The 411 Movies Top 5 01.06.11: Week 303 - 2012 Comebacks We'd Like to See
Posted by Trevor Snyder on 01.06.2012
From Kurt Russell to Jeff Goldblum, from Michelle Pfeiffer to Joe Pesci, the 411 crew pick the celebrities they'd like to see return to the big time in 2012.
THE TOP 5 COMEBACKS WE'D LIKE TO SEE IN 2012
It's a new year, and as with any new year, I'm sure we'll see a crop of new stars emerge. Which is great, but here's hoping for some good old-fashioned comebacks, as well. Let's face it, everyone loves a comeback, and there are always a large number of actors and directors out there who are just waiting to get back into the spotlight they once enjoyed. With that in mind, here's a sampling of the men and women some of use here at 411 would like to see come back in 2012. It's our look at:
5. Tom Cavanagh
I admit this is an odd choice, not only because you might argue that Cavanagh was never really that big of a star in the first place, but also because – apart from always enjoying his appearances on Scrubs - I wasn't even really a fan of the guy at the beginning of 2011. I never watched Ed or Trust Me, and sure as heck wasn't going to waste my time with Yogi Bear. But over the last few weeks, I've started listening to the excellent "Mike and Tom Eat Snacks" podcast, in which Cavanagh and Michael Ian Black eat and rate different snacks (as well as go on hilarious non-snack related tangents). Although I found the podcast because I'm a fan of Black's, I was quickly struck with how well Cavanagh was able to hang with him in the laughs department, even surpassing him on many episodes. It suggests that Cavanagh's talents have been somewhat wasted on his previous series, and I for one would like to see him get a new show in 2012 that better showcases his quick-wit and improvisational skills. Something more along the lines of Scrubs, in fact, only with Cavanagh in the lead this time. Judging by the picture above, he's still popular enough to be invited to Twilight premieres, so this doesn't seem that out of the realm of possibility.
4. Dan Aykroyd
I swear I didn't intend to have two Yogi Bear cast-members in a row on here, but that's just how it works out sometimes. Now, I know a lot of people have written Aykroyd off, and there have certainly been times when I have been right there with them. But when you go back and watch Aykroyd's early SNL work and some of his classic comedies, it suddenly occurs to you that something went really wrong with this guy's career somewhere. I'm not gonna speculate on the causes, but I will say it's time for Aykroyd to leave all that alien conspiracy stuff behind, and stop fixating on getting Ghostbusters 3 off the ground (a pipe-dream that is clearly using up too much of his time), and instead focus on a more realistic sort of comeback – one in which he embraces his place in the current pecking order and takes smaller supporting roles in modern comedies. And no, I don't mean in Adam Sandler movies…that's part of his problem.
3. Nicholas Brendon
Yeah, I'm a Buffy nerd. Unabashed. And although Xander was never really my favorite character or anything, I still feel it's odd that Brendon is the only major cast member who hasn't enjoyed any sort of post-Buffy success. The guy is funny enough – can't we get him a role on another popular series? I mean, I'm sure touring all the various sci-fi conventions (which seems to be Brendon's main occupation now, judging by a quick glance at his website) can be fun, but c'mon. We're in a golden age of television with a ridiculously large amount of shows on the air. There's gotta be room out there for all of the Scooby Gang.
2. Jeff Goldblum
Like the others on my list, I'm sure Goldblum is doing alright for himself, and probably quite enjoying his life. That's all well and good, but still – let's not forget that it hasn't really been that long since Goldblum was one of the biggest stars out there, starring in gigantic blockbusters like Independence Day and the first two Jurassic Park films. That's a far cry from starring in little-known fare like Pittsburgh and Adam Resurrected, or playing second-fiddle roles in lame romantic comedies like Morning Glory or The Switch. Sure, there's been some TV work, but I'd like to once again see Goldblum's unique presence in some of the bigger tent-pole films out there, if only to save us from more generic actors like Channing Tatum and Sam Worthington. Not that I'm suggesting Goldblum would really be competing for the same roles as those guys – I'm just saying it's a sad world when guys like that are getting shoved down our throats, and Goldblum isn't even being asked to reprise his role in the Cats & Dogs sequel.
1. Joe Pesci
OK, I know Pesci "retired" from acting, but since then he has appeared in The Good Shepherd and Love Ranch. I get that the former was just a favor for his buddy Robert DeNiro, but the latter suggests some sort of desire to come back, right? When Pesci appeared in a 2011 Snickers commercial, I thought it might be his initial attempt at getting his persona back out there, prepping for a big comeback. But apart from apparently being signed to the on-again, off-again John Gotti biopic, there has been relatively little word of anything Pesci related. Pesci is simply too good of an actor to keep teasing us like this. If he truly wants to retire, like Gene Hackman and Sean Connery, then that's fine and I can respect it. But if he's going to keep flirting with a comeback and get our hopes up, it's time to dive all the way win and take a role in a couple big films. Or, even better, perhaps a recurring role on Boardwalk Empire?
5. Natasha Henstridge
Henstridge, best known for the sci-fi action horror flicks Species, Species II, and John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, has been bumming around TV the last decade or so, appearing in such non-sci-fi action horror TV shows as Eli Stone, Commander-in-Chief, and The Secret Circle, among others. She's done good work both as a series regular and as a special guest star, but the show either gets cancelled or she essentially disappears after doing an episode or two. She did do that action-comedy show She Spies, but that only lasted two seasons (I'm assuming that the failure of that show is the reason she hasn't done much genre work lately. She did appear in the Canadian mini-series Impact, too, but the who the heck remembers that?). I think it's time for her to come back to the genre world, either in movies (big budget sci-fi action movie or some kind of low budget direct-to-video franchise, it doesn't matter) or on television. She'd be great on some HBO type sci-fi show where she can at least go topless every couple of episodes. Henstridge is still pretty dang hot, so it'd be win-win for everyone.
4. Dina Meyer
Meyer has been doing the TV guest star thing for the last few years, which is cool and all, but she really needs to be a part of something bigger and steadier, preferably something genre related. I'm all for her appearing in big and low budget movies, kicking ass and taking names, but I think she'd probably make a bigger mark on television. She'd be great on a True Blood type show (horror, blood, and nudity), but she'd also do great on a network action show like NCIS. I think she's good enough to carry a show like that.
3. Charles Band/Tim Thomerson
Charles Band hasn't been a truly big deal in the low budget movie world since the early 1990's, when his Full Moon Entertainment had a major home video deal with Paramount Pictures that allowed his movies to appear in damn near every video store and regularly on television. When that deal ended, Band's movies, while still around, just didn't have the reach or the impact that they once did. For instance, the Puppet Master and Trancers movies were still getting made but they just weren't as good as before. Even lower budgets, lame casts (no Tim Thomerson in Trancers 6), it was all pretty sad. As for Thomerson, while he has worked steadily in both TV and movies since the end of his involvement with the Trancers franchise (he kicked ass in Live Evil), he hasn't had the same impact as he once did. He hasn't played Trancer hunter Jack Deth in a full-length feature movie in roughly seventeen years. So this is what I want to see. I want the talked about several years ago Trancers 7 to actually happen. I want Band to find the money to get it made, and I want Thomerson back in the trench coat. And after that movie gets made I want to see a Trancers TV show. The more Jack Deth the world can get the better off we'll all be.
2. Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell's last bad ass movie role was in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof segment of Grindhouse, which, as I write this, was five years ago. That's just too damn long for Snake Plissken/Jack Burton/MacReady to be out of action. Russell is set to be a part of Tarantino's next movie, a big western type movie called Django Unchained. Russell isn't starring in the movie, but maybe his presence in the movie will get him back in the game on a more consistent basis. Because that is what the world needs to see, more of Russell kicking ass and less of Russell playing a father or a horse trainer or some bullshit like that.
1. Paul Verhoeven
Paul Verhoeven hasn't made a big time Hollywood movie in over a decade (the last one was Hollow Man in 2000), and the last movie he made was the relatively low budget Dutch movie Black Book in 2006. He hasn't made anything since. That, to me, is insane. He should still be working in Hollywood making any kind of movie he wants, big or low budget, sci-fi or non sci-fi. So that's what I want to hear by the end of 2012. Verhoeven is back, getting ready to do something amazing. Another thriller like Basic Instinct? Outstanding. Another gory, big budget sci-fi action movie like Starship Troopers, the greatest movie ever made, or Robocop? Count me in. He's just too good a director to be left flailing about in Europe looking for money to make another low budget Dutch movie. Again, it's insane. Just insane.
Instead of just picking random names out of a hat, I thought I would take a look at some people who actually have a shot at having a comeback in 2012 based on upcoming or ongoing projects.
5. Howard Stern
Rise and Fall: The former King of All Media has lost his crown. Howard Stern had one of the most popular syndicated radio shows of all time, which was taped for a ratings winner on E!. His autobiography, Private Parts, was a best seller and the movie based on it, starring Stern as himself, was a blockbuster. In 2004, Stern announced that he was leaving mainstream radio for Sirius Satellite Radio in order to be free of FCC regulations. Satellite radio hasn't crushed standard radio the way predicted and Stern has gone from being in millions of homes and cars daily through radio and television to being one niche station among more than a 1,000. While Stern signed a new contract with Sirius in 2010 and his channel has been attributed to some growth for the brand, for Stern his mainstream exposure has taken a major hit.
Possible Comeback: On Dec. 15, it was announced that Stern would be replacing Piers Morgan as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent. Morgan was supposed to be the Simon Cowell of the program and, while he could be harsh at times, he was more the tough but fair judge. Stern has shown that he's a decent judge of unsung talent while not being afraid to tell people who suck that they do. Not to mention that Stern should have some explosive chemistry with fellow judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osborne, who I can see tiring of Stern's antics quickly. Producer Cowell said he wants to give the series a complete makeover. While the series has been popular, Stern's addition could make it appointment television.
4. Lou Diamond Phillips
Rise and Fall: Lou Diamond Phillips was a star in the 1980s with such films as La Bamba, Stand and Deliver, Young Guns, Renegades and The First Power. Phillips continued to work regularly in the 1990s and 2000s, but in B-movies. Eventually he turned to the last haven for all former stars, reality television. Phillips won I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here in 2009, but it failed to re-launch LDP mania.
Possible Comeback: Phillips latest foray into reality television could be his comeback as it will redefine how people see him. Phillips is part of the ragtag group of celebrities competing in cooking teams coached by Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray on the Food Network on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. The first episode makes it clear Phillips will be the break out competitor and is the odds on favorite to win. He's knowledgeable and passionate about food and cooking. In the first challenge, his Turbo Ribs were universally loved and one person even wrote on his comment card he wanted to eat them everyday for the rest of his life. Even if Phillips doesn't win the show, he's setting himself up to be the affable and pleasant host of his own celebrity cooking show or just random channel host for the Food Network.
3. Larry Hagman
Rise and Fall: Larry Hagman knows a few things about comebacks. He was languishing with guest spots on television shows and bit parts in movies after I Dream of Jeannie went off the air. His wife convinced him to take Dallas and Hagman became one of the biggest television stars of the 1980s. After Dallas ended, his follow-up series Orleans tanked. He was also diagnosed with liver failure due to years of heavy drinking and received a life saving transplant in 1995. He suffered another health scare in October when he announced he had a treatable form of cancer, but was not specific on what kind.
Possible Comeback: At the age of 80 and battling cancer, most would call it a day, but not Hagman. The self proclaimed Mayor of Malibu is returning to play his most famous character, J.R. Ewing, in a new Dallas series for TNT to start this summer. The new series will revolve primarily around the sons of J.R. and Bobby, but the old guys will make appearances. If Hagman can turn on the old scene stealing magic and the series becomes successful it could reignite interest to the younger generation on the original series and its lead, Hagman.
2. Michelle Pfeiffer
Rise and Fall: Michelle Pfeiffer was one of the biggest sex symbols and female stars of the 1980s and 1990s. Pfeiffer earned Oscar nominations for Love Field, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Dangerous Liaisons. Her other popular movies include Scarface, Batman Returns, The Witches of Eastwick, Married to the Mob, Frankie and Johnny, The Age of Innocence, Up Close and Personal, Wolf and Dangerous Minds. As it often happens with actresses over 40, her star began to fade and the popularity of her movies decreased. Her last film was the ensemble clunker New Year's Eve.
Possible Comeback: Pfeiffer has a couple high profile projects for 2012 that could help her redefine her career as a sought after character actress who is known for more than her looks and body as she once was. She'll be playing the family matriarch in Tim Burton's upcoming big screen adaptation of Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter. She'll also be in the first movie directed by hot screenwriter Alex Kurtzman, Welcome to People. She'll be paired with young, popular stars Chris Pine and Olivia Wilde.
1. Dustin Hoffman
Rise and Fall: Dustin Hoffman is one of the most popular and successful actors of all time with a career spanning more than 50 years. Hoffman has won two Oscars for best actor for Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man. He was also nominated for The Graduate, Lenny, Tootsie and Wag the Dog. However, since about 2004, Hoffman has done little more than voice over work (Kung Fu Panda, The Tale of Despereaux) and critically well-received, but little seen independent movies (Last Chance Harvey, Barney's Version). Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium flopped and Little Fockers is far from a highlight on his filmography.
Possible Comeback: Hoffman was once considered the guy who could play anything, but has fallen into a nice guy role. Hoffman will be able to show some edge and acting chops once again in the upcoming, high profile HBO series Luck. Hoffman plays a gambler just out of jail and looking to get back into the black with horse racing scams. The series also features, and could be comebacks for, Nick Nolte, Jill Hennessy, Dennis Farina and director and producer Michael Mann. HBO's Boardwalk Empire renewed interest and star power for Steve Buscemi and the same could very much happen to Hoffman. Some would probably say that Hoffman has never lost it, but this is his chance to really prove it.
Agree with our choices? Disagree? Be sure to share your thoughts and your own Top 5's below. And don't forget to include suggestions for future Top 5 columns...we're always looking for the next great list.
Till then, for more of my movies views, check out Night of the Living Trev, my personal movie review page, as well as all the other great reviews and columns here at the Movies section of 411.