It took ten years, but someone finally apologized for Battlefield Earth. J.D. Shapiro, the megabomb’s first credited screenwriter, has written an epic mea culpa for the New York Post. He credits his participation in the film to an overactive libido (apparently, Scientology was a great way to meet women). Since Shapiro was eventually fired, he’s able to mostly shift blame onto other people. Even so, all his sorrowful talk has me wondering: what are the greatest pop culture apologies?
It’s pretty rare for famous people to apologize for their creative sins. Puncturing the showbiz veil of silence can turn both coworkers and audiences against you. Just look at the furor over Chloë Sevigny’s frankly accurate assessment of the past season of Big Love, which echoes Katherine Heigl’s equally accurate admission that season 4 of Grey’s Anatomy was a low point in the history of humanity.
But a great apology can rescue a career. George Clooney never misses an opportunity to apologize for Batman & Robin. (He later generously apologized for Ocean’s 12 by making Ocean’s 13.) Clooney’s not the only actor to say “sorry” for wearing superhero tights, either. Halle Berry and Ben Affleck both jauntily accepted their Razzies for Catwoman and Daredevil. Affleck’s Razzie was also for his work in Gigli and Paycheck, making for a rare Hat Trick Apology. Actually, accepting your Razzie has become something of a badge of honor. Just ask Sandra Bullock, who turned her Razzie speech into a pre-Oscar victory lap.
For my money, though, apologies from behind-the-scenes of a TV show are more interesting, just because TV people can actually make amends for their mistakes. Remember when Lost‘s Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse apologized for that season 3 sojourn to Hydra Island? They fired back with some of the show’s most vital episodes ever, including the cheerfully murderous palette-cleanser “Exposé.”
With that in mind, my personal pick for greatest single apology ever is the recent season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which the cast and crew of Seinfeld implicitly admitted that the sitcom’s series finale (a 75-minute courtroom clip show) was disappointing. They even gave America a meta-hysterical do-over! Pure class.
What are your favorite pop culture apologies, PopWatchers? Do you forgive Shapiro for his participation in the worst movie ever made about cavemen battling aliens with fighter planes?