Hollywood is a rough town. Unlike baseball, there’s no three strikes and you’re out. One bad flick can put a career on life support. There have been legendary bombs throughout Hollywood history that have been major black marks on many actors’ report cards. These put a quick stop on their stars' careers.
'Waterworld' and 'The Postman'
While almost everyone in Hollywood has had at least one failure, others have a couple big dogs on their resume. Kevin Costner was somehow able to get work after the debacle of ‘Waterworld,’ but then managed to star in 'The Postman' -- a movie so ridiculous, self-important and insufferable, you wonder what on earth everybody involved was smoking.
'Moment by Moment' and 'Battlefield Earth'
John Travolta also had two major stinkers he was lucky to survive … barely. He was on an incredible roll with ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Grease’ in the late '70s, then came ‘Moment by Moment’ in 1978, and Travolta’s career went kaput until ‘Pulp Fiction,’ 16 years later, brought him back. In ‘Moment by Moment,’ Travolta plays the gigolo lover of Lily Tomlin, and spends much of the movie running around in black bikini underwear. Enough said. Then, after he got back on top, Travolta did the Scientology infomercial ‘Battlefield Earth,’ which brought the comeback train to a crashing halt.
You gotta feel bad for Elizabeth Berkley. Sure, she’s not the greatest actress in the world, but she didn’t have to die for the sins of Joe Ezsterhas, whose dreadful script somehow got sold for $3 million. You can understand a cast member of ‘Saved by the Bell’ wanting to break away and do more adult work, but instead of taking Berkley to a new level, ‘Showgirls’ became her cinematic cross to bear.
'Kiss of Death' and 'Jade'
David Caruso was the McLean Stevenson of the ‘90s: a guy who left one of the biggest TV shows in history (in Stevenson's case, ‘M*A*S*H*’) to star in one of TV's all-time worst shows (‘Hello Larry’). Caruso burned his bridges with ‘NYPD Blue’ for a big movie career that never happened, starring in ‘Kiss of Death’ and ‘Jade.’ Thankfully for the mercurial actor, 'CSI: Miami' producer Jerry Bruckheimer stepped in and brought him back from oblivion.
Speaking of Scientology infomercials, ‘After Earth’ tried to sneak its Scientology message in under the radar, yet nobody was fooled by these cover manuevers. While Will Smith may be able to survive this train wreck, his career has certainly taken a hit from 2013's ‘After Earth’ that will be tough to recover from. No telling if director M. Night Shyamalan can do the same for his career.
Eddie Murphy never seems grateful for having his career rescued from the toilet. After a comeback with 'The Nutty Professor,' he couldn’t help but to jump right back into the cesspool. ‘Norbit’ is the absolute worst in a string of godawful movies. It not only put him back in the toilet bowl, it finally pulled the chain.
'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
You get the impression that after ‘The Fugitive,’ Harrison Ford just stopped caring. The fourth Indiana Jones movie helped coin the phrase “nuke the fridge” in describing a franchise’s point of no return from s---sville. After you see the movie, you'll understand why.
Nicolas Cage used to be a great actor, but he’s done so much schlock in recent years, it’s become hard to pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong. ‘The Wicker Man’ is certainly a good place to start. Making jokes about this movie is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Having never found Adam Sandler funny or talented, I’ve often wondered if he sold his soul to the devil for success. With ‘Jack and Jill,’ perhaps the devil’s finally come around to collect.
With 'Wayne's World' and 'Austin Powers,' Mike Myers created indelible comedy characters. Not this time. 'The Love Gurur''s Guru Pitka doesn't come anywhere near the comedy genius of Myers' Austin Powers, Wayne or even Dieter. After 'The Love Guru,' and the awful 'Goldmember,' we're inspired to paraphrase something the late, great Gene Siskel once said while angrily reviewing a terrible Eddie Murphy movie: “Come on Mike! Try harder!”