What the Hell Happened to Winona Ryder?


Winona Ryder

She was arguably the actress of my generation.  Or at least she was during my late teens and early 20’s.  And then, she disappeared from the big screen in the midst of a bizarre shoplifting scandal.

What the hell happened?

ryder - lucas

Winona Ryder – Lucas – 1986

Winona Ryder got her start in the 1986 teen cult classic, LucasLucas was one of the better coming-of-age dramas from this time.  Many members of its cast of unknowns would go on to be stars.

Lucas was of course played by the late Corey Haim and the film co-starred the scandal-prone warlock, Charlie Sheen.  Ryder played Lucas’ best friend with an unrequited crush.  Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jeremy Piven had small roles as well.

Everything about Lucas is cliché right down to the slow clap that ended every coming of age movie from the 80’s.  But the cast and execution set it apart.  Ryder’s role was small, but it helped get her noticed for later roles.

ryder - square dance

Winona Ryder – Square Dance – 1987

In 1987, Ryder got her first lead role in the low-budget country music drama, Square Dance which co-starred Jason Robards and Rob Lowe.

Ryder plays a teen from the country who ventures into the city.  No doubt she learns important life lessons.  I haven’t seen the movie myself, so I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a slow clap.

Odds are you haven’t heard of Square Dance either.  It’s a small movie.  But it showed casting directors that Ryder could play a lead.


Winona Ryder – Beetlejuice – 1988

In 1988, Ryder appeared in Beetlejuice.

Beetlejuice was a transitional film for director Tim Burton.  Pee Wee’s Big Adventure had shown that the former Disney animator could direct a hit film.  Based on the success of that film, Warner Brothers was willing to develop his idea for a Batman movie.  But they wouldn’t green light it yet.

In the meanwhile, Burton began looking at scripts he could direct at a budget the studio would agree to.  He settled on the supernatural comedy, Beetlejuice.  Burton cast Ryder as the goth teen, Lydia Deetz, after seeing her performance in Lucas.  The rest of the cast was filled with actors who would also go on to great success.

Beetlejuice helped save Michael Keaton‘s flagging career.   It gave Burton the clout he needed to make his Batman movie.  Ryder (along with co-stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) didn’t get as much credit for Beetlejuice‘s success.  But it certainly helped get them noticed.  And it was the start of a partnership with Tim Burton.

ryder 1969

Winona Ryder – 1968 – 1988

In 1988, Ryder also appeared in 1969.  That’s the name of a movie.  I didn’t mean to suggest Ryder was a time traveler.

In the late 80’s, there was a wave of 60’s nostalgia that elevated hippies to the level of sainthood.  As a result, Hollywood released a handful of movies starring the 80’s brat pack celebrating the Summer of Love.

1969 starred Ryder, Keifer Sutherland (who went on to star in the hippie-comedy Flashback) and Robert Downey Jr.  1969 didn’t have much of an impact on anyone’s career.  It got mixed reviews and disappointed at the box office.

Next: Heathers


Posted on July 21, 2011, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 264 Comments.

  1. Definitely one of my big screen crushes. Her and Marisa Tomei.
    How many other performers connect so fully in such a small movie, show talent and build a fanbase, but never QUITE connect that way again? Despite a very impressive resume, Heathers remains Winona's signature film by leaps and bounds.


    • I’m assuming we must be about the same age. Winona Ryder was huge for us. Heathers – iconic!

      I’ll give a second runner-up to Reality Bites. But I do think the soundtrack was a lot bigger than the movie. Also, she did play pivotal roles in 2 of the more memorable Tim Burton fantasies from the late 80s.

      I plan to get around to Marisa Tomei eventually. I don’t think she was ever really A-list (Oscar win aside) and she hasn’t exactly disappeared. So she’ll probably get the “Fetch” treatment instead. But she’s definitely a favorite of mine too.




        In addition to giving Mickey Rourke’s career a much-needed shot in the arm, The Wrestler was also a vehicle for a brave performance by a then 44-year-old Marisa Tomei. It had been a long, long time since her Oscar win for My Cousin Vinny, and Mel Gibson’s ridiculous What Women Want was arguably the most high-profile film in her rearview, so she definitely found herself back in the who’s who after The Wrestler. Despite once again being a critical darling, Tomei has failed to capitalize on it. Though she’s landed the role of Aunt May in the third iteration of Spider-Man, detractors are already pointing to the idea of “a hot Aunt May” as another reason to not get excited about a reboot nobody asked for. And if anyone starts talking about an Untamed Heart prequel, we’re prepared to make Christian Slater disappear. Don’t test us.


    • You know, not being able to ever quite regain the heights of a Heathers is probably a cross a lot of actresses would love to have to bear; many of Ryder’s contemporaries who have ended up having more successful careers, I would argue, never had that Veronica Sawyer role that lives on decades afterward. And that’s completely ignoring Lydia Deetz, another long-lived icon!


      • That’s an excellent point. Ryder never really established herself as a box office power house. But she has had some memorable roles that live on in pop culture. That’s not something every actress can claim. Even ones who had bigger box office draws.


  2. As another Gen X-er, I was a big Ryder fan. My favorite was definitely Heathers. Everything about it was great, including her performance. That’s why it was so painful to see her in two of the worst movies ever filmed, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Alien Resurrection.


  3. Wow, I certainly wouldn’t be that harsh about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I would say that it is frustratingly short of being awesome. Ryder herself is part of the problem, but Keanau singlehandedly nearly ruins the film completely. I’m betting that if Harker was recast, the movie would be SUBSTANTIALLY better than it is. Most of the scenes he isn’t in, I actually enjoy.


  4. I have to agree with you about Frankenstein! I was actually in high school when that came out. It was my senior year and I was doing a book report on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The book was powerful and moving and it was such a great story. I was so very impressed with the work that I thought it would be a great idea to watch the movie the day before my report was due. I have very rarely been that disappointed with a movie.

    I will disagree with you about Dracula. It may be because I was also in high school when it came out too. I actually really like Keanu. I loved the movie then as I love it now. I had also just read that book when I saw the movie. I love that it stayed true to the book. There was a bit of artistic license taken with it but not nearly so much as other classics made into movies. It was the single most terrifying and heartbreaking book I have ever read. The greatest love story and the scariest tale. Winona was decent in it. Her accent seemed a little forced at times but over all I think that it was great.

    I do like Winona. I agree with her being “The actress of our generation”. I hope that she can show that she has real staying power despite a few bad decisions (life and career).


  5. I don’t always dislike Keannu. He was actually pretty darn good in “Something’s Gotta Give,” but eegads he was so inappropriate and out of his element in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” I just try to ignore him anytime I watch what is otherwise a decent film.


    • Regarding Keanu, he’s got a pretty narrow range. But when a role is in his zone (Matrix, Bill & Ted) he hits it out of the park. Dracula was so far out of his zone I chuckle every time he speaks.

      MS’s Frankenstein, Oh lord, was it bad! I get that Branaugh had been to the gym. But the whole movie seemed to revolve around showing off his pecs. Toss in that wrestling match with a naked DeNiro in amniotic fluid and you have a recipe for disaster.

      BS’s Dracula, it’s a masterpiece compared to Frankenstein. On it’s own, it has its charms as well as its flaws. I honestly can’t recall how long it’s been since I sat down and watched it.


  6. See above ^^
    I want to say, since I have ran across your site, I have read one or two a day. Well done, both in writing and content. Now, with the (sincere) syrup out of the way, this one is the dud. She is atrocious. The Swedish Erotica 8 mm in the Army have better actresses than her. WATCH Dracula. With the exception of Gary Oldman (until his character comes to England) the film is a heartbreaking waste. The only bigger waste of a cast is Frankenstein. BUT besides my disagreement with this piece, the site is great. Rock on!


    • Glad you’ve enjoyed most of the articles. Ryder is a tough one. She wasn’t good in Dracula. But then she was good in almost every other period picture she did. I tend to think Dracula was a learning experience for her. But there are definitely movies where her performance left something to be desired.

      Also, there’s a very good cahnce I’m biased by my love of Heathers. From the on, I was rooting for Ryder.

      Thanks for reading!


  7. Revisited this article, and I’m wondering what you found so painful about “The Crucible.” Were you aware at the time that it was intended as a criticism of the McCarthy/HUAC hearings? I’m betting if you gave it a read as an adult, you might experience it differently. (The film is just ok, in part, due to Ryder being mildly miscast)
    btw, I have recently started rehearsals for a local production of “The Crucible,” playing Thomas Putnam, the rich man buying up the land of the accused.


    • I’m actually confusing my literature. It was The Scarlet Letter I found hard to plod through. I actually liked The Crucible well enough. But I agree, the movie was so-so.

      Glad yo hear you’re starting a new gig. Let us know how it goes and break a leg!


      • daffystardust

        Understandable. We read both the same year, and after “The Scarlet Letter,” nobody was very thrilled to be staring puritans in the face again. “The Crucible” was much more engaging, though.
        Maybe once we’re into dress rehearsals, I’ll post some pics or something.


    • Part of the issue with the film version of The Crucible is the way it was cast. Ryder was the ‘star’ of the film, but her character is not the hero, is bat$#!+ crazy, and disappears well before the conclusion of the story. John Proctor is the central character of the script, but Daniel Day-Lewis has always been more respected than popular. Combine that with the dour puritan trappings and tragic ending and you’ve got a formula for a box office disappointment.


      • I think the thinking at the time was Ryder + period drama = box office gold and a shot at the Oscars. Plus, Ryder and Lewis had made magic before.


  8. Oh my gosh, i love ryder despite the scandal! She’s awesome.


    • She will always have a place in my heart. A lot of people probably don’t remember how homogenous the sex symbol population of the 70s-mid 80s was. Lots of trashy blondes and Mary Tyler Moore and Audrey Hepburn were already too adult for my age group. Ryder seemed like a breath of fresh air to a kid who admired those actresses and also preferred punk to disco or hippie music.
      Wino 4 ever!


      • So says Johnny Depp anyway.


      • “Ryder seemed like a breath of fresh air to a kid who admired those actresses and also preferred punk to disco or hippie music.”

        Er– Punk versus disco? Ryder was a kid in the late Eighties- Disco Demolition was over by then, surely?


        • Remember the line by Pacino as Lucifer in “The Devil’s Advocate”: “I have so many names…”

          So did/does disco — when the word became uncool, it became “house” and “techno” and now “dubstep” and…it goes by many names…


        • I’m not remotely a music expert. But you’re probably right that disco was really just part of teh ongoing revolution of dance music. Although I personally have an affection for 70s era disco and all the pop culture that surrounded it whereas I have no attachment to more recent dance music. It’s purely nostalgia from when I was a kid.


        • Disco was dead. So was punk. Or at least it had ceased to be really relevant. And hippie music was long gone although grunge wasn’t that far off on the horizon. But Ryder was something of a proto-goth. She definitely appealed to the teen angst crowd.


  9. Funnily enough I heard the “Shoop Shoop Song” on the radio at work one day this week and it instantly brought Winona Ryder and Mermaids to my mind.
    I also watched The Age Of Innocence again, for the first time in many years, and I thought she best thing in it, surprisingly far more interesting than Michelle Pfeiffer’s Countess Olenska!
    As ninariccieee says it’s a shame about the scandal because she was a very appealing talent.


  10. To me, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is the worst Dracula film because it is not as close to the book as the title would have you believe. Had it presented itself as simply another take on the count, I’d have accepted it on those terms and would probably be less harsh with it. But the way Coppola & screnwriter James Hart insisted it was all Stoker makes a critical analysis imperative. The film’s ‘reincarnated love across the ages’ crap makes it as misleading (if not more so) as “Jason Takes Manhattan.”


    • Confession: I have never read the orignal.

      I have heard that criticism quite a bit from fans of the book. I knew a girl at the time who was a Stoker fan. She was so excited to see the movie and so furous when it was over.


  11. I neither get the appeal nor share the appeal for this actress. Her name on a film does nothing for me but give me a reason to avoid it. It seems like she herself was manufactured in a laboratory by Tim Burton to play nothing but dour, sour, glowering, gothic and thoroughly unhappy and unlikable parts. The shoplifting scandal didn’t come as a surprise to me at all because this is a woman who seems perpetually distant, detached, confused, lost and forlorn in everything she does. To me she is inseparable from the detestable and despicable trend of dark, depressing, disjointed, emotionally suppressed, joyless, morally muddy filmmaking that was started by Tim Burton and reached its pinnacle with the Matrix films. I expect a great actress to light up the screen. Winona Ryder descends across the screen like an eclipse who blocks out the light and casts a grim and ominous shadow over the proceedings.


    • I see Ryder through the lens of the teenager I was when she first came on the scene. And that teenager disagrees with you rather strongly. Ryder was the manic pixie dream girl of her day. She was quirky and loveable. Her flaws (or the flaws of her character) just made her that much more adorable.

      As her career sank and I grew older, my cinematic love affair with Ryder came to an end. It happened slowly. I think I gave up on her in the early 2000’s. I remember holding out hope that Girl Interrupted might rekindle her career. Instead, it started a new love affair with Angelina Jolie.

      Slightly off topic, I can’t draw a line between Burton and the Matrix. I guess they share a dark tone. But other than that, they seem very dissimilar to me.


      • The Letter takes a pretentious, tedious dive into Winona Ryder’s fractured psyche:,90571/

        At the risk of employing hyperbole, you could not be a moderately sensitive heterosexual young man in the late ’80s and early ’90s and not have a massive crush on Winona Ryder. For me and countless other members of my generation, Ryder was the ultimate dream girl, a gorgeous sprite with a quirky, offbeat sensibility and vaguely cerebral charms. She was Tim Burton’s muse as the iconic star of Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Beetlejuice, and the high-profile paramour of Johnny Depp (who famously got a tattoo reading “Winona Forever” that he later had altered to the even more awesome “Wino Forever”) and more tremblingly sensitive rock-’n’-rollers than is discreet or respectful to document here. When Matthew Sweet crooned of his unrequited love of Ryder on Girlfriend’s “Winona,” he was channeling the hopes and dreams and lusts of countless young men like myself. During her heyday, it seemed like everyone in the world was pining for dear, sweet, precious Winona.

        Ryder seemed to have a future of infinite promise, but the years have not been kind to her. In 1999, she realized her dream project when she starred in and executive produced Girl, Interrupted, the film that won Angelina Jolie an Oscar and catapulted her to stardom. The role of Girl, Interrupted author Susanna Kaysen would continue to cast a long shadow over Ryder’s career, especially after she was arrested for shoplifting in late 2001, an arrest that made no sense. Why would a rich, famous actress steal $5,500 worth of clothing? But combined with Ryder’s role in Girl, Interrupted, the arrest changed the actress’ image from endearingly quirky oddball to broken young woman struggling with mental illness.

        The world fell in love with Ryder as a girl and then as a quintessential angst-ridden adolescent, but didn’t quite know what to make of her as a troubled adult. She was too intense and controversial for light romantic comedies, but had difficulty being taken seriously as a heavyweight dramatic actor after she became an ex-con and tabloid fixture. The movies got a whole lot smaller. Ryder’s major film appearances were increasingly limited to cameos or minor supporting roles, while a slew of her post-arrest work pretty much went direct to video (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, The Darwin Awards, Sex And Death 101, The Last Word, The Letter). It’s telling that her two most memorable and acclaimed roles of the past decade were in intense psycho-dramas about broken, mentally ill protagonists wrestling their demons: 2006’s A Scanner Darkly and 2010’s Black Swan.

        2012’s The Letter also puts Ryder front and center in a moody psychological thriller about a broken, mentally ill protagonist wrestling her demons, but the results are as forgettable as A Scanner Darkly and Black Swan are memorable. It’s directed by Jay Anania, an NYU directing teacher whose former students include James Franco, which helps explain Franco’s presence in the film—as does the fact that at this point in his career, Franco will say yes to anything. Seriously. There are crack whores who are more discriminating in their choices than Franco, whose life and career seem to be one big performance-art piece. If Franco were asked to star in Wookiee-themed snuff porn, he would probably agree in a heartbeat, just to be able to say that he isn’t one of those snobby, uptight Hollywood actors.

        The Letter opens with Ryder delivering unspeakably pretentious narration in a shaky little-girl voice quaking with emotion. She sounds fragile and broken, as if talking to us from beyond the grave. This establishes a tone of insufferable art-school pretension from which the film never wavers. The Letter is so pretentious that it wears a beret, smokes clove cigarettes, and rides its impeccably restored bicycle to an independent coffee shop to write a post-graduate dissertation about itself titled Girl Interruption: Madness And Menace In The Theater Of Life In The Letter.

        Ryder plays a playwright-director who seems completely overwhelmed by the challenges of breathing and stringing words together in a coherent sentence. Though maddeningly verbose in her pseudo-poetic narration, she’s fumblingly inarticulate when offering direction to her frustrated actors in a new play that seems to make sense only to her. Franco co-stars as an actor who begins playing sinister mind games with the cast, which upsets the fragile ecosystem of the theater. Franco undermines his colleagues’ confidence and sense of self, and luxuriates in the bad vibes his manipulation engenders. The Letter is a good illustration of why actors are the worst, most f***ed-up people ever, and I say that as someone who loves and respects actors.

        Though he’s billed as a lead, Franco is really a supporting player who disappears for long stretches so the film can focus on Ryder’s fuzzy psychological descent. (A quivering bowl of Jell-O on the inside, Ryder is clearly crazy from the first frame, so her descent into a slightly more advanced form of madness doesn’t carry much weight.) Franco’s smirk can be sinister or charming based on the role and the situation, and The Letter employs his charisma to creepy ends. But the film doesn’t give him much to do beyond say creepy things and shoot predatory glares in all directions. There’s supposed to be sexual tension between Ryder and the parasitic Franco, but Ryder’s character seems stuck forever in a pre-sexual frame of mind, and Ryder herself remains girlish in her 40s. That quality can be haunting and effective in the right role. But in yet another of our culture’s poisonous double standards, when a man retains his childlike essence late into middle age, we consider it an Apatowian comedy, while when a woman does the same, it’s read as a Tennessee Williams tragedy.

        The Letter seems to take place largely inside Ryder’s childlike and rapidly disintegrating mind, as she devolves from broken and sad to insane. But Ryder’s fractured psyche is an awful place to visit, and you certainly wouldn’t want to live there. The film is a mood piece; unfortunately that mood is one of unrelenting, arty tedium. Anania’s groaningly portentous direction here illustrates the truth of the old adage that those who can, do, while those who can’t teach—and are sometimes fortunate enough to rope one of their famous former students into one of their feature-length bad ideas.


    • I was well aware when I first saw Ryder in films that she would not appeal to everyone. That was part of her appeal to me. Most ingenues at the time were pretty bland and boring to me, and I was very pleased that our generation had its own sort of punky Audrey Hepburn. To my eyes, she was quite incandescent.


      • Bingo! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I guess that’s why I didn’t.

        Winona Forever – unless you’re Jonny Depp.


  12. Winonas downfall is natural. She took the wrong roles, kept her role potential narrow and finally lost her innocence. Remember the Nino from Girl-Interrupted? She’s gone. Nino has lost it.

    She relied on her looks and those have changed dramatically. She should have expanded her potential for overtaking more complex roles, but refused. Thus, one thing came to the other and there was nothing left to keep her at the top.

    The shop-lifting finally shot her over the cliff. No potential as actress on the one hand, legal disaster on the other hand, dead Nino in the end.


    • I can’t quite agree with everything you said. I saw a little bit of The Dilemma on cable the other day. It didn’t look especially good, but I thought Ryder was still fetching. I think she has a bit of the female Matthew Broderick syndrome. As they age, they still have childlike facial features which stop being so adorable on middel-aged faces.

      I also think she tried to take on edgier and more adult roles. But depending on your POV, she was either not up to the material or audiences simply didn’t want to see her in those kinds of roles. I am actually leaning towards the latter, but there may be some of the former in there as well.

      No doubt the shop lifting thing put a bullet in a career that was already on life support. I don’t think Ryder will ever be A-list again. But I do think there is the potential for some interesting work from her.


      • You want Winona back because you like her. Your opinion is based on your emotions.

        I look at her more objectively. On the big scale, it doesn’t matter what Nino wanted but only what Nino can deliver.
        People loved her as sweet young girl, a look which she was able to keep for some years.

        Then she lost it.

        In Hollywood, as a woman, your career depends on your looks. If those get lost, you fall. Nino is no longer sweet. That means dead end of career.

        Then the shoplifting incident has thrown fire to the oil.
        The innocent young girl became a criminal.

        I guess the bosses in Hollywood no longer trust her. All she gets are minor roles to sell her former image. No lead role.

        That’s the sign of the end.


        • I assure you I don’t have any kind of an emotional investment in Ryder’s career. I agree her days on the A-list are over. But I think she has the potential to do some interesting supporting work like she did in Black Swan. She still seems to have some life left in her career outside of the A-list. I could definitely see her making a successful tranition to TV roles in the future.


        • I just watched The Letter. She certainly hasn’t lost her looks in my opinion. She’s porcelain and the camera loves her in all sorts of lighting situations–even lit from the side which is often not flattering on people in their late 30s early 40s but she looked great. Agreeing with someone else on the VO being annoying but her acting is remarkably natural in this film and stronger than I remember from her heyday roles.


      • Having a childlike-look on a middle-aged face is OK on men and not women? Wow, this is a new sexist thing I never even heard of. And I have to disagree…It’s working for Mary Louise Parker and the much older Sally Field to name a few off the top of my head…


        • I’m not sure who exactly you’re responding to. If you’re responding to my comment, I specifically said it wasn’t working well for Ryder or Broderick. I read through all the comments in case I was missing something. I don’t see any sexism. What am I missing?


    • While I’m not sure Winona is right for most of what’s on television, I do think she could continue to do good supporting work in film.
      I find it kind of humorous when people behave as if doing supporting roles instead of leads is the end of the world for actors and actresses. Those people seem think fame is all that matters.
      Do leads make more money per picture? Sure they do. But take a moment to look at the resume of an actor who was A-list for most of his career and compare it to one who played mostly supporting roles. What you’ll see is that the supporting player often has 2,3, or even 4 times the number of credits to his name.
      Never mind the fact that supporting roles are sometimes a lot more interesting to play than the typical ingenue or Alpha male part held by the leads.
      They still give Oscars to supporting actors, right? Only there is so much more competition in that category, because each film has only 1 or 2 leads, but has multiple supporting parts. A supporting win is actually more impressive in a way than one for a lead role because of this.
      Don’t diss on supporting actors, without them the lead has nobody to talk to.


  13. I was neither a fan nor a “hater” of Winona’s back in her heydey. Truth is, I really didn’t have much time for movies back then and as a result I was rather clueless and indifferent to all the popular Hollywood kids of the era. It wasn’t until my older years that I finally got around to watching Dracula and that was when I really took a liking to her (and have gotten caught up on some of her other films since then). Unlike many Stoker faithfuls, I’m unimpressed by the novel (I’ve read it a few times trying to grasp what is so great about it), therefore, I have no problems with the liberties Coppola took with the plot. I don’t see it as a horror film (if you do, of course you’ll be disappointed); to me, it’s a dark, tragic romance and as such, nicely done. Not perfect, plus Reeves as Jonathan Harker is just hilarious, but IMO it’s nowhere near the disaster that the Stoker fans make it out to be (good luck with finding anyone willing to stay 100% true to the novel, it’s just not going to happen). Also don’t think Winona was awful in this film, I just feel that the script didn’t give her much to do other than sit pretty and wait for her vampire stalker/lover to come snatch her up. That’s one of the film’s weak points, I’ll give you that.

    I actually believe Winona could’ve recovered from some of the flops had it not been for the shoplifting scandal. A pity, really, when you consider how many other starlets who have been in trouble seem to be able to just shake off their scandals and continue on as if all was sweet and dandy. I don’t feel she’ll ever return fully to her glory days, but she’s talented enough to become a respectable actress again.

    By the way, since we’re also discussing her physical appearance, I have to say that I disagree with Nomi’s statement, “She relied on her looks and those have changed dramatically.” Actually, I think she was one of very few who did not use her looks; from what I’ve read, she’s always thought of herself as quite plain when compared to many of her Hollywood counterparts (the truly lovely never seem to think of themselves as anything extraordinary, which just makes them more beautiful). Nonetheless, she was and still is quite lovely. No one looks the same after two decades, but she is aging quite well (hardly at all, if you ask me).


    • Sondra, I agree with pretty much everything you said. Dracula is actually on my re-watch list. I plan to give it a fresh viewing pretty soon. But from memory, I agree. It was definitely more of a gothic romance than a horror film.


    • Re; “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
      That’s just it. We, the audience, were specifically told by both Coppola &, in particular, screenwriter James V. Hart that the film would be THE definitive adaptation of the book.
      The final product proved really no closer than many of the other versions.
      If those two had simply kept their mouths shut & just called the picture “Dracula,” there would not have been as much disappointment.
      For example, I actually enjoyed “Sleepy Hollow” more than the original Washington Irving story. There are quite a few differences between the two but Tim Burton didn’t say that his version would be the most faithful to the story. He simply was putting out another take on the material.
      Hence, I was able to go into that film without any expectations that we were told would be met.


      • I hear this complaint all the time. Having never read Stoker’s book, I am immune. But I sympathize with those who were promised a faithful adaptation and didn’t get it.


  14. The question is not whether Nino can do it. The question is whether the film bosses believe she will still sell.

    Now I agree she has received some roles. Yet, who says they are not simply selling her before dumping her? Getting some quick dollars before she sinks into oblivion?

    We know how Hollywood works.
    Money counts.

    Of course, they’re not dumping Nino yet. She is still attracting money. The difference is whether she’s still getting roles as a prominent puppet, or whether she receives roles as an actress.

    The later would be the only honorable one. The first means selling her out. I believe the first one is the case. She gets used as puppet.


  15. Its sad what is happpeinig to her i was in love for this woman,real platonic passion,true,but im not a stalker or a psycho thing ,i dont go to usa to round her house like some kind of stupid guys do,i live in brazil,and i watched all of her movies but she is ethernal for me in mermaids,i think she is beautyful and very expressive,and she reminds me familiar,i dont know why,ok,i had girfriends,im not a basement-joe a-hole,i have a social life,but,i must confess I LOVE THIS WOMAN FOR TRUE,she dont know me,i did n care with she is reading this and thinkning that im a crazy stalkr,its a shame she does not have a decent role in hollywood,Winona,whatever you are,if theres some asshole dude kissing you now,or doing something else,i dont care,i have a girfriend but i confess that i had a platonic passion about you,its not bothering me,but is a real confession,i Live in brazil,my e mail is,i know that trools anad fakes will send me a fak e mail but,id like to dream about you send me a real e thats it I LOVE YOU WINONA FROM THE DEEP OF MY HEART


  16. I’m surprised at how many fans she has. Her IMDb message board is more active than Angelina Jolie’s. That’s odd. I never thought she was an exceptional actress and I’m not really disappointed that her career is over. But wow she really has a hard core fan base.


    • To add on that, Jolie owns Girl Interrupted. When I first saw that film I couldn’t care less about Ryder. Jolie stole it. It was kind of foolish of her to think she could make her comeback in a movie where she would obviously be overshadowed by another actress.


      • I’m sure she didn’t expect to be so completely over-shadowed by a relative unknown. But you’re right. She was.

        You have to understand that for a few years, Ryder was THE actress of our age group. That didn’t last long. But those of us who imprinted on her in Heathers still have a soft spot for her.

        You are right that she’s not an exceptional actress. But she was in the right place at the right time to make a huge cultural impact on a generation.


      • I wouldn’t go so far as to say Jolie was a relative unknown. She had already won 2 Golden Globe Awards. Although she wasn’t a box office draw (yet) she was already a very respected actress and was hailed as the next big thing after Gia. I also read that Ryder said she knew whoever played Lisa was going to win an Oscar, because of the script. I’m just glad Jolie got the attention she deserved for that film.


  17. This is an interesting one -.- U forgot the whole Gwyneth Shakespear Matt Damon thing -.- If I remember correctly part of Ryder’s recognition is her relationships with Depp and then Damon. I found it strange u didnt bring this up


    • You’re right. That is a big part of her recognition factor. Especially back in the days when she and Depp were an item. They were wuite the power couple back in the day.

      I have a tendency to glass over the star’s love lives. Every now and then, when they cross over into a career or they are particularly juicy, I will dive in. But more often than not, I stick to the work.

      I may have to go back and re-evaluate that in Ryder’s case. I have been meaning to update her anyway since Frankenweenie came out and bombed.


  18. I know tabloid shouldnt matter with film career. But u cant deny its role in helping what makes a star. I mean, take Angie vs Charlize, both r beautiful / versatile & talented (action-drama-comedy – in fact i gave bonus points 4 Theron) and r meant to be a superstar. Yet only Angie is, The tabloid factor clearly helps (Charlize has too many bombs, though, but if she has a more popular relationship she will escape them easier)

    What I’m refering to in Winona’s however is the whole Shakespear In Love thing -.- Gwyneth claims Winona backstabbed her and if i remember correctly it was the beginning of Winona’s downfall


    • I have not heard about the Shakespeare in Love story. As soon as my kids give me a little time, I’m going to look this up. I need to update the Michael Keaton article with the David Letterman video Polly tracked down for me (thanks Polly – you rule!). Sounds like I’ll be updating Winona’s article too.

      Thanks for the tip.


  19. I was shocked to learn that she played Spock’s mother in the last Trek film, too young (or young looking, anyway) for the part in my opinion, or maybe I’m just getting old and refuse to accept that she is too.

    Does anyone remember her in “Night on Earth”?


  20. Disclaimer: I am rather a fan of hers and think she is one of the more underrated actresses around. This blog is however, about the only place where I have seen any real discussion of Girl, Interrupted. Now – this viewpoint is no doubt going to be in the minority, but I seriously do believe that she did a far, far better acting job in the movie than Jolie. I think it was gutsy for her to make this movie and an extremely challenging role to play. In fact, AJ could not possibly have carried it off. Unfortunately, people are often shaped by unfair things that happen to them. I don’t see any reason why actors and actresses would be immune from this often sad part of life. In Winona Ryder’s case, being eclipsed by AJ in that movie was an unfair, career influencing moment in time. I know AJ has devoted fans but come on, look at the part. It can’t have been that much of a stretch for her to play Lisa, given her public wild-child persona. Ryder, on the other hand, played a subtle, complex character that was much more difficult and required real acting chops, and yet I thought she nailed it. She and the unfortunate Brittany Murphy. AJ is obviously a stronger person off screen, well, people are different. I believe Winona is capable of doing much more than the victim role she played in Black Swan (but then I was repulsed by the movie anyway) and I really hope she gets the opportunity.


    • I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Girl, Interrupted. I’ll agree that Jolie was over-hyped for her performance. She was being recognized for her star quality more than her acting. She was a fresh screen presence whereas most audiences were tiring of Ryder by then. The awards and recognition were more about personality than anything.

      I actually really liked Black Swan. I’m a sucker for movies with unreliable narrators. But I can see what you mean. I thought it was a great role for Ryder, but she does deserve to make a movie where she isn’t playing a victim.


    • I wasn’t a big fan of the Jim Mangold adaptation of Girl, Interrupted either(although I loved “Heavy”). Maybe it’s because I was a big fan of the book and when I heard the book was being made into a movie starring Winona—who just happens to be one of my favorites–I was excited, only to be disappointed by the final product. There’s only two Winona Ryder movies missing from my DVD collection–“Girl, Interrupted” and “The Informers”. I don’t care much to see those movies again. I’d rather re-read “Girl, Interrupted”, the book again than watch the movie, but personally, I thought Courtney Love would have made a better Lisa Rowe.


  21. I have always thought Winona was just insanely beautiful, and I wanted to like her acting simply because she had a unique look and I loved Heathers so much.

    Frankly, I think her demise is due to the fact that she is a terrible, wooden actor with no range. I know Hollywood thinks she’s all that, but I find nothing natural about her performances at all. She’s dreadful.

    The reason she had a decline was due to both a lack of talent and really questionable film choices. The shoplifting was just the nail in the coffin for her already declining career.


  22. Sometimes I think that the blessing of perfect beauty has a curse as its flip side. Meaning, if the audience can never see past that image, the actor or actress will have a limited career. At any rate, I don’t her to be a “wooden” performer, quite the opposite, then again I am a fan and appreciate her style.
    Poor film choices, cannot argue there, I still remember being shocked at what a bad vehicle “Autumn in New York” was, despite having 2 of my favorite performers, lush cinematography and a pleasant musical score. Why Winona and Richard Gere did not throw up after reading the script, and hightail it out of there, I will never comprehend.


    • Beauty can definitely be a burden for an actress. Although as beautiful as she was, I think Ryder was helped more than hurt by her looks. I’m with you in that I think she was talented. But I have heard from many people who were immune to her charms. I wouldn’t descibe her as “wooden”, but I can see where sometimes she comes across as sullen.

      I’m going to assume that Autumn in New York looked better on paper, but failed in execution.


  23. Oh my Lord, how sinister she looks in a Black Swan photo. I’ve seen the movie number of times and I have always perceived Beth as sort of pathetic character, never menacing before this.

    Overall, WITHOUT her shoplifting scandal I doubt that she would never been casted as Beth. If there is something positive to be found in it, it DID break her sweet and likeable mold.


    • I wouldn’t say it was over, but it was definitely in a downward spiral. True, the shoplifting scandal probably didn’t kill her career. But it did cut down on her chances of reviving it.


    • Shunned By Hollywood: 15 Of Tinsel Town’s Most Notorious Pariahs:

      From Heathers to Girl, Interrupted, Winona Ryder was among Hollywood’s biggest leading actresses from the 1980s until the early 2000s. Then, in 2001, the actress was arrested for attempting to steal $5,500 in designer clothes and accessories from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. The trial saw her accused of abusing drugs without a prescription and had her convicted of grand theft, vandalism, and shoplifting. Though she was acquitted of burglary, the actress was forced to spend three years probation, 480 hours of community service, and pay the store restitution. In the following decade, Ryder’s Hollywood roles became thin caricatures of the parts she used to play. Most recently, she’s been relegated to thinly written supporting roles in mainstream hits like Star Trek and Black Swan.


      • 10 Most Infamous Hollywood Scandals!

        10. Winona Ryder’s Bargain Shopping Spree

        When troubled actress Winona Ryder took a trip to the Beverly Hills Saks department store in December 2001, the sales assistants must have thought their luck was in in terms of commission! But no, Ryder decided that $6000 was too much to spend on a bundle of designer goodies that included a Gucci dress, Marc Jacobs jumper and a Dolce & Gabbana handbag, amongst other things…

        Caught trying to pilfer the lot, Ryder was also found to be in possession of some strong painkillers and a syringe, which she had apparently obtained through a number of doctors who had prescribed them to a number of aliases! Needless to say, the trial didn’t go that well for Ryder, who was sentenced to 480 hours of community service, 3 years supervised probation, a $10000 fine and counselling…$6000 for some clothes & accessories probably didn’t look that bad after all!

        The impact of her trial certainly helped slow the actresses’ career down and she found herself paying her penance in a number of low budget efforts and short films over the next few years (with only a few big budget projects scattered between). However, things have started to improve for her again now with small but important roles in films such as Black Swan (2010) and The Dilemma (2011) and a couple of projects in production including Frankenweenie (2012) and a rumoured part in Gardel – which also has Charlie Sheen rumoured to be attached coming a decade after the events!


  24. He does indeed.

    I think comedians have a built-in expiration date. Either they wear out their schtick or they lose interest. Vaughn reminds me of Eddie Murphy circa Beverly Hills Cop 3 (not that Vaughn was ever as big as Murphy). He’s put on some weight and just seems to be phoning it in. He looks bored with his own movies. Can kiddie movies be far behind?


    • I think that’s what also happened to Mike Myers by the time he started making stuff like “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Love Guru” (and to a lesser degree, the third “Austin Powers” movie). Of course, Mike’s reputation of being an egotistical, prima donna didn’t help his cause either.


  25. Hmmmm. I’ll have to look for the typos. It came out clean on spell-check, but that’s hardly 100% reliable.

    I dunno. You guys tell me. I feel like I’m pretty even-handed. Yes, I criticize and poke fun. But I also make sure to cover the highlights and point out good work in under-rated films. Am I too negative?

    I have said it time and again. I don’t expect anyone to remain on the A-list forever. Every career is going to fall off. Documenting that isn’t the same as criticizing someone. It’s just following what happened.

    Sometimes for research, I watch those A&E Biography shows. Man, those things are awful. They gloss over anything remotely negative. If they address it at all, it’s only so they can use it as an adversity the celebrity truimphantly overcomes. I would hate to write something like that.

    These articles are warts and all. I think that’s what makes them popular. But while I have my fun, the articles are written with some affection for the subject. I like to think that comes through. If not, oh well. I can live with it. You can always watch A&E Biography if you prefer.


    • I like the articles and find them very fair. They are tame compared to sites who click-bait. Beyond the title, there is not much controversial here. Actually, if your read them in total, you get a good overview as to how and why some actors do or don’t not get selected for parts, and why they do or do not become successful. There are some sarcastic comments but they are not over the top harsh. Heck with Winona, you are debating if she was too attractive! Hardly harsh criticism. (Though I do agree these articles do have a few typos. However, I didn’t see any here.)


      • You’re right Bygeorge this site is anything but “click bait” (never even heard the term before) I was hooked on the content here from the very first visit.


        • Click Bait is something else. I’ve been reading up on what it is and how it works. More time is spend coming up with the title than the actual content. Buzzfeed has clickbait down to a science.


      • I have been spending some time going back and updating past articles and I kick myself when I see how many typos are out there. Don’t hesitate to point them out or e-mail me when you find them. Yeah, it’s embarrassing. But I’d rather have someone point them out so I can fix them.

        I do strive for fairness. There are times when I will go back and think maybe I went a little too far. I have scaled back some articles that I think cross the line. I probably need to do a better job balancing the Val Kilmer article for example. The fat pictures are a bit much. But they are so much fun. In general, I figure my subjects are much bigger than me. They can take what I dish out. They get worse elsewhere on the internet. There’s a Fat Val Kilmer on Twitter who favorites just about every tweet from Krispy Kreme.

        As for Ryder, yes, she was very beautiful. She still is. She’s one of those actresses cursed to look eternally young. This creates an odd disconnect when an actor or actress clearly isn’t in their 20s but somehow still looks youthful and fresh. It’s a phenomenon I have never really understood. Ralph Macchio may be her male counterpart in that.


  26. 10 Sexy Actresses Who Should Make A Comeback:

    Winona Ryder was the queen of cool in the late ’80s through the ’90s. The Edward Scissorhands actress had the devil-may-care sex appeal that earned her the title of “grunge era icon,” the charm that got Johnny Depp to tattoo “Winona Forever” on his arm, and the talent that merited her an Academy Award nomination for Little Women.

    However, her career was sideswiped after her leading role in Girl, Interrupted was overshadowed by Angelina Jolie’s supporting performance, which ultimately won her an Oscar. Ever since her reputation was crippled by a 2001 arrest for shoplifting, none of the films she starred in after redeemed her, including her role as a washed up veteran ballerina in Black Swan.

    We think Ryder should return to what she does best: playing the quirky oddball leading lady in an darkly offbeat Tim Burton film, a la Beetlejuice. It’s not too late for the former Hollywood queen to get her groove back.


    • Can sex with Channing Tatum make Winona Ryder hot again?

      Although the current queen of Hollywood — that would be Sandra Bullock, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention — has nothing to worry about, this year — and, possibly, next — could be Winona Ryder’s turn. Once one of Hollywood’s top female actresses, she starred in hit movies, earned two Oscar nominations before she turned 25, and so enthralled Johnny Depp that he had her name tattooed on his arm.

      Then on top of some really bad career moves (like costarring as Richard Gere’s dying lover in 2000’s Autumn in New York), she made the big blunder in 2001 of trying to swipe thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills. Convicted of grand theft and vandalism, she avoided prison time, yet her career nosedived. (Depp had already downgraded his body art homage to her from “WINONA FOREVER” to “WINO FOREVER.”) Since 2001, her screen time has been relegated mostly to small parts and small films.

      But following her cameo as Spock’s mom in last year’s Star Trek reboot, the 38-year-old actress now has enough professional momentum to ease the decade-plus sting of former BFF Gwyneth Paltrow’s alleged betrayal (according to Hollywood legend, Paltrow killed the friendship by stealing Shakespeare in Love from Ryder) and Angelina Jolie’s thoroughly overshadowing her in Girl, Interrupted.

      Now, in the name of full disclosure, I have to say, I never really cared for Winona Ryder. Something about her wide-eyed pixie-ness drove me crazy. And playing the passive-aggressive bitch in The Age of Innocence (in which, I must admit, she was pretty stellar) and the lying bitch in The Crucible (in which, I must admit, she was not so brilliant, up against Daniel Day-Lewis, Joan Allen and Paul Scofield) only made me despise her more. When she was Oscar nominated for best actress for Little Women in 1995, I spent many sleepless nights, tossing and turning, praying for Tom & Viv’s Miranda Richardson to triumph. (A. Blue Sky’s Jessica Lange did. B. I know, I need to get a life.)

      Suddenly, true to my underdog-rooting tendencies, I find myself fully in her corner. I’m hoping at least one of the following projects puts her back on the Hollywood A-list and maybe even brings her that up-to-now elusive Oscar.

      When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story This TV movie in which Ryder played the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous already aired April 25 on CBS to so-so ratings, but its reviews were good enough — it scored a decent 66 on Metacritic — to make Ryder a viable contender for a nomination at the 2010 Emmys. It may not be the Oscars, but it would be a good start.

      Black Swan Once upon a time, Ryder would have been a shoe-in for Natalie Portman’s role as a ballet dancer on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the upcoming Darren Aronofsky-directed film. Now she gets to play the best friend. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Look at what playing the support system to the lead did for Marisa Tomei in Aronofsky’s last film, The Wrestler? Then look at what Aronofsky’s last film did for Mickey Rourke!

      Untitled Infidelity Project, aka Cheaters In this upcoming Ron Howard-directed film, Ryder costars as the wife of Kevin James who’s having an affair with Channing Tatum. Playing the spouse of the King of Queens might not sound like much, until you consider this: Kate Beckinsale and Uma Thurman auditioned (yes, auditioned!) for the part. (Don’t cry for Thurman: Her costar in 2011’s Bel Ami is none other than Robert Pattinson.) And even if the film isn’t very good — and with Howard, that’s always a distinct possibility — there are far worse ways to spend a work day than fooling around with Tatum.


  27. “The Letter”: Dear Winona Ryder…:

    Sorry, not to swipe a phrase from SNL‘s Seth Meyers, but…what are you doing? After stealing scenes as an aging ballerina in 2010′s Oscar-winning box-office smash Black Swan, your career comeback should be in full swing. Instead, you’re spinning your wheels. First came your unlikely role as Kevin James’ unfaithful wife in Ron Howard’s unfunny The Dilemma, and now you’re wasting your time with James Franco and his eggheaded academic pals in The Letter, which was deservedly sent straight to DVD.

    In it, you’re a playwright on the verge of a nervous breakdown who may or may not be hallucinating that your actor boyfriend is trying to kill you as you rehearse your new show. That’s way too close to the plot of Black Swan for comfort. And you’ve already played the crazy card before, in 1999′s Girl, Interrupted. (Remember, the movie that won Angelina Jolie an Oscar and made her career, while it did nothing for yours?) You don’t want to get typecast as a nutcase, especially considering your sanity has consistently been questioned since the 2001 shoplifting arrest that interrupted your professional progress.

    The Letter isn’t going to help your case—or your career. You must’ve been insane to sign on for this maddeningly abstruse drama, underwritten and underdirected by Jay Anania, head of the directing program at NYU’s graduate film school. That explains why his student, James Franco, appears as Tyrone, a manipulative actor in the show. He probably earned extra credit for doing his professor’s movie. What’s your excuse?

    You may be on the right track reteaming with Tim Burton, with whom you memorably worked on Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, on his new toon Frankenweenie. But you’ve gotta find a role in a live-action movie people might actually want to see. I’m excited by the prospect of your part as the wife of a contract killer (Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Shannon) in The Iceman. And I’m intrigued by your participation in Homefront, written by Sylvester Stallone and starring his fellow Expendable Jason Statham. It’s about a DEA agent who clashes with a meth-lord named Gator, played by… James Franco? Winona, how many times do I need to warn you about this guy?

    What you need is a good costume drama. Remember Little Women and The Age of Innocence? Of course you do—they earned you back-to-back Oscar nominations in the mid-’90s. Corsets befit you. Maybe they’ll add you to the cast of Downton Abbey.

    Or, should all else fail, Bravo is doing a TV-series remake of your 1989 teen-movie classic Heathers, and your character’s in it! Now she’s the mother of a high-schooler who confronts a similarly named band of mean girls. If you can’t land that role, it’s time to admit that, yes, reality really does bite.

    A Winona fan forever,



  28. Top 10 Celebrities Who Ruined Their Reputation:

    9. Winona Ryder

    Winona Ryder was arrested in on 2001 for shoplifting in a Beverly Hills store. She allegedly stole $5,500- worth of accessories and designer clothes. Winona was also accused of using vicodin, valium and oxycodone during the same trial. One year after the arrest, she is sentenced to pay specific amounts of fine and restitution as well as serving community service and probation. Winona never regains her reputation in the film industry.


  29. Niether Winona nor Rob made it through the bad publicity. For some people, it enhances their careers, for others, it kills them.


  30. That comment is so, so true and it reflects the unfairness of life. The same can be said of non-celebrities, that a misstep or scandal can either be a blip on the radar or a reputation destroyer. I think it has something to do with the image the person had to begin with. People don’t seem to forgive others for not being who they wanted the other person to be. For a movie star the effect is multiplied a thousandfold.


    • Last night, I was working on the next WTHH which included a bit on Hugh Grant’s little scandal. That could have been a career derailer, but Grant handled it absolutely perfectly. If anything, his handling of the scandal with a charming public apology made Grant more popular than ever.

      Ryder didn’t handle things nearly as well. She came across as being very weird. That was devestating to her girl next door image.


  31. I saw “Heathers” yesterday. It was the discovery of a little gem. Very dark, but also very original and brave. It’s like seeing your high school fantasies realized on the screen 😀


    • I’m jealous. I wish I could discover Heathers for the first time again. It’s a great high school movie.


    • Still Very, 25 Years Later: The Bleak Genius of Heathers:

      The black comedy isn’t just a forbearer to Clueless and Mean Girls—it’s one of the most scathing indictments of high-school groupthink ever made.The Atlantic | By Alan Zilberman


      • Actors that need a career resurrection/make-over? Bonus Thread: Winona Ryder’s Rack!

        Heathers was pretty great to see when it came out because it was kind of the anti-John Hughes teen movie–and I’m a big fan of the John Hughes teen movies. The Hughes movies–even though they contained characters that were more complex than the average teen movie–were still often pretty much “storybook” movies. Heathers was different. It may not seem so different now, because there have been a lot of movies since then that were influenced by Heathers. But at the time, hearing Winona say “Well, f*** me gently with a chainsaw,” or seeing a grieving father break down at the funeral and exclaim “I love my dead gay son!” was kinda shocking, in a good way. Actually, it’s a very quotable movie and that certainly explains some of its popularity. So, yeah, taking it out of the context of being at the forefront of the post-Hughes era of teen movies may cause it to lose some of its luster for first-time viewers. I still think it’s pretty shiny.


        • But at the time, hearing Winona say “Well, f*** me gently with a chainsaw,”

          Uh… Winona’s character didn’t say that… it was the head Heather, Kim Walker.

          Is it sad that I know that?


        • I think it’s great you know that. It’s one of my favorite lines in cinema.


  32. Hey! Love this site. I’m new to it. The VAL KILMER one isthe best. Just have a few criticisms: you should really spell checkyour articles. SO many spelling / name mistakes. Al Paccino? Really? ..anyway keep up. The good work. Can’t wait for Matthew Modine, Mickey Rourke…


    • Glad you liked it. And thanks for the tip on Pacino. I’ll make the correction.


      • You’re welcome. I’m new to your site and I’ve read almost every article. Can’t wait for more. You’re really funny. That’s why the misspells bothered me because I love reading it so much. Keep it up!


        • If you keep pointing them out, I’ll keep fixing them. I actually do run the articles through a spell-check provided by WP. But it is really limited. There are lots of things it thinks are misspellings that aren’t and vice versa. It has real problems with names. Misspellings and bad grammar annoy me to, so I am always trying to fix mistakes when I find them.

          Always glad to have a new reader around. Especially one that thinks I’m funny. You can criticize my spelling all you like as long as you think I’m funny! 😉

          I’ve been busy for the last week or so, but I have a big article planned for the next installment which is the 50th in the series. Hope you like it.


        • I do find you funny. VERY funny in fact. I’m from Indonesia, just so you know. You should really name the site “What the HellHappened to?” I’m gonna visit more often. I read your shit when I should be asleep.. It’s that addictive. The Val Kilmer article is soo funny.. Okay, enough praise. Can’t wait for the newstuff! 🙂


  33. Vince Vaughn: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked:

    Let’s face it, with Vince Vaughn, there’s a good chance you feel pretty strongly. Over his career, the mostly-comic actor has inspired equal amounts love and hate in audiences, enjoying box office success as many times as he appears to phone in identikit anti-hero performances in poor films, and it doesn’t help that he infamously has a very “distinct” personality.

    He’s a recognizable brand – the go-to-guy for Hollywood directors looking for a lead with enough every-man appeal to sell a story, with just the right blend of charisma and smarm to simultaneously make him the obvious choice for slightly annoying sidekicks who mask moral integrity behind a sometimes impenetrable fog of douchiness.

    Equally, there is no mistaking Vaughn for any other actor thanks to his voice, mannerisms, and comedic timing, and to his credit, he knows what he is comfortable with. For the majority of the past decade, every movie he stars in tends to be a Vince Vaughn vehicle, in which he basically plays various degrees of exaggeration of himself, and is given the remarkably generous opportunity to do so.

    Lately, fan adoration has been slowly declining for Vaughn’s movies thanks to a string of seemingly uninspired and flat-out lazy choices. But if you go back through Vince’s filmography, you will find a lot of gems, and some roles that truly allowed him to come alive. Yes, he might be essentially playing the same character endlessly, but it works, and that seems to be the reason he became so popular in the first place. When he is at the top of his game, he can outshine pretty much anyone else he shares the screen with, regardless of their own claims, and as much as we’re occasionally encouraged to hate him, he makes for an infinitely watchable screen personality when he’s on form.

    The Internship (opening in the US today) is his latest film and first collaboration with Owen Wilson since the highly successful Wedding Crashers debuted in 2005, and in honor of this new movie, let’s take a look at the actor’s most memorable performances and some that would be best left forgotten.

    Here’s Vince Vaughn: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked…


  34. Career, Superannuated: Why Winona Ryder is America’s Least Castable Actress:

    By Joe Dungan, Jan 1, 2001

    Somebody once asked me what therapy was like. I answered, “Where do I start?” This is how I feel about Winona Ryder’s career. Its great

    Somebody once asked me what therapy was like. I answered, “Where do I start?” This is how I feel about Winona Ryder’s career. Its great, it’s confusing, it sometimes makes you wish for your money back. And you don’t know for sure that it will ever end.

    Not that it should end. After all, I like Winona Ryder. I like her because I think she’s talented. (To answer your next question, no, I am not an idiot.) From what I have been able to glean from interviews, she seems like a real person — even in the profile-by-numbers hack jobs in checkout counter rags. She’s also interesting, and I don’t say that word the same way I would to an acquaintance whose play I just saw and don’t have the guts to tell him in the lobby afterward that it was dreck. I mean she is genuinely fascinating in a way unlike anyone else making movies.

    However, since Ryder’s business is show business, Genuinely Fascinating becomes a liability if not properly metastasized into the highly bankable but not especially artistic Watchable But Not Too Unpredictable, and she’s far too Counterculture to do something like that. In other words, she’s a former indie queen whose leap to mainstream features coincided with her exodus from her teens. She hasn’t been in big enough of a hit to make the A-list but is hardly a manufactured pretty face that the media can simply tear down and replace with a new one. Can we guess what will happen to her based on the fates of those actresses who have trod this muddy path before? No. Winona Ryder is the first of her kind.

    She started, at age 14, in Lucas, the 1986 teen tearjerker starring Corey Haim back in that one brief shining moment when movies starring people named Corey were considered cool. The five movies that followed (Square Dance, Beetlejuice, 1969, Heathers, and Great Balls of Fire) showcased her range marvelously. Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael notwithstanding, she served up winners in 1990: Edward Scissorhands and Mermaids. The little quirkette that could, did. There she was, freshly 19 years old, starrer of hits, co-starrer with established movie veterans. Cool, unique, talented, and touted for an Academy Award nomination. “What in the world do we do with Winona Ryder now?” her people may have wondered. Ten years later, they’re still scratching their heads.

    If she were an A-list superstar, the procedure would be obvious: Team her up with an A-list actor in a commercially appealing script. Let her go on vacation. Repeat. However, the Gordian Knot that is Winona Ryder’s career can be untangled by starting with one premise: She is not an A-list superstar. Not one of her films has been a blockbuster. There was no Ghost, Pretty Woman, or Speed to vault her into the elite. To argue it more bluntly, just imagine her as the female lead in any movie based on a John Grisham book. I rest my case.

    But she’s too damn good to go begging. This leaves … everything else. The variety in her filmography over the last decade rivals that of anyone. She’s been a 19th-century New York society princess (The Age of Innocence), a jerk (Night on Earth), a winner of “the actress whom Woody Allen (once-removed in the form of Kenneth Branagh) would most like to bang this year” award (Celebrity), and a Chilean (The House of the Spirits). She’s done the classics (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), the memoir (Girl, Interrupted), the theatrical parable (The Crucible), and the contemporary novella (How to Make an American Quilt). She’s done cloying and trashy (Autumn in New York), warm and touching (Little Women), condescending and shallow (Reality Bites), and inane and forgettable (Boys). She’s even done a sci-fi sequel (Alien Resurrection). And she was in Looking for Richard, whatever the hell that was.

    If it’s hard to say what type she is, it’s because she isn’t a type. She has stunning physical features, but no one ever seems to refer to her as a stunning beauty. The boyishness that marked her as a teen still hasn’t quite left her but she’s unmistakably feminine. She can be strong, but can never be tough enough to substantially mask her girlishness. All anomaly and no conformity make Winona an original girl. The strange part is that we know she’s nearing 30, but she’s hardly aged since she was a teen. To this day, she’s never played a character older than early 20s, except in Edward Scissorhands, where, in a couple of brief bits as a grandmother, she looked like a teenager in old-age makeup. That probably sums it up best: She’s the world’s oldest ingenue.

    I had a Winonapalooza in my flat while I was writing this. I’d seen most of her films already, but I rented a bunch of them in search of clues. How does the least interchangeable movie star in history continually land one movie after another when they achieve such scattershot success at the box office? How did her career get so big and stay there when she’s not a media slave and never does nudity? How does she regularly play articulate and smart characters when, as a clerk at my local video store averred, she “talks funny”?

    Then early on in Girl, Interrupted, she lit up a cigarette and that’s when it hit me. It’s far-fetched, unproveable, and I risk eternal damnation for writing it, but it’s the only thing that makes sense: Winona Ryder entered a pact with Satan and Big Tobacco. Satan gets her soul, Big Tobacco gets her to promote its product, and she gets not only a successful movie career but ages slowly as part of the contract, thus making what is already a long career even longer.

    Look at all the evidence, circumstantial or otherwise. Big Tobacco and Satan have been in the corruption business forever. Satan has the power and Big Tobacco has the money to make anyone a superstar. But with Big Tobacco’s image on the wane, it makes sense that it would seek partnerships in its soul-proprietorship division. Enter Satan, Inc. Over the years, Ryder has had friendships and liaisons with musicians, whom, as we all know, have already signed with Satan, Inc., so it’s not unlikely she met the Big S at a party early on. She portrayed a teen capably enough as recently as last year in Girl, Interrupted — still more proof that she’s aging slower than Dick Clark. She smokes in the movies more often than anyone since Humphrey Bogart. Satan’s even getting in on the product placement racket; Ryder’s most recent film was Lost Souls, which was about the rise of Satan in the body of a mortal. And of all the unflattering celebrity parodies done on the series South Park, it was only until the movie — in which Satan tries to take over Earth — that Ryder gets skewered. Ergo, her career hums along, Big Tobacco’s happy, and Satan’s making room on his mantel.

    But in the end, is this really such a bad thing? We’re all free to sell our souls to the highest bidder if we choose, right? Despite Big Tobacco’s best efforts, I doubt we’ll ever hear any stories of nicotine addicts dying of emphysema and gasping, “Winona Ryder made me take up smoking.” As for her staying young and beautiful forever, so what? She’s not hurting anyone. I notice she’s never in the news for being arrested or doing anything unseemly. And not only do we get some swell movies out of the deal, but think of the staggering irony at play here. She’s pushing a product that causes wrinkles and shortens life, and her own wrinkle-free life is on a path to last far longer than average. Despite all her talent and love for acting, she does nothing with less conviction in movies than smoke cigarettes. By all accounts, she’s a nice person, yet she’s destined for hell. And South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut and its Satan propaganda disguised as comedy grossed more money in domestic box office receipts than any of the last 13 — 13! — movies she’s done.

    In one scene from Little Women, Ryder, as Jo March, frets to Marmie about finding her place in the world. Marmie says to her, “You have so many extraordinary gifts, Jo. How can you expect to lead an ordinary life?”

    Oh, Marmie. If you only knew.


  35. Winona Forever: charting the highs and lows of Winona Ryder’s career:

    Winona Ryder was destined to morph into a strange and unusual creature from the start.
    Named after a Minnesota city, raised on a California commune and able to claim Timothy Leary as her godfather, the elfin, androgynous young Ryder was bullied at school before winning a quick succession of oddball teen roles in movies that would make her a poster child for misfits everywhere. While John Hughes’s characters worried incessantly about fitting in, Ryder’s precocious characters – from the pining band geek Rina in Lucas (1986) to the Goth weirdo who conversed with ghosts in Beetlejuice (1988) – reveled in their outsider status.

    Ryder’s appeal was two-tiered and universal. She was tough enough to play sassy heroines while her doll-like features, willowy frame and knowing line readings hinted at a more vulnerable, melancholy interior. This fragility was evident off-screen – in her well-publicized departure from The Godfather III, her skittish interviews and a highly publicized arrest for shoplifting in 2001.

    The latter incident — and Ryder’s subsequent conviction — halted a promising career. But like her best characters, the two-time Oscar nominee has a knack for self-preservation, and has spent her post-probation years quietly taking on edgy roles in smart indie films. At the end of 2010, Ryder scooped up SAG award nominations for her work in both Black Swan and the TV miniseries When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story. Long-simmering talk of a comeback intensified.

    As Ryder inches ever closer to the A list with a plum role in Ron Howard’s new comedy, The Dilemma, we look back at the highs and lows of her fascinating career.

    Heathers (1989)

    After making a strong impression in geeky supporting roles, Ryder stepped into the spotlight in a jet-black teen-suicide comedy her agents begged her not to do. Starring as Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, popular teen who uses creative means to dispose of the clique-iest classmates at Westerberg High, Ryder charmed audiences with her eye-rolling delivery and wry line readings (“My teen angst bulls–t now has a body count”), while establishing herself as a star with the smarts to ferret out edgy material.

    Romancing Johnny Depp – the Winona Forever years (1989-1993)

    At the height of her stardom, Ryder created a media tizzy when she embarked on a high-profile romance with hearthrob actor (and Edward Scissorhands leading man) Johnny Depp. Well-matched in looks, talent and quirkiness, the offbeat couple wasn’t shy about the relationship – Ryder crowed about their engagement on the Mermaids press tour, while Depp got a “Winona Forever” tattoo on his bicep. Their love faded after years of being dogged by the paparazzi, and Depp’s arm now bears the truncated message “Wino Forever.”

    The Age of Innocence (1993)

    Throughout her career, Ryder has excelled in literary adaptations, particularly Martin Scorsese’s take on this biting Edith Wharton novel. As May Welland, the giggly society girl whose betrothed is smitten with a more worldly divorcee, Ryder uses her giant eyes to subtly reveal that May isn’t half as dim or sweet-natured as she initially appears to be. The slow-burning performance remains one of her finest, and earned her a Golden Globe award for supporting actress, followed by her first Oscar nomination.

    The Polly Klaas case and Little Women (1993-1994)

    Though she was always wary of the limelight, Ryder used her star power to draw attention to the case of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old who had been kidnapped from Ryder’s hometown in Petaluma, Calif. Appearing in public TV spots in which she offered a $200,000 reward for the young girl’s return, Ryder was instrumental in raising the case’s profile. When Klaas was later found murdered, Ryder dedicated her feisty, Oscar-nominated performance as Jo March in Little Women to Klaas, who was a long-time fan of the novel.

    Reality Bites (1994)

    After acting in a series of stiff-upper-lipped corset dramas, Ryder loosened up as Lelaina Pierce, an aspiring documentarian who finds herself over-educated and under-employed after college graduation. Maligned by critics and revered by young slacker viewers who found themselves in the same boat, Reality Bites tapped into the early-’90s zeitgeist and cemented Ryder’s position as one of Gen X’s hippest stars.

    Girl, Interrupted (1999)

    Acting as executive producer for a project that was clearly a labor of love, Ryder also delivered one of her most underrated performances in this adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s searing memoir. Ryder displayed considerable dramatic chops in the meaty lead role of Susanna, a young woman who checks herself into a psych ward in the 1960s. While the actress spoke candidly in the press about her own struggles with depression, her on- and off-screen bravery was ultimately overshadowed by a scene-stealing Angelina Jolie.

    Autumn in New York (2000)

    Following her triumphant turn in Girl, Interrupted, Ryder’s career floundered, and she received more press for a role she didn’t play than the ones she did. It’s no wonder, given her screen projects in the year 2000 consisted of the demonic-possession movie Lost Souls (a dud she refused to promote) and this icky weepie, which paired Ryder’s terminally ill character with a love interest (Richard Gere) old enough to be her father.

    Free Winona – the shoplifting arrest and trial (2001- 2)

    In her most unfortunate screen appearance to date, the young starlet was caught on Saks Fifth Avenue’s security cameras on Dec. 12, 2001, carrying armfuls of merchandise she reportedly never paid for. Charged with grand theft and possession of pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription, Ryder was found found guilty of grand theft and vandalism a year later, amidst rumors of a painkiller addiction. The tabloid-y shoplifting trial prompted devoted fans to don “Free Winona” T-shirts, and inspired many a tacky “Girl, Interrupted” newspaper headline, before sending Ryder’s career into free-fall.

    The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)

    Following a few years of self-imposed exile, Ryder began to rebuild her tarnished career, refashioning herself as a character actor in small, independent films. Her winsome teen days behind her, Ryder emerged from scandal with a harder edge, and excelled in roles that called for her to be treacherous and neurotic. Both traits are on display in her scene-stealing role as Sandra, a fragile poet and accomplished frenemy.

    Black Swan (2010)

    Mounting a comeback requires healthy doses of humor and humility, traits Ryder first exhibited on a self-mocking W magazine cover, then unfurled in spades in this juicy backstage ballet drama. Playing a high-strung dancer who devolves into a drunken, crazed mess when she’s replaced by an ingenue, Ryder sends up her own needy-girl rep to delicious effect. Riveting in her tiny scenes, the actress reminds viewers of the outsize talent she possessed at the start of her career. Here’s hoping we see more of her in 2011 – and beyond.


  36. Bravo passes on a “Heathers” TV show:

    A TV series based on the 1989 Winona Ryder film has been talked about for four years.


  37. I stumbled across this blog via reddit, and as a Gen X Winona admirer (even after all these years) I have to say this was a great read. I think this was a relatively even-handed treatment, though obviously I’m still optimistic on Noni’s future (but realistic… hey, she’s over 40 now… there’s only so much an actress over 40 can do in Hollywood…).

    Anyway, wanted to point out that Mr Deeds was in the can before the shoplifting incident (it may have just been me, but it sounded from the article like Deeds was her first comeback attempt after the shoplifting). It also was more successful than you seem to give it credit for… not Sandler’s biggest hit, but (to my surprise) it did better than Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates (and miles ahead of Sandler’s terrible Little Nicky, which immediately preceded Deeds). And Ryder’s notoriety after the shoplifting may very well have boosted the numbers.


    • I’m glad you found the site! I’m pretty optimistic about Ryder’s future too. She may never be an A-list movie star again. But she’ll keep making movies. I’d love to see her get a good role on a cable TV show. She would have been perfect on something like Mad Men.

      I’ll have to reread what I wrote about Mr. Deeds. I may have undersold it on the basis that Little Nicky aside, Sandler movies were remarkably consistent at the time. May need to tweak the language a bit.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.


      • You know, that long post above from The Simon brings up a good point… she may never have really been “A-list” in the first place (if you ignore the whole Gen X icon thing, that is). Technically, it seems to me that the box office numbers never really supported the argument she belonged with people like Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock (didn’t Ryder even say at one point that she was glad she didn’t feel like she had the pressure of bringing in the crowds like Julia had to?).

        IMO strong ensembles drove the successes of Dracula and Beetlejuice. Edward Scissorhands would probably be considered more a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie (I noticed the latest DVD edition even drops Ryder’s name from the front!). Heathers is definitely Winona’s (thank you, Jennifer Connelly, for giving Winona her iconic status?), but it initially flopped at the theaters, and only succeeded afterwards in home video (is that good enough for A-list cred?). Mermaids IMO is the strongest early box office success that can be directly tied to Winona (apologies to Cher…), and even then it was relatively modest compared to Pretty Woman or Speed.

        So perhaps one could argue that A-list was thrust upon Ryder more by acclaim than actual $$, and she wasn’t really willing to accept it (uneasy lies the crown…) by doing the types of movies (the “not especially artistic Watchable But Not Too Unpredictable” mentioned above) that she should have been doing while she was hot (e.g., the Sabrina remake, any number of summer action blockbusters or rom-coms) to maintain that status. Which might partly explain some of the questionable choices she made in the latter part of the 90’s as her career stalled (and I say this as a fan of her performances in The Crucible and even (gasp) Lost Souls!)

        Anyway, enough of my rambling; just something to think about while I wait for Homefront to come out. 🙂


        • You raise a good point. By the strictest definition, Ryder may not have been A-list. She wasn’t in the same league as Roberts. But few ever were. Meg Ryan, arguable Bullock. Ryder’s career was much more like that of Michelle Pfeiffer. They were both very famous. They were critical darlings and were in some hit movies. But they didn’t seem to be big box office draws on their own.


  38. Yeah, after her big start the only one I can think of where she exhibited A-list-like drawing power is Little Women. Safe in one respect (how can you mess up a classic like that?), but risky in another (comparisons to Katharine Hepburn, June Allyson, etc. are inevitable).

    The Pfeiffer comparison made me suddenly imagine Ryder as Catwoman, and I had to chuckle at the thought. 🙂 Call is as close as I want to see Winona as an action heroine (and I suspect the majority here would say that was already too far!)

    Side note… I noticed your American Beauty-related WTHHs, and I’d offer up Wes Bentley as a good candidate for a future article. I mention him here because he, Ray Romano (another WTHH possibility?) and Ryder starred in the (to me, at least) underrated The Last Word direct-to-DVD from 2008. Romano is the biggest surprise, as he steals every scene with his comedic timing, yet also exhibits a great dramatic side. Wes was very effective as the introverted protagonist who is gradually drawn out of his shell by his interactions with Romano and Ryder; after watching this I did a little Google-fu and found out his career had been nearly undone by a serious heroin addiction in his post-American Beauty years!


    • Yeah- Wes Bently was a huge WTHH guy in the early 2000’s (aughts?) I remember reading about his drug problems a couple years ago-

      I remember seeing him in the flawed 2002 The Four Feathers with Heath Ledger- basically his last big role before disappearing. If anyone else had actually seen The Four Feathers- it might have acquired a “curse of” status-


    • Ryder can be credited with the somewhat surprising success of Little Women. If you’re going to make an argument that Ryder was A-list, Little Women is definitely an important part of the case. Sure, Sarandon was in it. But Ryder carried the movie and almost certainly expanded the audience base to include younger viewers.

      For a second, I flashed an image of Ryder in the skin-tight Catwoman costume and thought, “I’d like to see that.” But then I thought about ironic Catwoman and I think you’re right. That probably wouldn’t have worked out.

      I figure I will eventually get the entire main cast of American Beauty including Bentley. It seems like public opinion has turned against that movie in the last decade. I still really like it.


  39. re: I think Ryder was limited by her range and picked the wrong projects. Once her fans outgrew their boyhood crushes, she couldn’t deliver at the box office any more.

    I think that kind of sums it up…while I think many movie fans LIKE Ryder, she’s basically the same in nearly every role and THAT ACCENT in “Dracula” was pathetic. I think the big part of her appeal was she seemed like the kind of earthbound gal that the average moviegoer — women AND men — could RELATE to, the kind of female that people could imagine KNOWING, even casually. Guys had crushes on her, and even if they could never “have” her, she seemed like a person guys would want to be FRIENDS with. But we got older and many didn’t want to pay to see her in a lame movie.

    Maybe she could do TV…not trying to be mean, but actress over 40 in H’wood…we know how that goes.


    • Was she limited? I don’t know. I feel like she had some untapped potential. But maybe that is the remains of a youthful movie crush clouding my judgement.


      • Who cares if a crush clouds your judgment? Is there anything riding upon that judgment other than your own enjoyment? Isn’t that part of the appeal of the actors and actresses we often obsess over… their ability to evoke purely emotional responses from us at some level? I care less about the technical aspects of what Winona does on screen (and since I have absolutely no background in performing arts, wouldn’t understand even if you told me), and more about how her freakishly huge, hypnotizing eyes always seem to draw me in to whatever her character is feeling. 😉


        • Excellent point. I was basically getting around the idea that it’s all pretty subjective anyway. But I think you have more directly captured the emotional reaction that makes audiences into fans. But being as objective as I can, I think Ryder has an ability to make audiences feel empathy towards her. And that to me is a mark of a good actress. I also think she has some range. But as you point out, being a movie star has little to do with acting technique. It has everything to do with capturing an audience. And at a certain time, Ryder certainly did that.


    • On the limited range… I think the argument can be made that, while she may not be the most versatile of actresses, she has been versatile/wily enough to avoid being completely pigeon-holed. At (or near) the peak of her career, in the 90’s, she went against type as Abigail Williams in The Crucible (and IMO did a fine job, foreshadowing in some ways later performances like Girl, Interrupted and Black Swan).

      And she has done TV recently… she received an Emmy nomination for When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story back in 2010. She was hilarious, channeling Abigail Williams, on a recent Drunk History about the Quaker Mary Dyer. And one intriguing upcoming project of hers is the 2014 BBC TV drama/mystery movie Turks & Caicos… I’ll be curious to see if she can hold her own against the Brits. 🙂 And she plays an American (as far as I know), so no accent needed!!


  40. IF this be true, that could be a good reason for her career downturn…movie-making can be a long, arduous process and if someone is, uh, hard to work with (or a jerk or batsh*t), then word gets around and – surprise – nobody wants to work with that someone. (See Kath Heigl, Sean Young, Linda Fiorentino, La Lohan, etc.)


    • Notice how everyone you named is female. There are a few guys whose bad behavior finally caught up with them (Kilmer, Myers, Chase, Seagal) but Hollywood will put up with a lot more BS from men than women.


    • If Winona was truly hard to work with (as in the jerk aspect of it, a la Heigl/Caruso/etc), then I think she would have been completely buried after the shoplifting incident, and we wouldn’t have *any* post-2002 career to talk about here (not saying that she was exactly high-profile/in-demand before Star Trek/Black Swan…)

      Batsh*t crazy, drugs… that’s another issue.


      • I get the impression that in her heyday Ryder waved her diva flag from time to time. But no more than anyone else in her position.


      • Top 10 Actor Comebacks: 90s to Now – 8. Winona Ryder:

        8. Winona Ryder

        Winona Ryder was one of the most promising actresses of her generation. From a young age, she was able to capture an audience’s heart. Edward Scissorhands (1990) comes to mind as her first big breakout role, in which she portrayed a naïve yet mature young woman, falling in love with a man with scissors as hands. It was in the early 2000s however when she started receiving some bad press, having been accused of stealing from a large department store. She faded from starring film roles, until Black Swan (2010). Although not playing the lead lady, Ryder was able to gain some valuable screen time playing a dark, twisted and almost insane character, a character she plays well. A glass of wine in one hand and running mascara on her face complimented her distraught embodiment of Beth Macintyre. A comeback for sure, but we’re ready for more!


  41. Dude w/o Qualities

    I would still marry her.


    • Marry? No. But if I were a single man, I’d disappoint the heck out of her.


    • She has/had problems you wouldn’t want in a spouse- but yeah- I wouldn’t mind having a dinner with her and staring into those eyes of hers for a few hours.


      • We’re all grown-ups, right? Okay. Confession is good for the soul. Ryder’s eyes are enchanting as is her smile. But this was the cinematic moment when a young Lebeau realized that Winona Ryder was incredibly hot.

        I loved Heathers for a lot of reasons. But Ryder in the shower in the clingy black outfit is an image that was burned into my teenage memory. Still elicits a guilty “Wowza” to this day.


        • Funny- Winona’s body was usually underplayed- I didn’t notice until Edward Scissorhands and they had her wear tight sweaters.

          Very different from Bridget Fonda- who is naked in almost all her films- well- maybe not Lake Placid.


        • For most of Heathers, Ryder dressed like this:

          The movie was making fun of weird 80s trends. But even with that in mind, the outfits were strangely unflattering.

          Compare that to Mean Girls where the cast dressed like this:

          Even in Edward Scissorhands where they played up her dreamgirl image with the aforementioned tight sweaters, she was still realtively modestly attired:

          An actress today who had Ryder’s figure would be all over the cover of Maxim. But Ryder never went that route. I had never really given it much thought, but in retrospect it’s kind of refreshing.


        • “Compare that to Mean Girls where the cast dressed like this:”

          I read a good essay in which a guy our age says that our generation was basically hosed. The girls/women wore baggy, covering clothes while today’s girls dress like strippers. He listed other things- but that- strange enough – is basically all I remember.


        • He’s not wrong. But I don’t mind. We did get better movies. And Phoebe Cates in Fast Times. So, win for us.


        • Great job, everyone! Our mole is slowly subverting this WTHH into a Winona tribute page. Quick, someone post that gif of Winona running around in Dracula, and our job will done!


        • Well- some of these pages-like Fonda’s- are pretty fanboyish-

          We don’t have to slam everyone on the site.


        • My comment was with tongue firmly in cheek.

          But seriously, guys, where’s that Dracula gif?

          (Kidding, kidding…)


        • Ask and you shall receive:


        • I try to approach all the subjects as a fan. The only exception being Seagal whose movies I never really watched. But I try to bring affection to every article even if its an actor I have never been all that interested in.

          Having said that, I also don’t shy away from the negative stuff. I hate those one-sided articles where the setbacks are only briefly mentioned in order to contrast the glorious successes.

          If I recall correctly, someone in the comments section blasted me for my treatment of Fonda.


        • lol – I think we’d still be short one tribute video to Depp and Winona. Yes, I found several on You Tube while updating this article recently.


  42. well guys, while I don’t have a crush on her, I do still think she remains a very talented and intelligent actress, who maybe has not even seen her best work yet.


    • Thank you. Um, sorry about drooling over Ryder in the shower a minute ago. Not my best moment. Let me put my serious hat back on.

      It seemed to me at the time that Ryder had cross-gender appeal. Guys liked her for fairly obvious reasons which I believe I have covered in embarassing detail. But most girls I knew at the time related to Ryder. She was the favorite actress of most girls I knew at the time. Her sex appeal was not overt or threatening. She seemed like she could be a gal pal – unless you were Gweneth Paltrow that is.


  43. lol well said lebeau. it is that sort of quality she has, that comes across as so real, in any role she’s been in. Ryder seems like someone you could go to the bar with and scope out cute guys together. Well, back in the day anyway. Both of us are too old for that now 🙂


    • I suspect that Ryder’s appeal to female audiences was actually stronger than her appeal to males despite the many cinematic crushes she inspired. She wasn’t exactly a sex symbol inspite of the fact that she certainly could have been. Her movies played that down. She didn’t court the male audiences with action movies. She steered clear of genre stuff up until Alien 4. I wonder if she had kicked ass in a tank top in her twenties if she would have gained more of a male audience and held on to her female following.

      Well, now I’m just thinking about a young Ryder kicking ass in a tank top…


      • So true, lebeau, about the downplayed sex appeal. I’m almost a year older than Winona, but while I obviously knew who she was while I was growing up, I never really followed her career closely until, ironically enough, after the shoplifting incident and Mr Deeds (THAT”s Winona Ryder!?! Good Lord, she’s beautiful! 🙂 ). I blame it on not being much of a movie go-er at her peak in the late 80’s/early 90’s (pesky college in the way), then not being the target audience for most of her 90’s flicks (period pieces? How To Make An American Quilt? Huh?). If anything can sustain her career going into her 40’s, I think it’ll be the muted sex appeal of her younger years helping her out as she’s not too strongly associated with that aspect (and the eventual inevitable decline of that) going forward [now that I say this, watch as she goes all skanky in Homefront and ruins my words! :P]

        On the cross-gender appeal… I will, ahem, admit to following various Tumblr blogs about Winona, and I’m surprised at how many young girls are fans of hers (or perhaps that speaks more to the demographic that would post pictures on Tumblr?).


  44. Mostly, I agree. I like “quirky” movies. But sometimes indie filmmakers lay on the quirk a little thick. When that happens, it’s cloying and obvious. Pulls me right out of the movie. Getting the right balance is the trick.

    As far as cult movies, they are almost impossible to do on purpose. The studios are especially ill suited to this sort of thing.

    The part I find funny is that Hollywood has been chasing after “the next Heathers” for a long time inspite of the fact Heathers didn’t make a lot of money.


    • re: But sometimes indie filmmakers lay on the quirk a little thick. When that happens, it’s cloying and obvious.

      It’s not so much the “quirk” factor — too many use it as a “substitute” for writing actual characters and/or dialogue. It’s like you (I think this was you) saying about a particular comedy (I forget which one) wherein there were lots of people running around and being loud & silly, as if the writer or director thought “frenzy” or maybe “busy” equaled “funny.” (One glaring example: “1941” – or was it “42”? That disaster w/ the good Belushi.) Another example (I’m making this up…or am I?): In an indie movie there’ll be a mob boss that’s tastefully dressed, erudite, cultured, has a painting of Errol Flynn in his office, reads Kierkegaard, loves Indonesian cooking and plays jazz trombone on the side. I think you get the idea…pile on the incongruous details, et voila!


      • 1941 is a perfect example of throwing a lot of business on the screen just hoping it will be funny. But I guess if you have half the cast of Animal House, that’s not an unreasonable expectation. Didn’t turn out so well though. It usually doesn’t.

        I don’t remember much about Destiny Turns on the Radio except that Quentin Tarantino “acted” in it. I believe he did partial nudity although I’m trying actively to block that from my memory. If I remember correctly, it along with a bunch of other Tarantino clones substituted quirk for actual writing. It is the most imitatable aspect of indie movies.


        • Another pet peeve of (mostly) indie movies (sorry, don’t know where else to post this): When characters talk “at” each other…MOST prominent in “Cosmopolis” and the Dylan/David abortion “Masked and Anonymous,” wherein one character speaks (usually in vague, pseudo-meaningful aphorisms) and another replies with something that has NOTHING to do with what the other said. Approximation:

          A to B: “Money has lost its narrative quality.” [Actual line from “Cosmopolis”]
          B replies: “I’ve been fighting the world since leaving my mother’s vagina, and now the Monroe Doctrine has been appropriated by record company executives.”
          A replies: “Astronomy is now the new FBI profiling method.”

          Btw, “Masked and Anonymous” is in my top 3 WORST MOVIES ever.


        • Hysterical.

          As bored as I can be with mainstream Hollywood movies, indie movies are frequently no better. With a mainstream Hollywood movie, you usually know what you’re going to get. It’s going to be big, mindless and loud. If you’re lucky, it’s big, mindless and loud in an entertaining way. With independent films, they are going to be small and may take some chances. Those chances may or may not pay off. A bad indi film can be unwatchable whereas a bad Hollywood movie usually isn’t all that different from a good one. But a good indie can be great. Which is why I like rolling the dice on them. Not to imply Hollywood doesn’t make great movies too. But a great mainstream Hollywood movie is still usually playing it safe compared to the indie equivalent.


        • VERY good point: A bad indie movie can be unwatchable (as in, some of David Lynch’s movies and “Masked & Anon.”) but a mediocre H’wood movie is often at least, uh, watchable. For an example of unwatch: “My Son My Son What Have Ye Done” – talented contributors but utter garbage.


        • I’m a pretty avid Lynch fan. I actually like every movie he’s ever made. A lot of people dump on Lost Highway and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I love ’em. But I can understand why some people don’t. What I don’t get is why people who loathed Lost Highway praised Mullholland Drive. The movies are much more similar than they are different.

          Lynch out of the way, Hollywood is gambling big with huge budgets. More often than not, they bunt. They know what audiences want. They give them that, nothing more nothing less. So even when the execution fails, they are usually still watchable if you lower your standards. Even when they can’t tell a story, Hollywood can usually provide spectacle at a minimum.


  45. “The part I find funny is that Hollywood has been chasing after “the next Heathers” for a long time inspite of the fact Heathers didn’t make a lot of money.”

    Agreed- I rather think they were chasing the “next” Star Wars, Jaws, Rocky, Die Hard a bit more than Heathers.

    I saw Bruce Campbell and he answered a question about a sequel to Army of Darkness. He said- it DIDN’T MAKE ANY MONEY (I think it broke even)- so no sequel-

    Now- they ARE making a sequel- Sam Raimi pushed for it and the Evil Dead reboot was a hit- so there-


    • Hollywood is a funny place with a short memory.

      Right now, ANY presold concept is attractive. They made a sequel to Tron. If you’ll make a sequel to Tron, you’ll make a sequel to anything.


      • Jeez, me am old enough to recall when ROLLING STONE magazine had a cover story on the ORIGINAL “Tron” movie…and it still bombed. That movie anticipated the Internet Age but did it, well, far too soon. (It wasn’t a great movie, but I liked it — the remake, however, sucked Midas mufflers.)


        • Tron was both ahead of and behind the times if such a thing is possible.

          Yes, it anticipated the Internet Age. Obviously, it was ahead of its time in that respect. Around the same time, Superman III showed a computer using a weather satellite to control the weather because that’s how people thought computers worked.

          But in terms of storytelling, it was behind the times. It was what you get when Disney tries to be cool. Like The Black Hole, it was Disney chasing Star Wars but not getting what made Star Wars work.

          I do enjoy it. But mostly for the nostalgia factor. It’s kind of a chore to sit through. The remake/sequel is just as backwards as the original without having the advantage of also being ahead of its time.


      • I think things came together for Evil Dead/Army of Darkness- Sam Raimi is still going strong with Oz, Bruce Campbell had mainstream success with Burn Notice, and I think Hollywood has decision makers who are fans.

        Oh- Army of Darkness is on almost every day on some cable station- I just watched the beginning for the Fonda cameo. I think its one of those movies people might think was a hit- even though it wasn’t.

        That- and yeah- Hollywood is remaking everything- well- maybe not Birth of a Nation.


        • I remember going to see Army of Darkness in theaters. I was writing for my college paper at the time. It was opening weekend and the place was empty. I wrote a review that said something along the lines that if I was 13, I would think Army of Darkness was the greatest movie ever. My review was mixed, but favorable. My editor actually e-mailed me because he wasn’t sure he wanted to publish a positive review for a movie that was surely a piece of crap. He was worried about losing credibility, which is pretty funny because how much credidibility does the entertainment section of a college paper have to lose? I convinced him to run the review. In retrospect, I have to think the mixed/positive review gave us credibility. Most reviews were less positive at the time, but the movie has become a cult classic and runs on cable non-stop. So as you point out, in a way, a sequel makes more sense today than it did back then. People have to be more familiar with it by now.


        • It is interesting how movies acquire a new life on cable/DVD. Shawshank Redemption is probably the most famous- I recently read that The Magnificent Seven was a box office disappointment- but grew in popularity as McQueen, Bronson, and Coburn became big. Obviously not on cable- I guess later releases in theaters and TV?


        • Whenever I tell people that Shawshank was not a big hit, they are shocked. Then I ask them if they saw it in theaters. The answer is always “no”. Although younger people just look at me funny. To them it’s like asking if you saw The Wizard of Oz in a theater.

          I remember seeing Shawshank during it’s short theatrical run. The theater was empty. And when it got nominations for awards, a lot of people had never heard of it. But then it ran non-stop on TBS for a decade and now everyone thinks it was a hit.


  46. Glad you had more intestinal fortitude than the editor. It gives you great credibility for calling it as you see it, but with fairness.

    Now along the lines of mainstream being guaranteed to be watchable: Have any of you put yourselves through the dreck that is “The Proposal?”


    • In fairness, he was the editor of a college paper. It was never explicitly stated, but we were expected to praise indie movies. It was the rise of Miramax and the indie movie scene at the time. Which, really, Army of Darkness was an indie movie. But no one saw it that way. Instead, the message was that Raimi sold out to get a contractually obligated PG-13 rating. Long story short, it wasn’t cool to like AoD at the time.

      That editor was actually one of my better ones. I had an editor later on who changed my reviews beyond the point of recognition. She wanted everything to fit the mold of an Entertrainment Weekly review. Short plot summary with…

      I have seriously been interrupted no less than seven times writing this response. I hope it is remotely coherent. Anyway, I got to the point where I just hated writing reviews and started writing a humor column instead.

      I have not seen The Proposal, but really, can it be any worse than any of the other rom coms Hollywood cranks out these days?


      • I saw Bruce Campbell talk about Army of Darkness’s rating. He said that at one point they were facing NC-17 because of the beheadings- of skeletons! You are allowed to behead a certain number- but the battle scene took them way over the top. He talked about how frustrated they were that they had no idea what would get them PG-13, R or NC17- its a very arbitrary process. i don’t remember if he mentioned “yeah we sold out to get PG-13”- Bruce is honest enough to admit something like that and when I saw him the movie was 15 years old – I doubt he needed to be political.

        Note that the Star Wars prequels absolutely chose the enemies to be battle droid to avoid the mass slaughter parts of the ratings system- you can behead as many robots as you like- its just vandalism.


        • The movie ratings system is positively Kafkaesque. The documentary “This Film is Not Yet Rated” was a fascinating watch.

          I am a Campbell fan, but a good friend of mine told me a rather unfortunate story about him being a jerk to fans. Apparently he made fun of someone’s physical limitations. Wasn’t there, so I can confirm. But the friend who was there is not prone to exaggeration. He was a huge Campbell fan but was so off-put by this incident that he can’t stand him anymore.


        • I dunno about him making fun of a handicapped person(?) – that sounds rough.

          He certainly makes himself accessible- although he has an obvious self-interest to do that.

          I do remember seeing My Name is Bruce- where Bruce talked before and after the film-

          There is a scene where he parodies the B-actor/fan experience- one of the jokes is that he hands a fan some deodorant- my friend told me that no one laughed- that this touches on an uncomfortably real stereotype of convention-goers as having bad odors (some might always have it- some might have it from driving all day/being in lines for hours).

          So- he offended some people there- maybe he pushed envelope a bit more with a physically limited person.


        • I didn’t get a lot of details on the incident. I don’t think he wanted to talk about it. But he made it sound like an extremely ugly incident. Hopefully isolated. I try not to take any one anecdote too seriously. Your explanation sounds reasonable enough.


        • An interview about My Name is Bruce:

          BRUCE CAMPBELL: Totally. Because at a convention, you can’t really kick a guy in a wheelchair in front of a bus. But in a movie? You can.

          Q. Can you give an example?

          BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, it’s the wheelchair fan — whom you’d normally give all the deference, all the time, all the patience, all the compassion. But in this case, Bruce has just had enough — because it’s the guy in the wheelchair [at the autograph signing] who actually gives you the hardest time of all.

          MIKE RICHARDSON: He doesn’t like the photo [you sign]E.

          BRUCE CAMPBELL: He wants a more modern photo.E

          MIKE RICHARDSON: He doesn’t like the way you wrote his nameE.

          BRUCE CAMPBELL: He’s just not satisfied. So I ask him if he’s seen that TV show “Rawhide.” And he goes, “Yeah.” And I say, “Do you like it?” And he goes, “Yeah.” And I go, “Then you know you gotta keep those doggies rollin’.” And I kick his wheelchair out in the street and a bus hits him. Let’s just say it’s my fantasy come true.

          I don’t know if your friend is referring to the movie- in which “Bruce Campbell” is clearly played as a jerk- or if there was some real-life version of this-


        • According to my friend, who I have never known to be anything less than painstakingly truthful, this was a real life incident in which Campbell was mean to a handicapped friend of his. Whenever I’m relaying second-hand info, I take it with a grain of salt because I didn’t personally witness any of this. But this friend of mine is someone I tend to take at face value.

          Obviously, Campbell is kidding in the interview you cited. But the fact that he is joking about having a fantasy about kicking a kid in a wheelchair out into the street lends some additional credibility to the story of my friend’s encounter with Campbell.

          I *think* he posted a version of the story in the comments section somewehere on the site. I’ll have to see if I can find it…


        • And here it is:

          I always liked Bruce Campbell, and his books were fantastic. However, he was incredibly mean to a good friend of mine who met him at a signing event. Not mean in an “simply rude” or even a “let me squash this annoying fan-girl” way. Really, truly mean. As much as I have loved his stuff in the past, he’s tarnished to me now.

          Another commenter asked about the nature of the incident and this was my friend’s response:

          I could dismiss it as ego if he had just been a dick. Publicly ridiculing someone for some defect in their physical appearance goes way beyond being a dick. It’s simply inexcusable meanness.


        • Its still not clear to me if your friend witnessed this event himself or heard about it.

          I’m not saying he couldn’t have done it- but it almost sounds like how urban myths are created.

          I have a crazy story about Eric Roberts that I will post at some point – but I know the day it happened and my friends who were with me.


        • Sounds interesting. I imagine there’s a lot of Crazy Eric Roberts stories out there.

          I can’t say for certain whether or not my friend witnessed the event in person. I’ll have to clarify if it comes up again. Since I know him, I’m willing to take him at his word. But I can’t blame you for being skeptical since you don’t know him or even me. I mean, this is third or fourth hand info by this point.


        • Everyone involved can be honest- but whisper down the lane can still happen

          As I said earlier- he did insult some people with My Name is Bruce- so its not crazy for me to believe he crossed the line with someone.


        • Yeah. It could go either way. I won’t hold it against Campbell. But it remains in the back of my mind that maybe he’s not such a nice guy.


        • Back to ratings- sometimes you will see “deleted scenes ” that were either cut to avoid a tougher rating- or- if they just make a rating (say R)- they will put in another shooting or naked girl.

          Off the top of my head is the bonus scenes to XXX with Vin Diesel- on the DVD the director explains that they were worried about being bumped up from PG-13 to R. So- they shot a couple scenes with the criminals’ girlfriends topless- gratuitous- sure- but if you get stuck with an R rating- might as well go for a little titillation.


        • There’s all kinds of gameplaying going on. Conversely, it is common to shoot stuff you plan to cut just so you can act like you are making a concession when you cut it. The idea is that the ratings board will be satisfied that they made you cut out material you never had an intention of keeping in the movie, so they will let something else you really wanted slide.

          And then there’s storied where the same movie gets submitted with no changes and is approved for the desired rating the second time because the ratings board is in a different mood or assumed their were cuts,


  47. HEATHERS: The Curse?

    It just dawned on me: There’s the “Oscar winners” curse, and there may be a Heathers curse as well…

    Item: The careers of Ryder and co-stars Slater and Shannen Doe-whatsername – self-explanatory.

    Item: One of the gals playing a Heather, the one that said, “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?” DIED of a brain tumor.

    Item: The kid that said (via voice-over) at one of the funerals in Heathers that he couldn’t handle suicide committed SUICIDE.

    Did any of the main actors in this movie go on to have any kind of big(ger) career?

    It isn’t very pretty what a town without pity can do…jeez.


    • Yeah. Morbid.

      Slater, Ryder and Doherty had the biggest post-Heathers career. Michael Lehmann and Daniel Waters (the director and writer) were both reasonably successful as well. Beyond that, not so much.


    • Curse? I dunno- how many small independent movies make three stars? Yeah- Doherty, Slater and Ryder let their careers get away from them- but Ryder has respectable work and Slater does a lot of TV.

      This is a “curse” the way the Sports Illustrated cover is a “curse”- its a deviation/return to the mean. People get on SI’s cover after having a great year- well- its no way but down- so often it IS down.

      Same with Heathers- three breakout stars- One was huge(ish) , one just missed, and one flamed out almost immediately.

      Not that strange-


    • Shemp, because, if you stop to gaze upon a star, people talk about how bad you are.
      Little minds can tear you in two!
      (thanks for that song reminder)


  48. Interesting new interview of Ryder in V Magazine, promoting Homefront:

    Some choice quotes, relevant to her career:

    “It used to be that you commit to something and then basically you spend your year doing that. Now there’s a constant conversation of how you have to keep working in order to remind people that you’re around. You have to work to be relevant. If you don’t then people will forget and the studios won’t want you because they won’t remember the last thing you did that made money. It’s all about knowing when to listen to that conversation and—without sounding really hokey—when to tune it out and follow your heart. I was fired from a movie because I did Heathers! I was cast in a movie and the director saw an advance screening and was offended by it and fired me. It wasn’t until years later that it became more appreciated.”

    “For me, half of it has been the sheer luck that I had with Tim [Burton] and Heathers. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Beetlejuice, where would I be? That movie was a big thing for me. Subsequently I think what has kind of worked—and if this is a luxury, I don’t know how I was afforded it—but I was not strategic at all. I do remember feeling a lot of pressure. I remember a lot of conversations where I was constantly hearing, You’ve gotta do this movie so you can do that movie. You’ve gotta make a big movie so you can make a small movie. But I can’t act like that. When I think about the stuff I’ve turned down or the stuff I wasn’t interested in, I don’t have any regrets. Yes, there were some movies that went on to be really popular. But now how do they really fit into things? It’s very interesting. My whole thing is anti-strategy, and I was constantly being told that I was going to go down in flames for certain decisions [laughs]. But I am sure that for as many roles that I turned down, there are some that I was never really offered to begin with!”


  49. Is Winona Ryder Back?

    Interesting read… the ‘is she back?’ question does appear to constantly follow her whenever she appears in the media.

    Choice quotes (but the whole article is worth a read):

    ‘It’s unlikely then that she’s listening to any attempts to co-ordinate the comeback Hollywood expects her to make, opting to slowly trickle back into the film industry without much pomp and circumstance. Which begs the question: will Ryder ever have a “comeback film”? Or is she already back and we simply didn’t notice?’

    ‘To return to the Independent’s recent article, it went so far as to call Ryder’s role in The Iceman as “bouncing back from her decade in the wilderness”. When does a career slump turn into a total Hollywood banishment? Ryder still worked through the last decade, just on movies that also happen to star Kevin James.’


    • I do think there is something to the idea that Ryder never really disappeared. For a gal who supposedly went down in flames, she has continued to work pretty steadily. And she has certainly been an active participant in Hollywood social life whether her career was up or down. I get the impression that may be more important to her than actually being a big star.

      Having said that, she definitely isn’t anywhere near the A-list. And I don’t think she ever will be. A “comeback” would mean making herself “relevant”. I don’t see that happening, but I don’t think it keeps her up at night either. She seems happy to be Spock’s mom and to do voice work for Tim Burton when her phone rings. I would really like to see her do more stuff like The Black Swan. And if that Beetlejuice sequel ever happens, hopefully she at least does a cameo.


      • Funny you should mention the Beetlejuice sequel… during the Homefront press junket last week someone from The Daily Beast asked her about it and she leaked a few details and it blew up, getting reblogged/reposted/retweeted all the way to Rolling Stone. (I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but the prospect of a Burton-Keaton-Ryder reunion for Beetlejuice 2 has me excited!).


        • I saw some of the hype. It hit all the mainstream entertainment media. I think Burton even confirmed it’s something he’s developing. I did see some projections of Burton’s and Keaton’s schedules. Even if they get a decent script, any Beetlejuice sequel is still a couple to a few years out. I am cautiously optimistic that such a thing might be worth doing.


  50. Another very good, and surprisingly warm “What the Hell happened to” article.

    I suppose like many I have a soft spot for her. She will always be the speudo-goth gloomy girl from bettelejuice and other late-80’s/early 90’s films.

    She was also good-looking but in an approachable way.

    I remember seeing “Reality bites” when it came out during my high school senior year, and while I was too much of an outcast to connect to it, I did “get” that it was meant for people around my age or slightly older.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, Ryder’s career makes me want to say “where the hell did all the years go?”

    Oh, also Ryder >>>>>>> Paltrow.

    And thank you.


  51. lebeau,

    Just some interesting cross-WTHH tidbits for you to mull over, the next time you update this:

    Lost Souls was produced by Meg Ryan’s production company, Prufrock Pictures, initially as a vehicle for her to star in (duh). When she eventually passed, Winona came aboard. I thought I read somewhere that when Lost Souls bombed, it took Prufrock with it, but that doesn’t appear to be the case (though obviously it didn’t help matters any, as imdb says Prufrock’s last movie was in 2002).

    That fascinating NY Times article about Lindsay Lohan and The Canyons reminded me of this nugget: in 2003(?) Woody Allen supposedly wanted to cast Ryder and Robert Downey Jr in Melinda & Melinda, but couldn’t afford (or even get?) the insurance on the two.

    One of the lower-profile films in Winona’s post-shoplifting resume: The Informers (2008), starring potential WTHH candidates Billy Bob Thornton and Mickey Rourke, and Kim Basinger (who’s probably the only bright spot in this otherwise terrible movie).

    Winona supposedly auditioned for and beat out Uma Thurman (among others) for the thankless job of being Kevin James’ wife in The Dilemma (I think EW said that Uma actually “flew herself in” to audition for the role.. if true I guess that just proves how hard it is for 40-something actresses in Hollywood…).


    • Thanks RL. Those are some terrific little nuggets. I will definitely incorporate some of these details next time I update this article.


      • You prob’ly know this already, but one of the horror films Ryder starred in — “Lost Souls,” perhaps — she refused to go “on the road” to promote it (talk shows & the like, I guess).

        Ryder was in one of THE WORST — perhaps THE VERY WORST — movie I’ve yet seen: “The Ten,” in which she passionately kissed a ventriloquist’s dummy. I felt sorry for her, I really did…this was the ONLY movie after viewing it on DVD that I was actually ANGRY at the actors, writers, and directors…in fact (pardon my ego) here is my amazon review of it:

        Have you ever seen a movie so bad that you actually held your head in your hands, shaking it in disbelief? Ever see a movie SO UTTERLY AWFUL that you’ve gained a new level of respect for ED WOOD? Not the biopic about Ed Wood, but Ed Wood himself???

        It has happened. I’ve seen a movie so inexplicably appalling that I’m in favor of mandatory mental competency tests being given to Hollywood directors, actors, and screenwriters before a frame of film is shot. This cinematic cold sore is The Ten. It’s an allegedly comedic collection of short stories “based” on each one of the Ten Commandments [tee hee].

        Let’s see, where to begin: IT’S NOT FUNNY. Not in the slightest. The stories have little or nothing to do with the particular Commandment to which it’s linked…unless, of course, one can truly draw a line from the “thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods” ruling and connect it to two guys in prison making the beast with two backs (get the kids out of the room). Here’s a sample of the dialogue, an argument between The Ten’s host/moderator (played by, alas, Paul Rudd) has with his wife (Famke Janssen) in front of gigantic approximations of those TWO STONE TABLETS Moses brought down from Mt. Lebanon or wherever:

        Man: You know what, Gretchen? You know what you can do?
        Wife: Don’t say something you’re gonna regret.
        Man: Go…
        Man: Fly…
        Wife: I’m warning you, Jeff.
        Man: A…
        Wife: Don’t you say it!
        Man [earnestly]: Go fly a kite, Gretchen! Go fly a kite!

        Get a load of this: A street sign reads, “No Parking 8AM – 6PM Mon. thru Adultery.” One cop says amid a gathering of policemen [after they see a crime], “Maybe we should call the cops.” OY, what a hoot! Plus there’s plenty of ham-fisted humor about butt-banging, size of the male member, California Gov. Ah-nuld, Mexican farmers, the Rapture, and a Mexican guy named “Jesus” who’s really…the son of G*d! Golly, what guffaws!

        Further, Jessica Alba proves once again how gosh-awful CUTE and yummy-hot she is while displaying minimal acting ability. Winona R pours herself into a scene where she’s passionately French-kissing a ventriloquist’s dummy. Oh the humanity! I actually felt sorry for her. I would rather eviscerate myself with a rusty lawnmower than sit through Ten again.

        If there’s somebody you wish to excise from your life, to cast him or her into the Abyss of the Formerly Known, give that special someone a DVD of The Ten. Give this wretched excuse for a “movie” to a friend and make an instant enemy.


        • I’ve seen video on dailymotion of Ryder promoting Lost Souls via E! interview, but heard the same thing about her reluctance to promote it. She was pretty much MIA for the recent Homefront as well…

          I’ll sadly concur with your assessment of the cringe-inducing “The Ten”. The only saving grace for Ryder’s participation in it IMO is that she was in two of the ‘better’ vignettes (relatively speaking). And Shemp, you’re very restrained 🙂 in describing what she does with the puppet… anyone curious should search on Youtube.

          I keep telling myself that the actress who gambled on Heathers (and won) will of course tend to pick other risky, ‘out there’ comedies (Sex and Death 101, The Ten) and lose…


    • Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid! The “Oscar Jinx”!

      Name: Kim Basinger

      Oscar For: L.A. Confidential (1997)

      Where Is She Now: Like many of the women on this list, it’s difficult to determine if aging or the Oscar jinx was responsible for Kim Basinger’s career decline. She was a smokin’ hot 43-year-old when she won her Best Supporting Actress award, and now she’s 56. While still far more attractive than most women her age, the acting opportunities are growing increasingly slim (especially since her current demographic forces her to compete with the likes of Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren). She played Eminem’s white trash mom in 8 Mile, but following that up with Cellular and The Sentinel didn’t help her did not work for her. Most of her work these days is limited to television and indy films. A perfect example of the Oscar curse manifested when Basinger was cast in 2009’s The Informers, a film co-starring Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke and Winona Ryder. Despite the impressive cast, the movie never moved past limited release, and it only grossed a paltry $300,000.


  52. Watching a Woody Allen movie is worse than getting a tooth extraction without novocane! How can this third rate hack keep making movies that his ugly ass gets to star in?


  53. 10 Actors Who Completely Wasted Their Careers:

    8. Winona Ryder

    Winona Ryder became a crowd and critical favorite after her starring role in Beetlejuice and went on to cement that profile by starring in popular films like Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, Dracula, Age Of Innocence, and Reality Bites. She was even supposed to star as Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III and undoubtedly would have improved the ridiculed film had she not pulled out because of exhaustion.

    In the mid 1990s she starred in the box office bomb The Crucible and the disappointing Alien Resurrection, but with her talent Ryder could easily have overcome those setbacks.

    But then in December 2001, Ryder was arrested for shoplifting $5500 worth of clothes from a Beverly Hills department store. During the highly publicized trial Ryder was accused of being on various drugs to explain why a millionaire would steal clothing, and she was found guilty on most of the charges and had to serve probation.

    Though she has since worked steadily in lower budget films or bit parts in blockbusters (like 2009′s Star Trek) her career has never recovered from the stigma of her bizarre crimes.


    • The author of that list picked a terribly sensationalist title for it, and made some questionable choices… I don’t care how many bad movies De Niro makes near his career’s end, he doesn’t belong on a ‘completely wasted his career’ list like this, and especially not at #1! (Ahead of Lindsay Lohan? Seriously?)

      I also don’t agree that Ryder ‘completely wasted’ her career. ‘Could have been a bigger star’ or ‘Could have stayed A-List/near A-List longer’ I could (sadly) agree with. But ‘wasted’? Not really. If anything, she capitalized on what would have to be considered, at least partly, luck (Beetlejuice was her 3rd movie, and she actually turned it down before reconsidering; Heathers was truly lightning in a bottle, considering the relatively unremarkable future careers of Lehmann and Waters) to really strike it big while she was young, and stay relevant for far longer than many teen stars do.


      • Let me guess. What Culture? That is typical for that site.


      • You can easily argue that the shoplifting incident was the ultimate or final catalyst (Winona was from my understanding, already losing support from within the industry due to her difficult behavior behind the scenes) for at the very least, kicking Winona Ryder off of the A-list. I just don’t feel that anybody no wanted the controversy distracting from any film that she appeared in. In effect, hiring her would’ve likely tarnished the image of the movie. Winona was as such, now considered “low class” since shoplifting and pill-popping being acts well beneath what was considered proper “movie star” behavior.


    • 10 Amazing Actresses Hollywood Don’t Know What To Do With:

      Winona Ryder

      Winona Ryder may be a convicted kleptomaniac and a kook, but they forgave RDJ, and now he’s the highest paid actor on Earth. For Ryder, a two-time Oscar nominee that was regarded as an exciting, vibrant talent in her youth, thankless roles in films like Star Trek (which was a major critical and commercial success, but it gave Ryder nothing to do) and Homefront (a Jason Statham action vehicle? Come on!) is the best she can currently get.

      Only supporting roles in The Iceman, in which Ryder easily holds her own against the powerhouse that is Michael Shannon, and Black Swan, which finds the actress scarily parodying her lot as a faded former star, have given her much to do post-arrest. It’s difficult to know whether the 2001 trial for shoplifting has been the sole reason for Ryder’s fall from grace, or if it’s her stubborn refusal to stay in her 20s forever that’s seen the offers dry up, but she certainly has the acting skills to get back to where she once was.


    • 9 Celebrities Who Committed Career Suicide!:

      1. Winona Ryder

      Winona Ryder was a huge film star in the late ‘80s and all through the ‘90s. She landed a number of diverse leading roles in many well-received films including “Edward Scissorhands,” “Reality Bites” and “Girl Interrupted;” however, after getting arrested for shoplifting at a Saks Fifth Avenue department store, she became better known for her personal struggles with depression and anxiety. The arrest also put an end to Ryder’s promising career as a heavyweight dramatic actress.


      • People forget how huge celebrity gossip and news used to be compared to what we get now. Her shoplifting story was mainstream news for ages. Without the understanding of mental health that we have today, the audience’s inability to respond and voice their opinion not only on the matter itself but on the content of the media coverage, as well as the higher level of trust people had in gossip publications, she became a pariah.


    • Flopped Actors/Actresses Thread:

      Gotta disagree with you on Ryder – she was a big deal in the mid 90s. Her career was actually fading even before the the shoplifting incident and ever since she’s been taking mediocre supporting roles ever since. That’s more of an age issue than anything else though. Audiences really did like her one point, and for quite a while.


    • Re: Celebrities rumors that have gone on for years..

      Winona was a pill addict that shoplifted for years and the store would just contact her manager to pay them off. But one store got tired of it and decided to call the authorities instead.


      • It was more like the cherry on top of a lot of other BS going on in her career at the time. She was apparently, partying too much, had grown a reputation for being difficult on set and her last two movies before the incident (“Lost Souls” and “Autumn in New York”) were big box-office bombs. The shoplifting was basically an excuse for producers to stop hiring her for lead roles.


    • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

      I never of the shoplifting incident being the thing that ruined Winona Ryder’s career. In looking at her IMDb page, it seems her peak years were the late 1980s to mid-1990s and if someone is a doe-eyed ingenue, outgrowing that stage in life is a major career challenge. She was already well on the downslope long before 2001. It reminds me a bit of Meg Ryan and how the Russell Crowe affair gets blamed for completely ruining her career, when being a cutesy rom-com sweetheart approaching forty and the awful plastic surgery she went on to have, were factors, too. She tried some serious dramas well before the scandal, but the nominations didn’t follow. There were other actresses close in age who were more popular, got more critical acclaim, hadn’t jacked up their faces, or some combination of all three.


  54. Gone Girl: The Disappearance of Winona Ryder

    Thoughtful retrospective from a sad fan…


  55. Winona Ryder’s shoplifting incident makes the list of WatchMojo’s Top 10 Career Finishing Scandals


  56. Winona Ryder to star in an ’80s-set Netflix supernatural thriller:

    Ryder is expected to play a mom whose 2-year-old son vanishes. The eight-episode series would mark Ryder’s first regular TV role.


  57. 9 Actresses Who Are In Desperate Need Of A Career Comeback:

    By Fame 10 Staff on June 15, 2015 1:24 pm

    Winona Ryder

    During the ‘90s, Winona Ryder was one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood. Since her shoplifting arrest, however, she’s all but disappeared. She has only appeared in a handful of films and her last big role was in “Black Swan,” as an aging ballet star.

    Ryder may say that she has no interest in being a movie star, but we think she needs to make a comeback. She’s just so talented. It would be a complete waste if we were to just let her fade into oblivion.

    Renee Zellweger

    Renee Zellweger was considered one of the most talented actresses of her generation. She won an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, all before she turned 40. Since she won the Oscar, she’s stopped receiving those quality roles that are what made her famous to begin with. Now she only makes headlines because of her ever-changing face.

    We think Zellweger is due for a comeback. Acting abilities like hers just don’t go away. Just because she’s gotten older doesn’t mean that she should be cast aside like some sort of has-been.


  58. Beetlejuice 2: Winona Ryder set to return:

    Winona Ryder is set to rejoin Michael Keaton for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2…

    Just because we’ve not heard anything on the project for a little while, it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been progress. Plans remain afoot for Beetlejuice 2, which Tim Burton may well be getting to after he’s finished directing his current project, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.

    Michael Keaton is set to reprise the title role for the new movie, which is being penned by Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg. And now Winona Ryder too has confirmed she’s set to return for the movie.

    “I think I can confirm it because Tim Burton did this interview”, she said on Late Night With Seth Meyers in the US.

    “It was very hush-hush, top secret”, she said, “and then he was doing some press for Big Eyes and he did an on-camera interview and he said, ‘oh yeah, we’re doing it and Winona’s going to be in it’. So can I say…? I mean if he said it. But I really don’t know much more than anybody else”.

    Which is a yes, right?

    We find out soon we’d imagine if Beetlejuice 2 is indeed next on Tim Burton’s docket. Maybe if we say the name of it three times, it’ll be showtime just a little bit faster…


  59. Why “Edward Scissorhands” would never get made today



    For the last few years of the ’80s and the bulk of the ’90s, there was no young Hollywood actress who was as compelling as Winona Ryder. Picking up two Oscar nominations for her roles, providing pitch-perfect voice-over narration for the majority of her films, and serving as an aspirational fashion icon (and one who carried a brainy depth to boot), Ryder was a high-ranking member of Hollywood’s A-list. While her work in the new millennium has not been as strong as her string of hits in the ’80s and ’90s (such is the career trajectory for many a young woman working in the film industry), you can’t deny her extremely brilliant — and surprisingly diverse — roles toward the end of the last century.


  61. Heroines of Cinema: The Life Cycle of an Actress

    According to the old adage, a Hollywood actress’s career ends at 40. Of course, this is an adage, not a scientific formula. If you are good enough (Meryl Streep) or famous enough (Sandra Bullock), there is still hope. And the adage only applies to traditional leading ladies — if you are a character actress, forty may be when your career takes off. Judi Dench received her first Oscar nomination at the age of 64, and five more within the following decade.

    But when it comes to your classic Hollywood star, it appears there is some truth in the matter. If we look at some of the biggest female box-office draws of the 80s and 90s – Meg Ryan (aged 50), Demi Moore (49), Michelle Pfeiffer and Sharon Stone (both 54) – it is clear that they are no longer appearing in lead roles in commercial films, as once they did. By contrast, their peers such as Brad Pitt (48), George Clooney (51), Denzel Washington (57) and Bruce Willis (57) are all still major box office draws.

    Of course, some would say it is no great shame that the likes of Demi Moore can no longer command our attention at the multiplex, but that is beside the point. Hollywood has happily replaced Demi and co with such questionable luminaries as Katherine Heigl, Scarlett Johansson and Megan Fox, and whatever we think of their acting skills, the existence of a gaping gender inequality in terms of career opportunity cannot be denied.

    Why is this so? Partly, it comes down to simple chauvinism, and the fact that the Hollywood studio machine has always fetishized youth and beauty in the female roles it has green-lit and subsequently cast. But this is not the whole story. Sharon Stone is incapable of being cast as Denzel Washington’s love interest, not because she is too old, but because mainstream commercial cinema has played a primary role in shaping the general public’s perception of what a 54 year old woman is – what she feels, thinks, is capable of.

    This can be demonstrated by taking a willfully unscientific look at the career of an actress currently at the dreaded age of 40. Step forward, Winona Ryder – who just happens to be interviewed on Indiewire today. Through her example, allow me to demonstrate how Hollywood conspires to make unwholesome use of its brightest female stars in seven easy steps.

    1 – Become a star
    Winona pulled this off with admirable speed when breakout roles in two 1988 releases – Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” and cult hit “Heathers” – made her a hot property at the age of 18. Subsequent performances in “Edward Scissorhands”, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence” – which yielded an Oscar nomination – confirmed her as a bona fide star. But for how long?

    2 – Lose your edge
    The problem with breaking into the mainstream is that it tends not to have many interesting parts on offer, especially for women. And thus, Winona made a series of bland choices. From “How to Make an American Quilt” to “The House of Spirits”, a succession of mid-90s roles saw her star persona start to lose its edge. And when that happens, it is only a matter of time before you can expect to…

    3 – Be over-shadowed
    A Hollywood actress is never too young to be upstaged by a younger pretender. This happened for Winona in damning fashion with 1999’s “Girl, Interrupted”, which she produced and starred in. Widely seen as her big comeback film, attention was quickly drawn to supporting player Angelina Jolie, then a relative unknown. Critical acclaim led to an Oscar for Jolie, not to mention a subsequent career as the biggest female star of the 21st century. While Ryder has only ever expressed praise for her young co-star, the All About Eve-esque scenario (which cast the then 29 year old Ryder as an ageing, fading has-been) was lapped up by the press and certainly did her no favors.

    4 – Fulfill middle-aged male fantasies
    With Angelina now on hand to satisfy male audiences’ bedroom fantasies, Hollywood needed to cast Winona in a new role. Regrettably this came in the form of 2000’s execrable “Autumn in New York”. Starring opposite Richard Gere – twenty three years her senior – she played a terminally ill young woman whose tragic early death is not without its benefits – her brief romance with Gere’s character allows him to see the truth about love and the error of his formerly womanizing ways. That’s positively feminist, right?

    5 – Play a mother
    We’re not here to gossip, but suffice it to say that Winona’s career in the early 2000s had its tricky moments. Nonetheless, she was only 37 when she played the mother of then 31 year old Zachary Quinto in 2009’s “Star Trek” reboot. Of course, she also appears with a child version of Quinto’s character, making sense of the age anomaly, but the role was significant nonetheless. Once cast in the Mother role – by which I mean not simply a woman with children, but one whose motherhood is defined by its supporting context, with no story of its own – it can be difficult for actresses to return to parts which acknowledge a woman’s agency, sexuality, and god forbid, career.

    6 – Play a slut
    That is unless you are willing to play a less forgiving role than the classic romantic heroine. Many people were surprised when Winona was cast as one of the female leads in Ron Howard’s 2009 film “The Dilemma” – until they read the synopsis. She plays a woman who cheats on her husband with a hot younger man, and judging by reviews (I admit, I haven’t seen it) the film is hardly concerned with giving a balanced account of why a woman might be led to cheat.

    7 – Play a psycho
    Tired and depressed by stages one to six? Behold your fate. The professional ballet world is one of the few arenas with a worse reputation than Hollywood for cutthroat ageism. Still, there are physical justifications, and one assumes that not all prima ballerinas retired against their will take the psychotic approach exhibited by Winona’s character in Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”. Many critics were delighted with her performance, but I found it a depressing example of casting laziness, for an actress often unfairly characterized as fragile and odd. She only narrowly avoids the fate often required by Hollywood for a character both female and crazy – death.

    Before we get too depressed on Winona’s behalf, bear in mind that I have mostly been discussing the worst tendencies of commercial cinema, and that any actress with even a passing taste of A-list stardom should have no trouble finding interesting work in the independent sector or on stage, should they so wish. Indeed, Ryder told Indiewire that she is looking forward to the “Baby Jane” stage of her career, demonstrating a wry awareness of how her career has progressed and perhaps even an excitement at freeing herself from such an unforgiving cycle.

    The real victims here are not the most wealthy, beautiful and privileged women in the world, but the mainstream cinema goers who are fed little other than these bland and often damaging female roles — versions of womanhood that consistently decay and expire before their time. They deserve better – and Meryl Streep can’t do it all by herself. With Winona Ryder and countless other actresses raring to join the charge, it is time to give the traditional life cycle of an actress a shot in the arm.


  62. Dana Delaney was waaay too old to have played Veronica- she was already 30 and known for playing grown- ass women on grownup television shows. And the notion that anyone would have once thought that Justine Bateman was a preferable casting choice over Winona Ryder for a motion picture is pretty hilarious. I guess you can see here that Daniel Waters could write a script, but he obviously didn’t know shit about casting. I could totally have seen Heather Graham as Heather Chandler, though Kim Walker was the epitome of soulless bitchiness. I do agree that a Heathers sequel was a ‘cockamamey’ idea. In fact, I feel the same way about a Heathers musical, but to each their own.


  63. Tim Burton and Joel Silver “honored” with cringeworthy ’90s mockumentaries

    That same year, HBO unwisely decided to promote the release of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands with a half-hour mockumentary by director Roland Mesa, who went on to helm the third Revenge Of The Nerds movie but not a great deal else. In The Director’s Chair: The Man Who Invented Edward Scissorhands is a queasy concoction indeed: equal parts commercial and hyper-extended comedy sketch. The central conceit of Mesa’s film is that it’s a probing look at the entire life and career of Tim Burton, including interviews with actors pretending to be the director’s parents and even some mock “home movies” (à la The Wonder Years) supposedly depicting Burton’s 1960s childhood, when he was a dour little boy surrounded by perversely cheerful relatives. The oddest part of all this is that not everyone seems to be in on the joke. Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp, and especially Vincent Price give sweet, sincere interviews, while Alan Arkin, Danny Elfman, and Stan Winston give “wacky” interviews. And then Jim Brown and Heather Thomas do some sort of ill-advised Thing With Two Heads parody, and there’s a running joke about a John Wayne Gacy-style killer clown. It’s all certainly something. Just what, however, is opaque.


  64. 15 Actors Stuck In Hollywood’s Dog House

    Winona Ryder

    Another victim of committing the wrong crime on the Hollywood Cool-ometer (it’s a real thing, honest), Ryder’s conviction for shoplifting in 2001 virtually destroyed one of the most promising careers in Hollywood. Following early break out roles in teen-drama Heathers, dark fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Ryder received consecutive Academy Award nominations for The Age Of Innocence and Little Women. Interesting roles followed but it appeared like her career had peaked early before struggles with depression and anxiety led to that conviction.

    Since then she’s been paying her dues with small roles in Black Swan and Star Trek but a return to the upper echelons of Hollywood casting still appears some way off. Think about it though; have you ever seen her being less than good in anything?

    So What Next?

    Beetlejuice 2 might be her salvation and further roles in Tim Burton films wouldn’t hurt. Again, though, back to basics is likely the answer and proving herself either on stage or the small screen (Ryder is currently filming new show Stranger Things for Netflix) could re-invigorate her career.


  65. What celebrity’s career never recovered after a controversial incident?

    Winona Ryder.

    Ever since the whole shoplifting thing, really. I like a lot of her movies, but since that whole bizarre incident I feel like the only half-decent thing she’s done is a small part in Black Swan? It’s a shame, because I do think she’s a good actress, and she’s also really pretty IMO.

    She just… got hooked on a lot of prescription pills I seem to remember? The whole stealing thing happened like, 3 months after 9/11, so maybe people were generally less forgiving? I dunno, totally just speculating now. Oh well, bit of a shame, really.


  66. 15 Movie Stars Who Peaked in the ’90s


    The ultimate chic chick, Winona Ryder could do no wrong in the ’90s. No joke, everything she touched was either been hailed as a gem out the gate or has ascended to cult status among movie lovers. Except maybe Alien: Resurrection (1997), but we’ll just give her a pass on that one. Elsewhere, Ryder’s resume purrs like a new motor, decorated to the hood with hits like Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Reality Bites (1994), and Little Women (1994). Varied as she was successful, the versatile actress even drew acclaim in the face of otherwise mixed releases Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) and Girl, Interrupted (1999). By the end of the decade, Ryder was the biggest woman in Hollywood besides Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan.

    Then came the Razzies. Almost as if designed to define this list, Ryder string of 2000s work, beginning with Autumn in New York (2000) and forging ahead with Mr. Deeds (2002), earned her repeat honors from the notorious institute. A few more duds and a shoplifting debacle have caused Ryder to become a disappeared icon of the past. And frankly, a Star Trek (2009) cameo just isn’t cutting it when it comes to the proper Winona quota.


  67. Blind Items Revealed #4

    March 1, 2016

    This former A- list mostly movie actress has been around forever but she is still just in her early 40’s. She has never been able to match what she did a couple of decades ago because of personal issues and her inner demons. What she has done though is slowly have procedures done to her face over time so it looks like she has never had anything done. She looks amazing and everyone thinks she looks the same as she did two decades ago.

    Winona Ryder


  68. I have to ask off topic but was ryder little women co star susan suranden ever a list. i can name maybe 4 movies where a person can say her name drew people in but 4 movies is not enough to warrent a list. i tihnk maybe stepmoms success is owed more to roberts susan respect actress never really had commercial success. lol also sorry ask but her dead man walking costar sean penn i think he never really became a lsit either .


  69. Winona Ryder talks being a ‘serial monogamist,’ says she doesn’t see marriage in near future


  70. Still early days, but Stranger Things is really kicking that comeback into overdrive. Nice to see that both the stars of Heathers are regaining some of the respect the years took from them through TV’s new age.


    • Actors whose careers were saved by Netflix

      Winona Ryder

      For over a decade, Winona Ryder had reached icon status in Hollywood thanks to her unforgettable on-screen presence in films like Edward Scissorhands, The Age of Innocence, and Girl, Interrupted. But her reputation went very south in 2001 when she was caught shoplifting from a Saks Fifth Avenue, which was especially irksome to the public because of her continued fame and fortune. 

      While Ryder would later credit her run-in with the law as the best thing that ever happened to her on a personal level, as it earned her some much-needed time away from the industry, her career suffered as a result. She had a great deal of trouble reaching the A-list again after that, even despite some notable performances in films like Black Swan and The Iceman. 

      But Netflix’s Stranger Things has put her right back on the map with her delightfully off-kilter turn as Joyce Byers, the mother of a boy who’d been thought for dead by her hometown but was really taken to the Upside Down world by a toothy monster. She’s still seen as a little bit of a kook, especially after her ultra-memeable appearance at the SAG Awards, but thanks to Netflix she’s being touted for her acting chops instead of her flattering courtroom ensembles these days.


  71. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Winona Ryder

    Winona Ryder was one of the best things to come out of the ‘90s. She rose to fame during the late ‘80s thanks to her roles in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands and quickly graduated to more Oscar-baity parts in movies like Dracula, The Age of Innocence and Little Women. Although she disappeared from the spotlight for a while, she’s finally making a comeback thanks to her starring role in the Netflix supernatural-horror series Stranger Things. Since she has a birthday coming up, we have 10 things you didn’t know about the ‘90s icon:


  72. What Happened to Winona Ryder – News & Updates

    Winona Ryder is an American Actress who first rose to prominence during the late 80’s for her role in Beetlejuice. At a young age, Ryder developed an interest for acting after being shown multiple movies by her parents at the family barn. Eventually taking her fascination with acting more seriously, she enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater in California where she studied drama. Deciding that a career in show business was what she wanted to do, she later auditioned for the film Desert Bloom at the age of fourteen. Although she ultimately did not get the part (it went to actress Annabeth Gish), her performing talents were noticed by movie director David Seltzer, who eventually offered her a part in his 1986 tragicomedy film, Lucas; although it was no major role, it served as Ryder’s screen debut. The following year, she appeared in Square Dance (1987)ーa part which garnered her acclaim as a young actress.

    However it wasn’t until Ryder was cast in Tim Burton’s comedy fantasy, Beetlejuice in 1988 that she first received much positive attention for her acting. Critically praised for her portrayal of a goth teenager in the film, she soon found herself landing more and more roles, some of which included Great Balls of Fire (1989), Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael (1990), Edward Scissorshands (1990) and Mermaids (1990). Since she first made a name for herself in the industry, Ryder has accumulated many accolades throughout her professional career including a Golden Globe Award, a Blockbuster Entertainment Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Jupiter Award, and a Young Artist Award, amongst a number of other nominations. A two-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee, Ryder was also presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000.

    A well-respected actress in the show business, acting isn’t the only thing that gets Ryder in front of the camerasーshe has also been invited onto numerous talk shows. Since she made her initial appearance as a guest on Today back in 1989, she has appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show (1990), Wogan (1991), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1999), The Rosie O’Donnell Show (2000), Charlie Rose (2000), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2011) and various others. Back in 2002, she even worked briefly as a host on the popular Saturday Night Live. On top of making guest appearances, Ryder has also starred in a number of television documentaries such as The Day My God Died (2003), Black Swan: Metamorphosis (2011) and The Future of Spaceship Earth: Glitches Found in Spaceship Earth’s Support System (2014).

    So what has this multi-talented American actress been up to as of late? What has she been busy with recently? What happened to Winona Ryder? Where is she now in 2016?

    Winona Ryder’s Childhood and Eventual Start in the Show Business

    Born on October 29, 1971 in Winona, Minnesota, Winona Ryder (Birth Name: Winona Ryder Laura Horowitz) is the daughter of Michael Horowitz, and Cynthia Palmerーwho worked as a book author and video producer respectively. Of Jewish ancestry, many members of her family on her father’s side had tragically perished in the Holocaust; she has a younger brother named Uri and two half-siblings from her mother’s earlier marriage. At the age of seven, Ryder and her family moved from a small farmhouse in Winona to a commune near Mendocino County in California; there they lived with a handful of other families on a large, 300 acre plot of land. Due to the fact that the remote property was not powered by electricity, Ryder spent much of her early days reading novelsーone of her all-time favourites is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

    It wasn’t until her mother showed her a few movies on a screen at the family barn that Ryder first developed an interest in drama and acting. After a few years of calling the remote area home, the family relocated once again to the small California town of Petaluma. A student at Kenilworth Junior High, Ryder’s high school days weren’t the best; often bullied by a group of boys, she eventually left the school and opted for home-schooling instead. Wanting to explore her interest in acting further, she later went to the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco to learn how to act. When she was fourteen years old, she participated in an audition for the 1985 film, Desert Bloom. While she didn’t land the part, the movie director took a liking to Ryder and later offered her a part in another film of his, Lucas.

    Winona Ryder’s Early Acting Career in the 80’s and 90’s

    Following her screen debut that year, Ryder soon received her first starring role in the 1987 drama film, Square Dance. Adapted from a novel of the same name by Alan Hines (who also wrote the movie), it centred around a thirteen year old country girl named Gemma Dillard, who eventually forms a close friendship with a mentally disabled man named Rory Torrance after moving to live with her mother in the city. While Ryder portrayed the part of Gemma, actor Rob Lowe played the role of Rory. A bitter-sweet tale, the film was released in theatres in February 1987, albeit to mixed reviews. Despite the lack of success at the box office however, Ryder’s performance in Square Dance earned her much acclaim; The Los Angeles Times even went as far as calling her acting in the movie “a remarkable debut.”

    A few years after she first broke out into the show business, Ryder received her long-awaited breakthrough when she was cast as a supporting character in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988). Produced by The Geffen Film Company, the feature film revolved around a recently deceased couple, who after finding out that their previous home has been inhabited by obnoxious new owners, recruit help from a “bio-exorcist” to permanently remove them from the house. In the comedic fantasy movie, Ryder played the part of a goth teen named Lydia Deetz, one of the house’s new inhabitants who eventually befriends the ghosts; other members of the cast include Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara and Michael Keaton. A commercial hit, Beetlejuice grossed well over $70 million at the box office and won multiple awards including an Academy Award and two Saturn Awards.

    That same year, Ryder also gained much recognition for her portrayal of the lead part in the 1988 cult film, Heathers. Considered by many to be a cult classic, the movie took place at a fictional Ohio High School and revolved around four teen girls, three of whom share the same name of Heather. Although it was not a major hit at the box office, Heathers received nothing but positive reviews from critics; in 2006, it was also included on Entertainment Weekly’s list of “50 Best High School Movies.” Looking past the fact that it was a commercial failure at the theatres, the film performed well both in rentals and sales after its release. In the black comedy, Ryder played the role of Veronica Sawyer, a girl who joins the Heathers’ clique only to find herself preferring the company of her old and nerdy friends in the end. For her portrayal of the character, the actress won an award at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema; she also received two nominations for the Chicago Film Critics Associations Award and another for an Independent Spirit Award.

    In December of 1990, Ryder took part in the comedy film, Mermaids alongside Cher and Bob Hoskins. Based on a book of the same name, it followed the life of a single mother who after relocating to a small town in Massachusetts, finds herself faced with a number of challenges. Opened to largely positive reviews, the movie saw Cher as Rachael Flax, the mother in question, while Ryder played the role of Charlotte Flax, the oldest daughter and Christina Ricci played the part of younger sister, Kate Flax. Although Mermaids was only a moderate success at the box office, having grossed $35 million from a $31 million budget, it earned Ryder a Golden Globe Award nomination for the category of “Best Supporting Actress.”

    Winona Ryder’s Acting Career in the Later Years

    Throughout the rest of the 90’s, Ryder continued to play a number of diverse roles on film including Edward Scissorhands (1990), Bram Stocker’s Dracula (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993) and Little Women (1994), winning a series of awards and nominations along the way.

    After receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000, the actress appeared in the comedy movie, Mr. Deeds opposite of Adam Sandler. A remake of a film from the 1930’s, it told the story of Longfellow Deeds, a sweet-natured man from a small town who inherits a fortune after the death of a multibillionaire, who happens to be one of his extended relatives. In the movie, Ryder played the role of Babe Bennett, a reporter for the local tabloid, Inside Access who approaches Deeds in order to gain more information for her news report.

    From there, Ryder seemed to have taken a back seat from the big screen, prior to returning in Star Trek in 2009. For her role as Amanda Grayson in the film, she received a shared Boston Society of Film Critics Award for “Best Cast.”

    What’s Winona Ryder Doing Now in 2016- Recent Updates

    ryder5This summer, Ryder starred in the popular Netflix original series, Stranger Things playing the role of protagonist Joyce Myers. Released on the online video streaming platform in July 2016, the horror series takes place in the 1980’s in a fictional Indiana town called Hawkins; it revolves around the disappearance of a young boy (Joyce’s son) and the eventual investigations that pursue. Hailed for its atmosphere, characterization and acting, Stranger Things was a critical success, currently holding a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Besides Ryder, other cast members include David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Boby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Natalia Dyer. Stranger Things has since been renewed for a second season, set to be released on Netflix sometime in 2017.

    In other headlines, it was recently stated that a Beetlejuice sequel is currently in the worksーthe now 44 year old star first starred in the 1988 original film alongside actor Michael Keaton. When creator Tim Burton was previously prodded about the possibilities of a sequel, he had admitted that “he would love to work on a follow up” given that the original cast members are keen on the project. Although it probably won’t happen anytime soon, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. We’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled!

    Wanting to stay up-to-date with the award-winning celebrity? Although Winona Ryder doesn’t seem to have either Twitter or Instagram, you can still connect with the star by following her on her official Facebook page (@WinonaRyder)! You definitely wouldn’t want to miss reading the latest posts from the actress herself!


  73. After Winona Ryder, who’s the next 90s movie star to have a TV renaissance?

    It’s no longer just a big, shiny effects budget and edgy subject matter that defines modern TV: increasingly it’s the place where 90s stars come to reassert their cult status. The most prominent example last year was the decade’s fave cult actor Winona Ryder’s redemptive turn in Stranger Things, but see also Now And Then’s Gaby Hoffmann, now appearing in Transparent; Liv Tyler, of Empire Records fame, in apocalypse cult drama The Leftovers; Ryan “Cruel Intentions” Phillippe in the (admittedly terrible) Netflix series Shooter; and now Addams Family star Christina Ricci, who plays Zelda Fitzgerald in Amazon’s Z: The Beginning Of Everything, airing later this month. Basically, if you used to put their poster up on your bedroom wall and kiss it every night before bed, they’re having a career renaissance. Here are some other 90s teen-throbs who deserve their own HBO star vehicle in 2017…


  74. Winona Ryder expressed MANY emotions during David Harbour’s passionate #SAGAwards speech.


  75. Alien: Resurrection (1997) – Hilariocity Review


  76. Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On – Alien: Resurrection (1997)

    With another Alien flick coming out, let’s take a look at what is (probably) the worst movie in the franchise, Alien: Resurrection.


  77. Winona Ryder works it at ‘Stranger Things’ premiere

    By Beth Allcock, The Sun – October 27, 2017 | 2:29pm

    “Stranger Things” star Winona Ryder looked a far cry from her bumbling troubled mum character as she flashed her cleavage in a very busty black dress at the premiere for the show’s second season.

    The actress, who plays Joyce Byers, simply sizzled in her flowing floor-length gown and made sure to vamp up the sex factor further with a splash of red lipstick.

    Ryder, 45, showed her teenage co-stars just how to combine saucy attire with sophistication as she posed on the red carpet in LA.

    The Hollywood star pulled her brunette locks into a cute high ponytail and lined her eyes with black kohl to highlight her natural beauty.

    Seemingly apprehensive at hogging the spotlight, Winona grinned nervously before bursting into a full smile.

    She then shared the camera time with co-star Noah Schnapp, who plays her on-screen son Will.

    Dressed in a leather jacket and bright red trousers, he was unmissable as he rushed up to give her a hug.

    They later beamed as they enjoyed a cuddle.


  78. Alien: Resurrection (1997) Review / Retrospective


  79. ‘They kicked the s**t out of me!’ Winona Ryder reveals she was targeted by bullies for wearing ‘boys’ clothes’… before getting revenge years later


  80. Winona Ryder’s Golden Globes shampoo commercial “felt weirdly tone-deaf”

    The Stranger Things star’s L’Oreal commercial compared her comeback to the restoration of damaged hair.


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