Thirty years ago, Hollywood stood poised to be conquered by a plucky young actor named Mickey Rourke. ¶ After a promising start in flicks such as "1941," "Body Heat" and "Diner," the New Yorker sat on the verge of superstardom. Critics cheered him along for roles in "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and "9 1/2 Weeks." But by 1991, the can't-miss star was trying his hand at professional boxing and every film appearance became more embarrassing. A few botched reconstructive surgeries later, and suddenly Rourke was a cautionary tale. ¶ But thanks to his Oscar-nominated role in 2008's "The Wrestler," and with his villainous turn as Ivan Vanko in "Iron Man 2," it seems safe to say his comeback is complete. ¶ Here are five celebrities we're eyeing for a comeback:

Eric Roberts The brother of Julia Roberts once scored Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for 1985's "Runaway Train." Drug arrests and domestic-violence charges effectively banished him to TV projects in the '90s. But after his role in 2008's "The Dark Knight," Roberts' dance card could fill up fast.

The fix: Roberts should hitch his star back up to his frequent collaborator, Rourke, who has campaigned to give his old friend a second chance.

Val Kilmer He dazzled moviegoers as the Doors' Jim Morrison and Wild West outlaw Doc Holliday. But a lackluster take on the Caped Crusader in "Batman Forever" and the bomb "Red Planet" -- along with a reputation for being difficult to work with -- jettisoned Kilmer into deep space.

The fix: Go back to your comedy roots, Val. Everyone loved you in "Top Secret!" and "Real Genius," the 1985 college flick that reportedly is being considered for a sequel.

Cuba Gooding Jr. He stole the young girls' hearts in 1991's "Boyz n the Hood" and even took home the Oscar for playing the truculent Rod Tidwell in 1996's "Jerry Maguire." But "Daddy Day Camp"? Really? Thankfully, his role in 2007's "American Gangster" started to turn things around.

The fix: Hooking up with George Lucas for the World War II flick "Red Tails" is a start. Gooding's either going to be the next Harrison Ford -- or the next Hayden Christensen.

Whitney Houston Didn't she almost have it all? Yep, and she almost lost it all, too. After years of chart-topping pop success and crossover success in films such as "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale," it was her rumored drug abuse with hubby Bobby Brown that derailed her career.

The fix: Divorcing Brown in 2007 was a necessary first step. Her 2009-10 world tour, however, is getting poor reviews. Give yourself another minute to exhale, Whitney.

Courtney Love Rolling Stone calls her "the most controversial woman in the history of rock." Once married to grunge god Kurt Cobain, she carved out a name for herself with her band, Hole. Her role in 1996's "The People vs. Larry Flynt" even scored her a Golden Globe nomination. But drug and legal issues over the past decade have turned her into a punch line.

The fix: Detach from Cobain's legacy and focus on the music. Reuniting Hole and releasing a new album this spring were the perfect start.


Here's some advice for five other celebrities who haven't earned a second chance just yet.

Lindsay Lohan: Stop drinking, lose your parents' phone numbers and get out of the public eye for a while.

Mel Gibson: Can you say "Lethal Weapon 5"?

Mischa Barton: After legal woes for being an unlicensed driver and drunken driving, isn't it obvious? Just take a cab.

Chris Brown: Stop hitting women.

Charlie Sheen: Oh, who has the energy?