Roger Ebert on Steve Martin.
November 11, 2001 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Roger Ebert on Steve Martin. "He published a novel last year that was touching and true, and he is an expert on modern art, and he is capable of hosting the Academy Awards and starring in a David Mamet movie and writing for the New Yorker and, no doubt, brooding a lot."
posted by adrober (24 comments total)
the ingenious comedy ''Bowfinger''


he introduced this pbs show art21 on identity, too. that was pretty neat.

i've never read anything by him, what does he write about in the new yorker?

i liked the jerk :)
posted by kliuless at 10:08 AM on November 11, 2001

(What's wrong with "Bowfinger"? I thought it was OK, though not a film for the ages, and ingenious, in a modest way.)
posted by rodii at 10:18 AM on November 11, 2001

one of the articles he did for the new yorker was a list of unwanted drug side effects. an example:

Men can expect painful urination while sitting,
especially if the penis is caught between the toilet seat and the bowl.

posted by grabbingsand at 10:31 AM on November 11, 2001

Many of his New Yorker stories appear in a collection called Pure Drivel. I enjoyed Shopgirl, but didn't get the chance to see Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
posted by waxpancake at 10:45 AM on November 11, 2001

He's also a New Yorker contributor who plays the banjo on a new Earl Scruggs album. As in, a bluegrass album. Does a fine job too. How much more well-rounded could one person be?
posted by raysmj at 10:53 AM on November 11, 2001

"That's all I need ... this tennis racket, this phone, and that's all! That's all I need. Nothing else. ...And this lamp."

I love that scene. (warning: above text is paraphrased)
posted by jragon at 11:19 AM on November 11, 2001

Isn't he also rumored to have one of the larger...emm...appendages in Hollywood?

If you know what I mean.

posted by vito90 at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2001

All this talk of not wanting to repeat himself, and in this latest movie he's a dentist? Wasn't he a dentist in "Little Shop of Horrors"?!

Now *that* was an interesting characterisation... 8)
posted by chrimble at 11:46 AM on November 11, 2001

He is also a world-class banjo player, as anyone who's seen his old stand-up probably knows. He plucked a string or two in 'A Simple Twist of Fate" also, as I recall. The boy got rhythm.
posted by scarabic at 11:53 AM on November 11, 2001

Plus, he dated a crazy woman who dumped him for a girl. Zeitgeist, baby!
posted by dhartung at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2001

Zeitgeist, baby!

You know, that's not a bad MetaFilter tagline.
posted by y2karl at 2:06 PM on November 11, 2001

um, i liked eddie murphy in bowfinger, but i didn't think the movie was that great. so it just seemed kind of weird to me when ebert layed on the superlative.
posted by kliuless at 2:56 PM on November 11, 2001

And, I forgot, he also knows how to juggle.
posted by raysmj at 3:01 PM on November 11, 2001

and in this latest movie he's a dentist?

Indeed he is. The film is "Novocaine." Saw a sneak preview last week, and let me tell you, ouch! was it awful. Martin was barely enjoyable (and I love the guy). Bonham Carter basically reprised her "Fight Club" role. And the entire film seemed to exist for the sole purpose of one scene (don't worry, no spoiler here). Talk about ass-backwards filmmaking.
posted by mapalm at 3:07 PM on November 11, 2001

I've never been particularly impressed with his New Yorker stuff. I remember the most recent one I saw was a back page cartoon that he didn't even draw, just contributed not particularly funny captions for. I think we've gotten to the point where he can do whatever he wants - like star in a movie about a dentist being seduced by a kinky nineteen-year-old patient - and people will just say, "Wow, that Steve Martin, what a great, talented guy."
posted by transona5 at 4:40 PM on November 11, 2001

He also did the classic comedy/banjo album The Steve Martin Brothers.

I've been a fan of Steve Martin since Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, but I question Ebert's statement that people remember Martin mostly for the arrow-through-the-head wild and crazy guy. I'm 37, and a longtime fan, and I barely remember that stuff.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:44 PM on November 11, 2001

Add to his medical roles Dr. Maxwell Edison in the film version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." And he's pretty good at tap dancing, too. He and Christopher Walken both hoofed it across the screen in "Pennies From Heaven."

One profile I read mentioned that when people asked him for autographs, he gave people cards that read something like: "This card is proof that I met Steve Martin, and that I found him warm and engaging."
posted by CosmicSlop at 9:25 PM on November 11, 2001

There is no denying the genius of the man who gave us "King Tut." Period.

And in "The Jerk," the scene where Navin R. Johnson jumps for joy, yelling "The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!" And the classic line, "I was born a poor black child..."

I seem to recall that he majored in philosophy, BTW. If that isn't a prescription for a life of forlorn & insightful comedy...
posted by davidmsc at 11:22 PM on November 11, 2001

i saw the E! true hollywood story on him ... if i remember correctly, his first passion in life was banjo. interesting choice of instruments for a kid from southern cali.

i consider steve martin one of the true rennaisance (sp?) men of hollywood -- a guy who certainly is more than a floating head. that said ... is it just me, or has he not aged in about 20 years?
posted by aenemated at 1:17 AM on November 12, 2001

is it just me, or has he not aged in about 20 years?

He has, but only around his eyes, which is easy to camouflage. The hair makes it appear that he's been frozen in time.

The thing that I love the most about Steve Martin is that he's going to go down in history as one of the best comedians, ever, without ever doing anything controversial. He's merely taken every opportunity to let his talent shine through, and amassed an incredibly, consistently strong-quality body of work.

It is to his great credit that even in otherwise stinker films -- Roxanne and Mixed Nuts come immediately to mind -- in which the material was bad or the directorial decisions were, well, hinky, you cannot deny his ability. He doesn't have to be pointed about the state of the world (ala Hicks) or work "blue" (Murphy, Kinison, Pryor, etc. etc.) or be a badass (Lenny Bruce in his day, many others who have tried and failed in his wake) he just does what he does. Not too many people get by in Hollywood these days just doing what they do.
posted by Dreama at 4:55 AM on November 12, 2001

plus he's got a big penis, right?

posted by vito90 at 6:29 PM on November 12, 2001

Steve Martin may do whatever he wishes, since he has earned infinite amounts of slack through by making L.A. Story.
posted by kindall at 10:17 PM on November 12, 2001

One profile I read mentioned that when people asked him for autographs, he gave people cards that read something like: "This card is proof that I met Steve Martin, and that I found him warm and engaging."

I think the actual text is: "This certifies that you've had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite and colorful."

That first-person voice makes all the difference, IMO.

Also, I can't believe no one noted his brilliant physical comedy work in All of Me.
posted by Dirjy at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2001

If anyone is still checking this thread, I just wanted to mention that I caught part of his appearance on David Letterman last night. After the usual funny banter, Steve Martin played banjo on a bluegrass song with "Earl Scruggs and Friends". Playing along with bona fide musicians including Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and others, Martin held his own and looked confident with the banjo. A true renaissance man!
posted by msacheson at 8:36 AM on November 16, 2001

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