Terrible Love: A Commentary


Charlie Sheen’s bourbon-soaked maw seems to affix itself to the pages of every entertainment rag. The actor has become a dystopian hellhound on wheels, cruising across America like a pull-string doll spurting out catchphrases. Sheen’s one-liners are like baseball cards on the spokes of everyone’s bicycles – or Facebook pages these days – and I can barely handle the noise anymore. I suppose this actor has become a lolling rag doll, content to blither on, in the warbled acoustics of his own mind, as he maims America like a random quote generator set to epidemic. Sheen had one interview of what I’m guessing was, initially, spontaneous wordplay cuffed to some sort of unbridled insanity. What came of this exchange was a tectonic shift of regurgitated jokes that continues to whizz across the united states like a pinball, smacking into people’s hip pockets before jarring loose their wallets.

Sheen continues to repeat – or, if all else fails, re-imagine – his jokes. If “Duh, Winning” isn’t working tonight, he changes his enunciation on the word the next night, like he’s changing his font from Times New Roman to Arial Black. I’m not sure of the longevity for something like this, but I guess it has been working for Chuck Norris and Betty White, so why not the primordial howls of Charlie Sheen.

The real tragedy is that films like “Platoon” will be marred, for future generations, because of Sheen’s modernly bombastic persona. Oliver Stone – who is no doubt insane himself – is probably turning over in his grave, prematurely, over the fact that his Oscar winning film is being tainted by an actor that behaves, currently, like a Hanna Barbara cartoon on Red Bull (I guess most of Sheen’s career has been a photomosaic of gross miscalculations, but I digress).

The real fear is that people are paying to see Sheen sit in a chair, in a theater, as he curmudgeonly bastions in a tide of purposely crazy, unhinged jabber. People have been walking out of these events, as if exercising good reasoning skills, when they should of had an idea of what they were getting into already. If a party guest makes an amusing anecdote, trips over a table, or coins a snicker-worthy moniker for something, you don’t encourage them to repeat the same action – it’s over, done. If you want the guest to relive the tripping incident, he or she may fall and break their collarbone this time, and it wont be funny (see what I’m getting at here?)

Sheen’s wily, drug induced ramblings have no place anymore in the public sphere. If he wants to sadistically gnaw on the syllables of his own words as he says them, he’s allowed to do so, I just wish people didn’t pay him for it. Joaquin Phoenix’s warbled drones of feigned despair were met by catcalls, but at least it was a joke without a single catchphrase. It was a prolonged, angular tightrope walk with many acts beneath him.

What is the future of Charlie Sheen? Clearly a ten-minute interview on repeat.

Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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