Career Ruining Movies – Part 3

.......she was less and less convinced that the woman was a Doctor after all.......

Continuing our popular series about Career Ruining Movies (Part 1, Part 2) we thought we’d have a look at a few more and the stars who’ve found themselves back on TV……..

Kevin Costner – The Postman

Costner’s career had been on the ascendent  after the huge success of Brain DePalma’s big screen adaptation of The Untouchables. Field of Dreams garnered much critical kudos and critical and commercial success came together with Dances with Wolves which won him Best Director and Best Film Oscar (unbelievably it beat Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’) and won five more Oscars to take the overall tally to seven. He could do no wrong even more success came his way with Robin Hood, The Bodyguard JFK and even the predicted disaster of the over budget ‘Waterworld’ couldn’t sink him when it confounded critics and made money. But that would be his last roll of the dice when ‘The Postman’ followed two years later. A sprawling 3 hour epic which he both directed and starred in where he played…..well a postman in a post apocalyptic America who…well…delivered letters. With a plot that would barely sustain a TV commercial the $80m bombed like the Luftwaffe making a pitiful $17m worldwide. Critically and commercially mauled it effectively ended his leading man status in major films and since then he’s appeared in small budget films or as a supporting actor in big budget blockbusters like ‘Man of Steel’ and is about to appear in his first TV series. How the mighty have fallen.

Geena Davis – Cutthroat Island

Having started off her career appearing in TV series Geena Davis moved into feature films making her mark in David Cronenberg’s superb remake of The Fly in 1986. Further success followed with  Beetlejuice & Thelma and Louise. All was fine until 1995 when she co starred in Cutthroat Island , a period pirate action film directed by her then husband Renny Harlin who was a hot property after Die Hard 2 & Cliffhanger.  At the time the film had a huge budget which continued to spiral with rumours of fruit juice being flown in from Malta and three cameras filming constantly. The crew, fed up with the directors alleged behaviour, almost abandoned the shoot. The studio, Carolco, filed for bankruptcy before the film was released and when it was released it made a pathetic $10m having had almost $100m spent making it. Though the pair went onto make the Shane Black scripted actioner The Long Kiss Goodnight afterwards the damage was already done and Davis quickly found herself making Stuart Little and its sequels before finally returning to TV where she’s been ever since.

Cuba Gooding Jr – Snow Dogs / Boat Trip

Gooding too started off in TV before finding success with John Singleton’s critically acclaimed, ‘Boyz n the Hood’ in 1991 and finally hitting paydirt in 1996 with Tom Cruise in ‘Jerry Mcguire’ where he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. It was then that the ‘Curse of the Oscar Win’ struck as he went on to make a series of lacklustre poorly received films that included forgettable dreck such as, Instinct and Trading Favours.  But in 2002 he foisted a double whammy on the public: Snow Dogs and Boat Trip. Both were poor (though Snow Dogs made a modest profit) but Boat Trip was a breathtakingly bad comedy. It was the beginning of the end when he found himself being nominated for numerous razzie awards in the cant-believe-how-bad-this-is alleged comedy Norbit and Daddy Day Camp , both Eddie Murphy films whose own career was in freefall. Many of Gooding’s subsequent films went straight to dvd and once again he found himself back on TV.


Elizabeth Berkley – Showgirls

Elizabeth Berkley  was another actress who had made a decent career for herself on TV appearing in the teen comedy ‘Saved by the Bell’ until it was cancelled after a lengthy run. It was time to grow up and she rebelled against the TV image and took the lead role in Paul Verhoeven’s notorious Showgirls. A controversial no holds barred Dutch director and a film about well…..strippers and the seedy side of Vegas. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. With its explicit nudity for a major studio film it quickly was shunned by audiences. It was an unexpurgated adult breast fest and for once sex did not sell and the film was nominated for a record number of razzie awards. It made less than half of  its $45m budget. What was Berkeley’s big screen debut would also prove end her big screen career and she too returned to, albeit, regular work in TV

Jake Lloyd – The Phantom Menace

It just got worse and worse for poor Jake Lloyd


David Caruso – Every movie he ever appeared in

Being ginger would seem to be an automatic obstacle to international movie stardom but for Caruso he made it big in the TV series ‘NYPD Blue’. It was a huge success and movie bosses keen for the next big thing combined with Caruso’s understandable desire to get major roles in films was cast as the lead in ‘Kiss of Death’, a decent film even if he did have to compete with Nicholas Cage having his usual on screen meltdown moments as muscle bound Little Junior Brown. Unfortunately it flopped but studio execs were convinced he had star quality and he followed it up with Joe Esterhaus’s saucy sex fest ‘Jade’. which was an attempt to repeat the success of ‘Basic Instinct’. It flopped. So he was cast in the comedy ‘Cold around the Heart’. It flopped.

It didn’t help Caruso’s public image when his behaviour on NYPD Blue had been described by its creator Steve Bocho as ‘cancerous’ going on to say that he was volatile, moody or sullen, depending on the day. Bocho had been told that Caruso felt that he was too good for TV but after all the flops it seems that he wasn’t good enough for movies.



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