Cuba Gooding: What a Long Strange Trip

"Welcome aboard the Cuba Gooding Jr. Experience. Please keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times, secure your hats and other loose items, and enjoy the ride."

Just a warning announcement before we embark on the roller coaster career of Cuba Gooding Jr.

He has a new movie coming out in August called Daddy Day Camp which is about a couple of dads in charge of a summer day camp. Directed by former Wonder Years star Fred Savage, it's a sequel to Eddie Murphy's Daddy Day Care. Think Home Alone meets Meatballs.

Once again, I'm left scratching my head about this Oscar winner's up and down career. I've never seen someone ping-pong back and forth so much between serious films of note and terrible movies that should never have been made. Let's take a quick look at Cuba's roller coaster ride of a resume.

1991: Going up!

Cuba bursts onto the scene in John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood, and follows it up with a small role in A Few Good Men a year later.

1994: A small drop

The first signs of Cuba's cinematic-schizophrenia emerge when he appears in Lightning Jack with Paul Hogan.

1995 to 1998: Going up, again!

A new round of better films gives us hope for Cuba's career, including Outbreak, Losing Isaiah and an Oscar-winning performance in Jerry Maguire. That's followed quickly by a small but memorable role in As Good as it Gets and then the surreal drama What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams.

1999: Another drop

Cuba's second buddy flick, Chill Factor, leaves moviegoers cold.

2000 to 2001: Heading back up

Men of Honor gives Cuba the honor to star alongside Robert De Niro. A year later he's in the big-budget ensemble Pearl Harbor.

2001 to 2002: Whoosh, back to the bottom

I didn't think it could get any worse then when he starred in Rat Race. Until, that is, he starred in Snow Dogs and Boat Trip. What were you thinking, man? What were you thinking???

2003: What goes up...

Our see-saw star tries to gain back some of his stature with a powerful performance in Radio.

2007: ...must come down.

This year we've been treated to Norbit, and now Daddy Day Camp.

So what's next for Monsieur Gooding? Why, back up again, of course. Cuba will be starring alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in American Gangster, a gritty drama directed by Ridley Scott about drug smuggling in Harlem in the '70s.

I'll give him one thing. He sure knows how to keep us guessing.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.