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Jun 9, 2008

Fletch's, er, Gaylord's (Un)Favored Five: SNL Movie Stars

It's been a long time since I did an installment of Fletch's Favored Five; lucky for me, I have guest posters like Gaylord to help out every now and then. As a bonus, he even gives us an Unfavored Five, 'cause we all know it's fun to hate on some loser SNL cast members every now and then. We'll start with those today, and finish up with the Favoreds later in the week.

Speaking of things we haven't seen in a long time, it's been awhile since the 'Lord stopped by (over a year!), so you might want to re-acquaint yourself with him and his lyrical stylings.


All right, a while back your esteemed leader Fletch and I got into an argument about whether SNL alumnus had promising movie careers. I maintained that they all suck, and he claimed that most go on to promising careers, and he even went as far as to guarantee Jimmy Fallon will win an Oscar in the next 5 years. Anyway, I thought it would make a good column, so I’m unveiling Gaylord’s Unfavored Five SNL Movie Stars:

5. David Spade – One of the most promising careers coming out of SNL, and rightly so, he opted to ride his buddy Farley’s coattails, and honestly if any of us were in his situation in the shadow of that talent, we’d also take the easy payday/laughs. And who could have predicted Farley’s tragic demise…except anyone who knew anything about drugs or human limits… (to be fair, Spade, like everyone who knew him, tried to intervene before Farley walked over the ledge). Regardless, without coattails to ride, Spade dabbled in film (Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts, Benchwarmers) even trying to write himself roles, but eventually settled for mindless TV paydays (Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement).

4. Eddie Murphy – Our elder film geeks can feign shock with Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, and 48 Hours; I simply counter with Vampire in Brooklyn, Holy Man, Pluto Nash, Dr Doolittle, and then I ask if you want me to continue. No one in all of Hollywood, or even among his fellow SNL black sheep, has buried their legacy harder and faster than Murphy. This is supposedly the guy who made SNL a weekly staple, yet everyone born after ’80 will remember him as the all-time leader in big-budget flops. Is it really that hard to pick out a good script????

3. Chris Rock – Never a main player on the SNL stage, but still a promising background player who no one expected big things from until he raised the bar by becoming one of the best standup comics. Of course the crossover to film was inevitable, though as opposed to Murphy it was his complete lack of acting talent that did him in. He tried to cash in when he was hot and even had marginal success with Lethal Weapon 4, but apparently there’s a difference between acting and doing standup in front of a camera. He does have some impressive accomplishments in his dalliance with feature films, though just like some of his coworkers he can't blame it on other people’s bad scripts...he wrote Down to Earth. He also managed to destroy the career of film legend/Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, starring alongside him in box-office poison Bad Company. To be fair to Rock though, at least he realized his error and stopped embarrassing himself onscreen unlike Murphy, and was content to settle for standup comedy and behind-the-scenes success with such projects as his sitcom Everyone Hates Chris, which thankfully doesn’t have him trying to act…

2. Jimmy Fallon – I had high hopes for Fallon coming out of SNL. He had carried the show for the last couple of years, he was a likable star, and by all aspects a good comedic actor when he wasn't laughing in the middle of a skit (not a problem for movies; plus we all forget his cracking up was actually good when it was happening). Regardless, in real life apparently it's two strikes and you’re out, as Fallon debuted with Taxi and Fever Pitch. YIKES!!! One never had a shot (due to bad acting and awful plot), and the other was sabotaged by circumstance, as what was supposed to be a lovable loser tale was sabotaged by the Red Sox winning the Series while the flick was in post-production and Red Sox fans turning into insufferable douchebags, forcing the Farrelly Bros to restructure their whole film. I can’t blame his agent for trying to parlay what is legitimately the best fake on-screen Boston accent I’ve ever heard, but I can blame the agent for accepting an offer starring alongside Queen Latifah fighting against Giselle and some other supermodels in a game of high-speed espionage where only Fallon’s character’s wit and insight can save the day. Again, YIKES!

1. Dana Carvey - Master of Disguise. Really - nothing else needs to be said. One can try to counter with Wayne’s World, but he was practically a prop Myers carried along due to the good old SNL days (Myers himself gets a pass because he wrote Wayne’s World and Austin Powers). Anyway, he wrote and starred in Master of Disguise and IMDb has him in NOTHING since then (2002); you know he’s forwarding his resume and writing scripts and I bet he’s even begged Spade for a guest spot on Rules of Engagement and I’d imagine he keeps writing drafts for Wayne’s World 3, begging Myers to give him one more payday. I almost feel bad for the guy…
[Editor's note: Carvey's back with an HBO special. The advertisements, as seen in this week's Entertainment Weekly, show Dana looking just as androgynous as his name would imply. Creepy...]

Honorable Mentions:
Tim Meadows – Talented actor, took a stab with Ladies Man, went down in flames, would have been a great supporting comedic actor if he'd left at the right time and found the right coattails to ride.
[Editor's Note: Meadows was excellent in Walk Hard, living up to the potential Gaylord speaks of.]

Chris Kattan – This guy was billed above Will Ferrell in Roxbury Nights, never really a great actor, film career submarined with Corky Romano, one wonders why he didn’t just feed off Ferrell’s scraps after that, must be a dick in real life if Ferrel won’t toss him a role.

Kevin Nealon – My own personal favorite character actor, I expected big things from Nealon, unlike some others he didn’t embarrass himself in the limelight, but I’m disappointed he never got his shot, not a leading man by any means but I think he proved he’d be a spectacular supporting actor, still pops up in all the SNL movies…his lackluster career still disappoints me, his mother, and Heather Locklear.

Thanks, Gaylord. As I said, Part II (the Favored Five) will run later this week.

8 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's, er, Gaylord's (Un)Favored Five: SNL Movie Stars"

Mr. Booze said...

Where is Joe Piscapo? (Sorry if the spelling is wrong.)

Pat said...

Your post got me thinking... where is Jan Hooks these days? She was very talented, but except for "3rd Rock from the Sun" on TV, I can't think what she's been in.

Fletch said...

@ Mr. Booze - I think Joe would have had to had a film career to speak of to even be eligible for the discussion.

@ Pat - Me neither. I do know that whenever I saw her last, she looked awful, but I can't recall when that was. Nora Dunn and Jon Lovitz, meanwhile, were each in Southland Tales (along with a handful of other SNL alums). Weird casting in that flick, which I guess is fitting, since it's a weird-ass flick.

Nick said...

Hey... I liked 'Joe Dirt'... and Chris Rock was awesome in 'Dogma'. But then again, everybody was awesome in 'Dogma'.

Daniel G. said...

Great analysis here by Gaylord. Chris Kattan...wow...seriously.

Joseph said...

Yeah, Master of Disguise is definitely a guilty pleasure for me.

NFL Adam said...

Give Gaylord a regular spot. It's not like he's doing anything for the next six months.

WaywardJam said...

@Nick: Everyone was awesome in Dogma!

Never cared for Fallon, great impersonator, but that doesn't work for film. Your on point with Rock and Murphy, Gaylord.

What about Rob Schneider? He's the icon of coattail riding (mostly Sandler & Co but some Stallone too). I liked Deuce Bigalow but the rest of his films? *shudder*