Red Lantern (1991) – When this movie concluded, we couldn’t wait to race across the street to Jing Jing for a bowl of noodles.

2. Drifters (Er di) (2003) – This is the one where I went afterwards and asked a friend from the Mainland whether it is true that families sitting around the dinner table, in lower socio-economic environments, occasionally spit bits of food onto the table top.

1. All those prison movies where somebody complains about the food just before the taciturn hero gets in a fight, or before a con jumps up onto a table, shouts “This food stinks!” and throws his tin plate, setting off a riot; and those war movies where the guys in their foxholes or trenches spoon up some K ration or whatever; and those cowboy movies where the ‘pokes spoon up beans around the campfire. As for the galley slaves, what did they get? Fish gruel?

Honorable mention: Actors and actresses like Brigitte Gruel, Maurice Gruel, Hela Gruel, Henri Gruel, Stew Silver, Stew McAllister, and Mush Solomon.

My last night in Chongqing

On my last night in Chongquig (China’s sixth largest city, with a metropolitan population of 32 million), I went to a movie theater that specialized in American films. The theater was playing The Yellow Handkerchief (2008), of all things. I liked the movie when I saw it in the States, but to find it over here was something else. When it ended and I was making my way up the aisle, a head taller than anyone around me, someone pointed at me and said, “William Hurt.”

I’ve been told many times that I look like Hurt. Or, by those of my friends who are more sensitive, that Hurt looks like me. I was the only European in the room and the next thing that I knew, I was surrounded by inquisitive movie-goers. Unfortunately, my Madarin was completely inadequate to the task of setting everyone straight.

Long story short, two groupies attached themselves to me and I couldn’t get shut of them. They both looked 60+, which probably meant that they were 70+. I had to pay the full price for my false fame that night before I was able to get out of my hotel and catch my plane to Tokyo.