Quentin Tarantino is both a star maker and re-maker and the Holy Grail for actors is to be cast in a Tarantino film. He loves introducing new talent to the world, like a Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds, or recycling his old favorites from when he was growing up like Pam Grier and Robert Forster in Jackie Brown. Sometimes the people who need the biggest breaks are the ones who had it all and then lost it and he certainly helps out those favorites of his who did just that. Most of us have no idea what it’s like to have it, so we’re fine. We go about our crappy lives and think nothing of it. But those poor bastards who had it and then lost it, that’s a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Being famous with no money is just the worst. You heard it here first.
Here is a list of tremendous talents who had the brassring, but through either bad choices, megalomania, substance abuse, or a combination of all, are at or near the bottom of the Hollywood rung after many years of fame and success. Or are doing just fine, but really could use that whale of a role. Quentin, help these poor people out. America’s greatest resource is its celebrities. Help make America great again.
10. TOM SIZEMORE
Circa 1998, West Hollywood CA, I’m working for Dominos and delivering a pizza. I ring the bell and a maniac comes to the door. Sweaty. Hair a mess. Some scantily clad chick at the back of the apartment. It was a snapshot of frenzied, insane “Pay the pizza guy!! Now!!” lunacy. I knew it was Tom. I remembered him from his awesome performance in True Romance. It was clear he was in the middle of mania. And as the story goes after that…multiple arrests, rehab, repeat. But he finally seems to have his life back in order. A superb, intense, frightening performer, I think he would soar if Quentin gave him a shot. Quentin wrote True Romance. Let’s take it to the next level. Oscar waits.
09. WINONA RYDER
Winona Forever. Not only was that a Johnny Depp tattoo, but it was also how America felt about their sweetheart. From Lucas, to Heathers, to Edward Scissorhands to that boring Martin Scorsese film that I wanted to bash my head against the seat in front of me at the movie theater, Winona was it and Winona was all. And then she went bonkers and stole clothes and got arrested and to this day she has still not spoken about what the hell went wrong and why she fell from grace. Over the years, she’s been slowly and diligently digging herself out of that hole. She’s working consistently in semi-ok films. But QT could save the day. Give her that role. Maybe as a scorned woman who had her hands chopped off but she’s still going to ride her horse to meet the man of her dreams in New Mexico. Killing Indians and robbing banks along the way. Call it “Blood Ride.” Boom. Write it, QT.
08. JOHNNY DEPP
Speaking of Johnny Depp and poor tattoo choices, what has happened to our Johnny? Our lovely Johnny. The bravest actor alive, for years, suddenly found mega-fame with the great Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and the two awful sequels, the first one of which, I was watching in a theater with my parents, while back home I had a flank steak marinating for the BBQ. And the movie was so boring and bad and lonnnnng, that I couldn’t stop thinking about eating my delicious flank steak. Between my mouth watering and the dreadful bore that was Pirates II, I was done with Johnny. But he’s still a tremendous talent and he needs that one weird Indie role to get his street cred back. It has to be the right one though and I submit that Quentin Tarantino and Johnny Depp should get together for tea or drugs and come up with a great idea. Maybe Johnny plays a banker who’s also a bank robber. It can be called “The Banker.” I don’t know. I’m just trying to help push the creative process forward. Depp and QT = Magic.
07. SEAN CONNERY
He swears he’s retired. “Are you retired, Sir Sean?” “I’m retired.” :Shrug: You have to take James Bond and Dr. Jones at his word. But could the lure of one more juicy role with one of the greatest filmmakers of the century get him out of that rocking chair and on to the movie set. I think so. The whole world would love to see one more glorious performance from the ole’ fella. From all reports, he’s still sharp as a tack and more handsome than ten movie stars. He just needs a call from Qt. How about we let Tarantino direct a Bond film. Whoa! And it’s a character piece on a man who hasn’t served his country for 30 years, but he’s the only one with the experience to confront “The Smasher” in Bond 27; Radiatecter. Or something. I’m not a come up with titles guy, people. I’m an idea man. Thank you.
06. VINCENT D’ONOFRIO
Everybody’s favorite cold blooded, lost his mind, killer. When Vincent played Sergeant Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, the world was introduced to a true original. Always off the beat a bit, always using an interesting cadence, his performances are deep, powerful and always effective. After a long run on Law & Order. Or SUV Victims or one of those shows, he’s been back taking small roles in small films. Can you imagine what we would get if the combined psychosis of Tarantino and D’Onofrio were to join forces. United for the common good of film entertainment. I don’t know what they would do. But a lot of people are gonna die. Like a lot. A ton of dead people everywhere. Let’s make it happen.
05. VAL KILMER
Iceman, the Lizard King, he could do anything! Well, apparently not sustain an acting career with good film choices. Val was the man in the late 80’s and early 90’s. From Top Gun to Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors, we thought we had the next Brando. Speaking of which, when he worked with Brando in the horrifically entertaining Island of Dr. Moreau, that’s when things began to go awry. Terrible behavior on set. IF he came to set at all. Wouldn’t read his lines. He drove Brando, who was difficult in his own right, crazy. And the career kind of petered out. He blew up like a balloon and he’s really kind of floating around on the ocean now like a dead piece of wood hoping to wash up on to a beach. He just needs to be challenged. He needs Quentin. Maybe he’ll run a carnival that also traffics drugs across the United States. We’ll call it “Barker.” Perfect.
04. KEVIN COSTNER
Mr. C took the mantle from Robert Redford and really became America’s golden boy. Great roles, super successful films, wolves, Oscars, you name it, he had it. And then the earth got flooded because of global warming or something. And there was no land and Kevin grew gills to breathe from and who the hell knows what happened. It wasn’t that bad a movie, but the perception was that it was a disaster of biblical proportions. And in Hollywood, perception is reality. And it all kind of went away. He’s done some really great work in recent years. The Hatfields and McCoys. McFarland USA, a nice family film, and even the underrated Draft Day was very entertaining. But we want our golden boy back. Our Frank Farmer. Our Ray Kinsella “Dad, wanna play catch?” guy. It’s time for Quentin and Kevin to get together. I have no idea what they should do. But it will be awesome. Gritty. It should be gritty.
03. NICOLAS CAGE
American’s favorite weirdo. The start of many memes and Vines and Youtube clips that highlight his idiosyncratic awesomeness. Few actors have played a more diverse set of roles that Nic. I can’t really pinpoint where it went wrong, because none of it really went wrong. It was just Nic being Nic. But somewhere we did lose him. After he won the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, he had just a tremendous run of monster hits, but then the hits’ quality got a little worse. The entertainment level went down a bit. I don’t know! It’s just Nic being Nic. He’s awesome. I just want the best for him. Is that so wrong? If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. I want him to be back on that wacky acting crazy roles, but bringing in boatloads of cash, mountain. And I think the team of Tarentino/Cage gets that done. There should be a lot of guns and a lot of Elvis in the film. Build off that fellas.
02. EDDIE MURPHY
SMH. SMDH. :SIGH: Hmmmmf. I don’t know. I just don’t know what to say. I don’t know what happened here. I don’t know if he’s trying to follow the Elvis, who is his idol, career path of great success, followed by awful movies, followed by a comeback and great success. I just don’t know. But, Eddie, if you’re reading, it’s time for your own ’68 ComeBack Special. What in God’s name are you doing? Why do you take these horrific films? How much money do you need? What the hell is going on?! Quentin, please, for my own sanity, take this man of great talent and give him something worthwhile to do. Something that combines his comedic and dramatic abilities. I have nothing more to say on this. I’m just sick over the whole thing. Norbert. Pluto Nash. WTF. Ugh. Sorry. Quentin, please write the wrongs that Eddie can’t seem to right himself. Thank you in advance.
01. JOHN TRAVOLTA
Yeah. It’s been 21 long years since Pulp Fiction for Travolta. The last 15 of which have been horrific. Absolutely horrific for Danny Zuko’s career. Quentin, come to the rescue. Again. ‘Nuff said.
Follow Michael Friedman on Twitter @mikefriedman77