Woah. fat much? Phoebe Cates kept her youth but not her beauty. It must be all that emotional eating from stressing over acting roles. Phoebe was a well-known 80s actress but not one of the dreaded Back Pack (too much competition for Demi Moore). Phoebe tried her hand at modelling before getting into film, but her career was short-lived. Instead in 1982, at 17, she accepted the starring role in Paradise. She did several nude scenes in the movie, which mirrored the plot of The Blue Lagoon, a successful Brooke Shields film. (See my blog Brooke Shields – Pretty Old, Baby). Phoebe regretted being in the movie, most likely due to the extensive full nudity and scathing critical reviews, and said, “what I learned was never to do a movie like that again.” (Ouch). Her co-star Willie Aames, stated, “she will have nothing to do with the film. She’s really upset about it. She won’t do any promotion with me.”
Video: Phoebe Cates in Paradise.
Video: Phoebe in Shag.
Phoebe’s subsequent film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) as Linda Barrett, was a major hit. Phoebe Cates’ bikini scene is one of the most memorable in 1980s films. The following year, she had a supporting role in the silly sex comedy Private School. This time however Phoebe played the “nice girl.” Finally a role where Phoebe didn’t flash her boobs. Her later roles were much more modest and oriented toward younger audiences, such as two Gremlins films, the first in 1984 being a box office hit. She appeared in several 80′s movies, although they didn’t garner her the success of Ridgement High or Gremlins. In 1984 she appeared with Michael J. Fox and Keifer Sutherland in Bright Lights, Big City. Phoebe radically changed her appearance for her role, cutting her long, black hair into a more sophisticated crop. The film was a mediocre success. She left the 80′s with two more utterly banal films under her belt: Shag and Heart of Dixie. Truly her career should have taken a nosedive here but somehow it didn’t.
video: Phoebe in Gremlins.
video: Trailer: Bright Lights, Big City
Her face made the covers of teen magazines such as Seventeen, Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and many others. In 1984, she starred in the TV mini-series Lace. She sought the role of Lili “to get away from a sameness in her movie portrayals.” What she reallhy meant was to make it seem like she could act when she couldn’t. I mean, look at those videos. During her audition, the writer wanted to hire her on the spot. Perhaps she did a bikini scene for him. The 90s brought about several ho-hum flicks including Drop Dead Fred, Bodies, Rest & Motion, and Princess Caraboo, an absolutely stupid box office bomb. (Ouch).The only halfway funny film she appeared briefly in was I Love You to Death, which starred her husband Kevin Kline, whom she married in 1989. Seriously. Kevin Kline. Can you believe that? The guy’s old enough to be her grandfather. video: Drop Dead Fred Part 1
Now Phoebe would have us believe that after she and Kevin had two children she semi-retired from acting to raise her family. Sounds lovely, but the truth is she sucked. Phoebe snagged roles because she was cute and she was willing to take her clothes off. The girl couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. After she acted in Princess Caraboo her career took a series nosedive. Well, no shit. Didn’t see that one coming. Phoebe didn’t reappear in movies until 2001 in The Anniversary Party a critical but not a box office success. The director was her best friend Jennifer Jason Leigh, whom she co-starred with in Ridgemont High.
video: Princess Caraboo Part 1
video: Phoebe on Late Night with Dave Letterman
video: Phoebe and Kevin in I Love You to Death
video: Trailer: I Love You to Death
None … its been 10 years since her last film
Comeback Grade: B as in Bikini days are over, Phoebe