Out of all of the rom-com queens we’ve crowned and dethroned, Kate Hudson is the one I keep coming back to. Call me corny, but her performance as Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe‘s inspiring film Almost Famous permanently earned her spot in my heart. So, for Valentine’s Day, let’s look back on her career…

It was Crowe’s autobiographical effort that carried Hudson to fame. She won a Golden Globe and earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Penny, the fearless and charismatic leader of the groupie group called Band-Aides. But the movie that really earned her a spot on the A-list was How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. The romantic comedy, which also starred Matthew McConaughey, earned a total of $105.8 million at the box office. Those are big numbers for a romantic comedy. Then again, this was way before movies in the genre earned a bad name. As Amanda Dobbins’ points out in a recent Vulture piece, How To Lose A Guy “is a relic of a happier time, when Hollywood still believed in female audiences and [Hudson] hadn’t done that horrible movie about ass cancer.” Which leads me to my next point…

Actors fall out of favor all of the time. Sadly, their careers have the life span of a Mayfly (it’s a tough business). Hudson stomped all over her pretty career with lukewarm rom-coms like My Best Friend’s Girl, Alex & Emma and You, Me and Dupree. What’s even more baffling is that Hudson once admitted that she was not a fan of these types of movies, and yet she continued on with Fool’s Gold and Bride Wars.

Hudson did meddle in a few other genres, but never made a true effort to break out of her typecast role. For whatever reason, Hudson was able to get a part in the Daniel Day-Lewis musical Nine. Her role was specifically made for her. After that she went to Sundance with The Killer Inside Me. Both of these films earned mixed responses from the critics, but the fact that she was trying to do something different was commendable.

But it all turned out to be a phase because Hudson snapped right back to her old ways. What followed were the extremely bad and cringe worthy movies A Little Bit of Heaven and Something Borrowed. That last one was particularly heinous.

Even though all of these movies were her choices, she’s not the only one who’s to blame. Right now, the romantic comedy genre is like the GOP party – wildly confused, which may make Katherine Heigl their George W. Bush. Hollywood just doesn’t want to invest in these movies or give former rom-com queens a fighting chance. But if there’s hope for the Republicans, then there’s some for Ms. Hudson. Lately she’s been hanging around Glee, playing the role of the aging stage actress Cassandra July. Though her character is not particularly nice, Hudson is great in the part.

Actors are always rising from the ashes. Look at her former co-star Matthew McConaughey. Before 2010′s The Lincoln Lawyer, he was making a lot of bad choices. But last year, he won critics over with his performance in Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike, and this year’s Mud is being hailed as his “rebirth.”

Hudson’s career is a giant question mark. She should’ve jumped off the rom-com train long ago (maybe never boarded it). Currently, it seems like she’s ready to try other films again. She recently took her political thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist to the Venice Film Festival. She’s also lined up to star with Ewan McGregor in a comedy called Born To Be King, by Academy Award winning director Peter Capaldi. It would be nice to see Hudson back on top, lighting up the screen with her winning smile and starry eyes, but it’s up to her to make that happen.

Do you think Kate Hudson can rise again?