- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

With the tawdry sequel “Basic Instinct 2,” actress Sharon Stone, 48, is throwing a “career Hail Mary,” that is, committing an act of desperation that is, alternatively, pathetic or outrageous. Career Hail Marys have been — take your pick — thrown or prayed before. And the near future promises more still.

Dream — This Hail Mary technically is still in the quarterback’s hands: Michael Jackson’s charity single for the victims of Hurricane Katrina has yet to be released. But no matter. Whether he’s staging a post-acquittal publicity stunt or trying pitiably to re-create the success of “We Are the World,” our man in Bahrain takes top honors with this desperate “Dream.”

The Last Don — The accumulated prestige of two brilliant “Godfather” movie adaptations wasn’t enough for Mario Puzo, who, at the time in his 70s and long a literary has-been, contrived to create a neo-Corleone crime family with this hackish 1996 novel.

Rocky Balboa/Rambo IV — Sylvester Stallone scores a tie with these two sequels, both in postproduction. Picture it: a near-60-year-old, heroically depicted in the boxing ring and on the field of battle. And weep.

Roth on radio — His former Van Halen band mates might themselves qualify for this list, given their flailing attempts, including a brief reunion with Mr. Roth in 1996, to recapture their popularity. But Mr. Roth’s last-ditch effort to become a morning shock jock in the wake of Howard Stern’s departure for satellite radio is decidedly the more desperate act.

Sweet Home Alabama — Sometimes Hail Marys are caught or — take your pick again — answered. ‘80s hunk Patrick Dempsey of “Can’t Buy Me Love” fame was all but forgotten until he gambled on a role as Reese Witherspoon’s romantic patsy (destined to lose out to the more current Josh Lucas) in 2002’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” It paid off: Mr. Dempsey’s career found new traction, and he now stars in the hip TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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