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John Travolta...will someone please explain him to me?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
This guy is golden. He walks on air and is touched by the mighty hand of God himself, apparently.

Never have I seen such a mediocre talent turned into such fame (well, there's that whole Britney thing, but that's another thread...).

Not only that, he is endlessly forgiven by Hollywood it seems.

Here's his deal, as best I can map out: he is allowed, by the powers that be, to make one good film, in exchange for 7-10 completely embarrassing pieces of shit.

Evidence? Thought you'd never ask...

First, are we all in agreement that John's star-making, breakout role was as Tony in "Saturday Night Fever"?

Yes. Everyone knows and accepts that.

What followed (okay, don't be a wise-ass and count "Grease" or "Urban Cowboy"...those both rocked).

Instead, look at "Two of a Kind", "Perfect", "Staying Alive", "Look Who's Talking", "Shout", "Look Who's Talking 2", "Chains of Gold" and others.

Complete stinkers, all.

So, it's the early 90's and he's now seen as somewhat of a joke.

Along comes that doofus Quentin Tarentino and gives John the second chance of a lifetime with a juicy role in "Pulp Fiction".

"Pulp Fiction" rocks.

But, it seems John shoots whatever wad he's been saving up on that one role, because here's what follows (and we're still in the midst of the stinker-fest...):

"Get Shorty" (ANYONE buy him in that role? Thought not), "White Man's Burden", "Primary Colors", "Broken Arrow", "Phenomenon", "Mad City", "Michael", "She's So Lovely", "A Civil Action", "The General's Daughter", "Lucky Numbers", "Battlefield Earth" (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha), "Domestic Disturbance" and "Swordfish".

Sprinkled in there was "Face/Off", which was mildly entertaining and not a complete waste of time. Although Travolta's "bad guys" are completely embarrassing and over the top. Not GOOD, as in "Christopher Walken over the top", but rather bad, as in "Mickey Rourke or Chris Penn over the top". Travolta's performance in "Broken Arrow" deserved a smack and a swift quick to the genitals.

So what is it about him?

He's an icon. He's loved and adored by millions. He's probably still on the "A list", I would imagine. I mean, I guess he shares that rarified air with the Tom duo (Hanks and Cruise), Mr. Ford, Mel, etc.

But what deal has he struck with Satan himself that allows him to waste so much of the studio's money and time by churning out one mediocre (if not outright flop) film after the other?

The only thing I've EVER bought John Travolta in - and I'm being completely serious here - is "Saturday Night Fever". He was born to play that role and he nailed it.

He ain't a hitman or a gangster. Nor is he an angel, an Air Force pilot or a janitor or a southern Governor.

His hair changes with every role, but underneath the Clintonesque wig of "Primary Colors", or the Scott Stapp-inspired shag of "Swordfish", it's still this blank, vacant and whitebread performance...over the top where it shouldn't be, and completely lacking in passion and fire where it should be brimming over with the stuff.

John Travolta is, to me anyway, the PERFECT mail counterpart to Julia Roberts. He, like Brick Tooth herself, seems to have nailed the art and science of building a career on one shining, long ago glimpse of talent and fire and is blindly riding the fallout from it for all it's worth.

The day those two make a movie together is the day that I pack it in and head home.
post #2 of 30
The real question is ... why have you let yourself see all those bad Travolta movies?

He was good on TV in "Welcome Back Kotter" (Vinnie Barbarino). I think I may have also seen him in "Boy in the Plastic Bubble" way back when but I'm not sure.

I've only seen him in a few of his movies ... "SNF," "Urban Cowboy," "Pulp Fiction," "Primary Colors" ... that's about it.

He wasn't "endlessly forgiven" by Hollywood from about 1985 to 1994 ... he did the "Look Who's Talking" movies and not much else.

I think he's about reached the end of his rope. When a movie comes out for an A-list star there's usually 2 or 3 movies in the production pipeline, so there's a lag before someone's star disappears off the radar screen.

[ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: CaseCom ]</p>
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post #3 of 30
Battlefield Earth = Worst Movie Ever
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by CaseCom:
<strong>The real question is ... why have you let yourself see all those bad Travolta movies?

He wasn't "endlessly forgiven" by Hollywood from about 1985 to 1994 ... he did the "Look Who's Talking" movies and not much else.[ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: CaseCom ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Because I like to watch movies. And I don't know they're bad until I see them. Why is that so hard?

:confused:

As far as the 1985 to 1994 and only doing "Look Who's Talking" stuff, go online and check a movie database or a Travolta filmography. You'll see he did TONS of movies. Problem is, they all sucked or tanked commerically AND critically, so you only REMEMBER "Look Who's Talking" because it was a modest semi-hit.

post #5 of 30
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>Because I like to watch movies. And I don't know they're bad until I see them. Why is that so hard?</strong><hr></blockquote>

It's so hard because I don't want to see every movie ever released, so I read movie reviews to help me decide which ones I might want to see. So, no "Battlefield Earth" for me.

[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>As far as the 1985 to 1994 and only doing "Look Who's Talking" stuff, go online and check a movie database or a Travolta filmography. You'll see he did TONS of movies. Problem is, they all sucked or tanked commerically AND critically, so you only REMEMBER "Look Who's Talking" because it was a modest semi-hit.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Let's take a look at IMDB for his "TONS" of movies between 1985's "Perfect," which I consider to be his last early-period A-list role, and "Pulp Fiction":

"The Dumb Waiter"/"Basements" (1987) -- a pair of TV shorts directed by Robert Altman.
"Look Who's Talking" (1989)
"The Experts" (1989)
"Look Who's Talking Too" (1990)
"Chains of Gold" (1991) -- TV movie
"Eyes of an Angel" (1991)
"Shout" (1991)
"Boris and Natasha" (1992) -- Cameo role as himself
"Look Who's Talking Now" (1993)

That's it. Take away the three "Look Who's Talking" movies and you've got someone whose career is on life support.

[ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: CaseCom ]</p>
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post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
That's what I'm SAYING. His career IS on life support. Or should be, anyway.

You can't make one decent, popular movie to every 5-10 pieces of crap and expect to still survive or be an "A list" member.

Or can you?

I guess HE can, for whatever reason.

:confused:

I remember when "A Time to Kill" came out and all the buzz around Matthew McConahey (or however you spell it). I read more than one article/review suggesting he was the "new Paul Newman" or whatever. He made his share of flops and movies that nobody cared about and he isn't still around in the public eye in a huge way, like he was SUPPOSED to be.

That's what I'm talking about: how do some people, who have just as many flops and bad career choices, still manage to maintain their icon or big-name status, where others - for whatever reason - seem to be given one, maybe two, chances at stardom or to "make it" and if not, "bye bye"!

If the same rules that were apparently applied to Matthew and others were applied to John, he would've faded long ago and we would've been spared "Battlefield Earth" and "The General's Daughter" and "Swordfish" and "Broken Arrow" and...



[ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: pscates ]</p>
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
[edit: never mind...details, details...]



[ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: pscates ]</p>
post #8 of 30
Since Pulp Fiction he has made the following stinkers: Battlefield Earth (worst movie ever), White Man's Burden, Swordfish & Mad City.

Phenomenon, Michael, Broken Arrow, The General's Daughter & Lucky Numbers are all popcorn flicks that are definitely passable and entertaining.

(He was good in Michael, of course he's a cheeseball, that's his purpose.)

Actual decent movies that I'd watch sans popcorn:
Get Shorty, Primary Colors & A Civil Action.

I can't say anything about She's So Lovely & Domestic Disturbance because I haven't seen them.

I don't think he's shooting for an Oscar every time, but I don't know how you don't think he was the obvious choice for Best Actor for his absolutely stellar performance in Pulp Fiction.

All the big stars make their share of stinkers (6 Days, 7 Nights & How about What Women Want) except for Tom Hanks because Tom Hanks is God.
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post #9 of 30
Actually anyone who would claim that Tom Hanks hasn't made a bad movie obviously hasn't seen such classics as "Joe and the Volcano" "Turner and Hooch" or even "Bachelor Party"

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post #10 of 30
Even DeNiro has made his share of duds in the last 10 years (Rocky & Bullwinkle for one).

McConaghey ... that naked-bongo-drum thing. 'Nuff said.

Believe it or not I liked "Joe Versus the Volcano" ... it had charm to it. I liked the scene early in the movie when Hanks was in the office with the flickering fluorescent light. Plus, it had Meg Ryan ...
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post #11 of 30
i liked face off, but mostly 'cause trvolta and cage literally got in each other's heads really well. totally wacko premise, but it was entertaining, and travolta can apprently play slimy if he can add slimy charn to it (he just can't do gritty mean, from what i have witnessed).

my opinion: travolta was SOOO typecast by Sat. Night Fever, that people looked at his comeback in pulp fiction as forgiveness for future roles. being typecast is a double-edged sword in hollywood, and it can be a royal bitch to shake. you dream of a role which will always be attributed to YOU, but heaven help you if that cash machine runs out (just wait until elijah wood tries to get any role that doen's include a hobbit... maybe he and mark hammill can co-star (though mark hammill f'n kicked ass as the joker in batman: the animated series).
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post #12 of 30
What keeps him going - powerful friends.
Namely, the cult of Scientology.

Nasty cult!
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post #13 of 30
Travolta's been touched by the powers that be, most definitely, but I think the "Homer" award has to go to William Shatner!!

Canadian actor in the 60's against all odds gets on a experimental sci-fi show that gets cancelled and then an (at the time) unprecedented letter writing campaign brings the show back to life and he is forever remembered as Captain Kirk. Then he did stinkers like his album (anyone ever hear him sing? ugh!), the cop show TJ Hooker, all the horrible books he's written (or his ghost writers) - he lucks out and Priceline.com gave him some token stock options that end up being worth over $10 million(!) I tell ya, the Shatner was truly blessed!
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I KNOW other actors make bad career choices and have flops...that's part of it.

But DeNiro - while probably one of the best, most respected actors to come down the pike - doesn't have that wide-ranging, "People" magazine vibe that Travolta does.

Travolta makes stinkers and duds and it doesn't seem to inflict any damage on him.

It's as if "Saturday Night Fever", "Pulp Fiction" and a couple of other movies somehow gave him a "suck pass" and that he is forgiven time and again for churning out flops or critically/commercially panned movies.

Again, I just don't get it. What's he got?

Mel and Harrison Ford have not had anywhere NEAR the amount of bloated, unbearable flops Travolta has, YET he's right there with them on most everyone's list of "Top Ten Hollywood Stars" or whatever.

:confused:

You all ain't answering my question...

post #15 of 30
Right, I liked Phenomenon, Michael, Face/Off, Swordfish, Broken Arrow, Pulp Fiction, Look Who's Talking Too, and a few others.

I mean, look at what Spacey is doing...K-Pax? Austin Powers 3: Goldmember? co-starring Michael Caine???

Jeez, it's like your judgement goes to hell after you win a best actor Oscar.

I have no doubt Austin Powers 3 has potential to be very entertaining, but these actors should be looking for more substantial roles...I wouldn't expect to see Mike Myers in a remake of a Shakespeare tragedy for example...
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post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
I didn't know Kevin Spacey is going to be in the new Austin Powers movie.

Really? Wow. That just seems wierd.

Michael Caine will act in anything, so that comes as no surprise.
post #17 of 30
I thought he was good in 'Get Shorty', but you're right most of his movies have been stinkers and it devalues him when he wants to appear in a better flick. My sister loves him and even she's getting tired of him. He needs to cut back on the amount of movies he makes and just make better ones.

The one actor I don't get at all is Tom Cruise. He is by far the worst actor I have ever seen! He has the same stupid expression in every movie and in person seems to be a vacuous airhead. I simply can't stand the guy. Every time I see one of his movies (which is rarely since I tend to avoid them) I always hope he's going to get beaten up or killed. Damn it, it hasn't happened yet!......................
post #18 of 30
Tom Cruise is the wealthiest actor in Hollywood...followed by Jim Carrey.
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post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
REALLY? I thought it would be someone like Harrison Ford or Jack Nicholson (all the back-end percentage deals).
post #20 of 30
Anyone that can get as close to Olivia Newton-John as did he, while she's wearing that black spandex, has to be well-respected.

No red-blooded American boy can watch that part of Grease (the movie) and not lust after ON-J.
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post #21 of 30
Um, no red-blooded American boy would see Grease. That movie is gayer than gay. Even my gay friends say that.
post #22 of 30
[quote]Originally posted by Outsider:
<strong>Um, no red-blooded American boy would see Grease. That movie is gayer than gay. Even my gay friends say that.</strong><hr></blockquote>

You see it FOR ONJ.

I'm not sure there is anymore to that movie, anyway.
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post #23 of 30
Hey I resent that remark! Grease may have
been too gay for your taste but look when it was made and what era it portrayed... they weren't playing 90's spoiled brats...

and I also thought he did an excellent job in Michael and Phenomenon...

Remember, "one mans trash is another mans treasure"

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post #24 of 30
[quote]Originally posted by xenu:
<strong>What keeps him going - powerful friends.
Namely, the cult of Scientology.
Nasty cult!</strong><hr></blockquote>

AH! Good point there. Here's a list of Scientologist freaks in Hollywood:

John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston
Tom Cruise and first wife Mimi Rodgers
Giovanni Ribisi
Juliette Lewis
Jenna Elfman...list goes on.

A lot of producers and directors too are part of this cult...so you see the signifigance?

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post #25 of 30
If you know anything about cinema you know that it is the director that makes the movie not the actors; it is a plus when you have excellent actors to work with; you loose less time.

Still the writing is another part that is important. Travolta is a descent actor who knows how to choose movies that will make money. Do not blame him because people like to see unintelligent movies. And the crap today (imposed by the teenagers) is not really different from the crap othe 40's and 50's. In all the movies that come out every year only a few really can be called cinema.

What is ashamed he is stock with the crazy people of scientology just like Tom Cruise. Fame does not give discernment.
post #26 of 30
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
[QB]Primary Colors[QB]<hr></blockquote>

I was on a plane to Europe and they were offering up those little DVD players.

The list of movies was airline style sucky, so I chose Primary Colors. I was completely surprised. It's not all that, but I thought it was completely watchable and he did a great job with the voice and the slime factor.
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post #27 of 30
Oh come on, Travolta was GREAT in primary colors (from the back I thought that he was Clinton...), though yes, in general he is shit.
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post #28 of 30
Pscates- John Travolta was never known as a great actor...but women loved him back in the days and he had sex appeal, that can take you pretty far(witness Robert Redford). That's the way Hollywood is though...overpay the marginal talent and underpay the rest.

My thoughts-

Julia Roberts- There is no comparison with Julia and Travolta. There are 1000's of Women in TV that look better than Julia but she just has a certain flair that stands out. I noticed it in Mystic Pizza. She also has a better eye for scripts(over Travolta)

Tom Cruise- Is a decent actor but let's face it...he's playing himself for the most part. Everyone knows Tom has an excitable personality so it's natural that they tone that down with roles where he's the f'n ladies man. Watching Magnolia restored my faith in Tom. He's not the greatest but he's not chopped liver either.

Kevin Spacey- His body of quality work is way too strong to be sunk by K-Pax and Austin P3. He's got American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects, Swimming with the Sharks, LA Confidential, A Time to Kill and more under his belt. He's Golden. And I hear Pay it Forward isn't bad.

They guy I'm most worried about right now is Nic Cage...man his career is about to hit the bottom..he needs a good flick.
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post #29 of 30
Cage's next movie is Windtalkers, a John Woo action flick. It doesn't look horrible...
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post #30 of 30
Pscates, its thats an easy one. scientoligy, that damn cult has him for life, and they are powerful and were the cause of battlefild earth(I can't believe forest whitaker was in that movie)
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