Five Actors/Actresses I'd Love To See Make A Comeback: by Nathan Hinds

Everyone loves a comeback, no matter what the situation. History is filled with great combacks: Michael Jordan's return to basketball in 1995, AC/DC’s “Back In Black” album after the death of lead singer Bon Scott, Triple H's return after a torn quadricep (any wrestling fan’s reading this blog?), or Mickey Rourke’s powerhouse performance in the 2008 film “The Wrestler”.

Now, seeing as how this is a movie blog, Mickey Rourke’s “comeback” film “The Wrestler” is obviously the most relevant example to this site. It was what first got me thinking about this topic, obviously long before this blog was ever thought of. It got me thinking, how so many actors who either have such phenomenal talent, or in other cases actors who may not be the most talented but certainly ones who are extremely popular can seemingly fall off the face of the planet. Now I’m not going to write some long essay chronicling the rise and fall of the actors who will be mentioned in this post; for one, because I’m too lazy to do that much research, and two, these are all specific actors that I liked and maybe you won’t care for. I’ll mainly stick to why I thought they were so awesome, and the type of film I think each person could do to jump back into the spotlight with. 

Before I get into my choices though, let me just say the biggest hurdle for this list was getting past the fact that “Expendables 2” took most of my original choices.

Check out five actors/actresses after the break that I'd love to see make a comeback.

5. Lindsay Lohan
Career High: “Mean Girls” (2004)

Let’s start by getting the most cliche choice out of the way first. Lindsay doesn’t fall into the category of phenomenal actors, but certainly at the height of her career was one of the most popular and promising young actresses in Hollywood. While she wasn’t the first young actor to succumb to the partying lifestyle that comes with fame, there’s an endless list of other actors and actresses who have done the same thing, Lindsay just took it to the extreme.

Now like I said before, she was never the greatest actress her age, but she was definitely unique, marketable, and genuinely likeable. I honestly think “Mean Girls” is one of the best teen comedies to come out since 2000. But why I would love to see her make a comeback is because she would be one of the better success stories ever for a Hollywood actress if she were to turn her life around. The taller the mountain you climb, the greater the feeling when you reach the top, and Lindsay has one big mountain to climb.

What I think she needs for a comeback: Obviously it has to start with all of her issues away from the camera for her to even begin to think about stepping back in front of one. If she did get all of those issues straightened out, I think she has two paths she could go down. First, the comedy route: do a film that is obviously making fun of the way she acted that got her into the position she’s in. Audiences love someone who isn’t afraid to make fun of themselves. Number two, and personally this is the one I would go for, granted it’s the far less glamorous option, is to play a serious role that comes as close as it can to depicting her struggles. It doesn’t have to be an exact portrayal of her life, but definitely something related to the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If she does choose that role, she needs to also find a director who would take the project seriously, and give something edgy, and more important than anything, something that is brutally honest.

4. Brendan Fraser
Career High: “The Mummy” (1999)

With Brendan Fraser, this is a case of going for the bigger paycheck verses choosing quality roles. Now I can’t really fault him for that, because frankly, I would probably do the same thing if I was in his shoes. The problem with that is, more often than not, constantly choosing bad films tends to catch up with you. A popular name can only get you so far the older you get. Role choice isn’t as vital when you are younger, because young adult actors are able to land roles despite their lack of acting skills as long as they are in shape and can bring in those teenage girls to the theaters, case in point: Channing Tatum. Now back in his glory days, Brendan Fraser was a pretty strapping guy, but when you go from this, to this, your not gonna have people lining up to cast you in a film. Now I realize that it becomes harder to stay in shape the older you get, but I don’t think celebrities get to use that excuse since they have the money to stay in shape.

I really have missed seeing Brendan Fraser in those bigger roles. While he doesn’t have as much range as some of the other actors that will show up on this list, you could always count on him to turn in an entertaining film. The first two Mummy films remain two of my favorite adventure films, and he was perfect in that role. And even though critics were tough on a lot of his films, audiences loved the guy. From early films like “Encino Man” and “Airheads” to “George of the Jungle” and “Bedazzled”, which he had one of the best comedic reactions I’ve ever seen in a movie, Fraser has always made films with high Watchability.

What I think he needs for a comeback:
First, hit the gym, bud. It’s a simple fact: in Hollywood, the better shape your in, the easier it is to get big roles. After that, maybe get a glorified cameo in a big comedy film, lets say, the next installment of The Hangover. And not some one-shot cameo, more of a small role where he gets at least a couple of scenes, and do something crazy. In terms of a legitimate career, I can’t really see a scenario where he could get thrust back into the main stream quickly but I think a couple solid smaller roles would do him good. If he tries to be the same crazy guy he always has, nothing is gonna come from it. I know that sounds like a contradiction to the sentence before it, but there is a difference between one small role and an entire career pattern. It may be time to start focusing on more serious roles. If all else fails, abandon everything I said and do a sequel to “Encino Man”. Then we could get that Pauly Shore comeback started as well!

3. Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Career High: “Jerry Maguire” (1996) *Academy Award: Best Supporting Actor

Before Cuba Gooding, Jr. started turning out direct-to-DVD after direct-to-DVD films, the guy had a great knack for stealing the show in whatever he did. His role in “Jerry Maguire” provided all the best scenes in that movie. From the “Show me the money” speech, to his emotional touchdown injury scene, he single-handedly made that movie more than just another standard chick flick. He was rewarded for his effort when he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, where he once again stole the show and delivered my all time favorite Oscar acceptance speech.

And “Jerry Maguire” wasn’t his only great role. The guy has serious acting chops and has great range, which was on full display in the 2003 film “Radio”, where he portrayed the true story of a mentally challenged kid, who while volunteering for a high school football team, taught not only the players and coaches, but a whole town a lesson in acceptance.

What I think he needs for a comeback: He has to want to? This is a tricky one for me, because I can’t think of why he wouldn’t be getting bigger roles than he is. A good place to start would be a supporting role in a big time drama; I can’t imagine he would have too much trouble grabbing a supporting role in just about any film. Maybe he is wanting that lead role in films he’s in, and while he is plenty capable of leading a film, it is the supporting roles where he has always stood out the best. Of all the people on this list, Cuba is the person who I think could get back to form the quickest

2. Sean Astin
Career High: “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy

I tend to get fired up when I talk about Sean Astin. Why? Because I feel like he is arguably one of the most underrated actors of ALL-TIME. It blows my mind that the guy isn’t in more films. Look at this guys two most well known roles: Daniel Ruettiger “Rudy”, and Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In “Rudy” he plays one of the most uplifting roles of all time. If you want an example of just how much people love that role, let me give you a quick experience I had with that film. I work at Family Video, and one day at work, I had “Rudy” playing on all of the TV’s in the store. There were five people who were in the store during the film's final game - anyone who’s seen the movie knows exactly what happens, so I don’t feel a rundown is necessary. Anyway, when Rudy finally enters the game, all five of us teared up during the scene. While we all kind of looked at each other and laughed that we were tearing up, it was awesome to me that a group of strangers were willing to show that kind of emotion over a movie out in public like that, and be perfectly fine with it. Tell me how many movies you think could accomplish that? Not many.

Then for The Lord of the Rings, he gives, in my not so humble opinion, the greatest supporting role of all time. The role of Sam itself is the very definition of a supporting role. Samwise’s speech on Mount Doom in “Return of the King” is one of the greatest moments in the history of cinema. How he wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar for this is one of the great mysteries that I don’t think I will ever hear a legitimate explanation for. But I have already ranted about this before in a previous review.

What I think he needs for a comeback: Simple, Hollywood needs to wise up and start giving this guy roles.

1. Val Kilmer: My inspiration for this post
Career High: The mid 80’s to mid 90’s

The other day I sat down to watch a film called “Seven Below”. I didn’t really pay too much attention to what it was about when I took it home, I just saw Val Kilmer on the cover and figured I’d see what he was doing now. Now he was only in the film for maybe 20 minutes total, but it was long enough for me to think “holy crap! I can’t believe how far he has fallen”. It was this film that re-sparked me thinking about all these actors who were great when I was a kid but have pretty much disappeared now.

Val Kilmer was easily one of the biggest stars of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Just watch his films and it's easy to see why. The guy was super charismatic, could take on just about any role that was thrown at him, and I don’t think any girl would say he was tough for them to look at. With all of those things though, he simply never cared about the spotlight. Even at the peak of his career, he was one of the more private celebrities there was. On top of that, he was very picky about which roles he took, and his reputation as a perfectionist made him somewhat less attractive to certain directors. When he did choose a role, no matter how good the movie as a whole was perceived, Kilmer’s role was almost always praised.  

What I think he needs for a comeback: Besides him being #1 on the list, he is also last because I think what he needs is a combination of all the reasons I gave for the actors above. First, get back into shape. You could tell he had lost weight for “7 Below” but if he really is gonna make one last run at superstardom, he needs to get back into the shape he was 15 years ago. There are plenty of actors his age who are still in great shape, so no using age as an excuse. Two, get a small role in a popular movie to get his name back out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if people under 20 don’t even know who he is, and they’re gonna be spending a large portion of the money that goes into box office grosses. Three, even while watching that last movie, I still thought he has great acting ability. He didn’t have much to work with, but compared to all the other actors in the film you would’ve thought his role was Oscar worthy. So the big dogs of the industry need to offer this guy a role; I can’t think of a film that was hurt by having him in it. And lastly and most importantly, like I said with Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kilmer just has to want to. I think the only person who has ever stopped Kilmer from being one of the biggest stars on the planet is himself. Unfortunately, if I’m being honest, I don’t think he really has a desire to make a comeback.

Honorable Mention: Michael Keaton. The reason why he didn’t make the cut is because all of the roles I thought he was sweet in, “Batman”, “Batman Returns”, “Beetlejuice”, are all types of roles he really couldn’t play anymore. Although, word is he might be giving “Beetlejuice” one last go-around.

So there you have it, five actors/actresses I would most like to see make a comeback. What do you guys think, would anyone else like to see them back on top? Who are some other actors people would like to see back in the spotlight?