Biography | Resume | Interview | NewsPictures | Webisodes

Biography

    He was born to Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen on July 10, 1983. After graduating Crossroads High School, in Santa Monica, Charlie dove straight into film school at Chapman University. Attending two years at Chapman at the top of his class, Charlie developed his eye and love for great storytelling. He had a bit part in a film with his father called 2103: Deadly Wake. He has directed and produced over ten short films, written multiple short screenplays, and recently finished a spec episode of CBS’s Joan of Arcadia, in which he was nominated for a Chapman Student Award. His professional work includes: two seasons working on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, touring with Ben Harper filming a concert DVD that was released in 2005, co-director of a documentary on filmmaker John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), and was even a ringside cameraman for an Ultimate Pro Wrestling event. He constantly reads  screenplays, treatments, concepts, researched material, etc., and passes it on to many big-time Hollywood producers. Now, at twenty-one years of age, Charlie has been accepted and will attend the world-renowned American Film Institute Conservatory. He directed the short film Bye Bye Benjamin starring his dad and stepdad, plus the voices of his mom and sister.

Resume

Title Role Year
The West Miniseries Voice role 1996
2103: Deadly Wake Kitchen worker 1997
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals: Live Director 2003
Curb Your Enthusiasm Production assistant/Extra in 5 eps 2004
Becker Patient - episode DNR 2004
A Bump in the Road Director 2005
O Lucky Malcolm Himself 2006
Bye Bye Benjamin Director 2006
Eli and Charlie have a Sleepover Director/Himself 3/08
Eli & Charlie Discover a Glory Hole Director/Himself 4/08
Eli and Charlie get a Job Director/Himself 6/08

Interview

My exclusive interview with Charlie completed on 9/21/04.

Is this your first interview?

This is the first interview I've ever done on my dad. I've done one on camera for my mom and step dad before.

What advice would you give to any young people who are reading this who want to get into directing and or the film business?

Follow your voice. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it is actually true. Film is such an amazing way to express oneself like painting, singing, dancing, etc. Film is such a powerful thing. No matter who you are film can impact your life. To me, there is no such thing as a bad movie. I hate debating with people for hours about films. Who am I to say what is good and what isn't? If you can become emotionally involved and connected to a film, then that filmmaker did their job. It is a very powerful thing to be a part of that elite group of people that can bring something written on a page to life. So, basically, if you want to become a director than you should totally f--king go for it. Plus, it is a great way to pick up girls.

Your dad's birth name was Taylor, McDowell was his stage name, but you and your sister are both McDowells. Is he legally McDowell on his license and such?

I'm not sure if he officially changed it, but it has been McDowell long before I was born. I don't think anyone refers to him as Malcolm Taylor anymore. I'm happy with McDowell though, it's a damn fine name.

In the bio on your site there is no mention of your parents. Is that so people won't prejudge you?

I just don't want to be known as my parent's son. People normally find out somehow, but I'm not going to be the one to say anything. I could never feel satisfied if I used my parents to get somewhere in life. I love them as mentors and teachers, not as a way into something. I want to do that for myself.

I see that you have chosen to spend time on the other side of the camera by directing. Was this a decision to not follow in your parents' footsteps or were you just drawn to it?

I don't think it was a decision not to follow my parents' footsteps. I tried acting as a kid and it just never really came naturally to me. I always knew what a good performance was, but I don't think I was able successfully pull it off. So I discovered directing and it came completely natural to me. Both my parents still think I will be an actor someday, but to tell you the truth it terrifies me. I'm much more of the awkward, obsessed filmmaker type.

Does this mean you'd like to direct your mom or dad someday or would it be too stressful?

I have actually directed my mother in several short films, but I don't think I've directed my dad before. I would love to work with both of them on a professional level. You can't get much better actors than those two. I'm actually writing my AFI thesis film now and they both have great parts in it, although my dad would probably make it really hard for me. He is quite the jokester and I could see him testing my patience.

Are you ever going to put your short films on your site or on DVD at some point?

Yes, they will be up on the site shortly. When I graduate from AFI I will probably make a DVD with my favorite short films on it.

Here's a challenge for you: Can you be the first director to reunite your parents in a movie?

Yes, I think I will be that director. I will do one better for you. I will throw in my step dad, sister and cousin. That would be quite the production.

How long ago did you establish Cloudbreak Productions and was that more of a way to get your own projects off the ground or to be a hired gun for other peoples' projects?

I launched Cloudbreak Productions in June of this year. It started off really low key. I basically just wanted a website and a name to showcase some of my work. But then I started getting into producing as well. By July, I was reading about a script a day. I found a couple good ones and started taking them around to young producers that I knew. I put together a great team of people and that's where everything just sort of took off. Now we have a pilot being written for ABC that I helped create, a talk show that just got picked up by Fuse, and a feature film that is currently getting talent attached.

Have you ever been sent a script you thought would be perfect for your mom or dad?

I've seen a few where they would make good supporting characters, but none so far that really stick out. I have a feeling I will find one soon though...

Who are your favorite directors?

Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Alexander Payne, Zach Braff, Chris/Paul Weitz, Jonathan Demme, Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and of course the great Lindsay Anderson.

Which is your favorite Lindsay Anderson film and why?

if... I think it's my dad's most complete film. Its structure, direction and performance is absolutely flawless. Lindsay tells this story through perfectly executed visuals and not just through dialogue.

If you could ask Kubrick or Lindsay Anderson one question about filmmaking what would it be?

I don't know if I'd have a specific question for either, but I would love to have discussed with Lindsay his perfect use of wide shots. He is the only director I've ever seen that has the ability to show so much emotion and understanding of a character through a long lasting wide shot. I would love to have talked to Kubrick about his use of space, color, shapes, and style. He is the god of all of those.

One of my all-time favorite shots is in if... when Mick, Johnny and Wallace are getting whipped and the camera doesn't move the entire time until Mick opens the doors. Now everywhere I turn I see what I call "piñata filmmaking" like the camera is on a string and swings about. Is this something being taught in schools today? What is going on? I can't even watch most of the new stuff anymore.

That is an amazing shot. That shot says everything about Mick, without any fancy camera moves or techniques. Now that's storytelling. I don't know what to say about the "piñata filmmaking" that you talk about. It is not being taught at film schools. I think it has come from the damn reality TV shows. I think feature films are copying this style of filmmaking more and more to try and make it more realistic or something. I can't stand it. It is not true storytelling.

Who are some actors you'd like to direct?

That's a good one. I've never thought of that before…Bill Murray, Sir Sean Connery, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Sarsgaard, Natalie Portman (I'm in love with her), Owen Wilson, Jack Black and my parents (last resort).

If Natalie reads this she can contact you. How about favorite TV shows?

24, CSI, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Joan of Arcadia, Without a Trace, and The Shield.

Who are some of your favorite bands?

The Shins, Radiohead, Beck, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, The Beatles, Say Anything, Modest Mouse, Sigur Ros, Sparklehorse, and The Beach Boys.

How long did you tour with Ben Harper and what was that like?

I toured with Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals for a little under two months. It was such an amazing experience spending every day with some of the greatest musicians of all time. I learned a lot from all my experiences and had some of the best memories, but I probably wouldn't do it again. One day honestly feels like a month. No wonder so many musicians go a bit crazy, I don't blame them at all. It takes a lot of energy to live that lifestyle. 
Here's a funny story for you: The last night I was on tour when I was saying goodbye to everyone, I noticed a tattoo on Ben's drummer's (Oliver Charles) arm which I had not seen before. I got a closer look and realized it was a tattoo of my father from Clockwork. Oliver had no clue whom my dad was, so I said to him, "Wow, that's a tattoo I haven't seen of my dad before." He looked up at me laughing, thinking I was joking around with him, until he realized I look exactly like my father. He choked on his food and started freaking out. It was pretty amusing.

Did you get a picture of the tattoo or get it on film?

I don't think I ever got a picture of his tattoo, it is on his upper arm. I think there is a picture of it on the cover of one of Ben's CD's. It is a tattoo of one of those clockwork gears and the eye with eyelash inside.

Are you filming on film or Hi Def - for example the Ben Harper stuff?

The Ben Harper stuff was pretty much all done on digital. I wish we had the budget to shoot it on film. I much prefer to shoot on film.

Will you do a commentary on the DVD?

No. I'm not that special.

As a production assistant on Curb Your Enthusiasm what did that entail?

Ha ha, literally everything. I was an extra in five episodes, they used my car in three different episodes, I was a stand-in for Cheryl, I helped with editing, pretty much everything you can think of. I had the best time working on that show. Everyone was so cool and such good people. I also learned so much from Larry David. He is truly a comical genius. He even watched one of my short films, A Bump in the Road, and said that I have "true comedic timing and talent." I will never forget hearing those words, especially from one of my heroes.

Your only acting credit is in 2103 Deadly Wake. How was that like working with your dad?

Basically my dad tried to make me laugh the entire time! I'm bad when I start laughing, I can't stop. The director was getting really annoyed with me so no wonder all my lines were cut out.

I've seen the film, but couldn't find your scene.

You won't recognize me at all. I was a short fat kid that worked in the kitchen with my sister. Almost all my scenes were cut out. I blame my dad for that.

While growing up did you get to spend a lot of time on your parents' film sets and what were some of your favorites?

Well, I've spent most the time on my mom's film sets, which have always been fun. Although I did spend a couple months in Hawaii with my dad and step mom while he was shooting Fantasy Island. That was one of the best times I've ever had. It's really hard to go wrong in Hawaii, especially because I'm an avid surfer. But, I wasn't really interested in directing until I was about 16, so before that I would spend most my time in their trailers or eating free food at craft services. I'm such an idiot! I could have been learning from the world's greatest directors and instead I was eating! I guess I was too young to understand.

Any desire to direct a film on surfing? What do you think is the ultimate surfing film?

Well, the TV pilot that I created is a true story of eight brothers who grew up in a camper surfing around the world. I would love to do a surfing feature film. I have a few ideas and started writing a script, but we will see. The ultimate surfing film with a narrative is Big Wednesday and the ultimate surfing film of all time is Endless Summer.

When you are out with your parents in public who is recognized more and for what role?

I think they are recognized about the same. My mom gets all the sweet older women coming up to her and my dad gets the crazy homeless guys. It's really funny to watch his reactions. He is still greatly recognized from A Clockwork Orange and also Star Trek Generations.

What's the best and worst part about been the son of famous parents?

The best part is I'm extremely lucky and privileged. I automatically have an advantage in this business, not only from the people I meet, but also a second nature understanding of the business. That's half of it, just an understanding of how it works and I am lucky enough to have been raised in it and the help and advice that I get every day. I call them up all the time and ask specific questions. I don't know what I'd do without them. The worst part about having famous parents is I'm automatically judged. Whether I'm positively or negatively judged, I hate that feeling. I just want to be treated like everyone else. I want to be known and stick out for my ability, not for who my parents are. It's also hard sometimes meeting new people and trying to figure out if they want to be friends because of me or because of who my parents are.

Does your dad really have a phobia of using eye drops from Clockwork?

The eternal question…I'm not going to be the one to answer it.

What's the best piece of advice your dad has given you about the film business?

Don't become an actor. (I think he just wants me to become a director so I can hire him).

Has your mom and Ted Danson given you any advice about filmmaking?

Oh sure, they do all the time. My mom reads everything I write and gives me advice for improvement. I'm so lucky because she is a very good critic. Ted helps me all the time as well and he also comes to me for advice. They will both have me read potential scripts and give them my two cents. I learn so much from them. More so than what I learned at film school.

Has Alexander Siddig given you any advice?

No, I haven't spoken to him in a while. I should call him…

Was your sister in the Manchurian Candidate remake this year?

Yes, but I haven't seen it yet. I think most of her scenes were cut out. She's a great actress though. She's going to be huge.

Have you gotten any props from any of your dad's films and do you collect anything pertaining to his films?

I wish. I collect posters, mostly original James Bond's, but I would love an O Lucky Man! or if.… poster. They're pretty hard to find though.

Have you read A Clockwork Orange? How do you think it compares to the film?

Yes, I have read the book. People debate this for hours, but I wouldn't change anything about the movie. It is nearly a flawless film.

Have you ever dressed as Alex for Halloween?

No, but many of my friends have. I think I would scare the crap out of people. I have put on a bowler hat a few times and I almost scared myself. We look a lot alike. My dad dressed me up as Alex when I was about six, I think. Those pictures are somewhere, but I haven't seen them for a while.

What are your Top 5 favorite films starring your dad? I know you like Gangster No. 1.

In order: A Clockwork Orange (because of his performance), if… (because of the direction), O Lucky Man! (because of the film), Time After Time (because it's the reason I was born), Gangster No. 1 (because it's bad ass), and Mr. Magoo (joking).

What are your favorite films without your dad?

I love the filmmaker Wes Anderson, so I love his films, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums. I love films that are character driven. A good character is everything to me. I can't think of any more right now. I'm the kind of guy who sees a good film and says every time, "That is my favorite film of all time."

What are your Top 5 favorite films starring your mom?

In order: Melvin and Howard (she won a f--king Academy Award…so cool), Goin' South (great film and it's where it all started), Miss Firecracker (great script), Parenthood (childhood classic), Philadelphia (amazing performance), and Clifford (joking).

Are you able to watch films like Caligula and Melvin and Howard where your parents appear naked or do you just turn your head for those scenes?

I just turn my head and walk away. There is actually a funny story involving my friend, whom will remain nameless with Melvin and Howard playing on TV late at night. That's all I will say…

In recent photos you look a lot like your father. Does anyone ever recognize you or do a double take because of your resemblance?

I get stopped all the time on the street. If they are too crazy I won't say anything, but if they seem harmless I will tell them who my dad is. People really worship him and it's funny to me. I love him more than anything, but he is such a dork in real life. Actually, just a couple days ago in one of my film classes, we analyzed a still shot of my dad from Clockwork for about 10 minutes. People started to make the connection; it was really awkward and funny at the same time.

Is it too personal to ask how you took your parents divorce?

That's not too personal, I just don't know if they'd want my answer up there.

What was it like the first few times you played Wing Commander III + IV?

Sadly enough I've never played Wing Commander. I have no clue why not.

How long have you known about my site and what do you think of it?

Your site is awesome. Best one of my dad I've seen for sure. My dad and step mom told me about the site and said it was the best one.

Is there anything you saw on the site you didn't know about your dad?

Ha ha, pretty much everything up to the point of when I was born in the Biography section. Was I really named after my grandfather?

I see you have your dad's sense of humor. Do you have a favorite scene in A Clockwork Orange?

When my dad is eating in the hospital bed. Some of the most natural acting I've ever seen. Plus, that is so my dad, it completely sums him up. Actually I do a pretty good imitation of that scene.

Which film should your dad have won an Oscar for?

Clockwork. He is so f--king good.

Have you ever seen any unusual fan mail or items sent to your dad?

No, fan mail scares me.

How does it feel to finally get a brother after all this time?

Awesome! I love my little brother. He is the cutest thing in the world. Definitely got the McDowell genes.

What do you think would surprise people most about your dad?

Umm…let's see…he is honestly the funniest person I know. He wears dorky shorts when he goes on a hike. He is the greatest dad in the world. He has the best stories (even if they're made up). He can get away with anything. He has the coolest classic cars (I better be getting one). He has an amazing wife. He is very, very smart (except in math). He has gotten us kicked out of many restaurants, which I find hilarious, but my sister doesn't at all. He is the slowest typist in the world and doesn't understand computers at all. His football/soccer team is Liverpool. And last but not least, he has three children who worship the ground he walks on…but what do I know, I'm just his son.

When you say your dad "has gotten us kicked out of many restaurants" what do you mean? Complaining? Horsing around?

Actually both. I remember we got kicked out of somewhere because he was shining a laser pointer in the waiters' eyes and they were dropping everything. It was so funny. We also got kicked out of a few places because of cold food and stuff like that. When the McDowell temper comes out, it's hard to tame. It's pretty rare, but it will show itself every now and then. It came out for me today (damn LA drivers).

Anything you would like to promote?

Sure, I'll take some free publicity. My website is www.cloudbreakproductions.com designed by Pat Cole of Devit Designs.

News

1/20/08

Charlie & Haylie at AFI party 11/5/07

Haylie Duff is desperately trying to reunite with writer/director ex-boyfriend Charlie McDowell, less than two months after she ditched him. The pair hooked up in summer 2007, but Duff - big sister to Hilary ditched the son of Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell in November. But sources claim Duff, 22, changed her mind when she heard rumors McDowell, 24 was romancing Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere. A friend tells the National Enquirer, "She did an about face and began calling Charlie non-stop, telling him she'd made a huge mistake. At one point she even begged him: 'Please take me back.' "He told Haylie he'd moved on and wanted nothing more to do with her."

Mary, Charlie and Ted
Haylie Duff with Charlie driving a vehicle

In the 9/17/07 issue on page 5 of the National Enquirer the pictures above appeared in a story called 'Cheers! Haylie Duff falls for Ted Danson's stepson'. Hilary Duff's big sister and Charlie McDowell - son of Danson's actress-wife Mary Steenburgeon have been spotted at a number of Hollywood hotspots in the past few weeks. And the relationship between the pretty singer/actress and aspiring writer/director is heating up, say insiders. "Haylie had been on-again/off again with Kevin Connolly, but once she hooked up with Charlie she was off the market. They both come from celebrity families so they have a lot in common. In the beginning, they tried to keep their romance secret, but not anymore - this is the real deal." The Enquirer spotted Haylie 22 and Charlie 24, whose dad is Malcolm McDowell, snuggling at Les Deux nightclub in Hollywood on Aug 25 and the very next day they were together in Malibu. After spending a short while at a beach party, the couple headed for beachside home of Charlie's family. "Haylie spent the rest of the day with Charlie cuddling and kissing on his balcony. Ted and Mary weren't at home so they were able to get pretty close. Love is blossoming for Haylie and Charlie." confided a close source.

My note: This is the first time I've ever seen a McDowell in a trash mag. It's also weird when it is someone I've talked to a bit. I don't know how much is true, probably not much, but there is a picture and Charlie looks eerily like his dad, like he was caught and Haylie is looking at him with early dating young love in her eyes. I think it's just disgusting how the title is Cheers in reference to the famous show Ted was on and there's basically nothing about his dad. They are only interested in who is more famous in the public eye instead of focusing on  just him. He's only there because of famous parents and a famous girl. If this keeps up he'll be more famous than his dad in no time and what's worse is he'll be more known for who he dates than his directing talent.

Pictures

Exclusive - Charlie's friend Paul w/Malcolm - AFI 06 graduation (Charlie/Lilly in BG)
Exclusive - Malcolm at Charlie's AFI graduation 2006
Exclusive - Charlie doing his best Alex 2004
Malcolm, Charlie & Lilly 9/07
Mary with Charlie in 1999

Webisodes

Episode 1 - Eli & Charlie have a sleepover

Is this Neil Simon's New Gay Odd Couple? Charlie is over his friend Eli's house late watching a cheesy musical movie. They are sitting on the couch, Charlie is easting popcorn and Eli is really bored. The ending really gets to Charlie and he tears up. Eli says he can turn it off, but he's OK. He says they haven't seen each other in a long time. Eli doesn't mind turning it off. Charlie says it's one of the best endings ever. Soon after he does have Eli turn it off. Eli is tired and has work. Charlie is also tired and tries to convince him that it's too far to drive home, 30 minutes. Eli reminds him that it's late and there is no traffic, it would only be 20 minutes. Charlie says there is construction slowing it down to 15mph, so Eli agrees he can sleep on the couch. Charlie says he has a bad lower spondee back and needs a mattress. Eli doesn't know about that, but says there's only his bed. Charlie asks if they could share the bed for just tonight. Eli says for him to take the bed, he'll take the couch. Charlie says there is no way, they'll do the bed head to toe. He insists, but Eli says he needs to get up early. Charlie says they can get up at the same time. Eli is dressed in winter gear with no blanket with Charlie's feet pushing at his head and the light on. Charlie asks him if he's awake and he admits he is and it's very cold, but Charlie says it's very hot. He goes on top of the covers and now his green briefs are near Eli's face. Each other's feet is in the way, so Charlie suggests moving to the same side as Eli. Eli says to just make an imaginary line down the bed. Charlie doesn't do well with those and besides it won't be gay because their crotches won't move. Charlie flips over and says now they won't have to smell each other's feet and sits with his crotch sticking up. He turns his light out, then tries to turn Eli's out, but he doesn't want to. Then Charlie starts spooning. 30 minutes Later. Charlie thought he was so tired, but he can't sleep. Eli is very tired. Charlie wants him to sing him a song, before he sleeps. He promises it'll knock him out. Eli asks what kind of song? Do you know any Seal? Seal? Yeah, I love Seal, he's my favorite. Can you do Kiss from a Rose. Eli starts to sing and Charlie joins him as he nods off. Then he starts snoring really loud. The real Kiss from a Rose starts playing and Eli smacks Charlie on the head.

Episode 2 - Eli & Charlie Discover a Glory Hole

Eli and Charlie leave Charlie's house and Charlie is bouncing a basketball. Eli says he took Becca out for Valentine's Day. Charlie says you have a girlfriend? Yeah, we've been dating for almost a year, you've met her a dozen times. I don't think I met her. Yes, you have. Charlie then says oh you mean the Jewish girl who is fat. No, that's not her. She could stand to lose some weight. That's not her. Yes, I met her, that's your girlfriend. They go around to the back yard and there's an Eddie Murphy movie poster for 'Meet Dave' on his back fence. Eli asks why are they advertising there. Charlie doesn't know. Eli says it's bizarre. Charlie says it's a great poster, he plays 2 different characters, great idea. Eli says he's been doing the same since the 80s, then sees there is a hole in it, they vandalized it. The hole is in the teeth and Eli looks in it and sees a penis. Charlie looks and sees it too. He thinks it's a great ad campaign. Eli says it's a glory hole, you have to pay and then they give it to you in the butt or whatever. Charlie says it doesn't make sense with the angle, it's too low. They walk away and then they hear crying behind the fence. Eli wants to ignore it. Charlie goes back and asks how he's doing. He's fine. Is business good? Yeah, it's the best location he's ever had. Eli says how can you do business in an apartment fence. The guy also thinks the poster is cool with the second Eddie Murphy coming out of his ear. He is so versatile. Charlie agrees, but wants to know why he was crying. He's having girl problems, he's not good enough for his girlfriend Candy. They can understand with him and the poster. Eli asks are you surprised with what you do for a living? If you went on unemployment you'd make just as much. The guy says he has to put food on the table and thanks dad. Charlie asks what makes Candy so high and mighty? She works for JP Morgan, he loves her so much, like the deaf people in Jerry Maguire, she completes him. Charlie loves that scene. The guy says it makes him cry. Charlie asks if she ever talked about this with her? No. He should say I know you work at JP Morgan and I work at a glory hole, but we should be together. The guy agrees, it's good advice. Then a male neighbor comes in the yard and asks what the poster is. They explain it's Meet Dave. He knows that, it comes out July 11th, what's the hole for? It's a glory hole for sex. There's a guy back there having girlfriend problems because she doesn't respect his profession. The neighbor says he should leave her then. The guy behind the fence says you don't know me. The neighbor says he's right, who am I? I've overstepped my boundaries, I've had a really bad day, keep going and he leaves. Charlie asks the guy if he will be OK? For the first time in my life I think I will be thanks to you guys. Then he puts his arm over the fence and Charlie shakes it and holds it. He goes to shake Eli's hand and he says we don't know where it's been. Charlie makes him shake it. The guy says if they ever want to hang out or go drinking to come back. Charlie says yeah, maybe tomorrow. Eli says he's going to see Becca and Charlie says the fat Jew? No, that's not her. They walk away and the neighbor sneaks back to pay the glory hole guy, then sticks his butt against the fence.

Episode 3 - Eli and Charlie get a Job

Summary
Malcolm on the back deck

    Malcolm is sitting on his back deck while sweeping music plays, reciting from the Merchant of Venice, "Let me play the fool - with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. Why should a man whose blood is warm within sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? Sleep when he wakes and creep into the jaundice by being peevish?."
    He stops because Eli and Charlie are standing there watching him. Eli says so you want us to mow your lawn? Charlie tries to start the small push mower and Eli says that was really creepy back there, Malcolm McDowell is the creepiest guy alive. Charlie says he wasn't creepy. Eli says that poem freaked him out. Charlie say that was beautiful, he loved it. Eli says it wasn't beautiful in any way, by the way what are you wearing? He's wearing a fancy hat, a Detroit t-shirt, cut off shorts and boots. This is my work clothes, this is a workers outfit. Eli says no one works in that outfit. He says everyone does. Eli says certain workers wear that, but not to mow the lawn. He says you see any Mexican on the side of the road and they are all wearing this. Eli says no Mexican wears that, they are Catholic, it's like illegal. He says have you ever seen the movie The Birdcage? Yeah, I own it. Hank Azaria is their worker, he's wearing it the whole time. Eli says we are saying the same thing. Malcolm and his son Beckett look down at them from the deck and Eli says if that's not creepy he doesn't know what is. Charlie finally gets the mower started and they push it together.
    After they are finished they sit inside and Malcolm states at them and smiles while Beckett is crawling behind him. Eli says we should probably hit the road. Malcolm says you probably want a tour of the house. Charlie says he'd love it. Eli doesn't, then says a short one. Malcolm asks if the two of them are an item. Eli says no. Charlie says yes, because they are really close friends. Eli says no we aren't. Malcolm says this is the grand hall, nice huh? This is Beckett, I found him in Bangladesh, he speaks perfect Hindustani. The guys shake his hand. Malcolm says Beckett would you like to make some tea? He's learning English, he's great with the small hands making tea leaves. This is me when I was a bit younger, it's a good likeness of me and my wife Kelley. He points to two large carved figures standing nearby that look like they are wearing 1940s bathing attire. Charlie says your wife is beautiful, where is she? Malcolm asks who? The next figure he says is a lifesize of Uncle Fred, very short, he was a midge, a midget. He shows another life would be on the front of an old ship and says I think the carver has captured her beautifully with the downturn of the lips, I think she's got indigestion or something. And this is the kitchen. Beckett comes back. Eli says and this is another portrait of you? There is a small cartoonish painting of Malcolm there. Malcolm says no, that's not me. Now this way, the bedroom is upstairs. 
    On the banister is a carving. Malcolm says this hand was modeled after a real Indian princess and is a door knocker. He knocks it against the wood. Eli says you have a door knocker on the stairs? Yes, for the bedroom upstairs, knock, knock, come up! Upstairs he puts on a claw hand and says argh, argh I'm going to rip you to pieces while Beckett tries to grab it. Charlie likes it and Malcolm offers it to him and says try it, it's lots of fun. Eli says no and grabs it away, you don't want to try it. Malcolm shows his walk in closet and says oh, look, my work clothes. He puts on a hat and holds up shorts just like Charlie is wearing. 
    In the bathroom he says there is the throne and Beckett is sitting on it. We had a professional painter sitting on it and he did a beautiful watercolor of the whole valley with the mountains in the background, I love it. Eli says it's about time he paid them. Malcolm says I'd love to, $50. Eli says $50 each, I told you that. Malcolm says by the way this was painted…and Eli starts flipping out and yelling no, no, I'm done the tour is over. Charlie says he loved it. Malcolm says obviously he is the sensitive part of the relationship. Eli says pay us god damn it. Malcolm says would you mind hanging onto the crown jewel and hands Beckett to Charlie. Malcolm says so it was $150? No, $100. Oompah Beckett, Charlie says while trying to hold him up, is this how you do it? Eli says who cares...the door just closed. They run downstairs and outside to see Malcolm driving away in a white classic car waving to them while Charlie is still struggling to hold Beckett up. Over the credits Beckett makes a laughing noise and Malcolm smiles.

Review

    When Charlie posted this episode he sent me a cryptic message that I would get a kick out of this one. He didn't say that when he posted the first two so I wondered if he was doing something like a Clockwork parody. The second it started I knew what he meant. Malcolm is sitting in the back of his California home quoting Shakespeare to no one. He somehow got his dad to play a stereotypical version of what people think he's like instead of realizing that he plays weird characters on film, he's not like them in real life. In fact, the only thing missing was Malcolm in a bowler hat. I'm not sure even Charlie can pull that one off. While Charlie plays himself, he's not playing himself as Malcolm's son, here they aren't related. This makes it easier to have injokes, someone who didn't know they were related would miss out on a lot here.
    Somehow they are both going to mow a huge lawn sharing just one small mower. That is unrealistic enough, but after they show no signs of sweating or being dirty when they would've gotten pretty hot in that California sun. Eli and Charlie start arguing about Malcolm and it continues through the episode. Eli doesn't like him and not surprisingly Charlie does. There are none of the obvious Hollywood type lines of them trying to hook Malcolm up with a script or trying to get a high profile job. They also argue about Charlie's work clothes which seems pointless until you learn it's a setup for a joke near the end of the episode. It does seem like something Malcolm would wear and this might be an injoke for the McDowell's as Charlie said his dad wears funny shorts. Eli has the slickest joke lines by saying Mexican's wouldn't wear it because it's illegal to their faith. It's a sly way of saying even an illegal wouldn't wear that. He could've just said it's against their faith. I doubt they'll have to worry about a Mexican protest of the episode because who would see it that would care? Charlie then inserts a great shot of Malcolm and Beckett staring at them, marking the first time Charlie's little brother has acted and showing how they look alike.
    Inside it seems like a blooper that Beckett was supposed to be waiting behind Malcolm and it looks like he got bored waiting and starts moving so we can barely see him. Another first is we get a live view of what it looks inside Malcolm's house. The closest that he's done before was a photo shoot at his house in Italy. Charlie once again plays up the gay aspect of their relationship like in the first episode, by naively saying they are an item.  Then we learn that Beckett isn't actually playing himself when Malcolm tells a crazy story about finding him in India and taking him home as a sort of servant. He says he speaks Hindu, but he doesn't make him prove it. The house has an unexpected look to it. It seems like it's more out of Texas then California. It has more of a western feel to it with a huge open room and large wood trimmings. It's not like a ritzy Hollywood pad as it's filled with ornate wooden carvings and vintage trinkets and no gold, marble, hot tubs or anything seen on Cribs. He has these large human carvings from a couple feet high up to lifesize and tells another crazy story that it's supposed to be him and his wife when they were younger. Of course this is funny since it's reversed as he is a lot older than her, but the boy statue is much smaller than the woman. He also plays it absent minded by asking who Kelley is shortly after mentioning her. He tells another crazy story about one being a midget uncle and has a silly line about one having indigestion like anyone would say that. It really makes him sound crazy. Then when they pass a painting that is obviously of him, he denies it which is funny. There is large wooden stairs going up and a window on the landing shows off some of Malcolm's prized antique cars.
    Upstairs one of the bedrooms looks like something out of an old sailing ship and Malcolm even has a hooked hand to complete the look. For no reason Malcolm shows off his closet except to make reference to the work clothes joke from before. It's an easy joke, but funny to see father and son in a similar attire. Malcolm continues with the silly lines saying he hired a painter to paint while sitting on his toilet. This is where Eli loses it and I was hoping Malcolm would give him an explosive rebuke like in one of his films, but instead he seems not to notice and goes to get the money. Instead of trying to short change him by saying he has no money or anything, he just takes off without paying them and leaving Beckett. This isn't a good idea as they could rob him, trash his place or both. I'm sure the next episode about the dinner party won't have a conclusion, but it would be fun to learn if they got stiffed or not.
    It's fun to see father and sons on screen together for the first time. I would love to see any kind of blooper real, outtakes or behind the scenes to see how Malcolm takes direction from Charlie. I can only imagine him busting his son's balls, that would be pure gold. It would've also been fun to see Kelley as she hasn't been in anything since The Player. Eli gets to steal the show as he's all wild and emotional and Charlie shows no emotion at all, he just reacts like Mick in O Lucky Man!

Rating: 8.5/10

Note: There have been no new episodes since these.

© 2004-10 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net