The Child Stars of Geekdom

April 19, 2009

If you’re like me, there were certain child stars that you either looked up to, remember clearly, despised, whatever. Similar to the recent Disney initiates, only a heck of a lot more awesome and ingrained in our collective psyches. So, let’s take a look at what some of these whiz kids have contributed to our geekverse and what the heck they’ve been up to since.

I’m sure I forgot some obvious ones, so drop a line if you don’t see someone tht should definitely be here.

"Okey dokey, Dr. Jones! Hold on to your potatoes!"

"Okey dokey, Dr. Jones! Hold on to your potatoes!"

Johnathan Ke Quan

Ahh, Short Round. He was a character I thought was the epitome of greatness. He was living proof that Asians can also make it in the cutthroat world of big budget cinema.

It wasn’t until later on in life that I realized Quan’s portrayal may be the single most obnoxious and racist depiction of an Asian ever put on celluloid. He then went on to play the equally obnoxious dweeby nerd Data in The Goonies.

Life Report: Apparently he became a kick ass martial artist and is currently a stunt coordinator. Short Round kick to your face!

It's so baaad.

It's so baaad.

Fred Savage

While more people probably remember him from The Wonder Years, geeks will most likely remember him as Corey Wood from the classically horrible Wizard, the movie that was a 2 hour advertisement for Nintendo. And it was awesome. Did you see them play SMB3? Or the Power Glove?

Life Report: Cast in middling roles since, it’s hard not to feel a bit bad. Especially when you consider the role most kids will remember him from is ‘that mole guy from Austin Powers’.

"That cave over there is the little girls' room."

"That cave over there is the little girls' room."

Sean Astin

Along with Quan, Astin is another Goonies alum. But the movie that has made him a household name (well, not his name to be precise) is the rags to slightly better rag movie Rudy, where he played a spunky little Irish kid with no talent besides obnoxiousness who somehow got to play 3 seconds in a Notre Dame football game. And became a legend because of it.

Life Report: He’s gotten gigs in stuff like Law & Order and My Wife is Retarded (this is real). Oh, and something about a ring.

I guess he saw what would become his career.

I guess he saw what would become his career.

Macaulay Culkin

Remember when he was supposedly the “next big thing”. And then his mom made him be a serial killer in The Good Son and it all went down hill? At least we’ll always remember him as the son to the most neglectful parents in the world, Kevin McCallister.

Life Report: Completely fell off the face of the world for a decade until he resurfaced for Party Monster, which was horrible. Then he was a cripple in Saved and now has a recurring gig with the soon to be cancelled NBC show Kings. Hey, at least he’s working, right?

"Fuck sake man, you're amateur."

"Fuck sake man, you're amateur."

Christian Bale

Young mister Bale here pretty much came out of nowhere and tore it up in Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. He then went on and lit up the screen in, um, Little Women. Okay, not the greatest geek resume, but I guess he’s on here in a sort of Benjamin Button move where he’s currently geek-central and, er, just get it. It makes sense if you believe.

Life Report: He’s made some low rent superhero flicks or something. Kind of a giant ass, and prone to mother beating, but it’s not like he’s failing.

The face of a future douchebag.

The face of a future douchebag.

Drew Barrymore

Propelled to stardom as Gertie in Spielberg’s greatest movie (do I even need to mention it?), Barrymore was probably the most annoying part about that movie. Man, when I was a kid I wanted to strangle her. But I guess I was going through a boys club phase, and simply couldn’t accept a cooties infested girl to be in the know of E.T.

Life Report: Continued to do kid-friendly affair until she chose to be jailbait killer Ivy in the aptly titled Poison Ivy. Since then she’s gone on to make cinematic classics such as Doppelganger, Mad Love and Charlie’s Angels.

"I see a dead career."

"I see a dead career."

Haley Joel Osment

After drawing attention as Forrest Gump’s son, he freaked everybody out as that creepy kid in The Sixth Sense and paid it forward with Kevin Spacey. Like Culkin, everbody was sure we had an acting savant on our hands, and like Culkin, he submerged into obscurity.

Life Report: What can I say? A lot of wasted potential this was. He’s got a couple movies coming out, but neither scream Oscar.

Are they even human? You decide.

Are they even human? You decide.

Fanning Sisters

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I[m still dubious whether or not they’re human or specially designed Actdroids. It’s pretty freaky how good they are. We have Dakota Fanning there with War of the Worlds and, to a lesser extent, Push under her belt. There’s also the great Coraline and the upcoming New Moon. A good geek resume if I say so myself.

Then there’s little Elle Fanning with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the uber awesome Lost Room (which nobody I know has ever heard of. Damnit, watch this. Peter Krause at his best).

These two have accomplished so much in so little time that until proven otherwise, I’ll continue to believe they are artificial intelligences from a time or place far more evolved than now and here.

Possibly Japan.

Life Report: Still a work in progress. They haven’t messed up yet (Culkin) or reached astronomical acclaim (Bale), but it’ll be fun to see where this goes.

————

Final Thoughts:

This has been a fun little article. I guess the best consolation for all the actors I’ve mentioned is this – no matter their successes or failures, none of them have yet to become Lindsey Lohan.

And that’s always a win.


10 Ways to Resurrect Heroes

April 15, 2009
Remember when you gave a damn about these characters?

Remember when you gave a damn about these characters?

I know, I already wrote a long winded article about Heroes, but looking back on it maybe I was too much of a Debbie Downer. So instead of a constant flow of bitching, let’s look at what Heroes needs to fix to get back in the game. So, in no particular order, here’s what needs to happen.

1. REMEMBER THE PAST! I can’t remember another show where things get retconned mid-season because writers put themselves into a corner they couldn’t escape from logically. Sylar already knowing Elle, Mohinder’s dad had a role in creating The Company, Hiro never, ever, maturing. There’s plenty more.

2. Use a new threat! It’s been Sylar, essentially, going on three seasons now! Hell, it turns out season 3’s threat was just season 1’s threat all over again. We get it, Sylar’s a bad dude. Either do something new with the character, or find a way to kill him already.

3. Stop trying to be important. Characters just say things that sound important, but when you think about it nothing conclusive is ever said. This just makes dialogue in the series too self-important for its own good.

These was cool. Once.

These was cool. Once.

4. Stop looking into the future! Season one, Isaac paints an explosion – FROM THE FUTURE! That was cool. Season 2, Peter goes to a bleak, virus filled future. Okay, that’s alright. I guess. Season 3 (Volume 3), Peter goes to a bleak, mutant filled future that blows up. Uh huh. Season 3 (Volume 4), Matt Parkman paints an explosion. Fuck you Heroes.

(Side Note: If you must keep future paintings, why the hell does it all look like generic comic book crap? Isaac was understandable because he was a comic book artist, but for Peter, Matt, and a random guy in Africa to paint the exact same way? C’mon.)

5. Give Hiro and Peter back their full powers. I understand the writers fearing that they made two characters who were too powerful, but by gimping them they made the two fan-favourite characters into little whiny bitches. Not a fair trade off if you ask me.

I'm feisty and bitchy. That means I'm adorable, right?

I'm feisty and bitchy. That means I'm adorable, right?

6. Give Claire some personality, or just kill her off. Save the cheerleader, save the world, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it. But guess what? Through all the retconning, her importance has been reduced to nil and all that’s left is whining and moping and pouting and…GAH, just do something with her. She’s getting more screen time than most, and she’s given nothing to do.

7. Real stakes. So far, none of the main characters have died. Nathan kind of died, twice, but not really. Start having some balls and kill off a character or two. Not for shock value (though there certainly will be some), but to just show that these characters actually inhabit a real and dangerous world, and like real life, shit can happen to anyone.

8. Cut back on the action sequences. I know lack of action was the chief complaint of the first season, but by increasing the adrenaline these last two years Heroes’ revealed it’s biggest weakness – too small a budget to have anything good happen. The fights either last two seconds, or look horrifically mediocre. Go back to character drama.

9. Bring logic back onto the show. Characters have been doing things more random than ever and decisions being made are getting stupider. Have people react like real people would react. How is a samurai trained Hiro knocked out by Daphne (and everyone else)? Why doesn’t Micah just shut down every government network hunting mutants? Why doesn’t Sylar just kill Danko now that he can shapeshift? The list goes on.

10. Let Bryan Fuller do whatever the hell he wants. Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies were fantastically whimsical character dramas/comedies that pushed all the right buttons. Let him bring that sensibility back to Heroes.