Mackenzie Astin shares how he outgrew the experience of acting in 'Garbage Pail Kids': 'It was a pretty bad movie for a 13-year-old'

Mackenzie Astin played the role of Dodger in Garbage Pail Kids. In an interview with Meaww he reveals how he thinks it was a bad move to act in the film and how he grew from it.


                            Mackenzie Astin shares how he outgrew the experience of acting in 'Garbage Pail Kids': 'It was a pretty bad movie for a 13-year-old'

Mackenzie Astin is well known for his role as Andy Moffett for around four seasons from 1985 to 1988 on 'The Facts of Life'. He is one of the sons of famous actors Patty Duke and John Astin and is also the half-brother of actor Sean Astin. The star also has to his credit motion pictures like 'Iron Will', 'Wyatt Earp' with Kevin Costner, 'The Evening Star' with Shirley MacLaine, and Whit Stillman's 'The Last Days of Disco'. He is also known for playing Noah Baker on the sitcom 'Scandal', and Carrie Mathison's brother-in-law Bill Dunn in “Homeland”. But apart from these, there is one movie Mackenzie does not like to talk about much. 

In 1987, he had acted in 'The Garbage Pail Kids' an American live-action film. 'The Garbage Pail Kids' movie is based on the then children's trading cards series which had the same name. The trading cards were a parody version of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Each trading card showcased a character that had a gross habit, abnormality, or suffered a terrible fate.

The film was produced, directed, and co-written by Rod Amateau. This movie was also the last film that was directed by Amateau. This movie was considered one of the worst films ever made. The film featured seven of the Garbage Pail Kids that were played by dwarf actors in animatronic costumes. They were shown interacting with society and making friends with a regular boy, Dodger.

Mackenzie played the role of Dodger who was befriended by the Garbage Pail Kids. In an interview with Meaww, Mackenzie revealed how he thought it was a bad move to act in the film and how he grew from it. Starting off by revealing how the movie came to be, Mackenzie said: "The 1980s was an interesting time in that there was a lot of experimentation both in cinema and with drugs.  And so I think the tax credit card company and the company that made the film and Atlantic, the production company saw an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of the cards themselves by releasing a movie."


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He further said, "I think they saw an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of the cards themselves by releasing a movie. Now what's interesting is that cards themselves, the actual 'Garbage Pail Kids' cards, were a satire on the crazy kind of madness that came along with the Cabbage Patch dolls when they were for sale. And so the Garbage Pail Kids cards were a commentary on commercialism. And so it's ironic in a lot of ways that the attempt to capitalize on the satire of greed was fundamentally greedy itself. And it came back to bite the greed behind it, through which we made a terrible, terrible terrible, terrible move." 

Mackenzie Astin, Bobby Bell, Debbie Lee Carrington, Phil Fondacaro, Arturo Gil, Larry Green, Anthony Newley, Susan Rossitto, and Kevin Thompson in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) (IMDb)
Mackenzie Astin, Bobby Bell, Debbie Lee Carrington, Phil Fondacaro, Arturo Gil, Larry Green, Anthony Newley, Susan Rossitto, and Kevin Thompson in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) (IMDb)

Coming back to the present, 45-year-old Mackenzie revealed that after he was exposed to a few different philosophies and a fair bit of therapy that helped him understand from the perspective of an adult, he was able to come out of the experience he had during the movie. But when he was a 13-year-old kid, he added, he was embarrassed about how bad the movie was and about how silly he was to have thrown himself into the experience. "Simply put it was a pretty bad movie for a 13-year-old. That was a tough one to brush off. Thankfully I've had it now. Well, almost three decades of consideration about the experience I have it in a better place for me personally. But I spent a long long long I'm being extremely embarrassed about something that I thought I was going to be proud," he said. 

Mackenzie Astin and Katie Barberi in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) (IMDb)
Mackenzie Astin and Katie Barberi in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) (IMDb)

Talking about what helped him grow out of the bad experience as a kid, Mackenzie revealed, "It took time more than anything. But you know I also I was also lucky enough to be working as a regular on a television show at the time. So that was helpful because I didn't feel like my career was finished. So that was going back to work on a TV show that I got. But you know it was a pretty good job." Adding to that he said, "You know over time you come to accept that things happen. Be they good or bad. And you deal with them and move on. But interestingly I've met a lot of men a lot of really cool people who have who have the experience of the Garbage Pail Kids movie in a good place in their hearts and in their minds and in their life experience."