The oddest early movie roles played by 19 of today’s biggest actors

It’s amazing that Johnny Depp can go from a random dude killed by Freddy Kreuger in A Nightmare On Elm Street to a major Hollywood star, earning $20 million for most movies these days. What other crazy first roles launched the careers of today’s biggest stars?

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Nominated for three Oscars (and won for Capote), Hoffman has a diverse filmography, but who would have guessed the tornado-chasin’ hippie in 1996’s Twister and high-school thug in the 1993 zombie satire My Boyfriend’s Back was secretly a great actor?

Sandra Bullock

Before she was Miss Congeniality or winning an Oscar for The Blind Side, she was a buck-toothed biochemist in Love Potion #9 (1992) and an ass-kicking futuristic cop in Demolition Man.

Matthew McConaughey

This southern charmer appears shirtless in just about every movie he stars in now, but in 1994, he was just an average baseball player who needed a little divine help in Angels In The Outfield (along with Adrien Brody).

Amy Adams

She’s been nominated for three Oscars?!? Wait, the same chick who played Kathryn in the horrible direct-to-video Cruel Intentions 2 sequel/remake?

Hilary Swank

This swanky actress won two well-deserved Oscars for Boys Don’t Cry and Million-Dollar Baby. In her first role, on the other hand, she and Kristy Swanson were cheerleaders in the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie.

Brad Pitt

Still hunky today and fun to watch on screen, Pitt followed his big break as a one-night stand in Thelma & Louise with, a year later, a cop protecting toons for 1992’s Cool World.

Kirsten Dunst

Sofia Coppola’s muse in both Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides, Dunst is better known as Spider-Man’s girlfriend or a spirit-fingered cheerleader — but before that, she was the little girl in Jumanji and a bloodsucker’s jailbait in 1994’s Interview With The Vampire.

Jack Black

He’s appeared in more than 90 titles, which eclipses his music career (it’s easy to forget Tenacious D sometimes). When he started out, he must’ve auditioned for anything and everything — he was even a “smoker” pilot in Waterworld and a DJ at a party in the divorce comedy Bye Bye Love, both in 1995.

Gwenyth Paltrow

More famous for her relationships (engaged to Pitt and later married Coldplay’s Chris Martin) than her acting, Paltrow has a lot of variety in her career — Shallow Hal, Iron Man, Great Expectations, Duets, “Glee,” and an Oscar-winning performance in Shakespeare In Love. In 1991, she played young Wendy in Hook.

Robert Sean Leonard

Dr. James Wilson on “House” is a fantastic actor, but he’s sadly unrecognized for it. He delivered truly Oscar-worthy performances in Dead Poets Society (1989) and Swing Kids (1991, alongside Christian Bale).

Zooey Deschanel

The voice of She & Him, Zooey is perfect to star in anything that requires singing as well as being cute. She sang a duet with Will Ferrell in Elf, and played guitar in a high school funk band in 2002’s The New Guy.

Paul Rudd

The go-to guy for “bromances” today, people forget he was Cher’s stepbrother (whom she made out with, ew) in Clueless. Rudd also was a goofy college student on a road trip in 1998’s overlooked Overnight Delivery with Reese Witherspoon.

Rachel McAdams

Before she blew up on the scene as Regina George in Mean Girls and Allie in The Notebook, she switched bodies (literally) with Rob Schneider in 2002’s The Hot Chick.

Keanu Reeves

Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, esquire) and Reeves (Ted “Theodore” Logan) both starred in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but only one survived with a career.

Meg Ryan

Even before she met Harry, the queen of romantic comedies in the 90’s was Goose’s wife in Top Gun, yelling “take me to bed or lose me forever!” (People also forget that the first Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie was the campy 1990 film Joe Versus The Volcano.)

Justin Long

He’s not a household name yet, but you know him from Dodgeball, He’s Just Not That Into You and the voice of Alvin in Alvin & The Chipmunks. (He’s also “the Mac guy.”) His first roles included a sci-fi fanboy in Tim Allen’s 1999 bomb Galaxy Quest and the nerd who tried to sleep with Britney Spears in 2002’s Crossroads.

Anthony Rapp

Also not a marquee name (unless you’re a Broadway fan – he played Mark in the original production of “Rent”), he’s been in a variety of movies but his first role was as a horny teenager in 1987’s Adventures In Babysitting.

Jennifer Connelly

Consistently sexy without looking slutty (unlike her younger doppelganger Megan Fox), Connelly won Best Actress for A Beautiful Mind and should’ve at least been nominated for Requiem For A Dream. She also starred in The Rocketeer (ha) and John Hughes’ underrated Career Opportunities, but her big start was opposite David Bowie in 1986’s The Labyrinth.

Elijah Wood

He may be most famous for playing a hobbit now, but Wood’s resume is pretty diverse. In 1989, the first time we saw him on screen, he only had one line: “That’s like a baby’s toy” in Back To The Future Part II.

What other fun, wacky first movie roles did your favorite actors play?

Charlie Sheen gets one million Twitter followers in 24 hours – the fastest ever to reach the mark

@CharlieSheen on Twitter

“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available, because if you try it once, you will die and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much?”

Charlie Sheen’s Twitter account is powered by tiger blood, battle-tested bayonets and a drug called Charlie Sheen — and he is WINNING.

The “Two and a Half Men” actor’s very first tweet was Tuesday, March 1st at 6:43 p.m. EST. It was a picture of him and one of his “goddesses.”

The insanity has spread at blinding speed. At 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, 24 hours later, Sheen’s account had 996,395 followers.

A few minutes later, he passed the one million mark. Boom!

The previous fastest to hit one million, to my knowledge, was @Oprah, who took 28 days (from April 16, 2009 to May 14, 2009) to reach the mark. She joined when Ashton Kutcher showed her how the micro-blogging social site worked, a day before Mr. @aplusk beat @cnnbrk to be the first Twitter account to hit one million followers.

Fastest people to reach 1,000,000 Twitter followers:
1. Charlie Sheen (24 hours, 3/1/11-3/2/11)
2. Oprah (28 days, 4/16/09-5/14/09)
3. Kanye West (80 days, 7/28/10-10/15/10)
4. Conan O’Brien (90 days, 2/25/10-5/25/10)
5. Ashton Kutcher (92 days, 1/16/09-4/17/09)
6. LeBron James (97 days, 7/6/10~11/10/10)

According to Twitaholic, there’s just over 300 Twitter accounts with over one million followers. Who’s the most influential? You could argue Lady Gaga (8.5 million followers) and Justin Bieber (7.8 million followers) but neither of them have created such a stir in such a short amount of time.

Sheen’s crazy rants and beyond-out-there interviews have fueled a limitless collection of Internet memes and viral spinoffs, including:
New Yorker cartoons based on Charlie Sheen quotes
Superheroes using Charlie Sheen quotes for dialogue
Charlie Sheen soundboard (audio)
Cats quoting Charlie Sheen
Bunnies quoting Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen Book of Poetry
Sheen Family Circus: Family Circus with a dose of the drug called Charlie Sheen
Charlie Brown / Charlie Sheen mashup by Jimmy Kimmel
Charlie Sheen crazy rant quotes inserted in Charlie Sheen movies & shows
Cleen Sheen (the kid-friendly version of Charlie Sheen’s rants)
Live the Sheen Dream (random quote generator)

Maybe Charlie Sheen will use this media frenzy and newfound Twitter popularity to win back his role on “Two and a Half Men,” or maybe he’ll do something else entirely. Like get psychiatric help. Only time will tell, and Charlie’s got the watch that keeps Warlock time.

Rear View Girls – ‘butt cam’ catches people staring at girls’ bottoms

“I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave…” Yes, it’s true, some men do blatantly stare at girls’ rear ends while others are more subtle about it. Two girls thought it’d be fun to capture the ogling on video – and then upload it to YouTube, of course, where it’s gotten over 5.5 million hits in just a week.

The girls — Reanin Johannink and Jess Gurunathan — are both actresses from New Zealand who executed this experiment in the streets of Los Angeles. Some interesting people were caught looking, including women and one Jesus-looking dude:

Clever, if not unoriginal, concept. Or is it?

You can clearly see a hole in her jeans where an obtrusive camera is shoved in. Don't they realize most people were probably staring at that, not her actual butt?

Issue #1 – Paradox. These girls are clearly the types that crave attention (just look at their Facebook pictures), so it seems surprising they’d want to call people out for giving it to them.

Issue #2 – Falsehood. While they are not unattractive girls, their best “assets” are certainly not behind them, so I don’t think most people are staring at their rear ends. In fact, when they’re on escalators and people have a good amount of time to notice, it’s clear that people are staring at the huge hole in the back of her jeans and the obvious lumpy camera back there.

Also, the “Behind The Scenes” video shows the Rear View Girls setting up the camera with some mirror shots of her jeans, which clearly have a camera in it. I’m also willing to bet that they cut out a lot of shots of people actually asking “what is that in your pants?” or “honey, do you know that there’s a hole in your jeans?”

Prediction? These Auckland girls want to be on a U.S. reality show. And they’ll get it.

Update: After 7 million views in just 10 days on YouTube, the video was removed. Apparently it was an ad (without being an ad) for Levi’s Jeans, but the company was upset at the negative side of the controversy this video had sparked.

Think you’re tired? This man didn’t sleep for 40 days.

Who needs sleep?  Well, you’re never going to get it
Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never going to get it
Who needs sleep? You should be happy with what you get
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second World War
– Barenaked Ladies, “Who Needs Sleep”

Photographer Tyler Shields had trouble sleeping.  More so than you, buddy.  He recently claimed to set a world record by going without sex sleep for 40 days and nights.  Guiness won’t confirm it because it’s a) difficult to prove/disprove and b) dangerous to try.

Side effects of no sleep for 968 hours?  Fevers, headaches, vision trouble and even temporary paralysis of his legs.  He continued to work as a photographer and people around him said he acted like he was hung over.

The biggest benefit of this sleep-deprivation marathon is that “No one will be like, ‘I’m exhausted,’ they just can’t say that to me anymore,” he told AOL News.

The only other benefit is that this 28-year old photog can get a little attention – Shields previously did a stunt where he shot a man with a gun to promote a gallery opening.  Stupid.

In other words, don’t try and do this at home unless you’re desperate to get in the news.  And even then, there are less ridiculous things you can do for attention.

Flirting while driving has caused nearly 1 million crashes

Distracted while driving?  30 U.S. states have banned texting while driving, and AAA has previously said they’d like to see all 50 states ban it by 2013.  As smartphones become more common, the law will likely expand to ban all cell phone use behind the wheel.

But what about flirting?

A British study found 976,000 motorists have been in accidents because the driver was flirting.  With other drivers on the road.  (Sounds like a Chevy Chase scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation, doesn’t it?)

Male drivers are the worst – 83% of those accidents were caused by men flirting instead of keeping their eyes on the road.  I can’t imagine why – surely, men should know by now that women do not swoon for “hey baby!” shouts or obnoxious horn honks.  Nevertheless, 46% of men admit to flirting behind the wheel and 36% of women do it, too.

According to the study, another 5 million people had close calls due to wandering eyes.  That’s 1 in 7 people who have almost gotten into an accident because they were checking out other drivers.

Distracted while driving?  Maybe we should all have tinted windows so we can’t look in.  And no rolling down the windows to flash the passerbys, either, or else this will happen:


Happy Coffins – have a funeral with a smile!

Image courtesy of AOL News

'Happy Coffins,' introduced last week by the Lien Foundation, are intended to help take the fear out of death.

Death is a funny thing.

I’m sure when the first person said “Hey, maybe we should give them a pillow” there was a similar reaction to this: Happy Coffins.

Debuted last week in Singapore by the Lien Foundation, Happy Coffins are designed to make funerals less grim.   These decorated coffins include designs such as jeans, wine bottles, and even quirky expressions like “Hello, coffin, you seem to be nice.”

They even have a website where you can choose your Last Playlist – a soundtrack for your own funeral.  (If that’s not weird enough, there’s a different website,, that lets you get your ashes pressed into your favorite vinyl record.)

According to AOL News, the Happy Coffins currently available are 12 winners of a design contest with over 700 entries from 33 countries around the world.

Lee and Sister Geraldine Tan came up with the idea, and first tried the idea out on residents of a senior home in Singapore – of the 10 they asked, only five liked the idea.  Of those five, three helped design their own casket and even took turns posing for pictures with it.

Some say it’s distasteful to try and do this to death: “I’m sure people have differing views about the desirability of Happy Coffins,” said Lee Tan.  But don’t forget, we once though it was inappropriate to walk down the aisle to anything other than “Here Comes The Bride” and now everyone seems to want to dance to Chris Brown’s “Forever.”

What do you think?  When you bite the big one, do you want to lighten the ceremony for the grieving friends and family with a Happy Coffin?

Is 45 too old for trick-or-treating?

Some Halloween costumes I've worn over the years: Deaf Chef, Michael Phelps, Baby Spice, Flava Flav.

The last time I went trick-or-treating, I was probably 13 or 14. I’ve worn costumes many times since then (most of which had nothing to do with Halloween).

However, the debate comes up every October – how old is too old for trick-or-treating? A Dallas mom has a rule that if you’re too old for a Chuck-E-Cheese party, you’re too old.  Another blogger says, as long as they still get in the spirit and dress up, teenagers are okay to trick-or-treat.  This one says if they have their drivers’ license, they should be doing something else for Halloween.

One Illinois town even banned all kids above 8th grade from trick-or-treating.  Parents who allowed their kids to go from door-to-door asking for candy would be fined $25.

Meet Stan, the 45-year old attorney from Wichita who still goes out every year:

This is what Stan wrote about his October 31st compulsion:

I have a sweet tooth the size of Alaska. That’s why when Halloween rolls around at the end of October, I’ll break out the old shopping bags and go begging.

Some people may say I suffer from a case of arrested development, but where on the law books is there a statute of limitations on trick-or-treating? I should know–I’m a lawyer.

At 45, it’s not easy to look like a kid. I’m five-ten and two-hundred plus pounds.

But I’m nothing if not ingenious. Last year I taped wrapping paper and ribbon around some cardboard boxes and went as a stack of Christmas presents. All you could see of me was my baby blues through the eye holes.

I keep an up-to-date computer database on the best and worst neighborhoods for candy. It’s based on a somewhat complex program that considers the number of lit and unlit porch lights, size of pumpkins, types of treats, etc.

As far as getting caught, the closest I ever came was three years ago at my parents’ house.

But the best part of Halloween for me is the rest of the year. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to offer clients a Starburst from the Wedgwood jar on my desk, then pop one into my own mouth. And only I know my Halloween secret.

Is it fake?  Could be.  Nevertheless, I’m curious as to what you think.  How old is too old?

Note: You’re never too old to wear a costume and act ridiculous for a day/night at work or a party.  Are you looking for couples costume ideas, by the way?