So that Happened: A Memoir

So That Happened: A Memoir

‘SO THAT HAPPENED: A MEMOIR’


JUMP TO SECTION:

OPENING LINE:

Jon Cryer may be an unapologetic nerd but he is not a male prostitute.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

If it can happen in show business, it’s happened to Jon Cryer. Now he’s opening up for the first time and sharing his behind-the-scenes stories in a warmly endearing, sharply observed, and frankly funny look at life in Hollywood.
In 1986 Jon Cryer won over America as Molly Ringwald’s loyal and lovable best friend, Duckie, in the cult classic Pretty in Pink, in a role that set the tone for his three-decade-long career in Hollywood. He went on to establish himself as one of the most talented comedic actors in the business, ultimately culminating in his current turn as Alan Harper on the massively popular sitcom Two and a Half Men.
With the instincts of a natural storyteller, Cryer charts his extraordinary journey in show business, illuminating his many triumphs and some missteps along the way. Filled with exclusive behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Cryer offers his own endearing perspective on Hollywood, the business at large, and the art of acting.
Cryer has worked with some of the biggest and most provocative names in the business, and here, for the first time, he details his experiences with Charlie Sheen, John Hughes, Robert Altman, Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, and Christopher Reeve, among many others. He shares the intimate details of his friendships and relationships, pays tribute to his mentors, and explores the peculiar combination of heart, talent, and wisdom it takes to survive not just the bad times in a notoriously fickle industry but even the good times.
In this revealing, humorous, and introspective memoir, Cryer offers listeners a front-row seat as he reminisces about his life and experiences in showbiz over the past 30 years.
©2015 Jon Cryer (P)2015 Penguin Audio


THE PLOT:

‘So That Happened’ is the autobiography of Emmy Award winning actor Jon Cryer. If ‘Two and a Half Men’ was the only thing of note on Cryer’s resume, his career would still qualify as extraordinary. If any TV show is begging for an oral history to be written, it’s ‘Two and a Half Men’. You can thank Charlie Sheen for that.
But Cryer has had an interesting career away from ‘Two and a Half Men’ as well. He is probably best known outside of ‘Men’ as Ducky from the 1980s movie ‘Pretty in Pink’. He goes into detail about that experience and many others in ‘So That Happened’.
Cryer is a good storyteller and has some funny stories to tell. The story that inspired the introduction to this review is found in Chapter 6. Another fun story is when Cryer recounts meeting Courtney Cox outside of a club. I’ll just say that he recognized Cox, but not for her role in Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ video. He recognized her from … a tampon commercial. There is even a wonderfully funny story about Carol Channing, a rumor, a monkey and an appearance on ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’.
Cryer goes through his career with a sense of humor and a healthy sense of perspective. A chapter called “Fuck 1987” details the disastrous films he made during that year and how it set his film career back for several years.
The main event for most readers is going to be his time on ‘Two and a Half Men’. Cryer goes into great detail about the goings on backstage with Charlie Sheen, both during good times and bad. He talks about when he first realized that Charlie had fallen away from sobriety, Sheen’s arrest for domestic assault, his trashing of a hotel room in New York, and everything that led up to Sheen’s firing from the show in 2011.
‘So That Happened’ is an honest account of Cryer’s life and career. He talks about his feelings of being unattractive, all of the different ways in which he is a nerd and more. He is also not afraid to share his beliefs on acting and some of the industry practices that he feels are out of whack when compared to how the rest of the world works.


THE AUTHOR:

I am an unapologetic fan of ‘Two and a Half Men’, both the Sheen and Kutcher years. Jon Cryer is a big reason why that is the case.
Cryer comes across as honest and down to earth. He has been able to maintain his sanity in spite of having what can charitably be called an odd career.
There are still a few things that Cryer is pretty guarded about in the book. He doesn’t discuss much about his first marriage or the events leading up to it, although he does discuss the divorce in more detail. He also doesn’t talk much about becoming a father for the first time. This struck me as a little odd considering he spent more time talking about the birth of his daughter later on in his life.
The backstage happenings on ‘Two and a Half Men’ are discussed in detail, however he doesn’t talk as much about the evolution (or devolution) of his character over the years, and leaves out discussion regarding favorite episodes or storylines. Also, he doesn’t even touch on the departure of Angus T. Jones from the show. Even the Kutcher years are glossed over quickly.


THE NARRATION:

If Jon Cryer is looking for work now that ‘Two and a Half Men’ has ended, he would be great as an audiobook narrator. Granted, he has the advantage of reading his own material, but I think his skills would translate just fine.
I’m glad that I chose to listen to this memoir instead of reading a text version. Granted, audiobooks are my preferred method of reading anyway, but this book contains moments that just work better in audio form, like pointing out a funny pronunciation or doing an impression of a person’s speaking style.


THE PRODUCTION:

There is a hard rock instrumental piece of music to open and close the book. During the reading of the appendix, while Cryer is reading Robert Altman’s recipe for fake bird shit, a piece of music plays that sounds like it came straight from the TV show ‘Frasier’.
Other than the music, there is nothing of note to say about the track. It sounds great, and all the chapter stops match up to those found within the book itself.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall, Jon Cryer is a very funny, incredibly likable and honest guy. Even if you somehow don’t believe any of that to be the case, there is one thing about Jon Cryer that can’t be denied: The man knows his audience.
When you read ‘So That Happened’, you will find an author that is incredibly self-aware. He is not shy about addressing some of the bad film choices he made; they get an entire chapter. He addresses the label of “show killer” which was attached to him in the year 2000. But he also knows that most people are going to want to read his book because of what he might say about working with Charlie Sheen. He acknowledges as much when Sheen is first mentioned in the chapter on ‘Hot Shots!’.
Anyone looking for Cryer’s honest take on everything that happened on ‘Two and a Half Men’ during the latter seasons with Charlie Sheen as the star will probably get everything they want out of ‘So That Happened’. There are a lot of details found in this book that were not previously known by the general public.
However, I think this book would have been better if it came out in another year or two. It is obvious that when the book was originally planned, they did not know when ‘Two and a Half Men’ was going to end. So it doesn’t really feel as if the entire story has been told. Plus, I think one reason that the Kutcher years may have been glossed over is that Cryer hasn’t had a chance to put all of that in perspective. He strikes me as an incredibly thoughtful guy, and he hasn’t really had a chance or reason to give proper assessment in his own mind. So that’s why I think the book would have been better in a couple of years.
If you’re looking for some interesting stories from the set of ‘Two and a Half Men’, or are a fan of some of Cryer’s other work, ‘So That Happened’ is unlikely to disappoint. It is informative, entertaining, humorous and instructional. If nothing else, you’ll have a good recipe for making fake dove shit.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
So That Happened: A Memoir Jon Cryer Jon Cryer Penguin Audio Biographies & Memoirs MM/DD/YYYY 9 hours, 8 minutes 8.5/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘SO THAT HAPPENED: A MEMOIR’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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