Monday, September 20, 2010


Randy Quaid Arrested For Squatting In Old Home reads the somewhat inelegantly phrased headline Reuters has chosen for this story, and viewers who know Quaid primarily as Cousin Eddie, his character from the National lampoon's Vacation series, would be forgiven for assuming Quaid was squatting to take a dump.

But no, he and his wife were arrested for squatting like hobos in a bad thirties social realist play, living in a house they no longer own, claiming they belong there despite all evidence to the contrary.  It's the latest in a string of bizarre incidents involving Quaid, who seems to be working to erase all memories of the great actor he used to be.  He was the sad, sad heart of Hal Ashby's magnificent The Last Detail, a member of Peter Bogdanovich's stock company back when that meant something, and a welcome player in such cult favorites as The Long Riders, Quick Change and The Ice Harvest.  

Unfortunately, his dickish real-life behavior and apparent readiness to accept any script he's offered (Balls Out?  Seriously?) threaten to infect his career like a virus, making his very presence a cause for groaning, and retroactively making even his best previous work seem lesser in stature.  He's turning into latter-day Dennis Hopper, only at least Hopper's history of self-immolation was spectacular, whereas Quaid's is just kind of pathetic.

Still, The Last Detail--man, that's a great movie.