Top 10 Stars That Never Were

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the movies, it’s that Hollywood is a fickle, cruel and humid place. Actors with no discernible talent whatsoever appear in countless blockbusters, while the likes of Steve Zahn gets stoned in his apartment waiting for his agent to ring. Not that Steve Zahn is a beacon of cinematic charisma or anything, but surely he’s more likeable than, like, Topher Grace or someone? Alas, this is a common tale in Hollywood. Perfectly good actors are cast aside and forgotten about like the proverbial velveteen rabbit, lying limply in Hollywood’s toy chest until some forgiving, sensitive director blows the dust off their careers and plays with them again.

Ok, I’m extending the metaphor now, but you understand what I’m getting at.

# 10 – Jason Biggs

These days he exists as nothing more then an early blueprint for Michael Cera, but for a while it looked like something big might happen to Jason Biggs. Sadly, the world just wasn’t ready for an unlucky in love basset-hound/man-child crossover in the nineties. Let’s hope that Cera at least sent a thank you note to Biggs for breaking all that nerdy leading man ground.

# 9 – Ally Sheedy

Ally Sheedy is best known for being the girl in the Breakfast Club who isn’t Molly Ringwald, and as a result of this she then became the poster crush for Weird Dudes Everywhere. She was kind of pretty, but most all she wasn’t Molly ‘Boner-Killer’ Ringwald, so by default she was fantasized about. Ally went on to St. Elmos Fire, making her a bona fide member of the Brat Pack. But then what? Not much. She made her trade in films that sound a lot like other films. Notable examples include The Definite Maybe and Shelter Island. Seriously, what is with all these movies that sound exactly like other movies? Do they exist solely so people can pick them up by mistake?

# 8 – Danny / Christopher Masterson

Do you remember Hyde from That 70s Show? Of course you do, you fancied the arse off him. Remember Frances from Malcolm in the Middle? Of course you do, because you fancied the arse off him, also. Have you seen them anywhere lately? No, of course you haven’t.

Such is, unfortunately, the sad fate of the immensely rideable Masterson brothers. They were our favourite cocky primetime TV white-boys, and seemingly the world wanted very little to do with them afterwards. While Christopher (Frances) had a role in American History X and Danny (Hyde) a small role in Yes Man, the two have mostly been roaming the streets, eating out of bins and being doted upon by neighbourhood children. This is particularly sad for Danny, considering how comparatively well the rest of the cast of That 70s Show did.

# 7 – Miles Fisher

While calling Miles Fisher ‘washed up’ is a bit of an exaggeration, sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat afraid that Miles Fisher will spend his entire career virtually unknown. It’s almost like he’s too majestically attractive to be taken seriously, and too smart to be in bog-standard leading man roles. At thirty, the talented actor/musician has only been in a handful of films, none of them crazily good. Sorry Miles. You’re just TOO AMAZING for mainstream cinema. He was also an ad man in that show about those guys who work on Madison Avenue in the sixties. You know the one.

# 6 – Elisabeth Shue

You might not remember Elisabeth Shue’s name but you almost certainly remember her as the eighties gal WORTH FIGHTING FOR. She starred alongside Tom Cruise in Cocktail, played Jennifer in Back to the Future pts. II and III, and she was that skank in The Karate Kid. But then what? TV movies, Hamlet 2 and an uncredited role in City of Angels. A brief comeback in Leaving Las Vegas. Not much after. Tough break, Shue.

# 5 – Rupert Friend

Maybe things will turn around for Rupert Friend. It’s entirely possible they will. However, it’s far more likely that they won’t, ever. Rupert Friend is one of those actors that is a perpetual leaning post for sassy ladies in period dramas, and spends most of his time faffing about and being a proper dandy. Between Cheri, Pride and Prejudice and The Young Victoria, I’m beginning to suspect that he lives in a parallel foppish universe where women go to feel empowered and turned on.

# 4 – Mena Suvari

Oh, Mena Suvari. From the minute Kevin Spacey clapped his lusty middle-aged eyes on you in American Beauty we felt sure you were destined for big budget stardom. Sadly, your career drifted away faster then a plastic bag in the winds of pretentious metaphors. As Mena gradually started to look more and more like Anna Faris, her star appeal began to decline. She starred in more films with “America” in the title, had a small role in Factory Girl, and ever since then has been making rent with small indie comedies. Which as we know, are not funny.

# 3 – Mira Sorvino

Mira Sorvino is one of those classic “What Happened?” cases. When Mira first came to Hollywood in 1992 she had already graduated magna cum laude at Harvard. Her major? MANDARIN CHINESE. Yeah, Natalie Portman’s degree in psychology doesn’t sound so impressive now, does it? It wasn’t long until Mira Sorvino was landing decent roles in big films. Mira quickly went on to work with Woody Allen in Mighty Aphrodite, for which she received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. After that came Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, the cult comedy that clever girls watched at sleepovers. Sorvino was riding high and then… well, not much. A few low-budget romantic comedies quickly became TV spots on Will & Grace and House. Hmmm.

Not unlike our friend Ally Sheedy, Mira now makes films that sound suspiciously like films that already exist. Reservation Road, anyone?

# 2 – All of the Arquettes

Those guys need to get it TOGETHER. Except Patricia, she’s doing alright. Here are the Arquettes, in order of least to most commercially successful:

# 1 – Robin Wright

Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride have two things in common. They’re universally doted on by adults and children alike, and they both star Robin Wright. Robin Wright has a peculiar effect on her co-stars in these films: she’s the woman that otherwise normal men go to impossible feats to be with. They assume identities, kick all kinds of serious ass, and doggedly push their way into pop-culture history. Weirdly, after Robin met Sean Penn her movies got a bit shit, really. From Message in a Bottle to the universally despised Beowulf, it seemed like Robin just lost sight of what was important to her. Or maybe crazy old Sean Penn just didn’t want her to be more successful than him.

Maybe there are more deserving stars to put in the top spot then Robin Wright Penn, but she just nicks it because of her newly single self is on the movie market again in a big way. She’s dropped her penn-name and with universally positive reviews from The Conspirator and a parts in Moneyball and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, we’ve got high hopes for Robin Wright. Or, if you prefer: “JENNNNNNY!”

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