Now more than ever, with the popularity of youtube and other
such video sites at an all time high, we have the desire to see celebrities
crash and burn; it seems to be everyone’s guilty pleasure. I’m not going to lie, more often than not I’m
guilty of this as well. However, there
are moments when I realize that some of these celebrities were once incredibly
promising actors, so it’s heartbreaking to see how they’ve fallen from
grace. One such actor is Gary Busey.
The sad thing is, if you were to say the name “Gary Busey”
today, it would be synonymous with a pathetic man who embarrasses himself on a
regular basis, all the while living in a fantasy world of his own
creation. Shows like I’m With Busey
and Celebrity Rehab paint Busey as this sort of worthless, hypocritical human
being who doesn’t seem to care or want the help he so desperately needs. But for me, when I think of Busey, The Buddy
Holly Story, Lethal Weapon and Point Break come to mind.
When I first saw The Buddy Holly Story on television years
ago, I had no idea who Gary Busey was.
By the time the credits rolled, I was floored. He perfectly captured Holly’s boyish charm
and driven desire to be the world’s best musician without reducing the role
into a simple caricature, while at the same time making the role his own. Music bios are notoriously difficult for
actors due to the complications involved in bringing a well known and often
beloved individual to the screen. Busey
looked like a natural, earning well-deserved praise throughout Hollywood and an
Oscar nomination for his work.
From there, Busey became an action film mainstay, which was
interesting because I never would have pegged him as an action star. In fact, I would have preferred to see how
far he could have gone in dramatic films.
I mean, we saw what he could do in Buddy Holly, so why not continue
down that path?
In any case, Busey would go on to steal the show in Lethal
Weapon as Mr. Joshua, the antagonist’s main henchman who displays his brute strength
by exposing his arm over a flame for a prolonged period of time. Also, out of all the villains in the Lethal
Weapon franchise, it’s obvious that Mr. Joshua was the only man capable of taking
Martin Riggs to the extreme. Yes, even
more than Jet Li.
Then there is Point Break, the great Keanu Reeves picture
about a cop trying to infiltrate a group of surfing bank robbers who dress up
as former presidents of the United States.
While the film clearly belonged to Reeves and Patrick Swayze, Busey had
a great (if incredibly short) role as Reeves partner. Of course, Busey has worked on other films
throughout the years, but nothing reached the popularity or skill of his Buddy
And while Busey’s motorcycle accident in the late 80’s
contributed to his current mental and physical state, it’s heartbreaking, for
sure, because we know how talented he once was.
I’m not saying that Busey will never have a chance to shine again, it’s
just that he’s going to have a hell of a time trying to convince agents and producers
in Hollywood otherwise as well as audiences.
One can never forget that Hollywood is a weird place, where
people are given second, third and fourth chances. Look at Robert Downey Jr. and Mikey Rourke, lifelong
Hollywood bad boys who are now enjoying the greatest accolades of their
careers. If they can do it, Busey can as