Sunday, April 19, 2009

Auteur Watch - Ron Howard

Yeah, it's about time we got around to Opie. And the timing is almost perfect: his latest, Angels & Demons, aka Da Vinci Code 2, is about to open! On May 15th, and from looking at all the countries it's going to open in, looks like it's set for worldwide domination. We'll be blogging about it soon enough, I'm sure, but for now, let us take a look back at the career that is Ron Howard...

Born in Duncan, Oklahoma on March 1, 1954, he started off early as a young thespian in 1959's The Journey. And with his Norman Rockwell good looks he rode that child star gravy train to big-time success, dragging his whole family with him. Father Rance got into the biz soon after, playing Prewitt in 1956's Frontier Woman. Arguably, not quite as prestigious a gig as The Journey, but hey! Work's work. From there, the rest, needless to say, is history. (back to Ron) Andy Griffith, The Shootist, American Graffiti, one high-profile gig after another. He tried hard to throw it all away on shlock like Grand Theft Auto, but to no avail. Success was all but assured for big Ronny Howard: it was damn near in the cards. He was an actor and a director now! Is there anyone that ol' coot Don Siegel HASN'T mentored directorial-wise? Besides him, I mean...
But before we move on to the go-go 80s, where the acting thing kinda petered off for the sake of the directing gig, leave us take a moment to try and apply the Favorite Decade Theory to Ron. Man, I feel like eating some beef jerky. 'scuse me a second... Okay, I'm back now. So many decades to choose from for Ron. What could be his favorite decade? The go-go 60s when the world was in turmoil around him, but it was another day another dollar for him on the set of Andy Griffith? Or was it the 70s when all the people burned out from all the 60s action took the decade off to contemplate their place in the universe... the perfect time for a guy like Ron to strike and nag Roger Corman to death for that hard-to-come-by directing gig. Perhaps the 80s, when his directing gigs were on the rise. More money, more prestige projects, almost a carbon copy of Spielberg's career, except Steve never made a mermaid pic or a pic about aliens... I mean, aliens messing with old people, or socially relevant pics about the Japanese takeover... we'll just skip that one, actually. All the documentaries do.
---Or maybe it's the go-go 90s! He's able to slow down a little now and take the really REALLY high-profile gigs, but the critics are grumbling and not taking him seriously as a director... kinda like Spielberg in the 80s. But the effects are getting better, and with pics like Apollo 13, it's not just about the movie anymore! It's about HOW the movie gets made! Long weeks spent in the Vomit Comet, getting all that zero gravity stuff just right. Or maybe it's the 2000s: the pics are getting ever more prestigious now, Grazer's got all the money in the world for the really kick-ass A-list projects, but most of all... Best Director Oscar, baby! True, what's 'is face got robbed and was pouting about it, or is that... eating Crow(e)? Oh, I'm so bad. But never mind all that, you got the Gold, baby, and you kicked Altman's ass all over that stage.
Which decade is his most favorite? Knowing Ron, he'd probably give the typical middle America answer and say, wait for it ... ALL of them! Yes, Sir Ron Howard is in the directorial cat bird seat, and I think he survived his spat with Mike Myers that I just read about. At this point in history I tend to take Ron's side of it as well. But Mike's always got Shrek 4, 5 and on and on into eternity. As for Ron, well, on a recent rare appearance on Bill Maher's HBO show, he spilled the beans about a project he's trying to develop. Something about that interesting span of history from 1982 to 2007. I think it's called... his autobiography. Think about it! Get Damian Lewis to play you. Peace, I'm outta here.

No comments: