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Once upon a time, there were actors who were happy to be on any television show, let alone a popular one. Then came the ’80s when Miss Shelly Long got too big for her britches and a little show called “Cheers.” Miss Long paved the way for many a star to leave good paying jobs behind in search of a newer, shinier galaxy. Ludicrous you say? Well Shelly didn’t think so. Soon she was making her way through in mediocre films followed by the inevitable big fade-away. Where is she now? Who the hell cares? She could have ended a long and satisfying run on “Cheers” and gone out in style, but we all know what really happened, now don’t we? Shelly became a big ol’ has-been. Even though Miss Long made an enormous mistake and threw her career away, others followed her into that good night. So take a weekend and rent the movies that helped these TV stars either wave goodbye to their careers or in one man’s case, make him an even bigger celebrity.

Miss Shelly Long plays a bored rich housewife in the film Troop Beverly Hills.
She decides to prove to herself and to her husband, played by Mr. Craig T. Nelson, that she can finish what she starts. Namely leading a Girl Scout troop through a hilarious weekend at a wilderness retreat. Now that’s comedy. Following through is obviously a problem for Shelly and the characters she plays. You should have stayed on “Cheers” missy. While Miss Long made some poor choices at least some of her movies were decent, namely “The Money Pit.”

David Caruso on the other hand had no such stay of execution in the death of his career. It took one season on “NYPD Blue” for this red-headed ball of fire to move on to greener pastures. The film he chose to make his debut in was a little thing called Jade.
The film costars Linda Fiorentino and Chaz Palminteri do a great job in their respective roles. David plays a police officer who is assigned to a murder case involving a prominent San Francisco millionaire. This film is the poor man’s “Basic Instinct,” but if you want to see some great acting from Fiorientino and Palminteri, I highly recommend it. This film is also worthwhile just to try and guess what Caruso thought he was doing with his career.

George Clooney is the exception to the rule. Not only is he foxy, but he seems to make very good film choices. It must have helped that he did hundreds of failed television pilots before he got his big break at nearly 40 on “ER.” Playing pediatrician, Dr. Doug Ross on the show helped Clooney to create an air of complicated yet hidden pain that women love. He has taken this all the way to the bank, particularly in the film Out of Sight.
Co-starring the prolific and press savvy J. Lo, this film is one of my all time favorites. The chemistry between George and Jennifer is phenomenal and without it this film would never have worked. The movie gods where smiling down on George when he was cast opposite little miss “look at my ass.” In the film Clooney plays and escaped convict on the run from the FBI in the form of Lopez. The theme of love and destiny coupled with the action aspect make this movie appropriate for the fellas as well as the ladies. It’s the perfect stay at home date movie.

The next time you are glued to the tube watching the newest hit show on NBC, think to yourself “I wonder who will sacrifice themselves to the fickle movie going public next.” Will it be the entire cast of “Friends,” or just one member of the cast of “Touched by and Angel?” Only time will tell, but in the meantime, have some fun with these fine feature films.