In theaters this week are Clint Eastwood's slightly anticipated Razzie-contending Hoover biopic J. Edgar — featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and 50 pounds of sweaty, wrinkled silicone as the titular FBI director — and Adam Sandler's terrifying-looking Jack and Jill in which he plays his own sister. To celebrate, Grantland's YouTube Hall of Fame is remembering the worst and least explicable movie-star transformations ever.
Fisher Stevens in Short Circuit
Rafe Bartholomew: John Wayne did yellowface. So did Marlon Brando. Katherine Hepburn? You bet. Yul Brynner? Duh. If so many legendary actors have crude Asian stereotypes on their résumés, then what makes Fisher Stevens' turn as Indian engineer Ben Jabituya in Short Circuit (and the renamed Ben Jahrvi in Short Circuit 2) so horrendous? Well, Wayne, Brando, Hepburn, and Brynner all did their racial damage before 1960, while Stevens broke out his Kwik-E-Mart accent and mocha foundation in the late 1980s. Were we really so ignorant 25 years ago that a white guy from Illinois could spit malapropisms like "I have to go to the Jack" and "Her pants are blazing for you, Newton Crosby!" and audiences wouldn't mind? Apparently, yes. Thankfully, the Short Circuit movies had the perfect antidote to Stevens' unfortunate transformation: the open-hearted humanism of a military robot who has been struck by lightning and brought to life. Johnny Five Alive!