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Bad Boys of Hollywood (Napoleon's World)

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The "Bad Boys of Hollywood" was a derogatory name given to four young actor friends in Hollywood during the 1980's - Nick Johnson, Cooper Trent, Kris Deckard and JT Schumanch. The Bad Boys were notorious for their appearances in tabloid magazines, their image as hard-partying socialites, and the moral outrage they caused for their constant exposure and idolization within the youth culture. The Bad Boys gained exposure from a variety of teen movies throughout the early 1980's, in particular 1985's Ruckersfield, which was the only project all four appeared in together. The Bad Boys were defined by appearances at bars and parties in Los Angeles, for dating popular young actresses, bizarre outfits, tattoos or piercings, obscenity-laced interviews, a rebellious attitude and their advocacy for the use of drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

However, they were generally unable to move beyond teen-genre films and their films were routinely outgrossed by movies with more mainstream actors, and the Bad Boys were associated with the punk counterculture that had been prevalent in the early 1980's as a form of protest to the Brazilian War, even though Cooper Trent had in fact served a tour in Brazil with distinction.

The "Bad Boys" era ended abruptly with the 1988 death of "Pretty Nick" Johnson, who was regarded as the most mainstream and popular of the four actors, and continued into a precipitous decline with Deckard's prison sentence, the drug abuses of both Trent and Schumanch, Trent's self-implosive appearance at the 1990 Academy Awards in a leopard-print suit and his altercations with numerous other actors on the red carpet, at afterparties and his slurred speech during his awards presentation. Trent died of a cocaine overdose in 1991 and Deckard was murdered in 1995, thus leaving Schumanch as the only surviving member of the one-time "Cadillac class of teen culture."

The Bad Boys inspired a moral backlash initially from conservative groups but also later from the film industry as a whole, in particular following Trent's notorious behavior at the 1990 Academy Awards, in which he verbally abused an interviewer and then tried to engage both Lee Oswald and Pat Alden in physical fights. Trent was allegedly blacklisted later that same year, but even before Johnson's death in January of 1988 all four friends had been levelled with considerable criticism from not only Hollywood's elder class of actors, directors and producers but also from their peers. Natalie Weaver, who dated Deckard for two months in 1987, described his frighteningly violent behavior, especially during drug binges. Many other young "teen genre" actors, such as John Cusack or Nina Nellis, criticised Trent and Schumanch for exploiting their media coverage and being attention-grabbers. As Cusack said in a 1989 interview, "Cooper Trent is trying way too hard. He's not actually as crazy or rebellious as he wants us to think, he just loves the spotlight and we keep rewarding him with it."

Hollywood historian Robert Hyman later commented that, "In the great scheme of things, the Bad Boy "era," if we can even call it that, was a blip in the greater cultural movements of Hollywood. Three coked-up guys (Trent, Deckard and Schumanch) piggy-backed their attractive, talented friend (Johnson) into celebrity during the 1980's and were under the severe misimpression that they were game-changers, when in reality people paid attention to them out of morbid fascination for their self-destructive behavior, or perhaps because we all wish we could high-tail around Los Angeles five nights a week to expensive clubs in expensive cars with supermodels and enjoyed the escapist fantasy." Lee Oswald, in his 1998 biography, recalled the 1990 Academy Awards incident as, "Some punk kid in a jaguar outfit got out of control and took a swing at me. Stranger things have happened in life."

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