by 'Crazy' Ed, c 2001, rev. 2009
The Superman legend has a few vital women; few actresses can boast of playing both his girlfriend & mother. She's Annette O'Toole, who never appears on anyone's "A" list. I'm not sure she ever made it onto a "B" list, even in her '80's prime.
The "Minority (Co-Star) Report"
Her first major role in a 'big' movie was 48 Hours (1982); she played the bitchy ("that's a pretty crappy way to start a morning...") girlfriend to hero Nick Nolte. The film was marketed as a minority buddy movie with up-and-coming comic superstar, Eddie Murphy).
After a semi-clad, foul-mouthed appearance, Annette's next 'big' film was 1983's Superman III as sweet & fresh Lana Lang, Clark Kent's adolescent 'flame.'
Hhmmmm…another film starring a "white-anglo-leading-man" (Chris Reeves) sharing the poster with a minority superstar (Richard Pryor)...interesting. Note: Clark's friend Pete Ross in Smallville is now...black?(Sam Powers III)
And have you seen the sweet honey playing Lana Lang in the TV show? Clark ends up floating on his ceiling with 'dreams' for her!
(If you love this show--like I do, guess who Crazy Ed ran into at a show? Smallville's own Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort, who was as pleased to obtain this copy of Supergirl # 1 as Ed was that she showed up unexpectedly at his booth!
Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
I lusted for Annette in Foolin' Around, her widely unknown 1980 starring debut (she had been a beauty contestant with Bruce Dern in Smile). Here, she is a spoiled uptown girl; a blue collar guy is waiting around the corner. Her screeching 'high society' mother is over-played to perfection by Cloris Leachman (Phyllis in Mary Tyler Moore Show, Frau Bloucher in Young Frankenstein and other Mel Brooks fare). Look for an appearance by slimeball William H. Macy (Fargo). Tony Randall plays a deadpan sarcastic butler (Sir John Gielgud played it better in Arthur) and he panders for the Cloris Leachman character.
Eddie Albert (Green Acres) as Annette's grandpa, supports the underdog Busey. Albert plays against type-as the rich Dad in The Heartbreak Kid, he was desperate to pry daughter Cybill Shepherd from Charles Grodin. Ed recommends: rent Foolin' Around, watch with commercials on TNT or TBS; but rush to rent The Heartbreak Kid.
'nuptialis interruptis'--the Foolin' Around plotline summary:
The 'cute under-achiever' guy rescues the 'unavailable (but genuine and fun-loving) uptown' Daddy's girl from her upcoming marriage plans. Similar plotline to Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party, or even Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. The scientific name for this comedic-action ploy is 'nuptialis interruptis.' Annette's amour-to-be: the rough & tumble Gary Busey (fresh from an Oscar bid for The Buddy Holly Story).
In cliche plotlines, why must our hero rescue the girl without a sensible transport? Before the climactic rescue, our hero will run out of gas, crash his vehicle, lose his keys, hoof it to continue the chase, snatch the girl & finally, escape via a hasty but improbable mount or vehicle.
Busey attempts a (clumsy) tennis match in Foolin' Around; strikingly like Tom Hanks with a stuffed shirt crowd in Bachelor Party (1984). Hank, in his match, brazenly lofts tennis balls for "a home run!" In Busey's match, he receives 'a point' shot squarely...in the balls. Not unlike their future career paths!
The Heroic Method 'vehicle redux'
Seeming bent-on-death, Gary Busey was the reigning cum laude of the "helmetless motorcycle racing" school. Busey barely escaped death & survived a long term coma after a helmetless California highway crash!
A hero (at last) in Stephen King's Silver Bullet, Busey is a sympathetic loser (in this film, he survives) battling a local werewolf. No winning the girl, no fancy escape.
Before his monstrous encounter, Busey utters one of my favorite lines: "...I'm tired of playing the Hardy Boys meet Reverend Werewolf!"
Experienced in speed, Busey builds a fast motorized wheelchair (called the Silver Bullet) for nephew Corey Haim.
Note: Annette O'Toole also faced a Stephen King monster (IT).
Hanks vs Busey: Heroic career paths
Tom Hanks rescues via school bus through movie theatre.
Hanks went on to win 2 Oscars (Forrest Gump & Philadelphia); he was nominated even more (Big, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Castaway).
Annette's rescue in Foolin' Around comes crashing through a church steeple in a hang-gliding stunt. (see 'nuptialis interruptis')
Gary Busey is bullet riddled or decapitated monster fodder (Under Siege, Predator 2, Lethal Weapon, The Firm, Point Break, etc.)
For Busey, crashes pepper his path to film immortality (historical reference: the fatal plane crash in The Buddy Holly Story).
'nuptialis interruptis,' OR
'All We are is Dustin the Wind...'
The new heroic method was immortalized by Dustin Hoffman (another twice honored Oscar vet) in The Graduate. He runs out of gas a mile from Church, then heroically snatches the lovely Katherine Ross from a hastily arranged wedding then heroically yields a menacing cross, then heroically escapes (boarding a passing city bus).
California ministers (in response to sudden outbursts of the new heroic method) newly developed a special prayer. Upon sudden crashing of doors, windows or the roof, the church choir will sweetly intone the original hymnal, 'nuptialis interruptis'.
Hoffman grunted his way through another heroic encounter, risking life & limb to rescue Geena Davis from a burning plane crash (Hero '92). He stole her credit cards.
Hero co-starred (another minority-Latin), Andy Garcia, my High School classmate!
For the finale, Hoffman & Garcia nearly leap from a tall building in a single bound!
A Girl of your Dreams for the new Millenium!
Perhaps the girl of my dreams is in an upscale locale, waiting for the man of her dreams to---safely sweep her away on an absurd mode of transportation! Gee, Annette O'Toole may not be as--comfortable with life threatening close calls on public transportation, as say, Sandra Bullock in Speed, or While you were Sleeping (she experienced her own case of 'nuptialis interruptis'.
Speaking of sleeping, more about Adolescent dreams: Around sixth grade, I heard a silly joke. Approach a really unapproachable girl in class, and say: "I dreamed about you last night; I can't recall exactly what it was about, (pause)...but 'thank-you' for a lovely evening!!" The usual reply to such 11 year old brashness...an uproarious giggle...or a face slap!
"To Sleep--Perchance to Dream"
I watched an "edited for language" version of the drama Glengarry Glenn Ross on Bravo. Later that night, I dream: I'm working in a stressful "boiler room" sales operation. The dream characters were all...PMS-like (testy) with each other. The 'dream' office setting (like the ransacked land sales boiler room in Glengarry) was very dissheveled.
I take a coffee break. I wander...to an unknown door-the room is occupied by Annette (with me...the Don Johnson role? See Notes below). We clutch, rip at vestiges of (impossible-to-remove) dream-dress, then reenact a love scene based on fond TV memories.
So...wanna hear about my dream of a night with Rene Russo?
Notes from Ed: where has Annette O'Toole appeared lately? 'Made for TV' stuff-a victim in Stephen King's IT. The star of a short lived cable action show, The Huntress (she plays a Charlie's Angel amalgam--Mother/cop/detective). I saw a USA cable Nash Bridges re-run; she played Don Johnson's ex-wife, mother to a teen daughter. In this episode, they suspect the daughter of inappropriate "foolin' around." The estranged parents confer to discuss suspected unladylike behavior…then had some of their own. Annette relives her 'foolin' with O' Toole' history...they do the deed on top of Don Johnson's yellow supercharged "Nash-mobile", no less! Once again, there's an ethnic minority comic partner played by...Cheech Marin, who comically detects to Nash the fresh hood dents on Nash's hot rod!
Annette is again attached to the Superman legacy, courtesy of AOL Time-Warner. Annette plays a youthful Martha Kent; her hubby is a hunky Jonathan Kent (John Schneider). Almost 20 years after Superman III, yet Annette is still in Smallville. I feel fairly sure we will be spared any advances by her to Clark Kent in this series!
Ah, Annette, sweet dreams and thank you for the wonderful evening! You're as uninhibited and feisty as you were back in the 80's! May you be 'Foolin' Around' with "B list" hunks well into the new Millennium!