Sunday, June 5, 2011

CR Review #18: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

I'm not (and have never really been) a particular fan of Rob Lowe. Other than The Outsiders and Class, I don't really remember seeing any of Rob's movies in the 80s, when he was a huge star. I didn't really care about the "brat pack" and I thought he was way too pretty for my tastes. It wasn't until after his infamous video tape from the DNC that I became a bit more interested in what he was up to and the choices he was making: Bad Influence and Masquerade certainly weren't really good movies, but they were ok for a friday night rental. He was funny in Tommy Boy and Wayne's World, but only because he had really small parts. Loved him as Robert Wagner in the Austin Powers movies, simply because his role was ridiculous. I never watched the West Wing, but thought he was pretty good in the Stand (as a deaf/mute, no less). And I think he's funny on Parks & Recreation.

I recently saw him making the rounds on the cable news talk shows, talking about his new book and his political views, and had to admit I was somewhat interested by what he had to say. So I headed down to the library, picked up his new autobiography, and sat down for 4 or 5 hours to read it.

I really enjoyed reading about the process of making The Outsiders, and how devastating it was for him to find him almost completely cut from the end version of the film. I liked how he took the time to call out colleagues and friends of his who had made the biggest influences on him with their professional and pleasant behavior (nice things to say about Bill Murray, C Thomas Howell, Mike Myers, and Christopher Walken). I appreciated that he had some brutally honest things to say about the unpleasant world of Hollywood, his struggles with sobriety and monogamy, and he why he and his wife live outside of LA and have not encouraged their kids to be a part of show business. His stories about his political involvement were also interesting, especially his time on the Dukakis campaign trail.

Hands-down, the most entertaining stories in the book were his encounters with Matt Dillon throughout the years. Each time he crossed paths with Matt, the anecdote made me laugh out loud.

What was disappointing to me were the bits that simply didn't appear in the book. Little to no mention of his relationship with his brother Chad. A bit odd, I thought. Almost nothing about his teenage relationship with Melissa Gilbert, who has nothing but bad things to say in her own book about the way she was treated by him.

In a nutshell, a quick and entertaining read, especially for anyone out there who had a fold-out poster of the Outsiders cast from Dynamite magazine hanging in their junior high locker.


  1. I did not know that Melissa Gilbert had written a book. What did she say about him?

  2. She claims that they were very serious, and that at one point she got pregnant and he basically told her "get rid or it or we're through". She ended up having a miscarriage and then they broke up. And it drove her into her first quickie marriage on the rebound. Rob's account of it is that they dated on and off for a few years, nothing serious.
    I also read Allison Arngrim's (Nellie Oleson) memoir, and she said he was pretty much the worst person in the world. Nothing nice to say about him at all. I loved her book.

  3. I might have to pick up the Arngrim book - I bet that would be a hoot. Didn't Lowe get into a property dispute or something with his neighbors, I think in Santa Barbara? I thought he seemed kind of awful through that, what little I can remember. I have never really liked him, but he has been funny in a few things and really was charming in West Wing.