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Webster's Definition:
NEPOTISM [nep'-uh-tiz-uhm] n. Unfair favoritism shown to relatives, especially in securing jobs.

Movie Definition:
NEPOTISM [nep'-uh-tiz-uhm] n. The reason twenty-five percent of Hollywood is employed.

Pop Quiz, hotshot:

Okay, let's say you are this aspiring actor or actress. You involve yourself in the drama department while in high school, you go to college on an acting scholarship, you fight your way tooth and nail through the gauntlet and finally make your way to Hollywood. After landing some sitcom cameos and commercial spots, you finally make it big and land your breakthrough starring role in a major motion picture. Before you know it, everyone in Hollywood is beating down your door, including your kid brother or sister, who was more interested in sports than the film industry growing up. What do you do?

A. Tell your sibling to look for work elsewhere, because they're not talented enough to just waltz in and do what you've worked for,

B. Tell them if they wish to pursue this new dream, to earn it like you did, or

C. Use your pull to land them a supporting role in either one of your films or one of somebody else's.

All too often, the answer is C.

Now this is not always a bad thing. Some of Hollywood's siblings and children are just as talented as the original family member to make it in Hollywood. Do you think Sean and Chris Penn are any less talented because they had help from their famous father in making it in the biz? Isn't it a good thing that the mediocre at best Rosanna Arquette used her pull to land talented youngsters David and Patricia major roles? Have Michael Douglas and Isabella Rosellini not paid their dues in the movie biz just as well as their famous parents?

But for every Laura Dern, there's a Sofia Coppola. For every Joaquin Phoenix, there's a Frank Stallone. You see, all to often in Hollywood the wrong people land the wrong roles just because they have the right bloodlines. Here's a random sampling of Family life in Hollywood and what it breaks down to:


SUCCESSFUL SIBLINGS: Alec, Billy, and Stephen Baldwin; John and Joan Cusack; River and Joaquin Phoenix, Dennis and Randy Quaid; Ralph and Joseph Feinnes; Miranda and Natasha Richardson; Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave; Rosanna, Patricia, and David Arquette; Casey and Nina Siemaszko; Jeremy and Jason London; Keith and David Carradine; Tony and Ridley Scott; Damon and Keenan I. Wayans; Virginia and Michael Madsen; Jerry and David Zucker; Owen and Luke Wilson; Francis Coppola and Talia Shire.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEPOTISM: Tom and Jim Hanks; John and Nick Turturro; Ron and Clint Howard; John, Joey, and Ellen Travolta; Matt and Kevin Dillon; Julia and Eric Roberts; Elizabeth and Andrew Shue; Bruce and Pamela Springsteen; Sylvester and Frank Stallone; Christian and Helen Slater; Woody and Brian Harrelson; Melanie and Tracy Griffith; Meg and Jennifer Tilly; Michelle and DeeDee Pfieffer; John and James Belushi; Olivia and Mariam D'abo; Bill and Brian Doyle Murray; Macaulay and Kieran Culkan; Dermot and Kieran Mulroney; Billy and Lora Zane, Dana and Kim Delaney.

SIBLINGS WHO MADE IT TOGETHER: Allen and Albert Hughes; Joel and Ethan Coen; Peter and David Farrely; Larry and Andy Wachowski; Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Notice that none of these are actors.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST BREEDING IN GENERAL: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; Peter and David Paul; Shannon and Tracy Tweed; Kirk and Candace Cameron; Jason and Justine Bateman; Scott and Jimmy Baio; Mariel and Margaux Hemingway.

BLACK SHEEPS: Daniel Baldwin; Alexis Arquette; Kim, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans; Rain Phoenix; Robert Carradine.


THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Michael Douglas; Jeff and Beau Bridges; Sean, Chris, and Michael Penn; Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez; Isabella Rosellini, Nick Cassavetes; Peter and Jane Fonda; Bridget Fonda; Liza Minelli; Adam Arkin; Geraldine Chaplin; Mira Sorvino; Melanie Griffith; Laura Dern; Drew Barrymore; Jamie Lee Curtis, Nicolas Cage, Robert Downey, Jr.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEPOTISM: Jake Busey; Zoe Cassevetes; Sofia Coppola; Brian, David, and Peter DeLuise; Scott Caan; Sean and Mackenzie Astin; Ed Begley, Jr.

NON-NUCLEAR KIDS WHO ARE ALL RIGHT: Ewan MacGregor (Dennis Lawson, uncle).

NON NUCLEAR ARGUMENTS AGAINST: George Clooney (Rosemary Clooney, aunt).

OFTEN MISTAKEN AS A MEMBER OF A FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD FAMILY: Todd Bridges; Adam Baldwin; Willard Scott; Tanya Roberts; Afro Sheen Digg!

All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.

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