Every actor has to start somewhere, so it's not a surprise to learn that most of the current crop of A-list celebrities began their careers in TV commercials and guest spots on sitcoms. But then there are the actors who got their starts peddling outrageous viewpoints in insane pieces of propaganda designed to steer children away from, among other things, the dangers of role-playing games and premarital sex ...
5 Tom Hanks Starred In A Fear-Mongering TV Movie About Tabletop RPGs
In 1982, a promising young actor named Tom Hanks nailed his first movie role: a made-for-TV drama called Mazes And Monsters, which was basically Reefer Madness applied to tabletop role-playing games.
"I can't promise as many cock shots as Labyrinth, but by god, there will be peeing."
For context, during the "Satanic panic" of the 1980s, it was a popular fear that every kids' hobby, from music to comic books, was driving them into the arms of the Dark Lord. One of the targets of this fear was Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop game in which people harmlessly pretend to be wizards and knights slaying imaginary orcs. Because only Satan would design a game wherein you have to throw tetrahedral shapes in order to correctly use your imagination.
In the film, Hanks plays a kid named Robbie who becomes so obsessed with pen-and-paper RPGs that he quickly loses his grip on reality, eventually believing himself to be an actual paladin and suffering hallucinations of a Roger-Corman-style rubber monster suit he calls the Gorvil.
Look, it's a made-for-TV movie; they had to cut some corners on character names.
Things get even more out of hand when Robbie gets mugged in the street, then stabs his assailant because he thinks he's being attacked by the Gorvil (although stabbing someone who is trying to mug you is not entirely out of line).
"I attack with my Dagger of a Thousand Shankings!"
After the incident, Robbie goes completely off the deep end and decides to get away from everything by leaping off the World Trade Center and using a spell to fly to his fantasy dimension. (Reminder: This will not work.) The scene in which his friends confront him on the roof is without a doubt the greatest moment in Tom Hanks' entire acting career:
"Remember kids: D&D is the devil, and profound psychiatric issues can be cured with the power of hugs."
Unfortunately, Robbie is never able to break out of his delusion. Such is the strength of tabletop gaming's evil. Thus, he's doomed to wander mindlessly around his parents' estate for the rest of his life, mentally trapped in his made-up fantasy world. And the film would have us believe that this is what will happen to your kids if you recklessly allow them to play Dungeons & Dragons. A movie showing the entire high school calling Robbie and his friends giant nerdlingers probably would have been more effective.
"What's in the box? What's in the box??!"
4 Ben Affleck Was In A Cheesy PSA About Roid Rage
In the early 1990s, HBO aired their own gritty reboot of ABC Afterschool Special called Lifestories: Families In Crisis. Each episode focused on alarming issues facing the day's teens that parents had no idea they should be panicking about. One 1994 episode, "A Body To Die For: The Aaron Henry Story," was about a high school football player who abuses steroids. The role was cast with a then-unknown Ben Affleck. He would go on to play minor variations of this character for the rest of his career.
The first documented moment of "Affleckting."
Aaron Henry was a real student who was hospitalized with severe health problems after constantly abusing steroids over the course of four years. The HBO adaptation took some major liberties with the true story by reducing the time scale to a few weeks and replacing Henry's chronic and debilitating organ damage with something that's easier to show in a visual medium: roid rage.
Soon after starting his new career as a steroid junkie, Henry starts losing his temper at random intervals, like Bruce Banner with an ingrown toenail. In one scene, he flips out and stomps the shit out of a rival jock (played by a young Abraham Ford from The Walking Dead).
His tantrums only escalate from there, to the point where, upon catching his girlfriend going through his performance enhancer stash, he punches her and then destroys his bedroom in a fit of melodramatic violence that would be matched only by the Internet after it heard that this man would be playing Batman
Like most alarmist propaganda, the movie didn't accurately portray the issue it warned about. According to experts, "roid rage" isn't really a thing that exists -- at least, not in the sense that it turns normally meek people into aggressive monsters. People suffering from the rage are most likely already aggressive, but can do more damage due to the fact that they're mega-jacked now.
Of course, if the show had presented the real cost of steroids, Affleck would have spent most of the running time lying in a hospital bed with his kidneys and spleen bleeding into his abdomen and his testicles shriveled to the size of California Raisins. Which, while arguably way more shocking and definitely the more responsible lesson to teach young teenagers, wouldn't have made for nearly as good of an episode of television.
20th Century Fox
Plus, his side dong in Gone Girl wouldn't have been anywhere as tantalizing.