Hollywood Cooties

Directors, you might think, would be less susceptible than stars to cooties. But, in fact, they have very inventive ways of getting them. Michael Cimino's hubris and excess not only brought down a studio, but assured him his place in the Cootie Hall of Fame. Francis Ford Coppola got cooties for boring everybody for the last decade. John Frankenheimer has them because he's the angriest man in the world (Dennis Hopper recently lost his by finally becoming a nice guy). Peter Bogdanovich has cooties thanks to his obsession with his murdered lover Dorothy Stratten and the fact that he recently married her little sister, and because he just seems like the creepiest man in the world anyway. John Landis has them for putting actors at risk and for not seeming to care. Susan Seidelman has them partly because she never lived up to her potential after Desperately Seeking Susan and partly because she keeps claiming that her new movie lives up to her potential after Desperately Seeking Susan. Roman Polanski got cooties not because he had sex with a 13-year-old, but because Charles Manson killed his wife (trust me on this--sex with an underage girl gets you congratulations in Hollywood, not cooties). Sondra Locke knows she has them, but she thinks they're just the fallout from Clint Eastwood (who doesn't have them); the real reason is that when she had a chance to make a movie, thanks to Clint, she made Ratboy!

There seems to be a preponderance of intra-family cooties in Hollywood. Sofia Coppola has them, but I'm not sure if it's because after getting the opportunity to co-write her father's segment of New York Stories she wrote that vapid segment, or because she caught her father's cooties. (Her performance, as well as his directorial performance, in The Godfather III will either seal her fate or prove that the Coppola name has been unfairly tarnished.) The whole O'Neal clan has cooties--Ryan, Tatum, and Griffin (causing the death of his best friend, Gio Coppola, would have been enough, but Griffin already had them from his father anyway). Surprisingly, Ryan's longtime love Farrah Fawcett doesn't have them, but she may catch them when she co-stars in a new series with him. Don Johnson is right this minute giving cooties to Melanie Griffith--their campaign to be an acceptable, Architectural Digest couple (the Rosemarie and Robert Stack of their generation) doesn't add up for those in the know. Dennis Quaid is giving them to Meg Ryan ("What?" all my friends shriek. "She's really going to marry him?") Marty and Charlie Sheen don't have them (although one more report of a trashed hotel room and Charlie might get them), but the auteur of the family, Emilio Estevez, does. Brooke Shields has them, not because she can't act her way out of a Calvin Klein ad, but because her mother Teri has brought a new level of horror to the term "stage mother." The Brando Kids have them, but not from their dad (see the cootie-proof sidebar): no, they needed a dead body to get theirs. And then there's the Allen family: Debbie. Karen. Nancy. Steve. Marty. Must be the name itself.

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