Let's Call it a Comeback
Amanda Bynes is currently on the cover of Paper magazine (looking great!), and it got us thinking about comebacks. For every Britney and Winona and John Travolta, there are dozens of stars who continue to languish in the back of our minds, popping up occasionally in one of those “what ever happened to” clickbait ads or beckoning us from the depths of our “because you liked this 90s rom-com” suggestions on Netflix. It’s certainly the case that Hollywood has a short-term memory, particularly when it comes to women, but doesn’t that suck for a lot of reasons? And wouldn’t it be great to see more comebacks? We came up with a little list of faces we’d love to see on our screens again—what are yours?
Did people obsess over Meg Ryan’s style? Certainly not the way they obsessed (and still do) over Diane Keaton’s, and Winona’s, and Gwyneth’s. But take another look: the high-waisted khaki shorts and navy knee socks in When Harry Met Sally; the slouchy Breton shirt and wide leg trousers (and teeny blue-lensed sunglasses!) in French Kiss; the many turtlenecks of You’ve Got Mail—in her most famous roles, Meg Ryan managed to make every outfit feel like a style revelation. In the 80s and 90s, she was everywhere it seemed, and largely known as America’s Sweetheart (not without reason—no one does wide-eyed dishevelment quite like her), but to us that seems like damning her with faint praise. Sweetheart implies safe, and nice and, well, sweet. But Meg Ryan took no shit. Consider the deli scene in When Harry Met Sally, or the entire premise of French Kiss, really. Her characters are deceptively sweet, but under the surface is a woman who absolutely knows what she wants, and knows exactly what to wear when she goes out to get it.
Freddie Prinze Jr.
The ultimate BMOC with a heart of gold. FPJ, you were never a dick. But you also weren’t annoying. Well, you were a little annoying, like that time in She’s All That when you were stressed about how you got into too many Ivy league colleges. Or when you hack…y…sacked. But we loved you for being charming in a relatable way. And we especially liked you for falling (and staying) in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar in real life. We want you to come back (as long as it’s not in Scooby-Doo 3).
It sort of feels like the (admittedly problematic) term “girl crush” was coined for Cameron Diaz. When the actress first appeared on the scene in 1994’s The Mask, she was simply one singular thing: hot. She was so hot, in fact, that she set a new standard for hot. But, she quickly revealed her other magnetic qualities. She could also play endearingly sweet. She out Julia Roberts-ed Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding. And she could do funny. Really funny. There’s Something About Mary established her as a mainstream comedic lead, while The Sweetest Thing and Being John Malkovich, respectively, revealed her gross-out and dark humor. Off-screen, her palsy interviews and VMA appearances portrayed her as an IRL version of the female archetype referenced in Gone Girl—the woman who eats burgers, loves football, chugs beers and farts, but is still so ridiculously gorgeous you can barely stand to look at her. She equally enviable and likable. We want her to reemerge as her funny, magnanimous, fart-y, weird self. Judd Apatow, did you get that?
Joe Pesci hasn’t had a big role in a major movie in over a decade. Think we’re wrong? Go ahead and google it, we’ll wait. It seems unfathomable, mostly because it seems unfathomable to think of American cinema without him. Is there any movie scene more imitated than his (totally improvised, btw) clown monologue in Goodfellas? In Jayna’s family, at least, the answer is a hard no. But he’s not just the volatile, violent, most likely insane Tommy DeVito. He’s also the volatile, violent, most likely insane Nicky Santoro in Casino, and the volatile, violent (though in a more slapstick way, thank god), most likely insane Harry Lime in the Home Alone movies. Which is not to say he doesn’t have range, it’s just to say he plays a certain character so well, and with such conviction, that they immediately stitch themselves permanently into the fabric of pop culture. We just found out he’ll be in the new Martin Scorsese movie—any guesses as to what kind of guy he’ll be playing?
What must it be like to look like Heather Graham? Those china doll eyes, that tumble of honey blond hair. Even her voice has a sort of magical lilt. Honestly if you told us she was half fairy, we’d be like “oh weird, but that totally makes sense.” That look is also part of what makes some of her greatest roles—a teenage addict in Drugstore Cowboy, a troubled beauty queen in Twin Peaks, a roller skating porn star in Boogie Nights—so memorable. It’s how she can be a dark thing, and do terrible stuff, and we will always and forever fall completely under her spell. It’s hard to imagine us rooting quite as enthusiastically for anyone else to curb stomp some disrespectful dickhead as we do for Rollergirl, is what we’re saying. She still looks almost exactly the same (half fairy, remember?), so we’re ready for a revival, no matter how bleak it gets.
We’d venture to claim there’s nary an 80s or 90s kid who can imagine their childhood without Rick Moranis. Space Balls, Little Shop of Horrors, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Ghostbusters. That earnest puppy-dog dad face and nerd glasses are pretty much baked into our formative years, much like a favorite elementary school teacher or babysitter. Moranis. There’s an intimate, accessible familiarity there. Moranis took a break from Hollywood to raise his two kids after his wife passed away. We’d love to see him resurge, doing what he does best, being expressive, goofy, a little heartbreaking and so relatable.
The “All That” Cast (besides Keenan)
Keenan gets alllllll the love. But what happened to his partner-in-Good Burger Kel? As it turns out, not that much. After losing out on a spot on SNL to his former comedic counterpart, Kel Mitchell—minus one minor death hoax—hasn’t made headlines. We think there’s a place for Keenan and Kel in the global comedy arena. But honestly, they should probably both move over and make room for Lori Beth Denberg, who was the real shining star of the All That galaxy. We dare ANYONE to disagree. The question is, where is she and why isn’t she behind a news desk somewhere telling us all of the vital information we could ever want to hear?