Monday, November 8, 2010

National Lampoon's Canadian Vacation

AND PEOPLE THOUGHT JOHN & YOKO WERE NUTS: Actor Randy Quaid [left] and wife Evi [right] are delivering the performances of a lifetime in what is apparently a movie about a talented actor who goes nuts and moves to Canada.

Randy Quaid has been in a boatload of funny movies. He's done some great dramatic roles, too [his portrayal of Lyndon Johnson on the Made-for-TV biopic LBJ: The Early Years earned him a Golden Globe in 1987. But comedy is his claim-to-fame. He's been in a lot of them.

And not one of them is as funny as what Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, have been up to in their private lives. If you think your sibling is an embarrassing freak that brings shame, scorn and humiliation onto your family name, you ain't got nothing on poor Dennis Quaid.

Where to begin? It's been clear for years that Randy was losing his mind. Many blame his second wife, Evi, whom he married in 1989. First, in September 2009, the couple was charged with defrauding an innkeeper of more than $10,000, as well as conspiracy and burglary, after an invalid credit card was used at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. While felony charges were later dropped against Randy Quaid, Evi Quaid pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of defrauding an innkeeper and was sentenced to three years' probation. She was also ordered to perform 240 hours of community service.

That was not the only encounter with places of lodging. There were also numerous claims from hotels around the country that the Quaids had left them in the lurch for tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid hotel bills. Some involved fake credit cards; others on cards that were maxed out. The Quaids escaped jail - somehow - by reimbursing all of the hotels.

The latest trouble began with the Quaids breaking into the guesthouse of what they claim is their former home, and basically squatting there until the current owner couldn't take it and called the police. A contractor showed police more than $5,000 in damages - caused by the Quaids - to the guest house. The Quaids told deputies they had owned the property since the 1990s. The Quaids were arrested and brought up on vandalism charges and were released on bail. TMZ got a hold of audio [God knows how] of Evi being arrested. During the arrest she can be heard screaming, "Please shoot me!!! My dog!!! Doji!!! My dog!!!!"

Naturally, after posting bail, the Quaids fled to Canada. Once there, they requested asylum in Canada to protect them from what Randy Quaid called "Hollywood star whackers" who wanted to kill him. Now, especially having just written extensively about John Lennon - the most famous star killed because of his celebrity - I'm not insensitive to the idea that some lunatic could try to kill Randy Quaid. That being said, the frantic way in which the Quaids have been screaming about the conspiracy to kill him simply looks and smells like mental illness.

Then there was the scene at the Canadian immigration board hearing on granting the Quaids asylum. Evi Quaid mesmerized those in attendance by telling them that her famous friends, including David Carradine and Heath Ledger, were "murdered" under strange circumstances and feared something similar would happen to her and her husband next. "We feel our lives are in danger," she said. "Randy has known eight close friends murdered in odd, strange manners. We feel that we're next."

Now, why on Earth would anyone want to stop this comedy by killing the two stars of the film? Well, the Canadians eventually tired of the plot line to the film, and released both Quaids, declaring that Evi Quaid was, indeed, a Canadian citizen.

While in Canada, the Quaids agreed to sit down for an interview with Andrea Canning from ABC's Good Morning America . The couple [of what?] delivered one of the finest dramedic efforts in television history. First, Randy Quaid complained about how his claims have made him a laughing stock. "To have my, my integrity and my reputation so denigrated so mercilessly, why? Why would somebody want to do this to me?" Of course, that's a question Randy could get answered by looking in a mirror.

Evi didn't disappoint either. She whined with a straight face, "We are refugees. I mean that's essentially what it is: Hollywood refugees. Seeking to be left alone by the criminals in America. I genuinely feel like these people are trying to kill us." When Canning asked who would be trying to kill them, Evi said, "an estate planner who had set up a living trust in a county where they could cash Randy's royalty stream forever." When Canning pressed as to why someone would want to kill them, Evi responded, "To get the money."

When Canning asked if anyone has actually threatened to kill them, Randy Quaid said, "They follow us. They, they tail us, they tag our cell phone, they hack our computer. And now, with the Internet, a celebrity is fair game. And it's all designed to sell advertising space." Just in case you're thinking that maybe somebody is trying to get the Quaids, try to make sense out of that last quote and get back to me.

In the interview with GMA, Randy Quaid further said, "It is very possible that, uh, Heath Ledger could've been murdered. Or David Carradine." Evi added, "And Robert Blake was set up." Whem asked to further define 'star whackers' [the phrase Randy Quaid had used in an address to the media], Randy Quaid said, "It's possible for people to gain control of every aspect of your life." Evi added, "They're businessmen. They're absolute businessmen. It's the Mafia. It's organized crime."

When the Quaids were asked if they felt there were any particular celebrities who should be worried about being killed, Evi Quaid responded without missing a beat, "Lindsay Lohan." Randy Quaid said, "Yeah, definitely. Brittney Spears." Evi Quaid continued, "Mel Gibson, too." When Canning asked if Evi thought that maybe - just maybe - the content of Gibson's recorded conversations might be the reason Gibson is now persona non grata, as opposed to some conspiracy, Evi would have none of it. "I think he was drugged. I think he was slipped a mickey. That's my personal opinion. " Randy Quaid added, "I think she [girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva] was sent in to do him in." Following up on the star whacker theme, Canning asked if Randy meant Grigorieva was 'sent in' to kill Gibson, both Quaids reacted as if it was the craziest thing they'd ever heard. "No, no, no!" Randy said, "Just Figuratively. To ruin him. I mean look at all this [negative publicity]."

As to the charges against the Quaids about the tens of thousands of dollars in hotel bills on bogus credit cards, Quaid answered - apparently - another question that must have been in his head. "When we've gone a day here, a day there without anything to eat or a place to stay, and that happens more frequently and more frequently, at some point, you know, you're gonna end up out on the street."

So, what does poor Dennis Quaid make of all of this. Well, Randy Quaid says that he is worried about his brother. "I feel he's being victimized the same way that I have by the same people. And, um, accountants..." Randy Quaid said he's tried to warn his brother, but to no avail. "He doesn't, uh, he doesn't respond." Evi went further. "Dennis is now on a treadmill of making films that are garbage. And it's unfortunate because he's talented."

My favorite part of the interview, though, was when Randy went off on Evi herself. After she constantly answered questions intended for him, Randy snapped. When she did it again, Randy angrily turned to Evi and said, "Evi, would you shut up for a minute please? Please? C'mon!"

See. I told you he could do drama.

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