Saturday, March 27, 2010

Entertainment Tomorrow

With the recent passing of Corey Haim, one has to wonder what the future of the American Entertainment Industry is. While Corey certainly wasn’t the draw he was when he was teaming with Corey Feldman in the mid 80’s, he was still active as an actor, recently appearing in Crank: High Voltage and a slew of other minor movies. However the loss of Corey’s star power isn’t what will change the face of Hollywood, it’s the alarming trend that this death perpetuates that will. I’m referring not only to the tendency of child actors to become involved with drugs as early as their preteens, but also for their inclination to continue to screw up, even once out of adolescence. Of course the two Coreys fit in the aforementioned class, with Haim admitting to drinking his first beer during the filming of 1986’s Lucas (during which he ranged from 13 to 14) and his first joint during the filming of The Lost Boys in 1987. While the filming of The Lost Boys started with a joint, it ended with Haim addicted to drugs such as crack and valium, problems he battled to his final days. The 80’s and early 90’s is filled with such tales as stars such as Brad Renro and River Phoenix (star of the hit movie Stand By Me and brother of Joaquin Phoenix), their initial success lead him not to a lifetime of fame, but rather heroin, methadone, speedballs and early graves. Fame has seemed to have a similar but less destructive effect Joaquin as he recently abounded his successful acting carrer. Although given the fact that both Phoenix brothers spent time under the cult “Children of God”, it is possible their bizarre behavior came from the abuse suffered there.

Other stars of the 90’s fared slightly better:

Haley Joel Osment (star of Sixth Sense): Flipped his car while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, but managed to escape with only a DUI and a moderately successful career.

Jodie Sweeten (star of Full House): Fell into a life of crystal meth use managed only suffer a life of obscurity and lame Full House jokes.

Drew Barrymore: Corrupted earlier than most childhood actors, Drew has claimed to have started smoking by 9, drinking by 11, using marijuana and hard drugs such as cocaine by 12, and in rehab by 14. Somehow, Drew managed to straighten everything out and has since gone on to bigger and better things than her intial E.T. appearance.

Macaulay Culkin: After massive hits such as Richie Rich and the first two Home Alone movies, Culkin quickly turned into Macaulay Crackhead. Well really it was marijuana and prescription pills, but you get the picture. While a large portion of this decline can be attributed to his fame, his parent’s rocky relationship as well as his questionable relationship with Michael Jackson likely exacerbated his problems. Today Culkin is doing better than most of us, not only taking on odd acting jobs here and there, but more importantly dating Mila Kunis .

Bonus: The kids of the Mickey mouse club. The Mickey Mouse Club is often treated as the director of the train to success. In recent years, however it has been blamed when said trains accelerate too rapidly and derail.

Britney Spears: Exploded into fame at the age of 16 with Baby One More and quickly plummeted from there. Marrying friend Jason Allen Alexander in 2004 for 55 hours and then backup dancer Kevin Federoline for an amount of time deemed far too long by all. Soon after she entered drug rehab for a mere 24 hours, shaved her head and frequently drove with her children on her lap. Since this collapse, Brit has gotten her life on track and actually managed to become bigger stars than the problems she possessed.

Lindsey Lohan: Unlike Brittney, Lindsey has been under the “watchful” eye of Disney nearly her entire career. Besides her parents marital trouble, things went smoothly from The Parent Trap to Freaky Friday. However soon after, Lohan had a series of car accidents due to “the stress of her prospering music career” and the constant hounding of the paparazzi. At this point Disney tried to take her back under their guidance by giving her a part in Herby: Fully Loaded, a terrible decision due to her recent car accidents. Alas Disney failed, and Lohan has since spiraled further into a life of drinking and drugs.

So what does this all have to with the future of entertainment? Well if you couldn't figure it out from the picture, I pity you. But just in case I'll tell you, like last week the answer is government related. In the past couple of years, the government has deemed it necessary to get involved in issues related to athletic entertainment. I’m not referring to the Annual Congressional Baseball game either (which the democrats won 15-10, after losing for the past 8 years). Instead, I am referring to the 2005 Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball. Similarly in 2008 after the death of Chris Beniot, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and TNA President Dixie Carter were called to testify on their current steroid testing policy. The basis of the hearings was congress belief that Americans have no free will and that the MLB and WWE have become the sole parents of all our nations children. As such, one is likely to think that Hollywood is some sort of cooler older brother and has influence over these kids as well. That being said, how long before we see congress sopena SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and demand random drug testing of actors before the release of their films or television shows? How long before the FCC treats the personal lives of actors and musicians as interpretable “language” and claims the right to censor such personal actions by demanding that these entertainers clean up their acts or leave the entertainment industry?

Next time you get upset with tax hikes, remember it's because Congress spends it time ogling, drooling over, and questioning their favorite athletes, occasionally they even ask for autographs in the guise of official government documents. There are a lot more important and fixable problems in the country than what Mark McGuire puts into his body and hopefully congress will remember that.

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