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5 Actors Who Tried to Make Comebacks and Failed Miserably

Don't Call It a Comeback

After a long absence, I have returned to Film School Rejects. Some of you may remember me as the guy who complained about how movies aren’t girly enough or the guy who told you how Hollywood is out to screw everyone. Or maybe I’m best remembered as the guy who foisted David Christopher Bell on you all. I’m sorry for that. I didn’t realize he was literally a bear with a keyboard who somehow knew where all of our readers lived.

But Dave has moved on to bigger and better things (Cracked.com wanted a bear they could keep in their office), so I’m back, baby! And to celebrate my comeback, I am presenting you with this group of actors who tried to make cinematic comebacks and fell flat on their faces. Which I hopefully will not do. Hopefully.

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5. Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan in The Canyons

IFC Films

Come on, this is the ultimate example, namely because it keeps on happening. Double-L has tried and tried to turn her career around, but terrible things seem to keep happen to her. Things which may or may not be of her own doing, but I’m not here to judge. I’ll just say that if any other random American had done half the things she’s done, they’d still be in prison, unlike Lindsay.

LiLo’s last box office hit was Herbie: Fully Loaded, and that was nine freakin’ years ago. Yes, seriously. She followed that one up with Prairie Home Companion, Robert Altman’s swan song, and while critics like it, it didn’t sell a lot of tickets. Georgia Rule didn’t even impress the critics, and by the time I Know Who Killed Me (itself a comeback attempt) rolled around, “Lohan” was basically a swear word in Hollywood.

Since then, she’s been kicked off of more potentially career re-igniting films than actually acted in any. (I think. I didn’t count because I don’t think I can handle how depressing that would be.) Liz & Dick flopped, The Canyons flopped, and yeah, the Sham-Wow guy’s movie, inAPPropriate Comedy, flopped. Go figure on that last one. Maybe Inconceivable, whatever the hell it’s gonna be, will finally be her new start. Just, uh, don’t put money on it or anything.

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4. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson in The Beaver

Summit Entertainment

America’s favorite least-Australian Australian and also probably a bonafide crazy person, Mel’s not had a starring role in a major film since 2002’s Signs. So Mel Gibson’s last big film as an actor just happened to coincide with the point where audiences started to wonder if M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t just screwing with us all. (12 years later, it turns out he totally was.)

Sure, he made boatloads with The Passion of the Christ, but since he wasn’t actually in that one (unless you believe the thing about it being his hand in the nailing scene and not just some intern’s hand that Gibson claimed was his), we can’t really count it on a list of acting comebacks, can we? No, Mel has only starred in one film since 2002… The Beaver.

If you’ve not heard of it, you’re not alone. Directed by Jodie Foster (a friend of Gibson’s), The Beaver was a 2011 film where Mel Gibson’s character used a beaver puppet as a form of self-therapy. No, I’m not kidding. Watch the trailer. It was a massive flop financially and only got middling reviews from critics.

He’s got a role as the villain in The Expendables 3 and a starring role in an action film called Blood Father next year. Maybe one or both will help him out. At least he’s not doing one called Weird, Racist Father.

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3. Mike Myers

Mike Myers in The Love Guru

Paramount Pictures

Hey, remember all those funny movies Mike Myers was in? Hollywood doesn’t, because he hasn’t starred in one since 2002’s final film in the Austin Powers trilogy, and even that was getting pretty long in the tooth by then. His next film, The Cat in the Hat, was a tremendous failure and also really stupid. Those two things tend to go hand-in-hand I suppose, but what do I know?

He followed it up with some more Shrek movies and tried to make a comeback with 2008’s The Love Guru, a film that failed harder and was stupider than The Cat in the Hat. How the hell did that even happen? Since then, besides yet another Shrek movie and a chance to dust off his English accent (albeit in a much more subtle manner) in Inglourious Basterds, Mike Myers has been seen even less than sasquatch.*

Shit, a movie starring a sasquatch would probably do way better than The Love Guru. People actually want to see a sasquatch.

*Alternate joke: Mike Myers has been seen even less than Dana Carvey.

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2. Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2

Columbia Pictures

Sharon Stone was once on top of the world, and not just because she was bold enough to get her hoohah out on camera. She was a genuinely sought after actor and did some really great roles that didn’t involve being naked. Remember when she was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife in Total Recall? That was pre-Basic Instinct and she did pretty well in it.

Post-BI (which is what we’re calling it now), she got tons of accolades for her role in Casino, and then she just… disappeared. Well, not really. She did a bunch of really crappy movies, up to and including the Halle Berry Catwoman movie (who could probably support her own entry on this list, Cloud Atlas notwithstanding).

Then she got the brilliant idea to try to recapture lightning in a bottle with Basic Instict 2. As history has shown again and again, this never works. And it didn’t. BI2 (which is what we’re calling it now) was a joke. It was the definition of unnecessary, cash-in sequel, and if you look up that phrase in a dictionary, you’ll see either BI2 or Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, depending on the dictionary.

It dropped the whole engaging murder story from the original but kept the sexy stuff… and that’s about it. It’s essentially a high budget softcore film, and not even a particularly good one. Assuming there are good ones. Since then, Sharon Stone has been on a handful of TV shows and bit parts in movies. No, not those kind of bit parts.

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1. Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes in The Giver

The Weinstein Company

Katie Holmes used to be America’s sweetheart, and then she became Tom Cruise’s sweetheart and things went downhill briskly from there. Coming off multiple TV and film appearances, Holmes hit her high point with Batman Begins. Seriously, it was her biggest hit. Then she hooked up with ol’ Maverick and something… changed.

She turned down reprising her role in The Dark Knight (which Maggie Gyllenhaal gladly picked up) and decided to do Mad Money instead, where she was the weakest link in a chain that included Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. After that, she was best known for being the glassy-eyed mother of Suri Cruise until 2011, when she ditched Tom and starred as Jackie Kennedy in the high-profile miniseries The Kennedys. 

But early drafts of the series’ scripts were derided as historically inaccurate and The History Channel dropped the show from its schedule. (Yes, the same History Channel that’s now famous for primarily showing programs about aliens). Every other TV network turned it down until it was picked up by the obscure Reelz channel.

As you might have guessed, the series turned out to be a miserable pile of turds, and Katie Holmes’ biggest film since has been The Giver. If the first weekend’s box office for that one is any indication, don’t expect great things from it, either.



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