Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Where are they now?

A few weeks ago I was watching television, as is my wont. Yes, I am primarily entertained by the electronic teat. So sue me. Anyway, I was watching the end of two particularly egregious movies (not at the same time - I think they were on consecutive days): Dragonslayer and Just One Of The Guys. These are not good movies, no matter what people might tell you. Dragonslayer features some nice special effects for 1981, but it's still only okay. When I was 10 I actually got the book with photo stills from the movie. How cool was I!

Anyway, both of these movies feature young ladies who never became big stars. I remember that Bill Simmons on the ESPN web site wondered about the female movie stars of the 1980s, and I decided to steal his idea and just take a look at some of the ones I remember. Just for fun.

First, Dragonslayer. Caitlin Clarke was Valerian, the girl whose father dresses up as a boy so she won't be sacrificed to the dragon. This is her first film role, and she was almost 30 at the time. She's not that attractive in the movie, but she has a sweet face and she probably cleans up nice. She was also in Crocodile Dundee and Blown Away, but she never really parlayed her work in Dragonslayer into anything big. I'd show her picture, but do you know how hard it is to find stills from Dragonslayer on the web?

The other movie I watched was Just One Of The Guys, another bad movie. You remember this one: girl reporter wants story, goes undercover as a boy in a different high school, hilarity ensues. This movie didn't quite introduce Sherilyn Fenn to the world, but it was early in her career, and she could easily be another actress who never quite made it. I think Sherilyn Fenn was one of the most beautiful women in the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s, so that's why I mentioned her. It also starred Arye Gross, who was so good in Soul Man and still shows up a lot in minor roles. But the actress in the lead, Joyce Hyser, is the focus today:

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She was also in Valley Girl (I'll get to that), Staying Alive, This Is Spinal Tap (all before Just One Of The Guys, and Species II. Now that's a résumé! I feel bad for Hyser, because they must have strapped down her breasts a lot in this movie, since she's posing as a boy. And it was all the more impressive when we got the obligatory topless shot at the end of the movie which I will link to but won't post here because this is a family blog, damn it! and this kind of puerile titillation is not for children, just, you know, immature adults. Hyser never really took off as an actress. I wonder why. Maybe she just wasn't very good.

So those were the two movies I actually saw. I began thinking of other movies from the 1980s with actresses who never made it big in them. I came up with a few:

Clash Of The Titans. I saw this in the movie theater in 1981 and loved it. Ray Harryhausen special effects and angry Greek goddesses. Who wouldn't love it? It had a pretty decent cast, even though it was pretty much a junk movie: Harry Hamlin was Perseus, while Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, and Laurence Olivier (!) all show up. Andromeda was played by Judi Bowker:
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Ms. Bowker played Andromeda with simpering goodness, especially when she was chained to the rock and the Kraken was coming! Oh, the horror! She worked some through the 1980s, but never went on to anything else of this magnitude.

Of course, one of the great teenage movies of the 1980s was Sixteen Candles. No, Molly Ringwald doesn't really count here, but the girl who was dating that low-rent Matt Dillon character that Molly gets all weak in the knees over does. Her name is Haviland Morris, and here she is with Jake, the low-rent Matt Dillon guy:

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Most guys remember her from the shower scene (I don't even know if it's a body double). Interestingly enough, she wore a blonde wig for the movie. I always liked that she ended up with Anthony Michael Hall. Nerds everywhere got their hopes up. She also appeared in Who's That Girl? and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, but never made a big splash. Maybe she should have kept the wig!

Another movie in the 1980s that I always liked (even though Krys thinks I'm nuts) is Can't Buy Me Love, starring a young Patrick Dempsey. I think it's a sweet little love story, and it starred Amanda Peterson, who has done even less work than the actresses I've already named:

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She was seriously hot in that movie. She was born only a few months after I was, so when I saw it, I thought I had a chance with her! Yeah, okay. Maybe she didn't get any significant work after this because she always looked like she was going to cry. Moviegoers didn't like that look.

Another hottie who never amounted to much is Deborah Foreman of the early 1980s classic Valley Girl. Who among us doesn't love Valley Girl, with good ol' Nic Cage? It's another underrated movie. Ms. Foreman actually has a web site, and a bunch o' people on the web have much love for her. Here she is in Valley Girl:

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She had a bit of a career, as she also appeared in My Chauffeur

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and Real Genius, in which she flirts with Val Kilmer thusly:

Chris Knight: So, if there's anything I can do for you, or, more to the point, to you, you just let me know.
Susan: Can you hammer a six-inch spike through a board with your penis?
Chris Knight: Not right now.
Susan: A girl's gotta have her standards.

Can't you just see her saying it to him in this picture?

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The last actress is the Crown Princess of 1980s movies. She actually had a pretty decent career, but I still count her. I'm speaking of Phoebe Cates,

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who burst onto the scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, which remains a great movie (it was her second role, by the way).

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There were a lot of people in this movie, some of whom (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker) went on to decent careers, and some of whom (Robert Romanus and Brian Backer) didn't. Phoebe, of course, is tattooed on the brains of most men of my generation for her exit from the pool in the fantasy of Brad (Judge Reinhold).¹ Ms. Cates had a decent career, but then she married Kevin Kline and I guess he makes enough money for both of them, because she has pretty much retired. It's a shame.

I don't really have a point here, I just thought it would be fun to go through my hormonally-charged teen years and the movies' influence on them. I know I've missed plenty of movies and plenty of hot babes who never became stars. Anyone care to chime in with a few?

¹ I tried to link to the iconic pictures of Ms. Cates taking off the red bikini, but the links got messed up and went to some nasty places. So I got rid of them. You should be able to visualize it, after all!


Blogger Ashley said...

The 'low rent' Matt Dillon (who played Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles) is Michael Schoeffling and any woman will tell you: He was HOT. (Low rent! tssk!!)

I saw some "where are they now" type show on cable a few years ago and he quit acting in the early 90s and now makes handcrafted furniture somewhere in rural Pennsylvania or Ohio.

31/12/05 7:36 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I don't mean to imply he's worse than Matt Dillon, or impugn his hotness. I just meant that he looks a LOT like Matt Dillon, and at that time, Dillon probably commanded a bigger salary than Mr. Schoeffling, so Hughes couldn't afford him. Hence, "low-rent."

I saw that he had retired, too, but he's not the subject of the post!

31/12/05 8:25 AM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Ashley= Actually Greg DID establish the concept of "low-rent" actors, performers who look like other performers, a few weeks ago, so I must agree that the term is not pejorative, coming from him.

BTW, my word verification is wtvzank, which describes Greg perfectly, W(hatta) TV Zank, zank meaning fan in Vertisian.

31/12/05 9:20 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Ah, Roger has my back. Thank you, sir.

31/12/05 12:16 PM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

OK. So we get flashing, but no football?

1/1/06 4:41 AM  
Blogger Tom the Dog said...

I can not only picture Phoebe Cates, I can hear the music in my head: "Moving in Stereo" by the Cars. That scene was a milestone in a lot of young boys' lives, including mine.

3/1/06 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/11/09 8:31 PM  

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