If I could pick a "Hollywood career" for my own, all in all, I think I would want John Sayles's. 30 years and still strong, he makes fantastic movies. Movies one would be proud to call his own. He writes them. He directs them. He produces them (with help). He edits them. Sometimes he acts in them (with enough screen time to be recognizable, but not so much that he'd get stalked by paparazzi).
He funds his own movies by writing horror movies (Piranha, Alligator, The Howling) and script doctoring (The Fugitive, Apollo 13) others.
He owns his movies. Highly unusual.
He's personally received 2 Oscar nominations (original screenplay for Lone Star, and for Passion Fish) and dozens of critics awards. His films have picked up a few more.
It's especially notable that his first film, The Return of the Secaucus 7, has been selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry.
Blah blah blah.
Among my personal favorites is Matewan (1987), based on the true story of coal miners fight to unionize in West Virginia in the 1920s. The cast includes Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, James Earl Jones and David Strathairn. Its cinematography by Haskell Wexler earned an Oscar nomination. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is 100%.
So why haven't you seen it?