Monday, October 31, 2005

A Question of Guttenberg

This one is a little bit special.

It's the first Guttenberg film. A full ten years before he would dazzle us in Three Men & A Baby, a young Steve Guttenberg proudly donned the mantle of "professional actor" as he took on the challenging and special role of Mike Cappelletti in the classic film A Question of Life (aka Something for Joey). Do you think it was a coincidence that this momentous occasion occurred in the year in which I was born? Me neither.

Steve isn't the star here. He plays the brother of the two main characters, and has very little screen time. But when he's there, is he supportive of young Joey? Oh, I think you know he is.

It's a bit of a long film, but this is the plot (from the

This is based on the true story about the relationship between Penn State football player John Cappelletti and his younger brother Joey, who has leukemia. John and Joey's bond is a strong one. Joey hangs out with John in the Penn State locker room, and inspires him to be the top college football player in the country. Their bond knows no boundaries and goes beyond making touchdowns and winning awards.

It's very touching. Joey and John are close. Joey inspires John to win the coveted Heisman trophy. Joey dies.

It's very sad. Yet, very inspirational. And fabulously seventies. Oddly enough, though, Joey and his mother look nothing like this:

I'm not sure why the artist chose to depict two people who do not appear in the film. It's a bit of a mystery.

A classic Guttenberg film. A momentous Guttenberg moment. Pure Guttenberg gold.

Title: A Question of Life (aka Something For Joey)

Steve Guttenberg Films Still To Be Collected: 20

Purchased: on eBay

Price: £5.79

Seeing the genesis of the Guttenberg Film Dynasty: Priceless.

Three Men & Hilarity

Of all the films featured in the Steve Guttenberg Project, this is the film that has had the most devoted searcher.

You may remember that way back in July, a mere week or so after the mission started, Abby had a possible lead on the classic film Three Men & A Little Lady. Sadly, it turned out she was thinking of a copy of Sister Act recorded off the television that her mother had thrown out.

I appreciated her attempt, but figured that this was one that I’d have to track down for myself. Imagine my delight when I received this email:

Hello Alice,

Remember when I led you on by telling you that I could get you a copy of Three
Men and a Little Lady? And it turned out to be a cruel lie?

Well, I was so upset at having to let you down that I have been trawling the
charity shops of Beckenham High Street ever since, and on Saturday I got my

Yes, I have found you a copy of 3MAALL! Hooray!!

So, if you would be so kind as to send me your address, I'll pop Mr G and his crazy pals in the post to you!

He he!


How amazing is that? I sent her my address and before you knew it, I had my hands on this little beauty.

I firmly believe that Steve Guttenberg is at his most likeable as comic writer and one-of-three dads Michael.

He has a bit of the unfortunate role in this movie of being neither Mary’s biological father (Ted Danson) or her mother’s love interest (Tom Selleck). He’s more the fun dad who brings you presents and plays with you, but who you really wouldn’t rely on for anything serious.

I especially appreciated this film because I live in England now, and of course, the dramatic climax of the movie involves Tom Selleck’s Peter flying to England to stop the marriage of Mary’s mother to some director guy.

We then get a nice lesson in “American stereotypes of the British”. Unpleasant director man lives in a huge English manor, he’s incredibly posh, they won’t let Mary do things like play inside, they’re going to send her to boarding school, blah, blah, blah.

There are some “hilarious” moments in involving Peter and Michael driving a mini through a road full of sheep.

But the plot’s not really the point here, is it?

We’re looking at our good buddy Steve and his delightful antics. I have two words for you – bedtime rap.

How can you not love ANY movie that contains Ted Danson wearing an alarm clock around his neck as the three of them painfully “rap”?

Title: Three Men & A Little Lady

Steve Guttenberg Films Still To Be Collected: 21

Purchased: By the lovely and fabulous Abby

Trying to erase the bedtime rap from my mind: Priceless.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Guttenberg on the Moon!

Amazon Women on the Moon is a bit of an odd fish in the world of the Guttenberg film.

It doesn’t star Steve, or really anyone for that matter. It’s more like a series of sketches (some very funny, some just strange and some painfully unfunny) one of which stars our good buddy Steve Guttenberg.

Let’s concentrate on his sketch, called "Two I.D.'s", since that’s why we’re here. He plays a young man who arrives to pick up Rosanna Arquette for a blind date. To his (and our!) hilarious surprise, she demands a credit card and some ID before the date, and does a relationship check. And what does she find? Why, he’s a bit of a player and has a saucy reputation of using the same lines to get the ladies in the sack.

I mock, but it’s actually quite funny.

The rest of the movie is a bit hit and miss, but such is the nature of such an odd film.

This movie was released at the height of Guttenberg fame – just post Police Academy and pre Three Men & A Baby.

I’d probably watch it again, but skip through the not funny bits.

Huh. I have surprisingly little to say about this movie. Odd.

Title: Amazon Women on the Moon

Steve Guttenberg Films Still To Be Collected: 22

Purchased: On ebay

Price: £2.85

Hearing Steve Guttenberg use a line about sushi to seduce the ladies: Priceless.

Go team, go!

What do you get when you combine orphans on the brink of homelessness, soccer, a French Canadian social worker and the Gütt as a scandal ridden former athlete (or coach, or something like that)?

The best darn Canadian film I’ve seen in absolutely ages.

It’s 1998’s Home Team, and it’s fun for the whole family.

Steve plays a disgraced former athlete, or coach, or something like that (I have to confess – I got a bit confused there) who is sentenced to a year of working as a handyman in an house for orphans for some kind of gambling related charge. Or an “orphanage” as some might call it.

There’s some weird sexual tension with the woman who runs the house – I thought she was a nun, but apparently she’s just a social worker, so it’s okay if they hook up.

Steve clashes with the kids and doesn’t want to get involved because, you’ll never guess – HE was an orphan and knows these kids need tough love and to learn that they can’t rely on anyone, ever.

Will the kids change his mind? Will the soccer team they’re forced to play on bring them all together? Will they save their house and avoid having to live in the funeral home down the road (don’t ask)?

I think you’ll find that the answers yes, yes and oh my yes.

I was absolutely delighted to find out that this movie was Canadian. I am a huge supporter of bad Canadian movies – especially if they star the Gütt.

I’ve got to confess. I didn’t really pay attention to this movie, as I was doing some cleaning when it was on. But it didn’t look half bad. The kids aren’t that annoying, and it had a few moments that actually made me laugh out loud. And the romance with the French Canandian not-nun weren’t too painful. On the whole, it wasn’t too bad.

And that’s saying quite a bit – we are in the late nineties overacting phase of Guttenberg’s career here.

Title: Home Team

Steve Guttenberg Films Still To Be Collected: 23

Purchased: On ebay

Price: £3.00

Fantastically cheesy Canadian goodness: Priceless.

Are you going to eat that sandwich?

This is one of the most exciting Gütt films – it’s one of the ones I was actually looking forward to owning. It’s 1982’s Diner!

I purchased it in the great Ebay binge of Summer 2005, but since I haven’t been adding to the mission as often as I should, the delightful Alexcia brought me a copy on DVD. See you later VHS copy!

For those of you not familiar with this classic film (and you all should be, so go and rent it immediately if you haven’t seen it already), it’s set in Baltimore in the late 50’s.

The Gütt plays Eddie, one of six friends who hang out at a diner (hence the title) in Baltimore. The movie’s not really about anything. It’s more the relationships between the guys, and their girlfriends/wives. But not in a pukey, sappy way.

Steve’s character Eddie has one of the classic moments in the film – he gives a football (for you Brits, that’s American football, not soccer) quiz to his fiancée two days before his wedding. If she fails, the wedding’s off. Clearly, this guy is a keeper.

This film has some of my favourite movie dialogue of all time. I can’t think of another movie that captures the way friends really talk to each other – it’s full of conversations that don’t advance the plot or serve any purpose other than being hi-freaking-larious.

This one may be my favourite. And, of course, it features the Gütt.

MODELL (to Eddie): What's that, roast beef?
EDDIE: Don't ask me this anymore, Modell. Yes.
MODELL: Gonna finish that?
EDDIE: Yeah, I'm gonna finish it. I paid for it; I'm not going to give it to you.
MODELL: Because if you're not gonna finish it, I would eat it...but if you're gonna eat it—
EDDIE: What do you want?! Say the words.
MODELL: No,...if you're gonna eat it, you eat; that's all right.
EDDIE: Say the words: "I want the roast-beef sandwich." Say the words, and I'll give you a piece.
SHREVIE: Would you guys cut this out? I mean, every time…

It’s also a film that’s chock full o' future stars. It co-stars Kevin Bacon (in his first major role), Ellen Barkin (in her first film), Daniel Stern (first major role), Mickey Rourke (before he became a scary plastic man), Paul Reiser (in his first film), Timothy Daly (ditto), and of course, the Gütt.

Amusingly, at the time, Steve was the actor with the most experience. And, of all the cast, has he gone on to the most illustrious career? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

The DVD has the added bonus of a documentary featuring interviews with all the cast, and director Barry Levinson. It’s very enjoyable, made even more so by the tantalizing absence of Mickey Rourke and several veiled comments to arguments and stress amongst the cast. Could Mickey Rouke be involved in a 20 year feud with the Gütt? We can only hope so!

Title: Diner

Steve Guttenberg Films Still To Be Collected: 24

Purchased: By Alexcia, and delivered all the way from Canada.

Owning a movie I probably would have bought anyway: Priceless.