|Before the Curse: Kilmer as the Lizard King|
After a slew of respectable films, Kilmer appeared as Morrison in Oliver Stone's 1991 homage The Doors. (Side note, in college, I discovered that almost every Doors album sounds way better when played at 45 rpm. Try it sometime.) Although he made the arguably decent Tombstone two years later, what once appeared to be a promising career slid inexorably down hill, with Kilmer variously appearing in films such as the monumentally awful Island of Dr Moreau (for which he won a Razzie), The Ghost and the Darkness and, more recently, MacGruber.
|Kilmer after the Curse|
A similar fate befell Lou Diamond Phillips, who played the charismatic Richie Vallons in 1997's La Bamba. Phillips followed up La Bamba with laudable roles in Stand and Deliver and Young Guns in 1988, then poof. With few exceptions, the remainder of Phillips' career found him playing supporting roles in assorted, often short lived, television series (Spin City, Wolf Lake, George Lopez and Law and Order SVU). Other examples of this phenomenon include Angela Bassett in What's Love Got to Do With It, Dennis Quaid in Great Balls of Fire or Jennifer Lopez in Selena to name a few.
However, Exhibits A and B are, without a doubt, The Buddy Holly Story and Walk the Line. It's as if there is an inverse correlation between the quality of the film and the subsequent degree of suck suffered by the star. Both of these films were first rate and the former (for which Gary Busey received an Oscar nomination) may be the best rock biopic ever made. Then the Curse fell on Busey, leading to long string of bit parts and a motorcycle accident. Instead of starring in feature films, Busey's name has become synonymous with "batshit crazy," leaving him only to mug for the camera on Celebrity Rehab.
Who's up for playing Amy Winehouse? Anyone?