Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man in Motion

I just finished Rob Lowe’s autobiography. I have a deep love for autobiographies, anyway, with what people choose to include and leave out from their official life record. In the case of public figures, it’s most interesting because you already know so much about them. Rob Lowe, just for instance, chooses to barely touch upon his sex-tape scandal with two underage girls by explaining in one part of the book why he would have had no way of knowing they were underage and obliquely referring to the idea that he taped it simply because the technology was available, (I climb the mountain because it is there.) He didn’t have to say what he had done, catch us up on the back story, because we already know. In a weird way, the title Stories I Only Tell My Friends does refer to us in the public. We already know way more than the bare outlines of his stories, he’s just giving us the color detail.

Lowe’s stories are funny and quirky, and he seems to be a nice family guy. Now.  I was struck by his version of his relationship with Melissa Gilbert, who talked about their romance quite a bit in her autobiography. Lowe mentions that her mother thought he was after her for her fame and then sums up years of dating Gilbert as a hot-cold relationship when he’s talking about his affair with Natasha Kinski that blew the whole thing up. This man has slept with some women. He’s determined to make you see his sex life as a result of having trouble getting dates in high school, but he’s telling about girls who seduce him as a pre-teen, so it’s hard to be too caught up in his lonely pain.

Lowe tells a story about Chris Farley that breaks my heart a little. He and David Spade were at a steakhouse during the filming of Tommy Boy. He said Farley ordered two porterhouse steaks and put an entire pat of butter on each bite of both steaks. When one of them freaked out about the butter, Lowe said Farley giggled and said in his little kid voice, “It needs a hat.” That tiny portrait made me understand Chris Farley more than anything I’ve read. This man hated himself. I thought the drugs were the reason he was so messed up, but they were apparently just one more weapon he used in his battle against himself. I mean, there’s self-destruction and then there’s lighting dynamite and stuffing it down your pants.

 There’s some juicy stuff about The West Wing, for the Wing-nuts among us. Mostly contract and back-scene stories, but I’d love to get a great behind the scenes book about that series. They all thought they would last 8 episodes and then it became a juggernaut. What would that do to a cast of relative unknowns (except for Martin Sheen and Lowe) and their egos? Somebody without a stake needs to write that book for me, stat.

The other book I want to read is about Darryl Hannah. Lowe talks about the night he met her and she had on a fairy suit with wings (at 19) and didn’t sleep with him because she was saving herself for Jackson Browne, whom she hadn’t yet met. Some other biography, probably one of JFK, Jr., talks about her carrying around a teddy bear at a dinner party. In her twenties. I think she might be an interested subject or the whole book might be two lines. Darryl Hannah is beautiful and rich. And a whack-job.


Babbling Brutons said...

I love it...whack right! You are making me laugh!!

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