Deader Than Disco / Film

Not all movies, directors, or actors survive the test of time.

Note: Simply having one or two under-performing movies does not make a director, actor or franchise "Deader Than Disco." There needs to have been irreparable damage done to the director's or actor's career or franchise's popularity, be it through a tarnished reputation or an inability to adapt to changing cultural tastes.


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    Specific Genres, Styles And Techniques 
  • The entire spoof film genre, thanks to the works of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Although the genre was already on life support before themnote , and the "take a popular film and put a wacky spin on it" formula would likely have died out regardless as audience tastes moved toward more intellectual comedies during the 2000s, it's rare that a genre has been killed so spectacularly. While Seltzer and Friedberg's movies still make money, that's almost solely on account of how cheap they are. (And with the release of The Starving Games, which failed to make back a budget pitiful by even Seltzerberg standards, even that seems to be no longer the case.) Another death blow was almost certainly due to David Zucker - arguably the uncrowned king of the spoof film - becoming disenchanted with Hollywood escapism and making the sociopolitical diatribe An American Carol, which turned off many of his former fans.
  • Porn with Plot in the US. The '70s and the early '80s had seen the rise and fall of "porno chic", with the porn industry coming the closest it had ever been to the cultural mainstream, pushing boundaries with films that, at the very least, had pretensions towards artistry. Some of the more acclaimed films even made it into "mainstream" movie theaters; The Devil in Miss Jones was notably among the ten highest-grossing films of 1973. This era is nowadays often called the Golden Age of Porn, idealized in films like Boogie Nights. However, The '80s saw the rise of a more conservative sexual morality that pushed pornography out of the mainstream. At the same time, a new generation of porn creators, realizing that most porn consumers were just watching for the sex, popularized "gonzo porn" that was heavy on sex and thin (at best) on plot, and the rise of the more discreet home video market meant that they no longer needed to pretend that they were making anything more highbrow than cheap spank fodder. Nowadays, Porn with Plot is rarely made, and when it is, it's typically a porn parody of a mainstream work or an indie production that mixes artistic merit with explicit material to shock the audience.
  • In the UK during that same time, there was the Awful British Sex Comedy. Made popular by the Confessions of a... series of films, they were basically Carry On films with more nudity. Even if the actual smut was softcore at best, they had little competition in the British market, and they were helped by the fact that a major American distributor (Columbia Pictures) had given enough backing to provide a strong advertising campaign. At the time, they were certainly popular enough for a time to inspire imitators and displace the Carry On films into submission (their own imitation, Carry On Emmannuelle,note  bought the series to a halt, outside one last revival attempt in Carry On Columbus). However, with the aforementioned rise of widely-available home porn in the '80s, these films were promptly forgotten, only brought back up for their terrible attempts at humour and as the punchline of jokes about bad porn (they're Awful British Sex Comedies, after all); even those who will admit to liking them consider them So Bad, It's Good. Almost nobody born after their heyday is likely to even know much about them, let alone see one, outside perhaps an episode of St. Elsewhere referencing them.
  • In addition to launching the CG movie craze, Toy Story was also largely responsible for ending the "kid empowerment" movie trend of the early-mid '90s. After Home Alone, there was a glut of kids movies which either ripped off that movie (Mr. Nanny, Camp Nowhere, 3 Ninjas, etc.) or placed kids in absurdly powerful positions and situations (Cop and a Half, Richie Rich, Blank Check, Little Big League, Rookie of the Year, et cetera). When Toy Story, which featured a perfectly normal kid doing perfectly normal things, became a much bigger success (both critically and commercially) than any of those movies, the "kid empowerment" style was gradually phased out, and is nowadays largely remembered as snark fodder for nostalgia shows. Even Home Alone, despite its enormous success upon release, hasn't aged that well.
  • Movies based on animated television shows used to come out on a fairly consistent basis. The Care Bears movies were fairly successful but other '80s TV adaptations didn't do very well. The underperformances of The Jetsons and DuckTales movies in the summer of 1990 likely prevented studios from greenlighting other movies based on then-popular TV cartoons.

    Several years later, Paramount had success with Beavis and Butt-head, Rugrats, and South Park movies that all came out in a three-year period. Suddenly, it seemed every somewhat popular TV cartoon was getting a theatrical movie, some studios going so far to reformat movies originally meant to be direct-to-video to theatrical release. The only two that did very good business during this era were Pokémon: The First Movie and The Tigger Movie note , while movies based on Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, Recess, The Powerpuff Girls, VeggieTales, Digimon, Doug and Teacher's Pet, as well as subsequent Pokémon and Winnie-the-Pooh films, among others, did more middling business or outright bombed. While the two SpongeBob SquarePants movies (the first of which was greenlit at the height of this craze but not released until it had died down quite a bit, and the sequel was greenlit more to give Paramount's feature animation division an accessible and commercial first film than anything else) and The Simpsons Movie were both more successful, it doesn't seem to be enough to turn a trend just yet.
  • Bullet Time was both popularized and killed by The Matrix. While the technique has roots going back to the 19th century, it was with The Matrix when many people were first truly wowed by it. Unfortunately, thanks to The Matrix, bullet time was (often poorly) imitated and overused by every action movie in the early '00s, causing audiences to grow sick of it. Nowadays, as noted by Cracked, bullet time has become a Dead Horse Trope that's seen as a gimmick. The fact that The Matrix itself has also lost its luster over the years (see below) hasn't helped.

    Specific Films (Best Picture winners) 
The Academy Award for Best Picture has historically been a crapshoot when it comes to determining what films will stand the test of time. While some have retained their reputation and gone on to be viewed as classics, others have not, as this list demonstrates. In fact, winning the award can easily result in Hype Backlash, especially if the film in question is seen as having snubbed another film that went on to be much better remembered. As this article at Birth.Movies.Death. explains, merely being up for awards, and especially winning them, places a film under a magnifying glass, as flaws that would barely be noticed if it wasn't nominated suddenly become massive now that the film has the stamp of acclaim that an award nomination (let alone a victory) brings.

  • The 1931 film Cimarron, a film that received almost universal acclaim in its day and broke out of the ghetto to become the first Western to win Best Picture, is extremely ill-regarded today — it's the lowest-rated Best Picture winner ever on IMDb. One of the main things that made it so famous in its day was its purported historical accuracy and massive scope... which, in modern terms, translates to "offensive racial stereotypes out the wazoo walking around a lot of big empty spaces." And in true Disco fashion, it's seen as having stolen the award from much better films, including Charlie Chaplin's City Lights.
  • From the same era, Noël Coward's Cavalcade (1933) has a similar reputation. A huge hit in its day and multiple Oscar winner, based on a well-regarded play, the film version's widely considered an incoherent, sentimental mess. Its reputation particularly suffers from coming out the same year as King Kong (1933), Duck Soup, The Testament Of Dr Mabuse and others which hold up much better.
  • Crash, which won Best Picture in 2006, often turns up today on many critics' lists of the all-time worst Best Picture winners. Not only is it seen as having snubbed Brokeback Mountain (a decision that, even at the time, many felt to have been guided almost purely by fear of backlash from anti-gay Moral Guardians), it was about as subtle as an anvil with its message, and even those critics who liked it said that, in the long run, it was fairly insubstantial. While it still holds a very high score on IMDb, the first thing most people know about it is the controversy over its win. Even its own director Paul Haggis later admitted that while he was still proud of the film, it was easily the worst of the nominees that year.
  • Thanks to extreme Hype Backlash, The English Patient, a movie that won nine Academy Awards in 1996, is predominantly remembered today as the movie that Elaine bitched about on Seinfeld and that Yes, Dear described as being a great movie "to put us to sleep." A large amount of this can be attributed to its overshadowing of Fargo, widely seen as the best movie of The Coen Brothers and declared by esteemed film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert to be the best film of 1996. Yeowch.
  • The Greatest Show on Earth is considered to have been a massive mistake of a Best Picture Winner years after its 1952 win. It is generally agreed that while the film looked nice, its plot was limited, and it's now considered to be a perfect example of style over substance. The general view is that its win was purely because of politics, at both the studio level and in terms of proving Hollywood's "pro-American" credentials at the height of the Cold War. Two of its fellow nominees, High Noon and Ivanhoe, had screenwriters (Carl Foreman and Marguerite Roberts respectively) blacklisted from the film industry due to suspicions of Communist sympathies, so the voters weren't overly willing to vote for those two films. Plus, Cecil B. DeMille, the person largely responsible for the film, was in his seventies and, as a respected figure, people wished to honor him before his death, leading to this film snubbing a wide variety of classics, including, in addition to the two previously mentioned films, Singin' in the Rain and The Quiet Man.
  • One of the most famous examples of the Award Snub backlash: How Green Was My Valley. While hardly one of John Ford's best movies, it still maintains a good reputation among film buffs, and it was good enough to win Best Picture in 1942. The problem? Also up for Best Picture in 1942 was Citizen Kane, widely regarded as one of, if not the, greatest films ever made. As a result, Valley is best known today as "that movie that won Best Picture over Citizen Kane". Talk about your Hype Backlash!
  • Ordinary People set the standard for late 1970s/early '80s dramas, perhaps even more so than Kramer vs. Kramer or The Deer Hunter. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Redford's first film as a director, and Best supporting Actor for Timothy Hutton in his first film even though he split the nomination with Judd Hirsch. It also garnered a Best Actress nomination for Mary Tyler Moore for good measure. And like many others on this list, it stood on its own merits as a good, or possibly even great film that still holds up and would normally be comparable to other Best Picture winners. Except in this case, it had the misfortune to have not only taken the Best Picture from both Raging Bull (which is often considered one of the greatest films ever) and The Elephant Man (which went away completely empty handed in spite of being up for eight awards), but also Best Director from the directors of those respective films, both of whom are known for their lack of Oscars (Scorsese wouldn't win a Best Director Oscar for another twenty-six years; Lynch is still waiting), which in many eyes screamed of being further examples of Award Snub. It could have defined an entire genre of films (a realistic drama of the common man) and it was a commercial and critical success that holds a 92% critic/88% viewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Today however, it is merely an entry on a list of Best Picture winners.
  • Shakespeare in Love in 1998 suffered much the same fate as The English Patient two years earlier. Quite a good movie on its own, and very successful and popular at the time, but today remembered not just as the film that "stole" Best Picture that year from Saving Private Ryan, but for the aggressive campaign that Miramax ran to get the film that award, which, to many, was indicative of studio politics guiding Oscar decisions.

    Specific Films (Other) 
  • Airport was a blockbuster in its day. With a box-office intake of $100 million (about $600 million when adjusted for inflation), it was the second highest-grossing film of 1970, and the highest-grossing film Universal had made since Spartacus. Unlike most blockbusters, it was also a critical hit, being nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture (though it only won Best Supporting Actress). It spawned three sequels and enough imitators (with varying success) to kick-start an entire genre, the Disaster Movie. Even in its day, though, it got knocked for being cheesy and melodramatic, and when Airplane! came out, it made Airport impossible to take seriously ever again... which is kind of crucial for a disaster film. While later '70s disaster films like The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and Earthquake are still regarded as classics of '70s Hollywood, Airport's stature has declined considerably, remembered only for its historical significance and for being "that campy '70s flick that Airplane! made fun of."
  • The Andy Hardy film series is an example from The Golden Age of Hollywood. From 1937 to 1942, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced 13 films of the series that were all enormously popular. They made a star out of Mickey Rooney, who was the biggest box office draw in the world for a time. They had broad appeal for the entire family, kids identifying with the exuberant Andy while the parents identified with the older, wiser Judge Hardy. Andy's temporary love interests for each film were promising young starlets, many of whom would become major stars in their own right thanks in part to their exposure in these films. They were even critically acclaimed at the time, winning a special Academy Award for "representing America", which might be the only time an Oscar ever went to an entire film series.

    Rooney took a break from the series in 1943 to work on other projects, made one final film in 1944, then went off to fight in World War II. Trouble began when he returned to make another Hardy film in 1946 after the war. It fizzled. In 1958, an attempt was made to revive the series with Andy as the head of his own family. The film bombed, viewed as too squeaky clean, conformist and old-fashioned even by the famously buttoned-up cultural standards of the '50s. As critics looked back on The Golden Age of Hollywood, they would find ways to appreciate many other films of that period, but the Andy Hardy films only received scorn and contempt due to a combination of Values Dissonance, their Totally Radical slang that made "totally radical" sound fresh and cool, and Rooney's ridiculous mugging.note  These were some of the most popular films from the most popular studio of the most popular period of film history, when more people regularly went to the movies than at any time before or since. Today, they're forgotten or derided even by many Golden Age enthusiasts. Only seven of the 16 films were ever made available on VHS, and until 2012 only four were on DVD — one of them because it fell into the Public Domain due to MGM forgetting to renew its copyright, and the other three because they're the only three films of the series to co-star Judy Garland in a recurring role. Over 2012-13, Warner Home Video brought out all 16 films in two box sets via its Warner Archive DVD-R on demand service, but it's telling that they didn't do a mass-market release.
  • The Austin Powers movies have fallen into this. Insanely popular during the turn of the millennium, they were easily some of the most watched, quoted, and referenced movies of the time. However, since the release of the third movie, they've fallen out of favor hard. Thanks to the endless repetition of the movie's funniest lines, they stopped being funny fast. Add to that other factors, such as Seinfeld Is Unfunny (the movies took Overly Long Gag, beat it to death, then resurrected it to beat it some more, with diminishing returns), Mike Myers taking several hits to his reputation, and later spy movies (which these were an Affectionate Parody of) such as the Bourne saga and the Daniel Craig era Bond taking a more grounded and realistic approach that makes the exaggerated campiness simply not work. Occasionally, one of the movies will show up on cable (most often Goldmember, which is more likely to capitalize on Beyonce's popularity than anything), but that's about it.
  • Despite being the highest grossing film of all timenote  and being groundbreaking in terms of special effects, Avatar has fallen into this trope big time. After the film became hugely successful at the box office and seemingly became the next big Sci-Fi epic, it quickly suffered from Hype Backlash and many people criticized its plot and message for being unoriginal as it has been done before. While there are three sequels planned, they are currently in Development Hell and the film has failed to leave any lasting impact on pop culture. Bring up the fact that it was nominated for Best Picture and more often then not you'll have people respond "Huh?" This Tumblr post sums it up pretty accurately. It's been theorized that the fall of Avatar can be contributed to its tie with 3D movie technology. Avatar was designed with 3D in mind and took advantage of it at every opportunity, becoming a visual set piece showing what could be done with the new technology. However, with the subsequent decline in 3D movies, as well as an overall lack of 3D home video players, the film's visuals, easily its strongest aspect, just don't stand out as well as they did in the theater.
  • The Billy Jack films. Billy, played by Tom Laughlin (who also directed all of the films and co-wrote all but the first), was a half-Native American Vietnam veteran who stood up to bikers, rednecks, corrupt authorities, etc. with martial arts moves when talking them down from bullying Native Americans, hippies, and youth in general didn't work. Billy Jack first appeared in the 1967 American International Pictures B-movie The Born Losers, but it was 1971's Billy Jack that became a massive mainstream hit via Laughlin's own marketing efforts. 1974's three-hour-long The Trial of Billy Jack was another hit, so much so that Laughlin organized an essay contest in which fans wrote rebuttals to the terrible reviews it got from critics!

    But things fell apart fast. Laughlin tackled similar themes in a period Western setting with The Master Gunfighter in 1975, but it bombed, and a return to the series that made his name with 1977's Billy Jack Goes to Washington (yes, a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) didn't even make it to theaters. Since they were never critical favorites and quickly became unintentional period pieces for The '70s, thanks largely to their heavy-handed socio-political commentary, they are mostly forgotten now. From The '80s until his death in 2013, Laughlin (when not trying his hand at actual politics) tried to bring back the character in a new movie, with no success.
  • John Huston's The Bible was the highest grossest film for 1966. Years on, it doesn't seem to be one of those films you see at Christmas or Easter now a days like you do for Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments.
  • The Big Chill is part of a species of serious and otherwise very boring movies that managed to get some attention (the soundtrack triggered a burst of popularity for Motown classics, made Meg Tilly arguably the sexiest woman on screen, and all-in-all, made a huge splash with the slightly aging '60s crowd) but quickly faded. Not too many years after it came out, it was spoofed on Saturday Night Live (or a similar program) as "the movie where a bunch of yuppies sit around talking about themselves" ...The Big Deal. Doesn't help that some say it was "inspired" by John Sayles' Return Of The Secaucus Seven (although Lawrence Kasdan denies it).
  • The Birth of a Nation was the first Epic Movie, the film that proved cinema to be a viable entertainment medium rather than a passing fad, and the pioneer of countless filmmaking techniques. Modern-day film scholars and critics are still more than willing to acknowledge this part of its legacy. However, to say that the film's writing and story has not aged well... well, there's a reason why it's only watched today by film students (for the technical/historical aspects) and by people studying the history of racism. A big, white-hooded, cross-burning reason.
  • The 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a huge success that summer, bringing Tim Burton and Johnny Depp together for the first time since 1999 and becoming their highest-grossing collaboration up to that point. It was warmly received by critics and set the stage for the enormously successful Alice in Wonderland five years later. However...back in 1971, a far less successful musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl book was released, titled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. While this would normally not be an issue for a re-adaptation of a book, by the time Charlie came out, Willy Wonka had become a near-universally beloved family movie; with now-iconic musical numbers and a classic performance from Gene Wilder, this version eclipsed the source novel in the public consciousness and became the source of numerous pop culture spoofs. Thus, there were a lot of viewers that regarded the 2005 film as an insult to the original rather than a faithful adaptation of Dahl's book. In Willy Wonka's colossal shadow, the newer film quickly faded into relative obscurity, with chief box office rival Wedding Crashers ultimately holding up much better over time (it edged out Charlie's final gross in North America), inspiring music videos a decade after the fact. Today, while Willy Wonka is still the timeless classic it has been for over 25 years, Charlie is hardly ever acknowledged in pop culture unless it is to be unfavorably compared to its 1971 counterpart (a possible exception being the fact that it was the Star-Making Role of AnnaSophia Robb, whose more sympathetic take on Violet is probably more popular that the literary or '71 versions; the 2005 Mike also generally has a bigger fanbase than the '71 one). The film is today seen as the beginning of Burton's Dork Age, Depp's Wonka is regarded as one of his all-time worst performances, and "Wonka's Welcome Song" has become one of the most hated ear-worms in film history. The consensus seems to be that aside from the modern-day visual effects and its effort to be Truer to the Text there's nothing that Charlie does better than Willy Wonka, and the latter strength is undercut by an Adaptation Expansion Backstory for Mr. Wonka that results in a severe Adaptation Personality Change, a Not His Sled ending, and a narrative that didn't flow as well with the focus being taken off Charlie.
  • While The Crying Game was a successful movie at the time, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1992, the "sensation" at the time was really about the Dil plot twist. There was also a big spoiler controversy because Gene Siskel revealed the twist on Siskel & Ebert. Over the years, the plot twist in The Crying Game has been referenced a number of times (sometimes as an example of a plot twist that everyone knows), but rarely anything else about the film. It could be suspected that far more people know that there's a transgender character in The Crying Game than know that most of the other major characters are members of the IRA. This is despite the fact that the latter is essential to the plot and is established within the first few minutes of the movie. The Crying Game has probably become a victim of its twist being so well known (infamously parodied on The Critic), as there are likely plenty of people who never bothered to watch it because they figure they already know everything important about it. But there are actually plenty of other twists in the plot, and the fact that Dil is transgender doesn't even have much to do with the IRA storyline.
  • Erin Brockovich is a biopic about the environmental activist, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Julia Roberts in the title role. The former got a double nomination for Best Director along with Traffic and the latter became one of few people to sweep all the major awards ceremonies with a single performance. Nowadays, it's only remembered for a) being the inferior of Soderbergh's two 2000 films (the fact that Traffic is widely considered to be Soderbergh's best film of all-time and won him the directing Oscar doesn't help); b) Julia Roberts' Best Actress victory robbing Ellen Burstyn of an Oscar for Requiem for a Dream; c) the fact that Roberts got her only Oscar from this movie instead of Pretty Woman; d) stealing a Best Picture nomination from Requiem and Almost Famous; and e) being a mediocre, overly political, and possibly inaccurate film.
  • When it was first released in 2004, Garden State was hyped as the future of independent film and Zach Braff was thought to be a breakout star in the making. Cut to the present day, where its constant imitations, mockery of what was perceived as the film's quirky hipster tendencies (most notably the infamous "The Shins will change your life" scene), and the decline of Braff's careernote  have basically turned the film into a joke. In fact, one could say that, in the long run, this film and its copycats did more harm than good for independent film, causing the term "indie" to be associated with insufferable hipster stereotypes for years.
  • As discussed in this article, The Godfather Part III received mostly positive reviews when initially released, with some critics like Gene Siskel and Alexander Walker ranking it among 1990's best. It also was a respectable box office success and earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Backlash began soon afterwards, triggered by multiple sources: criticism of Sofia Coppola's performance, press coverage of its Troubled Production,note  author Mario Puzo distancing himself from the movie, director Francis Ford Coppola openly commenting that he made the film to clear his debts, and a scathing Saturday Night Live parody. Being shutout at the Oscars intensified the criticism. The final nail in the coffin was, ironically enough, another mafia movie released the same year quickly capturing the same reputation as the first two Godfather films. Within a decade Part III became a punch-line, frequently mocked throughout the '90s as a textbook bad sequel or being on the bad end of Dueling Movies. While not as universally reviled today, it remains a Contested Sequel even among Godfather fans.
  • While not as huge of a success as Eddie Murphy's previous movie, Beverly Hills Cop, The Golden Child was none-the-less still a huge box office success, becoming the eighth highest grossing film of 1986. The Golden Child is now considered to be the worst movie of Eddie Murphy's 1980s peak (not counting 1984's Best Defense, in which he was credited as a "Strategic Guest Star") with a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes to boot. It has also since been overshadowed in recognition and popularity by John Carpenter's similarly themed Big Trouble in Little China (which was also released in 1986).
  • When it was released, The Hangover was a huge success, particularly on the DVD market. You couldn't go anywhere without the movie being quoted at least once, and after its release there have been many movies released that have tried to copy The Hangover's formula (Bridesmaids, 21 & Over). However, the sequel was released with mixed results. Whilst a box office hit, it was heavily criticized for being a retread of the first film except it was set in Bangkok instead of Las Vegas, and also became controversial for an infamous joke involving a transgender prostitute. The third film was a Franchise Killer that, while still a hit at the box office, didn't come close to its predecessors' success and received an even worse critical reception.
  • Harry And Tonto won Art Carney an Oscar for Best Actor in 1975. Unfortunately, when you are primarily known for playing a dimwitted sewer worker on a sitcom and are up against classic performances from Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II and Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, the backlash against it was inevitable.
  • High School Musical was very popular with the intended target audience between 2006-2009 and broke records as the most watched made-for-TV movies of all time. However, it has since fallen into obscurity with the target audience now grown up and a reminder of what went wrong with Disney in that era. The only actors involved that had any success afterwards were Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, and even then they had to be very careful to distance themselves from the movie.
  • The Swedish pair of films I Am Curious (Blue) and I Am Curious (Yellow) were scandalous when first released in the late '60s because of the nudity (including a penis!) and simulated sex in a relatively mainstream film. They were actually banned in Boston, and were early recipients of the "X" rating. How many people know of or recall I Am Curious today, though? The only time they seemed to be mentioned is among the films released on DVD by The Criterion Collection.
  • Joe became a surprise box office smash in 1970, earning $20,000,000 on a $106,000 budget. Its violent dramatization of the Generation Gap struck a chord with the era's polarized audiences, even inspiring a disturbing Misaimed Fandom who cheered when the protagonists started murdering hippies, and influenced vigilante films like Death Wish and Taxi Driver. Today its broad, Anvilicious message plays as the epitome of the Unintentional Period Piece, and it's remembered, if at all, as a Star-Making Role for Peter Boyle and Susan Sarandon.
  • The Keystone Cops: In the 1910s a very popular slapstick comedy franchise, but they soon got overshadowed by the much better paced comedies of Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel & Hardy that followed and which, contrary to the Keystones, still are beloved today. For many decades the Keystone Cops were forgotten. They occasionally were shown on TV later in re-runs, where old people nostalgic for the time period liked them, but since these people have passed away nowadays the Keystone Cops are probably one of the best examples of this trope. Even by slapstick comedy standards these monotone movies haven't aged well.
  • Similarly, while Last Tango in Paris was extremely controversial for its sexual content, it was a huge box office success and received almost universal acclaim for its performances, photography and character drama. Today it's mostly remembered for its graphic sex scenes, especially one involving Marlon Brando and a stick of butter.
  • The 1952 comedy The Moon Is Blue was extremely scandalous at the time, its subject matter forcing United Artists to release it without the approval of The Hays Code (one of the first major challenges to it after the Miracle Decision). The Catholic Legion of Decency gave it a "Condemned" rating, it was banned in Kansas, Ohio, and Maryland (though the Supreme Court overturned those bans), and one theater in a small Midwestern town only agreed to show it in sex-segregated screenings. These days, however, most people would know of it from the TV series M*A*S*H using it as a humorous point in the episode "The Moon is Not Blue" (first broadcast in 1982), if they know of it at all. Otherwise, aside from that detail, it's become a footnote in the history of film and censorship.
  • Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers was, when first released in 1994, regarded as the film that was going to change the way movies were made. It was legitimately shocking, and it had an edgy style to go with it. Whatever splash that it made, however, was overshadowed by Pulp Fiction, which was released a couple of months later and actually did have that impact. It didn't help that Quentin Tarantino, who wrote both films but directed only the latter, more or less disowns the former. What really killed it in the public eye, however, was the fact that it allegedly inspired a substantial number of copycat crimes (most infamously the Columbine massacre), making the entire film a very uncomfortable watch as a result. Today, it's a film that fiercely divides just about everybody who sees it, the prevailing opinion being that it's either a brilliant satire of media sensationalism that chillingly predicted the emergence of the culture surrounding spree killers, or a repugnant celebration of its Villain Protagonists that helped to spur on that culture, and it's best known for the controversy that surrounded it above anything else.
  • The Piano was a big hit back in 1993 and got huge acclaim and won three Oscars. Today, though the movie is only remembered because Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11. In fact, people only remember the award, not the performance that won it. While Paquin's performance is still viewed as very strong for a 9-year old, it hasn't aged as well as, say, Natalie Portman's part in Léon: The Professional (which did not get the same Oscar recognition) and people nowadays tend to associated Paquin more with the X-Men movies and True Blood. Besides Paquin, however, almost everything about the film has been virtually forgotten, and it is today remembered as another banal Oscar Bait drama. Today, few people remember who the actual lead actors were (Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, and Sam Neill) let alone that Hunter also won the Oscar for Lead Actress as well.
  • Paper Moon is pretty much an identical case. People only remember the record set by Tatum O'Neal (youngest person to win an Oscar) rather than the movie itself. And since O'Neal did not maintain her popularity for nearly as long as Paquin, the movie faded from public consciousness much faster. It's saying something when people remember Paquin being the second youngest person to win an Oscar more than O'Neal holding the actual record.
  • Places in the Heart is a highly acclaimed drama about the Great Depression and racial relationships. What's it remembered for today? Sally Field's acceptance speech for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, frequently misquoted as "You like me! You really like me!"
  • The original Police Academy became an unexpected smash hit in 1984, grossing $146 million on a meager $4 million budget and rejuvenating Steve Guttenberg's career. However, while the original film is still enjoyable on its own merits, the sequels... not so much. Despite having 7 films in the series, each sequel simply rehashed the same jokes and basic premise of the original without much innovation. With each sequel decreasing in both quality and originality, the franchise lost much of its popularity and turned into a punchline for jokes about Sequelitis. The absolute nadir was the seventh film, Mission to Moscow, which earned a measly $126,000 and effectively killed the franchise. Whereas other '80s hits like Ghostbusters and Transformers are still fondly remembered, Police Academy will likely be seen as a Cult Classic at best, with only the first film having any fans.
  • Prizzi's Honor was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and won for Best Supporting Actress. These days, it has a mediocre 6.8 rating on IMDb and nobody watches it. It is likely one of those situations where everyone involved with the film was very well-connected in Hollywood, and it consequently got rated more highly than it really deserved. Perhaps, it also seems too dated now, like a lot of films of that era. It arguably also has been overshadowed by Goodfellas, which seemed to over take it as the "definitive mob film" of that particular time period.
  • 2008's The Reader was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Actress in a Lead Role for Kate Winslet. While most commentators agree that this was a good win, what is the film most remembered for today? The fact that, despite generally middling reviews apart from Winslet's performance, it was nominated for Best Picture over The Dark Knight and WALL•E, which have a 94% and a 98% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes to The Reader's 61%. Many Oscar-watchers felt that this nomination was an extremely glaring example of the Academy's biases as to what makes a "good" movie, as it has many plot elements stereotypically associated with Oscar Bait films — a World War II setting, forbidden love, an Inspirationally Disadvantaged character, and a tragic ending — while the better-received films were firmly in the Sci Fi Ghetto. When the film is remembered, it's usually for the backlash against its nomination, which prompted the increasing of the size of the Best Picture nominee pool to ten.
    • Doesn't help before, but Kate Winslet starred on an episode of Extras spoofing Oscar Bait type movies where Ricky Gervais gave advice to Kate on winning an Oscar.
  • Reality Bites has fallen victim to changed societal norms. Upon release in early 1994, the movie was lauded as a defining showcase of twentysomething Gen-X angst, starring a group of disenfranchised young adults rebelling against their parents' yuppie conformity. Unfortunately, as with American Beauty, many of the once-touchy subjects the film addressed (homophobia, etc.) have become old hat. More importantly, as The Nostalgia Chick pointed out in her scathing critique of the film, the whole concept of rebelling against suburban, middle-class normality seems downright silly after 9/11, the rise of the internet, and the Great Recession made that sort of teen angst look quaint; the film was very much a product of a time that, by and large, had no "real" problems in hindsight (at least compared to the '00s and the '10s).
  • Reds was released on December 4, 1981 to critical acclaim. Despite its political subject matter and limited promotion (mostly by Warren Beatty himself), the film became the tenth highest grossing picture of 1981, taking in $50,000,000 in the United States. Beatty won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film. Reds was also nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Chariots of Fire. Beatty and Diane Keaton were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress, but lost to Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond. In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten" – the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres – after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Reds was acknowledged as the ninth best film in the epic genre. At the same time however, Reds was serious epic about a subject that has mostly fallen out of the view. After the dissolution of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe and our economic relationships with Vietnam and China, the United States has more or less, switched its fascination to the Muslim world. The bottom-line is that subject matter makes it difficult for new audiences to appreciate since they don't know the politics and historical events involved as well as we did when it came out. Also, 3 hour epics with more talk than action have fallen out of favor. Modern audiences don't have the attention span to sit through a movie like this.
  • The original Scary Movie, despite receiving mixed reviews when first released, was an enormous hit. It was a very specific kind of parody as it didn't spoof horror movies as a genre, but rather, the horror movies of the past few years, like Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch Project, and The Sixth Sense. Basically, instead of waiting to see of these particular movies could withstand the passage of time and, therefore, see which ones were actually worth parodying, the Scary Movie films took the zeitgeist route, mocking whatever was popular at the time. In hindsight, this badly dated the films. Scary Movie was also a bit more obvious with its humor than previous parody movies (like Airplane! and Spaceballs), especially with the sequels by David Zucker. Nonetheless, the franchise was enormously popular, reaching its commercial peak with the third and fourth films when the Wayans family departed from the series and David Zucker became the main creative force, which saw the humor get Lighter and Softer (Zucker's film's were rated PG-13 versus the Wayans' two R-rated films) and broader (focusing less on horror movies as opposed to pop culture).

    The success of the Scary Movie films eventually spawned a wave of knockoffs, many of them created by the duo of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, two of the writers on the original Scary Movie (which the ads for their films always pointed out). These films were, by and large, hastily cranked out with little care for quality, and the reputation of spoof movies went into the toilet as a result. In hindsight, the movie that just about everybody thought would save the spoof genre ironically destroyed it in the long run. Even the Scary Movie franchise itself went out on a whimper with the fifth movie, which got the worst reviews and box office returns in the series.
  • Spice World was Critic-Proof incarnate when it first came out. Critics hated the Spice Girls cash-in, but they were at the height of their immense late 90's popularity at the time of its release, so their fanbase was going to eat up the film regardless and it grossed triple its budget. However, with their fanbase at the time outgrowing them combined with the band themselves becoming Deader Than Disco (see the Music page), those looking back at the film saw the film for what it was, a Narm filled, increasingly bizarre Random Events Plot that ripped off A Hard Day's Night and showcasing the band themselves with very little personality. Consequently, Spice World followed the band into this trope and the film is pretty much Snark Bait now.
  • St. Elmo's Fire got a big Brat Pack boost at the time (its theme song by John Parr, which went number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, in no doubt helped) but is not grouped with The Breakfast Club et al as an '80s classic, or even as a good watch.
  • When it was first released in 1998, Star Trek: Insurrection, the ninth Star Trek film, had pretty positive reviews, with some reviewers even saying that it broke the Star Trek Movie Curse (even-numbered movies good, odd-numbered bad). But as time passed, with more viewers agreeing with the villains, and the whole Trek franchise gradually grinding to a standstill by the mid-2000s, it's now regarded as one of the weakest Trek films. Linkara and The Nostalgia Critic went on to review it and agreed it was their least favorite Trek film (albeit for different reasons - Linkara found its ethics and Ludd Was Right moral nonsensical and a slap to the face to the themes of Star Trek, while Doug just found it painfully dull) cementing this.
  • Superman Returns was a critical darling when it was first released, with many hailing it as a return to the form of the original two Superman films after the siliness of the third and fourth. However, fan reaction was rather negative, as the film was largely a retread of the original Superman: The Movie plotwise, and was constructed with the trappings of the Pre Crisis Superman rather than the modern Superman which many comic fans had already gotten accustomed to. Nowadays, critics are no longer kind to the movie, agreeing with the fan sentiment that the film was too archaic and failed to modernize Superman.
  • Three Men and a Baby was one of the highest-grossing films of 1987. Today, though, the film is all but forgotten and only brought up as an extremely cheesy film. Look Who's Talking, another hit film about a baby, has also faded into almost complete obscurity, with it only being brought up as the nadir of John Travolta's Dork Age. The extremely negative reception sequels and a failed sitcom adaptation did not help.
  • Despite mixed reviews (with about a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), Turner & Hooch was still a reasonably huge success, becoming the 16th highest grossing film of 1989. Now if anything, it's remembered for traumatizing dog lovers everywhere by having the dog killed off at the end and being little more than a punchline (no pun intended). It's also in hindsight, considered one of the big misfires (especially post-Big and pre-A League of Their Own) in Tom Hanks' career along with The Bonfire of the Vanities and Joe Versus the Volcano.
  • When initially released in 1998, Wag The Dog seemed to take a swipe at then President Bill Clinton. The situation unfortunately seemed much more sinister during the George W. Bush years. Remember how the 'terror alerts' always seemed to be heightened when Bush was doing poorly in the polls? Not to mention his administration's feebly linking Iraq to Al Qaeda? The point is that Wag The Dog is, at the end of the day, satire, but the best satire has a kernel of truth.
    • Like Wag The Dog, The China Syndrome had the mixed blessing of coming out at around the same time as comparable real-life events, with the result being that presidential distraction-politics became known as "wagging the dog" and nuclear mishaps (well, until Chernobyl) became know as "China syndromes". But the films themselves were largely forgotten.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand was the highest grossing film in the X Men series until Days of Future Past, and received mostly positive reviews, still having a 58% on Rotten Tomatoes. Today, however, it is considered the second worst of the X-Men film series, second only to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Some reasons include killing off several important characters, and not utilizing many characters. Eventually, it was retconned out of existence via time travel during Days of Future Past.

    Specific Filmmakers And Stars 
  • Fatty Arbuckle was a pioneering silent film comedian and one of Hollywood's first "movie stars", with studio contracts that were unprecedented at the time. His films had a major hand in shaping the development of comedy as a cinematic genre. However, all of that came crashing down in 1921 in the midst of a highly sensationalized murder case that saw Arbuckle accused of raping and murdering a young actress at a party. While he was acquitted, and most historians believe that he didn't do it, he was bankrupted by the legal fees and spent the 1920s toiling in obscurity under a pseudonym, effectively blacklisted from Hollywood and with most of the public convinced that he was a killer. He made an attempted comeback in the early '30s, only to die suddenlyat a party celebrating his new contract, no less — in 1933. When he is remembered today, it's usually for the scandal, with most of his work having faded into obscurity outside of historical interest in the early years of film comedy.
  • During the 1980s and early '90s, Kim Basinger was not only one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood but also one of its biggest sex symbols (serving as Hollywood's epitome of "the blonde bombshell"). Basinger with personality traits of shyness and sensitivity along with incredible physical beauty and sensuality, was arguably the closest '80s equivalent to Marilyn Monroe. After working as a fashion model and gradually paying her dues in films like the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Fool for Love, and Blind Date, Basigner officially reached the A-list as Vicki Vale in Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman. Shortly after Batman however, a series of commercial duds and her ego problems badly damaged her career. Around the same time that Batman was out, Basinger spent $20 million to create a film studio and festival in Braselton, Georgia which was a commercial failure. In 1990s, Basinger starred in The Marrying Man alongside Alec Baldwin, Final Analysis, and the Ralph Bakshi's Cool World. All of them were commercial and critical failures tainted by Basinger's clashes with the production teams. While working on The Marrying Man in particular, Basinger demanded that the director of photography be replaced and stalled production with having her makeup completely removed and re-applied between takes. Her collaboration on Cool World was particularly disastrous as she censored the movie to show for sick hospital children which was ''not'' what Bakshi intended), which in turn drove Bakshi away from filmmaking.

    However, the biggest story of 1993 for Kim Basinger was Boxing Helena, a movie that she backed out of at the last minute. To make a long story short, just before filming began, Basinger got cold feet about playing a woman who is amputated and held hostage by a surgeon. Not surprisingly, the makers of Boxing Helena sued and Basinger was forced to pay a settlement of $3.8 million dollars. But the damage was done; combined with her costly legal battles and failed Braselton buyout, Basinger filed for bankruptcy. In 1994, Basinger co-starred with her then-husband Alec Baldwin in the remake of the 1972 crime drama film The Getaway. Despite some buzz if not controversy over some steamy sex scenes, it was not enough to make The Getaway a hit. Ultimately the aforementioned lawsuits, bankruptcy and box office flops, cause Basinger to retreat from Hollywood for a few years.

    Three years later, Basinger was primed for a comeback in the form of Curtis Hanson’s 1997 film noir, L.A. Confidential. Basinger's performance as glamorous, sexy femme fatale earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, putting her back on Hollywood's A-list. Despite the overwhelming success of LA Confidential, Basinger didn’t jump right back into starring roles until I Dreamed Of Africa and Bless the Child in 2000. Both received bad reviews and underwhelmed at the box office, killing the momentum of her Oscar win. Shortly after that one-two punch, Basinger and Alec Baldwin entered a tumultuous divorce proceeding and custody battle over their daughter, further overshadowing her professional work. Since then, her career has been on a slow decline with Basinger only starring in low-budget movies and becoming a recluse. Her most high-profile role since was in 8 Mile with Eminem, where she played his character's mother. Once she won her Oscar, it seemed as if Hollywood stopped paying her much attention even when she appears in high profile movies. To put things in proper perspective, Basinger appeared in alongside Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Hart in 2013's Grudge Match yet was nowhere to be found in the movie's marketing. Nowadays, Basinger is more known for her failed marriage to Alec Baldwin, uncooperative ego, and lack of financial success than her actual acting abilities. Even most of Kim Basinger's filmography, aside from films like Batman, LA Confidential, and 8 Mile, are only remembered largely as vehicles in launching the careers of such stars as Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Chris Evans.
  • Michael Cimino was one of the most promising directors of the New Hollywood era. He started as an advertisement director, then cut his teeth writing the screenplays for the sci-fi classic Silent Running and the Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force, the latter of which impressed Clint Eastwood enough to let Cimino direct Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. From there, Cimino went on to the Vietnam War epic The Deer Hunter, which won both Best Picture and Best Director. While the film did go behind schedule and overbudget, it was generally agreed that the film justified those overruns, as the end product more than delivered.

    Due to this, the executives at United Artists gave him an Auteur License to create his next film, a Western epic based on the Johnson County War, Heaven's Gate. Cimino then proceeded to go way over budget and behind schedule, with his antics being documented in an entire book. He ordered both sides of a set torn down when he thought they didn't look right (despite a crew member telling him that it would be cheaper and easier to just tear down one side), spent 52 takes on a single whip-cracking scene, waited around until a cloud he really liked moved into shot, and more. In the end, the film cost United Artists $42 million (a whopper of a budget in those days), only made back under $3.5 million, and was savaged by critics (with Vincent Canby calling it a "forced four-hour tour of one's own living room"). United Artists' parent company, Transamerica, saw little damage from the failure of Heaven's Gate, but it was pretty much responsible for them selling the studio to MGM, essentially killing it.

    Needless to say, Cimino went from being seen as a Second Coming to an absolute laughingstock, and never recovered. His next four films, Year Of The Dragon, The Sicilian, Desperate Hours, and Sunchaser, all failed with both critics and audiences. He was also repeatedly denied several projects (he was once the director of Footloose before being kicked off due to him once again demanding a higher budget), and ultimately retreated to France, where he is given a warmer reception. And despite all the criticism, Cimino still refuses to acknowledge that he may have made a mistake with his 1980 Box Office Bomb (according to him, "would Picasso apologize?"). Considering Cimino's admiration of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, which he planned to adapt after Heaven's Gate, his uncompromising attitude isn't surprising.

    Nowadays, Cimino is simply remembered as a one-hit wonder at best, and at worst an overrated hack who destroyed the auteur period in American cinema. The backlash against him was so severe that it rubbed off on The Deer Hunter's reputation as well, though that eventually subsided. While Heaven's Gate has seen its reputation restored somewhat in recent years, it's highly unlikely that Cimino will ever make another film, much less another Oscar winner.
  • Diablo Cody was once hailed as one of Hollywood's hot, fresh new creative voices, with her script for Juno winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2007. Then her follow-up, the 2009 horror-comedy Jennifer's Body, bombed, and many began to dismiss Cody as a one-trick pony overly reliant on Totally Radical dialogue. Now, even Juno has gone from critically acclaimed to polarizing among critics and film geeks, largely due to Cody's writing — the very thing that it was once praised for.
  • Mel Gibson was an A-list superstar and a beloved heartthrob in the '90s. While he'd always been known to have some fairly controversial views, he kept them under wraps well enough that audiences were able to ignore them and turn out for his movies in droves. His career peaked in 2004 with The Passion of the Christ, a retelling of Jesus' crucifixion which, despite controversy (especially over its portrayal of the Jews), was one of the most successful independent films of all time, financed largely through Gibson's own efforts. Not long after The Passion, however, things changed virtually overnight thanks to the revelation of his racism, anti-Semitism, and Jerkass treatment of his girlfriend across a number of widely publicized incidents, which only made the controversy over The Passion that much more notable.

    Nowadays, he's a despised joke punchline and virtually persona non grata, to the point where even those who think he's a good actor will stop well short of defending his views and behavior. Even his older films that were popular in their day, such as the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series, have notably fallen from the pop culture landscape even as other '80s franchises were rediscovered and put through the Nostalgia Filter. As this article by Bob Chipman noted, the ads for Mad Max: Fury Road went out of their way to downplay any association with Gibson (who had played the title character in the original films), lest he serve as box-office poison merely through association with the series. As for Gibson himself, it's been noted that post-meltdown he's shown a willingness to take on villain roles, something he had never done before, perhaps implying he's embraced the public perception of himself.
  • Of all the Best Supporting Actor winners at the Oscars, few fell harder than Cuba Gooding Jr. After his memorable turn as Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire, Gooding's career output slid down into dreck such as Daddy Day Camp to the point that he's now doing Direct-to-Video movies and TV miniseries, such as playing O.J. Simpson in American Crime Story. Gooding for his part blames his fall on racism, claiming that he only started getting saddled with second-rate roles after Will Smith, who was already famous as a kid-friendly rapper before he began acting, was deemed a "safer" black leading man to market to white people.
  • Kate Hudson, the daughter of the legendary Goldie Hawn, became one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood after Almost Famous got her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nomination. She used this to launch her career as an A-List superstar, appearing mostly in Rom-Coms such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and You, Me and Dupree, while occasionally veering off to other genres such as horror with The Skeleton Key and musicals with 9. Unfortunately, nearly all of them got trashed by critics; although Nine got some Oscar love none of it was directed at Hudson. Nowadays, Hudson is remembered as either a One-Hit Wonder for Almost Famous or the embodiment of bad romantic comedies of the 2000s.
  • Lindsay Lohan had a decent start to her film career with the Disney remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday (2003), and seemed poised to transition well to young adult stardom with well-received turns in Mean Girls and A Prairie Home Companion. She even managed to carve out a decent career for herself in music with her album Speak, which went platinum. Immediately afterwards however, her reputation fell hard and fast thanks to drug addiction (which has undeniably done quite the number on her looks) and numerous troublesome brushes with the law (including several DUI arrests and shoplifting charges; the blatant disrespect she showed to a judge only hurt matters), as well as a publicized letter that came out during the making of Georgia Rule in which the studio head called her out on frequently showing up late to the set and false claims of illness due to heavily partying the night before. Her subsequent performances in movies like Bobby and Chapter 27 were written off as decent, but not really memorable, and reports of her unprofessional behavior and unreliability made studios and directors wary of casting her in anything and she was deemed "uninsurable". After seeming to hit rock bottom with the universally panned I Know Who Killed Me, Lohan went through rehab and publicly stated that she let success go to her head and she would try to maintain a better public image from then on. She tried to build her career back up by dabbling in TV, first with a recurring role on Ugly Betty but that fell through when reports surfaced claiming that she acted like such a diva on the set to the point where the storyline was heavily rewritten just to get rid of her (though there are conflicting reports that said she left the show due to Creative Differences over the way her character was handled). She then starred in the ABC Family channel TV movie Labor Pains, which was another flop to be added to the list. She had a small role in Machete (where critics and audiences noted her character was a milder version of herself), and spent the better part of the late '00s and early '10s in and out of rehab and prison (although, as noted by casual observers and those in Hollywood, she's yet to really clean up her act). In 2012, she tried once again to get her career on track, first by appearing on Saturday Night Live. Ratings for the episode were good, but critics gave mixed-to-negative reviews, noting that she didn't play a big role in the sketches. Her attempted comeback in the role of Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime channel TV movie Liz and Dick that same year was also poorly received, with disappointing ratings (despite a huge ad campaign and a lot of pre-release buzz) and critics utterly trashing the film, with Lohan's performance in particular being singled out as one of the worst elements. She was then cast in the low budget "erotic thriller" The Canyons alongside porn actor James Deen in 2013, which was similarly fraught with behind-the-scenes trouble courtesy of her; The Canyons itself was met with mixed reviews and although Lohan's performance was praised for being one of the better elements of the movie, it wasn't saying much and she still got a Golden Raspberry nomination (losing out to Tyler Perry for his role as Madea in A Madea Christmas). Probably the biggest nail in the coffin however was when her docu-series on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Lindsay, which followed her as she tried to get her life and career back on track, suffered through mediocre ratings and was not renewed

    She did catch somewhat of a break when she was cast in David Mamet's play Speed The Plow and her performance received largely positive reviews. Nowadays she's no longer tabloid fodder, as she's currently living overseas in a stable relationship and generally goes out of her way to avoid the media. Whether she will ever make a comeback remains to be seen however.
  • While not quite as big as Jim Carrey or Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler had a massive cult following stemming from his work on Saturday Night Live and, later, his own movies during the '90s and early-mid '00s. The majority of his earlier movies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy) were regularly quoted by a whole generation of teens and college kids, and despite never being accepted by critics, many people hailed him as one of the funniest comedians of that era. While he had a few bombs (Eight Crazy Nights, Little Nicky), they did nothing to slow his momentum.

    However, after a long string of films in the late '00s and early '10s that met increasingly scathing receptions and, eventually, diminishing returns at the box office, Sandler's entire career post-SNL came to receive massive Hype Backlash, to the point where some began to rank him in the same category as Seltzer and Friedberg or Pauly Shore. The double whammy of Jack and Jill and That's My Boy seems to have been the point of no return for him. Jack and Jill made money but met a scathing critical reception, even for an Adam Sandler film, earning a record ten Golden Raspberry Awards. That's My Boy was an outright flop, his first in years, and destroyed his already shaky reputation. While his movies still tend to make money, they are now struggling to break even domestically and their box office power has declined significantly from his earlier years, to the point that Sandler signed an exclusive four-picture deal with Netflix. Today, with the exception of his small number of more dramatic turns (like Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, and Funny People) that even critics tend to like, many people are afraid to admit they'd ever liked his movies. Even being a fan of his '90s films is now often a point of shame; only Madison and Gilmore still get a pass these days, at least partly thanks to the Nostalgia Filter. Nowadays Sandler premieres his films exclusively on his Netflix, where they are much more likely to make money then in theaters.
  • As bad as Sandler's reputation has fallen, it's nothing compared to what happened to his long time collaborator Rob Schneider. Like Sandler, Schneider was a popular SNL personality. While his post-SNL career didn't quite take off to the extent that Sandler's did, he still had a respectable career, starring in hits like Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo, The Hot Chick, and The Animal. He even had a supporting role on a short-lived American adaptation of the classic British sitcom Men Behaving Badly. Unfortunately, Schneider's tendency of selecting sitcoms with outlandish plots made him a popular target of mockery, most famously in the South Park episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe" (though note that the episode's title is not referring to him). His career as a leading man was destroyed with the Deuce Bigalow sequel European Gigolo, which won him a Worst Actor Razzie. By that point, Schneider was relegated to voice acting in Direct-to-Video movies and making small cameos in Sandler's more successful films, and with the latter's reputation starting to go down the drain, it did no favors for him. In 2015, possibilities of a comeback started to appear when his daughter Elle King launched a music career, scoring a #1 Alternative radio hit and Top 10 pop single with "Ex's and Oh's", but then Norm of the North came out to universally negative reviews, holding a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (although later "improving" to a 7%), and failed spectacularly at the box office, and his daughter's music career failed to gain any momentum after "Ex's and Oh's", Today, Schneider has become a punch-line, being best remembered as the butt of a memorable South Park joke rather than for his Hollywood career.
  • Larry Semon. One of the most popular and highest paid comedians of The Silent Age of Hollywood (at one point second only to Charlie Chaplin), he quickly fell out of favor with audiences and is almost completely forgotten today, even by cinema buffs. Not only did he die before the end of the silent era, but most of his films were short subjects, a genre that fared poorly as feature films took over during The Golden Age. Furthermore, while the average Semon film had very high production values and lots of spectacle, they were often Strictly Formula affairs that were thin on plot and characters, and producers were often frustrated by his extravagance (a two-reel Semon short could cost as much as a five-reel feature). If he's remembered at all, it's for his In-Name-Only silent adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or his work with Laurel and Hardy, both of whom acted in supporting roles in his films before hitting it big as a comedy duo.
  • Mack Sennett as well. He directed and/or starred in 360 silent films (over 1,000 counting movies he merely produced), ranging from shorts to features, comedies and dramas, whether through Biograph or his own Keystone Studios. He also gave an early to boost to comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd and Bing Crosby. Yet Sennett himself faded into obscurity; he continued producing films into the mid-'30s but struggled to adapt to the talkie era, and with a few exceptions his works became badly dated.
  • In a similar fashion as Semon and Sennett, sisters Norma and Constance Talmadge were among the biggest stars of the 1910s and 1920s; Norma, in particular, was considered a serious rival to Mary Pickford, among other big-name actresses. As with many others, though, the end of the silent era killed their careers: Norma made only two poorly-received sound films before retiring in 1930, while Constance never bothered appearing in sound and finished her career in 1929. In the years since, their reputations have declined considerably. In particular, Norma's melodramatic, suffering woman persona dated extremely quickly after the 1920s (and even during the decade was considered somewhat old-fashioned), robbing her of the more timeless appeal that sticks to her contemporaries. Nowadays, their films are difficult to find and almost never revived, aside from Intolerance, in which Constance has a supporting role (though it's far from the starring vehicles she was known for during her heyday), and as a result, they are obscure even among film scholars and film buffs, their enormous fame and box office successes being relegated to footnotes in the history of silent film.
  • Pauly Shore parlayed his success as an MTV VJ into a modestly successful comedy career in TV and film in the early-mid '90s. His "Weasel" character, a parody of a privileged, pot-smoking California Surfer Dude, was a hit with teenagers, who made his MTV show Totally Pauly and film debut Encino Man into hits, even if adults and critics couldn't stand him (he won a Razzie for Worst New Star for Encino Man). Eventually, though, his former fans grew up and got sick of his act, with the notorious bomb Bio-Dome in 1996 nailing the coffin shut on his film career. He's now viewed as one of the worst comedy stars of the '90s, someone who only got famous because dumb kids liked him — many of whom now, as grown adults, pretend they were never fans of his. Shore himself is keenly aware of this; most of his stand-up comedy since Bio-Dome has consisted of making fun of his own status as being this trope.
  • After The Sixth Sense was a smash hit, M. Night Shyamalan became one of the hottest filmmakers in Hollywood virtually overnight. Then he followed it up with Unbreakable and Signs, and before long, he was being seriously compared to Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock. However, after a series of follow-ups (The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening) that ranged from disappointing at best to just plain bad at worst, Shyamalan became a joke, viewed as having gotten lucky with his early films and having no tricks up his sleeve outside of twist endings. Eventually, trailers for his films were provoking laughter and jeers from moviegoers simply because his name was attached to them. Nowadays, he works as a journeyman director on blockbusters like The Last Airbender and After Earth (both of which were duds), his days as a respected auteur long in the past. While The Visit in 2015, a return to his roots in low-budget horror, was seen as something of a return to form, only time will tell if he's able to mount a comeback. Nowhere is this more evident than with the reversal in popular opinion towards Unbreakable and Signs. When Unbreakable was first released, it was considered to be a Sophomore Slump for Shyamalan, while Signs was considered a return to form and a worthy follow-up to The Sixth Sense, and was just as successful as that film. Nowadays, with the rise of superhero movies making it more relevant, more than a few critics have reevaluated Unbreakable and declared it to be Shyamalan's second-best film, while Signs, despite still being regarded as a decent horror film, is now considered to be the point where Shyamalan's career first began to slip.
  • After Clueless became the big sleeper hit of the summer of 1995, Alicia Silverstone (who in the process, became the "It Girl" of Hollywood) was awarded a three picture deal (along with her own production company) with Columbia Pictures worth about $10 million. Things all came crashing down for Silverstone however, with the one-two punch of the Franchise Killing performance of 1997's Batman & Robin (which earned Silverstone a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress) and Excess Baggage. Excess Baggage was the first and as it turned out, only movie to be produced by Silverstone's production company, First Kiss Productions. By the end of its run, Excess Baggage had only grossed $14,515,490 based on a $20 million budget. Like with Batman And Robin, Excess Baggage didn't fare too well with critics either, garnering 32% 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After trying and failing one more time to recapture the magic that Clueless created with 1999's Blast from the Past, Silverstone was for all intents and purposes, no longer seen as a viable leading lady in mainstream film. While Clueless remains a classic among the teen/high school comedy genre, Alicia Silverstone seemed to fall out of favor in the general public's eyes as fast as she came onto the scene. Besides Clueless, Silverstone herself is more known nowadays for her vegan and animal rights activism as well as her controversial book, The Kind Mama, and filming herself feeding her son mouth-to-mouth.
  • Kevin Smith and his View Askewniverse films played a large role in the explosion of independent cinema and the popularization of geek culture in the mid-late '90s. However, as that culture evolved and became mainstream in the '00s (with sci-fi and superhero movies becoming Hollywood tentpoles), and as Smith's attempts to make films outside the Askewniverse were met with mixed receptions at best, he came to be seen as representing the sort of stereotype that more modern geeks were trying to leave behind (the hardcore, purist, almost hipster-esque fanboy who had been following the material long before its mainstream popularity, and complains about any and all changes to it). The fact that his movies were not only copied ad nauseum, but became almost a template for youth-oriented indie films afterwards, also causes them to suffer from Seinfeld Is Unfunny syndrome nowadays, while the decline of the comic book industry (even if the movies are doing better than ever) has similarly dated the films.
  • In just a little over three years, Josh Trank has become the 21st century equivalent of Michael Cimino. Trank first made a name for himself with Chronicle, a found footage sci-fi film about teens getting telekinetic powers. It was hugely acclaimed, getting an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and made over $100 million at the box office on a $12 million budget. However, it seemed like he'd shot up too high too fast. He was brought on to direct the reboot of the Fantastic Four film franchise in 2014, and to say the film was plagued with problems would be a huge understatement. Reports of Executive Meddling and of Trank getting into arguments with the actors and other crew members (as well as general backlash from fans accusing Fox of making Fant4stic just to hold onto the rights) began pouring out, dooming the movie to a bad performance. Allegedly, the reports of Fant4stic's behind-the-scenes drama led to Trank being kicked off the Star Wars anthology movie he was set to direct. When Fant4stic finally came out, it was utterly destroyed by critics, garnering a measly 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and becoming a certified Box Office Bomb, destroying the potential new film franchise before it even really started, and it caused Fox to lose between $80-100 million and suffer a 28% decline in revenue for that fiscal quarter. It is almost universally agreed that Fant4stic has dethroned Howard the Duck as the worst film ever based on a Marvel property, and fans are practically demanding that Marvel Studios take the rights of the franchise back from Fox and add them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Trank disowned his film only a week after it came out, blaming it on conflict between him and Fox. Between the embarrassing performance of Fant4stic and people not wanting to work with someone who wouldn't cooperate with studio executives, it's safe to say that Trank's career's chances of recovery are very slim and he'll mostly be remembered as a One-Hit Wonder for Chronicle.
  • The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix series, had their reputation suffer after the franchise's Sequelitis. When The Matrix first debuted, many praised the duo for showcasing philosophical ideas and stylish action. However, their following works were either polarizing or poorly received. Speed Racer received negative reviews and was a Box Office Bomb, although as time has gone on, it has achieved cult classic status. Cloud Atlas was a commercial disappointment and is largely considered a huge case of Love It or Hate It. Their most recent directorial work, Jupiter Ascending was slammed for its writing and acting while also flopping at the box office. Even works they only produced instead of directing like V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin received polarizing reviews. Furthermore, their signature styles have been copied to the point of mockery. While the Wachowskis have regained some goodwill with Sense8, their output is largely considered pretentious, needlessly convoluted, sluggishly paced, and too much style over substance.

    Fictional examples 
  • The Trope Namer gets a reference in Airplane!, where a radio announcer triumphantly proclaims that WZAZ is "where disco lives forever!" just before the plane knocks down its rooftop transmitting antenna. This film came out in 1980, so the joke was extremely timely - the creators note on the dvd commentary that they witnessed this joke being met with applause in a theatre.

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