I was watching Just One of the Guys the other night—an 80’s B classic that I’d forgotten existed until I was rifling through Amazon at 2 in the morning in search of amusement…like you do. It’s not amazing or anything, but it’s really very entertaining and reminds me of weekends in junior high when I would stay up late and watch USA Up All Night which was hosted by the lamentable Gilbert Godfrey and some blonde chick with really big boobs. They would always air movies from the 80’s and early 90’s with some sort of pseudo-adult content that was always mostly removed due to the need to censor kids my age from seeing sex or boobies or hearing the f-word. I have a very specific memory of one movie in particular about a perverted, miniature leprechaun that would grant perverted teenagers their perverted wishes. Anyone know that movie? Because I’d love to re-watch it and see if it’s as good as I remember it. Let me know. It's probably called "The Perverted Leprechaun" if that helps.
But I digress…
Anyway, Just One of the Guys features an 80’s-style bully (as they all do) and the bully was played by that same blonde-haired fellow that played the bully in The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid II. And I think he may have also been a bully in Back to School, but I’ve never made it all the way through that movie because I’m allergic to Rodney Dangerfield so I don’t know for sure. And I think the bully that Anthony Michael Hall played in Edward Scissorhands was inspired by Blonde-Haired Fellow’s many bully roles. I can’t say for certain, but I think he may have been the ultimate teenage bully.
I looked into him and he’s still working and he has a name: William Zabka. And according to his imdb.com page, he’s also fluent in Czech and has a black belt in Tang Soo Do, whatever that may be. Okay!
|William (center) mid-bullying as the ultimate bully, Billy. The Karate Kid. (Photo)|
It's really lame (I've never professed to be cool), but I spend a lot of time wondering about what happened to famous actors from the 80’s movies I so love (as mentioned at least here and here). Where do they go and why do their careers end?
Remember Michael Schoeffling? He played Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. The last movie he made was the AMAZING Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken in 1991. Now he owns his own handcrafted furniture business in northern Pennsylvania. He's just not acting at all ever. I mean, I’m not saying he was Marlon Brando or anything, but he definitely had a good thing going. And now he's a master carpenter. Okay!
|Michael as Jake Ryan. (Photo)|
Most of all I wonder about Jonathan Crombie who played Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. Those movies were insanely wonderful and my sisters and I still watch them every year or so and we watch them mainly so we can watch Gilbert. I looked into him as well, and he’s had a lot of voiceover work, so that’s good. He also has a number of stalkers besides my sisters and me. Check this out. Yikes. (And no, this isn't my website. Like I'd know how to design a website with music playing and neat wallpaper.)
|Jonathan then. As Gilbert. (Photo)|
|And now. (Photo)|
Of course I know it’s difficult to sustain an acting career under any circumstances, but maybe it was and is especially hard if you were a heartthrob in the 80’s. Things were weird and wonderful in that decade in a way that they weren’t at any other time. Maybe I just think so because I grew up in that decade, but maybe also that time was just supremely bizarre.
And, obviously, I just really like 80’s movies. But I really loved the leading men. I miss Andrew McCarthy and it’s depressing to see Judd Nelson’s face on a bus advertisement for a play at Santa Monica Community College. It feels wrong to me that Charlie Sheen is a massive celebrity and Emilio Estevez isn’t. Why was Keanu Reeves a massive success and Christian Slater is an afterthought?** And how come Sean Penn has two Oscars and Judge Reinhold doesn’t do much of anything? Judge was THE LEAD in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Sean Penn was...Spicoli. He had, like, 4 lines and he's on the cover of the DVD. And Judge was so adorable. (And how great was his Arrested Development episode?)
|Judge in Fast Times. (Photo)|
There’s no accounting for acting careers. Or taste in movies. But I wanted to give these gentlemen a shout out, because they’ll always be celebrities to me. And if Jonathan Crombie ever wanted to go on a date, I would be totally okay with that.
*Quote is from Sixteen Candles (John Hughes, 1984).
**Side note about Christian Slater: it turns out the most popular post on my blog is the post about Heathers and I always found that weird. But it turns out people only read it because they’re looking up Christian Slater and get directed here. Haha! That’s amazing.