5 Tragic Career Trajectories
After last week’s Renee Zellweger-bashing, I thought to myself “Wow, that felt so great!” Looking at the career of a celebrity I’ve never met, pointing out her flaws on the Internet for all to see and then laughing at her attempts to feel physically attractive was the best kind of high! Then I realized that I could skewer the careers/personal lives/physical appearances of more than one celebrity at a time!! The realization sent shock-waves of schadenfreudian ecstasy coursing through my body and I knew I’d hit on something big. As we all know, nothing gives a shot in the arm to the ol’ self-esteem quite like taking cheap shots at people who are far more conventionally successful than we are so let’s do it–5 times IN A ROW!
5. Joe Pesci
My Cousin Vinny was a masterpiece. But because I’m a sprightly, young spring chicken, that was the first movie I ever saw you in. So you can imagine my surprise when, in later years I discovered that the hirsute bum from With Honors was actually in some of the most critically lauded Mob movies of all time. I haven’t seen your stocky frame silhouetted on any silver screens in a long time, Joe and I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will again. Ah, well. We’ll always have The Super. And this….
4. Winona Ryder
You were Lelaina Pierce. And Edward Scissorhands girl, and Mermaids, and Beetlegeuse! You were the 1990s. You were everything that my cool babysitters and MTV and grunge rock promised about my adolescent and post-college years were going to be: so, so awesome and ironic and wh0-cares-we’re-young and cool. Well guess what? It was all a big lie; a scam. Just like when you stole all of that stuff from Fred Segal. And here’s the thing, Winona, I don’t even really care about the shoplifting. It’s not a thing I engage in and good knows it was symptomatic of some larger disturbance since you can certainly afford to buy anything you wanted in that store. But what really destroyed me was this:
Mr. Deeds? Mr. Fucking Deeds, Winona? Did Adam Sandler have something on you? Did you accidentally kill a guy with your car and then bury his body in the woods and then on your way back to town you saw someone standing by the side of the road in a Syracuse Orangemen T-Shirt, watching you, and that person was Adam Sandler and he bribed you into doing this god-awful hideous abortion of a movie, or else he was going to go to the cops and well, after the Fred Segal incident there was no way that claiming it was an accident was going to hold up in court even if you did have a bunch of Ativan in your system and the guy did stumble into the middle of a poorly lit country road at twilight ? Is that what happened? Please say yes.
3. Ray Liotta
Anna summed it up earlier, and was too tactful to mention Operation Dumbo Drop. And so am I. But you know what I’m not too tactful to mention, guys? A little cinematic achievement known simply as Wild Hogs, a film which is a veritable graveyard of once respectable acting careers.
Hey, I’m sure you’ve all got bills to pay, but god damn. Rest In Peace, Danny Zucco.
2. Ice Cube
It’s like, okay, NWA was SO good. Your solo work? Fantastic. Look, some hipster design-type even made a flowchart about it. The oft-imitated but never equalled Friday proved you could act, had a great comedic timing and a healthy understanding of IRONY. In fact, in the days following September 11th, when I was fetally-curled in my dorm room alternating between catatonic staring and frantic and obsessive news-watching, the only thing that calmed me down was smoking staggering amounts of weed and watching Friday. So thank you for that. But as everything did in the 2000s, your career, Mr.Cube, took a turn for the whack.
Who would have thought that any film containing both you and the gorgeous Nia Long could be this terrible? Well, Cube? Are we There Yet? Well I’d say if “We” is you and your hardcore, anti-establishment rap career, and “There” is the intersection of Sellout Avenue and Keeping It Real Boulevard, the answer is yes.
1. Amy Winehouse
I guess in Today’s Fast Paced World, it’s somewhat expected that a career can take off, burn like a supernova and fizzle out like cheap sparkler at a Fourth of July picnic, in roughly the time it takes a banana to ripen. But damn, Amy, you really set the record for fastest career nosedive of all time. Your success, popularity and self- destruction was practically simultaneous. And sadly for everyone, (mostly you, I guess) was the fact that unlike another Uggs-wearing, pork-rind stuffing pop sensation who crashed and burned, you actually had talent. Ah, well. There’s always time for a comeback, I guess.