What the Hell Happened to Eddie Murphy?

eddie murphy

Eddie Murphy

By this point in the “What the Hell Happened?” series, a pattern has developed.  The career usually begins with TV roles or modeling gigs.  Then a big break, super stardom and a stint on the A-list.

Sometimes the celebrity rides on the top of the a-list for years.  Other times, they come crashing down relatively quickly.  Eventually, their time in the spotlight ends.  Sometimes they flame out in a spectacularly public fashion.  Other times, they just walk away.

Eddie Murphy’s story breaks from the formula.  Sure, there is a rise and fall.  But in Murphy’s case, there’s not just one.

Murphy rose to superstardom, slipped into irrelevance, reinvented himself as a family friendly leading man, had a scandal, dropped into obscurity, and then threatened to stage a come back multiple times without ever actually coming back.

Murphy - SNL

Eddie Murphy – Saturday Night Live – 1980 – 1984

Murphy started performing as a stand-up comedian as a teenager.  In 1980, at the age of 19, Murphy joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.  At the time, he was the youngest cast member in the history of the show.

In the early 80s, SNL was in its first real slump.  It was actually facing the possibility of cancellation.  Murphy and co-star Joe Piscopo were the sole stand-outs of the cast and arguably saved the show.  Murphy became the show’s clear star with characters like Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson.  He also did a killer Stevie Wonder impression.

Murphy also has the distinction of being the only cast member to host the show while he was still a regular cast member.  Murphy remained on SNL until 1984.  Once he left, he would not return for over three decades.  According to Murphy:

“They were shitty to me on Saturday Night Live a couple of times after I’d left the show. They said some shitty things. There was that David Spade sketch [when Spade showed a picture of Murphy around the time of Vampire in Brooklyn and said, “Look, children, a falling star”]. I made a stink about it, it became part of the folklore. What really irritated me about it at the time was that it was a career shot. It was like, “Hey, come on, man, it’s one thing for you guys to do a joke about some movie of mine, but my career? I’m one of you guys. How many people have come off this show whose careers really are fucked up, and you guys are shitting on me?” And you know every joke has to go through all the producers, and ultimately, you know Lorne or whoever says, [Lorne Michaels voice] “OK, it’s OK to make this career crack…”

Eddie Murphy - 48 Hours - 1982

Eddie Murphy – 48 Hours – 1982

While Murphy was still on SNL, he made his feature film debut in 1982’s 48 Hours.

I don’t think the impact of 48 Hours can be over-stated.  It wasn’t just a smash hit.  It practically invented a genre that would dominate the film landscape for the next decade.  The buddy cop movie began with Nolte and Murphy in 48 Hours.

Murphy commented on why the movie – in which Nolte’s character says some very politically incorrect racial slurs – worked:

You know why it worked then and the reason why it wouldn’t now? My significance in film – and again I’m not going to be delusional – was that I’m the first black actor to take charge in a white world onscreen. That’s why I became as popular as I became. People had never seen that before. Black-exploitation movies, even if you dealt with the Man, it was in your neighborhood, never in their world. In 48 Hours, that’s why it worked, because I’m running it, making the story go forward. If I was just chained to the steering wheel sitting there being called “watermelon,” even back then they would have been like, “This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!”

Nolte was supposed to host SNL when the movie opened.  But he partied a little too hard and had to cancel.  Instead, Murphy – still a cast member on the show – took over the hosting duties.

Murphy was already a star thanks to SNL.  But 48 Hours made him a movie star.  Murphy was nominated for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.  He lost to Ben Kingsley for Ghandi.

murphy - trading places

Eddie Murphy – Trading Places – 1983

The following year, Murphy teamed with SNL alumn Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.

Murphy played a poor conman who trades places with a rich Wall Street trader played by Aykroyd.  Jamie Lee Curtis played a hooker with a heart of gold who helps Aykroyd deal with his new status quo.

Trading Places was directed by John Landis who would work with Murphy two more times.  The rich man/poor man comedy was an even greater hit than 48 Hours.  Murphy was nominated for another Golden Globe.

Eddie Murphy - Delirious - 1983

Eddie Murphy – Delirious – 1983

Murphy was 2 for 2 in Hollywood and was still a star on TV.  He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Trading Places.  Plus he had a hit stand-up comedy special in Eddie Murphy: Delirious that same year.

Murphy’s career was hot.  He wasn’t just a rising star.  He was shooting straight to the top.

Next: Beverly Hills Cop and The Golden Child


Posted on January 31, 2012, in Movies, Saturday Night Live, TV, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 426 Comments.

  1. Great work!

    Love the writing style…Poor Murphey, whoever is advising him is clearly insane…


    • Thanks for reading. Glad you liked it.

      I think Murphy may be following his own advice. But your point still stands. I did not address a lot of the personal stuff that is out there on Murphy (although I’m sure it will come up in the comments). But the guy is a bit nutty.


  2. I wish Murphy had won the Oscar for Dreamgirls. He was the one part of the movie that I found really interesting. As awful as “Norbit” looked (of Course I didn’t see it, are you crazy?), that was not the performance the members of the Academy were supposed to be voting on. Lots of Oscar winners have done terrible movies. That doesn’t change the quality of their winning performances.
    As much as I love Alan Arkin, his performance in “Little Miss Sunshine” was not one of his best.


    • I never did see Dreamgirls, so I can’t comment on whether or not Murphy deserved to win more than Arkin. But realistically, we all know that who wins the Oscar is rarely about an indvidual performance. There’s politics involved. It’s usually a lifetime achievement award. That was the case with Arkin. He’s been around forever. Often nominated, never won. If they didn’t give it to him for LMS, the Academy might never get a chance to reward him. So, maybe they would have given the prize to Arkin just for that.

      On the other hand, Murphy has made a lot of enemies. Just ask John Landis. Politics aren’t Murphy’s strong suit. And he has a much greater potential to embarass the Academy with scandal or bad movies like Norbit. Norbit probably didn’t actually cost Murphy the Oscar. But if anyone was thinking about casting a vote for Murphy, here came Norbit at just the right time to remind Academy voters why they shouldn’t.

      I wish Murphy would look at his piles and piles of money and vow never to make another Norbit. He should put away the fat suits and lose the phone numbers of his hack friends. He should look at Bill Murray’s late career reinvention as a serious actor and try to model himself after that. No more bland family comedies. No more sequels. Just challenging roles that interest him enough to actually be worth the effort. Because when he’s bored, it really shows on the screen.


  3. So this article got almost 2,000 hits today presumably because there was an internet rumor that Murphy had died in a car accident. It’s not true, people. But thanks for the hits! Had over 4K hits today! That record will be hard to beat unless someone really does have an accident. (My money’s on Val Kilmer as usual.)


  4. if it wasn’t for eddie murphy we might not have had all the good buddycop movies of the 80s and 90s. i loved 48 hrs and another 48 hrs and beverly hills cop 1 and 2. have to agree the third beverly hills cop sucked.


    • 48 Hours definitely created a genre. Without 48 Hours, I doubt we’d have had the Lethal Weapon franchise. And Murphy’s contribution to 48 Hours was huge. Without Murphy, I doubt 48 Hours would have been anywhere near as big as it was. So, Murphy definitely deserves a lot of credit for the buddy cop genre.


  5. I think a lot of your comments are unfair. I would have liked to have read more about how race plays a role in Hollywood. Race surely plays a part, can you name 5 A-List black actors or actresses that get a steady stream of great roles (how bout just name 5 A-List black actors and actresses that aren’t singers)? Usually the great LEADING roles come after a white A-Lister turns the role down (i.e., Beverly Hills Cop). There aren’t any A list black actors or actresses that have been consistently provided with strong LEADING roles.

    Nevertheless, white A-listers do their share of bombs and floating turds of movies. Eddie Murphy has had a lucrative career and perhaps a “come back” isn’t what he wants. Maybe he knows he’s not good with politics and decides to do what he wants and not do what other people want or expect (think about the premise of the movie “The Producers”, sometimes you make more off a bomb). You should most definitely watch Dream Girls, his role was the strongest piece of ACTING ever given to Murphy who probably wants to do as Whoopi Goldburg, Tom Hanks, Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney, Jamie Foxx have done as actors and actresses…crossover from just comedy to real character development! Even Will Smith has had opportunities to grow (Side note, Will Smith is probably as much to blame for Eddie Murphy’s lack of good roles. Have you seen and heard how much Will Smith sounds and acts like Murphy? On occasion looks like Murphy.) However, I agree that perhaps the Tom Cruise logic of “work with the best directors” would have worked for Murphy. But Tom Cruise isn’t exactly known for his acting capabilities now is he? And what was the last Tom Cruise movie that he was nominated for?


    • I’m not sure how unfair I was. We seem to agree on an awful lot. Race was definitely a factor in Murphy’s career. I don’t think that’s debatable. I addressed it, but I didn’t want to dwell on it for the entire article. Perhaps it deserved more space than I gave it. I will say, I think Murphy broke down a lot of barriers and made Hollywood more friendly to minorities.

      Murphy is prickly on the subject of “comebacks”. When people called “The Nutty Professor” a comeback, Murphy said he had never left. So, maybe he doesn’t want a comeback. I try not to second guess. I don’t know the guy.

      He’s definitely making money. And I can’t blame him for giving audiences what they seem to want in exchange for huge pay days. If I were in a similar position, I might do the same thing.

      But I can help but hope that at some point Murphy will say “enough”. He’s got to be rich enough at this point, right? Stop making banal family films! Work with some quality directors on an edgier project. Surely there are some independent film makers who would kill to work with a talented household name like Murphy. Murphy might need to take a paycut to make it happen. But the impact to his career would almost certainly be worth it if he picked the right project.

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! They definitely help round out the conversation.


    • I can’t and won’t say race plays no role in Hollywood. It must just as it does everywhere else. From my outsiders point of view however I think the bottom line, trumps-all-else card in HW is money. As in who is hot, and who is putting butts in seats at the theaters. Denzel is royalty and everything he touches makes money. Same can be said for Will Smith even though he doesn’t seem to be working much these days. Murphy too during his heyday. If it puts dollars in accounts I don’t think studio executives care what race an actor is. Murphy got bored, became boring and lost the edginess that made him popular. That was his downfall. You mentioned naming 5 A list black actors? Heck, in my opinion the same can be said of white actors. Oh I know there are lots of big names we can throw around but to me they are just flavors of the year. Fine actors with a solid body of work behind them are few and far between from where I’m sitting.


      • Denzel is the gold standard of consistency. He can be counted on for a 20-million opening weekend regardless of what he’s in. His movies aren’t always big hits. But they are almost always profitable and you can count on that strong openining weekend.


    • Certainly you make a good point Dolores, but I think that Eddie Murphy’s situation doesn’t necessarily prove that point.

      At the time of his initial rise to fame, he played way into “being black” and it worked very well for him (yes, that’s a form of racism too, but to his advantage). He’s also extremely talented, but he started out as a comedian, hence the multitude of comedic roles. Tom Cruise has never been, and will never be, funny. Tom Cruise copied Eddie Murphy’s physical fat-suit comedy bit to far less success.

      Both of these men also gravitate towards career suicide. Murphy picks up male hookers, and Cruise attacks anything that goes against his thwarted viewpoints (like the Brook Shields situation).

      Aside from race, they’re just totally different types of characters and that holds true on screen as well.

      The bottom line for me is that I will happily watch a classic Eddie Murphy movie over any Tom Cruise movie.


      • When I watch a Tom Cruise movie, it really has nothing to do with Cruise. It’s because he has chosen great projects and great collaborators. Not that I mind Cruise. He neither contributes nor detracts from a movie to me.

        Murphy, on the other hand, is a draw. I’ll go see a movie just for Eddie Murphy. But he has abused that in so many movies where he was clearly phoning it in. Now, I am more discriminating about which Eddie Murphy movies I will watch.


      • Definitely. By “classic” I guess I mean pre-90’s for the most part.


      • Tom Cruise wore a fat suit?


      • Oh, sorry, Google is my friend. I didn’t see Tropic Thunder.


  6. tom cruise has had good and bad films from time to time. but if he is doing top gun 2 i will go see it. eddie murphy needs to get out of those crappy family films and do what he does best another sequel to 48 hrs and beverly hills cop


    • He’s been talking about a Beverly Hills Cop TV show he wants to produce. It would be about Alex Foley’s son. I assume Murphy would reprise his role to some extent.


  7. on tv not movies. which sucks.


  8. Uh-oh. Looks like another flop on its way. I didn’t even know about this one until reading the article during a browsing session. Poor Eddie just can’t seem to catch a break.


    • There was never any question 1000 Words would flop. It was just a matter of when. Fortunately, the failure of John Carter will get more headlines helping Murphy save face.

      I watched Tower Heist this weekend. It was an okay movie. But it made me really sad to see Murphy trying so hard to be the old Eddie Murphy. It was like watching Murphy to an impression of Chris Tucker doing an impression of Eddie Murphy.


  9. eddie is ruining his career.


  10. andymovieman

    i hope he makes the sequel to twins with schwarzenegger and devito as the third brother.


  11. How about a “What the hell happened to Mike Myers?” article, since he also got his start on SNL.
    “The Love Guru” proved for all time that Myers never met a fart joke he didn’t like and that annoying sense of humor seems to be finally bitting him in the a$s in recent years.


    • He’s definitely on my list. Lots of good “Mike Myers is a jerk” stories out there. Plus, lawsuit. Lawsuits are always fun.

      Sadly, just when I thought things were slowing down at work we got busy again! Sigh.


    • Reading this article I reminded Mike Myers. SNL, Sherk, fart jokes, The Love Guru, Holy Man. They are like soul mates.


  12. Didn’t “Norbit” get an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design or some other category? I guess The Academy didn’t dislike Eddie that much for making it, ha.


    • I’m sure you’re kidding, but I’ll answer anyway. Yes, Norbit was nominated for best make-up effects. That’s because they were done by Rick Baker, a legend in the field. The make-up artists who voted love Rick Baker more than they hated Norbit.


  13. I’m a fan of your posts! Could you do ‘what the hell happened to Martin Lawrence?’


    • I plan to write up Lawrence eventually. But he’s way down the line. Partially because I have seen very few of his movies. And I don’t recall really liking any of them. The first Bad Boys was okay for what it was. I don’t think I had strong feelings about any of his movies one way or another. Let’s pencil him in for 2014, shall we?


  14. Hello! What about you start making that about Directors? I don’t know any director.. But you shall know .. ?!

    Lebeau ~le Blog~ added to my favorites !!


    • Hey thanks. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the site.

      For the most part, I have been covering directors in the Betrayed By series although to date, I have only covered two. More to come on that hopefully soon. For now, computer problems work and the real world have slowed me down!


  15. Some times it’s hard to analyze besides saying that, a lot of times, you are either a fan, or you are not. Although I’ve skipped many of his forays in the big screen, I remain a big fan of Eddie Murphy since his earliest SNL appearances and I unashamedly love all 3 of the COP movies, (in the DVD watch forever collection) as well as many of his other movies, such as Daddy Day Care and Tower Heist. I agree totally with your statement that he has an interesting career. How can he not? Murphy’s talent is the type that makes everything more interesting when he walks in the room. His presence, in my opinion anyway, has salvaged some lackluster movies and carried some others into box office smashdom. What’s fascinating about Eddie Murphy is, again going back to those very earliest SNL appearances, I never got the feeling that he was so much an actor, as a personality. He was and is an extremely talented comedian, but acting, in the classic sense? Not so much. it is HIM. More than anyone I can think of with his career span, it’s less about acting chops and more about parlaying his own personality into box office success. And more power to him.


    • When Murphy is “on” there is no one more captivating. Unfortunately, that happens less and less at this point in his career. He seems to be “phoning it in” a lot. And when Murphy is bored with a project, it shows.

      I look forward to the next project that brings out the best in Murphy. I am sure it will happen again some day.


      • I went back and watched “Tower Heist” for a second… oh ok… THIRD time after re-reading the comments. There’s no denying, as you said, when he is bored and/or phoning it in, it comes across very clearly onscreen. In TH, he was most definitely not bored. I am quite impressed with the work of this cast and enjoyed very much Eddie Murphy bringing his unique persona into an ensemble. The lines he speaks are funny because it’s him saying them. I could be very wrong, and yes everyone is getting older, but I feel this movie could be a career turning point for Eddie, and Matthew Broderick, even Ben Stiller (who does not choose bad projects by the way!) as becoming valuable players in movies that assemble a talented ensemble of actors, and not the youthful teen idol sort of actors, but more mature. Kudos to the entire cast of this movie really, i hope it enjoys resurgence on DVD.


        • I’ve only watched TH once, so I’ll have to give it a second viewing eventually. The vibe I got off of Murphy’s performance was one of desperation. I felt like he was over-compensating. He was trying to be the Eddie Murphy of old, but he was going through the exaggerated motions. Someone said it was like watching Murphy do an impression of Chris Tucker doing an impression of Eddie Murphy. That was my take on his performance as well.

          I do think my expectations for the film were set a little high. I was expecting Ocean’s Eleven. But it ended up closer to Ocean’s Twelve or Thirteen. My high expectations set me up for disappointment. I was really bored by the end. But maybe I’d enjoy it more with lowered expectations.

          It was definitely meant to be a turning point for Murphy and Broderick. That didn’t pan out as expected. And what was expected to be another savy career move for Stiller ended up being a minor misstep. But perhaps the movie will develop a following on video.

          For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad movie. It may even be good. But I was looking for greatness and I feel it definitely fell short of that.


  16. Bill Simmons wrote an article for his Grantland website about Eddie Murphy’s career arc:

    Here’s interesting details about Eddie’s relationship w/ Richard Pryor on the set of “Harlem Nights”:

    About “Beverly Hills Cop III”, I’m kind of surprised that you left out the fact that Eddie Murphy disowned it while on “Inside the Actors’ Studio”. “BHCIII” was a very troubled production on its own (just look in the IMDb trivia page for “BHCIII”) or Mathew “Film Brain” Buck’s “Bad Movie Beatdown” of “BHCIII”:


  17. Here’s Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s review of Eddie Murphy’s “Harlem Nights”:

    At the end, Ebert says that even though Eddie Murphy is the number one box office star in America circa 1989, sooner or later, his reputation isn’t going to be enough to carry “turkeys” like “Harlem Nights” (which Siskel speculated that Murphy did mostly out of ego). Ebert added that while Murphy is a genuinely talented actor, unless he’s willing to take a few chances, he runs the risk of sabotaging his career before getting a chance to do the really “good stuff” that he’s capable of.

    Both Siskel and Ebert complained about the foul language (which they felt was out of tune w/ the time period for which “Harlem Nights” took place), racism, and misogyny.



      Harlem Nights was one of the major disappointments of its day, not least because of the absence of any spark of chemistry between Murphy and Pryor. But for Murphy, whose artistic folly this was, it had been a chance to finally work with the man he’d idolized from an early age. Indeed, until now, Murphy had continued to do well for himself by craftily adapting Pryor’s raw, uncompromising style into a shtick that pleased the teens and the movie executives. But Murphy’s expletives and hip sensibility were tempered by a calculated calmness; if he occasionally appeared as wild and reckless as Pryor, you knew it was only when the script demanded it. Like Pryor, Murphy was also to have success with a couple of concert films (Delirious, 1983, and Raw, 1987), which served up slickly obscene monologues to roaring crowds, but these do not remain in the memory like Pryor’s live performances. Indeed, they reveal little about Murphy himself, and look packaged and polished. Nevertheless, Murphy has always been vocal about his debt to Richard Pryor.

      But the Pryor of Harlem Nights was very different from the man Murphy had admired for so long. On the set, he didn’t warm to Murphy (several people have testified to his jealousy of the younger star), and he brought little of value to an already misjudged and badly misfiring film. Indeed, Pryor in Harlem Nights is a void — stiff, hollow, and unsmiling, a frozen image of a man hobbled by some morose lethargy. As thirties club-owner Sugar Ray, he is not meant to be the comic centre of the film, but the Pryor of a decade earlier could at least have breathed some life into the proceedings. Here, the whole thing dies in the water.


      • 10 Famous Actors Who Tried To Direct Movies (And Failed):

        Harlem Nights – Eddie Murphy

        Though Eddie Murphy and the awful movies he has made over the last fifteen years have long been the subject of ridicule, when Murphy wrote, directed, and starred in Harlem Nights in 1989 he was still considered one of the funniest comedians in America.

        This period-piece crime comedy-drama starring Murphy and fellow stand-up legend Richard Pryor might seem like a match made in heaven, but despite the presence of two of the greatest stand-ups of all time audiences and critics thought the film to be overlong and dull. The narrative tone shifts from comedy to drama throughout the movie, which is mostly why it ended up with a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

        Though Harlem Nights was a box office success (grossing $95.9 million worldwide on a $30 million budget), it was nowhere near as successful as earlier hits that Murphy starred in (Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, and Beverly Hills Cop II each grossed over $275 million worldwide). Arguably Harlem Nights was the beginning of the end for Murphy’s big screen career, which soon descended into inconsistency and later downright dreadfulness.


    • The THIRD and FINAL part of our ‪#‎RichardPryor‬ discussion is now online! We mull over the decline of his later years and mourn the legacy of one of the greatest comedians that ever lived. ‪#‎cinefilestv‬


  18. Bronson Pinchot has a very sad story about “Beverly Hills Cop III”:

    “That was a lifetime later. “Beverly Hills Cop” opened up a whole world. I got the television show and movies, and I would go sign autographs for one hour and get paid $25,000. I had bodyguards and police barricades, and I had that whole life from 1985 to about 1992, ’93. Eddie was going through his period at the time of doing movies that were not hits, and he was very low-spirited, low-energy. I said to him, “All anyone ever wants to know when they meet me is what you’re like.” And he said, “I bet they don’t ask that anymore.” And then when we did a scene, we were shooting, and he was so low-energy that John Landis sent him upstairs and said, “Just rest, Eddie, and I’ll do the scene with Bronson.” So whenever you see my face in the movie, I’m not really talking to Eddie, I’m talking to John Landis. And I can understand it—he was just having a bad stretch. And that stretch lasted… When did “Dr. Dolittle” come out? I think his funk really did last until then. I don’t know what started the funk, but it lasted a chunk of time, and that was in the belly of the funk, and he was just really sad and low-energy and I basically did the scene without him there.”

    There’s a lot more interesting, very candid stuff that he says in this interview with The A.V. Club; you should check it out:,34310/


    • I’ll definitely check that out. Pinchot was kind of sad himself. Murphy’s funk shows.


    • 11 Movies That Killed A Franchise:

      5. Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

      Beverly Hills Cop was a cinematic breakout for star Eddie Murphy, with the first film earning $316m against a $15 budget (and an 83% Tomatometer), while the sequel also did well, making $299 against a $20m budget (albeit with a much lower 46% Tomatometer). It was the third film that was released seven years later, then, that damaged the franchise seemingly beyond repair, as several attempts to wade through the mess left in its wake have proven fruitless, and to be honest, it sounds like nobody can be arsed after the calamity that was Beverly Hills Cop III. The most glaring problem with the third film is that series regulars John Ashton, Ronny Cox and Paul Reiser did not return, nor did series producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. While Murphy is – moreover, was – a fine comic talent on his own merits, the film’s screenplay tended more towards the silly and campy rather than the R-rated moxy that is better suited to his comic sensibility.

      Murphy’s co-star, Bronson Pinchot, claimed that Murphy seemed depressed and had low spirits during filmmaking, despondent that he was no longer making many successful films. Murphy later would comment that the third film was “atrocious”, and that he saw the character of Axel Foley as “banished” from Hollywood for some time, and true to Murphy’s words, the film earned a Razzie nomination for director John Landis, and secondly, we haven’t seen Axel Foley ever since. However, in recent years Murphy has teamed with Brett Ratner to try and get a fourth film kickstarted, with numerous scripts floating around, promoting an “edgier” take that would hew closer to the R-rated tone of the original film. However, recent interviews suggest that the film has stalled once again, and Murphy is now shopping around a TV show based on a premise following his son, with Axel appearing periodically in cameo form.

      We won’t hold our breath. And if you’ve made your way through Beverly Hills Cop III, neither should you.


  19. Speaking of “The Golden Child”, Charles Dance, who played the main villain in the movie, Sardo Numpsa tells an interesting story of the production (besides it being originally intended as a Mel Gibson vehicle):

    “Initially, The Golden Child was a very interesting script with a lot of weird resonances,” Dance recalls, “but Paramount basically chickened out. When they first screened it, it was a very different sort of film for Eddie Murphy. Paramount took too much notice of the preview audience’s unease about the unfamiliarity of Eddie’s character. They had gotten to know him so well through Beverly Hills Cop that they wanted the character to be much more like that. So the studio went back and reshot a lot of footage of Eddie doing ‘Eddie Murphy-isms,’ and put them into the picture. Then they took out a really sumptuous, weird and beautiful score by John Barry, and replaced it with something more funky. So basically what you got was Beverly Hills Cop in Tibet.”


    • You can really tell watching the movie. The Murphyisms really stand out. The thing is, even now, I think those are the parts most audiences like. Murphy really wanted to make all kinds of different movies. But that just wasn’t realistic. Someone else should have starred in The Golden Child.


      • “The Golden Child” strikes me as one of those movies that really didn’t have a script (they just put all of their energies in the concept and special effects) once Eddie Murphy came on board, so they just told him to ad-lib as much as possible. It just that only Eddie’s character appeared to be in on the joke. Therefore, if the main character isn’t going to take things seriously, despite a very scary villain played by Charles Dance being in the way, why should we as an audience take things seriously (it was a very uneven movie)? I think that had it not been the very first movie that Eddie released after the smash hit that was the first “Beverly Hills Cop” movie, then maybe test audiences wouldn’t have been so demanding that Eddie’s character be like Axel Foley. In a way, “The Golden Child” is “BHC” meets “Big Trouble in Little China” (which incidentally, came out the same year and also features James Hong and Victor Wong) if you ask me.


        • If I remember correctly, TGC was originally written for Mel Gibson. It was a straight action script. Then, as you say, they cast Murphy and told him to ad lib. That kind of thing rarely works out. More often than not, the result is uneven like TGC. Still, Murphy was popular enough at the time that he managed to draw in audiences which is the test of an A-list star. He definitely passed the test at the time.


    • What Annoys Me About The End Of ‘The Golden Child’ (1986):

      The movie is an awkward mix of fantasy and Murphy’s gritty humour, toned down for a ‘family’ movie.

      Despite coming between the very successful ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (1984) and ‘Beverly Hills Cop 2’ (1987), ‘The Golden Child’ really began to establish Murphy’s career in making rather lame movies that did not know which genre they fitted in and tried to shoehorn Murphy’s loud mouthed humour into them. After 1989/90, Murphy has been best simply voicing the donkey in the Shrek movies, (2001, 2004, 2007), though I quite enjoyed ‘Vampire in Brooklyn’ (1995) on a cheesy level and ‘Bowfinger’ (1999) was a real exception to the rule for both him and Steve Martin.



      Why did Murphy choose this project? His humor works best in the gritty, realistic world of 48 HRS. and Beverly Hills Cop, and while a side trip to Nepal offers a few opportunities for culture-shock gags, it is not his natural element.


      • I have heard him say several times that he thought it would be his Indiana Jones. He really expected that his success in Beverly Hills Cop would allow him to make every kind of movie he wanted to make. You can see the light in his eyes go out as he realizes people only wanted to see him as variations of Axel Foley.


      • The Golden Child (1986):

        Post by Jackie Chan: The Chan of Steel on Jun 14, 2015 at 6:49pm
        probably the one thing people remember about this Eddie Murphy fantasy action/comedy vehicle was that it came out the same year as a more infamous Eastern mysticism centered film: Big Trouble in Little China.

        So, Golden Child isn’t bad, but it’s disappointing. It starts out very promising, but then it starts to coast.

        Eddie Murphy’s charismatic as usual, but the script and his co-stars don’t help much. It’s like he’s expected to carry the movie by himself like Beverly Hills Cop, but he’s given very little to actually do; TV Tropes tells me the role was originally intended for Mel Gibson, and the script is straight-faced enough that you can tell.

        there are some choice scenes (“Your silhouette is kickin’…oh, she plays the maracas?”) which tell me that he needed to interact more with characters other than the love interest, Kee Nang…she was okay, but not interesting enough to co-star.


    • Parodying the Oriental Monk in “The Golden Child”:

      Scholar Sau-Ling Wong argues that Hollywood portrays “people of color” collectively as “ideological caregivers” by salving white spiritual insecurities in the technological age of and predominant self-serving ideology.# Only an American non-White spiritual seeker would save Buddhism in an Oriental-Monk plot. To argue for The Golden Child’s “modernized cultural patriarchy” further, an African American serves as an ideal protagonist. On one hand, he can signify Western culture. On the other hand, he could also be marginalized enough to radically break from the culture and embrace an Eastern religion.# Casting an African American as the Chosen One could have provided possible critiques of racist Los Angeles, suggested by the montage of angry-white-men murals staring at Jarrell in the film’s opening.

      However, after the producers replaced Mel Gibson with Eddie Murphy as the seeker and hero, they adapted the serious, spiritual-healing script into a partial comedy to accommodate for Eddie Murphy’s popular comedic persona.# Well-known for his “crazy ni**a” image and cynical humor, Eddie Murphy could not possibly act as someone seriously devoted to any religion.# He plays an anti-hero who stays within his agnostic culture and ridicules the spirituality of both the good and the bad in the film with many one-liners, such as asking a parrot if it saw “a Hare Krishna midget floatin’, or is it me?” He also provides mainstream cultural references such as calling the high priest “Monty Hall,” despite every other character’s incomprehension. As the Chosen One, Jarrell does not believe anything about the religion even though it supposedly predetermined his fate. He only commits to the task of saving the child after the desirable woman offered him sexual favors, reflecting characteristics of his survival-of-the-fittest persona.#

      Cultural critics believe that Eddie Murphy succeeds as a mainstream “media baby” in a Reagan-era precisely because he feeds into the black stereotype of having a high libido and unapologetic subversive comments during his stand-ups as well as his films.# Considering the sociopolitical context of a white patriarchy, The Golden Child promotes problematic stereotypes of the African American male. The street-smart anti-hero, played by a black male, cannot commit spiritually to his cause; his agnostic nature interconnects with his promiscuous sexuality, boundlessness and amorality. When Jarrell points to a yak loin, a Chinese shopkeeper said it “keeps the yang up,” Jarrell confidently replies that he has enough “yang.” He disrespects the exoticized dragon woman with overt pick-up lines and insists on having sex with the Tibetan woman. Although Kee Nang knows kung fu and saves Jarrell multiply times, Jarrell erotically dreams of saving her instead and becoming her hero. Jarrell realizes his wet dream and achieves his inner goal through upholding moral responsibilities and keeping his “heart as pure as the water.” While the protagonist’s character traits subvert the ideal spiritual seeker, the conclusion still serves the West-saves-East narrative. The black male may appear crass, yet as an American, he can still save Buddhism from the evil forces.

      In a postracial and atheist society, The Golden Child functions as a postmodern parody and deconstructs the Oriental Monk narrative. The hero is black while the antagonist is white, and spirituality becomes part of an absurd joke. But given the sociopolitical context of the film, it portrays the African American anti-hero played by Eddie Murphy objectifies Eastern religions while being objectified as the boundless black male by the Western imagination. He becomes both the perpetrator and victim of modernized cultural patriarchy.


    • The forgotten blockbuster The Golden Child marks the beginning of Eddie Murphy’s “not trying” phase:

      On February 15, 1987, The New York Times published an article by film critic Janet Maslin titled “Comedies Without Laughs Merit Cries Of Protest,” which focuses on the dispiriting phenomenon of the 1986 Eddie Murphy vehicle The Golden Child selling somewhere in the area of 12 million tickets, despite the film’s appalling paucity of laughs. Of The Golden Child’s audience, Maslin writes, “It may be that not one of them has laughed while watching it, not even once” before modifying her assertion just slightly to acknowledge:

      Audiences sit through The Golden Child in near-total silence, and only occasionally does the film elicit any reaction. They watch, in what can only be bewilderment, as exotic locations, fake-looking stunts and incomprehensible special effects parade wearily across the screen. They may chuckle at Mr. Murphy’s very infrequent wisecracks—some of the humorous material was reportedly added when the film was almost finished, to give it a much-needed boost—but none of the jokes is memorable. Nor is anything else about The Golden Child, but that need not slow its momentum. It’s already in orbit, and now it can stay there.

      Maslin isn’t saying she personally did not find The Golden Child amusing: She’s making a blanket generalization about how the entire viewing public processed The Golden Child. Taste is inherently subjective, and few film genres are more subjective than comedy, yet Maslin’s phrasing suggests that, objectively speaking, The Golden Child simply is not funny.

      This doesn’t qualify as a particularly bold assertion. In both in the moment of its release and in the 27 years since, a near-universal consensus has formed that The Golden Child isn’t funny. The film has paradoxically become infamous for its forgettability. It’s the perfect example of a strange breed of film: movies that seemingly no one remembers that nevertheless gross small fortunes.

      As a testament to the subjectivity of comedy, a little later in her essay, Maslin quips that due to its commercial success and future ubiquity on home video and television:

      The Golden Child may be billed as a comedy classic. It can sit there, on a shelf besides Spies Like Us and Three Amigos and Ghostbusters and Legal Eagles, on the shelf reserved for Non-Movies of the ’80s. And it will fit in perfectly: Clerks will be able to recommend it to customers in good conscience. But this is a film that was never well liked, not even when it was new. Why does it deserve to live forever?

      History has treated the films Maslin singles out as the “Non-Movies of the ’80s” differently. Though it grossed just under $50 million domestically and was the 14th top-grossing film of 1986 (that was back when $50 million was still a lot of money), Legal Eagles is widely regarded as a flop, due to both its massive budget and its forgettability. Spies Like Us has not aged well, but having visited an officially licensed Three Amigos-themed cantina in Cozumel, Mexico a quarter-century after the film’s release, I can personally vouch that the film has resonated across the culture in weird, persistent, apparently international ways. And many of my Gen-X colleagues would describe Ghostbusters as one of the movies of the 1980s, a comedy touchstone with such a massive presence in the culture that fans continue to obsess about a third entry as if trying to will it into existence.

      This brings us to the second part of Maslin’s statement. In the same paragraph where she pans Ghostbusters as one of the “Non-Movies of the 1980s,” she asks why films like The Golden Child “deserve to live forever” by virtue of their commercial success. The answer is that The Golden Child doesn’t deserve to live forever, nor has it. Despite its commercial success, it has receded in the cultural memory to such an extent that it now qualifies as what this column is calling Forgotbusters: films that were among the top 25 highest-grossing films of their release years that have since been all but forgotten by the moviegoing population at large.

      Reduced to its bare outlines, The Golden Child in some ways resembles Ghostbusters, which came out just two years earlier: Take a popular Saturday Night Live alum (or alumni, in Ghostbusters’ case); put him in a special-effects-heavy, kid-friendly fantastical adventure; then wait for the bucks to roll in. Murphy was even eyed for the role Ernie Hudson ended up playing in Ghostbusters, but at that point, Murphy was much too big to be playing “the black guy” in anyone else’s movie, even one as big as Ghostbusters. (His Beverly Hills Cop outgrossed Ghostbusters that same year.) Instead, Murphy played a role in The Golden Child originally intended for Mel Gibson. When Murphy took the part, the film was hastily converted from a relatively straight action-adventure epic to a comedy, though the film shifted genres in pre-production without becoming funny in the process. Maslin wasn’t kidding about the film’s dearth of inspiration: It’s a barren comic desert, a cinematic wasteland that surrounds its star with a lot of mystical mumbo jumbo and indifferently executed special effects while giving him virtually nothing to work with.

      In an earlier, more blessed era, Golden Child director Michael Ritchie delivered a remarkable string of scathing satires of contemporary American life: The Candidate, Smile, the original Bad News Bears, and Semi-Tough. Here, Ritchie seems content to follow his star’s lead, contributing as little of his personality and talent as possible while still theoretically fulfilling his professional obligations. Though he enjoyed success in the action-comedy genre a year prior with Fletch, here, he’s defeated by the demands of choreographing high-concept nonsense.

      Ritchie seems understandably bored by the mystical element of the film, which opens with a labored set-piece in Nepal. The title character, a young boy with supernatural powers—including the ability to raise the dead, a power that, shockingly, comes into play in the climax—is abducted by Sardo Numspa, a figure of pure evil played with sneering aristocratic condescension by Charles Dance. Unfortunately, Ritchie seems only slightly more engaged with the film’s comedy, exemplified by Murphy’s social-worker protagonist, Chandler Jarrell, being introduced wandering a Los Angeles neighborhood putting up missing-child signs. When he encounters an uptight white man leisurely perusing a copy of Chunky Asses at a newsstand, Chandler looks over the man’s shoulder and mumbles, “Butt Pie is a sequel to a book written called Butt Cake. Very popular at the newsstands: It’s about this butt with cake all over it.”

      This is Murphy’s introduction. The Golden Child only has one chance to make a first impression, and it squanders it on its protagonist behaving like a creepy, mush-mouthed bully who can’t even commit to insulting random strangers with any vigor. Murphy is supposed to be a heroic social worker, a finder of lost children (or in the slightly hyperbolic words of the Ann Wilson solo track that plays over the opening credits, “The Best Man In The World”). Yet when we first meet him, he’s behaving like a huge asshole. Is Murphy a selfless hero or a jerk who takes time out of his busy schedule to insult strangers in ways that barely make sense?

      The lines are embarrassing enough, but Murphy amplifies the awkward awfulness by delivering them haltingly, as if he started on an improvisational riff about posteriors and sugary baked goods, then thought better of it, but was too deep into his bit to pull out. Murphy is so disappointed with himself, he barely manages to laugh at his own semi-jokes, and then without much conviction. When even Eddie Murphy doesn’t find Eddie Murphy hilarious, something has gone terribly awry, or rather gone awry in an unexpectedly boring fashion, which is even worse.

      The unfortunate introduction of Murphy’s character is followed by the only scene in the film that betrays Ritchie’s satirical touch, a set-piece at a cable talk show hosted by a touchy-feely host who peppers Chandler with inane questions, until Chandler snaps and issues an angry plea for information about a missing girl. The scene has an agreeably warped SCTV sensibility, but reveals the disconnect at the heart of the movie: Murphy clearly isn’t engaged in what he’s doing. He’s not listening; he’s just waiting to speak. He’s limply heckling his own movie, maintaining an ironic distance that protects its star while sabotaging the film’s meager prospects.

      Chandler is thrust into a world of mystery and intrigue when beautiful stranger Kee Nang (18-year-old model-turned-actress Charlotte Lewis) informs him that according to an ancient prophecy, he is the chosen one, a sinner who will be called upon to save the supernaturally gifted title character. Chandler responds to this staggering assertion not with wonder or awe, but with sarcasm (“That’s a good destiny!” he enthuses) and muddled riffing about how she better stay away from Rastafarians, because the scroll she’s holding looks like a giant joint. Informed that a woman he has been speaking with is 300 years old and her mother was raped by a dragon, he responds with a joyless, “Does that happen a lot where you’re from?” Throughout The Golden Child, Chandler responds to every event with an ugh and a shrug, and the film follows suit. As Dave Kehr observed in his Chicago Reader review of After Hours, deadpan under-reaction to bizarre, threatening situations was a popular convention of 1980s comedy. (The Blues Brothers is the Platonic ideal.) Murphy’s performance here, however, isn’t deadpan so much as dead.

      When Murphy debuted on Saturday Night Live in 1980 as a gifted, charismatic teenager, he had a live-wire electricity. Six years later, the light had left his eyes, and it returned only intermittently. Though Murphy was only 25 years old when The Golden Child was released, his lack of engagement makes him seem much older; he somehow looks more vibrant now than he does in the film. The Golden Child officially kicked off the “not trying” phase of his career, which continues to this day. Murphy has been coasting for so long that it now qualifies as a news story when he actually appears to be trying, as in his Oscar-nominated turn in Dreamgirls and his moderately interesting, somewhat out-of-character turn in Tower Heist. (These days, sadly, “moderately interesting” is about the most anyone can expect from him.)

      It takes forever for The Golden Child to finally send its protagonist to the Far East to fulfill his destiny. Once there, he shivers and shudders and tells Kee Nang, his perfunctory, unconvincing love interest, “I’m freezing, and I’m not enjoying myself, but I want you to know that I’m going to do my best to find this Golden Child for you.” It’s easy to hear the actor behind the role, though “acting” is an awfully generous way to describe what Murphy does here. “Speaking words while appearing on camera” is a more accurate phrasing.

      For a film involving dragon rape and ancient prophecies fulfilled by a smart-ass L.A. social worker, The Golden Child travels an awfully straight path to an unsatisfying happy ending. Apart from the chat-show sequence, the sole moment of joy and inspiration in the film comes in a whimsical, stop-motion-animated scene where The Golden Child uses his supernatural powers to make a Pepsi can turn into a little aluminum man dancing to “Putting On The Ritz.” It’s the only moment in the film that captures the awe and wonder that this kind of family-friendly adventure is capable of when done correctly.

      Murphy, Paramount, and audiences all learned the wrong lessons from The Golden Child. Murphy realized he didn’t have to try in order to be fabulously successful commercially. Paramount and other studios learned, again, that audiences didn’t have to particularly like a movie to make it a sizable hit. And children not old enough to appreciate the grittier Murphy of 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Saturday Night Live came to accept that oftentimes, big studio comedies just aren’t funny, but that’s no reason to stop supporting them with parental pocketbooks. As Maslin puts it, “A passive acceptance of a film this feeble sends a message of encouragement to those who made it.”

      The Golden Child was released around the time of another mystically charged, East-meets-West action adventure: Big Trouble In Little China, directed by John Carpenter, whom Paramount unsuccessfully attempted to recruit for The Golden Child. In 1986, The Golden Child didn’t just win the box-office battle against Big Trouble In Little China, it devastated the competition, grossing almost $80 million domestically to Big Trouble In Little China’s paltry $11 million. But history is the ultimate judge of a film’s merit, and history has deemed Big Trouble In Little China the clear victor in the war for hearts and minds.

      History isn’t always that tidy, however. Maslin was dead-on in calling The Golden Child a non-movie that seems to wash over audiences without making any kind of impression. Except for those it does impress. In one of the film’s sole moments of spontaneity and inspiration, Murphy gingerly refers to his evil arch-nemesis as “Sweet Brother Numsy” shortly before the villain transforms into a demon. That incongruously tender delivery stands out today largely because Kanye West references it on “Gone,” a standout track from his 2005 album Late Registration. So while The Golden Child was a non-movie for the vast majority of its audience, it obviously meant enough to West—who was roughly 9 when the film came out, and consequently the perfect age to love a kid-friendly Eddie Murphy movie—that he wanted to pay homage to it on one of his albums. The Golden Child is a Forgotbuster, but even the most shrugged-off non-event is fondly remembered by someone.


  20. This seems to be kind of a theme, where the actors or actresses try to “Break out” of whatever role they are defined by – comedian, sex symbol, action, whatever.. but don’t get the backing. It’s a double edge sword. It’s magic when it works, and then gets to be limiting as the years go by.
    For what little this may be worth..if they can’t reinvent themselves and sell that to Hollywood, at least the original work stands. In Eddie Murphy’s case, the “Murphyisms” can resonate with new audiences in the exact same way they did when they originally shown. I have a teenager who laughed almost until he cried at BHC and Heist.


    • It is a double edged sword. A break-out role like Axel Foley can make an actor a huge success. But it can also trap them. Murphy was certainly capable of more. But audiences want the same old thing. They see these stars as brands. They expect certain things from an “Eddie Murphy movie” and deviations are rarely welcome.

      Very few actors have been able to successfully reinvent themselves Hanks-style.


  21. ^
    This is where the comparison with a contemporary like Tom Cruise is important. After their superstar making movies under producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckenheimer (BHC for Eddie and TOP GUN for Cruise) both men wanted to make very different movies and play vastly different characters to Axel Foley and Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell respectively however Cruise, like him or not, actually used his then still newfound A-list status to firstly work with stronger directors who all possessed the kind of clout that was either close or equal to his own and unlike Eddie stuck to his guns when there were also similar studio fears about the ‘unfamiliarity’ of some of his later characters.

    For example when RAIN MAN was previewed the audience apparently found Tom’s character too unsympathetic which led to a then leading movie producer informing the production team and the studio, United Artists, that the film would die commercially as ‘no one will pay to see the Top Gun kid as a dickhead’. RAIN MAN went on to be the top grossing movie of it’s release year (1988). Years later there were fears that ‘his audience’ wouldn’t take to him as a villain in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE….that movie was a smash hit.

    Murphy firstly, post BHC, wasn’t really motivated or ego-free enough to surrender himself to a director’s vision (look at the well documented power struggle that erupted between him and Landis on the set of COMING TO AMERICA). Conceptually HARLEM NIGHTS was a great idea so why didn’t he farm it out to an experienced, much better director and writer? Secondly for Eddie as mentioned elsewhere money comes first over almost any consideration. He nearly turned down both SHREK and DREAMGIRLS because as a supporting actor he realised he wouldn’t get his usual fee and did opt out of the planned Richard Pryor biopic some years ago because..wait for it…the money wasn’t right. Whatever Cruise’s missteps outside the business in the last 7 years he’s, for the most part, maintained credibility as a major leading man because he exercises actual focus on his career.


    • When I think of Tom Cruise’s career, I think of great directors. Cruise very rarely works for work-for-hire directors. He chooses his projects largely based on the director. Or, if there isn’t a director attached, he recruits either a top-line director or an up-and-comer (like Brad Bird on MI:4). More than anything, I think this is the secret of Tom Cruise’s longevity.

      All audiences know is that 9 times out of 10, they like Cruise’s movies. They don’t care that it is because Cruise works with top-tier talent. They just know they like his movies.

      Also, Cruise knew his range and stayed within it. During the post TG era, Cruise almost always played some variation of the cocky kid. The movie changed around him, but he remained pretty consistent. He started breaking out of that with Born on the 4th of July and has slowly branched out ever since. But he still frequently goes back to the Maverick well.

      From interviews, Murphy gets bored easily. He thought success would set him free to make all kinds of movies. He didn’t realize he would be trapped by his success. And when Murphy is unhappy, it shows on the screen. So you reached a point where Murphy couldn’t do different roles because audiences weren’t interested and he couldn’t give audiences what they wanted because he was bored out of his mind.

      For a while, he could hide behind latex. But even that got old. So Murphy’s answer seemed to be to give up. Family audiences don’t care that he’s bored in those lame family comedies he makes. So he sleep walks through them and cashes big, fat paychecks.


      • 10 Directors Who Have Never Made A Good Movie:

        Brian Robbins

        Losing streak: Good Burger (1997), Varsity Blues (1999), Ready to Rumble (2000), Hardball (2001), The Perfect Score (2004), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Norbit (2007), Meet Dave (2008), A Thousand Words (2012)

        If only Eddie Murphy had actually watched any of Brian Robbins’ films before stepping foot onto the set of Norbit, his first of three career-tainting collaborations with the director. Had he done so (and we’re presuming that the comedy legend didn’t, simply using common sense), Murphy would have realized that the former actor isn’t the best judge of screenplay quality.

        Whether it’s through dumbass comedic sludge (Ready to Rumble, Wild Hogs) or syrupy, unconvincing drama (Hardball, Radio), Robbins has long displayed an attraction to second-rate material, and his skills behind the camera routinely fail to upgrade the faulty products.

        So if news hits about yet another Murphy/Robbins team-up ever surfaces again, there’d be no one else to blame but Mr. Delirious himself.


        • 10 Horribly Incompetent Movie Directors Who Keep Getting Work:

          4. Brian Robbins

          Filmography: Good Burger, Varsity Blues, Ready to Rumble, Hardball, The Perfect Score, The Shaggy Dog, Norbit, Meet Dave, A Thousand Words

          Brian Robbins is a genuine curiosity: how has somebody with zero knowledge or appreciation for the comedy genre sat behind the camera and directed Eddie Murphy on three occasions? More to the point, why did Eddie Murphy agree to work with this guy two more times after the disaster that was Norbit? Norbit should have been the clearest warning sign in the world: “This guy is a hack. Abort project. Do not work with him again.”

          Presumably Eddie Murphy knows just as little about Brian Robbins as we do, in the sense that he must’ve forgotten that he worked with him that first time around. Their collaborations, up there with the likes of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, obviously, have resulted in some of the unfunniest comedy movies to have ever graced this good Earth. Robbins is a ship that needs to bombed from afar: he’s fully-fledged Hollywood poison.

          Upcoming Movie: Nothing right now. There is a God.


        • 10 Actors Who Need To Make A Great Movie Before It’s Too Late:

          2. Eddie Murphy

          Last Great Movie: Dreamgirls (2006)

          One more movie. That’s all you’ve got, Eddie Murphy. One more movie to prove to us that there was a time when you could make us laugh, and not hate you for making us fork out money to see things that you’re in. I don’t know what happened here in the kind of detail that I’d ideally like to, but the basic sum of it is… Eddie Murphy made three comedy movies in a row with a director named Brian Robbins. Brian Robbins has never made a good movie. He’s made three bad ones with Eddie. But we can’t blame Brian: Eddie was the one who agreed to make three movies in a row with a bad director, after all. Where’s the logic in that?

          At least you had those regular Shrek paychecks coming in to tide you over, I guess. But what is genuinely going on here, Mr. Murphy? How can so much bad seep out from a man with so much talent? There’s got to be someone out there who can give you a good comedy movie to work on, right? Still, I’m not willing to keep coming back over and over again, giving you an endless amount of chances. Like I said, you have one more movie to make it up to us. Something that reminds us that we once loved you. Fail, and you’re outta here.


  22. lebeau, you should totally do articles where you just discuss people’s careers. Even if it’s not part of WTHH. I mean damn – if I had more of this stuff to read I’d never get anything done. What I mean to say is – well done! That last comment/mini article was awesome…


    • Thanks.

      I had started a few similar articles for people sho didn’t fit the WTHH model. But they hadn’t caught on. Eventually I came to the obvious conclusion that it would be more efficient to combine everything under one title. So I expanded the scope of WTHH to include just about everyone.

      The only actors I consider off limits in WTHH right now are actors who are currently on top of their careers.

      I may eventually revisit the A-list careers. But for now, there are so many WTHH articles to write and so little time to do it.

      Glad you’re enjoying the articles. I’m happy to contribute to time wasting. 😉


  23. Is it a fair argument that perhaps part of Eddie’s problem by the end of the ’80s and start of the ’90s is that he had to play a variation of the supreme alpha male (suave and/or tough in virtually every situation) in his movies (perhaps more specifically, “Harlem Nights”, “Boomerang”, “Beverly Hills Cop III”, “Vampire in Brooklyn”, and “Metro”)? Eddie was arguably at his best or funniest when he was playing otherwise humble characters who were both cocky and funny.


    • Definitely. I think many audiences were put off by what they perceived as Murphy’s ego during the Boomerang/Harlem Nights era. Those two in particular, I think gave audiences the sense that the Eddie they fell in love with let fame go to his head.


      • I want to theorize that another reason why Eddie’s earlier works were more successful besides the feeling that he was hungrier and not as egocentric (or at least perceived that way) was because he was paired w/ just as formable and/or charismatic co-stars (e.g. Nick Nolte, Dan Aykroyd, Judge Reinhold and John Ashton, and Arsenio Hall). With “The Golden Child” (which besides “Best Defense”, which wasn’t really a proper Eddie Murphy vehicle anyway, could be considered the first real “misfire” of his career), Eddie was paired w/ a beautiful, but hopelessly wooden Charlotte Lewis as his main co-star/leading lady and w/ “Harlem Nights”, Eddie was paired w/ a passed his prime Richard Pryor. It’s kind of telling that “Bowfinger” w/ Steve Martin is I think often considered one of if not the last truly funny or great Eddie Murphy movie.


        • I think you’re on to something there. Also, Murphy was paired with great straight men. Yeah, Aykroyd could be funny on his own. But more often than not, he was the straight man to Belushi, Chase and Murray. He was definitely the straight man in Trading Places (outside of the ill-advised train scene).



      The film is also a major disappointment as so much talent is involved and no one could save this sinking ship. It looks like it was filmed on a back-lot. I applaud Eddie Murphy for trying and having ambition with this project, but maybe it was just too soon. Maybe it was a natural progression as he had the clout and knew if not then, then when. Plus maybe he knew his comedy heroes didn’t have too much time left so it was then or never. Who knows I also believe that the failure of the project other then being a big blow to his ego. Damaged Murphy into thinking he had let everyone down. So why even try people loved his films where he just performed and ever since then that is all he has ever done. No passion though. He made quite a few great films after this one, but none seemed as personal and passionate as his films before this one.

      I remember wanting to see this in theater’s but even then I knew to read reviews and from the beating this film took in the reviews I knew it best to wait for home video and once it finally did. Let’s just say I was glad I waited.

      One of the problems with the film is that it has these grand comedy scenes then goes into more story and plot and I hate to say it most are going to want to watch this film more for the cast and what they hope are funny scenes. Instead they get what tries to be a more comedic urban THE STING. A very weak knock-off of it. Though a bunch of times things just seem to happen rather than being planned out and happening by subtlety. I don’t know if he was trying to just be shocking and jolt the audience.

      I’m not going to say skip it. You should watch it once just for the experience but I doubt you will ever want to watch it more then that except for maybe the highlights.
      Eddie Murphy Even admits he was more focused on partying after the filming for the day then paying attention and caring about the day to day duties on the film. The only reason he even wrote it is because he always wanted to act in a period film.

      Worst yet, Eddie Murphy is just not funny in the film nor are any of the jokes. First of all they got rid of John Ashton, who played Taggart who always begrudgingly followed Axel. Then there is Judge Rheinhold’s character Billy who has always been the comic relief of the films, but here his character is just stupid. Which is a insult to the followers of the series and the actors

      One of the major mistakes, though i respect him as a director was hiring John Landis as the director. I know he is a buddy of Eddie Murphy and they have made several hits together, But he just feels like a wrong fit for the film. I guess they thought lightning could strike again, Clearly they have gone to that well to many times. Since both of their careers were in a slump maybe they thought they could revitalize each others creativity or were each other’s good luck charms. The only interesting thing he brings to the film is cameos of Legendary Directors and producers in cameos. A trick he used similarly in INTO THE NIGHT Starring Jeff Goldblum. just remember that film bombed too

      The villian is so ridiculous and barely makes a impact. The film is set at Wally World. Which seems tobe a spoof on disneyland is there some hidden connection or hard feelings at Disney? other then that why is the film set there. it could have been any type ofbusiness and made sense.

      Eddie Murphy puts alot of energy into his performance, but it comes off as too much of him trying to look suave. He is not the charming young man he once was. Here he seems like a middle-aged uncle who still thinks he’s got it, but doesn’t and no one has the heart to tell him.

      This is truly a disappointment. This film has so much comedic talent and it’s not really funny. Eddie murphy usually excels at r rated comedy but the humorhere comes off as stale and unoriginal likeit is held over from the 80’swhere i tmight have been revolutionary. It is strange it tries to sell a kid’s film with adult jokes. it doesn’t work at all. The film feels like it had been hidden somewhere secret for awhile where it should have stayed.

      I understand Eddie Murphy’s penchant for playing multiple characters under haeavy make-up for his films but here one character is a 80’s tired asian stereotype he has done before. The other is a mean spirited grossly overweight woman who seems to have stolen Tyler Perry’s Madea character and punchlines, Then just made her mlore ignorant, but with better make-up. I can understand why he does the multiple character roles. They have paid off well in the past, But those films were handled with care by professionals who knew what they were doing. They also had funny jokes and the character created usually seemed to be three dimensional (Though they were in few scenes, they made a impact) and lovable. Here they are just unlikable and grotesque.

      I don’t know maybe Eddie Murphy who i feel is one of the funniest men alive. Either he seems not to care about the material as long as he is the star and gets paid well or maybe too many yes men who tell him, it’s funny or maybe his sense of humor is stuck in the past and refuses to move on. He needs to stop saying yes to every project that pays him his price. He need to read the material more closely and if you like it take time to hone it,So that it is actually funny. maybe if the material had been nurtured and worked on instead of rushed like it feels and i realize Mr. Murphy wants to be like Peter Sellers when it comes to multiple roles and showing his versatility in his movies. He must have wet his whistle on COMING TO AMERICA. It would have made the film more receptive if he playes less characters and been like Jim Carrey in LEMONY SNICKET. Play the villian and share the comedy and screen with other actors. Here he seems to only want to do it all himself.

      Whenever director Brian Robbins and Eddie Murphy make a movie together. The films are usally bright color wise, but the twoof them together are always a disasterous combination. Though this film was a box office hit. IT might have cost Eddie Murphy the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the film DREAMGIRLS. He needs to stop working with Mr. Robbins, who is talented somewhat but so far has made his career with kids and teen entertainment. He has not moved on to making a succesful adult film. I just feel like he is out of his element not ready to stretch his range. They are like enblers for one another.

      Eddie we still know you have the charisma,the humor and the range. DREAMGIRLS which came out the year before showed all the things eddie has been missing in recent years so we all now it’s still there. he just need the roght projects or create some original material.


  24. Regarding why Sylvester Stallone didn’t participate in “Beverly HIlls Cop”, I’m pretty sure that it had more to do w/ the script that he wrote (which was more or less, an action extravaganza) was deemed too expensive to properly produce and film (hence, “Cobra” the closest thing that we’ll ever get of a “Beverly HIlls Cop” movie starring Sylvester Stallone). Thus, when Eddie Murphy came onboard (as what would happen w/ “The Golden Child”, when it was originally thought that Mel Gibson was going to star in it), it was heavily rewritten to be more of a comedy.


  25. I don’t entirely buy or understand the notion that Eddie Murphy’s drawing power dipped by the start of the ’90s in part because he started making movies w/ predominately black casts like “Harlem Nights”, “Boomerang”, and “Vampire in Brooklyn” because the last time that I checked, “Coming to America” had a mostly black cast and it still grossed nearly $130 million at the US box office (against a $39 million budget).


    • That is true. There was a change in attitude between Coming to America and Harlem Nights. Or at least a perceived change. In Coming to America, he’s a sweet, loveable guy. In Boomerang and Harlem Nights, he comes across much more full of himself. And he was coming across that way off-screen too with his huge entourage.

      Coming to America was a John Landis movie. It felt like a follow-up to Trading Places, so mainstream audiences came along for the ride with no real thought to the racial make-up of the cast. Boomerang and Harlem Nights had a different vibe. So did Murphy. It seemed like success had gone to his head. A lot of poeple were waiting for Murphy to fail by that point and a vanity project like Harlem Nights was the perfect opportunity to make that happen.

      Also, Coming to America is a funny movie. It succeeds on its own merits whereas Harlem Nights arguably fails. You can take race out of the equation and the end result is probably the same. Boomerang was actually a hit, albeit not a monster hit.

      So, I think you are right that those films didn’t derail Murphy’s career by virtue of being “black movies”. But I think there was a shift in perception that his career was going in that direction. I think “Vampire in Brooklyn” was perceived that way as well. And I think that’s a part of why Murphy reinvented himself as a kiddie star.


    • The 25 Best Black Movies of the Last 25 Years:

      19. Boomerang (1992)
      Director: Reginald Hudlin
      Stars: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence, Bebe Drake, Chris Rock, Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones, John Witherspoon, Lela Rochon, Melvin Van Peebles

      Karma is vicious, so watching a womanizing ad man simultaneously meet his match and his comeuppance has to be entertaining, right? Absolutely. In Reginald Hudlin’s Boomerang, the arrogant Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) beds women with no remorse—until he’s introduced to his new boss, Jacqueline (Robin Givens). She’s a man-eater who devours Marcus whole and spits out everything except for his heart, which she crushes in the palm of her hand. Because Marcus is essentially following Jacqueline to his demise, he overlooks bubbly art department employee Angela (Halle Berry), but only temporarily. Once Jacqueline sees that Marcus’ interest has gone elsewhere, she reels him right back in. This leaves Marcus forced to decide between the genuine love he feels for Angela and the lust that Jacqueline uses to manipulate him. To this point, Boomerang revealed a valuable life lesson: sometimes you have to face yourself and see the undesirable characteristics to become a better person.

      Music played a huge part in Boomerang’s success. Sure the soundtrack is amazing, but it’s also important to the film. Toni Braxton’s “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” was ripped right from the script, echoing Angela’s frustration with Marcus and his issues with commitment. Hell, her “Love should’ve brought your ass home last night!” line inspired the song. P.M. Dawn’s “I’d Die Without You,” is sung from Marcus’ point of view, struggling as he discovers as that Jacqueline has turned the tables on him and that Angela is the one he needs. Also, Grace Jones appears as exaggerated version of herself, and her Strangé commercial is essentially a visual depiction of how Kanye West’s Yeezus sounds.

      2. Coming to America (1988)
      Director: John Landis
      Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, Paul Bates, Louie Anderson, John Amos, Eriq La Salle, Madge Sinclair, Frankie Faison, Vanessa Bell

      There once was a time when Eddie Murphy ruled Hollywood. He had a hit single, had parlayed his success on Saturday Night Live into a successful film career, and still found time to create classic stand-up. How could he possibly get bigger? Coming to America.

      Released 25 years ago, it’s a clear comedic masterpiece from the moment “She’s Your Queen” replaces “Here Comes the Bride” as the anticipatory wedding song. Prince Akeem (Murphy) is bored with being coddled and doesn’t want his parents to pick his bride, so he sets out on a journey to find an authentic, genuine love to call his queen. Applying the most rigorous logic, he and his personal assistant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel to Queens, N.Y., where they hide their wealth and seek work at local fast food restaurant, McDowell’s. The owner (John Amos) has two daughters, and Akeem instantly falls in love with the eldest, Lisa (Shari Headley). While continuing to mask his identity, he wins Lisa over with his game despite the presence of her “Soul Glo”-dripping prick of a boyfriend, Darryl (Eriq La Salle).

      This is Eddie Murphy’s shining moment. As usual, he plays multiple characters, but on a level he never ever again reached. Take the barber shop scene, where a young Cuba Gooding, Jr. gets a much-needed haircut. Along with Hall, Murphy dons makeup to play several old men—including a white, Jewish fella—who all argue about the best boxer of all-time. Not only is it hilarious, it’s accurate, and reflected a beautiful part of black culture.

      Then there’s there’s Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate’s lethargic performance of “The Greatest Love of All”—how many kids have been thrown out of talent shows for yelling “Sexual Chocolate!” or “That boy good!” since 1988? Countless.

      And you can’t forget McDowell’s, now a Wendy’s in Elmhurst. It’s iconic enough to have its own Yelp page, and its destruction in favor of a multimillion-dollar structure is a sad reminder of the times we live in. Regardless, McDowell’s will live on like Coming to America itself, a must-see film with a wealth of laughs.


      • Where’s the Cast of “Coming to America” Now?

        Eddie Murphy
        Most recent projects: Shrek Forever After (2010), Tower Heist (2011), A Thousand Words (2012)

        Prognosis: One of these days, we’re going to get the proper Eddie Murphy comeback we’ve all been eagerly waiting for—and he’ll be forgiven for his acting sins over the last decade.

        Already a big-time star when he made Coming to America (thanks to 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and the stand-up special Eddie Murphy Raw), the comedian turned actor kept his A-list clout going in full force long after, starring in smash hits like The Nutty Professor, Dr. Doolittle, and the Shrek franchise. He was even nominated for an Academy Award for 2006’s Dreamgirls.

        But people rarely talk about that when it comes to Murphy—the conversation usually revolves around his recent endless stream of god-awful comedies, and it’s always disrespectful. With duds like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit, Meet Dave, and Imagine That to his name, Murphy’s films have been nominated for an undesirable 11 Golden Raspberry awards.

        Increasing the sting, a recent attempt to reboot Beverly Hills Cop as a TV show, in which Murphy would co-star as Axel Foley the police chief (whose son is the show’s main character), was quickly abandoned by CBS, most likely due to a underwhelming pilot episode.


    • FFR – Harlem Nights (1989)

      In this episode of Forgotten Flix, Joel, Darrell and Peter are remembering Harlem Nights (1989).


  26. 10 of Hollywood’s Most Unpredictable Career Arcs:

    7. Eddie Murphy

    1983 — Influential, profanity-fueled stand-up comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member, the most popular comedy star in America.

    2012 — A once popular family-film star reduced, after a series of huge box-office bombs, to overseeing a television show based on one of his 30-year-old movie franchises.


  27. The Lost Roles of Eddie Murphy:

    Eddie Murphy was presented with the Comedy Icon Award at the First Annual Comedy Awards last month, and the ceremony will be airing on Comedy Central (also simulcast on the other Viacom networks) this Sunday, April 10th at 9 pm. While I’d argue that there are more than a few comedians and comedy writers more deserving of this title than Murphy, I do admire his ‘80s work. Thinking back on it, Murphy had a flawless track record for the first few years of his career, and I’ll pinpoint him entering the studio to record “Party All the Time” as his first professional lapse in judgment and the exact moment at which things started to go downhill.

    Murphy’s four-year stint at SNL was arguably what saved the show from the jaws of cancellation during the non-Lorne Michaels years, and every cast member and comedy writer who has used the show as a springboard to fame since owes their career to Eddie Murphy. He dominated the show, appearing in nearly every sketch and introducing a bevy of hilarious characters and impressions. His comedic persona was surprisingly well-formed for someone who was only 19 when he joined SNL. Murphy’s first few movies, too, were just as strong as his SNL work. 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop were all massive blockbusters and critically-acclaimed comedies too, each one funnier and more financially successful than the one before it. Murphy’s early career had some real momentum going, more so than any film comedian I can think of at the start of their career. Can you name someone who starred in three great movies right off the bat, without a slip-up? If Eddie Murphy’s entire career had gone as well as those first five years did, then he would without a doubt be deserving of icon status.

    I like to think Eddie Murphy’s trajectory parallels Jay Leno’s a little bit. They were both wildy-original, trailblazing comic performers who burst onto the scene in the ‘80s, only to begin wasting their potential catering to the lowest common denominator in the ‘90s. Despite the downward spiral Murphy’s been caught in for the past two decades, he does occasionally show flashes of his old self — of what he could be if he had stuck to his guns. In Bowfinger, he gives not just one, but two funny and fully-formed performances, in which he doesn’t rely on fart sound effects or fatsuits. He gained a little bit of credibility for Dreamgirls in 2006 (even earning an Oscar nomination), but he destroyed it just a few months later by returning to the fatsuit well for Norbit.

    With a career lasting over three decades, Eddie Murphy has his fair share of film parts he came close to playing. I know what you’re wondering, and yes, there are roles Eddie Murphy has turned down. Every major actor has a roster of missed opportunities and close calls, even — how shall I put this — those who are “less selective.” Here’s a rundown of Eddie’ Murphy’s lost roles.


  28. A ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Crossover and Two Other Rejected Ideas for ‘Beverly Hills Cop III’:

    The original Beverly Hills Cop movie was one of the most successful movies ever at the time of its release, and it had the potential to give birth to a franchise that was equally as popular and long-lasting. Unfortunately, the second movie didn’t fare as well with audiences or critics and the third film, released in 1994, a whopping seven years after the previous installment, was near-disaster. Despite this, the version of Beverly Hills Cop III we got, in which Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley busts up a counterfeit ring at a Southern California theme park, was far superior to a lot of the ideas that were thrown around by movie executives at the time. Let’s take a look at some alternate Beverly Hills Cop III storylines we almost got, including, yes, one that would have seen the franchise cross over with Crocodile Dundee.


  29. Am I the only person in the 48 states that will admit to liking Cop 3??


    • The only one I have met. But there’s nothing wrong with that.


    • Here are several reasons or factors for why “BHC3” didn’t connect w/ a whole lot of people:
      *They waited too long to release a third movie (7 years after “BHC2”). The “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise just feels awfully intertwined (at least stylistically) w/ 1980s pop culture to really work or stand the test of time beyond that. It’s kind of the same reason why the third “Crocodile Dundee” movie didn’t do too well at the box office in 2001 (13 years after the last one).

      *The whole premise of having Eddie Murphy’s character, Axel Foley go from blue collar, working class Detroit to posh, high society Beverly Hills (and be a fish out of water) was seriously wearing thin (even by the second movie they were pushing it credibility wise). It seemed like Axel always had to go back to Beverly Hills because one of his friends got shot. It felt extremely contrived and coincidental w/ each sequel.

      *John Landis simply wasn’t the right director for such a movie. You need a director who could more deftly blend comedy and violence. Richard Donner for example w/ his “Lethal Weapon” series is a good example if you ask me. The first two “BHC” movies had a certain grittiness and/or swagger about them. The third movie feels awfully family friendly (even though it’s still an R-rated movie) and almost “made for TV”. The whole “Die Hard in an theme park” premise just else the childish-tone even further.

      *What constitutes for comedy feels very sitcom-like, uninspired and overall, cheesy. Eddie seemed to also forget that Axel Foley is a Bugs Bunny-type of character (you can kind of sense that his heart wasn’t entirely into making things funny or spontaneous). Instead like Bruce Willis in the later “Die Hard” movies, Axel feels too much like a superhero.

      *John Ashton’s (Taggert) absence really disrupts the dynamic between Axel Foley and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold). Hector Elizondo’s Flint just comes off as a cheap Taggert substitute.


  30. 20 Movies That Made Us Think Differently About The Actors In Them (And Not In A Good Way):

    Eddie Murphy has two careers, the first (and favored) one where he’s a smooth, wise cracking adventure hero and what followed, where he plays a shrieking, overreaching, nut job. Coincidentally, the latter all began with The Nutty Professor and has persisted to present day. Just when you thought Eddie would bring back that Raw swagger as host of the Oscars, Brett Ratner had to screw everything up!


  31. 10 Formally Respected Actors Who Have Probably Gone Insane:

    8. Eddie Murphy

    It’s odd to say now, but there was a point in time when Eddie Murphy was one of the reigning kings of Hollywood; he could do no wrong and anything he touched turned to gold. One in a long line of stand up comics to break into the movie business, his first movie 48 Hrs. was a hit and he followed this up with Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, The Golden Child and Coming To America amongst others.

    However, since the release of Beverly Hills Cop 3 it has been an absolute nosedive, and given that The Nutty Professor remake was inexplicably a hit, Eddie has continually chosen badly written family friendly movies such as Dr. Doolittle, Pluto Nash and Daddy Day Care, which in no way show off the talent that made him a star.

    Following a very brief renaissance with Dreamgirls, Eddie swiftly followed this up with yet another misstep in Norbit and then again with Meet Dave, falling back on voice acting to retain any viability he might have in the industry. With a Beverly Hills Cop TV show on the way, let’s hope the return of Axel Foley will lead to a return of the Eddie Murphy we all used to love. I won’t hold my breath.


  32. 10 Actors Who Are Nowhere Near As Great As They Used To Be:

    7. Eddie Murphy

    Mike Myers’ donkey sidekick in Shrek, Eddie continues to be an enigma to those that remember him when he was making us pee our pants in his red leather suit from laughing so hard. To this day he is one of the all-time biggest money makers according to, however 4 of his top 5 titles are for his voice over work in Shrek. Beverly Hills Cop, the movie that made Eddie Murphy Eddie Murphy is his only live action role. Yet his early success in movies such as Trading Places, 48 Hours, and family friendly fare such as the remakes of the Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle made him box office certainty.

    So what happened?

    Eddie hates co-stars. He leads the league in dual/triple/multiple role-playing themed movies. And the problem with that is when you are acting against yourself, you aren’t being challenged. It’s like playing with the cheat codes on. There’s really no challenge and without the challenge, there’s no reason to try to exceed your limitations. Eddie seems to know his limitations and instead of being called out on it (ie by starring with others of similar or stronger talents) he is content to follow Mike into the sound booth, act like a donkey and collect his paycheques.


  33. Eddie talks Donkey in every movie now…Fast ..on the fly jibber.. Getting old.. I won’t pay for another movie of his… Bring back the Eddie of BH Cops and Coming to Americia..and 48 hrs.. Thats the star right there… Not this Donkey voice every movie


    • The problem is that Murphy isn’t around any more. The early Murphy was hungry. He was eager to please. He had the Eye of the Tiger. This current Murphy is bored. More often than not, you can see him going through the motions. When he tries to up the energy to his old levels, it feels like Donkey or someone doing an Eddie Murphy impression.

      It’s a catch-22 because fans want the old Murphy back and Murphy desperately needs to be allowed to move on.


  34. Difficult for me to compare Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey. The former can at least portray a certain element of seriousness, he had to in order to be Axel Foley, etc. The latter – not so much. Count me among the moviegoers who cannot envision Jim Carrey as anything other than a crazed comic. If he has a range, I can’t see it. Of course that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable, he might be. I just think that like many comics, his routine had a shelf life, as noted in some of the other posts. If audiences perceive an actor in a certain way, they may never get past that image.


    • I think Carrey pulled off dramatic roles well in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But there’s no doubt he’s best known for stuff like Dumb and Dumber. He seems to be transitioning into a supporting actor with Burt Wonderstone and Kick Ass 2. I hope he has success there. A little goes a long way.

      For me, Murphy’s unforgivable sin is that he looks bored a lot of the time. Can’t say that about Carrey. Even in his bad movies, he’s all in.


      • 10 Actors Who Just Aren’t Trying Hard Enough:

        8. Jim Carrey

        Career High: The Truman Show
        Career Low: Earth Girls Are Easy

        Jim Carrey is a story of frustration: it isn’t that he is making particularly bad movies – in fact his comedies still tend to draw reasonable crowds at the cinema – it’s that he occasionally shows so much promise and talent in the roles in which he clearly pushes himself, or takes gambles with the material.

        He may have made a reputation as a rubber-faced impressionist and fool in early performances, and cemented his position in high-energy, lunatic roles like Ace Ventura but he really showed his ability in The Mask In Man In The Moon, The Majestic and The Truman Show. As is often the surprising case with comedians, Carrey is excellent in straighter roles, handling pathos with aplomb and carrying over the likability factor built with audiences in more humorous roles – and while his turn in The Number 23 was less than loved, it is a travesty that he prefers to attach himself to unchallenging fare like Mr Poppers Penguins.

        There is some hope that his association with Kick Ass 2 might have a similar effect as the original did for Nic Cage, but Cage pretty much proved that you can’t gift wrap a career revival and expect actors to make the right choices next.


        • Carrey has done much worse than Earth Girls Are Easy. That movie was a big break for him at the time. Granted, he didn’t have a lot of lines. But he has been in other movies where he had even less dialogue.

          What an arbitrary call that was!


      • Assessing Jim Carrey’s acting career:

        What happened to Jim Carrey’s career?

        Once upon a time, Jim Carrey was the go-to man in Hollywood. When it came to making a comedy, Carrey was the first name on many producers’ and directors’ lists.

        Ace Ventura was the big break he needed, grossing over $70 million, and putting him on the fast track to stardom. He perfected the art of over the top physical comedy, and rode that tidal wave into the hearts of America with a string of comedies. The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura 2, and a role in the hit film Batman Forever all grossed over $100 million each at the box office. He hit his first setback in 1996 with the under-appreciated dark comedy The Cable Guy. Following that, he instantly went back to the roles that made him famous with a pair of $100 million grossing films; Liar Liar, and The Truman Show.

        Carrey’s problem is that he isn’t happy being a comedian, he always wants more, and when he tries for more, he has a hard time rebounding. After a more serious role in Simon Birch, and the Andy Kauffman biopic Man on the Moon both bombed at the box office, he made a return to comedy with Me, Myself, and Irene and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But again, he wasn’t satisfied.

        The Majestic was to be the movie to show the world that he was a serious actor. Prior to its opening, he was listed as one of the front runners for an Oscar nomination. Instead the movie faltered with fans and critics alike, and he took some time off before returning to comedy, with his highest grossing film to date Bruce Almighty.

        The last few years have seen Carrey trying to find a balance between the movies he wants to make, and the movies people want to see. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a hit with critics, less with movie goers; Lemony Snicket was a hit more for the book it was based on, than his acting ability; and Fun with Dick and Jane was a hit, though less than his previous films.

        His last movie was The Number 23, another of his attempts to show his dramatic chops, and another one of his failures.

        Carrey is insistent on showing the public that he can be a serious actor, and they are equally insistent on proving that they want only to see him as a comedian. Only time will tell if he is ever truly able to find the balance that makes movie goers as happy as he is.


        • Career Watch: Jim Carrey:

          From the start, Canadian Carrey boasted boyish charm, rubber limbs, energy to burn and a nasty streak, all in evidence on TV’s ‘In Living Color’ and ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ and its sequel, ‘When Nature Calls.’ Carrey earned $7 million and delivered another surprise hit with the Farrelly brothers’ $15-million comedy ‘Dumb & Dumber.’ After his cackling Riddler in ‘Batman Forever,’ he scored a controversial first-ever $20-million payday for ‘The Cable Guy,’ which opened to almost $20 million — but dropped like a stone, topping out at $102-million worldwide.

          That led Carrey to seek studio tentpoles worthy of his asking price, from ‘Liar, Liar’ ($302.7 worldwide) to ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ ($345 worldwide) and his career peak, ‘Bruce Almighty’ (485 million worldwide). Unusually, Carrey doesn’t like to repeat himself on sequels: ‘The Mask,’ ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Bruce Almighty’ sequels all went ahead without him. Career Watch is a new bi-weekly column by veteran film reporter and Moviefone guest-blogger Anne Thompson. Every other week, Thompson will look at the career of a major Hollywood star, analyze the moves they’ve made thus far and offer career advice on where they could or should head from here. This week: comic star Jim Carrey.

          Signature line: “Somebody stop me.” In 1994, Jim Carrey shot out of ‘The Mask’ like a cannon — and while the bouncy physical comedian has lost velocity, he’s still airborne.

          Career Peaks: From the start, Canadian Carrey boasted boyish charm, rubber limbs, energy to burn and a nasty streak, all in evidence on TV’s ‘In Living Color’ and ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ and its sequel, ‘When Nature Calls.’ Carrey earned $7 million and delivered another surprise hit with the Farrelly brothers’ $15-million comedy ‘Dumb & Dumber.’ After his cackling Riddler in ‘Batman Forever,’ he scored a controversial first-ever $20 million payday for ‘The Cable Guy,’ which opened to almost $20 million — but dropped like a stone, topping out at $102 million worldwide. That led Carrey to seek studio tentpoles worthy of his asking price, from ‘Liar, Liar’ ($302.7 worldwide) to ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ ($345 worldwide) and his career peak, ‘Bruce Almighty’ (485 million worldwide). Unusually, Carrey doesn’t like to repeat himself on sequels: ‘The Mask,’ ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Bruce Almighty’ sequels all went ahead without him.

          Awards Attention: Carrey has been nominated for six Golden Globes, and won two back-to-back, for 1998’s ‘The Truman Show’ and, a year later, ‘Man on the Moon.’ Both earned the star glowing reviews, but still no Oscar nomination — nor did the Academy come through for Michael Gondry’s success d’estime ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’

          Latest Misfire: Carrey’s attempt to go indie, the $13-million romantic comedy ‘I Love You Philip Morris,’ set off no rockets at Sundance or Cannes in 2009; a year later the gay-themed rom-com about a con man who falls for fellow inmate (Ewan McGregor) in prison had been delayed indefinitely; its backer, Luc Besson’s Europa Corp, is seeking a new distributor. “This has another Jim Carrey bomb written all over it,” wrote one blog commenter.

          Biggest Problem: Carrey is too old to play the goofy adolescent and seems loathe to abandon big-budget star vehicles, even though stars aren’t driving the gravy train anymore. Carrey’s attempts to stretch in dramatic roles haven’t connected with moviegoers, from the Capra-corny ‘The Majestic’ to the horrific ‘The Number 23.’ Becoming Tom Hanks or Jack Lemmon didn’t work for Carrey, who just isn’t beloved in the same way. Romantic leads are not his forte either; ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ and ‘Yes Man’ earned modest returns. Carrey took a serious cut in his rate to get the latter film made, moving from a $20 million salary when Twentieth Century Fox put the film in turnaround because it was too pricey to a ground-breaking zero upfront vs. cash break back-end deal masterminded by his managers. Carrey also gave up his fee for Tim Burton’s ‘Ripley’s Believe it Or Not’ at Paramount, but then scotched the deal by demanding script changes. Carrey’s still attached with director Chris Columbus, but the project isn’t moving.

          Biggest Assets: In great shape at 48, Carrey is the most gifted physical comedian of his generation. He bungee-jumped off a bridge on ‘Yes Man,’ and played multiple roles in Robert Zemeckis’s performance-capture film ‘A Christmas Carol,’ which followed a familiar pattern of more than doubling its domestic gross overseas. Much like Eddie Murphy these days, Carrey does best behind a mask, transformed by makeup or animation in such family films such as ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ or ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.’ He popped as Ronald Reagan in Funny or Die’s reunion of ‘Saturday Night Live’ presidential impersonators.

          Current Gossip: Oddly, no sooner was Carrey gaining weight to play Curly in a ‘Three Stooges’ movie (that later stalled) and sharing that he was a grandfather on Twitter, than on April 6 he and five-year-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy both tweeted their break-up. Then @jimcarrey got into hot water for defending Tiger Woods. “No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity,” tweeted Carrey. “Elin had 2 b a willing participant on the ride 4 whatever reason. Kids/lifestyle.” He added: “I want 2 make it CLEAR that I do not condone infidelity at all, but 2 some degree the responsibility 4 it is shared by both people.” Soon he was being told to “tame my tweets a little,” and asking his 778,000 followers to cut him slack as he was “a little on edge.” As someone who confessed to bouts of depression on ’60 Minutes,’ Carrey’s Eckhart-Tollish spirituality spills into his tweets. This week @jimcarrey tweeted: “In a world where ‘sane’ often means ‘inauthentic,’ I’d prefer to be called madman!”

          Next Step: Carrey is announced for one movie after another that falls apart, from ‘The Three Stooges’ to a remake of the musical ‘Damn Yankees.’ He’s still attached to play the Ray Walston Devil role opposite ball player Jake Gyllenhaal; Adam Shankman exited, replaced by writer-director Todd Graff. ‘Butter’ is going ahead without Carrey: ‘Daily Show’ alum Rob Corrdry is in, opposite Jennifer Garner and Kate Hudson.

          Career Advice: “All Carrey has to do is step back into a role where he does that funny thing and he’s back,” says one producer. “He doesn’t have to do leading men. Audiences would welcome him.” He could also take notes from George Clooney: play his own age, look for strong comedy scripts and stop worrying about star vehicles with a big payday. (Because Clooney takes $1.5 million upfront in exchange for a piece of the gross, he can take more risks on a wide range of movies of varying budgets.) “Jim is very funny,” says one talent agent, “without being juvenile and making the crazy faces. He should look for smarter stuff with a bit of edge, with appeal to both teens and adults. Let him go do his thing and have a great second act to his career being brilliant at what he’s brilliant at doing.”


    • Which Movies Helped Stars Fight Typecasting?:

      Jim Carrey

      No actor alive has been so deeply stuck in a typecast, even after winning a great critical acclaim when stretching his filmography, as Jim Carrey.

      He first attempted to break the typecast in Ben Stiller’s pitch black comedy, ‘The Cable Guy’ in 1996, but audiences had a hard time laughing at the sinister goings-on of the comedy. In the following years, Carrey won universal praise for his acting in ‘The Truman Show,’ ‘Man on the Moon,’ and the visionary masterpiece ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’ Critical response was unanimously in favor of Carrey’s acting accomplishments, but mainstream audiences refused to accept any Jim Carrey other than the one who sticks to slapstick and bathroom humor. He even went so far as to try the horror thriller ‘The Number 23′ in 1997, but a slew of slapstick comedies and kids’ movies in recent years prove Jim Carrey is as still as typecast as ever.


      • Yes, exactly, I am SO guilty as charged. The Jim Carrey role in “Cable Guy” was bothersome, what with the sinister overtones to the comic role, that I didn’t go see anything of his after that. I see he has taken risks, from what you guys are saying.


        • Cable Guy was disturbing. You should check out The Truman Show. It’s a hard movie to dislike. If you like off beat movies, try Eternal Sunshine. It’s a good movie for people who don’t like the usual Jim Carrey movies.


      • 10 Comedy Actors Who Sucked In Serious Movies:

        1. Jim Carrey – The Number 23

        Remember how I said there is nothing worse to watch than a good actor trying to invest a hokey premise with sincerity? Well, with The X-Files: I Want To Believe, at least there was a twisted logic to the story. Not so here – The Number 23 follows Walter Sparrow as he reads a book by an author called Topsy Kretts called “The Number 23″, whereupon he becomes convinced that the book’s main character is based upon himself and that is being hunted by the number 23.

        “Being hunted by the number 23, you say? What will the number do when it catches him?” It will be there, that’s what! You turn a corner and see a car registration plate, 23′s going to be on it! You buy a pot of paint from a shop? The letters, when matched to numerical correspondents, will add up to 23 when added up and divided appropriately! You go to the toilet to do a poo? You’ll end up reading page 3 of a magazine (think about it). Yes, the number will be everywhere you are, being there all over the place, making you notice it like…angry oxygen particles. Beware the number!

        The film spends an awful lot of time explaining in ugly cut scenes the exact manner in which 23 invades Sparrow’s life. But it never, ever, EVER explains in what manner it is actually a threat to anyone. I have watched the film too many times for my own good, and cannot see how the so-called “23 phenomenon” could ever be anything more than annoying. Paper cuts are annoying, but you don’t see Tom Hanks starring in a film about a man who notices the sharp edges of paper all around his house!

        It is the film’s complete failure to address this non-sequitor, coupled with Carrey’s completely unashamed performance of an man being driven insane by a number that renders this film quite so god awful. Carrey, as we all know, has been spectacular in serious movies; I personally consider The Truman Show to be one of the greatest movies ever made, and that is largely thanks to the perfection of casting Carrey as a man who would be worth watching 24/7. He is hilarious, stretchy, flexible, the rubber man! His impressions are spot on, his improvising ability astounding, his mastery of physical and verbal comedy is an absolute joy to watch. So why did he have to waste my time by appearing in something so utterly without merit? It isn’t even “so good, it’s bad!” It is like looking Satan in the face and saying “Is it my time yet?”

        Joyless, stupid, babbling crap of the lowest order, and Carrey knows better. Or so I think.

        But do you disagree? With this choice, or any of the choices? Have additions of your own? Have any stern admonitions you have to get off your bosoms? I’m all eyes.


      • Why did the movie The Cable Guy nearly ruin Jim Carrey’s career?:'s_career

        For two reasons, I think. First, after this film was released, I think Carrey became dangerously close to being typecast. The physical comedy that he displayed in movies like Ace Ventura, Dumb & Dumber and The Mask made him a star. In The Cable Guy, we saw the same slapstick humor — the weird faces and poses and strange noises — turned into a parody of itself.

        It was almost like Jim Carrey spoofing Jim Carrey, and I think a lot of people were like, “Is this all he can do? Funny faces and weird noises?” It gave people the impression that Jim Carrey had no acting range, that he was incapable of playing anyone other than the same weirdo he played in Ace Ventura, Dumb & Dumber and The Mask. It was like he just kept playing the same character over and over again.

        The other problem was, this film was a lot darker than the movies he played before. The Mask, Dumb & Dumber and Ace Ventura were very lighthearted, goofy, feel-good movies, and The Cable Guy was not. A lot of people find this movie to be too disturbing and too depressing.

        His character just wasn’t loveable. He was sinister, and had a mean streak to him. I think a lot of people just hated the character. They expected another goofball comedy like Carrey’s earlier films, and instead they got something that was dark and very creepy. Instead of just a weirdo, Carrey’s character was a sociopath, and sociopaths are not funny at all.



        Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber are two of my favourite movies. OK, maybe not my favourite movies but certainly two of my favourite comedies of all time. Going to the cinema as a kid and seeing this plasticine-faced guy unashamedly overact and confidently work the screen was a refreshing experience for me. As an Australian I hadn’t had the chance to see him in the TV shows like In Living Color, so he was very new. My comedy memories up until the mid-nineties involved actors like John Candy, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks and Eddie Murphy. Of course they were great but Jim Carrey was different. His lack of fear in performing these absurd and hilarious characters was inspirational, and no doubt influenced countless comedians that followed. But sadly, these two movies would be the peak of his performances for me, and now Jim Carrey pretty much just churns out rubbish hit after rubbish hit. Part of me wants to know why.

        Yes, there was the cult classic The Cable Guy and the serious roles in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that earned him respect from the highbrow crowd, but most of the other stuff he’s done has been cookie-cutter crap. Liar Liar, Me, Myself & Irene, Bruce Almighty, Yes Man, Fun With Dick and Jane, I Love You Phillip Morris and Mr Popper’s Penguins are all the same movie. Which is fine. When you’re an actor with limited range, you’re going to get typecast. Oh, and there was Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls too. And The Mask. Also the second Dumb and Dumber movie has been announced, nearly twenty years after the original was released.

        Yes, he’s done a lot of sh** (Batman Forever anyone?) but it was The Number 23 that did for his career. Just take a look at Jim trying to convince people to go and see this ridiculous thriller about a number …

        I started to feel sorry for the guy when this came out. What was he thinking? Yes, he’d missed out on the Oscars for his serious roles but hey, he had the Golden Globes. He got the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. Move on. Do some more comedies and get into some more relationships with your leading ladies (he boofed pretty much all of them) and maybe you’ll get a chance to do serious roles when you’re older. Like Eddie Murphy did in that movie about singers. You can do that once you’ve grown up.

        I’m also worried about Jim because he’s been out of the spotlight for a while. The new kings of comedy (those Superbad people) are taking all the attention and Jim can be a sad guy. Apparently when he was younger his mother walked in on him fucking an armchair. During an interview on Oprah he looked genuinely alarmed when Daniel Stern said he was going to tell everyone a big secret about him. It turned out to be that Jim Carrey was actually a nice normal guy when the cameras were off. He also dated Jenny McCarthy for an unimaginably long period. The guy gets into slumps.

        Are the few TV roles and upcoming crappy looking sequels enough to keep his ego going? To satisfy it? I doubt it. A Charlie Sheen burnout could be on its way.


      • Different Roles Aren’t Always Better: 15 Failed Attempts To Overcome Typecasting:

        With Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show, audiences became very accepting of comedian Jim Carrey attempts as a dramatic actor. However, when he took the role of a family man who may be a serial killer in The Number 23, moviegoers saw an actor out of his depth in a bad suspense thriller. The film was out for a little over a month and walked away with a $32 million U.S. Box Office—barely above its budget.


  35. 10 Actors Who Are Nowhere Near As Great As They Used To Be:

    3. Jim Carrey

    It’s possible to do an entire list just on comedic actors that no longer make us laugh mainly because they tried to follow the Robin Williams Career Trajector. Jim Carrey exploded onto the scene with Ace Ventura and the Mask, killing it in the box office and cheap Halloween party costumes. You couldn’t go anywhere without someone doing a poor imitation of an Ace Ventura skit, most likely the one talking out of their ass. He bumped Robin Williams from contention as the Riddler in the Batman franchise and then teamed up with Jeff Daniels to rock the nineties forever with Dumb and Dumber. He was given the previously unheard-of sum of $20 million to star in Ben Stiller’s black comedy, The Cable Guy, alongside the all-around nice guy Mathew Broderick. The future looked very, very good.

    So what happened?

    Critics butchered The Cable Guy. They convinced the masses that nobody wanted a dark Jim Carrey, they wanted a crazy Jim Carrey. Despite standing the test of time, Jim Carrey didn’t. He bumped Robin Williams out of contention for the prized role of the Riddler in Tim Burton’s Batman 3, where his method acting wasn’t approved of by the Harvey Dent-playing Tommy Lee Jones. Then he decided to reinvent himself as the next Tom Hanks, taking on the Majestic and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Man. He tried to return to form in a series of near-unidentifiable caricatures of himself in the Grinch, Andy Kaufman, Lemony Snickets… and lastly a desperate return to his animal-like charms in Mr. Popper’s Penguins.


    • 10 Incredibly Talented Actors Who Should Really Call It A Day:

      4. Jim Carrey

      Jim Carrey is well-known for the many obscure characters he has played over the years. His most famous films are probably the wacky comedies from the early 90s, including the Ace Venture series, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, The Cable Guy, and Liar Liar. But Jim then proved he has the chops for more “serious” stuff too, playing the title character in The Truman Show, and Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Probably his most sophisticated performance yet is in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which he goes against type and plays a very reserved, emotionally distant character. So, there is no denying that Jim has talent.

      In the last few years, though, Jim has been in some real garbage. The Number 23 is one of the most disgustingly vile movies that I have ever had the misfortune to suffer through. Sure, you could say that it’s not his fault because the story itself was bad, but Jim didn’t really help the cause either. And then just this year he starred in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which looked promising, but turned out to be a huge letdown.

      Jim still has at least some star power, enough so that people will go see his movies. And I still believe him to be talented. I suppose I should give him one more chance with Kick-Ass 2. But I’ve been disappointed too many times already.


  36. 10 Actors Who Just Aren’t Trying Hard Enough:

    5. Eddie Murphy

    Career High: Dream Girls
    Career Low: Meet Dave

    Some crueller commenters than myself might suggest that Murphy has never been a particularly good acting talent, and that his various commercial successes have been more to do with the appeal of his established persona (in the early days), and a perverse attraction to seeing how bad his films can possibly be (in more recent years). But in Dream Girls Murphy showed that he has ability as a dramatic actor who doesn’t have to rely on mugging or over-acting to make an impact.

    Unfortunately, Murphy seems to have learned too much from the success of his role as Donkey in the Shrek franchise, carrying the over-exuberance that is a necessary part of voice over work back into live action. It also doesn’t help that the majority of his chosen roles are in terrible projects that any actor would have to work miracles to make a success of – things like Norbit, Meet Dave, A Thousand Words and the slightly less terrible Tower Heist. But you have to wonder why he’s accepting those roles…

    Either his sense of humour is broken or he feels he needs the work. It can’t genuinely be attraction to the roles.


  37. I think Burt Wonderstone fell short because of bad marketing. I had barely heard of it before it was released. When reviews were mixed, that was the final nail in the coffin. I don’t think Carrey can be blamed for the film’s failure.

    I had no idea he got himself in trouble with the NRA. But I can’t see that impacting his career all that much. Doesn’t seem like gun nuts would be his target demo.


  38. I’m now intrigued by the idea of Jim Carrey in more serious roles so that will have to be part of my next Amazon order. “Weatherman”, with Nic Cage, is already in the cart.


  39. The Decline and Fall of Jim Carrey:

    The last time Jim Carrey starred in a live action hit movie was 2003 with Bruce Almighty. The closest thing to that since was Yes Man in 2008 which didn’t even cross the 100 million dollar mark at the American box office. Fun With Dick and Jane barely made it across the domestic 100 million mark and that was back in 2005.

    Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events did make it to 118 million dollars, but unfortunately its production budget was 140 million dollars.

    Jim Carrey skipped the sequel to Bruce Almighty, his biggest hit, and the job was handed over to Steve Carell. Now instead of Steve Carell taking Jim Carrey’s leftovers, it’s the other way around, with Carrey appearing in a supporting role in Steve Carell’s The Amazing Burt Wonderstone. And that bombed too.

    Carrey’s career has been sliding since 2003. His few successes are in cartoons where no one has to look at his actual face. And even well-known properties like A Christmas Carol (domestic box office 140 million, production budget 200 million) seem to wither at his touch.

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins, his last actual starring role, had a modest budget of 55 million and didn’t take in much above that. And that was in 2011. Whatever his salary was for walking around talking to some penguins, it was probably a good deal less than the 20 mil he was taking in during his prime career days.

    So if you want to understand why Jim Carrey is arguing about you with gun control on Twitter, it’s because his career and personal life have been in decline for a while and he’s looking for attention.

    It’s rarely celebrities on the way up who spend their time trolling for attention. They may show up to make faux sincere ‘demand a plan’ videos, but they don’t throw semi-literate tantrums on Twitter. Usually. It’s usually those who are on the way down, like Jason Biggs, who went from starring in annual comedy releases to doing the voice of one of the Ninja Turtles, who seek out that kind of attention, hoping to score some points and get some attention by bashing Republicans.

    Paying attention to them should go under the same rules as paying attention to any troll. You may be scoring points, but you’re also feeding the trolls. Some points may be worth feeding the troll. Some trolls may not be worth feeding under any circumstances.

    Jim Carrey is pushing 50 and trying to be relevant to a new generation. And so far he has failed very badly. The old Jim Carrey talked out of his ass. The new Jim Carrey launches liberal political diatribes on Twitter and stars in political videos for Will Ferrell. You can respond to it, but just remember that you’re helping the “reinvention” of Jim Carrey’s image. And if that reinvention fails, look for him to show up as the wacky neighbor on a Canadian sitcom near you.


    • Jim Carrey’s 5 Best Roles and 5 Directors He Should Work with Now:

      Aero027 • 15 days ago −
      It seems like all big comedic stars eventually fall as their brand of novel comedy turns stale. Sandler is a good example of this…but Sandler is still clipping along (arguably, he may have surpassed Carey in popularity and box office take as of late) for two reasons. One is is his own production comedy that caters to a juvenile niche audience, but more importantly its that Sandler has bolstered his career with both quality dramas and ensemble comedies that take a step away (a small step) from his usual brand of comedy.

      I believe this is a big part of the reason Carey has faltered over the past decade. He hasn’t been willing to be a part of an ensemble cast where he would have other comedic actors to push and inspire him. (Instead he’s stepped into Eddie Murphy territory with cheesy kids films). Will Ferrell is a good example of a comedian who needs ensembles from time to time. He’s proven that he can carry a film on his own but he’s also shown that he can bomb a film when not with the right talent (Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro). Carey needs to start doing ensemble comedies or he’s going to disappear into obscurity and most likely have to rebuild his image in the indies.

      I think Carey’s future is going to be resting on Burt Wonderstone, arguably his first tandem/ensemble comedy with another big name comedian. The fact that its with Steve Carrel makes it even better because Carrel picked up the comedy slack when Carey faltered (the transition ironically taking place with Bruce Almighty). Carrel’s brand of humor is similar to Careys in that its kind of goofy with heart. They both started out on television. Carrel’s first big role was in an ensemble, and he’s making a career out of sharing the screen with other big name comedians, a path that is sure to guarantee him success. Ultimate dream would be that these two would become a comedy duo like Walter Mathau and Jack Lemon that I could watch for the rest of my life.


    • Jim Carrey’s rebound:

      I was a big fan of Jim Carrey when I was a kid. In Living Color was one of my touchstones, one of my earliest influences and it (and Kids in the Hall–hands down, Canada’s most important cultural export besides Strange Brew) was one of the first things that made me want to be a comedian. I loved Carrey on that show. Fire Marshall Bill? Please. It’s still funny today. And I loved his early movies, especially Dumb & Dumber. I was twelve when Dumb & Dumber came out. I was the target audience.

      The problem Carrey has always had, despite doing solid-to-good dramatic work in movies like The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the widely unseen I Love You Phillip Morris, is that 1) people just don’t cotton to Dramatic Jim Carrey and 2) his audience has remained twelve years old. Carrey’s humor was always rooted in the juvenile, but eventually you have to figure out other ways of making people laugh besides talking with your ass or else it gets sad. There’s something especially depressing about a comic doing the same joke he used fifteen years ago on an audience that wasn’t even born when he first told the joke (see also: Adam Sandler).

      Carrey, no question, needs a comeback. Unless he wants to spend the rest of his life recycling Ace Ventura, he needs to find a way to redefine himself for audience. Last week we took a look at how Kevin Costner is reinventing himself for the second half of his career, and now it’s Jim Carrey’s turn. Deadline reports that he’s been approached about a small but important role in Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (yes, that’s the title). Carrey is known to be a big fan of the original movie, so I’m sure on a personal level this is thrilling in a way I can’t comprehend, but professionally this is the kind of role he needs to be taking. He needs a distinctive character, very different from himself that he can use to reintroduce himself to

      Back in 1996 Carrey earned his first $20 million paycheck, for The Cable Guy. This is what fascinates me about this generation of movie stars—they all reached that pinnacle of success, commanding the biggest paychecks and the sweetest deals, only to see their influence and earnings drain away as the Movie Star died. I really don’t think any actor is worth $20 million up front, so I have zero issue with them making less these days, but I do find it interesting, watching this generation, the $20 million generation, re-strategize and prioritize their careers. I’m kind of obsessed with what they think about. Does it chap their ass to have to essentially start over in the middle of their career? It would have to, right?

      Carrey has his work cut out for him in terms of a comeback. He’s not working the same kind of good will as Costner, who made some seriously beloved movies (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 4 life). He’s already taken one smart move in the right direction, though, partnering with Steve Carell for the comedy Burt Wonderstone next year. Carell isn’t a box office guarantee but people like him. Joining Kick-Ass 2 would be another smart one, giving him some much-needed cool cred with younger, but not twelve year old, audiences. The inevitable Dumb & Dumber sequel, though…I don’t know. The potential is there, sure, but that’s also the kind of thing that can blow up in your face. It’s hard for aging comedians because what you think is funny and what people find funny about you changes over time. Carrey was a very inventive comic performer, once upon a time; he should be able to complete the career rebound. But one thing Carrey could definitely do to improve his image is ditch the ludicrously pretentious website.


    • “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”: What happened to Jim Carrey’s career?:

      It’s not as if Jim Carrey isn’t funny in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” a new family flick from 20th Century Fox that has almost nothing to do with the venerable children’s novel by Richard and Florence Atwater, beyond a character named Mr. Popper and some penguins. Carrey appears to have a pretty good time in this half-baked “Christmas Carol” knockoff, playing an odious Manhattan commercial real estate shark whose soul is redeemed, little by little, after his late father sends him a penguin in a box. (You have to be there, or on second thought, you don’t.) He does a fine Jimmy Stewart impression, slo-mo replays of his own stunts, and a wide selection of big-eyed, lantern-jawed, Jim Carrey-style double takes. He grabs a freshly printed contract and takes a big snort: “I love the smell of fresh toner in the morning!”

      I took my kids to see “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” at a family screening last weekend, and here’s the parental advisory: It’s got adorable penguins and poop jokes and half a dozen decent sight gags and modestly agreeable performances from Carrey and (especially) Carla Gugino, who plays the semi-estranged Mrs. Popper. It’s got some cute kids I couldn’t really tell apart, and it’s got the funny and attractive English actress Ophelia Lovibond, who A) has the best name in the history of show business, even when you include Imogen Poots; and B) nearly steals the movie as a pointless supporting character — I should say, a pointless peripatetic personage — who only utters words beginning with P. There’s no story beyond the utterly formulaic and not the slightest semblance of realism, but your kids will enjoy it if they’re young enough and pretty easy to please. (Mine are both.)

      With that taken care of, the other question to emerge from this tepid all-ages flick, which will neither last long in theaters nor generate all that much cash, is what the heck became of Carrey’s career as a comic genius? It’s a question that answers itself, in a way. Ever since Carrey became a top-line movie star with the first “Ace Ventura” picture in 1994, he’s made sporadic attempts to break out of the goofballing cut-up role by doing edgy adult comedy or semi-serious drama or whatever. I mean, they haven’t all been good movies and his performances have been all over the map, but give the dude credit: “The Cable Guy,” “The Truman Show,” “Man on the Moon,” “The Majestic,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Carrey has played a stalker, a human lab rat (twice), a Hollywood screenwriter with amnesia, Andy Kaufman and a flamboyantly gay con man. You can’t say he hasn’t been tryin’.

      Now, from my tweed-jacket-’n’-armchair position I would decree that that list contains one near-masterpiece, two outrageous and delightful cult classics, a couple of others that aren’t bad and only one movie that’s truly awful. But you know exactly what I’m going to say about what they all have in common: They didn’t bring in the bacon, or at least not nearly the way you’re supposed to when your name goes above the title. (In fairness, “The Truman Show” was a hit, with $230 million-plus in worldwide box office, and “Eternal Sunshine” probably turned a profit. But most of the other movies on that list involved weeping accountants, and people being led out of Los Angeles office buildings by security guards.)

      You could say that the public prefers Carrey when he’s talking out of his ass or doing random “Star Trek” voices, but it’s probably fairer to say that the great clanking enterprise of Jim Carrey’s movie-star career demands those things. Maybe the day will come when Carrey’s willing to leave all that behind and strike out on his own, and we can see inklings of that. Nobody forced him to play the roguish, largely unsympathetic homo-antihero of “Phillip Morris,” after all, and I don’t believe Carrey is so stoned on the smack of Hollywood stardom that he thought that would be a big hit.

      So you can look at this guy’s career — and, to be clear, I think he’s one of the great physical comedians in American movie history, up there with Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and Jerry Lewis — and say, oh, here he is, pushing 50 and entertaining kids with disposable mediocrities like “Horton Hears a Who!” and the 2009 “Christmas Carol” and “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” and isn’t it sad. I sure do wish those were better movies, and that’s a puzzler. Carrey seems to lack any ability to tell good from bad when it comes to these big-budget family films, or not to care. (Comedians often like broad and sentimental shtick.) Or we could just say, meh, nobody died and we’ll see what happens. Hey, look — penguin poop!



    The once-funny comedian used to demand — and get — $20 million a picture. But his Ace Ventura and Dumb & Dumber days are long dead, and now he’s the guy who ruined The Grinch and Lemony Snicket.

    The fallout: No more $20 million up front, plus percentage. For his latest project, Yes Man, Carrey has been forced to accept what Deadline Hollywood calls the worst talent deal ever:
    He’ll receive NO upfront cash and NO first-dollar gross … Instead, Jim has a cash-break deal in theory of at most 36.2% on the back end — which in reality may turn out to be a lot less. …

    [G]etting top-tier talent for no money upfront with cash-break back end is like a wet dream for Warner Bros. “This is a deal you make with someone who’s star has fallen,” a studio source told me tonight. Which is why I’ve learned that Warner Bros execs were privately patting themselves on the back for coming up with it and then dancing in the hallways when Carrey’s reps finally went for it. …

    [M]ovie after movie of his has collapsed in development (Spielberg’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty remake, 20th’s Used Guys, Paramount’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not) and his most recent release, New Line’s The Number 23, was dead on arrival. Since then, the actor has sat around booking no major movies beyond toon voiceovers (20th’s Horton Hears A Who, a sop for the Used Guys deal going south, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol directed by Robert Zemeckis) for nearly a year.


  41. I think that it would be quite ignorant or naive to believe that Jim Carrey’s most recent comments about guns and the late Charlton Heston isn’t going to have a negative or alienating effect on his career at least in the short-term. Especially considering that his career in all honesty, has been on the decline in recent years.


  42. This was first written in June 2009.

    10 things Eddie Murphy needs to do to resurrect his career:

    1. Play one character in a film
    Granted, Murphy hasn’t been guilty of this in a while, but ever since he struck gold in Coming To America, he’s been keen to don the fat suit/drag/lots of make up to play umpteen characters in a single movie. This takes some talent. But surely, now, it’d be better if he focuses on just one character, and does that properly. We get the fact that he’s a multi-talented man who can do lots of characters and wear lots of make up. But enough now.

    2. Start swearing again
    Seriously: these family comedies aren’t working, and you must know it. Go and watch a screening of The Hangover, and then watch how the audience are laughing a lot at it. You used to be the king of the genre, sir, and I hope in my lifetime I get to see the film where you return triumphant to it.

    3. Watch Role Models
    That little kid in that? You used to be that funny, Eddie. You should have talked to him on the set of Imagine That and picked up some tips.

    4. Take some risks
    Murphy showed in Dreamgirls that when he moved out of his comfort zone, he could come up with something that won him both acclaim and dollars. And it also proved that he’s a good actor, too. Since then, he’s retreated into far safer pictures, and while his bank balance has felt the benefit, he still has to sit through weekends like last. When none of us were watching his new movie.

    5. Ditch Beverly Hills Cop 4
    This film is, surely, not the way to go. Granted, it’s the last franchise you can call on if you need another paycheque – with the possible exception of Nutty Professor – but playing safe surely isn’t an option here. Be bold: realise that BHC 3 was crap, but if you want to do an action comedy, that’s great. We love you in action comedies. But BHC 4 is the safest, most boring way you can go. And John McClane you ain’t. If you must dig up an old film like this, give Nick Nolte a call, and make the 48 HRS sequel you should have done first time round.

    6. Choose better directors
    It’s obvious, but still being missed. Brian Robbins may be a lovely man, and we’ve no ill-will towards him. But look at the two films you’ve made with him. There are clues there, Eddie. Also: Brett Ratner is not the answer, in case you’re wondering.

    7. It’s okay to have a good film that flops
    Looking back over Murphy’s career, it’s understandable why he picks family comedies so much, given that they – outside of Dreamgirls and the Shrek movies – give him his biggest hits. You have to go back to the mid-80s with Beverly Hills Cop 2 and Coming To America to find anything more profane that he made hitting $100m. But then his choices since haven’t included a small indie project, or anything of that ilk, and you wonder if that might give him a career shot in the arm. To take on a film that you know won’t hit, but might actually raise your acting stakes? Try it, Eddie. Not every film you make has to result in a big cut out of you in a cinema foyer.

    8. Try stand-up again
    Re-connect with that live audience. Remember what it was that made you so good at this in the first place. You were one of the funniest men on the planet in your day, only you seem to have forgotten all about it. Please try and remember.

    9. Choose better scripts
    This is the killer. It’s hard to think of another actor who has consistently chosen such bad material over the past decade or so, to the point where even the films that did hit – Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit – were tiresome pieces of tripe that you’d struggle to sit through once, never mind twice. Life isn’t a great movie, but you do suspect that once upon a time there was a screenplay behind it that made it worth a punt. At the very least, go in that direction. And avoid anything with a Roman numeral in it.

    10. No more fatsuits.

    We write all this as lovers of Eddie Murphy at his finest. We’d just like to see him anywhere near that point again…


  43. 10 actors who tried to bounce back from a flop:

    The Flops: Harlem Nights, Beverly Hills Cop 3, Pluto Nash, Meet Dave

    The career of Eddie Murphy seems to be on a never-ending loop, where he makes a catastrophic financial disaster of a film, then heads back to safer ground to rebuild his career, before attempting to destroy the finances of another movie studio.

    At the start of the 1990s, moviegoers were falling out of love with Murphy when the piss-poor double bill of Harlem Nights and Another 48 Hrs tipped them over the edge. His answer? The wisely chosen Boomerang, and the decent political comedy The Distinguished Gentleman.

    Catastrophe was round the corner again when the previously-delayed Beverly Hills Cop 3 finally arrived, and came nowhere near matching the earlier highs of the series. When Vampire In Brooklyn then failed to bring home the bacon, it was straight back to comedy, with the double bill of The Nutty Professor – starring Murphy’s oft-visited career trick of playing lots of characters in one film – and Doctor Dolittle. Much money followed, even if the disappointing Metro and Life were slotted in around them (although we have a slight soft spot for Life, but don’t tell anyone).

    This time, he kept the run going for a bit, with a career-best performance in Bowfinger, sequels to Nutty Professor and Doctor Dolittle, and his superb vocal contribution to Shrek. So what could possibly go wrong?

    That’ll be The Adventures Of Pluto Nash, a huge financial disaster, that took in less than $6m – yep, that little – at the US box office. That’s in spite of having City Slickers director Ron Underwood at the helm, and more importantly for the accountants, a $100m budget. Staggering failure barely covers it.

    So what to do? Head back to safe ground was the answer, and with the help of another pair of Shrek movies, the dreadful-but-successful Daddy Day Care, the dreadful-but-successful Norbit and his Oscar-nominated turn in Dreamgirls, Murphy’s career was seemingly back once again on the tracks. So what could possibly go wrong?

    That’ll be last summer’s Meet Dave, a huge financial disaster that took in less than $12m yep, that little – at the US box office. This time, the budget was $60m, but that’s still got to leave a hole in your pocket.

    How is Murphy trying to recover this time? Imagine That, another fantasy comedy, is already in the can, and also in post-production is A Thousand Words, a new comedy from the director of, er, Meet Dave and Norbit. Good luck, Eddie…


  44. Shameful Sequel Beatdown: Nutty Professor II – The Klumps:

    Film Brain and MikeJ team for a huge crossover episode, with a super-sized portion of Eddie Murphy in many different fat suits… Contains strong language and frequent crude humour, including moderate sex references. This work is protected by Fair Use.



      Professor Sherman Klump is getting married. And the Klump family could not be more delighted for him. But Buddy Love, his Mr. Hyde alter-ego from the first film, is back and trying to make it on his own. Buddy keeps resurfacing in untimely outbursts, and threatening the portly professor’s marriage plans to colleague Denise Gaines. Utilizing Denise’s cutting-edge DNA research, Sherman decides to rid himself of his monstrous nemesis -and his disruptive outbursts-once and for all by extracting Buddy’s DNA from his system. But Buddy bursts full-bodied into Sherman’s world and lays claim to the professor’s astounding invention – a revolutionary youth serum. Desperate to keep it from Buddy, Sherman hides the serum in the Klump family home, thinking it will be safe. Buddy correctly divines where Sherman has placed the serum, but to get it, he has to deal with the entire Klump family first.

      It sounds more like a television spin-off, but the film manages to tie itself together to be a true sequel. That just happens to involve the supporting characters of Sherman Klumps family from the first film. Much more this time. They are still all played by Eddie Murphy under heavy special effects make-up –While this film has it’s funny scenes. They seem watered down, few and far in between. The film for some of it’s raciness also seems white washed. More family friendly to a degree.

      While the film seems like a good idea and a wish come true to fans of the family from the first film. The film clearly shows how this was a bad idea as they wear out their welcome fast and seems like while they give Eddie Murphy plenty of room to riff. It leaves the rest of the film Bare and boring. Including a plot that makes no sense.

      The addition of Janet Jackson helps put another big name in the cast, but while her role is pivotal (in the damsel in distress meaning) the film really gives her nothing to play with or really so except smile, frown and act concerned when needed. Jada Pinkett-Smith in the first film didn’t have that large a role either but at least you got the feeling of a character and she had something to do. That made her feel essential. Even Larry Miller as the dean, had a small supporting role in the first film and was one of the villains, has a bigger role here and more to do.

      This film was more a disappointment after the first film showed the brilliance and talent of Eddie Murphy as an actor and comedian. It was also a royal comeback. Here he tries his best, but the script leaves him with little to work with. That makes the film feel like a wasted opportunity.

      The most memorable thing to come out of the film is a hit single by Janet Jackson. It also struck me as odd that two cast members in minor roles. Who at the time were well known and popular one at least was proven comedic talent yet has an almost blink and you miss them role. (Nikki Cox and Chris Elliot)

      Eddie Murphy is also missing that element of collaboration. Considering half the scene he is playing off himself as another character in costume.

      It might also be a change in directors hurt, Where as Tom Shadyac the original film’s director might have had more of a vision. Here all that matters is jokes rather then story or vision.

      As usual this film feels unnecessary as the first film worked well enough as a self contained story. That by the end maybe you wanted to spend more time with these characters, but didn’t warrant a continuing story-line and check back in. As the Klumps family was used well enough in the first film. So you don’t feel bombarded with them. Sure you want more, but you realize the meaning of too much of a good thing.

      The film feels tired and rushed, not worth the effort or considerable time. As the film seems more like an acting exercise where only Eddie Murphy is having fun. While the film seems to think the audience will enjoy cheap gags and jokes.

      This film has endured a lot of complaints over having downright revolting content, let alone language and any bathroom humor. Many believed that the magnitude of such content in the first film was bad enough and endurable only up to a point, but It’s magnitude in this film bordered on being too revolting to be funny; even compared to the first film.

      The one thing that is amazing is that this film has maximum Eddie Murphy as he is in almost every scene. Yet the film still isn’t that funny.

      As the first film was a hit. It was no doubt that they would make a sequel. Especially if offered the right amount of money and played into Murphy’s preference at the time to do more family and kids movies

      He had a good record when his films seemed like one man shows where he would play various characters under heavy make-up. It used to be a go to tactic for him to have a hit film and actually be good starting with the comedic classic COMING TO AMERICA he tried it to devastating results with VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN again a hit with THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and even this film as bad as it might be was a hit as was the next time he used the tactic in NORBIT a horrible film yet still a minor hit.

      GRADE: D



    Jeff has an absorbing, highly intellectualized conversation with special guest ANDRE JOSEPH (film maker, blogger and founder of AJ EPYX PRODUCTIONS) on the BEVERLY HILLS COP flicks. The heat is on, mofos!


    • Misunderstood Masterpieces 9.23.08: Beverly Hills Cop III:

      In the ’80s, few stars were brighter or more successful than Saturday Night Live alumnus Eddie Murphy. After leaving the storied sketch-comedy show for the bright lights of Hollywood, Murphy scored a string of hits that would make any established movie star jealous. Beginning with 48 Hours — released while Murphy was still on SNL, his dance card features far more success than failure, with some classic films such as Trading Places, Eddie Murphy Raw, and Coming to America as well as modest hits like The Golden Child. Interspersed among these films, as well, were two films from, perhaps, one of the most successful franchises of the era: Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills Cop II. Featuring the wacky adventures of fish-out-of-water Detroit cop Axel Foley as he solves crimes in posh Beverly Hills, the two Beverly Hills Cop films were two of the biggest hits of the decade.

      Unfortunately for Murphy, as the decade waned, so did his film career, as he starred in missteps like Harlem Nights, Another 48 Hrs., and The Distinguished Gentleman, only garnering a modest hit with the romantic comedy Boomerang during this time. Perhaps in order to regain the good graces of the film-going audience, Murphy elected to return to the one franchise that made him a bankable star in Hollywood, so, in 1994, Beverly Hills Cop III was released. Unwisely, however, Murphy – or the producers – decided to tap a new writer with no experience on the previous two films to pen this installment . . . and they chose longtime Hollywood scribe Steven E. de Souza. Though de Souza’s name may not have been mentioned here often, his previous works should be all too familiar to regular followers of Misunderstood Masterpieces: Commando, Die Hard 2, and the reprehensible Street Fighter, among others. So, with that pedigree behind him, de Souza may have defaulted his way into the Misunderstood Masterpieces Hall of Fame, but Beverly Hills Cop III still needs to weather my scrutiny. Will it hold up? Let’s find out!


      • Misunderstood Masterpieces 01.06.09: The Adventures of Pluto Nash:

        A few months ago, I recounted the failing career of one-time box-office kingpin Eddie Murphy when covering his atrocious turn in Beverly Hills Cop III. Unfortunately for Mr. Murphy, his bad run of luck in film continued on from there, even to the present day. While Murphy did find some success in, strangely enough, children’s films – which is ironic considering the content of his stand-up career – such as The Nutty Professor, Shrek, and Dr. Dolittle, his more adult fare flopped horribly at the box office.

        Since Beverly Hills Cop III and other than the aforementioned family flicks, Murphy meandered from bomb to bomb. His résumé since then reads like a litany of Hollywood failure, as Murphy followed his disappointing turn as Axel Foley with the Wes Craven misstep Vampire in Brooklyn. The flatulence-fueled success of The Nutty Professor came next, as well as Dr. Doolittle a few years later . . . but then came Holy Man, another adult flop. A Nutty Professor sequel and Shrek rehabilitated Murphy’s career somewhat, but, after the forgotten Showtime, one of Murphy’s biggest failures was released . . . two years after it was filmed: The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Though perhaps seeming like another entry in Murphy’s new-found career as a children’s star, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, remarkably, isn’t what it appears, as the film is actually a sci-fi comedy . . . because those turn out so well. Despite Murphy and a host of other stars, The Adventures of Pluto Nash failed tremendously at the box office, grossing only 5% or so of its $100 million budget. Yes, The Adventures of Pluto Nash made around $5 million in theaters, making it one of – if not the number one – biggest financial flop in film history. What better way to kick off a new year of Misunderstood Masterpieces than with a film as auspicious as this? But does it deserve to be here? Let’s find out!


    • Eddie Murphy Not Proud of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Sequels, Wanted TV Series Sooner:–beverly-hills-cop–sequels–wanted-tv-series-sooner-210100036.html

      The heat is on! Especially when it comes to ’80s fever these days, and CBS is jumping on the resurgence by producing a pilot based on the “Beverly Hills Cop” film franchise. According to “Yo Show” guest Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”), Eddie Murphy thought the film should have made the leap to TV a long time ago: “He said movie two and three, not proud of. And he believes it belongs on television.” Now, it’s so happening!

      O’Heir, Yo, and comedian Jonny Loquasto — all hard-core “Beverly Hills Cop” fans — sat down to chat about the classic action-comedy and the star who made it famous. While viewers won’t get a whole lot of Murphy in the small-screen version, he is making an appearance in the first episode and serving as executive producer. Even better: He’ll be rocking that iconic Detroit Lions letterman jacket! “How cool is that?” asks Yo. In fact, you can buy one of your very own for $350. “Welcome to television. There’s merchandising,” O’Heir says.

      Fun fact (that’s not so fun for Lions’ fans): “‘Beverly Hills Cop’ came out in 1984, 30 years ago almost, and the Detroit Lions have not won anything in those entire 30 years,” Loquasto jokes. Well, they had a couple of division championship wins in the ’90s. That’s something, right?

      Is there a chance that Murphy would commit to being a series regular? “It’s gonna be hard to make the pilot a successful TV show if Eddie Murphy’s not a regular cast member,” Loquasto says. And O’Heir is confident that Murphy would not sign up to act full time on TV: “He’ll do the guest spot. If the ratings are low, he’ll come in; he’ll do his bit. But I can’t imagine he would ever commit.”

      Want to check out what’s going on on-set? Go to showrunner Shawn Ryan’s Twitter page, where he tweeted tons of pics, including one of Murphy holding a birthday cake (he’s 52!) decorated with an image of him as Axel Foley.

      “Beverly Hills Cop,” the series, will center on Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Foley’s son, trying to make a name for himself as a cop and get out of his dad’s shadow. Yo, O’Heir, and Loquasto plan to check it out! Will you watch?


    • BLOCKBUSTER: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987):

      Posted on 00:42 by Daniel Mumby

      Beverly Hills Cop II (USA, 1987)
      Directed by Tony Scott
      Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Jürgen Prochnow

      When it comes to making sequels, the standard approach in Hollywood is to offer more of the same. Sometimes this is just a case of retaining the same actors, writer or director, but a lot of the time there is a conscious effort not only to match the spirit of the original, but its story too. There are exceptions to this rule like any other, but for every sequel that attempts a break (like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) there’s at least a dozen which just copy their predecessor (such as The Hangover Part II).

      Beverly Hills Cop II is perhaps the most blatant example of ‘more of the same’ in the whole of the 1980s. If the original film was Simpson and Bruckheimer at their simplest, this is them at their most lazy and cynical. Everything that can be recycled is recycled, so that beat for beat and plot point for plot point, there is almost nothing between the two films. But throw in bigger explosions, more sleaze and flashier direction from Tony Scott, and you end up with a film that is not just boring, but aggressively boring.

      As with the first film, it’s not as though the plot of BHC II was entirely without potential. Many of its props or character arcs are well-worn staples of each crime thrillers or procedural dramas, and with so many of them around you’d think at least one of them would serve as a springboard into something interesting. The Pink Panther series began with a monogrammed glove and went off in several unexpected directions, and considering the budget involved you’d think they would work hard to justify having these conventions.

      But just like the original, the plot we get is simultaneously asinine and convoluted – only now it comes with added contempt for the audience. The central heist plot has enough twists and turns to give Heat a run for its money, but all the essential details are either mentioned and then thrown aside or explained in such idiotic detail that they may have well not have bothered. None of the props, costumes, sets or music cues are in anyway bespoke to the story or situation; the screen is simply full of stuff, and more keeps being added to hide the fact that the story isn’t being told very well.

      Much of this stems from the fact that the story is essentially a series of improvisations by Eddie Murphy. While Martin Brest knew the original screenplay wasn’t great and allowed Murphy to improvise in the hope of correcting this, Murphy had a hand in the original screenplay for BHC II. In each case it feels like an acting exercise, in which Tony Scott gives his actors a start point and end point, turns on the camera and waits for Murphy to do something funny. Sometimes he hits the mark, but even when he does he quickly oversteps because there is no-one reining him in or cutting him off.

      BHC II copies all the major beats from its predecessor, as though the script had been photocopied and then the characters’ names had been altered with felt tip. It takes all of 15 minutes for Axel to get back to Beverly Hills, right after another argument with Todd and another encounter with his inept assistant, this time over a Ferrari. Taggart and Rosewood haven’t changed, save for the latter becoming a gun nut for no good reason – they still spend all their time reluctantly following Axel and hiding from their superiors.

      Axel makes enquiries, which involve him gate-crashing multiple properties, bending the law as he sees fit and compulsively lying even to his seeming friends. Ronny Cox is out of the picture for the most part, but he’s replaced by another loud-mouthed cop, so it makes no difference. We get a scene in a strip club with a series of bad jokes about Taggart, and it all comes to a head in a warehouse shootout.

      Listing these scenes gives a good idea of how repetitive and formulaic the plot is. It’s also incredibly episodic, perhaps resulting from the project originally being intended as a TV series. But being formulaic in and of itself would not be enough to produce a bad film: it would only make it as bad (or good) as the original. What tips BHC II over from an ordinary film to a bad one is a series of mean-spirited additional features, all of which work to the detriment of both the comedy and the action.

      For starters, the film is a lot sleazier than the original. In the first film the strip club scene had something of a point: it was a set-up for one of many jokes about Axel, Rosewood and Taggart trying to cover their tracks with elaborate lies. But this time around far less effort is made to connect the events that transpire in the club to the wider plot. There’s an unfunny gag about Taggart’s (non-)resemblance to former President Gerald Ford, and then the film just stops for longer sections of completely needless nudity.

      It’s not just the strip club scene that’s the problem. Lisa Eilbacher wasn’t dealt a great hand in the first film, but the film at least treated her character with respect, allowing her to be somewhat independent and resourceful. By contrast, Brigitte Nielsen is constantly ogled by the camera, from the opening shot of her skirt as she gets out of the car to the numerous shots of her backside during the robberies. And then there’s the Playboy party, with a very uncomfortable cameo by Hugh Hefner himself. In each case, the film is pitching itself far more aggressively towards horny teenage boys, to the point where it no longer knows or cares what these scenes have to do with the story.

      In his one-star review from 1987, Roger Ebert remarked: “What is comedy? That’s a pretty basic question, I know, but Beverly Hills Cop II never thought to ask it.” For all the room given to Murphy to improvise, and for all the talent of the performers, the film just isn’t funny. Because we can spot all the beats so readily, we’re anticipating the same jokes as there were in the first film, jokes that weren’t all that hilarious the first time round. Having failed to make us laugh at the same joke twice, the film just stands there desperately waiting for us to laugh, and when we don’t it, just throws more stuff at us in the hope that we won’t get bored.

      One of the big reasons why BHC II isn’t funny lies in the character of Axel Foley. In the first film he had an appeal, an interesting quality that made him stand out – namely his tendency to go way above the law and get away with it. But what was a novelty in the first film has mutated into something more obnoxious, with Axel changing from a loose cannon whose ends justified the means to an aggressive, headstrong, utterly unlikeable maverick. Murphy is still charismatic, but it’s a mean-spirited charisma that runs roughshod over his attempts to be charming.

      The performers around Murphy don’t do much better with the material. Judge Reinhold gets a couple of funny badass moments, as the guns become larger and greater in number, but he still spends most of his time staring gormlessly just off screen. John Ashton and Ronny Cox both look secretly ashamed to be on board, which would explain both their muted roles here and their absence from the final film. None of the villains make any real impression, with both Nielsen and Jürgen Prochnow both phoning in their performances. Even Gilbert Gottfried, so often memorable for the wrong reasons, is forgettable in his cameo role.

      In the face of all this narrative and comedic inertia, all that BHC II has to offer is the bigger explosions and slightly higher production values that come from the marginally bigger budget. Just like on Top Gun the year before, Scott is let loose and fills the screen with flashy spectacle and carnage that has little or no emotional weight or consequence. The action scenes are technically competent but they lack any real stakes, and while the stunts are well-choreographed (particularly the car chases) they aren’t memorable in their own right. Tony Scott was always a much weaker visuals artist and storyteller than his brother Ridley, and this film is further proof of that.

      Beverly Hills Cop II is an aggressively tedious sequel which copies the plot of the original and then piles on multiple problems to further dampen the experience. Whatever energy or distinctive quality the original had has largely been lost, resulting in an action comedy that is neither funny nor possessing memorable action. Most of all, it feels completely surplus to requirement, having no real reason to exist and no real desire to justify itself.


  46. 10 Misguided Career Moves Made By Talented Actors:

    3. Eddie Murphy Not Giving A Damn

    As far as we are aware, Eddie Murphy doesn’t have the same financial problems as Nicolas Cage, and so his reasons for starring in so many terrible films seem a lot more elusive. The guy is enormously talented, as evidenced by his most famous performances in his stand-up show Raw and, of course, as Axel Foley in the Beverly Hills Cop series (the first two, anyway).

    However, Murphy’s first big-time slump came post-Shrek, when he starred in an increasingly desperate glut of sequels to Dr Dolitte and, sadly, Shrek itself. Add to this duds like Pluto Nash, I Spy and The Haunted Mansion and it became clear that Murphy was just out for a quick payday.

    He thought him redeemed when he received an Oscar nomination for his work in 2006′s Dreamgirls, but straight thereafter, he went back to crap; Norbit, Meet Dave, Imagine That and A Thousand Words. While I hope he’s great in the new Beverly Hills Cop movie, I’m worried he’s tarnished his image for good this time.


  47. 10 actors who could use a Quentin Tarantino-steered comeback:

    Eddie Murphy is one of those people who always seems poised for a huge comeback. The last time he had his moment was when ‘Dreamgirls’ was released, but I’d like to think that all it would ever take for people to once again revere Murphy would be one great role, and Tarantino seems like he could be the right guy to build that sort of part for him. I’d love to see Murphy play something totally outside of his comfort zone, but that’s always been his problem. He has trouble handing over full control to any filmmaker. Still, Murphy’s talent is obviously as sharp as ever, if atrophied from lack of use, and the announcement of him in a Tarantino film would have me jumping for joy.


  48. Todd in the Shadows took a quick look at it in his One Hit Wonderland video about Eddie Murphy’s recording career, and thought that “Whatzupwitu” w/ Michael Jackson might be a reason why both performers had such a rough go of it in The Nineties.

    One Hit Wonderland – “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy:


  49. Craig Hansen

    I love Beverly Hills Cop, it’s Eddie Murphy at the absolute peak of his career; it was the highest-grossing film of 1984, and made him for a time the biggest comedian in Hollywood. I still find it a very entertaining movie. Beverly Hills Cop II was a lesser, though still enjoyable movie, but by the time we got to BHC III all the fun was gone. I’m a bit intrigued by the Beverly Hills Cop tv show, sure because Eddie Murphy will be making appearances from time to time, but also honestly because the show is being supervised by Shawn Ryan, who created The Shield, one of the finest dramatic shows ever in my opinion. I’m hip deep in re-watching the series chronologically again right now, and I couldn’t be enjoying the series again more. Not sure if there’s any other fans of The Shield here, but it really was brilliant. Not sure how the show will turn out, but I’ll definately be checking out the pilot for Beverly Hills Cop.


    • Beverly Hills Cop was undeniably special. Everything came together at just the right time. It was amazing to see how fast the franchise slid into obscurity. But by 3, you could tell Murphy didn’t want any part of it. I’ll check out the show, but my expectations aren’t high. I think casting will be critical. They have to find someone who can bring to the role what Murphy brought at the peak of his career. Otherwise, it’s just a cop show.


  50. There was quite a choice of movies on cable tonight. I didn’t end up watching any of them, but put on “The Nutty Professor” after homework was done to see if it would intrigue the younger set. The high schooler was not interested, but the 10 year old who still enjoys flatulence jokes watched for a few minutes. From what I saw of those minutes, Eddie Murphy just enjoyed being as many characters as possible as outrageously as possible and the paycheck had to be icing on the cake. Definitely not phoning it in but definitely amazing people paid to see this. I’m still hoping to see more of the Murphy we saw in Tower Heist.


    • You can tell when Murphy is engaged in the material and when he is cashing a paycheck. These days he is almost always doing the latter. I will disagree about Tower Heist. I smelled desperation on Murphy in that movie. That does not happen very often with him. I did not care for it. Better than bored Murphy, but still off putting.


  51. Since we have such divergent thoughts on his performance in TH, I wanted to give this some thought before replying. The first and most obvious factor was if you liked the movie or not, and many did not. So if you didn’t like the movie you’re likely not as impressed with any of the performers. I adored Tower Heist, it just spoke to me in a certain way and the performances worked. I’m a sucker for ensemble casts anyway. The other thing.. a little harder to analyze but when considering Murphy’s role in the film, in a way I can kind of visualize what comes across as desperation to you. The character he plays is somewhat confusing. He’s a bad guy… but he’s not all that bad.. or wait, isn’t he? In that respect maybe the actor comes across as desperate because in some scenes he was allowed to be his old comic self and in others he played different. I think that is where some fine tuning could have been done with the script to make the character more consistent. Might have even made a difference to the movie overall. The scenes where he played classic Murphy against Ben Stiller’s excellent comedy straightman were among the best.


    • I really wanted to like TH. But for me, it went off the rails. I agree that Murphy’s character was inconsistent and that was part of the problem. The movie lost me when it made him a villain.


  52. 10 Incredibly Talented Actors Who Should Really Call It A Day:

    3. Eddie Murphy

    And, at number 3, it’s Donkey himself! Eddie Murphy was one of the true legends of stand-up comedy after his stand-up show Delirious back in 1983. With his bright orange jacket, dead-pan delivery, and spot-on impressions of celebrities, it was evident that he would soon be a big star. And a star he was, with the hits Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs., The Nutty Professor, Trading Places, and even some voice work, such as the dragon in Mulan and Donkey in Shrek. But he really should have quit while he was ahead.

    Looking back, not even Eddie could have predicted the utter failure of some of his recent movies. Some examples are The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Daddy Day Care, I Spy, The Haunted Mansion, Meet Dave, Norbit, and A Thousand Words. Eddie was actually good in the film Dreamgirls, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. But that’s just one tiny jewel in a giant heap of manure. Just look at Eddie’s latest movie A Thousand Words. It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a rare feat if not even a single critic found redeeming value to your movie. Really, does anyone go to an Eddie Murphy movie now expecting to see something good?

    What we need is a fun, original, buddy cop action-comedy. That’s where Eddie always shined the best. But, at this point, it may be a lost cause.


  53. 10 Promising Film Careers that Stalled:

    4. Eddie Murphy

    Eddie Murphy kissed his career goodbye after starring in Norbit. The film garnered an overwhelmingly negative response from critics who deemed it crass and even racist in parts.

    Also Murphy’s ugly scandal in which he denied being the father of Mel B’s child did not help matters.

    The negative publicity may have tarnished his image for good however Murphy has once before faced a career slump in the 90s when he was making films such as Beverly Hills Cop III but he recovered and had a career comeback so it is not wise to write him off completely, even if there is a sense that his previous hunger and drive have diminished.


  54. 10 So-Called Comedy Actors Who Haven’t Made A Funny Movie In Years:

    1. Eddie Murphy
    Last Genuinely Funny Movie: Bowfinger (1999)

    Eddie Murphy is the filmic equivalent of “a comedy actor who has made so many so many bad movies of late that it’s got to the point in which it’s really, really difficult to remember whenever or not he was actually funny in the first place.” Well, actually, he’s not the equivalent of that – that’s just Eddie Murphy. The description was written for him on purpose. If I ended up getting invited to his funeral tomorrow by accident, I’d be forced to read that out from a card to all his friends and family. Out of respect. That’s what he would have wanted. The truth.

    And the truth is, unfortunately, that Mr. Murphy has totally and utterly lost it, and there’s no sign of him getting his mojo back anytime soon. A Thousand Words. Meet Dave. Imagine That. Norbit. What the heck happened? And for anyone citing Tower Heist as a recent “funny movie” on this guy’s resume, just stop: it was okay, but it wasn’t exactly “funny,” was it? And I’m not counting voice-over work, either, so you can take back Shrek. Once upon a time this guy was considered to be the greatest comedian in the world. It’s difficult to remember when.


    • A pretty accurate assessment of Eddie Murphy’s career. Bowfinger was Murphy’s last genuinely funny movie. I strongly disagree however with the comment “it’s really, really difficult to remember whether or not he was actually funny in the first place.” Back in the 80’s he was a comedic genius, I’m surprised anybody would even question that. His years on SNL, his stand-up video Delirious, along with 48 Hrs, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America and Raw showcased him at a time when he was one of the funniest comedians around. His movies (and his performances) may have turned to crap, but I’ll never forget his glory years.

      BTW, I had kind of been looking forward to the Beverly Hills Cop tv series that was announced earlier in the year, I know they had filmed a pilot a few months ago, and I just read that CBS passed on the series. Tough break for Murphy, he can’t even get on tv now.


      • Apparently a big part of why the BHC pilot was rejected was that Murphy wasn’t the star. He appeared in the pilot and blew the lead off the screen. Audiences wanted more Murphy. CBS (probably rightly) thought no one would turn in to watch “the other guy”.


        • Beverly Hills Cop Show Officially Dead:

          by Lesley Goldberg

          Shawn Ryan’s Beverly Hills Cop show is officially dead. The showrunner took to his Twitter page Friday to announce that efforts to shop the pilot, which CBS passed on in May, have not been successful.

          “Sad to report that efforts to land Beverly Hills Cop pilot at another network have failed. This iteration is dead for now,” he wrote. “Good news for fans of franchise is that the pilot tested so well, it has caused Paramount to put another #BHC movie into development.”

          No other details were available on the potential sequel.

          CBS passed on the pilot, which would have followed Foley’s son as he made a name for himself with the Beverly Hills Police Department.

          It starred Brandon T. Jackson as Axel Foley’s (Eddie Murphy) son and Kevin Pollak, David Denman, Christine Lahti, among others.

          Sony and Paramount shopped the project to other networks after CBS passed, but no deals ever happened.

          CBS’ decision is a blow to Paramount’s effort to get back into television production. The studio has been out of that business since Paramount was split from CBS in 2005.

          Beverly Hills Cop was a logical starting point since it has been a successful movie franchise for Paramount for a decade starting in 1984. Paramount CEO Brad Grey announced in March that Paramount would partner with Sony Pictures Television to produce an existing pilot and potential series.

          The same day, Philippe Dauman, CEO of parent company Viacom, noted he would “get back, with very little investment, into the television production business.”


        • While we’re on the subject of Martin Brest movies:

          As for this big screen sequel….it’s probably not a good idea. I can’t imagine it being very worthwhile. And once I hear they’re throwing a ‘son’ into the mix, it just signals to me an obvious attempt to court younger viewers with the inclusion of a younger character, e.g. Mutt Williams.


  55. Looks like the new beverly hills cop film is back on track…


  56. Eddie Murphys Career Highs and Lows:

    In the 1980s, there was simply no stopping Eddie Murphy. As the star of Beverley Hills Cop, his fame seemed to know no bounds. He went on to star in two sequels which, although perhaps not quite so popular, still did phenomenally well at the box office. He also went on to star in other hit films such as Golden Child and Coming to America.

    Skipping forward to the end of the 1990s, however, his star began to fade. He still continued to work regularly, but the films simply didn’t command the same audiences as before. His typical slapstick style of comedy was neither as fresh as before, nor was it as original. He had the occasional return to form, such as his vocal performance as the donkey in Shrek, but that wasn’t enough. There were plenty of new faces waiting in the wings and they were attracting a new generation of fans who didn’t really rate Murphy.

    Personal problems also made people see him in a different light. He divorced from wife Nicole in 2006 and shortly afterwards showed a rather unpleasant side to his personality following a relationship with former Spice Girl Mel B. When she discovered she was pregnant, Murphy denied outright that he was the father and refused to pay for child support, until Mel B was forced to organised a paternity test to prove her daughter was his. The test proved that he was, after all, the father.

    Now in 2012, it is perhaps no surprise that Murphy has just been named as the most overpaid actor in Hollywood by Forbes magazine. According to their figures, for every dollar that Murphy made in the box office, he only made back $2.30. However, compared with Drew Barrymore, who made back just 40 cents for every dollar she earned in 2011, Murphy’s figure is actually quite respectable. Barrymore apparently doesn’t qualify for this year’s list because she hasn’t had starring roles in three ‘wide-released films’ over the last three years, probably due to her family commitments.

    There are a few other big names just behind Murphy in the Forbes list. At number two was Katherine Heigl, who made back $3.40 for every dollar she earns, based on a couple of recent films that didn’t really register on the box office radar. Reese Witherspoon is surprisingly at number three, having made back just $3.90. Like Barrymore, she has recently had a baby and may well be back in the financial limelight in due course.

    When it comes to Eddie Murphy, however, the future doesn’t look too bright. 2011’s Tower Heist was supposed to be his return to the big-time, but although critically-acclaimed, it didn’t do that well at the box office. Something special will need to be in the pipeline to turn his career around.


    • The 7 Most Overpaid Actors:

      #4 Eddie Murphy

      Eddie Murphy has evolved his career brilliantly. After bursting into the national spotlight during his short-lived SNL career, Eddie quickly became the go-to black comedian of the 80′s. As he got older, he began focusing on family comedies with films like The Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle. Again, like a normal-sized black Napoleon, Eddie completely conquered the landscape in front of him.

      However, as Eddie’s fan-base gets older, they don’t recognize their beloved Eddie Murphy anymore. Recent films like Meet Dave and Imagine That (which seemed like a remake of Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories, which came out only a year earlier) have been major box office disappointments. The Adventures of Pluto Nash is the biggest summer blockbuster flop of all-time. On average for every $1 Eddie has earned, his movies brought in $4.43 so like Billy Bob, Murphy earns nearly a quarter of his films’ total gross earnings.


    • The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made:

      1. Norbit

      The poor timing of this excruciating mix of fatty-fall-down jokes and deliriously minstrel-show-esque stereotypes may well have cost Eddie Murpy his Dreamgirls Oscar — which isn’t exactly fair, but it certainly seems like justice. For it’s not just a poorly made movie, but a loathsome and distasteful one to boot, consisting of a single joke, told over and over and over and over and over again, that wasn’t funny the first time. The joke is that fat people are physically repulsive, disgusting creatures. It’s mean, angry, vile, and misogynistic, and some of that might be forgivable if Norbit were funny. It isn’t. There is, no exaggeration, not one laugh to be found in it. It marked Eddie Murphy’s creative nadir (which is saying something), and if we’re lucky, it’s the worst film he’ll ever make. I shudder to imagine one that’s worse.


  57. Showtime (2002):

    I watched this film recently and I have to say it wasn’t bad at all. Good under-appreciated comedy with Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro.


  58. 10 Huge Hollywood Actors We All Loved (But Now Hate):

    7. Eddie Murphy

    We Love You Moment: Beverley Hills Cop (1984)

    It’s seems like a long time since Eddie Murphy was the most popular star and biggest box office attraction on the planet but that’s exactly what he was in the eighties. After making his film debut with 48 Hrs. a revelation was born and he followed that with the excellent Trading Places and then the film that would make him an international star; Beverley Hills Cop.

    By the time Another 48 Hrs. (1990) hit cinemas he had hit after hit with a (good) sequel to Beverley Hills Cop, The Golden Child, Coming To America and RAW, the highest grossing stand-up film ever released at the time. His natural charisma, talent and incredibly foul yet funny mouth made him the biggest and most loved star on the planet.

    We Want A Divorce Moment: Beverley Hills Cop III (1994)

    No actor has suffered such an incredible drop off in quality like Edward Reagan Murphy and it all started with the castration of his most famous character in Beverley Hills Cop III. The success of Shrek and Nutty Professor are merely blips on an otherwise downward trajectory that features such abominations to entertainment as Vampire In Brooklyn, Life, Holy Man, Showtime, Pluto Nash, I-Spy, The Haunted Mansion. Norbit, Meet Dave and Imagine That.

    The worst part? A young Eddie Murphy would be ashamed of his older self. Try watching the brilliant RAW now and not cringing when he mocks Bill Cosby pleading with him not to use cuss words anymore. Often imitated but never bettered when it came to cussing, it’s a real shame his balls dropped off when he got old. Back in the day he could have always counted on the female vote too but since challenging the paternity of Mel B’s child he’s lost that as well. D’oh.

    Chances Of Getting Back Together: Regretfully none. The shine has well and truly come off this former golden child.


    • REALLY RUBBISH: Beverly Hills Cop III (1994):

      Posted on 01:33 by Daniel Mumby

      Beverly Hills Cop III (USA, 1994)
      Directed by John Landis
      Starring Eddie Murphy, Timothy Carhart, Judge Reinhold, Héctor Elizondo

      I’ve spoken at grat length in my film reviews about the disappointing nature of threequels. Most of the time the disappointment comes from the first film or two films being really good and the third one falling short – but with Beverly Hills Cop the bar wasn’t all that high to begin with. Nonetheless, Beverly Hills Cop III is the weakest instalment in the trilogy, with both John Landis and Eddie Murphy on autopilot and neither really wanting to be there.

      As a film enthusiast, you’re always looking to find the best in any given film. If a film is not great, you praise the bits that are good. If none of it is good, you argue that it’s not memorably bad. If it is memorably bad, you put the case that it’s so-bad-it’s-good. And if it’s offensively terrible (or terribly offensive), you try and argue that such offense could have some perverse cultural value. From this point of view the hardest films to defend – and the hardest to review – are those which are bad in a boring way, and Beverly Hills Cop III is a very bad, very boring film.

      Considering how much I have criticised Simpson and Bruckheimer, it is ironic that the emptiest film in the series should be the one in which they had the least involvement. The high-concept duo left the project in the late-1980s, feeling that the story (as it was then) was too similar to that of Ridley Scott’s thriller Black Rain. By the time Steven E. de Souza came on board, the film was being pitched as “Die Hard in a theme park”, which was itself watered down as the budget was cut and Joel Silver jumped ship. The inertia that dogged the film’s production is all too evident on screen, with both director and cast having a load of props but no idea how or why they should use them.

      You could make the observation at this point that the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy is one of progressive narrative disengagement. The first film had good potential in its plot and a decent comic conceit, but it never really made the most of either and came out a little undercooked. BHC II rehashed the plot but gave even less credit to the audience’s intelligence, resulting in a film that was flashy, asinine and dull. BHC III is arguably the most cynical, since there is no effort put into any part of its creative vision: it just sits there unwanted for 100 minutes, boring and depressing us, and then it’s gone.

      Despite its incredibly cynical nature, however, it’s very hard to get angry at BHC III. You want to summon up a ball of rage against it, denounce the system that produced it, or John Landis for directing it, or Eddie Murphy was thinking it was a good script. But there is nothing in the film that could produce such a reaction, no matter how hard we try. Even with the re-emergence of Serge, one of the most annoying and offensive aspects of the first film, this is ultimately too boring and goofy to induce anger.

      There are many bad films that induce anger because they squander great potential – The Millionairess and Atlantis being prime examples. But BHC III has very little potential to start with, and so when that potential isn’t fulfilled upon, it almost plays to our expectations. Both Murphy and Landis’ reputations for quality had taken hits by this juncture, leading us to revise our expectations downwards and hope for something serviceable. When we don’t even get that, the stakes are too low to generate anything more than a mild twinge of disappointment.

      Putting aside the lengthy production problems, much of the failure of BHC III can be blamed on Eddie Murphy. Landis took the gig knowing that the script wasn’t any good, on the grounds that Martin Brest had got around the same problem by letting Murphy improvise. But when Landis tried to feed Murphy shtick or give him room to move, Murphy refused to say the lines or do anything funny. If Bronson Pinchot is to be believed, Murphy was very jealous of the success enjoyed by Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington in straight roles, and tried to steer away from anything that made Axel Foley a “wiseass” (i.e. pretty much everything). Some of Pinchot’s longer scenes were shot with just Landis, which might explain why so many of the jokes fall flat.

      Because Murphy is so unwilling to play ball, all of the moments in BHC III that could have been funny take on an odd and awkward feeling. The lengthy final set-piece on the Wonderworld rides feels like it was originally written as a big comic finale – perhaps along the lines of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, where every aspect of a building is used to source a joke or generate tension. But with Murphy missing all his cues, the other actors seem unsure of how to play the scenes, and the film increasingly feels like a comedy which is trying to escape itself.

      Throughout the film there are little glimpses of Landis’ comedic pedigree, but all these moments are so out of context that they almost feel like a pastiche. There’s an early musical number, with the car-jackers dancing around to Diana Ross and the Supremes, but that’s surrounded by attempts at serious build-up, including the killing-off of Foley’s boss. The disintegration of Murphy’s car in the ensuing chase might have worked in The Blues Brothers (or the Pink Panther series), but here it feels bizarre and unnecessary. The film continually fails at comedy, either by pulling up short of its punch lines or having no sense of timing.

      At the very least, you would expect Landis to have made more of the theme park setting. Even if the physical or situational comedy fell flat, you could argue that there would be some value in a comedy which tried to poke fun at the corporate paranoia of Disney and the like. But as with its big set-pieces, the more dialogue-driven scenes are void of ambition; the satire is bald if not completely non-existent, and there are episodes of Scooby Doo with greater tension as to the identity of the villain.

      The only other characteristic of BHC III that is becoming of Landis is the abundance of cameos. In my review of Burke & Hare, I praised Landis for his restraint in this regard, only bringing people in for a good knowing laugh – whether it’s Jenny Agutter playing a hammy actress, or Michael Winner going off a cliff in a stagecoach. His use of cameos here is far more akin to Into The Night, with a host of famous film faces turning up for little to no good reason. The most obvious and awkward of these is George Lucas, whom Murphy forces off the ferris wheel just before he saves the children.

      This brings us on nicely (or rather not) to the issue of exploitation. Not only is the film’s satire of the Disney culture incredibly bald, but it often falls into the opposite trap and becomes as blatantly manipulative as the theme parks itself. The entire action scene involving Murphy saving the children is a shameless attempt to engender empathy with his character – empathy that is never justified at any other point before or after. Likewise Theresa Randle’s character gets nothing to do except be put in situations where Axel can save her or hit on her. While she’s by no means the worst example of a damsel in distress in fiction, it’s still a very cheap trick.

      The performances in BHC III are all immensely lacklustre. Murphy sets the tone, looking either bored or frustrated and giving the distinct impression that he has fallen out of love with the character. Judge Reinhold is largely phoning it in, making very little of Billy’s new powers and having no-one to bounce off (both Ronny Cox and John Ashton declined to appear). Timothy Carhart makes the very least of his villain, hitting most of the beats he needs to but not leaving any lasting impression. Even Alan Young, most famous for voicing Scrooge McDuck in DuckTales, doesn’t particularly register: he does the minimum that is required, and then leaves as soon as he can.

      Beverly Hills Cop III is a boring and depressing end to a franchise that barely got off the ground in the first place. With both its star and director working against their strengths and no effort being expended on the script, the film trudges and slumps from one failed joke to the next before eventually collapsing in a sorry heap. Ultimately it’s too boring to get too angry about, but it remains a low point in the careers of all involved.


      • Beverly Hills Cop III:

        What does it look like when Bevery Hill Cop stops trying at comedy to take a shot a being a gritty action film, but succeeds at neither: Beverly Hills Cop III.

        Beverly Hills Cop III takes place in a massive amusement park you did know was hidden right in the middle of Beverly Hills. The filming location is mostly an Great America in Santa Clara, but what bit shot on the Universal Studios tour ride will be sure to take you out of the moment. Some things not to look forward to in this razzy-nominated film:

        A much darker Axel Foley – Eddie Murphy struck me as much more vulgar and violent in this film
        No John Taggart – John Ashton is not in this film, he is replaced by Hector Elizondo who “heard about Axel Foley” and is instantly trusting of him – a departure from initial impressions in the first film
        Characters aren’t villains, they’re just incompetent – When Elizondo’s character is supposed to arrange a meeting for Axel Foley at the theme park, but fails to follow through violence including a chase with guns follows. It could have been written as no double cross, but it wasn’t, Elizondo’s character just seems to have forgot and it is never addressed
        Lots of just weirdness – remember Serge the flamboyant gallery employee from the first movie, well he’s back in number three and now he’s an arms dealer

        There’s more awfulness to be seen. You can catch it on Netflix now and I think Amazon Prime Instant Video.


  59. Since now directors have started to get their own WTHHT articles, I wonder if Eddie Murphy’s “Trading Places”, “Coming to America”, and “Beverly Hills Cop III” director John Landis deserves one? The irony regarding Landis is the whole tragedy involving Vic Marrow’s death during the making of “The Twilight Zone” movie didn’t seem to completely ruin Landis’ career as an A-list director, but once he entered the ’90s w/ flicks like BHC3″ and “Blues Brothers 2000”, that really did him in.


    • And since we’re on the subject of Eddie Murphy’s old directors, I also wouldn’t mind seeing Eddie’s “Beverly Hills Cop” (the first one) director Martin Brest get a WTHHT. It seems like the horrible response that “Gigli” received caused Brest to pretty much give up film-making all together.


    • I would count John Landis among my favorite comedy directors. Just look at his output from 1978 to 1988: Animal House in 1978, The Blues Brothers in 1980, An American Werewolf In London in 1981, Trading Places in 1983, Three Amigos in 1986 and Coming To America in 1988. There’s some great movies in there. Say what you will but Landis had a tremendous 10 years as a filmmaker.


      • Yeah he did have a good run. Unfortunately that run ended the minute the 80s were over. Like many directors he had a lot of success for a period, then once that ended he more or less became a journeyman.


        • I don’t think he was ever the same after the Twilight Zone disaster and trial. Coming to America came after that, but aside from that movie which was largely carried by Murphy, Landis’ best days were behind him.

          I always wonder how talented he really was vs. lucky to be working with such immense comedic talents.

          I will give him credit for chasing Chevy Chase away from Animal House. Had it turned into SNL the Movie as intended, it would not have been nearly as good. I also give him credit for reading Dan Aykroyd’s script for Blues Brothers and saying “Dan, we can’t possibly do this.”

          I think American Werewolf shows Landis’ talent the best. But even that movie has some very lethargic pacing. And then it just kind of ends.


        • And let’s not forget Landis also directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1983! I almost never mention director’s work when it comes to music videos, but Thriller is one of the most iconic music videos of all time, it’s such a classic, great video that it deserves a mention for Landis.


  60. Has Any Comedic Actor Ever Come Close to 1980s Eddie Murphy?

    From 1982 to 1989, Eddie Murphy starred in 9 films. Three of these films (Best Defense, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Harlem Nights) are either completely forgettable, terribly mediocre, or both. However, let’s take a look at his other six films:

    1) 48 Hours: Borderline classic comedy.

    2) Trading Places: BIG TIME classic comedy.

    3) Beverly Hills Cop: BIG TIME classic comedy.

    4) The Golden Child: Originally a flop, but now a cult classic.

    5) Eddie Murphy Raw: One of the greatest stand-up films ever made.

    6) Coming To America: BIG TIME classic comedy.

    Not only have most of these films stood the test of time, but I am now hard pressed to think of any other comedian who had an equally stellar streak in their career. Only three other comedians come to mind that one could make an argument for: Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell.


    • 12 Terrible Movies That Killed An Actor’s Winning Streak:

      1. The Distinguished Gentleman – Eddie Murphy

      The Streak: Right out of the gate, Eddie Murphy had an untouchable run of movies, beginning with 48 Hrs and following with Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop and its sequel, The Golden Child, stand-up comedy film Eddie Murphy: Raw, Coming to America, Harlem Nights, Another 48 Hours and Boomerang. Even if his movies didn’t always hit with critics, they always blew up the box office. Hell, even his stand-up comedy film made more than $50 million.

      The Film That Broke It: Despite having enormous potential as a game political satire, The Distinguished Gentleman flopped with critics and did unimpressive business at the box office, ensuring that audiences wouldn’t just lap up everything that Murphy served up, even though it certainly seemed that way for a while.

      Current Status: Murphy hasn’t had a hot streak this strong ever since and almost certainly never will again. Though he has still enjoyed fitful box office success over the years, especially with the Shrek franchise, he well and truly hit the skids in the late 2000s with a string of critical and financial flops, such as Meet Dave, Imagine That and A Thousand Words. With a Beverly Hills Cop IV apparently on the way, this might be the movie to revive his stagnating career, or perhaps it’ll just seal his fate forever more. In any event, Murphy seems quite content making music these days, so he probably doesn’t care all that much.


    • Episode #195 – The Golden Child

      It’s a super-sized, super-fun, super-technical-glitch-filled CONTEST WINNER SELECTION EPISODE! Tom Horstmann requested that we watch the 1986’s The Golden Child, AKA “Don’t worry about rewriting the screenplay; Eddie Murphy can improvise any action movie into a comedy!” …


  61. 10 Actors Who Need To Stop Flogging A Dead Horse:

    1. Eddie Murphy

    Done To Death: Beverly Hills Cop (and playing multiple roles in the same movie).

    There was a time when Eddie Murphy was the most hilarious thing in Hollywood: he was handsome, fast-talking, and above all he was a pretty good actor, killing it on Saturday Night Live for four straight years. And by the time he was cast in his first leading role in Beverly Hills Cop in 1984 he was a force to be reckoned with in the world of big-budget comedy.

    Then, in the mid-’90s, Murphy’s roles became increasingly ridiculous. In the wake of Beverly Hills Cop III came Vampire In Brooklyn, which replicated the gimmick of Murphy’s earlier film Coming To America, in which he played multiple characters at the same time, but failed laughably. His next film was The Nutty Professor, which was built entirely around that gimmick, and movies like Norbit kept right on going without any self-awareness.

    With Triplets upcoming, it’s recently been announced that Murphy is going back to Beverly Hills Cop to reinvigorate another old comedy franchise, and it’s hard not to think that Murphy isn’t even the best man for his own old job. After more than a decade of no success, it would be far better to see Axel Foley rebooted, rather than him hanging on to an old success story, and it’s hard to see the film working, unless someone like Shane Black is brought in.


    • Mother Brain’s Top 10 Unproduced Movie Sequels:

      1. Beverly Hills Cop 4

      Contrary to popular belief, the 4th adventure of Eddie Murphy’s hip cop from Detroit, Axel Foley, was initially planned after the release of Beverly Hills Cop II when producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer considered an idea to shoot the 3rd and 4th films back to back overseas in Europe and Asia. Eddie’s falling track record, however, killed that idea which resulted in the half-assed Beverly Hills Cop III in 1994. Determined to bring life back into the franchise, Eddie sought after numerous writers to come up with a new premise to return back to the fish out of water roots of Cop I. From the mid 90s and on, screenwriters such as John Ridley (Red Tails) and Dan Gordon (The Hurricane) wrote drafts in which Axel battled terrorists in London and Paris. But the closest it came into production was in 2008 when Brett Ratner was hired to direct a screenplay by Wanted screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. The premise involved Axel returning to Beverly Hills to avenge the murder of series favorite Billy Rosewood at the hands of dirty cops while gaining a new young cop sidekick intended for Jonah Hill to play. Fans lashed out on the internet over the decision to deep six the supporting characters and Paramount lost faith in Eddie after a string of more family movie failures. Now there’s talk of a TV series about Axel’s son.


  62. I love Eddie Murphy movies, I wish he would make some more. He makes me laugh so hard, what a wonderful actor, all the different parts, and so believeable too.
    Come back Eddie!


  63. 12 Actors Who Basically Guarantee You Make A Flop:

    1. Eddie Murphy

    Few entries on this list make us as sad as Eddie Murphy, a tremendously talented comedian who simply stopped putting any effort in around the year 2000, and though audiences stuck with him for a while, his luck eventually ran out.

    In his defense, Murphy’s commitment to voice-over and ensemble work has netted him a few hits over the last decade, such as three Shrek movies, Tower Heist and Dreamgirls (which even netted him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor), though only a single movie sold on his name alone actually made any money, and that’s the terrible Norbit.

    This appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, because all three of Murphy’s starring projects that followed, Meet Dave, Imagine That and A Thousand Words, flopped spectacularly. If we go back a little further, of course, Murphy also starred in 2002′s The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which became one of the biggest box office bombs in cinematic history, and who can forget the massive box office failure that was Holy Man? Still, Murphy has pretty much been lucky enough throughout his career to balance his flops with a few major hits, even if nowadays that mostly means using his voice or appearing within a large cast.

    Why Is He A Flop? It appears that even casual viewers who sunk their money into Norbit have grown fed up of Murphy’s boisterous shtick, because he’s not appeared in a movie for two years since A Thousand Words flopped, hopefully signalling a career re-think on his part.

    With Beverly Hills Cop 4 and Triplets (a sequel to the movie Twins) on the way, perhaps it’s time for Murphy’s comeback, though the question remains: will audiences be interested in watching Murphy front and center anymore? Essentially, Murphy isn’t entirely uncastable, but it looks as though his time as a leading man might be over.


  64. iam a big fan of your work but rob i think with the triplets sequel he is big need for a comeback


    • If so, that’s a sorry state for his career to be in.

      Honestly, I don’t think anything will bring Murphy back in a big way. Not even reviving Beverly Hills Cop. I just don’t think the guy wants to be famous any more.


  65. his problem is most a good portion of his career he went the kid friendly route he needs go to his roots and have make adult comedies like he use to


    • I’m not going to totally fault Eddie in wanting to do more kid friendly or family friendly movies. I mean I’m sure that Eddie was at a much different perspective in his life when he made stuff like “Daddy Day Care” and “The Hunted Mansion” (when he was in his 40s) than when he was making “48 HRs” and “Beverly Hills Cop” (when he was in his early 20s). I mean, should we have criticized Robin Williams for occasionally doing a more family friendly movie like “RV” for example?

      With that being said, I think the problem wasn’t necessarily so much in Eddie wanting to do those types of movies period, as much as perhaps they didn’t really maximize his talents. They seemed more like quick paydays instead of something that he was truly passionate about. It seemed like in stuff like “Daddy Day Care”, “Dr. Doolittle”, “Imagine That”, and “The Hunted Mansion”, Eddie was more or less, playing the straight man (either to little, rambunctious kids, talking animals, or special effects). In effect, instead of making jokes, Eddie sort of became the butt of them. Eddie was practically so stripped of whatever made him interesting as an onscreen persona that you could’ve just about put anybody in those types of movies and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.


  66. The Mt. Rushmore of Stand up comics…:

    Post by DrBackflipsHoffman on 20 hours ago
    Eddie Murphy doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a Mt. Rushmore of stand up comedy, sorry. He was a fine comic actor for a while, but his stand up material just doesn’t cut it. Small parts of Delirious are harmless juvenile bulls*** like the BBQ routine and the stuff about James Brown and Stevie Wonder, but given you’d be putting what’s available from Murphy up against the material people like Pryor, Carlin, Hicks, Bruce and Cosby have, it’s a no contest. You’d be better off giving Police Academy 4 a place before Murphy.


  67. he does deserve it turning down pryor biopic was dumb oscar written all over it


  68. i dont think its right to compare his career to stallone as good as stalone his body of work cannot touch eddies eddies movies gross more hes still seen as more as a box office draw out side 3 franchises stallone has no classics eddie has a ton plus dreamgirls proved eddie has chops stallone has some too but not like eddie


    • The Actors Who Were Almost Axel Foley Before Eddie Murphy Turned The Detroit Cop Into An 80s Icon:

      Sylvester Stallone

      Out of all the actors that were almost Axel Foley, Sly came the closest. The final draft of the script was actually developed with him in mind, but in order for him to commit to the project, Stallone had to do what Stallone does: rewrite most of it. In an interview with Ain’t It Cool in 2006, Stallone recounted his side of the story:

      When I read the script for BEVERLY HILLS COP, I thought they’d sent it to the wrong house. Somehow, me trying to comically terrorize Beverly Hills is not the stuff that great yuk-festivals are made from. So I re-wrote the script to suit what I do best, and by the time I was done, it looked like the opening scene from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN on the beaches of Normandy. Believe it or not, the finale was me in a stolen Lamborghini playing chicken with an oncoming freight train being driven by the ultra-slimy bad guy. Needless to say, they dropkicked me and my script out of the office, and the rest is history.

      The other side of the story, is that Stallone left the picture after having a disagreement with the producers over the kind of orange juice that would be provided to his trailer, although that tale seems to be more fable than truth. Don Simpson explained, in an interview with the New York Times in 1984, that they just didn’t agree on a final draft:

      Sly’s rewrite had heart, passion and pathos. It was superb. It had more edge and more of the blood vengeance motif. But it didn’t have the fish-out-of- water theme or the tension between street-smart and ”by-the-book” police.

      After two days of negotiations, Sly was ousted, the producers’ version of the script was reinstated, and Eddie Murphy was called upon to fill the role. Stallone would use his version of the script for portions of his police action-drama, Cobra. The rest is history.

      Martin Brest told the New York Times, ”It’s spooky but every time we got into a jam, I’d turn to Eddie and say, ‘Can you come up with something?’ And every time, he came up with something that knocked me to the floor. He’s a director’s dream. He magnifies every bit of work you do by a thousandfold.”


  69. eddie should do drama this miles davis biopic right direction he does drama better then jim carrey dream girls amazing


  70. Great write-up of Eddie Murphy, but one important correction: the article begins “At 17, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live”. This is incorrect. Eddie was born April 3, 1961, and his first appearance on SNL was in November, 1980, which would’ve made him 19 on his SNL debut. Otherwise, great write-up as always.

    On a sidenote, at 19 I think Eddie Murphy is still the second-youngest SNL cast member ever, behind only Anthony Michael Hall who was 17 when he joined. When I watch old clips of Eddie’s days on SNL, or I watch 48 Hrs. or Delirious or Trading Places or Beverly Hills Cop, it’s hard to believe that he was only in his late teens/early 20’s during that time.


    • I hope I didn’t offend you by calling out Eddie’s age mistake, Lebeau.


      • Oh hell no. Don’t worry about that at all. I meant to respond to that comment with a “thank you” but got caught up in recording a podcast instead.

        The main reason there hasn’t been a new WTHH article in a while is that I have been going back and cleaning up the existing ones for the last couple of months. It’s been a massive under-taking. I’m working backwards and I just got through Jennifer Jason Leigh. So I’ll be working on the Eddie Murphy article real soon. When I do, I intend to incorporate the correction.

        I read the Murphy was 17 info somewhere on line when I originally wrote the article. But you know how reliable the internet can be. I did verify that your info is correct. And I value accuracy over my ego every time. So I am always grateful and never upset when someone corrects me.

        So thanks again. Totally cool.


        • Great, thanks! The only other item in Murphy’s article I think is worth amending would be the Beverly Hills Cop tv pilot that never happened. When the article was written a couple years ago it was still in development, but later CBS passed. It’s one of those rare fascinating cancelled pilots, supposedly Eddie Murphy was actually great in the pilot but since he was only willing to do a couple episodes a season and have Axel Foley’s son carry the show, CBS decided not to go ahead with it. A shame it never aired. But there seems to be a silver lining. Eddie apparently impressed enough in the pilot that Paramount now is going ahead with Beverly Hills Cop 4, scheduled for March 2016. So long as they still use Axel Foley’s theme (a must!), I’m in.


        • Absolutely. I will make sure to hit that as well. Feel free to point out any incorrect or outdated info you may see in ANY of the articles. I’ll never be offended. Promise!


        • BHC 4? I’m in too!
          Also, Craig, this does underscore yet again, just how Leb is in my mind, a gold standard among bloggers. After having gotten into the blogging world a bit late, due to my advanced age from a time when we had NONEOFTHIS, it took me a while to adjust. Some forums, where I helpfully offered corrections, well, let’s just say… were… NOT APPRECIATED in so many words. so I learned to take a step back and keep those suggestions to myself. At Leblog, suggested corrections are actually taken in the spirit intended… just one of the many reasons this is one of the better blogs around.
          OK Back to reading about football
          RB out 🙂


        • Exactly right RB, that’s sort of why I tip-toed around and apologized for bringing up the mistake about Eddie’s age in joining SNL, worried I might offend. Lebeau is the gold standard for me, too. Keep up the great work, Lebeau!

          On a side note about Beverly Hills Cop 4, it is winding up with a very interesting past. It was in development almost a decade ago, but Paramount eventually passed, and while I’m merely speculating maybe it was because Eddie’s star has faded in recent years. So BHC4 instead goes into development as a tv series, with Axel Foley’s son becoming the focus as an up-and-coming cop with Eddie intended to make occasional appearances throughout the series as the Chief of Police in Beverly Hills. Word is Eddie was great, but since he would only do a couple episodes a season CBS passes. But, Eddie apparently knocked it out of the park with his performance in the filmed tv pilot, so much so that Paramount reconsiders letting Eddie Murphy do a theatrical Beverly Hills Cop again, and is currently planned for a March 2016 release. BHC4 never would happen at this point save for the fact that Eddie apparently impressed the higher ups with his performance in the tv pilot. As I said, a very interesting past. I just wish they would toss that failed pilot on Youtube or something, Eddie must have been really good to make Paramount reconsider doing a theatrical Beverly Hills Cop movie.


        • Craig, no worries. I’m a tough guy to offend. Your feedback is always welcome. I know it is always constructive.

          I’m getting closer and closer to the Eddie article. (Reworking Travolta today.) When I do update this one, I’ll incorporate all of this helpful BHC4 info.


        • I believe it is a strength to know one’s limitations. Yes, I am fallible. I aspire not to be, but sadly I have yet to get anywhere near that goal. So when someone points out a mis-step, I am appreciative. It gives me a chance to correct the error before someone else sees it. That helps me make a better impression on new readers which helps me grow the site. All good things. And all I have to do is swallow my pride a bit and admit that sometimes I make mistakes. I can deal with that.

          I do draw the line at trolling. We were visited by a troll the other day who opened the conversation by stating that the article she had read was a waste of time and filled with fluff rather than the information she was looking for. Daffy helpfully highlighted the section of the article that addressed her concerns, but she was not satisfied. If you’re going to be rude, I’m going to pull out the snark to keep you in line.

          I also get a little irritated when people presume to tell me the criteria for the WTHH series. It’s my series. I make up the criteria. If I say someone qualifies, they qualify. We can debate just about anything else. You think someone is still A-list? Fine, we can talk about that. You think someone never was A-list? That’s open for debate. Just keep it civil. But don’t tell me the rules of the series I created. After 4 years, that is one argument I’m sick of having.

          You guys have established yourselves as sensible participants in the conversation here. So even if you said something that was a little off, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt. So no worries. Keep the feedback coming.


  71. his film debut was a box office doing that give any actor an ego acheiving success that age he was 20 when it was a hit. Morgan freeman had his big break at 50 street smart (unless u could electric company) he said it was good he hit his big break cause his younger self couldnt handle the fame


  72. If there were one former SNL cast member I would most love to see return to host, it would be Eddie Murphy. After leaving SNL he returned only one time in late 84 to promote Beverly Hills Cop, and he absolutely killed. Unfortunately since then he has refused to do any retrospective tv shows or books over the years, and honestly getting Eddie back to host again would probably take nothing less than a miracle, but I for one would love to see him return. Since this is the 40th anniversary of SNL I’ve noticed that they have been bringing back many of its former cast members this year (Sarah Silverman and Bill Hader recently hosted, and Chris Rock is confirmed for a future episode), so this would be a good time for Lorne to attempt to lure him back. Unlikely, sure, but hey, stranger things have happened….


    • I don’t think Murphy can be lured. They would LOOOOOOOVE to have him. I just added a bit to the article about the source of Murphy’s bad blood with the show.


      • That is a really interesting quote, one I had not heard from Murphy before. I do remember David Spade making that joke about Murphy’s career in the early 90’s, I didn’t know that created the bad blood between him and SNL. He does draw an interesting distinction though, it’s ok to make fun of one of his movies, but not his career. Because I’m one of you guys! That certainly draws a line for him. If Lorne Michaels called him and offered a sincere apology and then asked him to host again, then who knows what could happen, it’s not mission impossible, its more like mission improbable. But Murphy would definately be my #1 pick for return hosts.


      • A Brief History of Eddie Murphy Hating ‘SNL’:

        Rumors are swirling that Eddie Murphy may make a surprise appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ this weekend when his ‘Tower Heist’ co-star Ben Stiller hosts. This will probably not happen. Eddie Murphy absolutely hates ‘Saturday Night Live’ and has not appeared on the show that made him a star since he hosted back on Dec. 15, 1984. Not only has Murphy never attended the various ‘SNL’ anniversary shows, but he was also one of only to living cast members (along with Dennis Miller) to refuse to talk with Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller for the excellent book ‘Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.’ Just in case Murphy does appear this weekend, however, perhaps it’s time to take a look back at the history of Eddie Murphy hating ‘Saturday Night Live.’


        Murphy’s tenure at ‘SNL’ started auspiciously enough. Lorne Michaels, after five years, had left the show along with the entire cast. Jean Doumanian was tapped as Michaels’s replacement as executive producer — a job she would not hold for long, as she oversaw what’s regarded as the worst season the show has ever seen — and set out to hire a brand new cast.

        Fortunately for Doumanian, a young talent named Eddie Murphy would fall in her lap from pretty much out of nowhere. Unfortunately for Doumanian, she passed on Murphy and instead cast Robert Townsend as “the black guy on the show,” as talent coordinator Neil Levy quotes her in ‘Live from New York.’ Levy goes on to say that he had to threaten to quit in order to get Murphy hired. Which he eventually did — as a featured player. So, yes: a cast that saw the likes of Robin Duke, Ann Riley and Denny Dillon as full-time members would only include Murphy as a featured player.


        After Doumanian was fired, Dick Ebersol took over executive producer duties at ‘SNL.’ Ebersol realized immediately that the show had a star languishing in the background and immediately put Murphy front and center. During a season that ‘SNL’ was almost canceled, Murphy put the show on his back. It could be argued that Murphy is the reason that ‘SNL’ still lives on today. (Hold this thought.)


        On Dec. 11, Murphy hosted ‘SNL’ for the first time. He was already such a star at this point that when Nick Nolte was too sick to host, Murphy — who was still a cast member — took over the hosting duties.


        After the success of ’48 Hours,’ Murphy was a bona fide movie star. In an unprecedented move — one that would never happen under a Lorne Michaels led show — Ebersol offered Murphy a contract that only required the star of the show to appear live on 10 of the 20 shows. Also an unprecedented move: Murphy was allowed to pre-tape segments that would later run on the live show.


        Murphy’s last show as a cast member was on Feb. 25, 1984. The host was journalist Edwin Newman.

        On Dec. 15, 1984, Murphy would return one last time, as host, during Ebersol’s last season (nicknamed “The Steinbrenner Season” for all of the already known talent that was hired such as Billy Crystal and Martin Short). It was on this show that “White Like Me,” one of the most iconic sketches in the history of ‘SNL,’ would air. This was the last time Murphy ever appeared on ‘SNL’ in any capacity. Murphy never worked under either of Lorne Michaels’s regimes.

        The Hollywood Minute Incident

        David Spade, hosting an early ’90s ‘SNL’ segment during “Weekend Update” called “Hollywood Minute,” quipped, “Look children, a falling star,” as Eddie Murphy’s picture was displayed in the background. Murphy, who is the only reason that ‘SNL’ didn’t find itself canceled during the early 1980s, was furious.

        In a 1997 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Spade said, “Chris Rock told me, ‘Spade, Eddie’s got his biggest movie in 10 years, a beautiful wife, and he still can’t shake the fact that you took a swipe at him.'”


        Eddie Murphy is the only major alumnus who does not attend the ‘SNL’ primetime 25th anniversary show.


        Eddie Murphy and Dennis Miller are the only cast members who refuse to participate in ‘Live From New York.’


        Murphy co-stars in ‘Tower Heist,’ a film that could be his first “edgy” comedic role in arguabl, 20 years. His co-star, Ben Stiller, is the host of ‘SNL’ this weekend — promoting a film that not only co-stars Murphy, but is directed by Murphy’s friend, Brett Ratner. Not only that, Murphy desperately needs a live-action hit — something that could be helped by the buzz created by a much overdue return to ‘SNL.’ Whether that actually happens, remains to be seen.


  73. A follow up on Eddie’s comment. According to David Spade in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1997, he was asked if Eddie was still furious at him: “Chris Rock told me, ‘Spade, Eddie’s got his biggest movie in 10 years, a beautiful wife, and he still can’t shake the fact that you took a swipe at him”. And this was years after Spade made his insult about Murphy, so yeah it sounds like he holds a grudge about that. Thank a lot, Spade! You ruined my chances of ever seeing Eddie host SNL again because of your stupid joke!


  74. the biopic of miles davis look good dreamgirls proved he can do drama


  75. Eddie Murphy Not Happy With Beverly Hills Cop 4 Script:

    Beverly Hills Cop 4 may have hit a problem, as Eddie Murphy suggests it’s not as close as we thought…

    It might just be that, after a string of movies that veered not on the side of good, Eddie Murphy has got some quality control back into his film work.

    His next big project is set to be Beverly Hills Cop 4, a film that needs to work hard to erase the near-franchise killer that was Beverly Hills Cop 3. Murphy is set to reprise the role of Axel Foley, and Brett Ratner is set to direct. A 2016 release date had been mooted.

    There may yet be a spanner in the proverbial works, though.

    In a chat with Rolling Stone, Eddie Murphy was asked if Beverly Hills Cop 4 was coming along. “Nah, they still trying to get that script right”, he said. “I’m not doing a Beverly Hills Cop unless they have a really incredible script,” he added.

    It’s okay, we’re thinking it too.

    “I’ve read a couple of things that look like they can make some paper. But I’m not doing a shitty movie just to make some paper. The shit got to be right”, Murphy added.

    Paramount is still looking to get the film in front of the cameras this spring, so we’ll see how quickly those script problems can be resolved…


    • Eddie Murphy Explains Why He Keeps Putting Off Beverly Hills Cop 4:

      For about 20 years, news of a possible fourth Beverly Hills Cop film getting underway seem to sporadically come up, only to end in a false start. Despite that, attempts to revive the comedy franchise that essentially christened Eddie Murphy as a certified household name still continue. So, what is it that has been keeping this film from happening? Well, it seems that Murphy has been left once bitten, twice shy after the debacle that was Beverly Hills Cop III.

      In an interview with Playboy (remember when that used to be a thing, pre-Internet adolescent boys?), Murphy discusses the twists and turns in his long and storied comedic career. However, when the Beverly Hills Cop franchise came up, it seemed to show that it’s a topic for which Murphy has a proverbial banana shoved up his tailpipe. Almost similar to another recent interview when he implied that 1994’s nonsensical theme park romp of a third film was “another shi**y movie,” he would this time call it “garbage.” While his latest words seem to show kind of a love/hate relationship with the franchise, he is still very much in the market for a possible fourth film. When talking about international fans, he explained:

      ‘Hey, Beverly Hills Cop! Axel Foley!’ They call me that shit. All the movies I’ve done, and they call me that. If we do that movie [Beverly Hills Cop 4], it has to be right. Not just thrown together to get a big check. I don’t need anymore of those.

      It’s understandable that Eddie Murphy is choosing his roles with a huge degree of caution, seeing as he is one of the biggest examples in the annals of Hollywood of the consequences reaped by bad project choices. However, while Murphy shoots down rumors that it’s filming next month, he does confirm that Beverly Hills Cop 4 is still happening. However, he reiterates his determination to find the right script.

      I don’t think it’s gonna happen in March, but it is gonna be in Detroit. And before it happens, they’ve got to get that script right. That movie has to be right.
      Certainly Murphy’s career, which was white-hot coming off the first BHC in 1984, churned out one comedic classic after another. However, as the 1990’s approached, he took some serious missteps like Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, and the aforementioned Beverly Hills Cop III, relegating Murphy to the “where are they now?” corner for a time.

      However, a comeback hit in 1996 with The Nutty Professor would open the door for a new family-flexible PG-13 phase of Murphy’s career. He would be defined by over-the-top characters and lowbrow humor in films like Holy Man, the lukewarm Doctor Dolittle series, culminating in the notorious bomb of all bombs in The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which made the studio an embarrassing $7 million for its $100 million budget. While Murphy found himself an iconic gig voicing Donkey in the monumental Shrek series, it was clear that his live-action career had whittled back to its 1990’s lull. However, people still want to see him. This was especially evident when a 2013 attempt to bring Beverly Hills Cop to television with a pilot starring Brandon T. Jackson as Axel’s son would never even make air, apparently due to the fact that a cameo by Murphy overshadowed the new star.

      It will be interesting to see how Beverly Hills Cop 4 finally materializes. With that said, direct sequels, especially to what is now already a 31 year-old film, are especially problematic. From a marketing standpoint, it’s difficult to see arithmophobic Hollywood execs being on board with anything labeled “IV” that isn’t a campy horror movie. However, it could be the case that the new films take the idea from the aborted television pilot with Axel as the eccentric father of the main protagonist and turns up the comedy to a new level.


      • ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Pushed Off Paramount Schedule, Bad Robot Film Slated:

        A day after pushing Monster Trucks off of its 2015 release schedule, Paramount Pictures is now pushing Beverly Hills Cop out of 2016 and will remain unset for the time being. In addition, the studio dropped their Untitled Bad Robot sci-fi movie from J.J. Abrams into a March 11, 2016 date. That date is one week before Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Part 1 is slated to bow. Yesterday Paramount announced that it moved Monster Trucks off its 2015 release schedule and onto the March 18, 2016 date.

        Eddie Murphy had been on to return to the big screen as Axel Foley in what was to be the fourth installment of the franchise that got its start in the 1980s. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing and Brett Rattner is set to direct the story about Murphy returning from Beverly Hills to Detroit. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the scribes behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, were hired to script.

        One person with knowledge of the situation said Paramount went off its Axel because the script wasn’t ready but that the studio is still planning to move forward on the picture. Apparently Appelbaum and Nemec turned in a script and then former Paramount film pres Adam Goodman (rather wisely it seems) took them off that and had them quickly draft a script for the sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last year. The reboot of Ninja Turtles ended up kicking in $485M worldwide for the studio.


  76. With Boomerang, Eddie Murphy tried reinventing himself as a romantic leading man:

    For a man who whose most famous stand-up special featured him strutting the stage in a skin-tight red leather suit, Eddie Murphy has never been a particularly sexual screen actor. Despite being handsome and apparently not aging over the past 30 years, Murphy is much more likely to be seen hamming it up in drag, a fat suit, or both, than seducing a woman. That’s a big part of what makes 1992’s Boomerang such an outlier in his filmography. Sure, Murphy was a charming, adorable romantic lead in Coming To America, but that was a fairy tale first, a comedy second, and a romantic comedy a distant third. In sharp contrast, Boomerang afforded Murphy a rare opportunity to be not just romantic, but nakedly erotic, playing a character who frequently and guiltlessly gets with a broad spectrum of women.

    Murphy entered the guilt-stricken dad/silly fantasy gimmick/fat-suit portion of his career shortly after Boomerang, but in that one film, he plays a character rarely seen in American films of the time: a black man who’s also a proudly sexual, cultivated professional. Murphy’s Marcus has money and class. He’s assured enough in his place in society that when a snooty high-end clothing store clerk treats him, and friends Gerard (David Alan Grier) and Tyler (Martin Lawrence) with racist condescension, Marcus experiences pity for the racist clerk’s ignorance rather than anger at his bigotry. It’s worth noting that the exchange is also the only scene in the film that suggests the existence of racism. Otherwise, Boomerang occupies a post-Cosby Show realm full of rich, upper-middle-class African-Americans who rarely acknowledge race.

    Marcus is a womanizer, a legend among his friends for his way with women, and the trail of broken hearts he’s glibly left in his path. He’s also an advertising executive, the ultimate movie yuppie profession. As the film opens, Marcus tries to get an upper hand in his company’s merger with a company called Lady Eloise by having sex with the company’s voracious figurehead (Eartha Kitt). Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize she has no power, and is just a symbol of her company’s past. The audience is supposed to be repulsed that a woman of Kitt’s age is interested in boning, and amused when a reluctant Marcus insists they turn the lights out first. But Kitt’s performance subverts the sexism and ageism of the writing. She doesn’t play the character as a freak, just a woman in charge of her desires. Her charisma and attractiveness undercuts the film’s sexism, just as it kills much of the comedy.

    Directed by Reginald Hudlin from a story by Murphy and a script co-written by Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, Boomerang cannot take a bold step forward without nervously skittering several steps back. The film is simultaneously fascinated with Lady Eloise’s strong, unapologetic sexuality, titillated by her, and more than a little repulsed. And that reaction doesn’t just extend to her, but also to the tellingly named Strangé, whom Grace Jones plays as an extended exercise in inspired self-parody. She’s the face and perverse personality of Lady Eloise’s new perfume, and she’s so comically uninhibited that at a fancy dinner where she sexually propositions Marcus, he needs to beg her to stop saying “pussy” like it’s the secret word on You Bet Your Life. But while the screenplay depicts the character as an outright freak whose life is some bizarre, sexually charged walking piece of performance art, Jones refuses to be reduced to a freak-show. Like Kitt, Jones both curdles the comedy and subverts the film’s strong, confused streak of sexism.

    But Kitt and Jones are ultimately secondary characters, women who fall far outside what the film considers socially or sexually acceptable. Our womanizing hero must bed them before he can get to the two primary contenders for his heart, and for what we’re assured is his amazing, amazing ass.

    At the time of Boomerang’s release, Robin Givens, who plays Marcus’ boss and lover Jacqueline, was better known for her personal life as the ex-wife of Mike Tyson than she was for a career that peaked with a long-running role on Head Of The Class. She was widely disliked, generally viewed by the public as a gold-digger who married Tyson for his money, then left. This was in spite of her obvious fear of him and his violent reputation. So her casting as a smart, determined woman who isn’t afraid to sleep with a man and then blow him off carried baggage at the time that it doesn’t today.

    Boomerang treats Jacqueline as a woman who approaches not just sex, but life, from a stereotypically male perspective. She’s skittish, if not outright hostile, about monogamy and commitment, loves to drink beer and watch sports, and is as aggressive professionally as she is sexually. In many movies, such as Disclosure—which was released around the same time, and has a similar central dynamic where the male lead is passed over for a promotion he was certain he was going to get, only to find it going to a confident, predatory woman he soon beds—a character like Jacqueline would be vilified as a ball-busting shrew, a scheming man-eater out to get all she can. But Boomerang doesn’t treat her that way, and there’s a wonderful reversal after Marcus and Jacqueline have sex and Marcus, who has previously taken great pride in his ability to seduce and then abandon any woman, begins acting like a lovestruck junior-high kid who has just had his heart broken for the first time. In addition to affording Murphy a rare chance to be an erotic figure, Boomerang allows him an even rarer opportunity to be vulnerable.

    As Marcus wonders why Jacqueline is cavalierly treating him the way he has always treated women, Murphy is as adorable as he is unsympathetic and entitled in the early scenes mapping out his credentials as a world-class womanizer. Boomerang is coarse and unfunny when it devotes itself to bro-talk, most notably due to Lawrence’s presence. He was red-hot at the time, and he’s mainly here to say things like, “How’s the coochie?” and “Something is wrong with the twizat,” which are the kinds of things Lawrence got paid good money to say onscreen during his commercial heyday, despite the film’s occasionally successful aspirations toward sophistication.

    Grier comes off much better as the sensitive member of the film’s trio of pals. When he’s set up with archetypal good girl Angela (Halle Berry) and Marcus, being Marcus, can’t help but fall for her, Grier’s confusion and disappointment are genuinely touching. Angela is the one the film ultimately posits as Marcus’ rightful girlfriend, a woman who looks like Halle Berry, but also fulfills the acceptable role of the comforting nurturer in her after-work gig teaching adorable moppets, in addition to being a dynamite cook and an accomplished businesswoman, albeit without the sharp edges that make Jacqueline unpalatable as a permanent partner.

    Boomerang is a romantic comedy where the romance and comedy are separated like the meat and the toppings in an old McD.L.T. container. As a romance that asks what happens, as the tagline suggested, when the player gets played, the film is surprisingly compelling and even progressive at times in its unwillingness to demonize Jacqueline for being attractive and having a libido, yet toying with the male lead’s heart and emotions. As a comedy, however, the film is often more subtly amusing than outright funny, apart from memorable contributions from John Witherspoon and Chris Rock.

    Re-watching Boomerang, I noticed a lot of lines that were recycled in hip-hop. Of course no movie is truly forgotten, and hip-hop seems to have remembered Boomerang a lot better than the rest of the population. Kanye West, for example, has referenced it repeatedly. Boomerang feels like a Kanye West kind of movie: upscale, sophisticated, sex-positive, progressive—but with a considerable streak of regressive sexism. Ultimately, Boomerang arrives at a pretty conventional moral: It’s okay for a man who seemingly has all the world has to offer, including a line of beautiful women competing to be his bedmate for the evening, to give it up for a monogamous long-term relationship, as long as it’s with the perfect woman.

    Boomerang is strange to watch from the vantage point of 2015. It’s a romantic comedy that’s really only funny when Rock and Witherspoon are onscreen, and a romance that’s compelling and unusual even though it isn’t particularly convincing, because Berry’s character is far too perfect, more an ideal than a person. Seen today, Boomerang is most interesting as a time capsule of an inspired moment in black pop culture, when In Living Color, Martin, Def Comedy Jam, and PM Dawn (who provide one of the hits from the soundtrack), were all thriving, and it looked like Murphy might be cinema’s next great romantic leading man. It’s too bad that he didn’t make more romantic comedies like this, because he has a real gift for vulnerability. There are moments when Marcus seems to disappear and Murphy emerges, most notably when Marcus is hurting after Jacqueline begins to brush him off. That’s exceedingly rare, considering what a closed-off performer Murphy was and continues to be. Some actors bare their souls every time; Murphy just does the work he’s paid to do, then goes home.

    I suspect Boomerang is half-forgotten in part because it represented for Murphy less a new beginning than a dead end. The film did just fine at the box office, earning more than $70 million domestically, and becoming 1992’s 18th most commercially successful film. Yet maybe Murphy felt a little exposed, because before long, he was donning fat suits of all varieties for the Nutty Professor movies (an opportunity to hide not just in latex and stuffing, but also in another filmmaker’s movie and legacy), voicing sassy donkeys, and playing dads who need to learn important life lessons. Murphy seems to have decided what kind of a career he’s going to have and what kind of roles he’ll play a long time ago, and they don’t include projects like this.


  77. hes in a drama called cook it looks like oscar bait


  78. According to a recent news report, Saturday Night Live will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a prime time tv special on February 15th, 2015…. and Eddie Murphy will actually be participating.

    That is actually huge news for a generation of fans who grew up with Eddie Murphy. It’s an understatement to say that not only is Eddie one of the biggest movie stars to ever come out of the SNL comedy factory over the last 40 years, but Eddie arguably saved SNL from being cancelled in its darkest days in the early 80’s. The fact that Eddie is going to actually be involved with SNL for the first time in 30+ years is pretty exciting news to me, and probably a few others as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I actually tweeted the news last night. It’s a big deal. I had been wondering for a while whether or not Murphy would return for the big anniversary. I will be watching.


    • How Bad Can It Be? Case File #23: Saturday Night Live’s aborted 1980-81 season:

      iscopo was not the only Not Ready For Prime Time Player to survive the Doumanian era. One of the darkest moments in the show’s history also contained the debut of one of its brightest stars: Eddie Murphy, who was introduced as a 19-year-old featured player with little screen time before steadily establishing himself as the show’s breakout star, a sly comic alchemist who could transform the hackiest bits into explosively funny comedy. Saturday Night Live seemed to go from black and white to color, Wizard Of Oz-style, whenever Murphy was onscreen. Even as a teenager, Murphy understood that the key to being cool was not caring; where the rest of the cast worked up a sweat straining for laughs, Murphy was effortlessly funny, with a delivery that only seemed tossed-off.

      Doumanian famously did not want Murphy on the show. (She wanted Robert Townsend in the Murphy slot.) She had the misfortune and questionable judgment to see a man with no future (Charles Rocket) as the future of the show, and the future of the show (Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo) as men with no future. But even Doumanian was forced to concede that Murphy’s riotous “Weekend Update” appearances were catching on in a way fellow featured players Yvonne Hudson, Patrick Weathers, and Matthew Laurance simply were not, and promoted Murphy from featured player to cast member.

      The first “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” sketch was a watershed moment for Murphy and Saturday Night Live. Murphy conclusively announced his arrival as a major talent with a parody of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in which Murphy plays a small-time street hustler who addresses the camera directly and talks in the soothing, familiar cadences of a children’s television host about decidedly kid-unfriendly topics. That intimacy proved crucial to Murphy’s ascent: Where his castmates struggled to connect, Murphy seemed to be talking directly to the audience, establishing a natural rapport with an audience desperate for a reason to laugh at a largely laugh-free season.

      Reduced to its broad outlines, “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” is nothing more than Mr. Rogers in the hood, but Murphy adds a pleasing specificity and depth to the character. Though the sketch veered uncomfortably close to crude racial caricature, Murphy ensured that viewers were laughing with Mr. Robinson, not at him. Mr. Robinson wasn’t just a hustler on the make; he was funny, smart, and sly, radiating confidence bordering on cockiness. He was, in other words, an early incarnation of the quintessential Eddie Murphy character.

      On a season powered by flop sweat and desperation, Murphy was calm and collected. In a standout “Weekend Update” appearance, Murphy posits that Abraham Lincoln never actually signed the Emancipation Proclamation, so slavery is still technically legal, but only people who are currently watching Saturday Night Live know that. So to determine whether a black person has seen the show, Murphy suggests approaching him or her and saying, “Hey, you black Alabama porch monkey, come with me. I’m your master.” Murphy’s deadpan delivery of the line absolutely destroys, giving the show a transgressive kick it often strained for, but almost never achieved.


    • The Forgotten, Subversive History Of Eddie Murphy On ‘SNL’:

      After a decades-long hiatus from Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy, the show’s savior in its early years and, in terms of box office receipts, the biggest star to ever emerge from the cast, will return for the series’ 40th anniversary. Even though SNL is what launched Murphy—and even though Murphy is, in many ways, what launched SNL—Murphy hasn’t participated in any of these nostalgia-fests before. It will be his first time back at the show in 30 years.

      Chris Rock, interviewed in Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers and Guests, said, “Eddie was the biggest star. Anybody was says different is making a racist argument.”

      Murphy’s legacy has been obscured somewhat by his own doing: a run of lousy family flicks: all the Nutty Professor installments, Dr. Dolittle, The Haunted Mansion, the viciously-reviewed and barely-seen The Adventures of Pluto Nash. But before his movies took a turn for the mediocre-at-best, Murphy was a sensation.

      Murphy, only 19 years old when he joined SNL, told the kinds of jokes that you just can’t imagine SNL daring to do today: his cutting, hilarious and insightful sketches like “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” and “White Like Me” made fodder of race, racism and white privilege. He was a smash hit, a superstar, but his fame didn’t insulate him from the realities of being a young, black guy in New York. Fellow cast members and writers at the time recall that, even when he was the biggest thing on the show, Murphy couldn’t hail himself a cab.

      Even though Murphy “won’t talk to anybody about the show,” Rock said. “He’s not bitter about it, he loves it… I think he does get pissed when they make fun of him,” like in the infamous sketch from the ‘90s in which David Spade pointed to a picture of Murphy and said, “Look, a falling star!” “Only because the show would have gotten canceled if he hadn’t been there,” Rock said. “There would be no show. So he deserves a pass on that aspect. The show would absolutely have gotten canceled. There were really no stars.”

      Except one. “Eddie Murphy’s a star, man,” Rock said. “He’s probably the only guy of the SNL posse to embrace stardom—its Elvis.”

      I spoke with Live From New York co-author James Andrew Miller about Murphy’s incredible run on the show, his estrangement and his long-awaited return this Saturday.

      If you were to meet a martian unfamiliar with Saturday Night Live and all the major players, how would you describe Eddie Murphy and his role? Where does he fall in the SNL pantheon?

      I would put it this way. I would use four words: he saved the franchise. I think there are a lot of arguments to be made over who may have been the best cast member or the funniest cast member, but I think that 19-year-old Eddie Murphy hopped on Saturday Night Live at a time when its future was very uncertain. It was a time when it was without its godfather, Lorne Michaels. It was a time when there weren’t a lot of other standouts in the cast. I think some people had grown tired of it. There was no guarantees that this was going to go on… Many others played critical roles in SNL reaching 40 years on the air. But Eddie was vital.

      Some of these old sketches address race in a way that is so direct and cutting. I know people say stuff like this all the time, but it’s the kind of humor I don’t think they’d ever do today: “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” the Black Like Me parody, this one Weekend Update bit where he talks about Lincoln’s birthday and how the Emancipation Proclamation was never signed, so “Tomorrow, if you happen to be out and see a black person that you like, by all means, take him home with you.” Could the show just be more daring because Lorne Michaels wasn’t at the helm? Was it just a matter of, times were different?

      Think about it this way: the very famous Richard Pryor/Chevy Chase word association sketch, that occurred on Lorne’s watch. So I don’t think it’s necessarily a function of: Lorne wasn’t there. I think it’s more emblematic of the times back then. Do you think NBC would have done [those sketches] today? I don’t think so, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with Lorne. Dick Ebersol [who developed SNL with Michaels and was the executive produer from 1981 to 1985] was giving a lot of freedom then, and I think the show was still very much trying to push boundaries.

      For what it’s worth, the years that Eddie was on the show were years that Lorne Michaels was not at the show. And why was that relevant? It’s because Lorne is the creator of SNL and the guiding force behind it at the beginning, had a lot more impact on what happened with the show than anybody else, and that includes Ebersol, who hired Lorne to develop the show… I think that, in terms of the show being protected, I think that Ebersol didn’t have the security, and the show didn’t have the security, during those years that they did during the first five years with Lorne.

      Wouldn’t that insecurity mean that the show was less likely to take those comedic risks under Ebersol’s tenure, when Eddie Murphy was in the cast?

      You might think so, but the oxygen for SNL has always been funny and noteworthy and getting things into the zeitgeist. So if you play it safe, I think you get in trouble. And I also think there was something quite powerful going on then, which Lorne established very strongly in the first five years and Ebersol continued to do to a certain degree. SNL decided it was going to do what it thought was funny and what it thought was cool, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. It didn’t pander… It wasn’t wetting its finger, holding it up to the wind and seeing what people laughed about… I think SNL in later years sometimes got into trouble when it shifted, a significant paradigm shift, when it decided “I think people want to make fun of this person” or “let’s try and do a sketch about that.”

      Was SNL unique in its willingness to take on racial humor in this way back in the early ‘80s?

      Other people in the culture were doing that, but not on broadcast television. So I think you have to give Saturday Night Live a lot of credit for going into places, whether it be race, sex, political satire, that not too many people were doing at the time.

      Talk me through Eddie Murphy’s work on the show. What made him so exceptional?

      The running start is, remember, Eddie is 19. Remember that when he first came on, I don’t think, quite frankly, there were too many people in the executive halls who understood what they had with him. I do think you’ve got to give Ebersol and a lot of the writers a lot of credit because they went heavy with Eddie. He carried the show. This is not, he would appear once and you’d never see him again. He took that show on his back and ran with it. I think that, when you think about, not only his versatility but so many sketches that became iconic in the SNL world: James Brown’s hot tub, Mr. Robinson, they were sensational. I think a lot of people were tuning in to see him. And because SNL is such a collaborative group, [this was the only time in] history of the show where a specific cast member has had that kind of wattage around him, where there was such a disparity between the star quality with one cast member and the rest of the cast. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell and Phil Hartman, they were all really great cast members, but they had other great cast members with them.

      Also, just looking through the highlights reel of his work on the show, he is in so many sketches by himself. And I don’t know how often you see that with anybody else, except for extenuating circumstances, like when Seth Meyers had the Update desk to himself.

      That’s another thing, too. Eddie had the ability to carry a sketch. He did a lot of solo sketches. And when you think about all the sketches over 40 years of SNL, there are very, very few to have just one person in them. It’s almost like a given, in the DNA of an SNL sketch, [to be a group]. Yet Eddie was able to do many of them.

      In your book, Neil Levy, the talent coordinator, is quoted as saying that at the time Eddie was auditioning to join the cast, Robert Townsend was already in the show and Jean Doumanian [who served as executive producer for less than a year, from 1980 to 1981] only wanted one black cast member and she already had “the black guy.” “She only wanted to hire one black actor and Townsend hadn’t signed his contract yet, so she signed Eddie.” Murphy had to start as a featured player, instead of as a regular. Was the motivation behind that personal for her, or was she trying to cater to a mostly-white audience, or to higher-ups at NBC, or what?

      That’s a really great question and I wish I had a better answer than: I’m not sure. I can’t figure out why exactly she did what she did. I know plenty of people were begging for Eddie to be a regular part of the cast. And let’s just say, for whatever reason, it’s clear that she didn’t want that.

      The way that Murphy’s old sketches take on race is so in-your-face and unapologetic. Today’s SNL deals with race in a way that’s much more meta and indirect: it’s a lot of self-aware commentary on the show’s own issues with casting, like that sketch with Kerry Washington last year, instead of jokes that really focus in on real racial issues. What do you think is going on there?

      I think that’s probably a little unfair to the Kerry Washington thing; I thought that was a pretty clever way of dealing with the pressure that they were under for not having a black female cast member. It’s interesting now that they went from a period of being criticized to, now they have Leslie [Jones] and Sasheer [Zamata] and it’s certainly not an issue anymore. They’ve dealt with that.

      But it’s not just the casting stuff: last year they had a pretty sharp sketch about Ferguson that was reportedly cut for time. Did they just not want to have a Ferguson sketch air during the regular broadcast and would rather disseminate it online where a younger, more liberal-leaning audience would find it instead?

      I think early on SNL, there was a rawness. I think things seemed quite bold back then because not a lot of places were doing it. Weekend Update used to be such a big deal. Now you’ve got Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver: they’re in a thicket of competition of doing the same kind of thing. So sometimes, it’s very, very hard for SNL to make that statement like they used to.

      Do you see anyone in the cast today, or in casts since Murphy left the show, who has filled Murphy’s role? Has there been anyone like him, in terms of talent or success or visibility?

      Eddie was a singular talent on SNL. I think it’s funny because when I interviewed Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson and other African-American male cast members, I think [Murphy] casts a big shadow. Thirty-five years later, he’s still, he’s so dominant. He’s so clearly up there on Mount Rushmore, you just can’t help but think about him. It’s very hard for somebody to emulate him or replace him. And the other thing about Eddie was, this wasn’t a guy from a sitcom. He was so young, he just came out of nowhere. It just was startling. It was dramatic. I don’t think SNL needs to do that with every single cast member, every single season. The 40 years of SNL read like an EKG. There are these incredible years and then there are recovery years and transition years, like a great ball team, you lose players. Kristen Wiig leaves, wait a minute, you’ve got Kate McKinnon. That’s what happens in the ecosystem called Saturday Night Live.

      What is the story behind Murphy’s estrangement from the show? This weekend marks a long-awaited return to SNL, but it’s hard to get a clear read on what, exactly, occurred that made Murphy not want to talk about or really associate in any way with the show that launched his career (and the show that, alternatively, he launched).

      I was at the 25th anniversary show, and the fact that he wasn’t there wasn’t lost on a single soul. And now, with two SNL books, I’ve interviewed 540 people and Eddie was the only one to say no… I threw all my Jewish guilt on the floor, I begged, pleaded and borrowed, and he said that it wasn’t personal; he just didn’t want to talk about it. And it broke my heart, only because, I was such a fan of his work on the show, and trying to write the definitive history of Saturday Night Live. I still wish he had been a part of it.

      So the bottom line is, I think it’s incredibly noteworthy, powerful and I daresay will be quite emotional, the fact that he’s coming back, and that’s great. I had a 10 page section in the book about the theories why Eddie didn’t come to the 25th reunion or wouldn’t talk to me, it was like, “something Billy Crystal said” or “It was a Playboy interview,” and of course he would never speak to exactly what it was. And everybody had their own theory. But it wasn’t like there was a huge fistfight. I really, to tell you the truth, I think there’s many explanations out there, probably a dozen, about why it all happened.

      Do you know what changed that made him say yes this time around?

      I don’t know, unfortunately, I haven’t talked to him. But I would say, maybe everything has mellowed through the years. Maybe enough people have made him realize just how important he was to the franchise. But I do hope that he talks about it.

      How do you think people would react to some of his sketches—I’m thinking particularly of Mr. Robinson, but any of the sketches about race, really—if they aired today?

      If Eddie Murphy was on the show now, it would be tweeted out the second after. I think a lot of people who even think they love Eddie Murphy need to realize there’s a body of work there that’s much more complex and deeper than they’d imagine. It’s incredible! Some of his sketches about race would be fodder for serious conversations, or at least, provocative conversations about race now.

      And the one thing I [learned], through interviews with writers and cast members, they always remember this kid who did amazing work on the show, but he couldn’t get a cab. That kind of juxtaposition is, I think, it’s just wild.

      Did they say anything about how he handled that contrast: being a star on set, then walking outside and not being able to hail a cab?

      There were times when he was really pissed off. And then there were times when he’d make a joke of it. He was a young black man in the early ‘80s. It was a different new York, and it also speaks to, even though he was becoming this huge celebrity, the way that we manufactured celebrities back then was, for lack of a better word, at a courtly pace. Now his face would be plastered everywhere. One of his sketches might be playing on the little TV inside the cab.


      • Raheem Abdul Muhammed’s radio (December 6, 1980):

        You can look at the sixth season of “SNL” — the first made without any of the original actors, and without Lorne Michaels himself — in one of two ways: as a complete calamity that led to the firing of producer Jean Doumanian and all but two castmembers not long after actor Charles Rocket dropped an F-bomb at the end of an elaborate “Who Shot J.R.?” parody, or as the season that discovered the biggest star the series would ever produce: Eddie Murphy.

        Either interpretation is valid, and in some ways they complement one another. Doumanian gets credit for hiring Murphy — then a skinny 19-year-old stand-up without much on-camera experience — but she also had to be talked into it (in “Live From New York,” talent coordinator Neil Levy recalls that Doumanian wanted to hire Robert Townsend as “‘the black guy’ on the show”) and somehow thought Rocket and others were more capable of carrying “SNL” into its post-Murray/Radner era. Murphy had to essentially overwhelm the audience into getting more burn, as he does in this early Weekend Update appearance as the first of his many recurring characters, Raheem Abdul Muhammed. Listen to how dead the studio audience is as Rocket and Joe Piscopo speak, and then to how they go absolutely nuts for Murphy as Raheem. That is the sound of people who have been waiting months for the new “SNL” to finally remind them of the old “SNL,” and who recognize this kid as the first newbie worthy of the tradition.

        When Doumanian and most of her actors (save Murphy and Piscopo) were bounced, veteran NBC executive Dick Ebersol took over, and he was savvy enough to recognize what he had in Murphy, who was allowed to take over the show to such a degree that, when his “48 Hours” co-star Nick Nolte backed out of an appearance at the last minute, Murphy became the first (and still only) active castmember to double as that week’s host. As the first “SNL” star of color (Garrett Morris was always an afterthought in the original cast, save for when he had to dress in drag), Murphy opened the show up to new arenas of parody (his James Brown was so good, he almost won an Oscar for playing the role seriously in “Dreamgirls”) and social satire (“Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” re-imagined kids’ educational TV for the ghetto) and brought such energy to the show that his co-stars — including some very talented comics in their own right like Tim Kazurinsky, Mary Gross and Julia Louis-Drefyus — became irrelevant. During that hosting gig, Murphy angered his co-stars by announcing, “Live, from New York, it’s the Eddie Murphy show!,” but he had as solid a claim for the show as a solo vehicle as anyone before or since. (Though I suspect Piscopo would argue this point forever and a day.)


  79. its gonna be awkward being bad blood between Eddie and snl crew. did u hear about his movie cook coming out this year looks like oscar bait its a dramatic role first since dreamgirls we all know how that turned out.


    • What Exactly Did David Spade Do That Made Eddie Murphy Stay Away From ‘SNL’?

      Last night, Norm Macdonald had an incredible Twitter explosion, detailing what went into the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special’s new Celebrity Jeopardy sketch, including, as we all now know, that the plan had been for Eddie Murphy to appear as Bill Cosby.

      One part of the story, long part of SNL lore, was the reason Murphy has never returned to the show.

      The last anniversary was the 25th. Eddie did not attend due to a remark by David Spade. David is a very kind man, but his remark was not.

      — Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

      So Eddie never came back.

      — Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) February 19, 2015

      So, what did David Spade say that bothered Murphy so much that he turned away from the show that made him a star?

      Murphy actually discussed this with Rolling Stone in 2011:

      Yeah, because they were shtty to me on Saturday Night Live a couple of times after I’d left the show. They said some shtty things. There was that David Spade sketch [when Spade showed a picture of Murphy around the time of Vampire in Brooklyn and said, “Look, children, a falling star”]. I made a stink about it, it became part of the folklore. What really irritated me about it at the time was that it was a career shot. It was like, “Hey, come on, man, it’s one thing for you guys to do a joke about some movie of mine, but my career? I’m one of you guys. How many people have come off this show whose careers really are f*cked up, and you guys are shitting on me?” And you know every joke has to go through all the producers, and ultimately, you know Lorne or whoever says, [Lorne Michaels voice] “OK, it’s OK to make this career crack…”

      I felt sh*tty about that for years, but now, I don’t have none of that. I wouldn’t go to retrospectives, but I don’t let it linger. I saw David Spade four years ago. Chris Rock was like, “Do you guys still hate each other?” and I was like, “I don’t hate David Spade, I’m cool with him.”

      Last month, however, he dialed back a bit on his previous statements and blamed timing.

      “It’s just timing. It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it … They’re actually having a 40th anniversary I think in two weeks. I’m going to that, and that’ll be the first time I’ve been back since I left.”

      There you have it. David Spade, timing, and an allegiance to Bill Cosby are on the list of things that have kept Eddie Murphy from returning to SNL greatness.


  80. Examples of actors getting Norbitted:

    A term that can be credited to Podcaster Korey Colemen. The term comes from when Eddie Murphy was nominated for an Oscar for Dreamgirls and between the nomination and the ceremony itself the movie Norbit came out. People claim that this hurt Murphy’s chances of taking the award.

    It can be bad timing or the studio rushing out something really bad (maybe a film that was in limbo cause of how bad it was) to cash in on that there is a Oscar nominated actor in the movie. A couple of years ago it happened to Hugh Jackman who should have won for Les Miserable in my opinion. But then Movie 43 came out shortly before the Oscars which almost everyone agrees is terrible and it features Jackman with testicules on his face. Did it hurt his chances? I don’t even know how Oscar voting works. But the timing of it.

    Any other examples.


  81. Party All The Time came out when I was in first grade. Some buddies and I changed it to Potty All The Time. Ahh the humor of first-graders.


  82. Why Eddie Murphy is, once and for all, done:

    It’s hard to call yourself a fan of someone who doesn’t seem to care
    By Drew McWeeny @DrewatHitFix | Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 8:55 PM

    Eddie Murphy was a miracle.

    Today, there is an industry around the show that is designed to be a sort of star-making assembly line, and I think many of the people who have used the show as a springboard to other things deserve that success completely.

    But when Eddie Murphy made his debut on the show in 1980, “Saturday Night Live” wasn’t even guaranteed a spot on TV for much longer. After all, the original cast was gone by that point. The new cast, including Denny Dillon, Gilbert Gottfried, Charles Rocket, Ann Risley, and Joe Piscopo, seemed like a poor replacement for the likes of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray. I was a ten year old nascent comedy nerd, and for me, it was mystifying to see something that had been the absolute center of the comedy universe suddenly drop completely out of relevance. Everything about that season of SNL felt wrong to me, and I was getting ready to drop it as a habit completely.

    And then Eddie Murphy showed up. And pretty much as soon as he made that first Weekend Update appearance as Raheem Abdul Muhammad, it was clear that something new was happening on the show. Murphy’s voice was one that had not been in the mix on “Saturday Night Live” up to that point, and right away, there was an element of danger that made him thrilling.

    I look at Murphy now, and I see a guy whose sense of “danger” came from repackaging the comics that had inspired him, like Richard Pryor, through the filter of a kid growing up in a fairly middle-class existence in Brooklyn. He knew full well, though, how white “Saturday Night Live” was and how white TV in general was, and Murphy tweaked the culture that embraced him even as he made a play for super-stardom. And week in, week out, Murphy turned the fading variety show into appointment television for comedy fans because it was obvious that the show could barely contain all of his remarkable comic energy.

    For the next few years, Murphy did the impossible; he single-handedly kept the show in the cultural conversation. I don’t care what you say about the other performers he worked with on the show… it was Murphy that had people tuning in. If you weren’t an active “Saturday Night Live” fan when Eddie Murphy was introducing new characters every week, you can’t imagine what it was like. I’ve never seen anything like it in all the years the show has been on the air. When he made his entrance to a scene, it was pandemonium. If people recognized the character already, it was double pandemonium. Everyone had an impression of at least one of his characters, and for the first time, it was a black comic who was the driving creative force on the show.

    When Murphy first made the jump to movies, it looked like he was going to be even more electrifying. Again… you can’t imagine what it was like sitting in a theater for “48 HRS.” the first time an audience laid eyes on the scene where Reggie Hammond takes his borrowed badge into a country and western bar. There was an uneasy wrestling match for pop culture happening at that time, and with Prince and Michael Jackson establishing that the pop charts were no longer allowed to be lilly white, it was thrilling to see someone doing the same thing for movies. Eddie Murphy made my parents nervous, which was all the endorsement I needed to know that he was doing something right. Both “48 HRS.” and “Beverly Hills Cop” played with the friction caused by Eddie’s characters treading into what was typically thought of as “white space,” and that friction was both hilarious and genuinely edgy.

    When Eddie Murphy took the stage during the 40th anniversary “Saturday Night Live” celebration, it was an oddly quiet moment, joke-free and brief. I didn’t think it was particularly problematic, but I also didn’t think there was anything special about it, and it bummed me out as a fan to see how little energy Eddie brought to a celebration of what was, after all, his breakthrough. For several years, that place was his home, and he was the king there. Forget some shitty throwaway joke David Spade made years later, and forget whether or not Lorne Michaels fully appreciates what Eddie did for the show. I was saddened by his appearance for the same reason I am always saddened by Eddie Murphy these days: because he is done.

    All the evidence I need came from the account that Norm MacDonald shared a few days after the fact of how they had tried to get Murphy to play Bill Cosby for the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch. I’ve heard many theories about why Murphy didn’t do it, the most popular of which is that Murphy probably didn’t want to give Cosby any reason to dredge up Murphy’s own tabloid history, and maybe that played a part in it. But the truth is that Eddie Murphy’s comedy hasn’t had an edge in a long time, and once you give that up as a comic, that’s not something you can just return to ay time you want. Richard Pryor may have made more than his fair share of terrible sell-out movies like “Superman III” or “The Toy,” but his stand-up always remained blisteringly honest and uncompromising. Murphy hasn’t done any real stand-up in decades now, and he certainly doesn’t seem interested in being honest about himself or about where America is right now in terms of race. Murphy’s been making primarily family-oriented films for the better part of the last fifteen years, and the guy who shows up in films like “A Thousand Words” and “Daddy Day Care” wouldn’t even recognize the kid who made us laugh every week on “Saturday Night Live.”

    Watching Murphy react to Cosby’s scolding of him over language in “Eddie Murphy Raw” is thrilling because it was released right at the height of Cosby’s super-stardom. At that point, Cosby was America’s Sitcom Dad, a moral authority, and Murphy’s defiant finger in the face of that scolding was genuinely subversive at the time. Now we see an Eddie Murphy who is worried about seeming too mean, who didn’t want to say anything about Cosby that might be controversial later. You cannot be careful and be a great comedy voice. You cannot be concerned about looking cool and also be creatively free. I’ve said for years now that the only way to get a great performance out of Murphy these days is to put him under Rick Baker make-up, because the moment you don’t recognize him, Murphy seems to suddenly be funny again. He no longer has anything to protect, so he can be free to make the jokes that “cool” Eddie Murphy can’t.

    When I went to an early screening of “Dreamgirls,” I stepped outside and ran into Bill Condon, the director of the film, and as I started talking to him about Eddie, I found myself getting very emotional. It is hard for me to fully describe how possessive I was of Murphy as a star when I was young. I felt like his success was something that my friends and I were part of, that we were the ones Murphy was speaking to. And watching him slowly transform into this humorless weirdo has been upsetting precisely because of how much he meant to us. When I saw “Dreamgirls,” what moved me most about it was seeing signs of life behind those eyes of his. It was a real performance, and it was a promise that maybe he wasn’t done after all.

    But I no longer believe that. I think Eddie Murphy is afraid to offend, and if that’s the case, then I don’t think we ever see a return to form for him. He has learned the caution of old men, and that has killed the thing that made him so great originally. He was fearless when he was young, and that total lack of fear is what drew us to him. Eddie knew full well that anything he did was going to get a response each week, and he used that to challenge us and to challenge the celebrities that he mocked. Eddie punched holes in the ridiculousness of fame, and now he’s given himself over to it completely. Young Eddie Murphy wasn’t afraid of Bill Cosby, and he wasn’t afraid to tell anyone who wanted to force him to be “nice” to “have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up.” The Eddie Murphy who stood awkwardly on that stage last weekend and who had nothing to say is not the person whose work meant so much to me. There is plenty of righteous anger that can be summoned about Bill Cosby now. If anything, he is a more important target now than he’s ever been. After all, this is a man who now stands accused of almost three dozen rapes, and yet he’s able to get a crowd to turn out to listen to him tell jokes. One of the things comedy can do so well is puncture those who deserve to be punctured, and right now, that’s Bill Cosby in a big way.

    Obviously, Eddie didn’t have to do Norm’s sketch, and he obviously didn’t have to make fun of Bill Cosby. But I think it’s safe to say that his choices speak volumes about who he is and where he is, and whatever else Eddie makes in the future, he is no longer the artist whose work mattered to me. He may well make another “Beverly Hills Cop,” but I guarantee it won’t be anything like “Beverly Hills Cop.” He is no longer the outsider at all. He is no longer the fish out of water. He is a rich man, a careful man, and a businessman, and no one will ever be afraid of him or his wit again.

    And that is a damn shame, indeed.


  83. forrestbracket

    his next drama looks good dreamgirls proved that hes got the dramatic chops


  84. 7 Former Mega Stars Who Lost Their Box Office Appeal:

    Eddie Murphy

    Eddie Murphy used to be box office gold. He made a successful career for himself in the ‘80s as a comedic actor thanks to his roles in “Trading Places,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “The Nutty Professor.” Some still consider him to be Hollywood royalty; however, he’s not necessarily part of the A-class and he’s also considered overpaid. Aside from the “Shrek” movies, his films just don’t bring in the money like they used to, but his demands are still sky-high. He reportedly still asks for $20 million per film just like he did at the height of his career, plus he asks for a cut of the gross.

    In 2012, Murphy topped Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s most overpaid actors. “Meet Dave” and “Imagine That” flopped at the box office and his comeback vehicle “Tower Heist” only earned $125 million on a $75 million budget. He’s definitely lost his box office appeal.


    • Eddie Murphy stands by his man and his legacy suffers for it:

      When it rains it pours and for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the past few days has been something close to a hurricane of bad publicity. Monday and Tuesday dealt with the drama of co-producer Brett Ratner’s incredulous comments over the weekend and his subsequent resignation. This morning, less than 24 hours later, Ratner’s chosen host, Eddie Murphy, bowed out of emceeing this year’s 84th Academy Awards.

      For Murphy this was absolutely the wrong move. It’s being spun that Murphy departed in support of Ratner, his “Tower Heist” director, but that’s half the story. Anyone who has worked with Murphy in the past will tell you he committed to this way too quickly for his taste (it all reportedly came together over one weekend) and he’d be looking for a way out as soon as he could. Enter the Ratner controversy and Murphy has a seemingly easy exit except that he doesn’t.

      Murphy’s career is at a strange precipice at the moment. “Heist” was not the hit either he, Ratner, co-star Ben Stiller or, more importantly, Universal Pictures thought it would be. In fact, the studio will be happy to break even after international grosses are eventually tallied. His last two live action releases, “Imagine That” and “Meet Dave,” grossed a combined $27.8 million domestically. His last big hit was “Norbit,” but it was critically lambasted and was seen as influencing his upset lost for best supporting actor for “Dreamgirls.” A role that had won him a Golden Globe, SAG Award and Critics’ Choice Award. Murphy has another turd on the horizon, “A Thousand Words” (which was shot over two years ago), and has publicly killed any potential “Beverly Hills Cop” reboot or comeback vehicle. Whether he believes it or not, Murphy needed a strong Oscar hosting performance to remind audiences and the industry why they loved his so much in his ’80s classics like “Trading Places” and “Coming to America” and in ’90s films such as “The Nutty Professor” and “Daddy Day Care.” Murphy can easily retire and enjoy the good life, but as one of the premier comic voices in the history of cinema his legacy is becoming increasingly tarnished. Just when he gets the respect and accolades he deserves for “Dreamgirls,” does Eddie start to get picky about what his next projects should be? No, along comes “Norbit” and two throwaway releases (although “Meet Dave” is really underrated and a victim of a horrible marketing campaign from 20th Century Fox at the time). And now the self-destructive cycle is working its magic once more. Anyone in the industry who is looking for Murphy to accomplish yet another “comeback” has to be banging their head against a wall regarding his decision today. Frankly, it’s sad.


  85. Eddie Murphy to Play Richard Pryor’s Father in Biopic:

    Eddie Murphy will play Richard Pryor’s father in Lee Daniels’ biopic about the legendary comedian. ET Online reports that Murphy is in talks to play Leroy Pryor in the film. Mike Epps is set to play Pryor himself.


  86. How one performance changes everything in 48 Hrs.

    The best defense,” director Walter Hill told writer Patrick McGilligan in a 2004 Film International interview, “is a good script. It all starts there.” That line is part of a longer conversation about Hill’s conflicts with studios in general, and Paramount in particular. Hill depicts the company as never having confidence in 48 Hrs., the hit thriller/buddy comedy released to great success in 1982. Later, he seems to contradict himself, at least as far as 48 Hrs. is concerned, by complaining that studios “only think ‘funny’ is what’s on the page,” and that the early-’80s Paramount regime led by Michael Eisner didn’t think what was on the page was all that funny. His solution was to keep re-writing the script with partner Larry Gross, tailoring the material to their two stars: gruff-voiced tough guy Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, a 21-year-old comedian making his film debut after more or less taking ownership of Saturday Night Live at age 19. It may all start with a good script, but it hardly ends there.

    For evidence, look no further than Walter Hill and David Giler’s draft of the Alien script, which reads at times like beautiful, brutal haiku:

    That leaves more than a few blanks to fill. So does the screenplay to 48 Hrs., the product of several writers including, in addition to Hill and Gross, Larry Gordon, Roger Spottiswoode, Tracy Keenan Wynn, and Stephen E. De Souza. At one point destined to be a vehicle for Clint Eastwood and a Cajun foil in Louisiana, the script changed as the film evolved, and that evolution even continued during shooting. The X-factor was Murphy, whose unique screen presence essentially required the film to be tailored to his needs. This wasn’t a case of Murphy improvising, by Hill’s account. Some of Murphy’s ad libs made it into the film, but most of his lines came from the final script. Hill again: “Occasionally he came up with something really good, which I was smart enough to go with. I mean, he is a very funny guy when he wants to be. But let’s not get into the idea that William Powell and Myrna Loy really talked that way. They had writers.” That only sounds ungenerous to those who don’t know the value of a good performance, and 48 Hrs. doubles as a study of how one performance can change everything.

    People who haven’t seen 48 Hrs. in a while might not recall that Murphy doesn’t make his entrance until 24 minutes into the film’s 96-minute running time. Up until that point, it’s established itself as a violent, tensely directed Walter Hill thriller set in the grittiest corners of early-’80s San Francisco, and anchored by Nolte’s performance as Jack Cates, a cop-on-the-edge who really seems like he’s actually on the edge. (Witness the whiskey in the morning coffee.) Some of what makes the opening work could have been predicted from the script and the talent involved. Hill already had a record as a superb stager of action, and a poet of tough-guy characters. Some of it couldn’t have been predicted as easily, like the raspy depths Nolte finds in his voice, the chemistry he generates with Annette O’Toole—who makes a deep impression despite being stuck in the textbook thankless girlfriend role—and the easy-to-borrow seediness of the city. Then: Enter Reggie Hammond.

    Part of the brilliance of 48 Hrs. is the way Murphy’s character takes over the movie without fundamentally changing it. 48 Hrs. remains very much set in the dangerous world established in the film’s opening stretch, and Murphy’s performance makes clear that Reggie’s a product of that world. He’s just learned how to navigate it. If hadn’t, he wouldn’t have survived. That’s meant knowing when to shut up and when to bluster. When Reggie and Jack first meet, Reggie wants to shut up, even though Jack hears him before seeing him. Singing an off-key rendition of The Police’s “Roxanne” while listening to the song on his Walkman, Reggie seems to have settled nicely into his incarceration, content to do his time and walk out to a big payday. He’s got little interest in helping out a cop until it looks like that payday might disappear. Then it’s time to bluster.

    In 48 Hrs.’ most famous scene, Murphy takes control of a bar full of rednecks using little but attitude. “You said ‘Bullshit and experience is all it takes,’ right?” Reggie says to Jack—who’s previously used those terms to describe all a cop needs to succeed at the job—before heading into Torchy’s (a recurring location, at least in name, in Hill’s films). Once inside, he’s sneered at, condescended to, and harassed. Then the bullshit and experience kicks in, and Reggie draws on every hard-ass cop he’s dealt with in the past, or seen in movies, to stare down a crowd of racist hard-cases:

    Not everyone could have pulled that scene off. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling it off in 1982. Reggie doesn’t look the part of a tough guy. And in truth, he isn’t one. He’s just extremely good at playing the tough guy when the moment requires it, weaving humor and a touch of madness into the performance, and unnerving everyone around him. Then, as a finishing touch, he lets the toughness melt away and the fear show once he doesn’t have to play the part anymore.

    It’s a miniature of what Reggie does throughout the film, standing up to Jack, even matching him blow-for-blow when their conflict gets physical, but never doing anything recklessly, and always looking for a way out. Jack keeps pushing him, insulting Reggie in every exchange, and pelting him with racist jibes—and not the cutesy, coded jibes expected of a white/black buddy comedy, but ugly, unabashedly racist stuff that’s, if anything, more shocking today than at the time. In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt, Murphy offered his take on why such moments worked:

    You know why it worked then and the reason why it wouldn’t now? My significance in film—and again I’m not going to be delusional—was that I’m the first black actor to take charge in a white world onscreen. That’s why I became as popular as I became. People had never seen that before. Black-exploitation movies, even if you dealt with the Man, it was in your neighborhood, never in their world. In 48 Hrs., that’s why it worked, because I’m running it, making the story go forward. If I was just chained to the steering wheel sitting there being called “watermelon,” even back then they would have been like, “This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!”

    Murphy’s performance works in part because he knows how to let Reggie take the insults—from Jack and others—while making it clear he’s only taking them for now, that he’s playing the situation and biding his time until he can pay them back in full. It’s as edgy in its own way—maybe edgier—as any of the violence Hill stages around him. Another actor might have had audiences laughing at him. With Murphy, at this stage of his career, it was always a matter of getting viewers to laugh with him, even when those laughs became uncomfortable. Here’s a black star owning the room, be it Torchy’s or any other venue, and not softening a whit to make himself less commanding. He uses humor and charisma as weapons, a trick he repeated throughout the decade, but never as memorably as he does here.

    Murphy brings an element to the film that’s not in the script or the direction, as sterling as those are, and as much Hill can claim responsibility for both. The performance might not work as well without Nolte to push back against it, either. He plays Jack as an asshole who, if not racist in his heart, knows how to affect racism as part of his professional persona, which might even be worse. Yet while it’s possible to imagine somebody else playing the role of Jack, it’s impossible to recast Reggie. Murphy found a blank that needed filling—in this film, in others, in pop culture as a whole—and it fit him perfectly. A good script might be where it all starts, but it doesn’t end there, and some actors succeed by taking the material even further than the lines on the page suggest it could go, and bringing unsuspecting audiences along with them.


    • Another 48 Hrs. plays like a bad cover version of the original:

      For The New York Times, A Classic Headline Construction. And for a belated cash-in on the 1982 hit that launched Eddie Murphy’s big-screen career, an inadvertently perfect description.

      Eight years separated 48 Hrs. from its sequel, Another 48 Hrs., giving audiences enough time to half-forget the details from the first one, which must have been what Paramount Pictures and the film’s producers had in mind. Another 48 Hrs. isn’t merely the continuing adventures of Jack Cates and Reggie Hammond, the mismatched buddies of 48 Hrs.; it’s an uncanny recreation of 48 Hrs., like a piece of particularly unimaginative fan-fiction. Seen back to back, the two films are a fascinating collision of parallel narratives and property management, but for those who waited the full eight years between movies, they played like a bizarre case of déjà vu. Here’s the lede to Roger Ebert’s review:

      You know how sometimes, in a dream, you’ll see these familiar scenes and faces floating in and out of focus, but you’re not sure how they connect? Another 48 Hrs. is a movie that feels the same way.

      And here’s Hal Hinson:

      The movie isn’t a disaster, and if you responded to the first one, its memory may carry you over the roughness, the excessive, ugly violence and lack of conviction here. Hill and his stars are merely going through the motions, but the motions are immensely familiar. If you’ve been there before, then you’ve been there.

      So it goes for almost every review of Another 48 Hrs., but the stand-out words here are “memory”and “dream.” We’re currently in an age where sequels and remakes are the preferred currency of Hollywood, which is always looking for big returns on safe investments. That’s also the thinking behind this film, which is as creatively conservative as a sequel could be. The difference is that we’re used to sequels expanding on their predecessors’ “mythology”: adding characters, extending serialized storylines, ramping up the effects and locations—anything to make a sequel seem like a new enterprise, even if it relies on the same basic formula. Another 48 Hrs. is like a classic rock band reuniting for an arena tour, and sounding a bit like its own cover band, in the hope that people will fork out money to hear the same old hits played with significantly less verve. At best, it’ll play just good enough to vaguely remind fans of the band in its prime. (The Pixies have been touring for years off that calculation.)

      Watching 48 Hrs. and Another 48 Hrs. within the space of a week, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like dreams or memories at all. It reveals a fascinating case of plug-and-play filmmaking at its most pedestrian, if not its most cynical. The title alone sounds like a child complaining from the back of a station wagon (“Are we there yet? Wait, another 48 hours?! Ugh. C’mon, dad!”), but the irony is that it’s completely meaningless. In the first film, Jack, a San Francisco detective played by Nick Nolte, arranged for Reggie, a convict played by Eddie Murphy, to be released to Jack’s custody for 48 hours to help solve a case. In the sequel, Reggie’s prison sentence is nearing its last day, but there’s neither a timeframe to his partnership with Jack nor any explanation given for the title at all. The only remaining conclusion is the candid one: We’re making the same movie again.

      After an opening sequence that establishes the black hats—redneck bikers, including one whose brother Jack shot in the first one—the déjà vu starts kicking in. Jack is a cop-on-the-edge who visits the streetwise Reggie in prison, seeking help yet again on a case. Though they ended the first film with a grudging, hard-earned respect for each other, they immediately start bickering here, with Jack whipping a basketball in Reggie’s face. Reggie returns to his cell, turns on his Walkman, and sings “Roxanne,” a callback to Murphy’s famous introduction in 48 Hrs. that in this context feels like a do-over. After the bikers attempt to pick off Reggie on the prison bus—one of a few action sequences that director Walter Hill stages like the consummate pro he is—he and Jack team up to exonerate Jack from a trumped-up manslaughter charge and track down “the Ice Man,” the-guy-behind-the-guy-behind-the-rednecks, who’s ultimately responsible for all this mayhem.

      It isn’t worth getting into the convolutions of the plot, which might owe something to the fact that Hill (or Paramount, or Hill at Paramount’s insistence) made deep cuts to the final product. In a candid interview, Brion James, a terrific character actor who plays Jack’s shifty colleague in the film, claims the studio cut the film down by 25 minutes a week before it opened. James says, “That’s the last time I ever cared about a movie, because I went to the press screening, and it was like getting kicked in the stomach, seeing what’s not there.” An actor seeing his role cut down doesn’t necessarily make a bad movie, or the cuts unjustifiable—see: Adrian Brody in The Thin Red Line—but it might explain why Another 48 Hrs. gets so little separation from its predecessor. If supporting players like James got all their lines in the 95-minute cut, it stands to reason that anything outside Nolte, Murphy, and the basic action were elided, too. All the colorful particulars may have been wiped away.

      The evidence onscreen is certainly damning. Another 48 Hrs. starts Jack and Reggie on a clean slate, mostly forgetting the camaraderie they developed toward the end of 48 Hrs. But the original film’s toughness and grit have been scrubbed away, too: Jack has made a transition similar to Mel Gibson between Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2, from cop-on-the-edge to “cop-on-the-edge type,” and the racist epithets he once threw at Reggie as part provocation/part prejudice in the first film are no longer present. The worst he does is punch Reggie in the face a few times to even the score, but that’s old-school Western machismo, not an unsettling commentary on race relations. Hill stages a shameless variation on 48 Hrs.’ most famous sequence, when Reggie takes control over a redneck bar filled with Confederate flags and hostile white men, but the bar patrons in Another 48 Hrs. are integrated, and race is neutralized. By way of compensation, here and elsewhere, Hill shatters more glass than a century’s worth of Jewish weddings:

      The mercenary rehash of Another 48 Hrs. is another reflection of risk-averse studios seeking to get the most out of their most popular properties, but it also reflects the reunion of Murphy and Hill. Between 48 Hrs. and its sequel, Murphy had become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, with two Beverly Hills Cop movies, Trading Places, and Coming To America under his belt; even a stinker like 1986’s The Golden Child, widely perceived as a bomb, was in fact a minor hit, purely on the strength of Murphy’s charisma. The Murphy of 1982 didn’t even turn up until 24 minutes into 48 Hrs., and the comedy in that film was mostly incidental to the action and buddy-movie friction, which was much sharper than the sequel. Another 48 Hrs. gives him a larger role, but he’s not playing Reggie so much as a version of Reggie that squares more with the laid-back, confident, wisecracking persona he’d refined throughout the decade. While I wouldn’t go as far as the Times’ Vincent Canby, who likened Murphy to “a walking 8-by-10 glossy,” there’s a disengagement to his performance that reads more as movie star than character actor. It wasn’t the last time he cruised through a movie without effort.

      As for Hill, his career went on the opposite trajectory throughout the ’80s, when his extraordinary mid-’70s-to-early-’80s hot streak (Hard Times, The Driver, The Warriors, The Long Riders, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs.) smacked into a series of flops, some fascinating and accomplished (Streets Of Fire, Extreme Prejudice, Johnny Handsome) and others significantly less so (Crossroads, Brewster’s Millions, Red Heat). Another 48 Hrs. was Hill’s chance to get back on terra firma, which meant sacrificing a little of his personality to prove he could still deliver Hollywood genre fare of a high order. Hill considers every movie he’s ever made to be a Western, whether they literally qualify or not, and Another 48 Hrs. could be taken as the work of a studio hand of an older school, a satisfying piece of matinee fare.

      Back when I interviewed Hill for the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Bullet To The Head, he said that film was “not my biggest swing for the fences,” and it’s easy to imagine him saying the same thing about Another 48 Hrs. To him, there’s no shame in simply delivering the goods. The only trouble with Another 48 Hrs. is that exactly the same goods are being delivered.

      This wraps our Movie Of The Week coverage of 48 Hrs., which began Tuesday with Keith’s Keynote on how Eddie Murphy’s performance changes the film, and Nathan and Scott’s Forum digging into Walter Hill’s filmography, Murphy’s evolution, and the film’s depiction of racism. Next up in Buddy Comedy month: Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in Midnight Run.


    • I just watched 48 Hrs. on Netflix recently, my first viewing in many, many years. I honestly don’t think I’ve watched it since the 80’s. I had forgotten many things about the film: that almost half an hour goes by before Murphy makes his debut; how shockingly in-your-face Jack’s frequent racist slurs towards Reggie are; how solidly enjoyable the film itself was; and of course how great Eddie Murphy was here, in his film debut. Murphy was a star on the rise on SNL in the early 80’s, and the moment 48 Hrs. released (and especially when it became a big hit) the whole world knew Murphy was now a big movie star. Paramount Pictures offered Murphy an exclusive 5-film movie deal after watching the final cut of 48 Hrs. months before it released, even before seeing it become a hit knowing they had a big star on their hands. His days at SNL were numbered before 48 Hrs. released.

      Murphy, to his credit, recognized a part of his popularity in his early films was him playing black men taking charge in a white world, something audiences in the early 80’s were not used to seeing. The cowboy bar scene in 48 Hrs. is the perfect example, and after watching that I got to thinking how the original Beverly Hills Cop also played with those conventions, for example Axel Foley smoothtalking his way into getting a room at the poshest hotel in Beverly Hills without a reservation by playing the race card. What, you don’t have a room for Rolling Stone Magazine’s Axel Foley? As much as I’m game for a 4th Beverly Hills Cop, I don’t know if it could ever be as good as the original because Murphy was convincingly playing a fish out of water, in large part because he was a black man entering the rich white man’s world in the early 80’s and taking charge. It was electrifying. The world has changed significantly in the past 30 years, when we have a black President of the United States it’s not cutting edge to see a (now middle-aged) Axel Foley still be believable as the fish out of water in Beverly Hills anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You make some really excellent points Craig. There really was kind of that novel element to the first BHC especially. I think that is part of what made it enjoyable to watch the Bullock/McCarthy film “The Heat.” It was novel to have women in a buddy-cop movie. I’m still hoping for a Heat 2 and 3.


        • The Heat was a refreshing spin on the buddy cop movie formula. Apparently, Bullock won’t come back for a sequel. So it’s not happening. There is talk of a spin-off centered around the characters played by Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin in the first movie.

          Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Feig apply the same formula in his upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. The fanbois who whined about women playing Ghostbusters need to get a life.


      • Great comment. Agree with every word. Nothing more to contribute.


    • There’s a 48 Hours remake in the works

      Although there’s never any shortage of new buddy cop movies, there’s also a seemingly infinite demand for reboots.

      According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s a remake of the 1982 action-comedy 48 Hours coming from Benny and Josh Safdie, the sibling team behind the Robert Pattinson crime thriller Good Time. Jerrod Carmichael, the comedian who co-created and starred in the NBC comedy The Carmichael Show, is co-writing the script.

      The original 48 Hours was directed by Walter Hill (The Warriors, Red Heat) and it helped launch the movie career of Eddie Murphy. He played a convict who teams up with a cop (Nick Nolte) to catch a pair of cop killers in the timespan of two days. That’s where the title comes from. It’s often credited as the original buddy cop flick, paving the way for the likes of Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, and Rush Hour.

      Chernin Entertainment, the production outfit behind the Planet of the Apes franchise reboot will produce the remake with the Safdie brothers. Their movie Good Time premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for several Independent Spirit Awards.

      It’s still too early for cast details about the new 48 Hours, but we’ll keep you posted.


  87. WatchMojo’s Top 10 Eddie Murphy Performances


  88. I had actually forgotten that Eddie Murphy and Dudley Moore shared screen time in Best Defense. Hey, forgive me for forgetting, it’s been at least 30 years since I’ve seen this cinematic dud! Thankfully I’ve almost forgotten the whole terrible experience by now – I still remember Kate Capshaw absentmindedly whistling the theme song to Indiana Jones in one scene, which I got a good chuckle out of as it was the same summer that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out, which she was also in. I’ve blocked out just about everything else. Oh yeah, and Eddie shouting to some bad guy “Dance like Michael Jackson!” and then shooting his machine gun at his feet to make him dance. Ugh.

    Eddie was hired to film his scenes several months after filming completed in an attempt by the studio to save an obvious turkey, so they must have brought Dudley back for a day to stand alongside Eddie in the scene pictured in this article. Eddie was red hot at the time so Paramount issued him a $1 Million paycheck for just a couple weeks’ work; in the book Live From New York, Andy Breckman, one of the writers on SNL reveals that Eddie framed that one million dollar check on the wall in his SNL office. If it wasn’t obvious enough that Eddie was on the verge of superstardom back then, he has a million-dollar check hanging on his office wall to prove it to his co-workers! I’m not sure how much of that fact is cute, and how much of that is obnoxious.


  89. Eddie Murphy to receive the Mark Twain Prize for Humor:

    The SNL alum will be in honored in a ceremony in October that will later be broadcast on PBS.


  90. forrestbracket

    hes gonna be in this drama called henrey josph church about relsthsips between cook and this 16 year old. he will also play richard proyers dad so i think he picking films better


  91. Actors Whose Careers Took A Bad Turn:

    Adam Sandler
    Adam Sandler started off with a few funny movies, and we were all laughing. Movies like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and just about everything up to Anger Management were good for more than a few laughs. He was great in a couple serious flicks like Reign Over Me and Punch Drunk Love, but once he released You Don’t Mess With The Zohan his career tanked. He began releasing bad movie after bad movie with not-so-gems like Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, and The Cobbler. He’s attempting to revive his career with the Pixels movie, but we don’t see it happening.

    Eddie Murphy
    Early on in his career, Eddie Murphy was one of the funniest actors on screen. His standup was hilarious, and his movies were generally well-received. His last movie worth the watch was Shrek, and before that, his last good movie was 1999’s Life opposite Martin Lawrence. His most recent movie release holds a Metascore of 26/100, and it’s not even worth naming because you won’t have heard of it anyway. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    Jim Carrey
    Jim Carrey is a far throw away from the actor that he used to be. His latest box office fare was Dumb and Dumber To, which wasn’t even close to how great the original movie was. His role as Colonel Stars and Stripes in Kick-Ass 2 was good enough, but before that his last good movie was 2003’s Bruce Almighty. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone wasn’t even remotely funny, Mr. Popper’s Penguins was a major flop, and Yes Man was also not as funny as it should’ve been. It’s clear that the older Jim Carrey gets, the less hilarious he is.

    Mel Gibson
    We can pretty much attribute the fall of Mel Gibson to his epic meltdown in 2010, but that doesn’t excuse him from this list. His latest movies include Blood Father, The Expendables 3, Machete Kills, Get the Gringo, The Beaver, and Edge of Darkness. All of those movies should be skipped over. His last good starring role was in 2002’s Signs, but all movies that followed aren’t even worthy of an evening on Netflix.

    Tim Robbins
    Tim Robbins was once a household name, from 1988’s Bull Durham all the way up through 2003’s Mystic River. He had some great movies in between, including The Shawshank Redemption, Nothing to Lose, and Jacob’s Ladder. But he’s pretty much irrelevant nowadays, starring in Welcome to Me and Life of Crime.

    Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Catherine Zeta-Jones was also once a household name back in the late 1990s/early 2000s after starring in such great movies as Entrapment, Chicago, Ocean’s Twelve, and High Fidelity. Her success continued on with The Legend of Zorro and then No Reservations in 2007, but the movies that followed are widely considered to be travesties. She hasn’t been in a lot of movies since 2007, and hasn’t had a new film since RED 2 in 2013. But, the films that were released with her in a starring role over the past 5 years have been quite awful.

    Hilary Swank
    Oh, Hilary Swank…what happened!? Hilary’s breakout performance in Million Dollar Baby showed that she could hold her own in a leading role, and she followed it up with a stellar performance in Freedom Writers, the story about a young teacher who inspires her class of at-risk students. Since her success with 2007’s P.S. I Love You, she hasn’t starred in anything notable. Her most recent movie was last year’s highly-rated but hardly-seen-by-anyone You’re Not You (don’t worry, no one else has heard of it, either). And, before that, it was The Homesman opposite Tommy Lee Jones (and no one saw that one either, as the film grossed just $2.4M in its entire run).

    Macaulay Culkin
    Macaulay Culkin is a prime example of a successful child star who couldn’t make it as an adult. He was in a plethora of great movies as a kid, including Uncle Buck (with John Candy) and Home Alone. In 1991, he starred in My Girl, but things started going downhill for Macaulay in 1994 when he was a part of the poorly received animated movie The Pagemaster with Christopher Lloyd. The Pagemaster grossed just $12M on its $27M budget. Following the animated bomb, Culkin starred in Richie Rich, which also bombed miserably. And that was pretty much the last big movie release we’d see from the kid, although he’s appeared in numerous episodes of Robot Chicken. Also, just do yourself a favor right now and Google recent images of Macaulay Culkin. Yikes.

    Nicolas Cage
    Say what you want about Nicolas Cage now, but he had a ton of great movies earlier on in his career. Okay, maybe not EARLY early in his career, but skip ahead to It Could Happen to You, and that’s when you’ll find the good Nicolas Cage. But the actor was at his best between 1996’s The Rock and 2005’s Lord of War, with a string of great movies in between. Con Air was an impressive performance, Face/Off opposite John Travolta was an impressive performance, and City of Angels and Gone in Sixty Seconds were both great. Snake Eyes and 8MM were also pretty awesome. But things started to go downhill for Cage with 2006’s The Wicker Man, which was followed up by Ghost Rider to pretty much seal the deal for Cage. His most recent film, Dying of the Light, holds a whopping 4.3 out of 10 on IMDB.


    • I was very close to writing up Zeta-Jones a while back. But then the slate of movies you just mentioned were around the corner and I put her on the back burner. Her day will come.


  92. What Happened to Eddie Murphy? Where is Eddie Murphy Now?

    It is difficult to dispute Eddie Murphy’s place in the history of comedy. The former SNL star is consistently rated among the greatest standup artists to have ever lived, and, according to, ranks fourth among the highest grossing film actors of all time. The donkey from Shrek, the dragon from Mulan, Beverly Hills Cop, and countless other roles have cemented his place in our hearts. The world’s love affair with Mr. Murphy seemed like it would never end, even surviving the numerous controversies involved with the sometimes racy actor. Yet, in the last few years, Murphy has mostly vanished from the screen and you might be wondering what happened.

    By age 15, Murphy was performing standup comedy publicly, and the young artist was well on his way to becoming a star. When he was only 19, Murphy was given a cast member spot on Saturday Night Live. He thrived at SNL, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his recurring skits like Buckwheat, Gumby, James Brown, Little Richard Simmons, and Mr. Robinson. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Murphy the second greatest SNL cast member of all time behind only legend John Belushi. This is especially impressive considering that Murphy was only on the show from 1980 to 1984. This brief period of time as an SNL rock star would be pivotal in allowing Murphy to launch his film career.

    Murphy’s first big hit was 48 Hrs., in which he starred with Nick Nolte. The movie is often credited with creating the “buddy cop” subgenre of action comedy movies. The film was a major success. In it, Murphy played a convicted criminal that cop Nolte joins forces with in order to catch a notorious cop-killer. Murphy would later return to the genre for Beverly Hills Cop, but this time Murphy himself would portray an officer of the law, streetwise Axel Foley. The film has since become an 80’s classic, and it made Murphy internationally famous, launching two sequels, and winning many awards. It was the highest grossing film of 1984 in America. Slightly less successful, but still significant was Murphy’s 1983 movie Trading Places. Starring alongside his fellow SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd, Murphy played a homeless man who trades places with an upper-crust stock broker as part of a cruel social experiment. Trading Places was the fourth highest earning film that year, still an admirable achievement for the young Murphy. He would go on to make a number of other successful comedy films in the 80’s including Beverly Hills Cop II, Coming to America, Another 48 Hrs, and the Golden Child.

    Murphy’s success was stymied in the early nineties, until the launch of a new family-friendly franchise, the Nutty Professor. A remake of a classic 1963 film, Murphy played professor Sherman Klump, a fun but dumpy scientist who dreams of changing his life. After developing a formula which temporarily transforms him into the hot, stylish Buddy Love, Klump lives a double-life. He then dates the girl of his dreams while trying both to keep his secret identity under wraps and to keep his new hyper-aggressive personality from ruining other parts of his life. The movie was a box office smash, drawing over a quarter of a million dollars at the box office and Murphy’s performance (as seven different characters) was praised. Murphy had similar success with another family film remake, Dr. Dolittle, in which Murphy played a veterinarian who can communicate with animals. Murphy also voiced a tiny dragon named Mushu in Disney’s smash hit Mulan, and, in 2001, he soared to new heights as the lovable donkey character, Donkey, in Shrek, the animated classic about a lonely ogre.eddie-murphy-now

    While Murphy got a lot of mileage out of Sherman Klump, Dr. Dolittle, and Donkey, appearing in at least one sequel as each character, his reign as comedy king was coming to an end. A series of failures dotted the beginning of the new millennium for Mr. Murphy. Most important was a 2002 science fiction comedy, the Adventures of Pluto Nash. A big budget project of over $100 million dollars, and much more than that after advertising costs, Pluto Nash holds a record as one of the most expensive flops of all time, failing to recoup even $5 million at American box offices. The movie was criticized for its surprisingly bad special effects, its acting, poorly written dialogue, and unfunny jokes. Several other flops followed including Norbit, in which Murphy plays both members of an abusive, dishonest couple for comedic effect; Meet Dave, in which he played a human-shaped spaceship; and Imagine That, in which a magical blanket saves Murphy’s securities firm from evil Native American magic. All of those movies are absolutely real. 2011’s ensemble action comedy, Tower Heist, was a little more successful however, but his association with its controversial director Brett Ratner would still cost Murphy the chance to host the Oscars.

    Murphy has also had a history of legal troubles. In 1997 Murphy was caught by the police with a transvestite prostitute in his car. She would later turn up dead, due to officially unrelated causes. These troubles also included an alleged plagiarism scandal, and two divorces. He is also the alleged father of one of the Spice Girls’ children, Mel B’s daughter Angel. Murphy has only made a handful of films in the last ten years, although he is apparently in talks to produce and star in a fourth Beverly Hills Cop film, set in Detroit. Time will tell whether his career can experience another revival. Perhaps his time in the sun has simply come to an end.


    • Nick Nolte on dropping acid and putting porno mags in Andy Griffith’s cop car

      48 Hours (1982)—“Jack Cates”

      AVC: What were your thoughts when you first met Eddie Murphy? Did you feel like he had a certain something?

      NN: Walter [Hill] sent me to New York to meet Eddie Murphy. I said, “Well, okay.” I didn’t know who he was. He said, “He’s on Saturday Night Live, he plays…” [Dismissively.] “I don’t watch that thing.”

      But when Eddie came down on the first day, he was great. Walter did a thing where he set up the shot, he had me walk out of the shot, and he points down the street and says to Eddie, “See that building on your right? He’s going in that building.” All right, so he goes up the first floor… and now he’s going up the second floor. And I see Eddie’s looking at this, but Walter says, “Just keep moving. He’s up a few floors.” Eddie knows there’s something wrong here, but he says, “Okay.” Afterwards, Eddie comes over and says, “Was he fucking with me?” I said, “Yeah, that’s what he does.” [Laughs.] But Eddie knew he was just messing around, and that broke in Eddie and showed him that it was gonna be fun.

      I took Eddie up to my room right away and showed him this video game I had, and I introduced him to the guy that I worked with, my assistant. Eddie said to him, “Can I get one of these?” “Sure!” “Can I get the video game I want?” “Sure, I’ll talk to props.” And then about two days later, he’s asking me, “How do I get rid of my manager?” Because his manager was still there. And I said, “Oh, I’ll do that for you.” And he said, “Well, look, don’t piss him off or anything.” “No, I’m not gonna piss him off!” I just walked up to the manager and said, “Look, Eddie’s comfortable now, he’s relaxed, he’s locked in, he really doesn’t need you around anymore. You’re kind of a little bit of extra weight he has to carry.” The guy didn’t want to leave. He said, “I don’t want to leave Eddie!” I said, “Well, you’re gonna have to, or he’ll probably fire you sometime!” So the guy said, “Okay, I’ll go,” and he left. But by then Eddie totally understood who we were, what we were trying to do, and he just took over that role. He started adding things like “Roxanne.” [Laughs.] I liked him. He was a brilliant kid.


  93. forrestbracket

    Lebau tell me your opinion on eddies up coming projects. I think they look like hits or oscar worthy films. Hes going to play richard pryoar dad in biopic about proyr, a drama about a cook who is friends with daughter of girl he works for same guy who directed driving miss daisy and triplets sequel to twins. All these sound like films to help his career , Especially his dramatic works judging by his last dramatic film dreamgirls he has a knack for it.


  94. Since Tom Cruise was mentioned at the end of this article regarding how he has been able to sustain his success longer than Eddie Murphy, here’s an interesting perspective that I’ve just found:

    Post by Metallo on Aug 24, 2015 at 7:25pm
    Cruise is smart in that as hes gotten older he’s gotten into genres that tend to make more money now instead of sticking to just dramas. When he was younger he didn’t have many action movie credits under his belt outside of Top Gun.


    • Cruise knows the business like very few people do. And he’s more driven than anyone else. Also, he’s crazy.


      • I believe all this is true about the Cruise cruise. I have also heard he is very friendly and polite to fans (probably a part of knowing the business, though there’s nothing wrong with that at all). From what I understand, Will Smith and his agent charted a direct course in his career, choosing films that would turn out out to be blockbusters. I think Cruise had a similar plan for the most part, except he’s taken more chances creatively (“Magnolia”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, and “Vanilla Sky” come to mind). Will Smith, I think he’s mostly played it safe (nothing wrong with that either, but at the same time it leaves me feeling a bit underwhelmed).


        • Something Cruise decided early in his career was that he would pick projects that allowed him to work with talented directors. Almost all of his movies have A-list directors which is part of the secret of his success. Later in his career one he had nothing to loose, he started working with more up-and-coming directors. But once again, he has an incredible eye for talent.

          I watched Going Clear on HBO. Obviously, it’s very critical of Scientology and both Cruise and Travolta take their lumps. Cruise basically has indentured servants working at his mansion. Sure, he’s nice to fans because that’s part of his objective of being the world’s biggest movie star. And I think he really and truly believes his crazy ass is saving the world from Thetans. But he practically has slaves.

          If you ever wonder whether or not Cruise is crazy, watch this video and wonder no more:


        • Yeah, I’ve seen this piece before; I have no doubt that the Cruise cruise is loco. The man definitely lives in his own universe.


        • I never get tired of watching it. It’s fascinating.

          In a way, I hope he’s just crazy. Because if he’s not, he’s downright evil.


        • That’s the best one can hope for, that he’s misguided or short a quart. Otherwise, that would mean he operates under a sinister bent.


        • Exactly. I’m reasonably certain that his brain has been through the wash cycle too often to be sinister. Still, you would think something wouldn’t sit right with him. He knows damn good and well that people living in poverty are putting additions on his house without pay. In that video, he talks about how strongly he supports “ethics” which is Scientology speak for severe punishment. Here’s a bit on “ethics” from Wikipedia:

          In 1965, Hubbard issued the policy letter HCOPL 1 Sep 1965 (reissued 5 Oct 1985) entitled “Ethics Protection”. In it, he states that “Ethics actions are often used to handle down individual statistics. A person who is not doing his job becomes an Ethics target” and goes on to detail how a Scientologist can protect himself from Ethics punishment by being more productive and keeping statistics up:

          “In short, a staff member can get away with murder so long as his statistic is up and can’t sneeze without a chop if it’s down.”

          Again, Cruise openly states his support for this policy in the video.


        • I actually read L. Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics” about twenty years ago. It just didn’t jibe with me at all. I gave the book to a friend of mine, and he was equally as baffled. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the weight that Scientology carried in some circles; I thought what I read was a heavy-handed self-help book!


        • Well, it was a heavy-handed self-help book. The history behind the movement is both fascinating and frightening. Hubbard was crazier than Cruise. You know that their “religion” is based around aliens and all that, right? The story of Xenu… it’s amazing that anyone buys into this horse shit. But they do. It is really scary.


        • Well, I guess I understood the book for what it was then, but I was definitely in the dark about Scientology and its creepy/ bizarre overtones. Nowadays, I hear a lot about defections from that “church”.


        • Yeah, in the last few years a lot of high-ranking officers in the organization were pushed out and went public. But it doesn’t matter. since the government gave them tax exempt status, Scientology is more or less untouchable. They have accumulated billions of dollars which they don’t pay a penny of taxes on. They are protected in almost everything by freedom of religion. And even when they are beaten, most members are too brain-washed to press criminal charges. They have their own prison colony for crying out loud! This organization commits atrocities against their own members and keeps people in line through fear and intimidation. The only thing that could bring Scientology down would be for the government to revoke its protected status, and that’s not happening. They were granted protection in the first place because the government is afraid of them. I’m afraid of them too. There’s a chance someone in Scientology could read this and track me down. They do that sort of thing. And once you are on their radar, they will do everything in their power to destroy you. Cruise has to be aware of a lot of this. But he’s trapped because he has confessed all of his deepest, darkest secrets to them and he’s afraid of what would happen if they ever got out. He also knows that the first thing that would happen if he ever left the organization is that these secrets would be made public. So he’s going to keep towing the line and reaping the benefits of being the most famous man (and second most powerful man) in a massively wealthy cult.


  95. Cruise isn’t suitable as a WTHH because he remains solid A list, (whether you buy into that concept or not).. as for CZJ, at some point I also think actresses who have been “names” for decades and then turn 60 or 70, well, there is no WTHH to ask really, they have gotten elderly! Murphy I love, but his career ups and downs made for a really fascinating WTHH.


    • But really, how long was CZJ’s reign? Let’s say it begins with Zorro in 1998 and ends with Ocean’s 12 in 2004. That’s not decades. And she’s only a year older than me, so hardly a senior citizen.


  96. Catherine Zeta-Jones is a young person, but maybe for some her association with Michael Douglas may make her seem older. Nevertheless, she’s one of those performers who basically put the brakes on her career to have a family (a few years ago, her T-Mobile commercials were everywhere, until that pink woman took over). I think she’d make a solid “What The Hell Happened To…” subject someday.


  97. cruise is not crazy. He paid hospital bill for hit and run victim. Here story of cruise saving someone life cruise was in one of top 5 nicest guys in hollywood . . cruise didnt want the female character in rock of ages to right away sleep with male protagonist cause he thought it would send a bad message to young female viewers watching. still think hrds crazy.


  98. In most videos I have seen he comes off as charming not crazy, mel gibson and charlie sheen they are deranged not cruise.


    • Cruise has spent a lot of time perfecting his public persona. Of course he comes across like a charming, self-effacing guy. He’s an actor. He knows how to play the part.

      Watch this video. This is how he is when he thinks regular people won’t see him. And even here, he’s putting on an act for his fellow Scientologists.

      You’ve got no idea what the real Tom Cruise is like. I suspect he’s kind of a scary fellow. But I guarantee he’s not the guy you see doing lip synch battles on Jimmy Fallon.


  99. Leabu not sure if you watched gone girl but if that movie tells you anything its you cant believe everything you hear on the news. The good things he was reported ding the people he helped reported about it not him. So obviously he not doing it for publicity. Gibson and Sheen get turned down for work because of there repuation of cruise was crazy as you think he would not constantly get work he does i dont think its an act.


    • Have you watched the Scientology video? Watch it and form your own opinion. He looks cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs to me.

      Do you know anything about Scientology? Read up on it. It messes with your head. And Cruise is all the way at the top of that head trip.

      The fact that he behaves professionally doesn’t mean he’s not delusional. You couldn’t build a better movie star. That’s not a sign of mental stability.

      Seriously, forrestbracket, I know you like the guy. But I’ve done my research here. Tom Cruise has major problems. They just don’t interfere with his job as a movie star so no one cares.


  100. Sometimes those documentary edit things to make a person look bad because scandals like that attract viewers .


  101. You said you suspect hes scary man well you dont know what hes really like you don’t know him. People thought Tiger Woods was this great family man because media sold him that way yet we know how that ended.


  102. I think sheen has major problems . Cruise has never physically harmed anyone. He never had any huge scandals that ended up being true . You are entitled to your opinion . But dont take every headline with a grain of salt. For actor whos father beat him and who had fame pretty young age 20 he carried himself pretty well.


  103. Even if you think hes nuts that does not take away from the fact hes a nice guy. I dont see him being scare y outside of work i see him being a free spirit


  104. you have no evidence of that. I love your blogs dont mean to be jerk but you pick on cruise more then mel and hes a bigot .Peyton (her username) who posted in your blogs agree you tend to attack cruise for nothing. Here is her quote she tried putting on but you dont let her commonets on lebeau judgmental and said cruise had never done anything wrong, that he’s making him out to be a psycho. what on earth does he mean an act for other scientologists? like they’re helpless victims who have been manipulated by him? did u see the comment where lebeau called him downright evil? Your stuff is interesting but like me being fan of cruise i think since u dislike his acting os much you view him as a monster.


    • Forrest, c’mon, I like Cruise too in movies, most of the time… The Firm had to be written with him in mind… and I loved him in Rain Main.. but the Scientology stuff is real and he wouldn’t be the first successful person whose brain went through the “wash cycle” as Lebeau described 🙂 And I feel sorry for the women who live with him even though they escape with money. It just really comes across that in real life he is driven, focused, and savvy to the point where, I don’t know, he lost some humanity along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t really make out your point here because of the lack of punctuation. But two things. One, Peyton has never been censored in any way save for some comments on the Keanu Reeves article that went overboard. She’s welcome to comment any time she likes. Two, I didn’t say Cruise was evil. I said he is either crazy or evil. I think he’s crazy. But if he’s not, what he is doing is indeed sinister.


  105. he never has any proof other than a doctored video. he tells us to come up with proof, but he never has any himself


  106. first of all he treated kidman well.he still sees kids from nicole marriage. You cant believe everything you hear on news if you do then you are brainwashed by media.


    • Dude you apparently don’t know anything about how Cruise treated Kidman. He cut her off because she was considered a “suppressive person” by Scientology and he turned their kids against her. I am not the brain washed person in this picture. Cruise is. Are you seeing things clearly?


  107. Heres message peyton has Ok, he has no proof other than a video that’s obviously been doctored and that a person who forms an opinion based on a gossip magazine and a fake video obviously doesn’t have a life. that if he’s downright evil, as lebeau says, then directors and producers must be crazy because they keep hiring him, audiences must be crazy because they keep watching his movies, and the academy must be crazy too because they’ve nominated him for three oscars. If cruise was as crazy as hes made out ot be it would interfere with his work as it usual does with crazy people but it dosent


    • In what way do you believe the Scientology video has been edited? There is a longer version. This version is just the segments in which Cruise speaks. The longer version includes Scientology representatives talking about Cruise and his accomplishments for the organization. It’s long and dull and even more evidence of Cruise’s brain washing.

      Wake up. This is real. And if you want to continue coming here and casting disperions on my credibility, you better bring some facts to back up your argument. This has officially gotten tiresome.


  108. Sorry to get offended by this but there are celebrities that do much worse things then tom. Sean penn beat madonna crowe attacked a guy for interrupting his speech . You cant tell those things are better then what cruise does. Why dont we talk about good things he does pay for hit and run victim jamie foxx says he purchased meals for whole crew on collateral .There are alot of actors that are rude to fans and think they are above them but tom has treated them with respect and this what he gets crapped on. Bruce willis is the biggest douch in hollywood barely any directors likes working him trash him.,


    • I didn’t say Tom Cruise was the worst person in Hollywood or that you can’t like him. He’s a human being. I’m sure he’s very complicated. But anyone who is all twisted up with a cult like Scientology is going to be messed in the head.


  109. this us weekly article kidman dosent have any negative thing to say about cruise its only 3 years old too.


    • Is that seriously your best argument? That Kidman did an interview with US Weekly in which she did not say anything bad abbout her incredibly powerful Hollywood ex who could easily end what’s left of her career if he wanted to?

      That’s weak.

      If we’re going to continue this conversation, move it to the Nicole Kidman article. Any further Tom Cruise related comments posted under the Eddie Murphy article will be deleted. People are complaining about your posts here. Try to stay on topic.


  110. I was thinking about this earlier: Charlie Murphy, Eddie’s brother, voiced the character Jizzy in the game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Also, Eddie Murphy’s song, “Party All The Time” is on the “Grand Theft Auto V” soundtrack (played again if as a character you view the film “Meltdown” within the game, and at a theater).
    I don’t know, I just noticed this, with help from a YouTuber named Chasemoney (the Charlie Murphy part).


  111. Eddie murphy has drama called cook directed same guy from dream girls. He also has drama about richard proyar life he plays richards dad i think given eddie last results in drama looks good.


  112. forrestbracket

    Leabu u think eddie upcoming films look like hits. He even has sequel to twins coming out


  113. forrestbracket

    Arnold and eddie confirmed it but they odnt have release date and they seem to have other films to do first. At best it will be pushed back in a while. Or could be canclled. Eddie does have cook and the richard pryor movie so those alone sound good. Eddie is good at drama


  114. forrestbracket

    Music I didnt know hes going back to singing. Havent heard him release any albums again lately. Cook and pryor movie could give him reocngtion as dramatic actor . As you seen from dreamgirls he has range surprised alot of people.


  115. forrestbracket

    No wonder i havent heard it lol. Reggaee is not exactly my kindof music.


  116. “My girl likes to party all the time, party all time, par-ty all the time” -Eddie Murphy, 1985. Love it!


  117. Brian Grazer says he’s working on a “tour de force” Netflix movie starring Eddie Murphy


    • Eddie Murphy talks movies, @nbcsnl, and a possible return to standup


      • I read a Chris Rock interview in Rolling Stone where he said he would like to see Eddie Murphy get back into stand-up, kind of get back into that type of scene. It’s been said about Murphy that it would help him get away from being insulated, being around funny people and not those who don’t challenge him. I think he’s right.


        • It couldn’t hurt, right? I worry that an out-of-touch Murphy who has been isolated for decades would make for a terrible stand-up. That might be why he hasn’t gone back.


        • That’s a really good point; I mean, his last stand-up may likely be when “Raw” was filmed, and being funny in that type of setting takes a certain type of skill. Maybe he’s someone that can rediscover the magic, but it’s said one can stop being funny if their sense of funny lays dormant for too long. I’d like to see him shake off the rust though. Man, I’m beginning to realize how complicated Eddie Murphy’s career has been. I don’t know what he could’ve done differently, or if he’d want to.


        • I contend that the problem is that Murphy lost the eye of the tiger. Maybe Carl Weathers can whip him back into shape.


        • If not him, maybe Apollo’s son. Nevertheless, it is clear that Eddie Murphy is a survivor, rising up to the challenge of our rival.


        • Kidding aside, for Murphy to have a comeback, he has to want it. And I don’t think he has wanted much to so with movies since at least Tower Heist. Maybe even as far back as Dreamgirls.


        • Yeah, maybe he just wants these rumored projects of his off the ground, and if the public digs them, great, if not, he just wants to do them anyway.


        • I’m not even sure he’s all that committed to any of these projects. From interviews I have read, he’s more into his music than acting.


  118. He has drama films coming up cook and richard pryaor bipic. If these are hits it could lead to more drama work


    • Eddie Murphy Is Done Making Movies Just For The Money, According To Eddie Murphy:

      It’s been a while since we’ve seen Eddie Murphy in the spotlight. His last credit was reprising his role of Det. Axel Foley in a 2013 Beverly Hills Cop TV movie that never aired. On the big screen, he last appeared in 2012’s A Thousand Words, a kind of spin on Jim Carrey’s Liar, Liar. He has a number of film roles in the works, including the Twins sequel Triplets, a Richard Pryor film, and Beverly Hills Cop 4. According to a new profile of the funnyman, Murphy himself claims to be done with making movies specifically for the money, which probably explains why we’ve seen so little of him lately.

      His exact phrasing to The Washington Post is,
      The check movies are over for me.

      He seems to be going the opposite direction as Adam Sandler, who said — either joking or not — during the press tour for Blended that he chooses films based on where he wants to travel. So for Murphy, what does he have in the can that he doesn’t consider “check movies”?

      According to the paper’s profile, he wrote three scripts already. One is for a film called Buck Wonder, Super Slave, which spoofs Steve McQueens’ Best Picture-winning 12 Years A Slave, Roots, and superhero movies in general. Then there’s an R-rated film about talking animals (certainly an homage to his Dr. Doolittle days), and another story about two brothers who inherit a black circus.

      A few days ago we heard rumblings about a potential Netflix movie Eddie Murphy was making, though Deadline offered a reality check on the situation and said it isn’t as far along as people think. Still, considering no other details were revealed at the time, could one of these projects Murphy described end up on the streaming service?

      Elsewhere, the actor also mused with The Post about a return to the stage and standup.
      That’s the carrot. Every now and then when I think about it, I think, ‘What would I even talk about onstage?’ It’s never been, ‘I wonder if I’m funny. I wonder if I can come up with jokes.’ It’s more, ‘What would it be like without the leather suit and the anger?’

      While details on Eddie Murphy’s future are still unknown to the public, it certainly seems like he has a plan. At least we can rest easy knowing that we most likely won’t see films like Pluto Nash, Norbit, Meet Dave, and Imagine That from him anytime soon.

      If you have some time for a lengthy read, you should check out the entire profile (at the link above). It goes into further detail on the current state of Murphy, his new outlook, and interesting takes on why he didn’t want to impersonate Bill Cosby on the SNL 40th anniversary special, saying he felt wrong about it.


  119. There was on set pics of him on set of cook and he is confiermed richard proay movie


  120. But there are on set pics of him in cook hes at least confirmed for that drama


  121. Yes true. I hope it does happen I know he would own that role he is good at drama


  122. Eddie Murphy will be honored with the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize


  123. 10 Actors You Hate Because Of One Movie Role:

    Eddie Murphy – Norbit

    Eddie Murphy’s incendiary, riotous performances in early films like 48 Hrs, Trading Places, Coming to America, and Beverley Hills Cop set his anarchic brand of comedy upon Hollywood. Later, in his stand-up classic, Raw, he donned that famous leather purple suit to deliver a comedy-set for the ages. Now compare that with the picture you see above, that near-iridescent landscape you see of Eddie Murphy, dressed as a woman, in a fat-suit.

    He’d been building towards that for a while (think The Nutty Professor), building towards a feeling of hate among his former fans. Norbit all but sealed said fate, and the role has to go down as one of the most depressing by a former bona fide star in film history.

    It’s an offensive performance (Murphy plays the title role as well as Rasputia [above] and a certain ‘Mr. Wong’, which is as bad as it sounds) for a performer who’s always been offensive. Except in the past he was offensive, as in always on the attack, alive, full of aggression which he channeled into his characters. Unfortunately, Norbit represents the other definition of the word: causing someone to feel resentful, upset, or annoyed.


  124. When David Spade slammed Eddie Murphy in a mid-90’s sketch on SNL, stating over a picture of Eddie “Look children: it’s a falling star. Make a wish”, the moment quickly became infamous. David Spade recently released an autobiography titled “Almost Interesting”, and he discusses in detail that event. His comments are interesting, and honestly revealing.

    Soon after that sketch, a page at NBC told Spade that Murphy left a message, asking to return his call. “I began having an actual, official panic attack” Spade remembered, and he dodged Murphy’s calls for a time, but finally answered. “David Spade, who the fk do you think you are?!!”, Spade remembers. “Honestly? Who. The. Fk. Going after ME??? You dumb motherf**ker! I’m off-limits, don’t you know that? You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me!” Spade says he was crushed after getting called out by Murphy, and since then, has come to see Murphy’s point.

    Spade says that after the incident, Murphy became his “kryptonite”, and he avoided Murphy at any events where they were both in the same room. At one point while attending an after-party for a Rolling Stones concert he spotted Murphy and mutual friend Chris Rock from afar, and Rock mouthed across the room “I can’t talk to you.” According to Spade, it’s only in the past past couple years that the two finally made amends.

    Interesting story from Spade. I can partially see why Murphy felt so personally offended in a way and held such a long grudge, because the truth is Eddie Murphy did save Saturday Night Live at a time where it was a hair away from being cancelled, and maybe he did feel like the show that he saved should not be taking pot shots at him at a low point in his career. From the way Spade describes that conversation, you can almost imagine Murphy’s blood boiling at that point.


    • I can see both sides. SNL definitely owes Murphy and as an SNL castmember, Spade did literally owe Murphy his job. On the other hand, Murphy knows the job. And no one is off limits.

      Should Spade have done the joke? Probably not. Not worth it. Did Murphy over-react? I think so.


      • Comedians cannot afford to be too sensitive, even someone with the statue of Eddie Murphy. That’s like when he was joking on James Brown back in the day, and ol’ James got in his face about it. How would Eddie have felt about that? You gotta roll with the punches.


        • Right. The day SNL starts setting targets as off-limits, they may as well shut down the show. Murphy knows this. He didn’t exactly pull punches when he was on the show. I’m reminded how he refused to do a Bill Cosby bit on the SNL reunion but did it when he accepted the Mark Twain award recently and is apparently developing it as stand-up comedy material for the future. There’s some hypocrisy there I think.


        • Eddie unfortunately, seemed to get the mentality that we should “kiss his ass” since he pretty much single-highhandedly kept “SNL” afloat during that period (especially after the disastrous 1980-81 season under Jean Doumanian) in which Lorne Michaels and the original crew left and before Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman showed up (which was the beginning of arguably “SNL’s” second golden age).


    • Actors that saved a TV show.

      Post by legendkiller1985 on about an hour ago
      Eddie Murphy with SNL in the Early 80s. The Show was on the verge of being canceled and when the show went on break during the summer of 1980, Dick Ebersol took over and fired a lot of people with the exception of Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo.


  125. Read This: Eddie Murphy’s Vampire In Brooklyn was a total mess

    When the filmography of Eddie Murphy is held up for consideration, 1995’s Vampire In Brooklyn, directed by horror maestro Wes Craven, stands out as a particularly odd aberration. Not particularly funny, nor dramatic, nor thrilling, it befuddled audiences and critics alike, and is remembered (if at all) as a misfire in the actor’s canon. It’s the kind of movie that makes you think, “Didn’t anyone realize what was happening when this was being made?” (In that sense, it’s a perfect candidate for the How Did This Get Made? podcast.) After all, surely the people involved had a sense that nothing was really working.

    Now, thanks to Hopes&Fears, we’ve got an oral history of the making of Vampire In Brooklyn that confirms exactly what you’d suspect—namely, that this project was doomed almost from the beginning. It’s a deliciously juicy exposé of the clashing ideas and egos at work behind the scenes of the troubled production. An early quote from one of the guys brought in to work on Charlie Murphy’s script sums it up nicely: “Paramount said to us, in our first meeting about Vampire In Brooklyn, ‘We want this movie to be funny. Eddie Murphy does not want to be funny. It’s your job to trick him into being funny.’ Uh, okay. Somehow they thought we’d be able to do this.”

    There’s also a hefty dose of blame to be laid directly at the comic superstar’s feet: “You know the opening scene, where the ship is coming into harbor, and you see the Statue Of Liberty and the World Trade Center? We shot that in Long Beach, California. We lit up the whole deal, smoked it up, and we were ready for Eddie. Then we get a call. ‘Eddie’s still at home.’ You mean in Beverly Hills?” The whole thing is a delight, and a reminder that sometimes, all the money in the world can’t corral the average Hollywood ego.


    • It seems that the crew and Eddie Murphy were not on the same page and had different agendas when it comes to “Vampire in Brooklyn”, and it shows in the finished product. It really suffers from an identity crisis.


      • I’m guessing that Eddie Murphy wanted to make a legitimate, straight-forward, full-blown urban vampire movie and Wes Craven wanted to make a parody (I guess like a ’90s version of “Blacula”) or a deconstruction of vampire movies (like he would do with “Scream” and the slasher genre).

        Liked by 1 person

  126. Eddie should take it as a compliment that snl mocked him. They don’t just mock anyone .


    • I’m guessing from Eddie’s point of view, he practically kept “SNL” afloat during the so-called “dork age” (i.e. after the last remains of the original “Not Ready for Primetime Players” crew left after the fifth season but before the Dana Carvey-Phil Hartman era and arguably, the second “golden age” of 1986-93). Maybe in part. Eddie felt that if it weren’t mostly for him, David Spade wouldn’t have had a job on “SNL” in the first place, since the show would’ve likely had been long gone already.


  127. Eddie has pissed off a lot of minority groups with his stand up. Comediennes have to have thick skin.


  128. Murphy makes WatchMojo’s list of their Top 10 Celebrities Allegedly Caught with Prostitutes


  129. Here is list of top ten high grossing movie stars eddie is number four .


  130. The Stacks: Eddie Murphy’s Gilded Road to Ruin

    In the ’80s the Beverly Hills Cop star was as hot as it got in Hollywood, and somehow everything went sour. Peter Richmond caught up with him in comeback mode.


  131. 10 ‘Hilarious’ Movie Moments That Would Get Banned Now

    Beverly Hills Flop: Delirious

    Eddie Murphy has caused a fair amount of controversy in his time, from his superlatively sweary stand up sets to his high profile mockfest of the fat, Norbit. He became a fish out of water par excellence in Beverly Hills Cop, but in tearing down the establishment he was also happy to project his non-PC views.

    Live special Delirious from the early Eighties has stuff that’ll split your sides quicker than a box cutter. If you’re gay you might want to cover your ears for some of it though, as it transpires Murphy is terrified of you! Yep, he even wakes up in the night screaming after a nightmare he’s being sexually compromised by Mr T.

    Today’s comics have the option of self-producing their own shows and selling them online, giving them greater creative freedom. Yet I get the feeling they won’t be in a rush to join Murphy in the homosexual-bashing queue. He generally plays it safe these days (Meet Dave? No thanks.) but there was a time when he really did let rip, and minorities took it with both barrels…


  132. Actors whose careers were killed by one terrible movie

    Yeah with Eddie Murphy, I would argue that Pluto Nash didn’t kill his career at all. A movie star of his caliber can recover from a flop, and immediately after Nash he starred in two more studio comedies: I Spy (2003) and Daddy Day Care (2003).

    I Spy was rated PG-13 and a remake of the original TV show starring Bill Cosby. It was critically panned (15% on RT) and bombed. (Whatever, I remember liking it when it came out.)

    Daddy Day Care was also critically maligned (27% on RT), but it turned out to be a hit–over $100m domestic box office. And I would argue that that was actually the beginning of the end for Eddie.

    Because I think at that point, he realized that he had lost his touch, but that he could still do family/kids movies and get paid, and basically who cares if the movies suck or not. And that’s when he started doing a string of absolute garbage. (He tried to go legit with Dreamgirls, got nominated for an Oscar, and then was so bitter that he didn’t win that he stormed out of the theater immediately after losing.) Everything he has starred in since then has been paycheck movies, with the exception of Tower Heist (2011), which was an ensemble starring Ben Stiller.


  133. 9 Famous Comedians Who Were Brutally Unfunny In Movies

    Eddie Murphy

    No other comedian on this list has made so many brutally unfunny movies while still remaining one of the most well-regarded comedic actors of all time. That goes to show how much good will he’s earned from a relatively small number of brilliant performances in Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours, Trading Places, and Coming To America.

    Of course, we’d all much rather remember Murphy as Axel Foley or Velvet Jones or even the Donkey from Shrek. But we have to crane our necks pretty hard not to notice the long list of messy garbage Murphy managed to push into theaters in the latter days of his movie career.
    The list itself is physically painful to write: The Golden Child, Harlem Nights, Holy Man, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit, Meet Dave…basically any sequel he’s ever agreed to appear in that wasn’t part of the Beverly Hills Cop or Shrek franchise.

    To be fair, Murphy appeared to be constantly caught in the crossfire of appealing to wider audiences while attempting to retain his signature cocksure humor. You can actually see him struggle with it in The Nutty Professor. And while he had some success walking that tightrope, he too often fell off and crashed through the safety net below.
    Here’s to hoping he finally pulls the trigger on Beverly Hills Cop 4.


    • Of all those films mentioned from the debit side of things, I would defend “Harlem Nights”. I think the critics and audiences were expecting something else from that film, but I actually like it (I’m a sucker for period pieces though).


      • Me too Gluserty. Harlem Nights is not among Murphy’s best movies like Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop or even Bowfinger but I do find the movie entertaining. Redd Foxx and especially Richard Pryor were his biggest comedic heroes growing up and here he gets to direct them and act opposite them. I find it interesting that Murphy doesn’t shoehorn Pryor into his typical routine (which most filmmakers would do and have done) but instead allows him to be a bit more low-key and be more natural in his performance. Again, it’s not a great film but I do think it turns out to be one of Pryor’s best performances.


        • Yeah, “Harlem Nights” has its flaws (in Roger Ebert’s review, he compared to where Eddie Murphy is headed to where Burt Reynolds ended up at the time, and he was pretty much on the money), but miles ahead of such films as “Holy Man” and “Meet Dave”, since at least it demonstrates passion and good intentions (I guess sort of like Reynolds with “Stick”, another film that’s flawed but I like).


        • Considering that Richard Pryor was at that point, winding down his career as a film star due to his issues w/ multiple sclerosis (go check out if you can, “Another You”, which was the last movie he did w/ Gene Wilder and his last real starring role and his physical deterioration is very obvious from the jump), there really wasn’t that much that he could’ve done (when compared to his prime in the ’70s-early ’80s) anyway.


  134. He Been On: Why Eddie Murphy’s Silence Still Speaks Volumes

    Before I set out on my journey at VIBE, I was a freelancer and intern for one of the top comedy websites in the country. I had big dreams of being a comedy writer for television shows, specifically Saturday Night Live. I would watch any episode that came


  135. Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Comedy Actors of the 1980s


  136. Nostalgia Critic: The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)


  137. 15 Actors In Desperate Need Of A Box Office Hit


    Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy was the king of the world. Now he’s missing in action. From 48 Hrs and Beverly Hills Cop in the ’80s, to crowd-pleasing remakes of The Nutty Professor and Doctor Dolittle in the ’90s, Eddie Murphy has one of the most impressive lineup of smash hits of any actor. By the early 21st century, however, many found his performances to be trite, and his shtick to have worn out its welcome. High profile bombs like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Showtime, and I Spy didn’t help matters, either.

    Murphy was able to earn back a lot of goodwill with his Academy Award nomination for 2006’s Dreamgirls, which he followed-up with the commercially successful, if critically reviled, Norbit, and a trilogy of box office bombs: Imagine That, Meet Dave, and A Thousand Words. Even the hotly anticipated Tower Heist failed to meet expectations. If he had won the Oscar, we’re pretty sure the Academy would have taken it back after seeing any of those films.

    The great Eddie Murphy hasn’t starred in a film since 2012. There were numerous attempts to revive the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, but it has yet to come to fruition. Murphy even reprised the role of Axel Foley for a television pilot which never made it to air. Director Brett Ratner still seems determined to get Beverly Hills Cop IV made, and Murphy could certainly use the career revival which could be facilitated by such a film.


  138. #MrChurch Review: Eddie Murphy Fixes White People’s Lives in Retrograde Drama #Tribeca