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Added by johanlefourbe on 26 Feb 2013 08:39
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The best comebacks in motion picture history

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Directors

Average listal rating (1266 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 0


Notes: For so many years, Ben Affleck has been literally vilified. On this very website, how many times have you seen him on a list about the worst actors ever? Personally, I always thought that the hate was rather exagerated but, still, I couldn't imagine that the guy would manage to win a Best Picture Academy Award. Back in 1997, he finally had his breakthrough with his BFF Matt Damon with 'Good Will Hunting'. After that, everything went really fast for him and a year later, he reached super-stardom with 'Armageddon'. The problem is that he kept making some dubious choices ('Pearl Harbor', 'Daredevil', 'Gigli', 'Paycheck', 'Surviving Christmas') and his acting career slowly became the laughing stock of the average movie goer. Furthermore, he became a huge target for the tabloids when he was with Jennifer Lopez destroying even more his credibility. So, the guy seemed to be doomed forever. But, then, he took a step back, got married with another Jennifer, got some kids, and surprised everyone with his directing debut 'Good Baby Gone' which was critically heralded. Forward 6 years later, and the guy is, once again, an Oscar winner. Talk about a resurrection...
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Notes: We often talk about how many actors managed to make some impressive come-backs in their career but, very often, we tend to forget that for some directors, the path was also pretty hazardous and David O. Russell is one perfect example. Indeed, after helming 3 movies, he was hailed as the next best thing. Unfortunately, even though Russell was definitely a talented director, he also had some issues and he got the reputation of being quite impossible to work with (Among other things George Clooney punched him while shooting ‘Three Kings’ and he had a major falling out with Mark Wahlberg after working with him on 3 movies over a decade). Anyway, as a result, Russell managed to make only one movie between 1999 and 2010, the barely seen ‘I Heart Huckabees’, and his following feature 'Nailed' was never even completed. Fortunately for him, he made a major comeback in 2010 with ''The Fighter' which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award and so was his last movie, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. Eventually, Jennifer Lawrence won the Academy Award for the best actress and Russell is already working on his following movie which will star many previous collaborators (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams).

UPDATE:
Even though 'American Hustle' didn't win anything at the Academy awards, it still managed to get 10 nominations (more than any other movie) and it was already the 3rd time in a row that a movie directed by Russell was nominated as Best Picture of the year. Not bad at all don't you think?
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Notes: Even if you can't stand his movies, you still have to agree that his career is the stuff of legends. Indeed, his first 2 directing efforts, 'Badlands' and 'Days of Heaven', were both received with some great critical response and there was an ever growing rumor that Malick could become the best American director alive. But, suddenly, he disappeared and nobody knew exactly what happened to him. However, out of nowehere, in the mid-90's, he showed up again planning to shoot a WWII war feature 'The Thin Red Line'. Of course, any decent actor in Hollywood rushed to be cast and he had a massive cast at his disposal. Eventually, it was released 20 years after his previous directing effort and, again, it was a huge critical success and Malick was definitely back in town. Nowadays, he has won recenly the Golden Palm at the Cannes movie festival with 'The Tree of Life' and he is more productive than ever, possibly releasing no less than 5 movies in 4 years.
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Notes: Ever since her directing debut 'The Loveless ', Kathryn Bigelow seemed to be a very talented director. However, after the underrated 'Strange Days' didn't score as well as expected, her career went really slow. She was first supposed to direct 'Joan of Arc' but got fired when she refused to direct when the producer Luc Besson insisted that Milla Jovovich, his wife at the time, played the lead. After that, she did manage to direct two movies but they were both financially and critically disappointing ('The Weight of Water' and 'K-19: The Widowmaker'). However, somehow, 6 years later, she managed to make 'The Hurtlocker', a movie about the war in Irak, and even though it was actually barely seen when it was released, it was critically lauded and eventually even won the Best Picture Academy Award. Bigelow herself won the Best Director Academy Award, being the first woman to do so and she is nowadays one of the most sought after directors, female and male alike.
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Actors



Notes: You can say whatever you want about Tarantino but he can turn your career around, just look at Christoph Waltz. The guy has won back-to-back two oscars working with QT. Before that, he was just some unknown actor working on some obscure German TV movies. Even more impressive was the comeback made by Travolta thanks to 'Pulp Fiction'. Back in the 70's, John Travolta became a superstar after starring in 'Grease' and 'Saturday Night Fever' but after making a few bad casting choices (Richard Gere has to thank him for rejecting 'American Gigolo', 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and 'Days of Heaven'), his career went down slowly but surely and at the beginning of the 90's, nobody cared for him for already a long time. Fortunately for him, Tarantino always had a fascination for has-been actors so he chose him and Travolta gave easily the best performance of his career. Since then, John Travolta hasn't done actually anything really amazing but he has been ever since in demand and has never left the A list anymore.
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Notes: Of course, Robert Downey Jr. is a huge star, one of those mighty Avengers but not so long ago, he was a poor junkie who could have died like any another addict. He had always been a talented actor but his addiction started to take its toll and how many times did he end up in the gutter or even in jail? At some point, the situation was so bad that nobody would hire him because no insurance company would back him up. Apparently, when he finally got sober, his comeback was to be thanked partially to Mel 'F*ckingCrazy' Gibson who always remained a friend and paid for his insurance bond for 'The Singing Detective'. From then on, it started to get better for him and in 2008, he finally got his real breakthrough with 'Iron Man'. Even if today it seems to be obvious that he was the right choice, back then, he seemed like a huge gamble but it paid off and, nowadays, Downey Jr is one of the most popular and successful mainstream actors.
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Notes: It is another interesting case. Back in the 80's, Mickey Rourke was one of the most popular actors. However, he kept making some bad choices casting wise ('Wild Orchid', 'Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, 'Double Team') and he went back to boxing for a few years. Rourke used to boxe as an amateur in the 70's and came back for a few years as a pro but even though he seemed to have been a decent fighter, at 35 years old, he was just way too old and suffered a number of injuries living him rather disfigured. However, thanks mainly to Tony Scott and Robert Rodiguez, he came back in the limelight. Finally, in 2008, he starred in 'The Wrestler' which garnered some tremedous critical reception and he was nominated for an Academy Award. Nowadays, he seems to be more humble and makes sure he won't mess it up a second time.
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Notes: Back in the 80's, Sylvester Stallone was arguably the most famous action movie star but after 1993, after 'Demolition Man' was released, his career didn't go so well as he kept starring in some box-office flops. It seemed at some point that he was heading towards the hell of straight-to-DVD market like his colleagues Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Eventually, Stallone had a masterplan and decided to bring back, for one last time, his most beloved character Rocky Balboa. Since Balboa gave him his breakthough, why not also a comeback? Against all expectations, it turned out to be a decent flick and since it was a hit, Stallone was definitely back in the game. Subsequently, he did the same thing with Rambo which also was a success and finally, the cherry on the cake, he made the ultimate hommage to those 80's macho action movies with 'The Expendables' which was once again a hit and now a bonafide franchise. You may wonder how long he is going to keep making those action flicks (the guy is almost 70 years old now...) but, apparenly, he doesn't want to quit yet, that's for sure.
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Average listal rating (3287 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0


Notes: At the end of the 80's, Johnny Depp finally got his breakthrough with the TV show '21 Jump Street'. Instantly, he became a huge teen idole. However, pretty rapidly, he came to despise this status and quit the show as soon as he could. After that, he did a pretty good job at destroying his image starring in some low key indie features usually portraying some weird excentric characters. As a result, he became known as a box-office poison and most of the mainstream audience tended to ignore him but, personally, I thought that what he made in the 90's was just awesome and many of those movies are among my favorites ('Arizona Dream', 'What's eating Gilbert Grape', 'Dead Man',...). However, already 10 years ago, Jerry Bruckheimer came with the bizarre idea to make this huge pirate movie, an adaptation of a Disney theme park show, starring Johnny Depp who was back then not a box-office super-star, far from it. Everybody thought it would be a giant flop (like all recent pirate movies) but against all expectations, it was a huge hit, launching one of the most successful franchises ever made. Depp's status suddenly changed overnight. From box-office poison, he became box-office darling making one hit after another. Nowadays, he is probably the most popular mainstream actor and one of the few bankable ones. Apparently, this time around, he seems to enjoy the attention so he should stick around for a while.
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Notes: This one was a real surprise to me. I mean, I kept coming accross this actor in such movies like 'Watchmen' and I thought he had been around in the 90's and probably in the 80's. In fact, this actor had disappeared for about 20 years (!) before, somehow, Steve Zaillian remembered him. Apparently, Haley started in the 70's and became a rather successfull child star but later on in the 80's, he didn't manage to keep up his career and slowly, the job offers stopped to come alltogether. Then, he took different kind of jobs such as commercial director, limousine driver, furniture refinisher, security officer and pizza deliverer. At some point, he forgot about the whole acting thing but then, many years later, he got this phone call and the ball started to roll again. The same year he got the job for 'All the King's men', he was also cast for 'Little Children' for which he gave a terrific performance resulting in an Academy Award nomination. Since then, he has been constantly working and he won't be delivering pizzas anymore for the time being.
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Notes: Personally, I have always had a weak spot for Matthew McConaughey. Indeed, he always seemed talented and he was very promising when his career took off. Back in 1996, he had his breakthrough in a small role in 'Lone Star' and, above all, with his lead part in 'A Time to Kill'. After that, his star started to rise and he became one of the most popular actors showing up in some even more ambitious projects such as 'Amistad' or 'Contact'. However, his progression stopped around 5 years later. Indeed, in 2001, he showed up in the successful but terribly underwhelming 'The Wedding Planner' also starring Jennifer Lopez. Suddenly, he became overnight some kind of male counterpart for the likes of Meg Ryan or Kate Hudson. Basically, the guy became the king of the Romantic Comedy ('How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days', 'Failure to Launch', 'Fool's Gold', 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past'). The fact that he kept 'losing' his shirt didn't help and since his other movies such as 'Sahara' were usually flops, at some point, nobody took him really seriously anymore. However, in 2011, he showed up in 'The Lincoln Lawyer' which was very well received and since then, he has dropped the rom-coms and has been praised in every single movie he has made ('Bernie', 'Killer Joe', 'The Paperboy', 'Mud', 'Magic Mike'). There is a great buzz concerning his future projects ('Dallas Buyers Club', 'The Wolf of Wall Street','Interstellar'), he seems to be back and has become once again one of the most exciting actors at work nowadays.

UPDATE: McConaughey just won the oscar for his performance in 'Dallas Buyers Club' so the guy is definitely back in style big time.
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Notes: Her story is quite famous by now. Indeed, as a member of one of the oldest Hollywood dynasties which has been in the movie business for more than 100 years, she had a bright future and it started pretty good for her. Indeed, only 7 years old, she starred in 'E.T.' the highest grossing movie ever made at that time. Following her sudden stardom, Barrymore started pretty soon to get in trouble. Apparently, she was smoking cigarettes at nine, drinking alcohol by the time she was 11, smoking marijuana at 12, and snorting cocaine at 13 and ended up in rehab at the same age. Fortunately, she managed to get her sh*t together pretty quickly and eventually became one of the most popular mainstream actress. She became also a successful producer and her directing debut 'Whip it' was very well received. So, I guess there is still hope for Linsay Lohan but, as the years go by, it seems more and more unlikely...
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Following Ben Affleck's recent success at the Academy Awards, I thought it was time to honor all those come-back kids.

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