The career of John Travolta has experienced many ups and downs in the 45 years since he first rose to prominence in ABC sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Before the small screen comedy had even wrapped up its four-season run, Travolta was already an A-list megastar after featuring in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, which were released within six months of each other between December 1977 and June 1978.
Over the course of the next decade, though, his fame began to fade, although he came roaring back from the brink thanks to an Academy Award nominated turn in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Now a major presence in the industry for a second time, Travolta starred in a series of hits before he essentially torpedoed his own resurgence in one fell swoop with Battlefield Earth, a film so disastrous that his career has arguably never recovered to anything close to the same kind of momentum he had previous to the sci-fi flop.
One of the best movies of the actor’s mid-90s comeback, though, was Barry Sonnenfeld’s crime comedy Get Shorty, which boasted a solid cast along with a whip-smart script, and the satirical gangster caper was a critical and commercial success. Ten years later the gang got back together for sequel Be Cool, but the law of diminishing returns had well and truly set in.
It boasted an even more stacked ensemble than Get Shorty, with the returning John Travolta and Danny De Vito joined by Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel, James Woods, Dwayne Johnson, the whole of Aerosmith and many more. And though it was a pale and inferior imitation of its predecessor in almost every way, Be Cool has now experienced a resurgence on HBO Max since pitching up on Warner Bros.’ streaming service, finding a whole new life on streaming.