James Spader seems to be holding up pretty well. True he’s put on quite a few pounds (more than necessary I dare suggest) but the face is still young and handsome and I’m sure he could still kick butt on screen. I am of the ilk that it’s James’ choice to avoid tinsel town. That must be the case since the man can act and is riveting in the right role. Still I remain a cynic so if you ain’t working you’re a wash up in my book. Anyhoo.
James got his start as Brooke Shield’s brother (didn’t know she had one in the movie) in the 1981 hit Endless Love. That film was so stupid yet at the time it came out I was a teenager and I had to see it just to look at Brooke. Just goes to show you that teenagers really don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Well so much for James’ impact.
In 1986 he became a major movie star when he co-starred with Molly Ringwald, another washed up brat packer (see my blog Molly Ringwald Film Actress and Brat Packer) in Pretty in Pink. Everyone noticed him then. Damn. This was the first glimpse we had of the cynical bastard Spader could be and the part he would portray best in his long-running career. He co-starred with another brat packer Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin, an utterly dreadful flick that should have tanked both their careers. They got lucky.
He co-starred in the major hit Wall Street along with Charlie Sheen who wasn’t a bichin’ rock star from Mars yet, (see my blog Charlie Sheen – Actor and Wizard) and Michael Douglas. Fierce. In 1989 he shot to superstardom in Sex, Lies and Videotape playing sexual voyeur Graham. Hot stuff in its day but pretty tame stuff by 21st century standards. To watch a series of scenes from Pretty in Pink titled Why James Spader is Hot click here. To see James in Crash Trailer click here. They should have called it Trash instead of Crash. So it would be the Trash Trailer, which reversed would be Trailer Trash. Now that’s a movie.
His roles in the early 1990s included an affluent widower opposite Susan Sarandon (can’t stand her) in White Palace, John Cusack’s best friend (love Cusack and his sister Joan) in True Colors, also co-starring the late, legendary Paul Newman. In 1994, he starred as brilliant Egyptologist Daniel Jackson in the blockbuster Stargate. Great move on Spader’s part. He tormented Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson with his sarcasm and sinister alter ego in the creepy, kick-butt film Wolf. James is never at his peak as impressively as when is playing a demented jackass.
James was car-accident fetishist James Ballard in the controversial (gross) Canadian film Crash in 1996. In 2001, he starred as Maggie Gyllenhaal’s sadistic boss in the Secretary. Not a bad piece of work. That’s when James’ career took a nosedive. He stopped gracing the silver screen and took a demotion to TV sitcoms. From 2004 to 2008, Spader starred as the lead character Alan Shore in the TV series The Practice. What a boring show. What an insult to Spader’s talent. He must have needed the money.
When that tanked he played the same character in Boston Legal, a highly unusual and successful career move. Good shows, but they weren’t feature films. To watch a scene from Wolf titled Wolf – Laura Meets Stewart click here.
To see James in Secretary click here.
To see James as Alan Shore in The Practice click here.
James gave Playboy an interview in 2005. His latest acting role at that time was in Race, an (egad) play in which he co-starred with some lame celebrities that no one gives a damn about. It opened on December 6, 2009 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and not suggest he made another downward spiral to the stage and that even TV doesn’t want him anymore. I’ll keep that to myself. To see James Spader in Stargate click here. To see James Spader About Stargate click here.
To connect to James Spader on Facebook click here.
Well, he’s still working. Sorta.
Comeback Grade: G as in Get off the stage and back into film
James’ Facebook Fans: 1,102 – washed up
**Update** In the years since I posted this review, Spader has indeed made an impressive comeback. He stars in The Blacklist, a series which is apparently doing very well. I guess some people will watch anything. Well, good for him. We always knew he had it in him, didn’t we, Spader fans?