Terms of Endearment: Photofest
Owen Gleiberman
July 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Which forgotten actor deserves a comeback?

What actor do you think deserves to have a big comeback opportunity, à la John Travolta in ”Pulp Fiction”? — Christopher

How about Debra Winger, the most captivating actress of the early Travolta era? In movies like ”Urban Cowboy,” ”An Officer and a Gentleman,” and ”Terms of Endearment,” she had a singular earthy vitality — a mixture of playfulness and smarts and sexual charisma unmatched by virtually any actress today. (At moments, Gwyneth Paltrow comes close.) Winger more or less dropped out of movies in the mid-’90s, almost as a protest against Hollywood’s appalling marginalization of actresses over the age of 40. Her screen resurrection, however, could deal a fatal blow to that stigma. Here’s how it might work: An adventurous and highly sensually attuned American filmmaker — ”Boys Don’t Cry”’s Kimberly Peirce, say, or maybe Paul Thomas Anderson — places Winger at the center of a galvanizing erotic drama. She could flame her way right back into moviegoers’ hearts.

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