'Hey, wait a minute, there's no birthday party for me here!'
I don't care how many Oscars he wins or which leaders of rogue nations he has lunch with. He's plain old "Jeff Spicoli" to me. And that characterization would probably piss off Sean Penn more than anything.
Penn turns 47 today (though he doesn't look a day older than 50). In a relatively short period of time, he has accomplished the near-impossible: He is both the most talented yet grumpiest man in Hollywood. Still, 80s fans have given him a lifetime pardon for all his great work in the 80s, something I bet he takes no glee in.
Just this week, another movie website named his stoned surfing opus, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," as one of "Seven Teen Sex Comedies That Don't Suck." (Other 80s flicks on the list: Revenge of the Nerds, Last American Virgin, Risky Business and Porky's. And I'm sorry, but aside from the "Why do you they call you Lassie" scene, Porky's is no masterpiece.)
When you look over his volume of work -- even his 80s stuff -- you realize this sobering fact: Sean Penn is not a comic actor. Does he even have fun anymore? Seemingly not. In a 2001 interview, Penn says he takes little enjoyment from the craft: "Acting is always a struggle, and now it's more of an emotional struggle because I don't enjoy it so much," he says.
So be it, Sean. Here's a list just for you.
Three Sean Penn movies from the 80s we don't enjoy so much:
3. Casualties of War (1989): One critic said, "... Don't let a little gore, misogyny, factbusting, counterfeit hipness ... get in your way. Enjoy Penn's actor imitations."
2. We're No Angels (1989): One critic said, "So few lines have been written for these actors that you almost believe that the script intentionally parodies their renowned inarticulateness."
1. Shanghai Surprise (1986): One critic said, "Sean Penn drunkenly mumbles his way through this period caper ... getting wrapped up in a plot to steal opium, or maybe jewels, or maybe an autographed baseball. I honestly have no idea, and I don't think Sean did, either." (Also #33 on the Worst Movies of the 80s list.)