This weekend, as Clint Eastwood’s son Scott takes us for ‘The Longest Ride’ through some Nicholas Sparks drivel, we felt like musing about other children of celebrities who have attempted to follow their parents’ footsteps into show business, for better or for worse.
Although his father played such legendary characters as Ned Land in ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, Col. Dax in ‘Paths of Glory’, and of course ‘Spartacus’, Michael Douglas has managed to eclipse his famous father and become one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood history.
Whether cruising ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ with Karl Malden, ‘Romancing the Stone‘ with Kathleen Turner, having a ‘Fatal Attraction‘ to Glenn Close, or showing us how greed was good down on ‘Wall Street‘, Michael Douglas always brings something fresh and exciting to his performances. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us when he joins the Marvel Universe in this summer’s ‘Ant-Man’.
One extreme case of familial nepotism really needs to come to an end: those friggin’ Coppolas. First off, even when Francis was making movies that actually made their way into theaters, they were exceptionally overrated. Along come his kids Sofia and Roman. Sofia made a few decent movies, but any esteem she had was eroded by the unbearable ‘Somewhere‘. Roman, meanwhile, hasn’t done a single thing yet to show that he might be a worthwhile filmmaker. I absolutely despised his ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III‘. The Coppola children need to stop.
I think ‘New Girl’ is one of the few enjoyable current sitcoms, and it seems to be doing well right now. Apparently, Zooey Deschanel was a big force behind the show’s creation as well as its success. She’s the daughter of cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (‘The Right Stuff’) and actress Mary Jo Deschanel (‘Twin Peaks’). I’m not sure if that really mattered, but I suppose it helped.
On the other hand, while I’ve liked some Will Smith movies and am currently enjoying Jada Pinkett Smith play Fish Mooney on ‘Gotham’, I’m not sad that I’ve been able to miss most of their son Jaden’s movies, including the ‘Karate Kid‘ remake and ‘After Earth‘. I did see the uninspired ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still‘ remake, so he can share some of the blame there.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore are proof that talent can’t be passed down through the gene pool. Their daughter Rumer isn’t much of an actress, but she’s terrific as a red flag, making sure I know to stay far, far away from anything she touches, including the unwatchable remake-in-name-only of ‘The House on Sorority Row’, retch-inducing sex comedy ‘Wild Cherry‘, and (stretching the term “star” to its breaking point) ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
I’d say Michael Douglas has easily surpassed his father at this point. I’ve never been a big fan of Kirk Douglas, but Michael, aside from having a great name, is also much more talented and versatile than his father ever was.
Ever see a show called ‘Thunder in Paradise’ starring Hulk Hogan and a guy who looked a lot like Jack Lemmon? That was actually Lemmon’s son Chris, who may have been a dead ringer for his father, but definitely wasn’t as good an actor.
M. Enois Duarte
It was funny, to me at least, seeing Charlie Sheen starring in ‘Machete Kills‘ under his birth name of Carlos Estevez as if trying to rejuvenate his career by reconnecting to his Latino roots. Along with his brother Emilio Estevez, both sons of the well-respected Martin Sheen, his fame as the child of an actor illustrates the best and worst of second generation stars.
Before the two brothers united forces for ‘Young Guns‘ and ‘Men at Work’, the latter of which I see as the beginning of their slow decline, the siblings enjoyed great success throughout the 1980s with favorite hits such as ‘The Breakfast Club‘, ‘Repo Man‘ and ‘Stakeout’ for Emilio, while Carlos (a.k.a. Charlie) starred in ‘Platoon‘, ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Major League‘. Going into the ’90s, their movies weren’t quite as memorable, and each sibling’s fame slowly faded away. They’re now barely remembered or thought of as a joke.
My condolences go out to Juliette Lewis, whose father, prolific character actor Geoffrey Lewis, passed away this week. The elder Lewis was a ubiquitous presence on TV and in Clint Eastwood movies throughout the 1970s and ’80s.
Truth be told, I had mixed feelings about Juliette Lewis for a long time. When I first saw her breakthrough role in Scorsese’s ‘Cape Fear‘, for which she received an Oscar nomination, I found her really annoying – mainly because she reminded me of someone I went to high school with who irritated the hell out of me. Years later, I would better understand that the character is supposed to be an annoying teenage girl, and the actress captured that state just about perfectly. Lewis then segued into doing a White Trash Bimbo thing in movies like ‘Kalifornia‘ and ‘Natural Born Killers‘ that I wasn’t really into at the time, but, again, I’d come to appreciate later. These days, I see her as a welcomely quirky presence in supporting character parts.
Because no one else mentioned them, I’ll also toss out some Honorable Mentions to Drew Barrymore and the Huston siblings, Anjelica and Danny.
What other second-generation stars have made the best (or the worst) forays into show business? Tell us in the Comments.