Careers of Hollywood's once-hot leading men may hang on their big holiday flicks - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Careers of Hollywood's once-hot leading men may hang on their big holiday flicks

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Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:33 pm | Updated: 9:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

None of the actors listed below will miss a meal in 2009. None will have to tighten his Versace belt, have his Gucci driving shoes resoled or be on the lookout for the repo man. However, in film, perception is everything, and even though these guys have gotten away with plenty because they are who they are, they may no longer be who they were.

So there may be careers dangling on some very dubious movies that will be coming out between now and the end of the year.

JIM CARREY

What's he done? "Ace Ventura," "The Mask" and "Dumb and Dumber," which made Jim Carrey the first $20 million-per-picture comedian. While his first pic at that price - "The Cable Guy" - got bad reception, he followed up with "Liar, Liar," "The Man in the Moon," "Me, Myself & Irene," a change of pace with "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," then back to form with "Bruce Almighty."

What's he done wrong? "The Majestic" (what?), "Fun With Dick and Jane" (huh?). He also has assumed that his brand of desperation comedy would have an unlimited shelf life.

What's new? "Yes Man" (opening Friday), in which Carrey's character challenges himself to say "yes" to everything for a year.

What's at stake? Carrey reportedly is doing "Yes Man" with no money upfront. If audiences say no to "Yes Man," well ... is "Hollywood Squares" still on?

TOM CRUISE

What's he done? "Risky Business," "Top Gun," "The Firm," "A Few Good Men," "Jerry Maguire," "Mission: Impossible I, II and III," "Magnolia."

What's he done wrong? Bounced on Oprah's couch, made himself the middle-age poster child for Scientological weirdness and underdelivered at the box office with "M:I 3" to the extent it allowed petulant Viacom chief Sumner Redstone to cut him loose.

What's new? "Valkyrie" (Dec. 25), the story of Claus von Stauffenberg, a much-honored, much-wounded Nazi officer who was at the center of a German plot to kill Adolf Hitler in 1944.

What's at stake? Tom Cruise's place at the box office, which teeters on the risky premise of making a Nazi sympathetic. "Hitler's Germany," Cruise says in the trailer, "has seen its last sunrise." Yeah, well, the same might be said for Cruise.

BRAD PITT

What's he done? "Thelma & Louise," "Se7en," "Twelve Monkeys," "Fight Club," "Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen," "Babel."

What's he done wrong? Cheated on Jennifer Aniston. He's made a few dumb career choices, too. Potboilers like "The Mexican," "Troy" and "Spy Game." And while Angelina Jolie may have taken the tabloid brunt of the whole Brangelina issue, it's his albatross, too.

What's new? David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Dec. 25), about a man who was born old and gets younger as everyone around him ages.

What's at stake? "Button" is elegant and bittersweet, but it isn't a blockbuster. And the fewer blockbuster movies you make, the less you are perceived as a blockbuster actor.

WILL SMITH

What's he done? Become the biggest actor in the world, thanks to "Bad Boys," "Men in Black," "Independence Day" and "Shark Tale."

What's he done wrong? Gotten serious. Will Smith's box-office potency remains unquestioned - "Hancock," which was a cinematic disaster, still made more than half a billion dollars worldwide. But did anyone really want to see "The Pursuit of Happyness"? But no one's been talking about Smith the way they did after "Independence Day."

What's new? "Seven Pounds" (Friday) - "an extraordinary journey of redemption," which is the kind of description applied to movies that make you wanna go "zzzzzzzzzz" before you've found a parking spot.

What's at stake? Smith is huge, and when you're huge, you're a target.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

What's he done? "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" indicated that Leonardo DiCaprio was among the greatest actors alive. However, few of his films have captured the mainstream imagination in a major way. "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator" and "The Departed" were all serious movies, but they weren't "Titanic."

What's he done wrong? "Blood Diamond" and, certainly, the documentary "The 11th Hour" were movies DiCaprio was motivated to do for their sociopolitical content. His last, "Body of Lies," was an overlooked gem, probably because of its Middle East content.

What's new? "Revolutionary Road" (Dec. 26), directed by Sam Mendes from the Richard Yates novel, about a '50s couple seeking fulfillment in France. In it, he's reunited with his "Titanic" co-star, Kate Winslet.

What's at stake? Like George Clooney with an age advantage, DiCaprio is probably the male star best able to survive box-office dips and acting misfires, because he has a surfeit of talent, natural magnetism and a sense of conviction about whatever he's doing.

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