Rio Bravo (1959): Young fans will follow their idols anywhere; some perverse stars like to test that axiom. While Elvis Presley was busy raking up a pile of inane features, one of his more vanilla adversaries, Ricky Nelson, wound up making his film debut for Howard Hawks opposite John Wayne and fellow crooner Dean Martin in one of the greatest and most leisurely films ever made.
Skidoo (1968): The beach movie career of Frankie Avalon had run its course by the time he popped up in Otto Preminger’s legitimately insane LSD movie. Hopefully, a couple fans of Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine accidentally wound up watching the film in which he’s seduced by Carol Channing.
Light of Day (1987): Young Tom Cruise scored Martin Scorsese for The Color of Money, whereas Michael J. Fox netted the filmmaker’s sometime cohort Paul Schrader. After the Back to the Future and Teen Wolf two-punch of 1985, Alex P. Keaton immediately set to prove his mettle, daring his young fans to watch this gritty drama about small-town rocker siblings (Fox and Joan Jett). He wasn’t done: Soon came Bright Lights, Big City, with him as a cokehead, followed soon by Brian De Palma’s Vietnam saga opposite none other than Sean Penn.
The Beach (2000): Leonardo DiCaprio has always been a serious actor who just happens to look like Leonardo DiCaprio. He was already an Oscar nominee (for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) before the Romeo + Juliet and Titanic era, which he followed up with this edgy, dark, druggy island romp for Danny Boyle—a career move way more enjoyable than the film itself.
Cosmopolis (2012): The jury’s still out on whether Robert Pattinson can act or whether David Cronenberg just knew how to use him. In any case, the look on Twi-hard faces as their favorite 1-percenter receives a prostate exam in a mega-limo should be just about priceless, to say nothing of the fact that this is a David Cronenberg take on Don DeLillo.
The Nymphomaniac (2013): Shia LaBeouf has the new, violent bootlegger saga Lawless, but even the sight of him getting the shit kicked out of him by a hilariously OTT Guy Pearce can’t get within miles of the news that the Transformers lackey will be doing real sex scenes in this Lars von Trier movie.
Six Long-Running Film Franchises