Catching Up with the Camerons
September 8, 2004
I've been accused by some (I'M NOT NAMING NAMES, DAN) that I'm stuck in the 80's.
Not entirely true! To my credit, I refuse to carry a denim purse and will NOT wear
legwarmers…exception kindly granted for that one time. I don't have a cocaine problem
and I am SO over Kirk Cameron. (Kirk, who now has six kids, is the spokesman for what can
only be described as a Christian cult.
At least he's a little more original than those jumping on the Kabbalah bandwagon. $26 for a piece of
red string. Balls.)
The 80's elements that I continue to cling to are 1) the MUSIC, and 2) the MOVIES. My current fantasy is to be a
contributing pundit on VH1's I Love the 80's. However, at this point it would more likely be called
The 80's Return to Beat a Dead Horse because VH1 is Milking It for All It's Worth.
Oh, perchance to dream that I might perch upon a stool next to Hal Sparks while a Scritti Politti
video plays on the blue screen behind us. Sigh. A Perfect Way, indeed.
Kirk is not the only famous Cameron whose pungent memory still lingers. I'm also talking about his pudge
sister of Full House fame. It must have been a challenge to cast a schleppy best friend for Candace
who tipped the ugly scale further than she did. They struck gold with Kimmy Gibbler. Come to think of it,
that whole show was rank with fuglies...Dave Coulier and his witty brand of monkeyshine notwithstanding.
This has nothing to do with Camerons, but speaking about Full House:
Ever notice how closely the Olsens resemble(d) the Troll Doll? My friend Brandon pointed out
that, strangely, the resurgence of the Troll acquiesced perfectly with the eight torturous
seasons of Full House (1987 - 1995). I can't accept this as mere coincidence. A Danish anti-Christ,
Thomas Dam, first conceived of these dolls in the 1950s. Popularity soared and mass Troll Doll production
carried on through the 60's. Thankfully by the 1970's, the Troll seemed to be on the verge of extinction.
Yet in 1989…for some odd reason...they started to make a come back in a big way. By the mid-1990s,
our country was in the throes of a full-on Troll plague. There were Troll key chains, Troll clothing,
Troll plush toys, Troll television shows, Troll breakfast cereals. You weren't even safe in your
own car; I recall gaggles of Trolls (and their evil Beanie Baby cohorts) peering at me
from the rear windows of many a Taurus or Cavalier. I would overlook this disturbing trend if it had
only been a hit with kids; however, adults (particularly female bingo enthusiasts) were even more insane
for these freakish multi-colored novelties. We've got the Olsen Ogres to thank for yet another brain
melting pop culture phenomenon. It's only a matter of time before I figure out a way to pin the blame
for the Beanie Baby epidemic on them as well.
Beyond Kirk and Candace, another Cameron demands attention. A brilliant figment conceived deep
within the grey matter of John Hughes' brain, this allergy-afflicted, depressed sidekick is best known for
voice impersonations and mental breakdowns. Would Cameron Frye please stand up?
Cameron Frye is the anti-hero in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). This film followed hot on the heels of
Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986).
John Hughes is my 1980's Jesus, Santa and Neil Diamond all soldered into one proverbial Golden Calf.
I prostrate myself before thee! I-say peaketh-say in-say ongues-tay efore-bay ou-yay!
In case you're an idiot or have been living amongst the Amish for the last 18 years, Ferris (Matthew Broderick)
is the central character in FBDO. Cameron (Alan Ruck) is the best friend who is every bit as morose as
Ferris is unrestrained. The two women in Ferris' life are his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara),
and his sister, Jeanie (also known as Shawna, if you're lucky enough to be on her intimate side.)
Jeanie, of course, is magnificently played by a pre-nose job Jennifer Grey. Jennifer's career reached
a climax a year later when her on-screen honor was defended by Patrick "No one puts Baby in a corner" Swayze.
(I just realized that I referenced Dirty Dancing in the
article as well; I don't know what's gotten in to me. This Bay Area heat wave must be going to my head.)
A nice piece of ass would have improved Cameron's outlook on life. Instead, he is the perpetual third wheel, able
only to ogle his best friend's hot girlfriend while the threesome gallivant across Greater Chicago.
Given that Ferris is the primary cause of Cameron and Jeanie's respective problems, I always wondered
why they never banded together to form a unified front. Then again, Jeanie is into "bad boys."
You know...like the perfectly cast Charlie Sheen. Cameron and his post nasal drip don't exactly fit the bill.
Cameron tends to make poor choices. He boldly wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey throughout his Chicagoland
adventures with Ferris and Sloane. Having lived with a rabid Wings fan for the past five years, I happen to
know a thing or two about the old-school Chicago-Detroit rivalry; Chicagoans do not respond kindly to this sort
of riff-raff in their city. I realize you need to take the reality factor of the Ferris Bueller plot with a
grain of salt, however, one thing is for sure: Cam would have had his ass beat six ways til Sunday walking
around Wrigley Field in enemy colors. You just don't do it unless you want trouble or your name is Bob Probert.
Another example of bad judgment occurs when Cameron grudgingly agrees to take his dad's Ferrari out for the day's occasion.
Cameron is fully aware that that The Car, so lovingly "rubbed with a diaper," supplants him in his father's
hierarchy of beloved possessions. When The Car ends up blasting backwards through a wall of glass, plunging
two stories and dying on the earth with a final hissing sigh, it is not surprising that Cameron temporarily
ceases to function. He eventually recovers with a little mouth-to-mouth from Ferris and some furtive peeping
at Sloane. Love, it's really all he needs. Sweet love. Chick-a, CHICK-a!
* * * * *
Other Camerons include Crowe, Mannheim and James....Mitchell, aka Hedwig. We can't overlook Ms. Diaz and her recently
revealed past as a dudgeon-dwelling S & M actress and James (sans the 'Mitchell'), a foremost contributor to this country's greater cultural decline.
His offerings of Rambo II: First Blood, The Terminator trilogy and, of course, Titanic, chip away at the
dwindling dignity of American cinema. I saw Titanic in the theater with my father during a visit to the grandparents in
Florida. It was raining and this was literally the ONLY movie showing. It came down to Titanic or watching Lawrence Welk
re-runs. See...not an easy choice. Damn those Camerons.