To paraphrase the esteemed 21st century German philosopher Heidi Klum: In the entertainment world, one day you're in, and the next, you're out. Most of the celebrities you'll see in this space each week (should) have the spoils of fame and fortune to show for the years that they were in, but recently have found themselves closer to being out of the loop. But that may not last long, as these stars are climbing their way back to the top.
Hard to believe that it's been four years since Smith last starred in a movie. And depending on how you felt about his 2008 offerings Seven Pounds and Hancock, it's been five years since Smith starred in a good movie (I Am Legend).
During that stretch of inactivity we saw his kids Jaden and Willow get their respective entertainment careers off the ground, and we saw Will and Jada make a few tabloid headlines with rumors of an impending divorce (which never happened), but Will was uncharacteristically absent from the big screen. (Well, when you make $20 million per movie, it's not like you have to stay busy.) Now Will is back in the blockbuster business with Men in Black III, reprising his role of Agent J and fighting the good fight against aliens alongside current and past versions of his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin). Yes, there's time travel involved, but the flick looks entertaining enough to put Will back on the map of major Hollywood players.
The pop princess was on the brink of a total collapse not too long ago -- back when she'd become a late-night-TV and gossip-mag punchline seemingly headed for prison, a cult, or worse. But Britney rebounded with her 2011 album Femme Fatale, and has been in the news more recently as a potential judge on Simon Cowell's X-Factor next season.
Now don't trick yourself into thinking a regular gig on a reality show is always a bad thing for an entertainer. Britney wouldn't be slumming it on some lame project like I'm a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here!. According to many reports, she'd make about $15 million per season judging X-Factor. And if that show can do anything near for Britney what American Idol has done for Jennifer Lopez, she'll be everywhere soon enough -- from advertising tiny European cars to making cameos in weird Will.I.Am performances.
I'm Still Here, the 2010 film starring Phoenix, is technically a documentary. (Or a mockumentary, whatever you want to call it.) But for me it's a comedy, because I'll never forget the look on the face of one of my friends when he found out that I'm Still Here wasn't "real."
Two years after that risky career move -- i.e., doing such a convincing job of pretending to be retired from acting and pursuing a career in hip-hop that many people still think he's really crazy -- Phoenix's return to respectability is right around the corner. He is starring in The Master, scheduled for release in October 2012, in which he plays a lost soul who finds himself in a religious group that's comparable to Scientology. With co-stars like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, and a director like Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) supporting him on this project, Phoenix may be setting himself up for an Oscar nomination.
Remember the kid from American Beauty with the video camera and the creepy aura? No, he hasn't returned to your TV screen as Adam Scott from Parks & Recreation -- although they look like they could be related, if you ask me -- but rather he landed a big-screen role in The Hunger Games.
Bentley had a bright career ahead of him after his breakout in American Beauty (1999) and a solid performance The Four Feathers (2002), but soon after he fell into a drug and alcohol addiction that nearly cost him everything. A stint in rehab in 2008 was followed by a relapse, and then another rehab program in 2009. Getting clean and putting his career back together via stage acting, Bentley is now all the way back with his role as Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games. Assuming the movie makes more sequels than Friday the 13th, Bentley has reached the closest thing to stability a movie actor can ask for.
Nobody ever accused Reid of being the next Meryl Streep as an actress, but she didn't help her cause with a string of bad to mediocre (at best) flicks after the second American Pie should have pushed her career to the next level. Eventually she fell into straight-to-DVD purgatory, then overseas reality shows. Off the screen, she was making tabloid headlines for botched cosmetic surgeries and high-profile breakups.
So if anybody needed another American Pie sequel to be made -- a real sequel, not the weak cousin-of-Stifler material -- it was Reid. She reprised her role of Vicky in last month's American Reunion, and at 36, could use it to resurrect a dying acting career.