Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Great Comeback (A New Poll)


Some are stuck in sub-par films or failed TV series, while others can barely even get cast anymore and a couple have nearly thrown in the towel all together. Had your heart broken by Robert De Niro mocking Taxi Driver in a cartoon or scratched your head in amazement that a career as vibrant as Winona Ryder's could be totally derailed by a personal slip up? When was the last time you looked forward to a Nicolas Cage film or saw Christopher Walken in something truly deserving of his talents?
They are all great actors with great work left in them, but they are all in, a bit of or, a major rut. Even Al Pacino, who was delivering such powerful work as Insomnia and Angels in America at the beginning of the decade, has slipped into an unfortunate slump.
With the decade being made up of truly inspiring comebacks by the likes of Diane Lane, Sylvester Stallone, Virginia Madsen and Mickey Rourke, I thought a poll focusing on some of my favorite actors who I would love to see delivery the goods again seemed in order. There were others I could have selected but this is the group I have settled on and I am willing to bet at least a couple are among your favorites as well. So vote on the ones you would most like to see land a plum role again and we'll see what happens.


Steve Langton said...

Absolutely great idea for a poll. Just voted for 5 folks who I would love to see land a nice juicy role and take us back to their glory days. Let's see Walken team up with Ferrara, De Niro with Scorsese and Keitel with ... oh, let's say Cronenberg, and watch the sparks fly.

Nigel M said...

too many, on that list and beyond-

agree with steve about a De Niro with Scorsese. But I ended up only voting for Pacino thinking its about time for another Carlitos Way or Scarface.

RainDogToo said...

I want a Winona Ryder comback! However, I don't think that will happen unless Winona herself wants it too, which I don't think she does. She has been offered many roles in the past few years but has turned them all down. I don't think she is interested in making bigger films anymore. She does have 5 films coming out in 2009 including "Star Trek" and a few others that seem pretty interesting, but I want to see her make those types of films like she used to. She needs to work with Tim Burton again, or Martin Scorsese, or even James Mangold agian, who was the director of her last good film, "Girl, Interrupted." She needs to pick something really great to get that positive attention one her films back. She is supposed to be doing a Timothy Leary biopic and a Cold War espionage drama...'those' are the films I'd like to see her make!!

Samuel Wilson said...

I voted for DeNiro and Ryder because I think they have something left. I somewhat dispute Woods being on the list because, despite going to TV to star on a show, I don't think he's slipped in quality like the others on the list. A big screen showcase wouldn't hurt him, though. Hoffman strikes me as finished, and Pacino is close to that. For some of the others, I worry that the precondition for a comeback like that predicted for Mickey Rourke would be for them to virtually disappear like he did, so that people will be ready to reappraise them, and they have too much celebrity for that to happen. In any event, I doubt whether reunions with familiar collaborators will do the trick for any of these people. New acquaintances might shake them out of their doldrums.

Keith said...

Hey Jeremy. I loved this idea. That's a hard one. You named so many that are deserving of a comeback. There are plenty more besides them. It's such a shame to see talented actors do such lowly work.

Ed Howard said...

I went with Walken. I'm not sure Nic Cage is really deserving of a comeback; if movies with him are ever really enjoyable (Wild at Heart, Lord of War, etc), it's because they exploit his essential blankness and monotone delivery as an aspect of the character, not because he's a real great actor. Frankly, he's much more fun to watch when he just embraces his own badness and really lets fly with the silliness, as in the jaw-dropping Wicker Man remake or his cameo as Fu Manchu in one of the fake Grindhouse trailers. I'd much rather watch Cage dressed up in a bear costume and slugging women than trying to be a "serious actor."

J.D. said...

Well, Nicolas Cage is supposed to be appearing in John Carpenter's next film so there's hope...

But my vote would be for James Woods, who needs to stop doing TV and get back to the kind of intriguing roles he did in films like SALVADOR, BEST SELLER or COP.

I too would also like to see Winona Ryder make a comeback. As a previous post mentioned, she should try and hook up with Tim Burton again as he really seemed to know what to do with her limited range as an actress.

James Hansen said...

I voted for Woods (based on his getting back into movies...TV is fine, but I wanna see him creeping up the big screen again) and Hopper who hasn't done much since LAND OF THE DEAD, and that was far from a "comeback."

I have to say though, sellouts as some of these people may have become, I don't think most of these are in need of a comeback. DeNiro and Pacino and Hoffman will always be DENIRO and PACINO and HOFFMAN. They may be in bad movies just to make money (similar to Jack Nicholson, whose name is not on this list) but they are iconic no matter what. I agree with Ed about Nic his movies still make 100 million or more dollars, so it's hard to say his star has fallen. And Travolta was just up for a Golden Globe last year and he already had a mid-90s comeback with Pulp Fiction. You can't have two, John!

Anyways, those are just my thoughts on comebacks related to some specific people (who are leading the poll) and why I didn't vote for them. Doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see better movies from them, but, for me, it takes more than a few years of bad movies for someone to need a full on "comeback" the likes of Rourke or Stallone (although I'd probably say his attempt at a comeback was quite unsuccessful, I know you and others would disagree.) :)

RainDogToo said...

Really, you think Winona Ryder has limited range as an actress? I think she can pull off any role she chooses. I just think the problem is she is always attracted to the same type of roles. She never tries to challenge herself in doing different films, in the way, say Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet do. You never know what they’ll do next. I mean if you look at Winona’s earlier career, she did period films like “The Age of Innocence” and “Little Women.” That same year she did “Reality Bites.” So, I think she can have rage it she can just picks the right roles. I think that has been her problem the last 8 years. It’s like she has lost the passion for her work and she’s just given up. It’s kind of sad, really, because I think she can be great like she used to- if she does gives a little effort again…

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Steve,
I would love to see those guys with those directors again. Ferrara is especially firing on all cylinders again (Go Go Tales absolutely floored me) so I would love to see him and Walken reunite.

Thanks Nigel,
I wouldn't have included Pacino a couple of years back but his last three have been most, what I would not give for him and De Palma to unleash another one.

Thanks RainDog,
I think it is a real shame about Ryder and I would love to see a great part come her way (that she would accept). Everytime I rewatch her in any number of her greatest roles (Heathers, Age of Innocence etc) I just can't believe the direction her career has gone. She's a fascinating figure...and deserving of a comeback.

Thanks Samuel for the detailed comments. I don't think Hoffman and Pacino are at all finished. Hoffman seems content with supporting roles (and he excells in them ) but I would love to see him comeback with a striking leading turn again. Pacino just needs a good film to turn it around. I actually thought his performance in R.Kill was the best part of an otherwise fairly dreadful film. Otherwise, agree with you and Ryder and De Niro have my top votes as well...along with Harvey.

Thanks Keith,
This is looking to be my most popular poll so it will be interesting to see how it goes...

Thanks Ed,
I know what you're saying but I do like Cage more than you do. Leaving Las Vegas is one of my favorite films (although I think Shue gives the real best performance in that) and I think he turned in lot of great work in the eighties and early nineties. He does seem lost though at this point and his choices seem to get worse and worse (I am still breathing a sigh of relief that he stepped away from The Wrestler, which allowed Mickey Rourke to come in).

Thanks JD,
I love Woods in everything he does but it has been awhile since he had a role that he could really go with. Funny, I never thought of Ryder as limited but I do agree that seeing her work with Burton again would be nice (and I am about as far away from being a big Tim Burton fan as you can get).

Thanks James,
I hear what you are saying. I am thinking less than box office here though and am just talking about these guys getting a role that is really worthy of them again where it's not by the numbers. It's true that Pacino and DeNiro will always be Pacino and DeNiro but it shouldn't overshadow how great they can be as actors. DeNiro hasn't been transcendent in a role since Heat and Jackie Brown, and I know that he has really crushed a lot of folks (myself included) with his choices from the past ten years.
I actually think Nicholson has played it pretty wisely and has stayed at least interesting (even when his choices are off) which is why i didn't include him. Again though I know what you are saying and always appreciate the thoughts.

Thanks again RainDog,
I agree on Ryder. I think she can be very versatile as well...she just seemed to finally corner herself by the late nineties or so. I especially think a double feature of something like Welcome Home Roxy Charmicle and Age of Innocence would show how far each way she can reach. Again, I appreciate the continuing comments.

Thanks everyone for all the valuable thoughts.

J.D. said...


Don't get me wrong, I totally dig Winona but I believe it was Scorsese who said that she'd make a great silent film star. Sometimes, her acting feels forced - I'm thinking of her "outburst" scene in GIRL, INTERRUPTED where she has a hissy fit in front of Whoopi Goldberg's character that was just embarrassing because it looked like she was acting. And for awhile there she was known for doing mostly period piece films (thank god, Keira Knightley seems to have taken over that title) but I think that REALITY BITES, in a strange way, is one of my fave roles of hers because she had to play a contemporary role and played someone, she has admitted, is closer to herself. After the embarrassment that was AUTUMN IN NY she wisely has gone indie and I thought she was excellent A SCANNER DARKLY. So, there's hope for her yet.

Kotto said...

where's gary oldman?