The A-List: Don’t Call It a Comeback

Dumb and Dumber To

This past weekend, Dumb and Dumber To exceeded even the most optimistic box office projections.  Critics were unkind to the sequel, but audiences who have been waiting twenty years for more Dumb and Dumber didn’t care.  Now there’s talk of a Dumb and Dumber trilogy!

The box office success of Dumb and Dumber To has some people talking about a comeback for Jim Carrey.  Carrey’s movie career has cooled over the last decade or so.  His last unqualified box office hit was arguably Bruce Almighty in 2003.  When a Dumb and Dumber sequel was announced, it seemed to some (myself included) like a desperation move.  But now, it seems like a “hail mary pass” that connected.

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A-List: Eva Green

Eva Green

“I think this [Showtime’s Penny Dreadful] and Sin City 2 have officially ended Eva Green’s time on the ‘It’ list.”

The quote above comes from a commenter on the Lebeau’s Le Blog FB Page.  (If you haven’t already done so, like us already!)  The comment sparked a bit of debate between myself and the commenter.  Even after the conversation had concluded, I was thinking about Green and her status in Hollywood.  I don’t think anyone would argue that Green is currently on the A-list.  But she certainly has the potential to be.  Following her turn as a Bond girl in the 2006 hit, Casino Royale, her name was on everyone’s lips.  But in the eight years that followed, Green has yet to become a star.

I could almost ask, “What the hell happened?”  But I think it’s still too early to write off Green’s chances of A-list stardom.  Because even though she has starred in two disappointing movies this year, I actually think Green is having a very good 2014 career-wise.

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A-List: Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt 2014
The summer movie season is winding down as kids across the country are mostly back in school  It’s been a lousy summer for Hollywood.  It’s been so bad, that the studios could barely breathe a sigh of relief when two late summer releases over-performed.  Last week, the third and likely final movie in the Expendables franchise tanked.  This weekend, Expendables 3 dropped out of the top five entirely leaving a lot of aging action stars crying in their beers.  The lone hold out from The Expendables 3, Bruce Willis, returned for Sin City 2, the long delayed sequel to the 2005 comic book noir hit.  Even without the convenient excuse of an internet leak, Sin City 2 opened below The Expendables 3.  That shredding sound you hear is everyone in Hollywood losing Frank Miller’s phone number.

The biggest new release this week was the adaptation of the YA novel, If I Stay.  That movie, which starred Chloe Moretz, opened at #1 on Friday but fell behind during the remainder of the weekend.  It will land at #3 for the weekend behind the massively popular holdovers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The space adventure from Marvel Studios reclaimed the #1 spot during its fourth week in theaters and will officially become the highest grossing film of the 2014 summer box office.  Which is a dubious distinction considering how poorly the summer box office has performed, but appropriate for a movie about losers who come out on top.

As the lead of Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt is now poised for big things.  He’s launched a charm offensive by entertaining sick kids in costume and posting one of the more memorable ice bucket challenge videos.  But has the Summer of Pratt earned the actor a spot on the A-list?

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A-List: The Expendables 3

expendables 3 cast

Recently, I read an article about “The Expendables Effect”.  The premise of the article was that The Expendables franchise was responsible for one comeback after another.  It was suggested that actors of a certain age and type were falling all over themselves to be cast in the next Expendables movie.  With the exception of a couple of stubborn hold-outs, franchise creator Sylvester Stallone could pick and choose from the population of less-than-relevant action heroes because he and he alone had discovered a cinematic fountain of youth.  It was a franchise that could resurrect any flagging career.  It was viagra for the aging action set.

So what does it mean when an Expendables movie proves to be expendable?

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A-List: Megan Fox

Megan Fox Launches Avon Foundation #SeeTheSigns Of Domestic Violence Campaign In the What the Hell Happened series, I take the long view of an actor or actress’ career.  That series explores whether or not an actor or actress ever reached the A-list.  If not, why not?  If so, what happened?  There is a full career arc from unknown to household name to What the Hell Happened subject.  In this series, which I am simply calling A-list, my focus is not on what happened but on what is happening right now and what may happen in the future.  Sure, that’s going to involve looking back on what brought us to this point.  But the focus is primarily on the now.  My subjects will be actors or actresses whose status has recently shifted up or down.  Some of them may be A-listers who have suffered a set-back.  Others may be A-list hopefuls. Read more about A-List: Megan Fox

Who are the current A-List actresses?

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

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

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The A-List: Emma Stone

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

Originally, I set out to make a list of the current crop of a-list actors.  I was going to write up arguments for and against the inclusion of certain actors on the list.  But I quickly realized that this was unwieldy.  Not only was it time consuming, it made for very scatter-shot reading.  Instead, I have decided to handle this subject in a series of one-offs. 
For my first subject, I have selected Tom Cruise.  Cruise’s career has always been a fascinating one to watch.  His reign atop the A-list in almost unprecedented.  After gaining acclaim in films like Risky Business, Cruise became an international box office super star with Top Gun.  And for 20 years after that, Cruise was the consummate Hollywood super star.
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The A-List: A Definition

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

Jodie Foster in a Pfeiffer/Ryan sandwich!

Regular readers of my What the Hell Happened articles know that sometimes the comments section takes on a life of its own.  For reasons unknown, we have discussed Michael Keaton fighting just about every actor who worked in the 1980’s.  The most recent entry focused on Michelle Pfeiffer.  Blogger, Paul S brought up the idea of comparing Pfeiffer’s career to previous WtHH subject, Meg Ryan.  This resulted in an excellent article on Paul S’s blog devoted to the two actresses comparing their careers.
I started typing up a response to the article.  It may not surprise anyone to know I rambled on and on.  My final comment was practically an article unto itself.  But then tragedy struck. (which doesn’t seem to like me very much) ate my comments!  I left an abbreviated version of my original comments and vowed to come back later for a more detailed analysis.
You’re clever folks.  You have probably already figured out that those comments morphed into this article.
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