What the Hell Happened to Steve Guttenberg?

the gute

This may come as a shock to some of you.  But a long time ago, this guy was a movie star.  Back in the days of Reaganomics and Rubick’s Cubes, Steve “The Gute” Guttenberg was an A-list movie star.  He worked with directors like Barry Levinson, Ron Howard and Curtis Hanson.  And then, 1990 came and everyone forgot about him.

When Guttenberg was just getting started, he set himself up with an office at Paramount.  But he didn’t have permission to do so.

“It seemed to me that sneaking onto a lot and finding an office, it wasn’t premeditated. I never thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go get an office at Paramount.’ I just was walking around and walking around, and I found this old building, the Lucille Ball makeup building, that nobody was using. And I just thought, “How great.” I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to do that. Why not? It was empty for 30 to 40 years. Why not use it?”

guttenberg - boys from brazil

Steve Guttenberg’s first significant role was in the 1978 Nazi-themed thriller, The Boys from Brazil in which he starred opposite Gregory Peck and Lawrence Olivier.  Quite an auspicious beginning, don’t you think?

After a fairly successful debut, Guttenberg considered leaving Hollywood to study dentistry.

“When I was doing Boys From Brazil, I got done with it and I was going back to school, and I got a call from CBS to come do a television series in L.A., and I guess there was a little moment where I said, ‘Gee, I’m gonna go back there and try again, take some more. Go back there and carpetbag it again. Go out there and see what I can do and then come back.’  I don’t think I ever thought I was going to keep doing it. I always thought at one point, I just wouldn’t want to be in that atmosphere my whole life. I tried to quit after the first year. “

guttenberg - can't stop the music

In 1980, Guttenberg starred opposite the Village People and Bruce Jenner in the infamous Can’t Stop the MusicCan’t Stop the Music was a musical retelling of the rise of the Village People, the disco-era music group known for including a cowboy, a biker guy and an Indian who sang about the joys of staying at the YMCA.

The Gutt described the over-the-top atmosphere on the set:

“Money was no object, and it was this incredibly vulgar, exciting set to be on. Somebody wanted caviar from Japan, boom, it was flown in. Those people don’t feel good that day, boom, we’re not gonna film that day. There were allowances. I think when we made that movie, the budget was $23 million, which was one of the highest budgets ever in 1977 or ’79, and it was just fantastic to me to be in the company of the Village People—who I thought were all straight. But so did the country, right? So did everybody who bought their albums.”

Believe it or not, everyone did think the Village People were straight.  Well, straight people did.

You would think a Village People musical could ride the wave of disco mania to box office success, right?  It probably would have if it had been released a few years earlier.  But by 1980, not only was disco no longer popular, there was a huge “disco is dead” backlash.

As a result, the 23-million-dollar musical earned a paltry 2-million dollars at the box office.  The reviews were unanimously terrible.

Most telling of all, Can’t Stop the Music was the recipient of the first-ever Golden Raspberry for Worst Picture.  John J.B. Wilson was inspired to create the awards for bad movies after sitting through a double feature of Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu.  Yep, that’ll do it.

guttenberg - diner

The next year, Guttenberg appeared in the TV hockey movie, Miracle on Ice.  He returned to the big screen in style in 1982 as part of Barry Levinson’s ensemble comedy-drama, Diner.

Diner was a dream job for a young actor in the 80’s.  Although it was only a modest success at the box office, critics lavished it with praise.  It helped that Levinson’s script was nominated for an Oscar.  And the cast was a who’s who of up-and-coming actors including Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin and Paul Reiser.  The Gute got top billing.

Although Diner was a small movie, it has had a lasting impact.  In 1983, it was adapted by Levinson into a short-lived TV show.  Reiser was the only returning cast member.  The cast of the TV show included Michael Madsen and James Spader.  Unfortunately, the show never got past the pilot stage.

Currently, Levinson is adapting Diner for Broadway with pop singer Sheryl Crow.

Diner gave Guttenberg’s career a bump.  But as part of an ensemble, Guttenberg had to share the spotlight with a talented cast.  In 1983, Guttenberg followed up Diner with a starring role in the invisible man comedy, The Man Who Wasn’t There.

The posted for The Man Who Wasn’t There included the tagline, “Being invisible will get you into spy rings, diplomatic circles and the girls’ locker room.”  I think this tells you everything you need to know about the movie.

Man Who Wasn't There Poster

Oh yeah and it was in 3-D.  In 1983, there was a wave of 3-D movies that included Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.  When none of these movies proved to be hits at the box office, the short-lived 3-D fad went dormant.  Although unlike the Village People, it would come back eventually.

There are two upsides to starring in The Man Who Wasn’t There.  One, Guttenberg had the lead role.  Two, he was invisible for much of the film.

Later that year, Guttenberg returned to TV for the ABC movie The Day After.  I usually don’t spend a lot of time talking about TV movies.  But The Day After scared the living crap out of me and every one I knew in 1983.

It seems quaint now.  But in the 80’s Cold War America was scared silly of nuclear war and the Russians.  When ABC aired The Day After it was seen as a realistic depiction of the aftermath of nuclear war which could happen without notice at any minute.

Check out what the Cold War did to the Gute:

guttenberg - day after

I remember having classroom discussions about it in school.  We were encouraged to watch the broadcast.  And the next day every single kid in school was scared shitless.  Worst recess ever.

Watch it if you dare:

Next: Police Academy and Cocoon

Posted on August 18, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 112 Comments.

  1. Wow. Just wow. I have literally never heard of a single film you mentioned after 1990.

    You used the two most important terms to describe Steve…likable and non-threatening. I can’t think of another attribute.

    On a side note: Remember what created Johnny Five in ‘Short Circuit’? And how far movies have come in the last 20 years? The don’t have dumb premises like that anymore, right? Take a wild guess what caused EDI to become sentient in the 170 million dollar bomb, ‘Stealth’. Go ahead, take a guess.

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    • My wife’s favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World is the Tower of Terror. They sell copies of the movie in the gift shop as you exit the ride. That is the only reason I am remotely familiar with Guttenberg’s work post 80s.

      I am embarassed to admit I somehow saw Three Men and a Little Lady at the theater twice. I don’t know how I allowed that to happen. Also, in spite of sitting through it twice, I don’t remember a damn thing about it.

      I can’t watch Short Circuit without thinking about the fact that Fisher Stevens was living with Michelle Pfeiffer.

      10 points to you for getting a jab in at Stealth (a movie I forgot existed). If only they had found a way to include Fisher Stevens doing an Indian accent.

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  2. I just did an article about Stealth, mainly because I paid 20 bucks for the DVD. I’m such a sucker.

    I liked Fisher in his day, a lot more than Steve. He had a show set in Miami, and that blonde chick from ST: NG left the series to be in Fisher’s show…but I can’t remember anything other than that. Also, I didn’t know about him and Pfeiffer. Used to have such a crush on her.

    Stealth crap movie below.

    http://sdanielshortwintercom.blogspot.com/2012/08/film-cemetery-case-study-16-where-we.html#more

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    • Ouch. Yeah, $20 for a DVD like Stealth leaves you with an axe to grind.

      Fisher used to appear on the Letterman show all the time back in the day. And Dave spent half the time making a big deal out of the fact that a relatively average looking guys was living with Michelle Pfeiffer. They were actually a couple for 3 years, a very long time by Hollywood standards.

      I can’t decide who lucked out bigger in the 80s, Fisher Stevens or The Gute.

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  3. Yeah, Gute was a mostly forgetable actor who made his money but never really qualified as a movie star per se. I did enjoy P.A. #1 though I have to admit. Just good, silly fun as I remember. Don’t have much to say other than that about Gute.

    Main reason I posted was to share this article I read today. Since we spend some time here talking about ‘A’ listers, I thought this was an interesting perspective on the stars of today. Don’t know if we can definitively say this article is correct yet, but I do have to agree with the basic premise. It’s been several years since I saw a “must see” movie that really paid off. Avatar and Prometheus are two that I enjoyed, but was I overwhelmed? Not really. Point being Hollywood just ain’t making them like they used to and most of todays “stars” don’t really do much for me. Or anyone else apparently. Anyway interesting for discussion. I removed the http:// just in case the filter-nazi is playing today:

    http://entertainment.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/17/13341034-what-is-a-movie-star-new-hollywood-system-is-breaking-down-definition?lite

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    • Thanks for the link. (WordPress will let you get along with 1 per comment before marking it as spam. 2 is iffy. 3 and you will definitely get spammed.)

      The stars are definitely getting smaller. I think that is because movies are getting more high concept in the CGI world we live in. Chris Evan and Chris Hemsworth may have starred in hit movies, but everyone knows Captain America and Thor were the stars of those films.

      Samuel L Jackson is the highest grossing actor in history. But everyone knows that’s because he appears in sure-fire franchises like Star Wars and the Avengers films.

      Back in the day, people would go to a movie solely becase it starred their favorite actor or actress. These days, audiences are motivated more by the movie’s concept than anything. That’s why studios are so obsessed with pre-sold concepts like remakes and sequels and less concerned with casting big-name stars in original concepts.

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      • And the biggest problem with what you are describing is whomever is in charge of casting these days are only interested in the next pretty face and hot body. Forget acting skills and mastery of a craft. Result being you get Meagan Fox because she has fine tata’s and Shia Lebouf (sp?) because he is the next big thing and slap them in a lame series based on an average cartoon from the 80’s. Ugggg.

        Truth is I can name a handful of actors/actresses I do enjoy and think have chops but for everyone of them there are 10 wholly forgetable flavors of the month being plugged into interchangeable roles in interchangeable movies. Obviously I’m a movie buff because I participate on this site but honestly I rarely go to the theaters anymore, and I stopped getting DVD’s from Netflix a year ago. Reason: there is just very little I’m interested in seeing anymore which is sad really. I read somewhere once that this all came about because studios began spending so much money on films that they became scared of taking any kind of risk on anything other than a canned, formulated, sure-fire hit that will draw in the teeny-bopper crowd. So movies like All the Presidents Men, China Syndrome, Godfather and so on don’t get made anymore. Like I said…sad.

        I had sworn off TV for many years due to all the cheap, reality crap that became popular. Now that a few cable channels and a couple networks have taken a chance and come up with some decent scripted programs I find myself migrating back to the tube for my entertainment needs and away from films. I think my argument can be backed up by looking at how many named actors are involved in TV projects. Back in my younger days if a movie star went the TV route it meant their career was over. Now days they are moving from movies to TV. Bizarre how the paradigm has shifted.

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        • You’re touching on some things I have been intending to write about for a while now. If I respond to all your points, it’ll turn into a post. So instead, I’ll just promise to write up a post with my thoughts on this as soon as possible.

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  4. Well? How about an article about Fisher? Your post about Steve was very well done. The problem is he’s just not…interesting. The Gute is – was – about as vanilla as you could get.

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    • Thanks. I’ll probably get around to Stevens eventually. Not in this series, because he never even approached the A-list. But eventually, I’ll get around to character actors like him.

      I have noticed of late that aside from Val Kilmer, the articles about actresses seem to be more popular. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I definitely don’t expect the Guttenberg article to be among the top hit-getters.

      I’ve got a couple ideas for who to feature next. I try to alternate between male and female stars. So the next one will most likely be an actress. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

      I am also spending some time cleaning up the previous articles. Some of them have missing images, out-dated info or really awful typos. Since these are easily the most popular articles on the site, I figured I should get them presentable.

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  5. I am a big fan of “Diner,” so I’ve made every effort to ignore the rest of Guttenberg’s output ever since it became clear what it was going to be like. When did that happen for me? Hmmm… 1986? That’s probably not entirely fair, but it is the truth about what my relationship with his work has been.

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    • I’m with you. I have an guideline that I follow that I usually only write about actors and actresses that I was at one point a fan of. I broke that rule for The Gute. I never disliked him. But I was certainly never a fan. However, I thought his sudden disappearing act plus the fact that he starred in the first movie ever to win a Golden Raspberry made up for my lack of interest in his work.

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  6. I do the same thing, and it’s embarrassing when an older article starts to get attention, isn’t it? Volvo is thinking of advertising on my site, and what was the very first article they looked at? My very first CTWNM post about a Saab! Gads!

    I personally like both the female and male posts that you do. Kilmer has always fascinated me, because he’s such a talented douche. On the other hand, I had serious crushes on Ryder and Shue. I honestly didn’t know you only stuck to A-list stars. Was Mia Sara A-list?

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    • I’ve got the WTHH articles and everything else. The WTHH article bring in around a thousand hits a day. The Disney articles get a lot of “likes” but not nearly as much traffic. Anything else may generate a brief spike in traffic. But the WTHH articles are evergreen so I feel the need to keep them up to date.

      How funny about the potential sponsorship. I guess that’s a good probelm to have. Being that this is a free WP site, advertising isn’t an option for me.

      Kilmer is on a level all his own. He is the undisputed King of WTHH. The most common search term every day is some variation of “Val Kilmer fat”. Back when she was on Celebrity Rehab, “Sean Young crazy” was our #1 search term.

      Generally speaking, I keep WTHH to actors and actresses who were arguably A-listers at some point. I have a few guidelines which have gotten looser over time.

      I have another series I call “So Fetch” (lousy name, I know) about actors and actresses who never made it to the A-list. Ideally, I’d write more Fetch articles. (Mia Sara would be an excellent candidate.) But since my time has been limited I have been focusing on the A-listers for now.

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  7. The real question to me is: what did he do to piss the Stonecutters off? I mean, something had to get them to stop making him a star.

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  8. What about Johnny Depp? That guy was on TV and a couple of movies, and then just disappeared.

    Seriously, you could take any of the ensemble movies of the 80s, like Rumble Fish, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Lost Boys, etc., and find tons of stars to do. C. Thomas Howell, Anthony Michael Hall…. Patrick Swayze… um…. Corey Haim…. Dana Plato…

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    • For a long time, Depp was my #1 example of an actor who kept getting work despite never having starred in a hit. Obviously, things changed.

      I try to keep these articles to A-listers. At least for the time being. So, Swayze will probably happen eventually.

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    • I think there are quite a few “missing” actors before we get to C. Thomas Howell (who I actually saw play a major villain on Criminal Minds)

      Dana Plato? Well- I think most of us know that really sad story….

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      • Yeah, I don’t really want to do a write-up on Dana Plato. 1. Everyone knows her story already. 2. It’s tragic. I like to keep the tone light.

        C. Thomas Howell is on my list. Not sure when I’ll get to him. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if he shows up sooner rather than later. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to the order around here.

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  9. I agree about Kilmer…what a waste. As for site hits, I get a lot of ‘Amanda Bynes fat face’ and ‘Kiera Knightly’s tits’. This is in response to a post I did stating I didn’t to see these actresses boobs because I watched them grow up on screen. Weird, eh?

    My most popular posts are Batman’s machines. By far. But Film Cemetery is doing very well, too. I make it a point to never poach ideas…or compete with friends like you or Jalopnik. As for advertising, I thought, why not? I work hard, and try to improve every time I do a post.

    And your Fetch series? I’d like to see that very much.

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    • I do enjoy the Film Cemetery articles. Great stuff. I’ll have to check out Batman’s machines.

      Since this is purely a hobby for me, I don’t really worry too much about traffic. But I do try to send hits to friends whenever possible. I figure my readers are likely to like the same blogs I do. So I figure it’s a win/win for everyone when I send readers to blogs I enjoy.

      I have considered switching the site to one that could run ads. But frankly, I just haven’t had the time to figure out how it all works. Someday when the site is getting 10,000 hits a day, I’ll have to seriously look into that.

      As for the Fetch series, here’s a link:

      http://lebeauleblog.wordpress.com/category/movies/thats-so-fetch/

      It’s been a while since I last updated one, so they are somewhat dates.

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  10. I like what I see…but I don’t know what Fetch means. And you mentioned Eric Bana in the post about Daniel Craig. Please do something on him! I just watch a doc on his racing career…talk about a guy that God gave every single gift…and he’s modest and very nice.

    By the way, just finished a post in which ‘The Gute’ is a form of currency

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    • I’ve never been real happy with the “Fetch” name. It’s a reference to “Mean Girls”. If you haven’t seen it, the name seems random. I had some other titles like “Almost Famous” and “Never Was”, but I never found one I loved. And “So Fetch” tickled my funny bone. So I went with that.

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  11. Honestly, Guttenberg seems a bit out of place in this series. He was never really a big star. The POLICE ACADEMY franchise raked in a lot of dough, and he was there for it, but that’s pretty much it.

    Guttenberg just missed the end of the disco trend with CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC, and almost missed the heyday of the slob comedy, too, but the first POLICE ACADEMY hit right before it ended, and became its last big hurrah.

    Ebert can sneer at that one all he likes–it was a damn funny movie, and of a breed of comedy that, all these years later, has nearly disappeared from this world. I don’t mean slob comedies (though they’re long gone, too). I mean movies that took their comedy from life. The characters seemed like real people, had very human moments, and the comedy itself came from believable (often gloriously stupid) situations. The filmmakers could throw in moments of serious drama, and, because of the more naturalistic approach to everything else, these didn’t seem out of place at all (they’d stick out like a sore thumb in most comedy today). In particular, when the thug at the end gets guns and starts shooting at everyone, it’s definitely NOT funny. The movie plays it straight–people could be hurt or killed. And because the characters have endeared themselves to the viewer, it just makes this even more effective.

    The subsequent movies in the franchise threw this over the side (along with the slob comedy angle), and are more representative of what comedy became after. Including the fact that they sucked.

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    • Over time, I have loosened my requirements for inclusion in the series. Having said that, I do think Guttenberg was A-list. But he was one of those guys who had an asterix by his name. Because he was involved in the Police Academy movies, Cocoon, Short Circuit and Three Men and a Baby, the studios treated him like an A-list talent just in case.

      In retrospect, it’s easy to look back and say that The Gute was in the right place at the right time. He wasn’t really packing the house. But people did pay to see his movies. When that happens on a regular basis, you get credit whether it is deserved or not. I think part of the reason Guttenberg faded so fast was that as soon as his luck ran out the studios realized he just had a monster lucky streak.

      I honestly haven’t seen the original Police Academy since the early 80s. I remember that the series became more silly and aimed at kids over time. Beyond that, I really don’t remember all that much about the series. I was never a fan.

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      • A good Guttenberg comparison might be Paul Rudd- not identical- but both likable guys who have been in funny movies- they also can play the romantic lead a bit. No one goes to the theater to see a Paul Rudd movie. Hopefully Paul Rudd won’t have his career fall off a cliff like Gutes- I think he has more dramatic range.

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        • Comparisons never work 100%. To me, Rudd has a lot more acting talent than Guttenberg. Rudd is a funny guy. Guttenberg was never really funny on his own. He was just standing off to the side smiling his big, inoffensive grin standing in for the audience.
          On the other hand, the Gutte starred in some really big hits. Rudd hasn’t really had his Cocoon or Three Men and a Baby.

          But I see what you’re getting at. Rudd kind of has the same goofy grin appeal. Neither of them is really a box office draw.

          I think Rudd will have a much longer career than Guttenberg did – at least in terms of being in the spotlight. Guttenberg still continues to work, so I can’t say his actual career was shortlived.

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  12. Yeah, bad way to start the week. Tony Scott really was my very favorite director. I feel awful for ripping on his films, but it was all in fun. I still feel really, really bad today, though.

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    • I was always a Tony Scott fan. I think my first Tony Scott film was The Hunger which I enjoyed quite a bit. But, he was always a guilty pleasure. It’s a damn shame that he took his life. I feel for everyone who knew him. As a fan, I consider it a loss to film. But, I don’t feel bad for being critical of his work. He was all style and sometimes very little substance.

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  13. I agree about the style over substance. But I have always said that films should entertain us. That’s why we go to the theater…for a couple of hours of escapism. I just did a post on Con Air. There is really nothing redeeming about this movie, except that it’s mindless fun. Sometimes, mindless fun is not such a bad thing. Tony Scott was the king of empty-headed escapism…kinda like Michael Bay, but with a plot.

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    • I almost made the Bay comparisson myself but did not want to insult the departed. But I agree, he was like Bay + talent. You could usually count on Tony Scott for mindless entertainment plus a little something more.

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  14. You put that better than I could. To take my mind off of things, I’m working on a post about the Tatra 603 in Lemony Snicket.

    I don’t mind talking to you about Tony, but I’m not going to post anything else about him. It doesn’t seem right.

    We’re about the same age, right? Do you remember being shocked by the little girl’s potty mouth in ‘Last Boy Scout’? And afterward, Tony’s films took on a much more reverent tone, it seemed, like he was sorry he’d done that.

    It also seemed that he was asking deeper and deeper life questions. I was struck by this in ‘Deja Vu’, but never said anything.

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  15. Now I’m left wondering which actor/actress in today’s crop of A-listers will be getting a whatever happened to article in 10 years.

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  16. What? Why? Seems like a funny guy. I liked 21 jump street

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    • To be honest, I have never seen a Channing Tatum movie. My pick was almost completely at random. But based on the commercials for his movies, he strikes me as an untalented meathead. It is an admittedly uninformed opinion.

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  17. Ms. Stewart will be with us for decades to come, I hope. Her performances heartfelt, sincere, and….sorry…laughing too hard

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  18. You should check out Jump Street then, because I was sincerely surprised. The guy can poke fun at himself, and not many meatheads can do that

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  19. 21 Jump Street dialogue sample:

    Tatum: (to biker meth dealer) “Come on! I”ll beat your dick off!”
    Biker: “Umm…what?”
    Hill: “I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way.”
    Tatum: “Come on! I’ll beat your dick off with both hands!”

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    • My wife is a big Tatum fan (despite not being sure of his name). She really wanted to see 21 Jump Street (despite not really knowing what it’s about or who else is in it) so I imagine I will see it eventually.

      I have heard some good things about it. Your sample dialogue jibes with what I have heard about it being a fun, raunchy comedy.

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  20. Sorry about that. Tell the kids to cover their eyes

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  21. Hey I don’t know if you take suggestions, but I just thought that Billy Zane might make an interesting WTHHT article.

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    • I absolutely take suggestions. And Billy Zane is on my radar. He was never really A-list, but I am considering expanding this column beyond A-listers to include those who came close to the A-list but never made it. I think Zane’s a classic case of a near miss.

      Also, I’ve been interested in looking at some former Twin Peaks cast members. Specifically, I watched John Carpenter’s Vampires for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was better than I had been led to believe (but not great). A lot of the credit for that goes to Sheryl Lee. Man, she should have gone on to better things. Beautiful and talented. But much like Zane, she barely broke into the B-list.

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      • 25 A-List Hollywood Actors Who Fell the F Off:
        http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/02/25-a-list-hollywood-actors-who-fell-the-f-off/billy-zane

        Billy Zane
        Best Known For: The Phantom (1996), Titanic (1997)
        Most Recent Project: The Ganzfield Experiment (2013)

        Despite a fall from grace, Zane has never stopped working. The highest profile projects he’s been involved with since 2000 have largely come from his own efforts. The Believer, which netted the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, happened because Zane worked hard to make it happen.

        The baddie from Titantic is active in the operation of two production companies, RadioactiveGiant and 21st Century Filmworks, where he works to get films made even when he isn’t starring in them.

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      • “The Phantom” seemed to be Billy Zane’s closest or best shot at being an A-list star, but unfortunately for him, it under-performed at the box office. And then of course, he showed up a year later as the antagonist in “Titanic”, but perhaps is arguably often hammy/obnoxious performance easily turned off potential female fans.

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  22. It may be too soon, but I just did a write up on Lemony Snicket. Emily Browning should totally be on WTHHT. Her parents did her no favors at all by bringing over here to act. Poor kid, Jim Carrey drooling all over her. Emma Stone ain’t his first stalkee, you know.

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  23. Actually, Sucker Punch is unwatchable, and partly why I suggested her. The other reason is the interviews she did during Lemony…she was an Aussie kid full of hope for the future…and now, 9 years later, Emily’s got Sucker Punch and an erotic film under her belt.

    Sorry, I have a personal rule, Emily, if I watched you grow up on screen, I don’t want to see your boobies after you turn 18. I’m talking to you too, Knightly and Lohan.

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    • Ouch. I didn’t realize she had already turned to erotic films. That’s a shame.

      Based on Sucker Punch, I really wouldn’t cast her in anything that required her to do more than look pretty. But that’s not fair because Sucker Punch demeaned everyone who was in it. It is only watchable for the train wreck factor. And even that is just painful!

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    • I actually like Sucker Punch. It’s a guilty pleasure. I can tell Snyder was trying to make a point even though he failed miserably. Still, Hot babes in skimpy outfits dishing out some pain. Can’t resist.

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      • Like I said in my Sucker Punch review, I enjoyed the latest Resident Evil movie as a guilty pleasure for exactly those reasons. But Snyder loaded his movie with a misguided message that failed on every level. And that prevented me from being able to enjoy SP on the guilty pleasure level. I can’t enjoy hot chicks fighting robots when there is an undercurrent of abuse, rape and lobotomy. Heck, it’s not even an undercurrent. It’s there on the surface.

        I know what Snyder was going for. But he overplayed his hand so badly that nothing about that movie worked for me.

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  24. It’s an erotic ‘art’ film, not porn. But she’s still nakie a lot. In all honesty, Emily can act, but she isn’t aging well. You know how sometimes ‘cute kid’ doesn’t translate to ‘attractive adult’? That’s Emily. And she was very good in Lemony and Ghost Ship.

    I think my real point is the sheer potential that’s been shot to hell. Isn’t that why you do WTHHT?

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    • That is pretty much the point. I am actually thinking of expanding beyond A-isters and basically folding the “Fetch” articles into WTHH.

      I honestly never followed Browning. I saw Lemony, but didn’t give it my full attention. I was really only watching for the adult actors. Didn’t notice the child performances at all. The only other movie of hers I have seen was Sucker Punch which was dreadful.

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  25. But…Lemony is all about the kids….especially Sunny the Biter. Heh. And Ghost Ship is one of those rare horror flicks that is pretty good.

    Tell you what. You expand your series, and give us a WTHHT every day of the week, and we’ll pay you in vanilla wafers and gratitude.

    Billy Zane was an excellent idea, too. So much potential wasted, like Kilmer.

    And we need to be clear about something. Sucker Punch, like Wild, Wild West or Battlefield Earth, is too bloody awful to even be called a film. I won’t even review it, because that would mean subjecting my eyeballs to the awfulness again.

    Like

  26. Smodco (Kevin Smith/Scott Mosier’s podcast ) did a really funny podcast on Guttenberg. It’s called “It’s all Gute” I believe. You should check it out.

    Like

  27. 25 A-List Hollywood Actors Who Fell the F Off:
    http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/02/25-a-list-hollywood-actors-who-fell-the-f-off/steve-guttenburg

    Steve Guttenburg
    Best Known For: Diner (1982), Police Academy (1984), Three Men and a Baby (1987)
    Most Recent Project: I Heart Shakey (2012)

    How did Steve Guttenberg become a movie star? True, it was the ’80s, but the question nags. In the classic episode of The Simpsons entitled “Homer the Great,” it’s posited thata secret organization is responsible for keeping Guttenberg active.

    Now, the jokes have changed. An unforgettable episode of Party Down found Guttenberg playing himself: a rich thing to be gawked at, like an antique.

    Like

  28. I’ve heard the argument that around 1985-86, Steve Guttenberg was about on par w/ Tom Hanks (incidentally, Steve was from my understanding, offered Tom’s role in “Big”). However, Hanks shortly thereafter proved in something like “Nothing in Common” that he had more dramatic range of the two, which in return, indicated that he was going to have a much better career in the long run.

    I think LeBeau pretty much hit the nail on the head about Steve Guttenberg. What made him successful at least initially, was that he was seen as a good looking but otherwise slightly goofy, mostly non-threatening guy. Now as for why he disappeared from movies for five years when the ’80s ended, I have no clue.

    Another argument that I’ve heard (perhaps jokingly) is that Paul Rudd could be considered a modern day equivalent to Steve Guttenberg.

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.movies.past-films/browse_thread/thread/2748c132ecbaf961/b914cf9f5361aa5c?lnk=raot#b914cf9f5361aa5c

    Like

    • Paul Rudd is sort of like the Gute in that he’s a handsome, non-threatening guy. But he’s much more talented.

      Like

      • While I don’t know if part of the reason why Steve Guttenberg’s career as an A-list, leading man ultimately died down by the start of the ’90s had anything to do w/ this, but I’ve read on other message boards that while Paul Rudd is an awesome comedic actor by himself, he is not really suitable as a leading man. To put things into the proper perspective, whenever Rudd is the main character in a movie (e.g. “Role Models”, “I Love You Man”, and “Dinner for Schmucks”), he’s usually sharing the spotlight w/ another comedic actor. As such, Rudd at the end of the day, is perhaps not strong enough of a personality to really carry a film by himself (and thus, is really better off in supporting or co-starring roles in an assembled cast).

        Like

        • I actually think Rudd is a great leading man. But for whatever reason, audiences haven’t taken a shine to him.

          While I don’t think Rudd and Guttenberg have much in common, I do think they are seen as somewhat nondescript. Audiences like it when they know what kind of movie to expect from their favorite star.

          When you saw a Tom Cruise movie, you know exactly what to expect based on his name being over the title. If he threw a curve ball like Vanilla Sky, it suffered. Same with Julia Roberts.

          There is no typical Paul Rudd movie (other than the fact he works with Apatow’s crew a lot). Same with the Gutte.

          Like

    • What happened to Thora Birch?–and other actors that seemed to disappear for no reason…:
      http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?s=cb048bd107af38e7402912db80d1c098&p=15150093&postcount=20

      Moving back, Steve Guttenberg. Major a-list star of Police Academy, Cocoon, Short Circuit, 3 Men and a Baby. Bigger than Tom Hanks. And then nothing of note, in fact he became a kind of anti-star, a bad joke. In fact Tom Hanks is a kind of inverse of this topic, he prevailed where Guttenberg and Reinhold and Feldman and Galligan and Broderick failed. He beat them all.

      Like

  29. Is Sam Worthington the New Steve Guttenberg?:
    http://frettsonfilm.com/2012/02/01/is-sam-worthington-the-new-steve-guttenberg/

    Don’t get me wrong—I love Steve Guttenberg. After all, I recently did a career-retrospective interview with him for the SAG Foundation. But even Steve would admit that he was lucky to get cast in high-concept hits like Police Academy, Three Men and a Baby, and Cocoon. Most people didn’t pay to see those movies because he was in them. And the same holds true for Sam Worthington’s smashes.

    Despite battling man-eating crocodiles in 2007′s Rogue, the Aussie actor was a complete unknown Stateside before landing leading roles in a trio of 2009-2010 blockbusters: Avatar, Terminator: Salvation and Clash of the Titans. Since then, he’s proven himself to be anything but a box-office titan.

    Like

  30. Where Are They? Wednesdays: Steve Guttenberg Edition:
    http://boxofficeboredom.com/2012/02/01/where-are-they-wednesdays-steve-guttenberg-edition/

    If you look back on the 1980’s you’ll find plenty of movies that star major A list stars still working today, but there is one man that was one of the biggest stars of the 80’s that truly deserves a “Where Are They?”. That man is none other than the great Steve Guttenberg. But before we travel down the path of “Where Are They?” it is important to first look at the man, the myth and the legend known as Steve Guttenberg.

    Profile:

    Steven Robert Guttenberg was born in 1958 in a Jewish family of five. His father was an electrical engineer but it became obvious that Steve wasn’t going to follow in his father’s footsteps. He headed off to Julliard after high school and never looked back.

    Guttenberg found his niche early on Broadway comedies and improv comedy before venturing into television in the late 70’s. He found himself in a some successful TV movies like Miracle on Ice (1981), To Race the Wind (1980), Something for Joey (1977) and The Day After (1983). Guttenberg even wound up in a Coca-Cola commercial where he was helping a lady with a stalled car and shared with her the a passionate love for Coke. –Yes, we mean Coca-Cola here, there is no evidence that they actually shared a love for cocaine even though it is entirely possible. (Note: We have no evidence that supports the previous statement).

    Guttenberg finally got noticed for his work on the film Diner, but is probably best known for his work in 3 franchises in the 1980’s, those of course being Short Circuit, Police Academy and Three Men and a Baby (Directed by by Leonard Nimoy). Side Note: I’ve always liked to think about “Spock” directing Three Men and A Baby and the thought process he put behind deciding to take on the project. I always assumed it went something like this: ”Three men….and ….A Baby? Highly Illogical–yet intriguing.” The point is Guttenberg became known probably best for his work on Police Academy in the 80’s as Mahoney and it catapulted the comedian into 80’s superstardom. Oddly enough, Police Academy was a film his agent suggested he pass on because he thought it was going to be a huge flop.

    However once 1990 rolled around, The “Gutt” [pronounced G-oooo-t] was seen less and less in Hollywood. He found himself along side Kirstie Alley and the Olsen twins in It Takes Two and a few minor TV roles but never really kept the traction going that he gained in the 80’s. In fact, it was hard to take a look at Guttenberg in the 90’s and think he was a box office draw the decade before. His most noteable work was a re-occuring bit part on Veronica Mars a few years back and continues to pop up on TV and indie works but generally has become a Hollywood “D List” star in the 2000 and beyond. He even found himself on an episode of Dancing With The Stars which was probably the thing that catapaulted The Gutt back into the spotlight. Mind you it was a very dim spot light (or perhaps maybe just a very bright incandescent light bulb) but a light none the less.

    Where Are They? Now

    Guttenberg’s name has popped up in a few different projects as Hollywood is looking to reboot and re-kindle anything that might have a breath of life left in it. Guttenberg claims that Hollywood is interested in Three Men and A Bride with the returning cast of Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck. However, I will admit this is hard to believe as none of these once A list actors really have box office bank written all over them anymore. Guttenberg has been suggesting that they reboot the Police Academy franchise for quite sometime and it looks like Hollywood has finally taken notice. They announced a reboot in the works, but there is no word of Guttenberg taking part in the project. However, it would be very hard to believe that he wouldn’t at least have a cameo. In October of last year, Guttenberg starred on Broadway in “Relatively Speaking,” one of the trio of one-acts written by Elaine May, Ethan Coen and Woody Allen. Guttenberg appeared in “Honeymoon Motel,” the segment written by Allen; he plays the father of a groom who falls in love with the bride. He is quoted as saying that sometimes people mistake his kindness for weakness which is why he hasn’t been a successful in Hollywood as he would have liked and still hopes that he can get back into the big leagues of Hollywood. Unfortunately for The Gutt, it has been 20 years since he has really seen any box office glitz and glitter.

    Off screen The Gutt has been active in charitable organizations and created Guttenhouse, an apartment for graduated foster children and works with Sight For Students, a program that works to donate eye wear to kids in need. His passion for helping others and entertaining others hasn’t left him even though the Hollywood cameras pointed in his direction are dwindling. Behind the Hollywood scenes he has worked as an executive producer and a director on a few after school special like projects that have garnered some critical acclaim in their respective circles, once again showing his passion for child welfare.

    In early November 2008, allegedly Guttenberg was filmed jogging semi-naked through Central Park, New York Guttenberg responded by appearing on The Paul O’Grady Show, where announced that he made the video for Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die website, but then decided to release it virally “as if it were real”. In a even stranger turn of events, he then finished off the show by earning a spot in the Guinness World Records by preparing the most hot-dogs in one minute.

    In May 2012, Guttenberg will release his memior, a book that called, The Guttenberg Bible. In this honest, charming memoir, Guttenberg tells the story of how he became the star of some of the ’80s most successful blockbusters, how he spent his early days sneaking onto the Paramount lot (he pretended to be Michael Eisner’s son), meeting more celebrities and casting agents than most aspiring actors ever would and gaining a stalker or two along the way.

    Like

  31. Craig Hansen

    It still amazes me to this day that Three Men and a Baby was actually the biggest blockbuster of 1987. The movie is enjoyable and amiable enough for what it is and it doesn’t surprise me that it became a hit, but it’s an unlikely candidate for highest-grossing movie of the year, despite it becoming exactly that. It’s questionable in retrospect if Guttenberg was ever actually a definable box office draw, but he certainly had a hell of a run for about 5 years or so with a string of box office hits and blockbusters. Police Academy may have been a dumb, low-brow comedy, but I was 13 at the time, and 13 year old me back then thought it was absolutely hilarious. What can I say, I was still a kid with bad tastes in low-brow comedies. I haven’t seen it since the 80’s, I think I’ll leave it there with my 13 year old tastes.

    I think you hit the nail on the head though, despite appearing in a number of hit comedies, Steve Guttenberg was never actually…. funny. That thought never occurred to me until you mentioned it, but it’s true. He had a good-natured, amiable quality about him, and leading-man good looks, but he was never really funny. While I question if he was ever actually a box office draw on his own, I would say because he appeared in so many box office hits in the mid-to-late 80’s, I would say he was briefly on the Hollywood A-list. But as you so hilariously stated, then 1990 came and took it all away.

    Hey, I’m a bit curious, I’ve been enjoying your WTHHT series for awhile and I’ve read and enjoyed them all, and I’m just curious who was the first actor to receive the honor of being covered in this series?

    Like

    • Mena Suvari was the first. I flipped on the Day of the Dead remake on cable one night with very low expectations. Even though I knew it would be bad, I was shocked by how awful it was. And by how horrible Suvari was in it. The question of “what the hell happened” naturally came to mind repeatedly as I watched Suvari sleepwalk through a pathetic zombie remake.

      At the time, I had no intention of making it a series. It was just a stray thought. But I had always wondered what happened to Michael Keaton. So I eventually followed up with an article on him.

      In the early days, I had some pretty strict rules about who would be included. They had to be A-list at some point and they had to be completely out of the spotlight.

      Eventually, the series took on a life of its own. It is relatively rare for any non-WTHH article to crack the top ten. Faced with the undeniable popularity of the series, I decided to slowly loosen the criteria for inclusion. These days, just about any one who has peaked is a candidate.

      We’re in agreement on Guttenberg. I don’t think he was ever a draw himself. No one bought a ticket to Coccoon or Three Men and a Baby because they were fans of the Gute. He was just there – neither a draw nor a disincentive.

      He had incredibly good luck that lasted for the better part of a decade. By most standards, he’s still a really lucky guy to be working even if it is not in big movies any more.

      Like

  32. Craig Hansen

    I never would’ve guessed Mena Suvari to be the first write-up, but the way you describe it, it makes sense. I never did see the Day of the Dead remake, but in the years leading up to it I did have a bit of interest in it. In 2004, Zack Snyder did a remake of the horror classic Dawn of the Dead, which was far better than it had any right to be. I was actually a big fan of the movie. I’d go so far as to say it could almost equal the original in terms of quality, a rarity among remakes. Anyway, I figured since Dawn of the Dead was so successful at the box office (it really did kick-start the boom in zombie movies and tv shows over the last decade, didn’t it?), a remake of Day of the Dead was inevitable. Since I enjoyed DOTD so much, I kinda anticipated it a bit for a couple years. Several years passed, and eventually the Day of the Dead remake got an unceremonial straight-to-video release; that fact alone told me it was garbage and I avoided it. Ving Rhames, I believe, appears in this, the only cast member to return, but I think he plays a totally different character from Dawn of the Dead.

    Regarding Mena Suvari though, honestly I really did enjoy the American Pie movies, which is really the main reason why we even know the name Mena Suvari. She also had a supporting but sizable role in American Beauty, but if that were the only film of note to her career nobody would know her name and she definately wouldn’t have gotten the honor of a WTHHT write up. I don’t mean to undermine her career with that statement, I recognize that most actors would kill to have a sizable role in a film that actually wins the Academy Award for Bert Picture, and no matter what happens in Mena Suvari’s life, she will always have that. Anyway, I’m glad you started this series, it’s always fun and informative. And we all owe Mena Suvari a debt of gratitude for her career failing, since it resulted in such a great series of articles! ha ha

    Like

    • lol – I thank Meena Suvari every time I look at my blog stats. And then I pray that Val Kilmer never discovers low carb diets.

      Like

      • Craig Hansen

        Ha ha – funny you should mention Val Kilmer, that was actually my introduction to the WTHHT series – a perfect introduction, in retrospect. Val Kilmer is the perfect example of an actor that was just too much of an – excuse me for the language – asshole, and once his ability to draw audiences dropped, Hollywood seemed more than ready to let him fall off the face of the Earth. He just burned too many bridges, thinking his star would shine bright forever and there would never be a price to pay, and there seem to be a few of those types that you’ve covered (Debra Winger comes to mind also along those lines).

        Like

        • Iceman was a lot of people’s intro to the series. He really does exemplify WTHH. I can’t think of a guy who had so much going for him only to throw it all away.

          Like

  33. Craig Hansen

    I figured I’d just bring this all back around to Steve Guttenberg…..

    Maybe I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but were there any Steve Guttenberg films that you did like back in the day? Never in any point in my life have I considered the Gutte one of my favorite actors, but for a handful of years he did appear in some movies that I liked. The Police Academy movies were base, crude, juvenile and low-brow, but I was in my very early teens when those movies were released, and at that age I was more than ready to laugh at crude and low-brow comedy.

    And for what it’s worth at the time I did enjoy Coccoon; I think the movie turned out a lot better than the material directly because of Ron Howard’s directing, but I also give credit to the older actors in the cast like Don Ameche, Brian Dennehy, Wilford Brimley, Jessica Tandy, etc. It’s been many years since I watched the movie, yet thinking back on the movie I think more about the Fountain of Youth story angle for the senior citizens (and the touching performances of the older actors in the film) than I do Steve Guttenberg’s performance, which I can’t really remember much of ironically. Could that be the mark of his career? Good movie…. can’t remember anything distinctive about his part in it?

    Like

    • I had written a huge response to this comment only to have my computer eat it. Probably my computer’s way of saying I was rambling.

      Sure, I have liked some of Guttenberg’s movies. I don’t watch them any more, but many were entertaining back in the day. Like everyone else, I enjoyed the first Police Academy for what it was. And Guttenberg was perfect for the series. Kind of a poor man’s Chevy Chase.

      Coccoon was a good movie. Like you, I attribute that to Howard and the cast of Hollywood legends. But the Gutte served a purpose. The movie needed some young people in it for the audience to relate to. Guttenberg was relatable without infringing on the true stars of the movie.

      I laughed at 3 Men and a Baby. If you want someone to play straight man to a dirty diaper, the Gutte is your man. He won’t be funny. The diaper supplies the laughs. But he will interact with that diaper like nobody’s business.

      Forgettable performances in decent movies? That sounds about right. Which isn’t to detract from what Guttenberg brings to a movie. Sometimes you need a likeable, sort of good looking guy the audience can relate to without really getting too invested in. Gutte’s that guy. Or he was before he got old.

      Like

        • Police Academy 30th anniversary today!

          http://officialfan.proboards.com/thread/495171/police-academy-30th-anniversary-today

          Post by mizerable on 8 hours ago
          9 hours ago Jedi-El (not an accountant) said:
          Should have stopped after the 4th one.

          I pretty much agree with this.

          While the first movie had it’s moments, it also had some pretty lousy cadets, such as the fat guy or the Latino lady killer.

          Thankfully, the second movie introduced some better characters, such as Zed, Sweetchuck and Proctor, but the move to the new precinct and the addition of lousy officers like the dirty guy or the hard-ass who worked with Jones.

          The third movie was okay…but it seemed WAY too over-packed.

          The fourth movie had probably the best force yet. The only disappointment was Kyle (or Chad) disappearing, and Mauser’s unfortunate departure, although Harris will always be known for being slightly better, I just think Mauser had the better gags played on him.

          The fifth one sucked outside of the villain. The loss of Mahoney is clearly evident here.

          The sixth one brought back Fackler…because everyone he was what the series was needed.

          The seventh movie was flat out terrible. They got the kid from Diagnosis Murder as the lead…yeah…awful.

          As far as an eighth movie? Well, two of the most prominent characters are dead. Making these movies without Tackleberry or Hightower would just be depressing.

          Post by Jedi-El (not an accountant) on 8 hours ago

          8 hours ago mizerable said:
          The fifth one sucked outside of the villain. The loss of Mahoney is clearly evident here.

          Mahoney was the glue that held it all together. While Jones, Tack, and Hightower still were funny, Mahoney was the one that held it all together.

          Post by El Pollo Guerrera on 8 hours ago
          Gotta say I really enjoyed the first one, and the rest not so much. There was a more serious tone in the first movie that was dropped in the sequels. Yes, there was slapstick humor as well, but it was the kind of slapstick you’d find in an episode of “MAS*H” and not the Looney Tunes stuff that followed.

          And I liked Lesley’s story (the fat guy).

          Post by SHAKEMASTER TV9 is Don Knotts on 7 hours ago
          First one: I never watched this one as a kid, WB11 never showed it but I liked it when I watched it a few years ago.

          Second one: My favorite as a kid. My favorite bit is Mauser blinded with his hands glued to his hair. I read Howard Hesseman hated this movie, disappointing since I thought he was funny in it.

          Third one: I liked this one as a kid but that’s because I didn’t see the first one. Basically all the funny gags from the first one, they redo in this one but with no context. Really lazy. I imagine the response at the time was “how can they call it police academy when they’re not at a police academy?” so the remade the first one.

          Fourth one: Awful, horrendous. The only one that doesn’t open with the classic Police Academy theme, a clear sign of it’s inferiority and what ended Steve Guttenburg’s participation in Police Academy.

          Fifth one: Not good either. Matt McCoy does his best as the Mahoney stand-in.

          Sixth one: Not as bad as it’s reputation. Much like the second, has it’s own non-police academy related story. I like the return of Fackler.

          Seventh one: Only one I’ve never seen from beginning to end. It was on TV and tried for 5 minutes and had to quit. It’s made worse they used a really cheap camera, it looked like it was shot on tape.

          Post by Rumble McSkirmish on 5 hours ago
          I’ll say it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. It’s hard to believe a movie franchise actually got worse once Steve Guttenberg left.

          Like

        • Movie franchises that continued once the star quit:
          http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/franchises/30523/movie-franchises-that-continued-once-the-star-quit

          POLICE ACADEMY

          Who quit? After leading the ensemble cast of the increasingly-photocopied Police Academy films for four movies, Steve Guttenberg, in the prime of his box office powers, packed up and left. His character of Carey Mahoney was not recast.

          Who replaced them? Matt McCoy. He joined the series for Police Academy 5 in the role of Nick, Commandant Lassard’s nephew. Not that it affected the script too much – much of the material that had been written for Guttenberg in the movie was just given to McCoy. The characters, it would be fair to say, were not dramatically different. McCoy would reprise the role for Police Academy 6, although didn’t get the call for Police Academy: Mission To Moscow, where the budget put a strict limit on how many cast members could be flown to Russia.

          Did it work? Well, it didn’t stop the franchise. That said, the US take dropped from $28m for Police Academy 4 to $19m for Police Academy 5 and $11m for Police Academy 6. Granted, the series had been in box office decline anyway, but Guttenberg’s absence was felt. Police Academy: Mission To Moscow took less than a million dollars.

          Interestingly, Guttenberg has subsequently expressed regret about quitting the franchise when he did, and he’s been actively involved in getting a reboot going. He was said to be a possible director for it at one stage, but more realistically, if it ever happens, he’ll be part of the reunited ensemble.

          Like

  34. Craig Hansen

    “The Gutte will interact with that diaper like nobody’s business”. Man, what I wouldn’t pay to see that as the blurb on the Three Men and a Baby DVD! ha ha!

    Like

  35. Steve Guttemberg had the name on his side. Despite a so-so career in the Eighties (Cocoon was not a smash hit over here and we had the original French version of three men and a baby), that German name of the guy who invented press printing was strange for an all-American guy and easy to remember.
    We have some problems with typical English-American names: they sound quite similar to our untrained ears. That doesn’t matter if you enjoy the fame of a Jack Nicholson or Johnny Depp, but for a not-so-A-lister it can become a problem. For example, the other guy in Fast and Furious (Vin Diesel is a perfect name, however). In a galaxy of forgotten stars, the name “Guttenberg” will always shine brighter.

    Like

  36. I was a fan of The Gute, you can’t really appreciate his greatness until you have read his IMDB bio… Truly the stuff of legends!
    His movies in his heyday were like him, likable and non-threatening, but yes, he was never a big star, just a reliable guy on-screen, but his biggest hits were always thanks to the cast or the robot he shared the screen with, of course if you believe his IMDB bio he was and still is a bigger star than ol’ Tom Cruise.

    Like

  37. My ex husband used to refer to him as the always annoying Steve Guttenberg… I think he got that phrase from either Siskel or Ebert.

    Like

    • Oh man, that is NOT fair. The Gutte is practically like window dressing. He blends into the background. I can’t see how anyone can consider him annoying.

      I’m not familiar with the phrase, but it sounds like Siskel if one of them said it.

      Like

  38. I recently saw part of High Spirits- my mom had rented it because she loved Peter O’Toole- I had had a dinner with my parents (want to make it clear I don’t live with them) and stayed a bit longer while she started it up- my Lord- what a mess! I thought Neil Jordan might make a better film – but this is a screwball ghost comedy that tries very hard for the few laughs it gets.

    Gutte is OK as the near-leading man who falls for Daryl Hannah’s ghost- basically a good rep of one of his performances- OK- works with a large cast and plays the romantic lead.

    The main thing I got out of this film was how hot Beverly D’Angelo used to be!

    Like

    • OMG was D’Angelo a hottie or what!

      I never made it all the way through that movie. I tried given that I have written up both Guttenberg and Hannah. But I didn’t have it in me.

      Like

  39. “Men didn’t want to be him and although women apparently wanted to be with him, they’d have rather been with Tom Selleck.”

    I love this line- well- I dunno if I buy the Selleck part.

    Basically- to me- Guttenberg was an actor who would normally play the lead actor’s best friend. A little drama (the friend confides in him) , a little comedy (the jokes on him), a little romance (he hooks up with the lead actress’ best friend) – basically his role in Three Men and a Baby.

    Somehow his agent got him the big parts- and he was able to do OK enough to get a few more. So- basically a safe bet for a few years- the Eighties- when he had a few flops- those good roles went to other guys.

    Like

    • The thing about Guttenberg is that he always looked like he was happy to be there. He wasn’t exactly sure how he got there. But he was there and he was happy. Never for a moment did I feel like he was acting. And by that, I don’t mean that he gave a natuarlistic performance. I mean he just wasn’t acting. It seemed like he had wandered onto the set and no one chased him off. Every now and then, he’d try to act and it usually didn’t go so well.

      Oh and women in the 80’s totally wanted Tom Selleck. That ‘stache was killer.

      Like

  40. He had a run of ’84 Police Academy, ’85 Cocoon, ’86 Short Circuit, ’87 Three Men and a Baby. (Police Academy sequels from 85-87)

    In ’88 he had High Spirits and Cocoon- the Return- both flops. 1990 the 3 Men sequel. That’s basically his run- he takes the early ’90’s off and then does kid movies.

    Lets face it- he milked PA for all it was worth – and got some leading man/ensemble movie roles that worked out- he never carried a hit movie as a leading man.

    Like

  41. OUCH!

    Pretty harsh on the Gute. It’s hard to hate him if one loves the 80’s.

    I remember liking the first “Police Academy” film, but the second one was probably funnier due to Bobcat Golthwait.

    “Three Men and a Baby” was a good 80’s film, and so was “High Spirits”, while “Short Circuit” was very good. All three are kinds of movies not made anymore.

    And “Cacoon” was good too.

    The bottom line is that Guttenberg did star is some good, and in many cases very successful, films, so he probably doesn’t deserve too harsh a treatment.

    But you are right in that in the end he was never a “magnetic” star, just a friendly face to “star” in movies that really didn’t need him.

    And much like the 80’s, he represents another time when plain-looking, friendly, non-“intense”, non-“gruff”, non-“dark brooding”, non-“hyper-masculine” (or non-“feminine-looking pretty boys”) guys can still lead movies.

    Good deserved entry.

    Like

  42. Who keeps back the electric car!
    Who keeps Steve Guttenberg a star?
    We do!
    We do!
    We doooooo!

    (Google Simpson, freemason song)

    Like

  43. I was a kid when the “Police Academy” films were released, so yeah, those films were fun for me. I admit, I rather like “The Bedroom Window” (Wallace Shawn had a scene stealing part, and Elizabeth McGovern played an assertive, likable character), and Steve Guttenburg did well playing a hapless guy. Also, I feel that the Robert Palmer song that is played twice during the film, “Hyperactive”, is awesome.

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  44. He was in the Chicken Chronicles in 1977 which I never even knew about until now. lol Which brought me here. He did seem to be in a lot of movies back in the day.

    Yes, the day after scared the bleep out of me too. I was a senior in high school in 83. What a glimpse into the future huh?

    Cheers :)

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  45. The Mother Brain Files Underrated Actors Special: Steve Guttenberg:
    http://cosblog.cosmelentertainment.com/2011/02/12/the-mother-brain-files-underrated-actors-special-steve-guttenberg/

    When one thinks of the top comedic actors of the 1980s, names like Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Richard Pryor, and even a pre-Batman Michael Keaton come to mind…. and there’s Steve Guttenberg. As a kid growing up in the 80s and early 90s, Guttenberg was definitely one of the few actors I looked up to. Perhaps it was his iconic role as Carey Mahoney in the first four Police Academy movies that made me believe he was one of the coolest guys on the planet. He had undeniable charm and likability which brought him luck and success in the film industry. In recent years, I discovered that his resume is far more extensive than one would imagine. He might be sort of a laughing stock today because he never reached the career heights of his peer, Tom Hanks. But you’d be surprised how close Guttenberg could have gotten to Hanks’ level.

    Guttenberg was born in Brooklyn in 1958. He had a Jewish upbringing in a family of five which included his two sisters. After graduating from Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, NY in 1976, Guttenberg began to study and sharpen his acting craft. From acting studies at the Juilliard School, SUNY Albany, and UCLA to studying and performing improvisational comedy with the famous troupe, the Groundlings, Guttenberg became a highly skilled actor and comedian with success in productions on and off Broadway as well as London’s West End.

    Just a year out of high school, Guttenberg started landing acting gigs on television. But success came early in movies when he appeared as a doomed Jewish-American student who uncovers a sect of Third Reich war criminals looking to resurrect Hitler though cloning in 1978’s The Boys from Brazil. Then he cast in a different kind of controversial film in 1980’s Can’t Stop the Music. The film, which was a fictional account about the formation of the infamous disco group, the Village People, starred Guttenberg as a songwriter and dee-jay who brings the group together and shoots up to fame. Cashing in on the success of Saturday Night Fever, the movie quickly died at the box office due to the backlash against disco in the early 80s.

    After a few failed attempts in television, Guttenberg gained a bit of notoriety in Barry Levinson’s 1982 directorial debut, Diner. The film was Levinson’s semi-autobiography about high school friends in 1950s Baltimore reuniting for a friend’s wedding. Guttenberg was part of an ensemble of future megastars including Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, and Ellen Barkin. Guttenberg shined as the slacker groom-to-be and the film marked the beginning of the trend in which he took parts in large ensemble films. That trend continued on with the controversial ABC television movie The Day After in 1983 where Guttenberg played a college student who is one of the few lone survivors of a devastating nuclear explosion. Even in the most serious of films, Guttenberg’s charm and likable personality manage connect with audiences.

    Up until 1984, Guttenberg only had two leading roles (the failed 1979 sitcom Billy and the forgettable 1983 comedy thriller The Man Who Wasn’t There which has no connection to the Coen Bros. movie of the same name). But then a low budget comedy called Police Academy was dumped on movie screens in March of 1984. Critics immediately trashed it. Audiences, however, rolled down the isles laughing their asses off. The same audiences that waited in line for R-rated comedy romps of the time like Animal House and Porky’s piled into the theaters and the film was number one at the box office for 5 weeks, grossing over $80 million domestically, launching a long-running franchise throughout the decade, and turning the up-and-coming Guttenberg into an overnight movie star.

    In the Academy’s ensemble cast that included Michael Winslow as the sound effects voice man Jones, David Graf as gun freak Tackleberry, NFL star Bubba Smith as the imposing but lovable Hightower, and G.W. Bailey who would forever be typecast in the role of the disciplined but nasty Lieutenant (and later Captain) Harris, Guttenberg played the lead character, Carey Mahoney, a troublemaking prankster of a cadet who could charm the ladies, humiliate his instructors, and stand up for his fellow cadets and officers. Some may argue his star-making moment was the scene where Mahoney tries to hide a prostitute and let’s just say the payoff is worth not spoiling here (Hint: It involves the prostitute, the academy head Commandant Lassard, and a podium during a big speech)! In winning the iconic role, Guttenberg beat out other future box office stars like Michael Keaton, Judge Reinhold, Bruce Willis, and of course Tom Hanks. He continued to play the Mahoney role for 3 more films before calling it quits after Police Academy 4 in 1987.

    Now on the a-list in Hollywood, Guttenberg was suddenly in demand. His next big hit was the Ron Howard sci-fi classic, Cocoon. Like Carey Mahoney, Guttenberg’s boat owner character, Jack Bonner, is big into fortune and women when he unknowingly helps a group of aliens recover cocooned members of their race known as the Antareans. The Jack character and his romance a sexy Antarean named Kitty (Tahnee Welch) was clearly written to bring younger audiences to the theatre so they were not totally turned off by the A-plot involving Florida retirees regaining their youth in a swimming pool full of cocoons. But once again, Guttenberg came across as that sweet-natured guy we love to root for and he nailed another franchise when he appeared in the sequel, Cocoon the Return, in 1988.

    Guttenberg was on a roll. He hit the jackpot again as the robotic scientist and creator of Johnny 5 in 1986’s Short Circuit which led to a Guttenberg-less sequel in 1988. He had an even bigger hit as part of the three man ensemble alongside Tom Selleck and Ted Danson in 1987’s Three Men and a Baby which went on to become the number one hit of the year and also spawned a sequel three years later. He even appeared as himself riding a police bike in the Liberian Girl music video for Michael Jackson from his Bad album. Although he was riding high on the comedy front, Guttenberg began to find it difficult for audiences to take him seriously in dramas. Among one of those underrated gems was Curtis Hanson’s 1987 thriller, The Bedroom Window. It was one of Guttenberg’s most darkest films of the 80s in which he witnesses a rape from his window while having an affair with his boss’ wife. Unfortunately, his character is played with an uneven mix of being a straight leading man and being the typical charming and goofy leading man that made him successful. Most critics felt that he was completely miscast and while Curtis Hanson went on to become a respected director, Bedroom Window marked the downslope in Guttenberg’s career. His next few films, High Spirits and Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, both flopped at the box office. By 1991, Guttenberg disappeared from movies all together.

    In the late 1990s, Guttenberg resurfaced in a few mediocre family movies like The Big Green, Zeus and Roxanne, Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays, and a made-for-TV adaptation of the Disney ride, Tower of Terror. His biggest hit of the decade was the Olsen Twins’ romantic comedy, It Takes Two, in 1995. In 2002, he made his directorial debut in the adaptation of the James Kirkwood Jr. stage-play, P.S. Your Cat is Dead! At that point in his career, Guttenberg took a chance to revisit his stage roots while challenging himself to play a struggling actor who questions his sexual orientation while bonding with a cat burglar who tries to break into his apartment. He took another chance in playing against type in the second season of Veronica Mars as the ruthless wealthy citizen, Woody Goodman. In more recent years, Guttenberg has been known more for his appearance on Dancing with the Stars as well as his Funny or Die videos including “Steve Guttenberg’s Steak House” and the infamous jogging semi-naked in Central Park video which ended up circulating on TMZ and other media outlets as a real incident. He also operates his own production company, Mr. Kirby Productions, which is named after his high school drama teacher.

    Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in Guttenberg’s career was turning down the lead role in 1988’s Big which shot Tom Hanks into megastardom. Up until that point, both actors were interchangeable in the roles they played and while Hanks went on to become an American icon in cinema, Guttenberg played it safe in comedies until his a-list status dwindled down in the early 90s. But whereas Hanks chooses his film projects carefully year after year, Guttenberg since the day he landed his first television role has been working more consistently (minus the gap in the early 90s) and steadily, often doing 2 to 3 projects a year:

    “I just want to do good stories. That’s the trap. When people say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this again’ — well, if they’re good at it, why not do it? I don’t care about switching from comedy to drama — I just like to be able to jump from work to work. I just like to be doing good work — that’s all I want to do. I just want to work.”

    There is some hope in the near future as talks of a new Police Academy movie are in the works with Guttenberg possibly returning as Mahoney as well as a third and final entry to the Three Men and a Baby series. Until then, he’ll be surfing, taking care of his dogs, and contributing to various charities and youth programs.

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  46. Steve Guttenberg And His Bros Don’t Believe That ‘Ghostbusters 2′ Was Ever Made:
    http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/2014/07/steve-guttenberg-and-his-bros-dont-believe-that-ghostbusters-2-was-ever-made/

    Every once in a while, someone asks the all-important question: Hey, what’s Steve Guttenberg up to? That’s when TMZ cameramen really come in handy, since they seem to appear out of thin air whenever a Q-list or higher celebrity appears, just like this guy did with the star of Short Circuit while he was out in New York City last night. The photog actually asked a pretty good question, wondering if Guttenberg ever reflects on the lost role of Dr. Peter Venkman and what he thinks about the possibility of a third Ghostbusters film. Guttenberg was one of the actors who was always rumored to have been considered for the role of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters back in 1984, despite the fact that it was written for John Belushi before Bill Murray eventually made it part of his legacy.

    Guttenberg, though, wasn’t sure if he ever actually turned the role down, but he had nothing but high praise for Murray. Then he very seriously denied the existence of Ghostbusters 2, and it’s hard to tell if he’s joking through that excellent straight face. But then his redheaded bro jumped in and cut a wrestling promo and the whole thing became confusing as hell.

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