Monday, April 23, 2007

three men and a secret

I saw the beginning of Three Men and a Baby on TV a few weeks ago for the first time in a long time. Talk about overcompensationthe opening-credits montage takes great pains to show that these three grown men who live together in a penthouse apartment love the pussy. Got it, audience? THEY'RE NOT GAY, so stop looking at them that way. It's best that we clear it up now in the first five minutes with this charming series of scenes set to Miami Sound Machine's "Bad Boy," in which we see various women entering and leaving the apartment, Tom Selleck's character jogging past a pretty lady, then turning around to pursue her and ... wait, didn't the video for "Bad Boy" feature lots of costumed characters from the Broadway musical Cats? And aren't Broadway musicals generally populated with, produced by, and enjoyed by ... you know ... gay dudes? That's right, Disney—you blew it! You should've used "Freedom" by Wham! instead.

At least Selleck's character is the only one of the three leads who looks like he could afford an apartment that big and expensive; if Danson and Guttenberg were also successful lawyers or doctors the way Selleck's a successful architect, you'd really have to wonder why they still needed to have roommates in their late 30s (actually, Guttenberg was 28 when he filmed Three Men, but Danson was 39 and Selleck was 42). Maybe Guttenberg's character is a delinquent-little-brother type to the other two and they all found a huge bag full of money, a la The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or A Simple Plan, but to make sure Guttenberg doesn't run off with Selleck and Danson's share, they decide to live with him. But they don't want to live in some standard-issue three-bedroom apartment with thin walls, loud neighbors, and tiny rooms, so they take some of the cash they found and buy a huge condo with a private elevator. Then a baby shows up.

That sounds like a plausible backstory, right? You bet it does! And what a great movie it would be! Hey, somebody write this remake of that remake of that French movie! I'd do it myself, but I'm busy blogging right now.

I also realized while watching the beginning of Three Men that the sitcom Full House, which followed it by about nine months, pretty much ripped it off. I never made the connection before. (Guttenberg, who plays a cartoonist, even makes lots of stupid Uncle Joey-type jokes in the movie.) And here's why I shouldn't have made the connection: Full House debuted on ABC before, not after, Disney released Three Men. For some reason I originally thought Three Men was released in November of '86, not '87. So was Full House based on the original French film, 1985's Trois Hommes et un Couffin (a.k.a. Three Men and a Cradle)? I don't know. As for the Full House leading men's sexual orientation, from what I could tell they were too dumb to be gay.


  1. Guttenberg was only 28?

    Suddenly, I'm looking at myself in the mirror and have become very depressed.

    Either way, great points. I saw this movie a million and a half times when I was a kid, and never put together any of those connections.

  2. I'm 31, so when I find out about all these actors or musicians whose careers were in high gear by their mid- to late 20s (or had recorded albums like "Something/Anything?" by the time they were 24), I get even more depressed than you. Growing up, I figured everyone famous was in their mid-30s when they first became famous. (I think this is due to Harrison Ford being my childhood hero.)

    I wouldn't have put together those connections as a kid either. As a kid you don't realize that three grown men living together in a kickass apartment is rare if not completely imaginary.

    I realized yesterday that the sitcom "My Two Dads" debuted on NBC around the same time that "Full House" debuted on ABC. 1987 was indeed the year of adult heterosexual males raising children together under one roof.

  3. 31? That's nothing!

    I'm 35. Mozart was 35 when he died. David Foster had produced Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire and Al Jarreau and had played with Ringo and George. Oh no, John Lennon died when he was 40 didn't he? My contribution to the world according to Google, is a one minute smooth jazz version of "Torn Between Two Lovers."

    Dear God, Benny Mardones re-recorded "Into the Night" in 1989 when he was a mere 38!

    This movie always puts me in a good mood, it reminds me of my teens - in a good way.

  4. Terje, no one can touch Mardones's achievements. Just ask Jason.

    It does seem like Mozart is brought up often when people try to make you feel like you've been slacking.

    I saw "Three Men and a Baby" at the second-run theater in Douglas, GA, with my grandparents during spring vacation in sixth grade, so I have a good memory of it, but the first ten minutes were hard to sit through a few weeks ago.

  5. {irony} Yeah, I hear that ALL the time now - about Mozart, I mean. "Hey, Terje, you're 35, right? You know, Mozart, he died when he was 35...[me giving them a blank stare]" And my mother always going, "blah blah blah... and when Mozart was your age he'd be dead by now and what have you ever done to make your mother and father proud..." Yeah, life's a bitch, I wish I'd turn 36 soon. Surely, no famous composers died at 36? {/irony}

    No, thankfully, it's not that bad, but I have actually been confronted with a comment about Mozart's early departure once or twice in my life... for whatever reason.

    But I understand that Al Jarreau started his recording career quite late in life. And Michael Franks, too. So that's good to know.

    Besides, I consider my career as a professional paper-pusher to be pretty damn successful.

    I'm not that unhappy, really.

    Thinking about it, it's probably the memory of "Three Men.." that puts me in a good mood, too. I haven't seen it in about 10 years or so.

  6. America is obsessed with youth. But your comments make me think Europe might be as well, Terje. Is it true?

    Bill Withers was already 33 when his first album came out.

  7. In terms of popular culture's obsession with youth, I'd definitely say it's true. In my country, for example, I'd guess something like 50-60% of all shows on national television are American imports. And it's pretty much the same with music and movies.

    As you know, in America all those industries are more or less obsessed with youth and/or Botox.

    American culture has a tremendous impact over here, more now than ever, and the values projected in the media are no doubt imitated, especially among young people, and thus these new standards gradually integrate into our culture.

    We're probably 10-15, maybe even 20 years behind you, but we're getting there, no doubt about it...