In 1988, there was a terrible movie released called 'Johnny Be Good,' starring Anthony Michael Hall as a star high school quarterback. If there were any lingering doubt as to how bad 'Johnny Be Good' really is, you should just re-read the last ten words of the previous sentence. One of the cultural oddities of 'Johnny Be Good' is that future Academy Award nominee John Hawkes appears as a pizza delivery boy who winds up on the receiving end of a pie-to-the-face delivered by Paul Gleason ('The Breakfast Club,' 'Trading Places'). For reasons I don't understand, I decided to bring up 'Johnny Be Good' while speaking with Hawkes about his quite fantastic performance in 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' (the full interview will publish next week). As I learned, the film is -- understandably -- not Hawkes' favorite subject, and the inquiry led to the following awkward exchange. It turns out, while shoving a pie into Hawkes' face, Gleason probably didn't exactly pull his punch -- leading to an altercation on the set.
[Note, Hawkes didn't actually name Gleason as the instigator, but after watching the embedded clip below, it's pretty easy to decipher the "older actor" to which Hawkes refers.]

What are your memories of playing the pizza guy in 'Johnny Be Good'?
Oh my god. It's one of the first things I did and it's probably one of the most embarrassing things. And it's something that I try to kind of really forget and not talk about. Only because I fell the work was pretty awful on my end. I was living in Texas, it was money -- there were a lot of things about that job that were not great. I don't want to go too deeply into it. I had an issue with an older actor who has passed away who was pretty mean to me, physically, in the movie. To the point where there was intercession from other actors. Anyway, it was just not a great experience, I would say.

I have no idea why I brought that up.
And it was going so well!

I feel I just ruined the whole thing.
Not at all, man.

Honestly, I would have never thought in a million years the 'Johnny Be Good' would be a controversial subject.
Well, I'm just embarrassed by it. I'm also just embarrassed by the work, but, you know, that's how you learn and try to get better next time.

I accept your scorn.
Aw, no scorn.

Now for weeks I'll be screaming in my shower, "Why did I have to bring up 'Johnny Be Good'?! Why?!"
Cross it off the list. That's the problem with IMDb, too, because you hope those little tiny ones would slip away.

It does stand out when you think of John Hawkes. "'Johnny Be Good'? That's weird."
And Uma Thurman, come on. And Robert Downey Jr. -- these are people who have been nominated for big awards... at their worst.

It's a good thing that we don't think of you when when 'Johnny Be Good' is mentioned.
I like that.

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categories Movies