I’ve made no attempt to hide my admiration for John Travolta on this here website over the past few months. Besides being a strong actor with diverse tastes in the movies he makes and the parts he plays, the star is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, in my experience, and he always seems to talk frankly and honestly when a reporter puts a microphone in front of him.

So it didn’t surprise me to read Travolta’s recent comments in London’s Independent newspaper, in which he apparently expresses some regret about the roles he turned down and path he has taken. The actor says he could have had Richard Gere’s roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and Chicago and Tom Hanks’ parts in Splash and The Green Mile, and indeed Travolta says that he’s jealous of Hanks’ career.

addCredit(“Pulp Fiction: Everett Collection”)

Well, my gosh, who wouldn’t be? And, of course, setting aside the filmsTravolta turned down, he’s made some even more boneheaded decisions inthe movies that he actually opted to do (Battlefield Earth, duh,among others). He may have had more ups and downs than anybody inHollywood, but can we really criticize him for taking on somewhatdaring mainstream projects like Primary Colors or risky indie fare like White Man’s Burden or A Love Song for Bobby Longjust because critics or the ticket-buying public may not have embracedthem? I mean, as my colleague Gary Susman argues, when he’s up theregetting an Honorary Oscar in 20 years, people will remember Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy, Get Shorty, and Pulp Fiction rather than, you know, Perfect.Moreover, when you look at how much someone like Clint Eastwood (who,heck, played opposite an orangutan… more than once!) has done tospruce up his legacy in the waning years of his career, it’s clear thatTravolta, who’s only 53, has plenty of time to make us forget hisembarrassing turn as the hulking alien Terl. Don’tcha think? Shouldn’tthe erstwhile Tony Zuko Vega buck up?