Last night I finished watching a new straight-to-video comedy called Falling Up. It was pretty mediocre, but I watched it mainly because it had a good cast: Annette O'Toole, Mimi Rogers, Joe Pantoliano and Snoop Dogg. OK. I didn't watch it for them, entirely, but because of Rachael Leigh Cook. I have had a movie crush on Rachael for years and this will be the fourth straight-to-video movie I have endured just for another glimpse of those amazing eyes. But the question is: why is she in all these straight-to-video movies? If my adoration for her has endured, why has her career not done the same thing? But the scariest thing of all is that Rachael is not the only movie crush of mine that has seen a marked dip in her career. Are my affections somehow cursed? Am I a career killer?

Rachael first made a splash as the young Jackie O in The House of Yes (1997), and then starred in a genuine hit, She's All That (1999), as the nerdy girl who gets the question: "do you really need to wear those glasses?" Following that was a flurry of five major films in two years, all of which landed with a giant, collective thud. There was Sylvester Stallone's remake of Get Carter, the lame comedy Blow Dry, and the tepid Western Texas Rangers. The paranoid thriller Antitrust may well qualify as a guilty pleasure, at least, and Josie and the Pussycats is definitely a guilty pleasure. I loved that film; I loved the punk/pop music and its cheerful parody of the music business. But of course, everyone else hated it.

categories Cinematical