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The Most Chemically-Enhanced Performances Ever

Much is made about athletes putting performance-enhancing chemicals in their bodies, but what about the good folks in Hollywood who we look to for our non-sports entertainment?

Show: Mork & Mindy
Actor: Robin Williams
Performance-Enhancer: Cocaine
Clue That Something Was Up: Of all of the forms extra terrestrial life has taken in popular culture, Mork is right behind ET as the alien whose ass we'd have the most fun kicking. To today's jaded audiences, Williams' performance as Mork looks more like a guy whose been given too much creative freedom and not enough Sweet'N Low in his cocaine.
If you think about it, Williams' entire body of work consists of either hyper-verbal lunatics flitting from topic to topic without the slightest attempts at transition, or weepy sad sacks meant to tug at your heartstrings. Sound like anyone you know? Either up and rambling or low and sad, without any in between? That's right, its your coke addicted Uncle Mark. Oh, shit, you didn't know Uncle Mark was a coke addict? Oh, jeez, this is awkward.
Another thing that clued us in to Williams' "motivating" factor was his stand-up routine during the '70s, which included jokes like, "Cocaine is God's way of telling you that you have way too much money." Yes, and Robin Williams being paid ridiculous amounts of money and hailed as "creative" because snorting cocaine is God's way of kicking you in the balls.


Film: Arthur
Actor: Dudley Moore
Performance-Enhancer: Alcohol
Clue That Something Was Up: In a film thats only real premise is that Dudley Moore is adorable when he's hammered, the producers were wise enough to cast a hammered Dudley Moore.
While there are a number of reasons one might suspect that Moore was actually imbibing on set, one of the most compelling has to do with the fact that, including David Gest's performance over a year long marriage, Moore's performance is, to date, the most convincing performance ever turned in by a man trying to act like he's genuinely attracted to Liza Minnelli. Two explanations are possible here. Either Moore is a fantastic actor who was able to overcome everything his body and soul was telling him, a thesis not really supported by the fact that we've never seen him in anything other than Arthur. The other explanation would be that he was, "its closing time, I can only see out of one eye and I've gotta take something home" drunk during the entire film and was therefore able to convince himself Minnelli was attractive. We're not sure which. For all we know, Moore is a fantastic actor. But honestly, no one's that good.


Actor: Entire cast and crew
Film: Dazed & Confused
Performance-Enhancer: Marijuana
Clue That Something Was Up: When a 20-something Matthew McConaughey stars in a film, you can pretty much guarantee that a few people on set are going to be putting it in the air. Add to that the fact that McConaughey and the rest of the cast's only real job throughout the film was to act stoned, and we're guessing that a steady supply of Visine is the only thing that kept this classic from looking like a tale of a conjunctivitis outbreak amongst a group of Chinese teenagers. "You couldn't handle that on strong acid man," but strong pot, well we're guessing thats what lends the movie its air of authenticity.


Actor: Pat Morita
Film: The Karate Kid
Performance-Enhancer: Alcohol
Clue That Something Was Up: The scene in which Daniel walks in on Mr. Miyagi throwing back shots to screams of "Bonsai" always felt out of place to us as kids. In a movie marked by sheer pop escapism, and set in some alternate universe where karate tournaments sell out auditoriums, this scene felt realistically sad and acutely based in the real world. We never could quite put our finger on how this piece of depressingly authentic acting slipped its way into the film.
That all changed when People reported last year that Pat Morita died due to complications caused by a long term battle with alcoholism. Talk about a crane kick to the gut. Every fan of The Karate Kid had to feel at least partially responsible. After all, we should have seen it coming.
We can just imagine that day of shooting, "Cut! Wow, Pat that was, that was amazing. Very poignant. Pat, you can stop crying, the scene' over. Pat, leave Elizabeth Shue out of this. We're still trying to get her to sign on for the sequel. Oh Jesus, Pat please, pull your pants up."


Actor: Keanu Reeves
Film: Entire Career
Performance-Enhancer: Whatever he could get his hands on
Clue That Something Was Up: Whether he's playing a little league coach, a futuristic martial arts Messiah or a straight edge surfer cop, Keanu somehow always comes off as "guy who' so stoned that he finds everything anyone says to him completely mind-blowing." This comes in handy whenever he' being told something that is truly mind-blowing, like when George Carlin sends him through time in a phone booth or Lawrence Fishburn tells him he' been sent to save the universe. It is less convincing when Reeves is asked for the time and he responds with a look of thunderstruck disbelief.
The man has clearly got the strongest hash in town, based both on his mannerisms and the fact that the secondhand smoke is enough to affect the decision making ability of any casting agent he comes within a block of.
Oh, and then there's this answer to a question about whether he's ever tried drugs: "I've had wonderful experiences. I mean really wonderful. In teaching. Personal epiphanies. About life. About a different perspective-help with different perspectives that you have. You know what I mean? Relationships to nature. Relationships with the self. With other people. With events." In other words, "What a coincidence that you asked me about drugs, not only have I taken them, but I'm stoned out of my gourd right now."


Director: Oliver Stone
Film: Natural Born Killers
Performance-Enhancer:To quote the great Dr. Thompson, we're guessing it was a "multicolored galaxy of uppers, downers, screamers (and) laughers."
Clue That Something Was Up: The only director to make the cut, and certainly not the only director to have had his performance chemically enhanced while directing a film, Stone makes the list for a couple of reasons. First, there's the director's commentary on the DVD where Stone talks about going out into the desert while scouting locations and eating so many mushrooms that he vomited. Then, there's the film itself, which is just a completely disorienting experience. Everything that appears on screen seems to be filtered through the minds eye of a person who has washed down a fist full of peyote with a gulp of moonshine. There's a reason that this movie was so overrated when you were in high school: its the cheapest way to approximate actual psychotropics this side of Robitussin.


Actor: Sylvester Stallone
Film: Rocky III
Performance-Enhancer: Steroids
Clue That Something Was Up: The character of Rocky has always reflected the action stars of the decade in which he appeared. In the '70s, Rocky was an underdog anti-hero whose everyman build matched the Dirty Harry and Serpico action star landscape of the day.
But after the cynicism of the '70s disappeared into the eyes-bigger-than-our-stomach Reagan era, so too did the physical subtlety of our action stars. Whereas in the past freakishly muscled behemoths were reserved for henchmen and Bond villains, in the '80s we found ourselves rooting for them. Thus were born action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger who, despite having a thick Austrian accent, was cast at various times as an ex-Navy SEAL or an American spy-always with an American family.
After the first two Rocky films, in which he was a slow moving, slow witted, practically retarded underdog, Stallone had a choice. He could test his luck to see if America would make an exception for Rocky Balboa, or he could update Rocky to the new era.
Stallone made what would ultimately be the most important decision ever made by anyone ever, and decided to update Rocky into an obscenely jacked, steroid-amped body builder who happened to be wearing boxing gloves. Stallone showed up for the third Rocky film with a build about as believably organic as Popeye's. Gone was the spare tire around his midsection.
And while the No. 1 spot sort of goes to Schwarzenegger by association, we gave it to Stallone because a) Schwarzenegger openly admits to having taken steroids, so its a lot less fun to accuse him of juicing and b) Schwarzenegger has always been enormous, whereas Stallone was just an above-average sized actor who showed up to work one day looking like a cartoon character.
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