Category Archives: A-List

Who are the current A-List actresses?


Several times during the WTHH series often emerge complaints about the difficult for actresses to emerge as box-office draws. Hollywood tends to be a place with little space for pardon and second chances for women as many WTHH subject, like Demi Moore, Meg Ryan and Winona Ryder experienced. It is much harder for women to become A-List and is much harder for women to stay on top or forget scandals and bad career moves.

But who are current female A-List in Hollywood? Weeks ago Forbes revealed its yearly list of highest paid actresses. Here is the top 10 of Hollywood’s highest grossing actresses:

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Juror #8: Henry Fonda (Part 2)


In part 1 of this article, I detailed Henry Fonda’s early life and film career through the end of the 1950s. After six years away from film, Fonda had come back in a big way with “Mister Roberts,” which had opened the door for some high-profile projects, including “War and Peace,” Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man,” and our personal favorite here, “12 Angry Men.” Unfortunately, a couple of box office disappointments and at least one unfathomable creative dud had left Fonda licking his wounds and retreating to the television western “The Deputy.” As he would prove, however, Fonda still had the prestige, popularity, and talent to hold a strong place in the industry.

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Juror #8: Henry Fonda (Part 1)


You’re a sadist.

Henry Fonda’s “Juror #8″ (or “Davis” as he finally introduces himself) is the ostensible hero of “12 Angry Men,” the individual who initially stands alone against derision, impatience, apathy and hate. All of this is true, but the real triumph of Fonda’s character is that he succeeds in bringing out the best in some of the men around him, allowing them to become heroes in their own rights. What is remarkable in Fonda’s performance is his rare ability to embody humble integrity, even in moments when the character is kind of being a pompous jerk. Next time you see the film, consider his actions from moment to moment rather than as a whole, and you will see a man who is willing to get his hands dirty in service to an ideal. Despite Juror #7’s pronouncement that he has the “soft sell,” Fonda’s character is neither subtle, nor kind when arguing his case with sledgehammers like jurors 3 & 10. If you want an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs.

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The A-List: Emma Stone


Before anyone accuses me of jumping the gun on this one, let me state right up front that Emma Stone is not yet on the A-List.  What she is is a rising star with a lot of potential.  Hollywood is littered with with the hopes and dreams of starlets who never quite made it to the top.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Emma Stone will not be one of them.

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The A-List: Tom Cruise


Originally, I set out to make a list of the current crop of a-list actors.  I was going to write up arguments for and against the inclusion of certain actors on the list.  But I quickly realized that this was unwieldy.  Not only was it time consuming, it made for very scatter-shot reading.  Instead, I have decided to handle this subject in a series of one-offs. 

For my first subject, I have selected Tom Cruise.  Cruise’s career has always been a fascinating one to watch.  His reign atop the A-list in almost unprecedented.  After gaining acclaim in films like Risky Business, Cruise became an international box office super star with Top Gun.  And for 20 years after that, Cruise was the consummate Hollywood super star.

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The A-List: A Definition


I spend a lot of time talking about “the A-list”.  Who’s A-list, who’s not, who used to be, who’s on their way, etc.  When you say an actor or actress is on the A-list, most people know what you mean.  But if you start analyzing who is or is not on the A-list, you’ll find that the term means different things to different people.  There’s a lot of grey area there.  In this article, I intend to nail down what it means to be on the A-list.

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A-List Smackdown: Pfeiffer Vs. Ryan


Jodie Foster in a Pfeiffer/Ryan sandwich!

Regular readers of my What the Hell Happened articles know that sometimes the comments section takes on a life of its own.  For reasons unknown, we have discussed Michael Keaton fighting just about every actor who worked in the 1980’s.  The most recent entry focused on Michelle Pfeiffer.  Blogger, Paul S brought up the idea of comparing Pfeiffer’s career to previous WtHH subject, Meg Ryan.  This resulted in an excellent article on Paul S’s blog devoted to the two actresses comparing their careers.

I started typing up a response to the article.  It may not surprise anyone to know I rambled on and on.  My final comment was practically an article unto itself.  But then tragedy struck.  Blogger.com (which doesn’t seem to like me very much) ate my comments!  I left an abbreviated version of my original comments and vowed to come back later for a more detailed analysis.

You’re clever folks.  You have probably already figured out that those comments morphed into this article.

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