' ' Cinema Romantico: Calling For a Search Party

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Calling For a Search Party

In reading my most recent issue of Premiere Magazine, I came across an article discussing the disappearance of Oscar-winning (for “Goodfellas”) actor Joe Pesci. I did not realize but apparently Mr. Pesci has not appeared in a film of any kind for the past 8 years. The article wanted to know if Pesci had pulled a Greta Garbo (who simply quit acting at age 36) or a Marlon Brando (who paused in his acting for approximately 9 years to go all crazy on us). The article didn’t seem to have the answer but the interesting part of it was in the question.

My favorite story of actors gone AWOL will always be Daniel Day Lewis, circa the late 90’s. Albert and Allen Hughes wanted Day Lewis to play the lead in their new film “From Hell”. Unfortunately, they could not find Day Lewis. Literally. No one (including his agent) knew where in the world Day Lewis was. The Hughes Brothers went with Johnny Depp. Years later, it surfaced that Day Lewis was apparently in England apprenticing to a master shoe-maker. I say apparently because Day Lewis flatly refuses to discuss his hiatus. Personally, I think that’s awesome.

Daniel Day Lewis is one of the greatest actors of his, or any, generation. Every performance I’ve seen him give has been utterly spectacular. We just have to wait, oh, 5 – 6 years between his performances – if not longer. Luckily, Rob Schneider churns out a “riveting” new performance on an annual basis.

Is this wrong? Does an actor as amazingly good as Daniel Day Lewis owe it to a nation of cinephiles starved for quality to act in more movies? Perhaps. But think about Al Pacino for a moment.

Mr. Pacino has turned some of the most indelible performances in movie history – Michael Corleone, Frank Serpico, Ricky Roma, Sonny (of “Dog Day Afternoon”). On the other hand, Mr. Pacino has also provided the planet with the likes of Bobby Deerfield, and Tony D’Amato, and whatever his name was in “Simone”.

Steve Martin is also a victim of what we’ll call The Pacino Syndrome. You can find him in the excellent “Bowfinger” and playing boldly and brilliantly against type in David Mamet’s “The Spanish Prisoner”, yet simultaneously you can track him down in “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Bringing Down the House”. I’m aware of the old adage Do A Commercial Film to Make Your Own Film but Mr. Martin just wrote and starred in the “Pink Panther” re-make. That’s his film. That’s why he’s doing these “money” movies? To re-make the “Pink Panther”?

So perhaps you can, in fact, work too much. Maybe taking time off re-invigorates the desire to act. I certainly get sad that Daniel Day Lewis doesn’t act more but I’m never depressed when I actually see one of his movies.

Where am I headed with this sprawling commentary, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you where………Rick Moranis? Where did he go? You remember him, don’t you? He’s most famous for portraying the infamous Lewis Tully in “Ghostbusters”, who was forever getting locked out of his apartment and explaining why he preferred inviting clients as opposed to guests to his break-dancing and parchesey filled parties. He also starred in the “landmark” productions “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “My Blue Heaven”. But since his glory days in the 80’s and mid-90’s he seems to have fallen well off the radar.

Maybe he’s doing Chekhov in a tiny theater in Winnipeg. Or perhaps he’s a winemaker in Washington state. But I doubt it. Where is he, damn it? I miss his whimsy and his strangely unique charm. Will someone help me here? Please? This is a plea. It’s a cry for help. Maybe even a call to arms. A Hollywood treasure such as Rick Moranis does not have the right to just vanish. His adoring fans deserve to know his whereabouts. The film community dearly craves at least one more encore from the man who brought Barney Rubble to life. Don’t you dare tell me you disagree. You love him, too, and you want that talented Canadian back in the spotlight where he belongs.

Has Rick hung it up? Or he is just chilling in Tahiti with the ghost of Marlon Brando for awhile? My utmost hope is that he somehow reads this and the man who the Fairbanks Monitor once referred to as “a new-fangled cross between James Dean and Buster Keaton” realizes the populace is still in his corner and returns to Hollywood. The world would be such a better place with a little more Moranis.

Come back, Rick. Come back.




Wretched Genius said...

Rick lost his wife in the mid-90's, so he stopped acting to allow him to raise his kids. All he does now is voiceover work.

Besides, you should be much more perplexed by the unknown whereabouts of Andrew McCarthy. I'm still waiting for the thrilling conclusion of the epic "Mannequin" trilogy.

Anonymous said...

is that true about his wife?

that sucks.

Wretched Genius said...

Yes, it is true.

The Fab Miss B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Fab Miss B said...

Darling, you forgot the most memorable turn for our friend Rick; "Strange Brew". There is nothing funnier than Canadians satirizing themselves, Eh?

Mary Anne said...

I too love Rick Moranis...True White North..and The Mackenzie Brothers- Bob and Doug - Take off, eh? Back in the 80's my 2 sisters in law did a little skit using Bob and Doug Mackenzie which we filmed in our basement for my brother-in-law's 30th birthday. We came upstairs after and my 2 daughters age 7 and 5 (unbeknownst to us) -picked up the skit - got in the lumberjack clothes ( they just swam in them) turned on the recorder and proceeded to do the skit..stubby beer bottles and all..we had no idea till we went to watch the video..it is a family classic. thanks Rick

Mary Anne said...

I just googled Rick Moranis...go to www.RickMoranis.com
He has a very satirical funny "country album" you can listen to...