After a long hiatus, it’s finally time for the esteemed Microkhan jury to hand out another Poncho, an award given to supporting actors who utter memorable throwaway lines that often outclass everything else in their film. You might recall that the first-ever Poncho went to its namesake, Richard Chaves, who played one of The Arnold’s doomed compatriots in Predator. Has any actor ever expressed the will to live in such transcendent fashion? I think not.
This time around, the hallowed statuette shall be shipped to Sean Young, best known these days for (and how do I put this gently?) several fries short of a Happy Meal. The inevitable “what happened?” articles about Young’s career always mention No Way Out as her crowning achievement, but that’s only because the critics haven’t been paying enough attention to her glorious (and exceedingly brief) appearance in Wall Street, where she played Gordon Gekko’s over-privileged, possibly Valium-addled wife. It was meant to be a larger role, but Oliver Stone reportedly disliked Young so much that he booted her from the set after a couple of scenes and wrote her out of the plot. (Familiarize yourself with the lines that Kate Gekko might have uttered by reading the original screenplay.) Still, Young did the best she could with her limited screentime, especially in the great pool scene.
Young is barely a presence in this scene, as it basically focuses on plot-driving banter between Gekko and his protege Bud Fox. But if you listen closely, you can hear Young talking to the nanny in the background, regarding the afternoon’s plans for her son. And that is when she utters this Poncho-worthy line:
Put him in that cute little sailor suit.
The delivery is key here—the obviously put-on posh accent, the callous attitude that clearly indicates that the Gekkos consider their child little more than an expensive plaything. The boy is there for their amusement, to toy with as they see fit, until more important business (particularly making and spending money) comes around.
It’s a heartbreaking line, one that I’ve been thinking about a lot these days as I observe my fellow parents here in New York City. How many of them view their children simply as accoutrements of their fabulous success, rather than real, live human beings? More than I’d care to know, I fear.
I could easily award Young a double Poncho for a line she spouts at a cocktail party earlier in the movie—her “Are you staying for dinner?” is so dreamily drugged-out, as if she’d spent all day popping Xanax and ordering expensive handbags over the phone. But the official rules bar such double dips, so Ms. Young will have to content herself with a lone trophy.