Unless your family has a ton of money, or your last name is Coppolla, it takes a lucky circumstance in order to become famous. Perhaps a chance meeting or hitting a shot in the dark that nobody would expect to be good until the finished product is released. One could go down the line with the actors, directors, and even orchestrators who got their big break. Here is my top 10 Movies That Started a Career. As always, not top ten overall movies.
10. “Beetlejuice” (Danny Elfman):
Short of John Williams, Danny Elfman is an unparalleled composer when it comes to movie scores, an aspect many people take for granted in a movie. Elfman has created some of the greatest film scores ever, starting with his early collaboration with Tim Burton in “Beetlejuice” After that simply look at his resume. From “The Simpsons” to “Good Will Hunting” to “Men in Black”, Elfman can score any visual medium without question. He even did “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Undoubtedly the second best go-to person when it comes to making a film pop.
9. “Thelma and Louise” (Brad Pitt):
Before he became an actual actor, Brad Pitt had every house wife dropping their panties in Ridley Scott’s liberating women’s masterpiece in “Thelma & Louise“. The two leads in Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are exceptional as they are on the lamb running from men trying to beat and rape them, taking revenge against the assholes. Yet what woman can’t resist is the allure of Brad Pitt. As a guy who loves boobs, I must admit, he’s a sexy mother fucker and turned out to be one heck of an actor.
8. “Mean Girls” (Lindsay Lohan):
There was a time in which actress Lindsay Lohan was on the upstream of becoming top level Hollywood brass. It was clear she had ‘the stuff’ in the Tina Fey’s well written “Mean Girls”. Lohan’s character goes from top to bottom to top to bottom and, you get the point. The sexy popular bitches suck. Be true to your friends despite how they look is the message Tina Fey was attempting to portray. Stay away from those plastic girls.
7. “The Graduate” (Dustin Hoffman):
Thank you movie gods for somehow not selecting the pretty boy hot shot in the 60’s in Steve McQueen and instead going with relative unknown Dustin Hoffman. No disrespect to McQueen, an icon, but he was too cool for school to portray an awkward college grad trying to sleep with his parents’ best friend. Dustin Hoffman remains the perfect pick for “The Graduate”. A young man lost in life comes together with an older woman lost on the other side of the tunnel. Things get really complicated when Hoffman falls for the older woman’s daughter. Combined with an iconic soundtrack headed by Simon & Garfunkel, “The Graduate” remains one of the best comedic examples of being lost in life. One word; ‘PLASTICS!’
6. “The Hunger Games” (Jennifer Lawrence):
While already holding an Oscar nomination under her belt with her turn in “Winter’s Bone”, the Y.A. novel series turned global movie phenomenon “The Hunger Games” made Jennifer Lawrence not just a star but a megastar. Her portrayal as the titular character Katniss Everdeen had young girls around the world dressing up as the opposite of a Disney princess. Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss was a precursor to the long needed ‘Me Too’ movement and a way to show that girls are way more badass than the guys.
5. “Do the Right Thing” (Spike Lee):
One would love to claim that racism is fixed. It is not even close, but it’s a nice thought. Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece “Do the Right Thing” does not try to solve the issue of suppression against the African-American community in the U.S., instead it punches that bullshit idea right in the face. Centered around a block in New York City, particularly a pizza joint, “Do the Right Thing” is a melting pot of anger and misunderstanding on both sides of the racial line. While he has fizzled out a bit with his recent work, “Do the Right Thing” made Spike a household name and was part of a pivotal early 90’s movement for black culture.
4. “Jaws” (Steven Spielberg):
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat”. The same could be said with both Steven Spielberg’s career as well as his 1975 mega-hit popcorn flick “Jaws”. Monster movies are almost always brushed aside as non-sense SyFy Channel programming. For some reason “Jaws” struck a chord that resonated around the world, even earning a Best Picture nomination. The key is how little one sees this giant shark, a brilliant move by Spielberg that gave the world one of its greatest cinematic visionaries.
3. “Sophie’s Choice” (Meryl Streep):
One of the most iconic film careers in history, Meryl Streep is a name anybody who has seen a movie knows. Having already been in two Best Picture winners, it was 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice” that cemented her as the greatest actress of all time. There is a reason why they reference her at every awards show. Her portrayal of Sophie, haunted by her experiences while surviving the Holocaust, is unforgettable. If you don’t know the ending coming up based on the title, grab the tissues and don’t feel bad about it. “Sophie’s Choice” is an all-time great example of acting in which one does not know how they did that.
2. “Risky Business” (Tom Cruise):
Admittedly a total nut job today, Tom Cruise is one of the purest forms of the phrase movie star. The man was born to be on the big screen. An icon was born in 1983 during a scene with a teen boy sliding across the floor in his underwear singing ‘I Like That Old Time Rock & Roll’. It is a scene so iconic companies copy it in their commercials to this day. While not Cruise’s best movie in hindsight, “Risky Business” remains a great teenage bundle of joy that created an all-timer.
1. “Star Wars: Episode IV” (George Lucas):
What other movie could it possibly be? Director George Lucas had success with previous films such as “American Graffiti” and “THX 1138”. Then he created a behemoth of pop culture that the MCU is still chasing. The most viewed movie around the world (look it up, the story is crazy) “Star Wars” is not the cherry on top at the box office. It is the ultimate Oscar Sunday that almost everyone indulged in, not just when it was released in 1977, but more than 30 years later.