Christian Toto tries to explain why Ms. Ryan’s career is unlikely to come back:
Ryan is a good example of what happens to too many older actresses. Sure, you’ll always have the exceptions — Meryl Streep and Judi Dench come to mind. But only Streep remains red-hot, commercially speaking, at the ripe age of 59.
Ryan, the ’90s rom-com princess, could command big paychecks. Romantic comedies are where actresses shine, both commercially and in the hearts and minds of movie goers.
Just think back to Goldie Hawn and Doris Day before her.
Today, Ryan is often seen in direct to video fare (”The Deal,” “My Mom’s New Boyfriend”). She still looks beautiful even if she may have dabbled in some plastic surgery. And her figure remains to die for.
But she’d need Quentin Tarantino to stage an entire film around her to give her career that ol’ A-list juice.
Then you have Rourke, an actor who seemingly spent the last decade burning every bridge in sight. And his face is a Jackson Pollock painting of age, boxing losses and who knows what.
But he came this close to beating out Sean Penn for the Best Actor Oscar over the weekend and is in talks to star in “Iron Man 2.”
The one movie in which I liked Meg Ryan was Courage Under Fire; perhaps not coincidentally, she died horribly in it. But more important than that, she was NOT in a chick flick or rom-com. Perhaps a large part of the trouble is that actresses try to do rom-coms long after they should have moved on. John Wayne always played John Wayne because being a tough guys, like fine wine, improve with age, but actresses must get beyond My Mom’s New Boyfriend. Note that Meryl Streep wasn’t most recently nominated for a rom-com but for playing a hard edged nun. Ingenues sparkle in gooey rom-coms, but grande dames need to get out of the candy shop and into the forge. Ms. Ryan needs needs roles that showcase iron will, steely determination, brassy self-confidence; the heart of gold is optional and might be a counterproductive. (See the careers of Bette Davis or Joan Crawford.) It’d be nice to see some more actresses evolve. Helen Mirren and Judy Dench won’t be around forever. I somehow doubt Meg Ryan will evolve, but one never knows.