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My Top 5 Favourite Film Comebacks



‘Everyone loves a comeback story’ – that old adage that rings true throughout all entertainment, sports and media. But of course the most distinctive and popularised is that of the comeback movie. Whether it be a director returning to their roots, a franchise reinvigorated or a troubled actor finding their place amongst the stars again – film lovers and critics alike find a certain new adoration and pride for the ‘comeback kid’ when it all comes to fruition.

Without question, this can trace back as far as the 1970’s. But in recent memory there have been some standouts that not only won me over, but redefined careers.

5. Bill Murray (‘Rushmore’)



After possibly one of his greatest films ever, ‘Groundhog Day’. Murray’s form fell flat through a gauntlet of comedy misfires. But he found his second calling in the form of young filmmaker Wes Anderson in 1998. Co-starring in his second feature ‘Rushmore’ as rich tycoon ‘Herman Blume’. Garnering an entire new audience to the King of deadpan delivery. Additionally, he starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in the rather lovely ‘Lost In Translation’, further cementing his return to form. Subsequently, Murray has featured in some capacity in all of Anderson’s subsequent works and continues to be one of the all-time greatest workers in the business.

4. Ben Affleck (‘Gone Baby Gone’)



Before 2007, Affleck couldn’t shake off the gremlins that were plaguing him since the less than favourable reactions to Hollywood turkeys like ‘Gigli’, ‘Jersey Girl’ & ‘Daredevil’ (although I will argue that the director’s cut of the latter being an honestly decent film). After a string of average movies, Affleck took to the director’s chair.

He co-wrote the screenplay and directed the adaptation of the detective novel, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, triumphantly crafting an engrossing and prodding mystery thriller filled with great direction of tension, drama and acting. Affleck now appears to have moved away from that Matt Damon-sized shadow that had been cast over him for sometime. Becoming one of the most respected and impressive new directors of the last decade. 

He continued hitting home runs across the board with his 2010 film ‘The Town’, which he also starred and the multi-Academy Award winning ‘Argo’. Which everyone loves. 

Of course you do. 

3. Josh Brolin (‘No Country For Old Men’)



Josh Brolin is an interesting guy. While being an extremely talented & versatile actor, he never had been able to lose that ‘Goonies’ annotation that had latched onto him since the 80’s. 

In 2007, (opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) starring as man on the run ‘Llewelyn Moss’ in the Coen’s masterful modern Western ‘No Country For Old Men’ gave him the massive boost he deservedly received. 

Brolin is now enjoying a plethora of notable roles. Including turns in ‘Milk’, ‘True Grit’, a rather awesome one in ‘Men In Black 3′, ‘W.’ and ‘Inherent Vice’. Before the release of Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ last year. Josh was cast in a multiple picture deal as ‘Thanos’, considered to be one of the greatest comic book antagonists of all time.

2. Robert Downey Jr. (‘Iron Man’)



RDJ’s story is the ultimate comeback story. Falling prey to addiction in the 90’s up until the early 2000’s. He successfully recovered and went on to star in ‘The Singing Detective’ and delivered well-received performances in the comedy crime film ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, as well as one of my favourites in David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’.

Downey’s casting as genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist ‘Tony Stark’ aka ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel Studios has redefined what anyone would consider a Hollywood comeback. His casting was not only a great move by the studio, as the actor effortlessly declares on screen that he was born to portray the character. But also for the man himself. 

As the ‘poster boy’ somewhat, he has helped the studio achieve record breaking numbers in the box office and is one of the most overwhelmingly adored figures at the heart of the franchise at the fresh age of 49. You know who he is.

1. Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)



It’s one thing to make a comeback, it’s another to make one in an Academy Award winning movie. Yet it’s another to make one in a narrative that perhaps parallels that of your own career to an extent.

I’m not going to detail what Mr Keaton had been upto since his Batman days. All I will say is – bravo. One of the most heavily debated movies of the last few years is ‘Birdman’, which scooped the top honours at this year’s Oscars. Keaton unfortunately lost to Eddie Redmayne for the Best Actor gong, which I really felt was a travesty. Not taking away anything from Redmayne’s performance. I just felt ‘The Theory Of Everything’ was purely made to win awards based on its biopic nature. The other brewing argument that surged the internet was whether ‘Boyhood’ or ‘Birdman’ were the more deserving of the Best Film Award. 

While being a truly good piece of filmmaking, and certainly a labour of love of director Richard Linklater. For me, ‘Boyhood’ and its scoping of American life narrative didn’t break new grounds in what I love to see in film. Inarritu’s movie is as ambitious as it is gloriously compelling. Keaton being the driving force behind it. 

Fly high, my friend.


My Top 15 Nostalgic TV Shows (Part 3 of 3)

The conclusion….

06. The X-Files

"....Alright?"

The only entry that’s not a kids show or an animation. The X-Files is in all honesty one of the most influential tv shows I grew up on. A sci-fi/supernatural drama revolving around two FBI agents that investigate series of paranormal activities. The debated theories of the existence of extraterrestrial life used to scare the hell out of me, but watching Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully go to town and kick ass made the idea more exciting to ponder.

There were so many memorable episodes – it’s a must own on DVD. The main story throughout the first few seasons involved Fox (David Duchovny) attempting to prove that aliens are indeed real, and are also responsible for several abductions – including that of his sister. Who went missing, and was presumed dead years prior to the program.

However, it was the filler episodes  that really kept me watching. A generic story of a monster/evil mutant/virus/crazy person terrorising a small town (labelled by fans as ‘Monster of The Week’ episodes), and Mulder & Scully (Gillian Anderson) are called to investigate. Yeah, generic, but the monsters were really unique every week and often brought a hint of a sympathetic nature. Still, although not a part of the main story, there was further exposition into Mulder’s beliefs and Scully’s near-infinite scrutiny surrounding them – not to mention the development of their close friendship and dependence on each other.

The series is a cult phenomenon and has been the bar for many supernatural and sci-fi shows since its end in 2002. During the last few seasons, David Duchovny only appeared in a recurring role, while Scully and their superior AD Walter Skinner became the focal characters. In my opinion, it took a dip – Mulder IS The X-Files. He’s the engine behind the whole series. So to take it away, what would happen? Moan aside, The X-Files did so much for me its ridiculous. It was the first drama I ever watched week after week without missing an episode, and is still on rotation in my DVD collection.

05. Knightmare

You massive helmet...

Aww yeah. This is what I’m talking about! Motherfuckin’ KNIGHTMARE! A UK show broadcast on ITV during after-school hours combining elements of fantasy, knights, goblins, puzzles, computer generated imagery, and saucy elf maidens. Well that last one was slightly misleading…

A lone ‘Dungeoneer’ is given a quest to rescue a person of interest or retrieve an item or relic of importance by Dungeon Master Treguard – who spoke almost all the time in a Shakespearean manner, which was pure awesomeness. However, the Dungeoneer has little to no vision due to the obscuring helmet they must place upon their bonce. A team of 3 friends of the Dungeoneer, normally around 12-16, would then have to guide him/her through the computer generated world created on-screen, as they travel through various rooms, mazes and walkways. Won’t go too in-depth with this one…

It’s great fun to watch some of the retarded kids on there who just cause massive amounts of shit for the Dungeoneer. Has me laughing my arse off half the time. Noah Antwiler (Aka Spoony) did a review on Knightmare a while back. Do check that out on YouTube. It declined in popularity by its eighth series and ended in 1994 :-(

A revival is still being petitioned by fans…

04. M.A.S.K

From L-R 'Maple Leaf', 'Oxygen Tank', 'Rear-View Mirror' and 'Old Yella'

A load of blokes… Check. Sweet vehicles with guns n shit… Check. Odd-looking helmets which still kick butt…. Ding ding ding ding!

3. Thundercats

Bunch of pussies....

So, here’s the top 3. At 3rd place, it’s Thundercats. Why? You idiots… Because it’s Thundercats. Awesome theme music, bad-ass characters, amazing manga-style animation, and probably the show with the best base of operations ‘The Cats’ Lair’. Fucking A.

The premise is that the Thundercats are a group of alien refugees from the planet Thundera. When the planet is destroyed the group travel to Earth, or Third Earth, can’t remember – and set up home as thus. But the evil, nearly naked and undead nasty-doer ‘Mumm-Ra’ is on a course to take over the world. Adequately, the Thundercats are tooled up and take his ass out week after week. No biggie.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

"That sword's well bowed mate"

If there’s one thing that ruled my childhood, it was the Turtles. I lived, breathed, ate, slept and drank Turtles from the moment I first watched the show. Every Saturday morning, I’d run downstairs, place myself right in front of the TV, turned up the volume, and sat in silence for approximately 20 minutes. I was comatose throughout, loving every single bit that flashed across the screen.

From the heroes themselves to the genius villain The Shredder, every aspect of the show was perfection. I wanted the toys, I got them. I wanted the vehicles, I got them. Hell I even dressed up as a Turtle on Christmas Day one year – that’s how fucking dedicated I was. In all admittance – I can proudly say I was a hardcore Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. No other part of pop culture has had such as a profound impact on me as this.

01. Batman: The Animated Series

Giant kestrel in your hip, sir

I chose Batman: TAS over Turtles as my number one because of one thing… Staying power. This cartoon was first broadcast around 1992, after the overwhelming popularity attained by Tim Burton’s Batman movies – from which it is greatly inspired by.

This show is considered the ultimate depiction of Batman in media other than comic books. It’s still as impressive and very timeless in terms of theme, tone and animation. Possibly THE best animated program of the entire decade.

This clip is not from the original series, but from the feature-length film ‘Return Of The Joker’. It encapsulates everything that made the show brilliant.


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