Steve Martin is one of my favorite "slash" personalities. "Slash" meaning: Actor/Writer/Producer/Singer, etc.
Ever since I first saw him in the 1970's in his white tuxedo with the "groucho" glasses and the arrow through the head (seeing him on TV that is...I was too young to see him in concert); I've loved his comedy. I'm glad that Muzzy and Dad-o liked his humor too, because they let me listen to him.
In the late 1970's he turned his career into acting, then in the 1980's he started directing, writing, producing, and so on.
To this day he is still one of my favorites.
Nowadays he's getting into remakes and family films...which is not all bad. Most of the family films are OK (not that I'd watch them more than once). And most of the remakes are one's that did not need to be re-done (the "Pink Panther" remakes come to mind. Even with his weird/funny accents: Steve is not Peter Sellers. There's no way they needed to remake those movies.)
When he was doing stand-up, he was very "cerebral"; he made you think about some of the things he was saying. Some of the jokes were ahead of their time; some of them were straight from the past; but alot of the time he did observational comedy.
Recently (in 2009) he came out with an album "The Crow: New Songs For The 5-String Banjo". It's a bluegrass/country album; and it's him on his banjo and he has some friends accompany him on it. He had Vince Gill and Dolly Parton singing a song called "Pretty Flowers" (which was a nice ballad); Steve sang a song called "Late For School" which was very funny; mainly the album was all music. And it won the 2010 Grammy Award for Bluegrass (congratulations on that, I had to check on that one, because I didn't remember seeing it mentioned anywhere). In the past he has done comedy albums with banjo accompaniment, but this was the first all music album he created. And it is worth a listen to.
He's also a very good writer, so alot of my favorite movies are the one's he's had a hand in writing.
A few days ago I mentioned starting my "Top Ten" lists. So Steve Martin will be my first one. So here we go, in order 1-10 [with some honorable mentions at the end]:
This movie is one of my favorite romantic comedy movies. I love watching this over and over again. It never gets dull. Steve Martin has a "screenplay" credit in this movie, along with acting. He plays C.D. "Charlie" Bales, the captain of the firemen in a small moutain town. Rick Rossovich (where is he nowadays?) plays "Chris" a fireman hired to train the firemen. Darryl Hannah (ditto?) plays Roxanne.
This movie is based on the play "Cyrano de Bergerac", the doomed/disfigured captain of an army unit who falls in love with Roxanne. He gets her to fall in love with his words (that he gives to his brother-in-arms so that that guy can woo and win Roxanne).
The writing is sharp, and the way that Steve plays C.D. is just wonderful. The cast they have in this movie are funny in their own right (Shelley Duvall, Fred Willard, Michael D. Pollard, and Damon Wayans).
I'd have to say that the best scene in the movie is when C.D. gets 'revenge' at a someone who makes fun of his nose: they guy gets rude with him in the bar and calls him 'big nose' (which he does have, that's the character); so C.D. tells the guy to shoot a dart at a dartboard and whatever number the guy hits, C.D. will come up with that amount of insults. The guy hits the #20, twice -- he was a dartboard champ; and C.D. supposedly comes up with 20 insults, but if you count them he actually comes up with 25 funny insults.
Of course love wins, and he gets the girl at the end of the movie. Steve played such a fun romantic guy in this movie.
I tend to read-up on movies before they come out (more so now because the internet makes it oh so easy to do so), but this movie came out before I hand internet access (yeah, I was one of the last straglers to get a computer). I had to use magazines (Premiere was my favorite--too bad that they had to cancel subscription service on that magazine, but you can find it on the net); and this movie caught my attention because of the premise: A down on his luck movie producer gets the idea to "stalk" a movie star to make his next movie (so that he can save his studio)--he doesn't tell his actors or crew that he really hasn't gotten the okay by the actor he approached to do the film, so they think he's doing "method" acting, Meanwhile the actor thinks he's going nuts when these strange people come up to him and say and do weird things to him. The premise just sounded too funny. Steve is listed with a "written by" credit along with starring as "Robert K. Bowfinger".
The cast is fantastic and oh so funny: Eddie Murphy plays two roles (Kit/Jefferson Ramsey--one of which is the actor Bowfinger approaches to star in his movie "Chubby Rain", but he says no); Robert Downey, Jr. has a minor role (as another actor who Bowfinger approached to star in his movie); Heather Graham and Christine Baranski (as actresses from Bowfingers studio); Terrence Stamp as a head guru of a "Scientology" type religion group that Jefferson Ramsey belongs to; and oh so more.
The execution of this movie was perfect (and oh so hilarious). Most definitely worth a look. [Funny sidenote: This was one of his last movies like this. He started making "family" movies after this (with one or two exceptions).]
A Simple Twist Of Fate (1994)
This movie was written by Steve Martin. It's a re-telling of a story called "Silas Marner" which, sorry to say, I have never read. Synopsis: Steve plays Michael McCann a man who was a school teacher at one time whose wife cheats on him. He gets disillusioned with mankind after that, he stops being a teacher and moves to another town where he becomes the towns miser. He makes furniture and other things, and spends his money on gold coins. He winds up getting robbed of his coins, which pushes him further from mankind. One day he adopts a little girl whose mother died outside his house. After several years, the real father returns to claim the girl from Michael, thinking that she will be an advantage for his political career. (Michael McCann wins in the end.)
This movie has another great cast of costars: Gabriel Byrne (as the politician/father of the little girl who sues to get her back so he can use her to save his political career), Laura Linney stars as his wife, Catherine OHara is a woman who befriends Michael McCann, and Stephen Baldwin is the crook who steal his money (also brother of Gabriel Byrne's character).
The script is wonderful, and the acting is fantastic. This is just a wonderful movie to watch.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Steve Martin plays Freddy Benson and Michael Cain plays Lawrence Jamison. They are (on their own) con men. Lawrence con rich widows out of their money and Freddy is just a grifter who happens to meet up with Lawrence on a train. Freddy makes a move to set up shop in Lawrence's town, so Lawrence comes up with a plan to make Freddy want to leave (which is hilarious in its execution), but of course it fails and Freddy makes his move again to set up in the town. Lawrence makes a bet with Freddy that the first person to take $50,000.00 off the next woman they see who comes out of the plane or train station, will win and get to live in the town. Glenne Headley shows up and they find out that she's an American "Soap Heiress"; and the boys are off and running.
This movies is directed by Frank Oz, and he hadn't had a completed trailer to offer to the studios for promotional purposes. The trailer that he came up with is one of my favorite movie trailers ever. Of course I can't find it on the internet (what's up with that). But it is on the DVD (with commentary from Frank Oz). The trailer I'm talking about has Steve and Michael dressed in tuxes walking along the Riviera, with someone speaking about the movie. At the end of the trailer you see Steve reach out and push someone (who was bending over, looking into the Riviera) into the water. Meanwhile (I didn't catch this when I saw the preview when it came out), Michael reaches over a baby stroller and steals the candy from a baby. I still laugh just thinking about it.
My Blue Heaven (1990)
Steve plays my favorite character "Vincent 'Vinnie' Antonelli", a mobster that gets caught but trades evidence in return for being put in the witness protection program. This is a "fish out of water" story. Steve is just fantastic as Vinnie (who eventually finds other "mobster" type people in the same town who also gave up information in exchange for being put into witness protection). Rick Moranis is the FBI handler for Vinnie (an uptight sort of guy who learns to live by Vinnie). Carol Kane plays a love interest for Steve (and they are very funny together). Joan Cusack plays a cop in the town where Vinnie is put to live and she winds up arreting him a couple times for various criminal activities. She winds up marrying Rick's character. This movies is just a funny character driven movie (which Steve does often). The best part of the movie is when Steve teaches Rick to do the 'merengue' (I probably spelled it wrong, it's the dance not the dessert topping). William Hickey plays Billy Sparrow (who gets Vinnie back into starting a "mob" in their town).
Leap Of Faith (1992)
A drama. Steve plays "Jonas Nightengale" a fake faith healer who brings his troupe around the mid-west. Their tour bus breaks down in one town, and they set up their show while waiting to get it fixed. Debra Winger plays his cohort/manager (Jane Larson) who falls for the town sheriff (Liam Neeson). The main part of the movie is about faith which Jonas has absolutely none of--until he actually (accidentally) heals a kid (Lucas Haas), which causes a brouhaha in his gang. (Meatloaf and Phillip Seymour Hoffman play part of his crew). This movie is a great character study movie about faith and what it means to people.
All Of Me (1984)
Steve plays a lawyer named "Roger Cobb" who is engaged to his boss's daughter. He is put in charge of a millionaire's estate (Edwina Cutwater--fantastically played by Lilly Tomlin). Roger finds out that Edwina is attempting to put her soul into one of her employees daughter's body (Terry Hoskin - Ex-Mrs. Martin, Victoria Tennent). The plan goes wrong and Edwina's soul gets put into Roger's body, and they wind-up sharing his body. They also find out there was another plan all along, Hoskins (father and daughter) were planning on taking Edwina's Estate (not believing that the body switch would actually work); Roger had already written up the Will saying that Terry gets the Estate when Edwina died (and Edwina had signed it). By the end of the movie, Roger winds up broken-up with his fiance, and Edwina gets put where she's supposed to be put. Steve shows his true goofiness in this movie.
Steve plays Gil Buckman a father of two, still married (to Mary Steenburgen). The movie centers on Gil, but it is an ensemble piece. Jason Robards plays Gil's father, Diane Wiest plays one of Gil's sister (whose two children are played by Martha Plimpton and a very young Joaquin Phoenix; and Martha's boyfriend is played by Keaneu Reeves); Tom Hulce and Harley Kozak play Gil's other two siblings, with Harley's charachter "Susan" married to Rick Moranis (I think this is the third movie they've been in together). Directed by Ron Howard, it's a very good movie that doesn't feel dated as most movies like this usually feel. [ABC has made a series out of it, but I've only seen one episode and it really didn't catch my attention.]
Mixed Nuts (1994)
Steve plays a man named Phillip who runs a suicide hotline. The entire movie takes place during one night (Christmas Eve). This is another ensemble piece and his co-stars are Madeline Kahn, Carl Reiner, Adam Sandler, Liev Schrieber, Robert Klein, Rita Wilson (Mrs. Tom Hanks), Jon Stewart, and Joley Fisher (Carrie's sister). I saw this on video, and I'm not even sure if it was released in the theatres or not. It's not a film for everyone (it is a black-comedy), but I found it very entertaining.
Steve plays Newton Davis, an architecht who builds a house as an engagement ring for his girlfriend (who says no). This breaks Newton, who goes back to New York where he winds up having a one night stand with Goldie Hawn (who is too funny in this movie as Gwen Phillips). Newton thinks that Gwen is a German waitress who doesn't speak English (and Gwen doesn't tell him any different). So during their drunken night (which is what catches her attention in the first place) Newton drew the house and told Gwen the whereabouts of where the house is. Gwen immediately goes to where the abandoned house is and moves in. It's in an old style town (where people know everyone's business, and they have tabs for people at stores); so Gwen tells people she's Newton's new wife. Newton finds out that "someone" is living at his house, he goes back and finds Gwen. There's alot of lies thrown around (with Gwen starting them and Newton keeping up with her), but in the end things finally turn right and Gwen and Newton get together. This movie has some truly funny bits with Goldie doing some hilarious scenes (especially when she goes to a work-out place). Goldie and Steve work very well together. A very good comedy.
Other Work/Honorable Mention:
Steve gets a "Story" credit for this movie. "Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is a former soldier, a devout Muslim, and U.S. citizen in the Middle East selling bomb detonators to Islamic radicals. He joins their cause as both the FBI and a rogue CIA agent track him. Horn escapes a Yemeni prison, goes underground in France where he proves his abilities, and is sent to the United Starts to choreograph a simultaneous and multiple terror attack." Don Cheadle is one of my favorite dramatic actors, and he owns this movie and part. This also stars Guy Pierce and Jeff Daniels. Steve came up with a really good idea in this movie. Definitely worth watching.
The Three Amigos (1986)
Three early 1900's actors, down on their luck, get the job of a lifetime. Steve plays "Lucky Day", Chevy Chase plays "Dusty Bottoms" and Martin Short plays "Ned Nederlander". It's a funny movie. Some people love this alot more than others I have mentioned, but it's a fun movie.
Pennies From Heaven (1981)
This movie is a very dark movie. The only reason I am mentioning it here is because Christopher Walken is in it and he does a very good tab dance in a bar. Other than that, the movie isn't entertaining.
Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987)
Steve Martin and John Candy in a John Hughes movie about a guy who is trying to get home for Thanksgiving, and the rather strange man he winds up with as a tag-a-long. I liked this movie, I didn't love it. It had some funny touches to it (that John Hughes is good for), but it also has the sappiness that a lot of John Hughes movies have.
The Jerk (1979)
This movie is what made a name for Steve Martin (besides his stand-up routine). He plays Navin Johnson "a poor black child" who learns on his birthday that he's not his black parents "natural" child. The rest of the movie follows Navin's trials and tribulations. I remember when this movie came out, and my parents told me that I was too young to see it. When I was of age (four years later) I finally got to see it. I wasn't truly impressed with it (I thought his other movies he'd made after that: like The Man With Two Brains and All Of Me were much funnier. But to each his own.
Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)
Steve has a minor role in this, but very memorable. He plays Orin Scrivello, DDS a bike riding, Elvis looking, dentist (and the first complete meal for Audrey Two). The song he sings is still funny. We saw a local high school production of this play a few years ago, and the kid that played the dentist sang the song just like Steve did. That was too funny.
Well, I'm all blogged out right now. Leave a note with your favorite Steve Martin movie. More later, Booboo.