It's been 25 years since Julia Roberts became a certifiable superstar, with two back-to-back Oscar-nominated performances. First, she played the feisty but ill-fated Shelby in Steel Magnolias, then she became the street-wise but soft-hearted hooker, Vivian, in Pretty Woman. The rest, as they say, was history.

Everybody has a dream. In some cases, it's finding a great job or getting a good deal on a new car. Or perhaps you fantasize about performing to a sold-out crowd on Broadway, or winning the Kentucky Derby.

Over the years, we've seen Meryl Streep survive a Nazi concentration camp. expose the hazards of nuclear power, operate an African coffee farm, dominate the fashion world and negiotate the challenges of eternal life. But can she lead a bar band? Of course she can: She's Meryl Streep. And she rocks with conviction in director Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash

Tom Cruise found his franchise, although it took a while for the Mission: Impossible films to hit their stride. For a while, these films seemed like afterthoughts in Cruise’s career, the kind of projects he made when he needed a sure-fire international success to reinforce his box office bankability — or when he wanted to collect a major-league check for playing with cutting-edge gadgets, driving dreamy cars and strolling through exotic locales.

It's one thing to conquer the stage as a stand-up comic. It's considerably more difficult to take that comedy club clout and turn it into a successful movie career.