She Shoulda Been A Contender, Part IV


When I watch older films - in loser, non-geek speak that means anything older than 3 years - I often come across actresses that make me think "hey, what happened to her?"

That's why I came up with this blog series about hot actresses who should have had bigger careers. Don't forget to check out the previous entries here. And so without further ado, here's the fourth crop:


Mia Sara

She was Sloane. She was effing Sloane in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). She was the one who had to look like she could keep Ferris Bueller interested, and perhaps even keep him a bit in check too. And she pulled it off. Before that Mia Sara was an effing fairytale princess in Legend (1985). And that's it.

The remaining "highlights" include playing Van Damme's wife in Timecop (1994), and playing the villain in the failed superhero series Birds of Prey (2002). The rest of her CV is an impressive barrage of instantly forgettable TV trash. She's barely chalked up a handful of guest appearances during the last 10 years. No one ever tried to get her to play Sloane-ish in anything? No sassy teen roles? Nothing? Come on people! It's unacceptable!

High point: Bueller? Bueller?
Low point: Hard to say. Mostly because you have to work in order to have a low point. Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001) with Matthew Modine? The TV version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) starring Michael Caine? Who knows.
Should have been in:  I'd give her a regular spot on something like E.R. or Grey's Anatomy, or what about something that utilizes that ûber-cool attitude she's got? A female version of Top Gun! Boom! There it is! Military uniforms, those mirrored sunglasses... The boys wouldn't stand a chance.

Rhona Mitra

She can play sexy (just look at her), she can play tough (Doomsday (2008)), she'll do serious drama (Boston Legal (2004)) and goofy stuff (also Boston Legal (2004)), she can even lead a film (Doomsday, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)), and yet, Rhona Mitra is not a movie star. She's not on this list because she disappeared, or only did crappy TV stuff, no, she definitely did the work. Good, high-profile TV shows, big movies, but despite all that, Rhona Mitra is not a household name, and dammit she should be.

High point: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
Low point: Getting raped by an invisible Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man (2000) - because why would you show your breasts in a scene no self-respecting guy could "enjoy"?
Should have been in: Tomb Raider, obviously. This is a no-brainer.

Paula Marshall

Paula was initially brought to my attention as a supporting character on Spin City (1997). She was Michael J. Fox's second serious girlfriend. Later came Snoops (1999), short-lived, but sweet, female-centric detective show. She also made a very memorable guest appearance on Sports Night (2000). She keeps popping up in TV shows, often for more than one episode, but that's just not good enough. She needs a regular show - a drama - or a proper feature film. She deserves it!

High point: Spin City, oh who are we kidding, it's Californication (2007) with almost full frontage nudity and raw sex.
Low point: Gary Unmarried (2008)? A sitcom with Jay Mohrs (the s is a joke). Haven't seen it, but who can contain the Mohrs in a sitcom format?
Should have been in: Gravity (2013). Front and center, lead role, she could do it!

Eliza Dushku

Eliza certainly has no shortage of street cred. With stints on fan favorites Buffy (1998) and Angel (2000), and no less than two (albeit failed) shows of her own - Tru Calling (2003) and Dollhouse (2009) - she should be able to land a cool action movie or two. Nevertheless that kind of big screen screen time eludes this capable girl. The closest she got to big screen action was playing the daughter of Arnold in True Lies (1994).

Okay, so she did a few horror films along the way, Wrong Turn (2003) and Soul Survivors (2001) among others, and even some classic teen movies like The New Guy (2002) and effing Bring It On (2000), and that's all good, but that was 10+ years ago. A reoccurring Torchwood (2011) role and a The Big Bang Theory (2010) guest appearance show that the street cred is still alive, but where's the Eliza-Dushku-Kicks-Major-Ass feature film we deserve? Someone call Luc Besson.

High point: I'm sexy, I'm hot, I'm everything you're not! (That's from Bring It On, for the uninitiated).
Low point: Guest starring in an episode of Ugly Betty (2007)? What an abortion of a show.
Should have been in: Kill Bill (2003)! She could pass for Asian, right?

Julia Stiles

A couple of late 90's lead roles paved the way for her star-making turn in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), going head to head with the late Heath Ledger. Then she did the modern day Hamlet (2000) with Ethan Hawke, a Mamet tour in State and Main (2000), then another classic teen movie, Save the Last Dance (2001), then she did more Shakespeare with 'O' (2001) and then.... The Bourne Identity (2002). Say what, now? She wasn't playing the lead, or some sassy love interest, she played a secretary. A generic secretary. She did nothing with the role and looked unconvincing doing it, after that it was all downhill. Sometimes through interesting projects, but slowly and inexorably Julia Stiles acted her way into obscurity.

When she showed up briefly in Silver Linings Playbook (2012) in a generic mom role, indistinguishable from the wallpaper, I almost cried. Where's the girl who looked so hot dancing on the table to Biggie Smalls?

High point: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
Low point: Gospel Hill (2008), I'm guessing.
Should have been in: Setting age aside, she should be able to do parts like Laura Linney's in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), or Diane Kruger's in National Treasure (2004). She should definitely do something smart, like a lawyer or an investigative reporter. She looks smart, as well as beautiful.

Mädchen Amick

Lots of TV. Lots and lots of TV. It's no surprise, after all Mädchen got her big break on TV in David Lynch's Twin Peaks (1990), playing Shelley the waitress, but after that she briefly flirted with feature films.

Sleepwalkers (1992) aptly predicted the audience's reaction, then came the hot and sexy Dream Lover (1993), which turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, and then it was all over. Guest appearances on Dawnson's Creek (1999), Gilmore Girls (2002), ER (2004) and Joey (2005) failed to impress. She looked incredible in Californication, when she did a few episodes in 2008, so it's definitely not age, or too much surgery. I guess some stars will never shine beyond the crumbled pages of the TV Guide.

High point: Twin Peaks.
Low point: Dream Lover.
Should have been in: Twin Peaks season 3, 4 and 5. Okay that's a cheat. How about... Ghost (1990)? She's so adorable when she cries.



If you ever wondered why I do these posts, scroll back up and look at all those images, and then keep this in mind: These chicks look like that, AND they're talented! Is it really so unreasonable that I want them on my TV more?


  1. Fair enough. But some of us blokes out here are breathlessly anticipating your post featuring sultry, shorts- and speedo-clad young *guys* whom a great many of us would like to see more of on our TVs. And these "chicks", btw, are hard-working, talented, smart and focused WOMEN. Just sayin'.

    1. First of all, I never said they weren't hard-working, talented or smart - That's kinda the point, I think they are, and I want them to be BIGGER stars!

      As for a male version, I have actually been thinking about that. Not sure they would be speedo clad, but there is definitely a bunch of dudes that aren't as big as they should be.... Ehm, career-wise.

  2. Didn't intend to sound dogmatic or scolding, but "chicks" just made me wince :-)
    Well, speedos I can do without (so to speak) but a shirtless Tom Hiddleston is *always* a good place to begin.
    Did I tell you I think your blog is wonderful? I'm still drooling over the Whitlock mattes from The Birds, particularly the one of the menacing approach, through the hills, to Bodega Bay.

    1. "Chicks" makes you wince?! How about that! Never occurred to me.

      Shirtless Tom Hiddleston? Haha! Not sure that would be appropriate - Because of his credentials, not the shirtless part, obviously! But he doesn't really seem to falling into the "doesn't work enough" category, if you know what I mean.

      You did NOT tell me that part, well not until now, so thanks. Much appreciated! Yeah, those old school matte paintings... love 'em!

  3. I was googling Mia Sara just to know whatever she did. I think Winona Ryder stole her carrer. The first time I notice her was in Birds of Prey.I think villain roles really suit her. I thing she could´ve been a Bond girl. And I agree with you, I can totally see her in one of those Medicine tv shows.

    Julia Stiles, I recently saw her in this generic horror movie and I was like... come on! She deserves more, she still looks very good and has a great presence on screen. She should be getting awards here and there.

    Very much agree with your list, except with Rhona, but just because I don´t know much of her. I just saw 2 Underworld movies and she didn´t struck me that much.

    1. Thanks for reading! I remember Birds of Prey - I have the DVD somewhere, it should get a shiny blu-ray release. Julias Stiles deserves more. Couldn't have said it better.