So as we witness yet another one of Hollywood’s classic meltdowns, we can only look at it for what it is…a much bigger and more public train wreck than those that have come before it. But it is the worst we’ve ever seen? Well, the only missing from Charlie Sheen’s collapse that prevents it from becoming the all-time worst is an ill-timed sex-tape release or perhaps a TMZ-style ‘panty’ shot of him getting out of a car. Scarily enough, I think both are well within arm’s reach at this point.
The question then becomes…is it still entertaining? I have to admit I’m as guilty as they come when it comes to witnessing train wrecks as good TV / overall entertainment. Far too many of us are guilty of it and I’d say it’s a vice that ranks right up there with alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. But as we sit back watching Charlie’s latest antics and hear him talk about his “Sober Valley Lodge” and how he’s “not high on drugs, just high on Charlie Sheen”, I wonder when it goes from good entertainment to just plain creepy. He has drugs, porn-stars, more money than the Middle East, and isn’t shy about his theory of “winning”. Yet the scariest part is how he seems not to care. To me, if he wants to go out with a blaze of glory – then knock yourself out, Chuck. But someone who truly just doesn’t give a sh*t wouldn’t be pandering for every single webcam and twitter feed out there. He’d simply say, “This is my life and what I chose for it. If you don’t like it, screw off.” I would have an inkling more respect for him if he did that. However, it’s almost like he wants to make sure we are all watching as he implodes. He’s got the bravado of Bud Fox (Wall Street) and Rick Vaughn (Major League), the penchant for ladies and rebel spirit of Jackson Davis Hammond (The Chase), the stupidity of Topper Harley (Hot Shots), the anger of Lt. Dan Hawkins (Navy Seals), and the shadiness of Carl Taylor (Men at Work). Wrap that into one package and you get, well…Charlie Sheen.
Let the countdown begin:
1) Michael Jackson
- MJ has to take the #1 spot here. Even though his steady meltdown over the course of 3 decades did not end up ruining his career or earnings potential, it certainly did tarnish his reputation. The changes in skin color, facial structure, and just plain weirdness, never permanently distanced his fan base. Only after the amusement park popped up in his backyard and accusations (and trials) of child molestation came to the public eye did fans begin to question what was really going on in his noggin. More than anything, I think MJ’s story just goes to show what someone is capable of getting away with if they actually have some talent. Take note, Paris.
2) Charlie Sheen
- Charlie is so far off, I’m not sure he’d even take this as a compliment. He may look at The Movie Mind’s nomination for the #2 spot as an affront to all of his recent “winning” ways. It might actually just set him off even farther, if that’s even possible. Nonetheless, his tirades, antics, and just about every word or action he utters seems to push him closer to the edge.
3) Mel Gibson
- Mel must be thanking his lucky stars that good ol’ Charlie came around recently because his anti-semitic and looney raves seem to have been pushed aside for the time being. That is, of course, until he gets blitzed again and takes a spin down Rodeo Drive. His fall from grace in the public eye was a steep drop and he seems to still be on the way down. How can I say that? Quick – name a movie he did in the last 5 years. Yep, just as I thought.
4) Tiger Woods
- Tiger’s success on the course led to plentiful opportunities off it. From video games, to a golf clothing line, and spokesman for several prominent brands, his squeaky-clean image made him endearing to families and golf fans alike. Then he crashes his car, gets beat on by the Mrs., and his little black book was exposed to the world. Girls were coming out of the woodwork much like distant relatives of a lottery winner. After the divorce and poorly rehearsed apologies, his game, marriage, and image have yet to recover.
5) Lindsay Lohan
- Not many people accomplished the feat LiLo was able to in the same small amount of time she did it. She went from a few meddling teenie movies (seriously, $10 if you can actually tell me what she is famous for) to full-fledged drunk, drug addict, and all around bad example for anyone who used to watch her. Throw in some parents who should be committed to an institution and you get one sick mess of an individual.
6) David Hasselhoff
- Ok so maybe the Hoff wasn’t exactly relevant when his full meltdown occurred, but for that reason it actually made it more interesting. The man who is an icon in Germany and a running joke in the U.S. still managed to spiral downward fast and furious. Now that he’s on the straight and narrow tour, maybe we can all keep our fingers crossed for a return of Baywatch Nights!
7) Tom Cruise
- I’m in Psychoville and Finkle (or Cruise) is the mayor! Ace Ventura said it right when it came to Tom Cruise’s antics of Katie Holmes and his grand-master leadership in the Scientology cult. All that’s missing is Tom baking little Katie-cookies shaped like footballs and jumping up on down on a couch like a lunatic on national TV…oh wait, never mind.
8 ) Jesse James
- Granted he’s a motorcycle builder that managed to jump on the custom bike-builder reality bandwagon, so there wasn’t a big celebrity status to uphold. However, when he managed to snag Hollywood’s darling, Sandra Bullock, it vaulted him into a different stratosphere. Getting caught dressed as a Nazi with your tatt’d up porn mistress will cause you to fall from that grace like a dead bird.
9) Brittney Spears
- The shaved head wasn’t even the worst of her days. Her parenting skills were on par with Charles Barkley’s golf game. She turned from the “good girl” image into a wack-job in a flash. Who knows if she’s actually back on track now, but what we do know is there are plenty of other flavor-of-the-moment starlets that make for better news these days.
10) Michael Richards
- What’s a surefire way to go from one of the most well-known and beloved TV characters of all-time into a virtual pariah? How about going on a racist rant that’s caught on home video at a comedy club that you were only allowed to perform at because of said TV role? I think that would do it.
11) Dave Chapelle
- Here’s a dude that never actually did anything wrong, yet he still gets the “weirdo” treatment in the public’s eyes. That’s what happens when you sign a $50 million contract, go bonkers and then fall off the grid. What he did might not actually be a bad move, but it still leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.
12) Whitney Houston/Bobby Brown
- Is one worse than the other? I think that’s debatable. Common perceptions say Whitney was normal before meeting Bobby. But to me, she always had a few screws loose. Needless to say, they are probably the most toxic pairing in the world other than Sammie and Ronnie.
13) Joaquin Phoenix
- Never before has there been a more planned out self-destruction and never before has there been one to go so horribly awry. After releasing his “documentary” which explained some embarrassing stunts/PR moves, we got a much better picture of just what a loser he really is. The crazy stunts aren’t what gave us the willies, it was only when we actually saw who he really was that it made us look away for good.
14) Alec Baldwin
- Some people just don’t understand the concept of voicemail. It stays as a recording and testament until the person receiving it actually deletes it. Wouldn’t this common logic cause one to think before lacing into degrading one’s own daughter on her voicemail? I debated adding Pat O’Brien in here instead, but his voicemail rant was more amusing than anything else. Baldwin came across as a bad dad, which is something most fans couldn’t stomach.
15) Corey Haim
- He succumbed to a sad yet predictable end, but not before wilting away before our eyes. The reality show featuring “The Two Coreys”, as it was aptly named, served as foreshadowing to his early demise. While Corey Feldman isn’t exactly “all there” either, it takes a sick individual to make him look normal.
16) Mike Tyson
- To qualify as a meltdown, the individual must have at least put on the front of “having it all together” at some point in time. Iron Mike, unfortunately, never had it together. He was a troubled, violent, kid who just happened to be a bad dude in the ring. Nothing he ended up doing, or saying, ever surprised me. Interestingly enough, he seems to be just a little more “with it” than I always thought. It just goes to show that it doesn’t take much to outdo some of the characters on this list.
DNQ: Paris Hilton
- As I discussed, to have an actual meltdown, someone must have fallen from grace or hurt their career. Paris seems to have actually built a career on one giant meltdown and fall from nothing. It is truly baffling. She is nothing more than a media creation, and here’s to hoping she becomes a media afterthought. With every day Charlie Sheen continues to grab the headlines, it might be closer and closer to a reality.