The brouhaha that erupted over Stephen Colbert being named as successor to David Letterman's chair as host of CBS' The Late Show once again shined a light on the ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of the American public that is still raging between comedians and conservative pundits.
When news broke of Colbert's new role — providing him with potentially a much larger audience than his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report — right-wing commentators, especially Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh went on the offensive, decrying CBS' choice as the potential undoing of America.
It was just the latest volley in the feuds that have been going on for years… or at least since Jon Stewart took over The Daily Show in 1999. When the Hollywood Reporter released its list of the 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media, the list included a healthy dose of both conservative commentators (O'Reilly, Fox News' Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity) and comedians (Stewart, Colbert, Jimmy Fallon).
It used to be that comedians made fun of politicians and the political types would just ignore it. That was in the days before cable gave comedians significantly more leeway to discuss politics than Johnny Carson could've ever imagined. To counter what they viewed as liberal bias, conservatives developed their own media stars to keep politicians from having to get dirty. So, who's winning the battle?
O'Reilly seems to by turns enjoy his tete-a-tetes with Stewart and to be infuriated by the platform that Comedy Central has given Stewart and Colbert to promote a "liberal agenda." Where he seems to have fun with Stewart, that playfulness doesn't always extend to Colbert, who based his character and show largely on O'Reilly. "Colbert has built an entire career on pleasing the left," O'Reilly said on his show. "It'll be hard to fathom that 40% of Americans who describe themselves as conservative will watch Colbert."
O'Reilly isn't alone in his view that comedians are undermining the message that conservative policymakers are trying to deliver. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has long sparred with Bill Maher over the views that he expresses on his HBO show. Coulter, whose books include How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), is a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, offering a counter to the host on everything from welfare reform to immigration. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, first on The View and now on Fox & Friends, has also frequently called out comedians — most notably her former View co-hosts Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg — while promoting her own largely conservative views on subjects. As President Barack Obama found out, the conservative pundits don’t want politicians in on the joke either. When the President appeared on Zach Galifianakis' web series Between Two Ferns, O'Reilly and others went after what the felt was Obama's flippant treatment of a serious issue (healthcare reform). Of course, when O'Reilly said that "Abe Lincoln wouldn't have done it" it led to a series of jokes.
Really, the comedians largely have it easy. Making fun of politicians is a time honored tradition, and an American birthright. From newspaper cartoonists to Will Rogers to Saturday Night Live, there's always been someone taking shots at the powers-that-be. The difference is that more and more, comedians are offering an actual opinion on their beliefs beyond just the jokes, something that Maher on Politically Incorrect and one of his HBO predecessors Dennis Miller (now a conservative radio host) helped make fashionable. O'Donnell and Janeane Garofalo have long been outspoken on their views on gun control, women's rights, and a variety of other issues. While Stewart, Colbert, John Oliver and the rest of the Daily Show group point out hypocrisy in both political parties — similar to what SNL has done for nearly 40 years — they make little effort to conceal their glee at puncturing holes in the façades of conservative political figures like Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum. In a recent commentary on The Daily Beast, comedian Dean Obeidallah opined that conservatives "fear comedy because they aren't good at it."
Not everyone is thrilled with the political influence that comedians like Stewart and Colbert have come to wield. "The problem becomes, are they the principle source of information for the country? Do they begin to move in and occupy the place that Walter Cronkite occupied or Edward R. Murrow occupied?," media analyst Marvin Kalb said. "The unfortunate answer now is 'Yes,' they are occupying that space. The danger there is that people begin to take it too seriously and they begin to think that the joke is the reality."
Whether it's good or bad, there's little doubt that potshots from both sides, pundits and comedians, will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we know enough as a society not to take either side too seriously… whether they're joking or not.
In the upcoming movie Neighbors, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play new parents who don’t realize the dream home they just purchased is next door to a frat house. Zac Efron is the leader of the fraternity who doesn't see the need to tone down the partying just because there's an infant next door. And just as they are adversaries in the film, real life Efron and Rogen represent opposite sides of the dude spectrum.
One is a buff heartthrob who rose to fame in Disney musicals. The other is part of Judd Apatow's comedy troupe with an unabashed love of weed. If you had the choice, though, who would you rather have as part of your crew: Efron or Rogen?
Team EfronLeading up to Neighbors, Efron has been parading around without a shirt so much that it's almost jarring when we see him fully dressed. Of course, if we had Efron's body we'd probably show it off as well. The former High School Musical star has been moving steadily into adult roles, but he's still retains the boyish charm of his teen idol days. Besides being gorgeous, thanks to the actor's background with Disney we know that he can also sing and dance… and having a bro around with musical talent is woefully underrated. Efron reportedly did a pair of stints in rehab in the last year, so the activities would have to be sober, but we can handle that. After all, our Instagram account would suddenly get a lot better looking.
Team RogenRogen's onscreen persona is seemingly only a slight exaggeration of his real self. Rogen started out with pals James Franco and Jason Segel on Apatow's much-loved Freaks and Geeks, and his role as a sarcastic schlub has largely provided the template for how the actor's been used ever since. Since he rose to stardom via Knocked Up, Rogen has become a favorite of talk show hosts for his willingness to tell funny, candid stories about his celebrity friends as well as his panache for helping out with any funny idea… whether that's doing a spoof of the Kanye West-Kim Kardashian Vogue photo shoot with Franco or teaming with Jimmy Kimmel for a parody of True Detective. His recreational choices are well known, but he manages to keep himself out of trouble by keeping everything low-key. He's the guy that you want sitting on your sofa goofing on Game of Thrones. He might not be a traditional stunner like Efron, but you're almost guaranteed to laugh when he's around.
Based on the recent video of the pair "auditioning" for the cubicle dwellers of Comedy Central's Workaholics, it seems as though hanging out with both Rogen and Efron would be a blast (you can check out the NSFW clip here). But, if you have to choose, who would it be… the pretty one or the funny one?
Almost immediately after CBS announced that Stephen Colbert would take over The Late Show desk from David Letterman, the conservative pundits that he has mocked during his run on Comedy Central voiced their displeasure.
Bill O'Reilly, whose Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor provided the pulp of inspiration for The Colbert Report, has unceasingly railed against his tormentor being given a bigger stage. That's understandable since O'Reilly and Colbert have been going back and forth for years. What should be more worrisome for CBS is the attack by radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Never a fan of Colbert or his former boss Jon Stewart, Limbaugh vocalized the following sentiments on his show: “CBS has just declared war on the heart of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. No it’s just wide out in the open.”
It's easy to discount Limbaugh since he's been hammering home his conservative views for decades and his overall influence has eroded since he called women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut." It's that reason that many have given for writing him off in this case. The issue with that is that CBS, while having a strong primetime lineup, has the oldest viewership of any of the networks, with a median age of around 58. The Eye is more vunerable to an attack by Limbaugh — with his older, conservative, and Middle American audience — than just about any other broadcaster.
By hiring Colbert, CBS is trying to split the difference. He's younger than the person that he's replacing, but he's not so young (Colbert is 49) that it's a jarring difference. The demographics on the comedian's Comedy Central show also skew significantly younger than even that of the outspoken liberal Letterman. Advertisers looking to reach older audiences already go to CBS... now the network is trying to draw in more of the coveted 18-49 group. But, it also seems clear that the network made the move with the idea of not alienating its core audience. That's where Limbaugh firing off about the hiring can be a problem.
Both the network and Colbert have been very clear so far that the comedian won't be doing his right-wing character when he takes over The Late Show. Making sure that everyone from Tuscaloosa to Boise to Spokane understands that should be the focus of CBS' efforts between now and when Colbert takes the reins.
Colbert needs to stay visible and start to establish his out-of-character persona as well. By the time he takes over, CBS' audience — significantly broader than Comedy Central's — needs to be able to make a clear distinction between the work that he has done and what he will be doing on network late night.
There are a number of ways to accomplish that, from Jimmy Fallon's strategy of posting everything online to Jay Leno's old trick of showing up at affiliates' events, making appearances on local news shows, and glad-handing everyone.
Straddling the line between older viewers and potential new ones, CBS has to be aggressive in making sure that they don't lose the audience that they already have. They're not the number one broadcast network by accident. Limbaugh's over-the-top tirades can be countered, but what they shouldn't be is ignored.
Fans of the former TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World have been anxiously awaiting the debut of Disney Channel's tween-com Girl Meets World ever since the pilot was first ordered. Recently, the cable network finally released a short clip showing a now grown Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) interacting with their adorable daughter Riley (Spy Kids: All the Time in the World's Rowan Blanchard). Excitement over seeing Savage and Fishel once again arm-in-arm as Cory and Topanga spread across social media, as fans of the '90s show began quickly sharing the clip.
Girl Meets World marks a departure for the Disney Channel as they attempt to market a show just as much to the parents of their normal six-to-12-year-old target audience. Someone who was 12 in 1993 when the original began — as Fishel was — is now 33, an age when it's entirely plausible to have children in the appropriate demographic.
By putting the focus on the children of one of TV's favorite teen couples, the network and producer Michael Jacobs have hit upon a way for the fans of the former show to look in on old favorites without having to worry too much about what's transpired. This isn't a Dawson's Creek-style flash-forward with a beloved character (Michelle Williams' Jen) on her deathbed. This is a Disney-style look in.
There's something reassuring about seeing a pair of characters that we cared about in the middle of their happy ending. We watched Cory and Topanga meet as kids and come together as teens, and we followed them right up until their wedding. Now they're still married with two kids and a nice home. It's like going to visit that one high school couple that is still perfectly content with their lives. Whether it happens all the time or not, it's nice to know that it happens sometimes.
More importantly, by blending nostalgia with the formula that Disney Channel has employed with its other live action hits like Jessie and Good Luck, Charlie, the show provides a unique opportunity for parents to actively watch with their children. Not in an obligatory sense, but in a true "I have to see this" way. Family-oriented sitcoms were once a staple of network television, but now those shows have largely moved to cable… taking many of the same writers/producers with them.
The marketing of Girl Meets World has produced something that 10-year-olds and their moms both want to see… how often does a TV show do that these days? As parents fill their kids in on who the older characters are, the kids can fill their parents in on what Riley is talking about with her friends. If that leads to a discussion of things transpiring in real life, well, that's a beautiful thing. Many movies and TV shows have paid lip service to providing such an opening for parents… GMW seems legitimately positioned to actually deliver on that promise.
Jacobs has lined up a series of cameos from the original series to keep the parents entertained including Cory's brother and parents (Will Friedle, Betsy Randle and William Russ), William Daniels' persnickety Mr. Feeny, and Rider Strong's brooding Shawn Hunter. Even Lee Norris, whose character Minkus was written off the show after the first season, makes an appearance as the father of Riley's friend Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis). It's hard to say why it's so good to see Mr. Feeny again — the show tweeted a photo of Daniels on set — but it just is.
Keeping with the family feel, it's come out during the promotion of the new show that most of the original cast — particularly Savage, Fishel, Strong, and Friedle — have remained friends since Boy Meets World ended in 2000. Even though most of the acting will be done by the new kids, Strong and Savage are each also taking a turn sitting in the director's chair on GMW.
The show can't live off of the nostalgia of parents alone. Blanchard's Riley and her BFF Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) have to connect with the normal Disney Channel audience, and really there's no way to predict whether or not that will happen. No matter whether the new show is a ratings success or not, fans of Boy Meets World will enjoy catching up with their old friends… and maybe share a few nice moments with their kids at the same time. As was the case the first time, having Cory and Topanga around makes television a nicer place.
Rob Lowe is nothing if not candid. In promoting his new book, Love Life (the follow-up to 2011's Stories I Only Tell My Friends), Lowe has been espousing his opinions on subjects as diverse as the relative merits of Justin Bieber and big government, as well as re-enacting his awkward kissing scenes with Jewel while shooting the short-lived TV show The Lyon's Den.
One other revelation that came out of the book — which largely features stories about his wife and sons — is that Lowe feels as though he's been typecast because of his good looks.
"I've been told, as I'm sure others have been countless times, that the way I look precludes me from playing a cop or a doctor or a regular guy," the actor told Fox News. “'A PTA father would never look like that!' Meanwhile I am a PTA father but I've never been precluded from playing an arrogant, rich prick. So what does that tell you?"
There is no denying that the former teen heartthrob and Brat Pack member was, is and probably always will be an extremely attractive man. His looks helped him overcome everything from a sex tape scandal (before that was fashionable) — something Lowe will parody with an appearance in this summer's Jason Segal-Cameron Diaz comedy Sex Tape — to one of the most reviled moments in Oscars' history when he sang a cringe-inducing duet with Snow White.
The reality is that all actors are typecast in some ways based on their looks. Film and television is a visual medium and there's no escaping the fact that a person's appearance plays a role in that. He might not be in the running for some of the roles that Paul Giamatti or Patton Oswalt might play, but they're not going to be in the running for a whole lot more roles that an actor with Lowe's physical gifts would be.
Still, Oswalt's Young Adult costar Charlize Theron has proven that being gorgeous doesn’t have to stop an actor from getting substantial roles. Her physical transformation for Monster was convincing enough that audiences were willing to put aside the fact that she was still more attractive than the real Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer on whose life it was based. The same was true for Halle Berry in Monster's Ball. Men considered just as beautiful as Lowe like George Clooney and Matt Damon have also downplayed their inherent good looks for roles (Syriana and The Informant! come to mind).
In fact, it's easier for most actors to do that — slide into a better looking version of a "normal" person — than it is for actors like Giamatti or the late Philip Seymour Hoffman to be seen as leading men, no matter how talented they are as performers.
While it's true that Lowe earned his way in Hollywood by virtue of his matinee idol good looks, that doesn't mean that it has to continue to define him… just as it hasn't always defined Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio. If he wants it to change, then he needs to continue taking roles like the creepy plastic surgeon in Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Lowe has been around long enough that he knows the game and how to work around any stigma that might be attached to his being handsome. It's incumbent on him to fight for a role if he really wants to play it… even if it is just a PTA dad. That's the nature of Hollywood for all actors, not just the pretty ones. It's really hard to find a way that Lowe's looks have been a true hindrance to him, and when he's playing someone's ridiculously attractive grandfather in 15 years, we won't feel bad for him then either.
Kaley Cuoco has seemingly been everywhere recently. Since showing up last fall unexpectedly on The Voice while her sister auditioned, The Big Bang Theory's resident hot girl has been chatting up reporters, even landing on the cover of Cosmopolitan, dishing openly about everything from her wedding to professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting to her breast implants. Then there are her Instagram posts, which have featured Cuoco showing off the tattoo that she got in honor of her nuptials (the Roman numeral equivalent of the date), her new shorter haircut, and her stunning bikini-clad body.
It's not as though Cuoco has been averse to publicity before this. She's been in the public eye going back to when she was 17 and playing the late John Ritter's too-sexy daughter on 8 Simple Rules. She's also never been shy about showing some skin; beyond just the skimpy outfits her character Penny wears on Big Bang, the actress has done multiple cover shoots for Maxim. Something about this recent wave feels different, however.
With a guarantee of three more seasons of her sitcom in place, Cuoco appears to be making a play for a larger role in the public's mind and to keep from being known only as "Penny." In today's world, one way to compete with the Kardashian and Jenner sisters — not to mention Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc. — is to put more of your personal life out for public consumption. In Cuoco's case, she's earned the right to take some chances and see if they pay off.
Over the course of her run on Big Bang, Cuoco has taken the character from being a one-note joke — the hot girl across the hall — and turned her into a three-dimensional person. She's infused her character with a funny mixture that's equal parts brashness and low self-esteem. Instead of just being the "normal" person reacting to the geniuses, we've gotten to see Penny deal with insecurities at being the non-college graduate amongst a group of Ph.Ds. Cuoco's comedic timing has improved nearly every season since the beginning of the show… with her at some point taking on somewhat of a Dean Martin persona, looking for a drink to help smooth out the rough edges.
What the actress hasn't been able to do so far, though, is make that translate into something more than being a star on TV's top rated sitcom. A lot of her recent publicity push has been in support of Authors Anonymous, a low-budget comedy costarring Chris Klein (American Pie). Her biggest on-screen success thus far has been a supporting role in the kiddie flick Hop, where she didn't even get to play the female lead (she played a secondary character, James Marsden's sister).
Despite the solid work on Big Bang, Cuoco's career hasn't exactly progressed at lightning speed. Her next project, The Wedding Ringer, puts her alongside Kevin Hart — never a bad thing — but it still places her squarely in a supporting role.
Cuoco comes across in interviews as funny and down-to-earth. She's not obnoxious about what she chooses to share about herself and it's hard to find anyone that begrudges her success. If putting her life (and body) front and center in the jostling for media attention leads to the actress being offered better film roles, then more power to her. Few others have paid their dues as long as she has for the opportunity.
New Line Cinema
Some child actors burst onto the scene in such a big way that even after they grow up and start taking on adult roles, it's impossible to forget where we first saw them. It's easy to see Lindsay Lohan now and picture her as the ponytailed twin heroines of Disney's The Parent Trap. It's also not hard to remember little Drew Barrymore screaming at ET or young Anna Paquin's nervousness at the Oscars after The Piano.
The parts played by other stars back when they were first starting out as youngsters in Hollywood, however, aren't as easy to recall. For most, it was just a small role that helped fill out a resume and for others it was a sizable part, in a few cases opposite actors who had themselves been child stars. Check out these roles that Hollywood's elite played on the silver screen before they were out of their teen years.
GALLERY: 12 Forgotten Roles Played by Now Famous Actors When They Were Kids
Millennium Entertainment via Everett Collection
Does a working actress — especially one of the most high-profile of her generation — have a responsibility to be a feminist? That's the question that was raised when quotes from an interview with Kirsten Dunst that appears in the May issue of Harper's Bazaar UK became public last week.
“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued,” she told the magazine. “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking — it’s a valuable thing my mom created.”
“And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor,” she continued. “I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s how relationships work.”
When the comments became public last week, a variety of feminists took to blogs and social media to decry Dunst's opinion on gender roles. Even some men took offense at the comments that they believed called guys out for not being manly enough. Dunst, however, made her comments while talking about herself in an interview to promote her movie The Two Faces of January. She didn’t say it in front of a Congressional hearing or at a political fundraiser. It wasn't said in any context that was meant to convey anything beyond a personal opinion and preference – despite the fact that her wording conveyed a personal preference as a more generalized universal.
So, why is that offensive to some? Why should we care if someone like Dunst would prefer to have a more "traditional" gender role within the confines of her relationship?
When Meryl Streep spoke out about her perception of Hollywood racism and gender bias — accusing Walt Disney of being a perpetrator while he was alive — she was largely applauded for having the conviction to say what she felt was true. In reality, Streep was herself largely just giving her opinion; with a handful of examples to back it up… she wasn’t publishing a detailed study on the history of women and minorities within the entertainment industry.
At this stage, we should be able to appreciate the opinions of both Streep and Dunst, agreeing or disagreeing as one sees fit without attacking the person who expressed it. Just as Streep is fully within her rights to be, in her words, a "rabid, man-eating feminist," so then is Dunst within hers to have a seemingly contrary position.
We say "seemingly" because the thrust of Dunst's comments were aimed at personal relationships, not any overtly sociopolitical issues. It's not impossible for someone to value the rights of women in the workplace and in society as a whole, and still choose to adhere to a more "traditional" role within the confines of a relationship. There really shouldn't be any right or wrong way to be a feminist or for a woman to express her opinions on femininity.
Attacking Dunst for her comments led to outlets like Fox News jumping to the actress's defense and holding her up as a beacon of right-wing conservative ideals… which more than likely was not what Dunst was going for. Turning the whole thing into a liberal vs. conservative argument is reductive and facile since as a society, we should be able to discuss issues related to gender without either side being dogmatically asserted.
Like Streep, Dunst is entitled to her opinion and to live her life the way that she sees fit without having to deal with backlash over it. The only definition of femininity that she should adhere to is her own.
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Going back to the earliest days of both movies and television, producers have been enamored with putting sports celebrities on screen. They're some of the most recognizable people in the country and bring along a built-in audience of fans from their athletic exploits.
Of course, there is one issue that's a little hard to get around… most of the athletes that have been tapped to appear in movies can't act. We're taking a look at the most awesomely bad performances by athletes in movies… from ones that are just laughably amateurish to the truly unwatchable; the work by this group would make Lee Strasberg cry.
Shaquille O'Neal, Kazaam
In interviews, O'Neal can be utterly charming and he frequently looks like he's having a good time. Absolutely none of that translates to the big screen, however. The 7-foot-1 basketball player is a genie who emerges from a boombox and tries to help a kid (Francis Capra) who's got father issues. You'd think that a movie with a genie would be at least fun, but it has way too many dark moments and O'Neal's mugging doesn't help any. The movie was so bad that director Paul Michael Glaser hasn't got behind the camera since.
Charles Barkley, Space Jam
It's easy to point out that Michael Jordan is bad in the 1996 mix of animation and live action since he was the star of the show (along with Bugs Bunny, of course), but really, what did we expect? Jordan acted about as well as he ever did in his commercials and the rest of the NBA players, from Larry Bird to Patrick Ewing are equally awful. Barkley, however, as we've now learned from his work as a studio host for TNT has enough personality that he could’ve done better than the stiff performance that he gave.
Dan Marino, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
It's always amazing when athletes can't even play themselves convincingly. In Jim Carrey's breakout hit, Marino — along with a dolphin — is the subject of a kidnapping scheme. Marino's a good looking guy, but that's about the best thing that we can say about his abilities as an actor. When you're outdone by a sea mammal, things are pretty bad. Of course, as much as we don't like his acting, we still like him better than the movie's Mrs. Finkle, the character who famously said, "Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell."
O.J. Simpson, Capricorn One
Back before the Juice had his troubles with the law, he had quite the acting career. Most people remember his turn as Leslie Nielsen's partner in the Naked Gun series, but at one point, Simpson was legitimately trying to act. That's what puts his turn in Capricorn on the list. Playing a duped astronaut, along with James Brolin and Sam Waterston, who is unwittingly part of a fake mission to Mars, Simpson is all caged fury at the outrage of it all. At least the movie has some pretty rad late '70s hairdos going for it.
Wilt Chamberlain, Conan the Destroyer
At least there was logic to Chamberlain's casting in the rushed sequel to Conan the Barbarian… if you're looking for someone even more physically imposing than Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wilt certainly fits the bill. The towering Chamberlain plays a guard named Bombaata who is supposed to help Conan on a quest before killing him. Let's just say that doesn't work out too well for The Stilt. Considering his claims of prodigious sexual conquests, we're sure that Chamberlain had fun shooting the movie… and, really, he doesn’t look any more ridiculous than Grace Jones.
Dennis Rodman, Double Team
How many people can say that they were in a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme and they were the worst actor on set? Rodman, at the height of his fame for his outrageous behavior, made the Muscles from Brussels look like Robert De Niro in comparison. The plot of the movie runs along the lines of most other JCVD flicks, with Rodman playing an arms dealer. The Worm is tasked with saying such classic lines as, "You look like trouble. I like trouble." There are a lot of explosions and Van Damme does his requisite butt-kicking, even taking on a tiger, but Rodman spends the movie seemingly smirking at the thought that someone's paying him to do… well, whatever it was he was doing.
Mike Tyson, The Hangover
Yes, The Hangover is a very funny movie and, yes, the scenes with Tyson are hysterical. Those two facts do not make Iron Mike a good actor. The former heavyweight champion just plays a slightly less scary version of himself and you get the impression that the mixture of awe and fear on Bradley Cooper's face wasn't a stretch with the real Tyson standing in front of him. As comical as it was to watch — due largely to Tyson's public persona — his reaction at the video of Zack Galifianakis peeing in his pool is on the level of a third grade school play. Just, um, maybe don't tell him we said so.
Howie Long, Firestorm
The longtime Los Angeles Raiders defensive lineman did a credible job as one of John Travolta's henchmen in the John Woo actioner Broken Arrow. That's where Long's acting career should've ended. Instead, he signed on to play the lead in a movie about the leader of a team of wild firefighters who has to rescue people trapped in a fire started by an escaped killer played by William Forsythe. The fact that someone actually bought that pitch is irrelevant and it's hard to fault Long for taking the payday, but the preposterousness of the plot is matched only by the football star's terrible line delivery. The best part of the movie is that it's mercifully short, clocking in at just 89 minutes.
Terry Bradshaw, Failure to Launch
Let's forget for a second the stretch of casting Bradshaw and Kathy Bates as Matthew McConaughey's parents. Let's even put aside the fact that the movie's awfulness has more to do with the nonexistent chemistry between McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker than anything the four-time Super Bowl winner did. The question that truly needs to be addressed is who the heck thought the idea of having Bradshaw naked in the movie was a good idea? God love him for being down for it, but the image of the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's naked rear-end is one of those things that you can't unsee. Bradshaw got his start in acting doing cameos in his buddy Burt Reynolds' films and luckily, he doesn't go too far out of his way to get parts. Why people feel the need to occasionally give him one is a whole other question.
Paramount via Everett Collection
It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since Charlie Sheen's Ricky Vaughn emerged from the bullpen to the strains of "Wild Thing" to help the Cleveland Indians win a division title. Coming out during an era of more high minded baseball movies like Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, Major League was pure goofy fun… more interested in laughs than in the game's potential life lessons.
For many baseball fans, an annual viewing of Major League is as much a part of spring as Opening Day. As with Caddyshack, there are fans that can quote the movie's best lines from memory. Even if you have your own home shrine to voodoo god Jobu, here are some fun facts about the movie that you might not know:
1. Although the movie is set in Cleveland, the scenes inside the ballpark were shot at Milwaukee's old County Stadium. Bob Uecker, who played announcer Harry Doyle, has really worked in Milwaukee since 1971 as the play-by-play man for the hometown Brewers... a fact that writer-director David S. Ward didn't know when he cast him. He had based the casting strictly on Uecker's work on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere and in a series of Miller Lite commercials (if you look closely, that's the beer that Doyle is drinking in the movie).
2. Sheen really was a pitcher in high school for Santa Monica High. He now claims that he took steroids prior to doing the movie so that his fastball would be more realistic. Dennis Haysbert, who later became famous as President David Palmer on 24 and played Cuban slugger Pedro Cerrano, was a football and basketball player in high school before switching to fencing at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
3. Haysbert's hitting as Cerrano looked real because it was. Even though he didn't play baseball past Little League, Haysbert actually cleared the fences multiple times during filming.
4. Despite playing a speedy outfielder in the movie, Wesley Snipes was so slow that they ended up showing him running in slow motion in the film to provide the illusion of speed.
5. The original ending featured the scheming owner played by Margaret Whitton — the widow of the beloved former owner — as secretly being behind the team's winning, with her devious threats meant to bring the boys together. When test audiences hated it, they reshot it to keep her as the bad guy.
6. Entourage's Jeremy Piven shot multiple scenes for the movie, playing a bench player who likes to heckle the opposing team. When they started editing, they realized that the scenes didn't work, so they completely cut his character from the film.
7. Prior to making her film debut as Lynn Wells, the ex-girlfriend of Tom Berenger's character, Rene Russo was known primarily as one of the top models of the '70s. A Los Angeles native, one of Russo's classmates growing up was sitcom-star-turned-director Ron Howard.
6. Pete Vuckovich, who plays evil Yankees first baseman Clu Haywood, was actually a star Major League pitcher who won the American League Cy Young Award in 1982. Playing largely in games with a designated hitter, Vuckovich only rarely batted during his career.
7. According to Ward, during the celebration scene at the end where Corbin Bernsen's third baseman Roger Dorn punches Sheen for sleeping with his wife, Bernsen actually connected with the shot, leaving a welt on Sheen's face.
8. Neil Flynn, who went on to bigger roles on television as the Janitor in Scrubs and a suburban father in The Middle, plays one of the long-suffering Cleveland fans complaining about the state of the team.
9. Flynn and Stacy Carroll, who plays Dorn's wife who has revenge sex with Ricky, both also appeared in a short-lived TV show called Sable, which starred Russo as the girlfriend of a children's book writer who transforms into a superhero at night.
10. The song that plays at the beginning of the movie is "Burn On" by Randy Newman. Written in 1972, it is an ode to an incident in 1969 when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught on fire due to an oil slick and other debris floating in the polluted water.