Actors With One Movie That Fooled You Into Thinking They Could Act

We all know that even the greatest of actors with have a bad day at the office once in a while. They’re great… but even the best has a bad performance or two on their resume, that if you saw it, and ONLY it, you might be fooled into thinking that person couldn’t act or should at least sign up for some Takelessons acting classes. Well… sadly, the opposite of that is true as well. There are actors out there who just can’t carry a film to save their lives, and yet they fluked into have ONE good day at the office that tricked you into thinking they were good actors, and thus got about 10 more movies lined up… which didn’t work out.


So I now present to you, 9 actors who can’t act, but tricked us into thinking they could with one good outing.


Actors-Hayden.jpg1) Hayden Christensen (Life as a House)
At the 2002 Golden Globe awards Hayden Christensen got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Life as a House. A very special movie with apparently some very special performances. I thought Christensen was so good in it, that it became my fall back position for whenever over-zelous fanboys would harp about how Hayden couldn’t act. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of years defending the “talent” of this good Canadian boy. Sadly, after a long string of piss poor performances like in Awake, Jumper and Factory Girl… I can no longer just write off his wooden performances in the new Star Wars movies to George Lucas just not knowing how to direct actors. At some point you have to start looking at the actor themselves… and we’ve reached that point with Christensen.


Actor-Heather.jpg2) Heather Graham (Boogie Nights)
Oh she was that sexy little girl on the roller skates… and Boogie Nights was awesome… so that means everyone in it was awesome too right? That’s a mistake a lot of people make. Just because a movie was good, they believe that everyone who was in it was good too. That just simply wasn’t the case with Heather Graham in Boogie Nights. What you saw is what you got with her… and she spent the last several years pretty much proving that she doesn’t have anything else left to show us. She just can’t act, it’s that simple. Go watch Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged me, or perhaps anything else she’s appeared in since.


Actor-Chris.jpg3) Chris O’Donnell (Scent of a Woman)
Damn this guy was the Hollywood golden boy for a while. Scent of a Woman comes out where he gets to act opposite Al Pacino, he does a great job doing more than just holding his own while on the screen with a legend… and suddenly everybody wanted him. Great. One problem… it appears that instead of holding his own, Pacino was carrying this guy, because as we started to see in just about everything he appeared in afterwards… this guy can’t carry groceries. Batman??? Are you kidding me? The Bachelor??? Vertical Limit??? These movies didn’t just suck… he sucked in them. Some people may argue that he’s found his groove on TV. Personally I haven’t been impressed with his TV work either. He almost pulled something off with Circle of Friends, but that was more Mini Driver than him. Yeah, Scent of a Women almost had us fooled, but Chris O’Donnell is Hollywood’s golden boy no more.


Actor-Amanda.jpg4) Amanda Peet (The Whole 9 Yards)
There aren’t enough digits in modern mathematics to calculate how often I fantasized about licking chocolate off this woman after seeing her in The Whole Nine Yards. She was my movie day dream girl for a couple of years and as a matter of fact I still think she’s one of the 3 most beautiful women in Hollywood. She was sexy, funny and apparently talented. She was a big reason why I loved that movie so much. I’ll still zone out once in a while imagining her and I running on some beach… but I digress. Sadly, after The Whole Nine Yards she got several opportunities that she just couldn’t capitalize on. Saving Silverman, Changing Lanes (which was a GREAT movie, but she just stood out for all the wrong reasons), The Whole 10 Yards, A Lot Like Love, yadda yadda yadda. That magic she had in 9 Yards seemed to disappear. I hope it comes back some day, that it wasn’t just an illusion. Sadly, the proof suggests the illusion theory.


Actor-Kate.jpg5) Kate Hudson (Almost Famous)
Kate Hudson looked like her career was being shot out of a canon after Almost Almost Famous. She was poised for huge success. Bread from fame, a sexy look, and seemingly could really act. Yup… she was going to be the next “IT” girl. I’ll even give her that she wasn’t bad in the solid Rom-Com “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days”. But that special something that everyone thought she had wasn’t there. Nor would it ever rear its head again as we’ve been subjected to her horrible performances in movies like Four Feathers, Raising Helen, The Skeleton Key, You Me and Dupree and most recently Fools Gold. Yes Kate, you did a great job fooling us into thinking you could really act in that one movie… but the jig is up and we’re on to you now! Maybe you should hook up with Owen Wilson again. That’ll create some headlines.


Actor-Jon.jpg6) Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Napoleon Dynamite was one of those pop cultural phenomenon’s that spread like wildfire through nothing but word of mouth primarily, and at the heart of it was the performance given by star Jon Heder. A total unknown who was suddenly being quoted by everyone on every campus in America, and whose image was adorned on every 5th t-shirt you saw on the street. This guy was going to be the next big thing in comedy! Oh wait… no he’s not. Turns out Heder was a one trick pony who can’t live nearly up to the hype created by his early (and fluke like) success. Usually the exact same guy, Heder has tried and failed in projects like The Benchwarmers, School for Scoundrels, Blades of Glory and Mama’s Boy. Hear that bell Heder? It’s the alarm clock… your 15 minutes are up. Please move along.


Actor-Mira.jpg7) Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite)
To be fair, I suppose it’s hard to go anywhere but down after winning a frigging Academy Award! Man Sorvino was good in Mighty Aphrodite. I mean REALLY good. So what happened to that girl, and when was she replaced by the look-a-like who ended up appearing in movies like Mimic, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and a few other totally forgettable roles? I mean really… someone this seemingly talented, beautiful and from a good bloodline steeped in Hollywood with an Oscar on her shelf should at the very least be a legit A-Lister right? Nope. Today you’ll be hard pressed to find her on the direct to DVD shelves or guest appearing on House MD. A potentially fantastic career flushed away because it was a torch just too big for her to handle. Shame.


Actor-Ed.jpg8) Ed Furlong (American History X)
No one gave much notice to Edward Furlong in Terminator 2 because he was just “that kid” in the movie. He neither brought anything to the film nor did he distract from it. He was just sort of there doing his thing which is fine. But in American History X it looked like he was showing us flashes of brilliance. Perhaps a prodigy was emerging before our eyes? Oh no… those are just sun spots, cause it ain’t Furlong. There are a lot of stories that run around this town about the whys and hows of Furlong apparent fall from Hollywood grace, but really the bottom line it he just doesn’t have the chops to be a movie star. Some people try to champion a couple of his smaller projects (like The Crow flick he did), but I just don’t see it… apparently no one else does either.


Actor-Orlando.jpg9) Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings)
Orlando Bloom was the face that made all the little girls scream with delight in the Lord of the Rings films. Women went bloody NUTS for Legolas. As a matter of fact, my friend Mylana watched Two Towers with me in the theaters… and at the scene where Legolas grabs the horse that Gimli is on and swings himself onto it’s back while the horse was in full stride (you know the scene) made her turn to me and basically proclaim that the first man she saw (present company excluded) after the movie was going to get raped. Yes, Orlando made the juices flow. But more than that, he played the role well. Surely this skinny hunk was going to have a great career! Nope. Everything Orlando Bloom has been in since dreadfully shows his lack of ability time and time again. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Pirates films, Kingdom of Heaven, Elizabethtown or Troy. Each time given a great opportunity… and each time fell flat on his face. Too bad.


So there you have it folks. I’m sure there are some on this list that you agree with, and some you’ll vehemently disagree with… but that’s the beauty of the subjectivity of the art. The question I have for you is…. Who else would you put on this list, and what was the one movie that made you think they could be a great actor?

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123 thoughts on “Actors With One Movie That Fooled You Into Thinking They Could Act

  1. Orlando Bloom is not even an actor. He’s a face with 1.5 expressions that recites scripts. He ruined the lavishly amazing Kingdom of Heaven. His co-stars in that were so good in comparison it was like he was a wooden dummy being pulled around.

  2. Nice list.. however Edward Furlong doesn't belong on it. While I agree that American History X was his best performance I would even say genius.. yet it is not the only great performance. Danny Vinyard is an extremely well written and layered character.. it also helps when director knows what he's doing and the story is something to write home about. Furlong proved that he has talent numerous times. I think he was fantastic in T2 he definitely held his own against other actors. Especially when you compare him and Stahl as John Connor.. Who the hell even cast Stahl? O.o Furlong is also good in:

    American Heart , A home of our own, Brainscan, Little Odessa, Before and After, Pecker, Detroit Rock City, Animal Factory, 3 blind mice, Stoic and who can forget the crazy mofo Shane Casey from CSI NY? I'm yet to see all his films, so I might have missed something. Also Matt's Chance looks like its going to be a trip.. hope to see it soon.

    Sometimes the films he's in are bad, but Furlong is good. He needs to go to rehab ASAP and have a good old career revival.

    Lack of talent didn't kill his career DRUGS did.. the moral of the story is……. DON'T DO DRUGS!

  3. Great idea for a blog topic. I think you missed the ultimate example though. 
    Sylvester Stallone for Rocky. He was being compared to bloody Brando etc after that!! Turns out thats just how he is. 
    And he cannot act

    1. Get a life kid.sly is one of the best actors in Hollywood.
      Just watch that scene where he cries in’s gonna change your mind for sure

  4. I know this is an old topic now, but Alicia Silverstone should definitely be #1 on this list. Once an “it” girl, but never made a decent movie since Clueless. Can’t even remember any except Batman Forever.
    And her Aerosmith buddy Liv Tyler should be on there too.

  5. Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel in the happening, worst acting ever!
    Annabella Sciorra
    I never thought Julia Roberts could act
    Top of the list Madonna

  6. Hayden Christensen was pretty good in the film “Shattered Glass”. But that film was a small, low-key ensemble kind of thing. Which goes to show he really cannot hold his own in the big blockbuster stuff.

  7. on the subject of hayden in jumper rachel bilson should have been on that list too and the other movie last kiss ( I THINK THAT WAS THE NAME OF IT) and now she doing another waiting forever i mean how does she get these roles her voice is like scratching fingernails on a chalk board and the blank look on her face she should have stuck to tv.

  8. Diane Kruger-Oh wait, never mind. I’ve never seen a movie that she was actually good in (hell, I LOVED Troy, but she sucked in that film)

    I actually don’t think Bloom is a bad actor. He was great in everything I’ve seen him in besides Troy. But Kruger was worst than him in Troy (THERE, I said it)

  9. Hey Landfill,

    You are 100% wrong.

    If you are a PAYING customer of movies, you have every right to cheer, boo, praise or criticize the work of those you are paying to see. Plain and simple.

    By the way… if you’ve ever said “that guy is a good actor” then you’re being a hypocrite, because you’re giving an evaluation.

  10. I find it funny that people who have never acted in their life are commenting on the acting ability of others. Until there is an understanding of how a film is made, what an actor’s creative process is like, and why they choose the roles they do, people should keep their mouths shut.

  11. Tom Cruise may be a weirdo now but Magnolia, Born on the 4th of July? C’mon! He’s been in a lot of good movies. And I don’t necessarily like Nicholas Cage but having seen Raising Arizona, I’ve developed a slight fondness for the man who rocked the socks off of several movies such as Leaving Las Vegas and I my self liked his performance in Wild at Heart. Some people should watch more movies.
    I personally don’t like Julia Roberts though, but she ain’t a bad actress. I’ve seen bits of Brockavich (maybe mispelled).

  12. Hmmm.. for me Orlando Bloom is the worst actor/new-comer to date, the only reason he was(percieved good) in LOTR is because the Elf character doesn’t require him to act. If he was Aragon, LOTR probably failed delivering what it did. This guy fails to project any sort of correct/believable human emotions. He just can’t act. Do you guys remember how WillTurner wanted to copy Captain JackSparrow’s drunk-like-movements in PotC? wtf?? He shouldn’t be on this list, he should be in the worst actor list as N0.1.

    a question here, what makes a bad actor? and how do they effect the over-all movie experience? your thoughts on that :)

  13. I agree with you wholeheartedly on some of your picks but isn’t part of the problem the follow-up choices these actors make? Take Orlando Bloom for example, he appeared in a lot of schmaltzy lame-ass films where all that was required of him was to have great hair & look good. The same pretty much goes for O’Donnell as well. The king of course is Matthew McConaughay, who just walks around shirtless & calls it acting. With that said though, you are 100% on the money.

  14. yeah cuba has an oscar but probably he went and point a gun on the dudes if they did not awarded him with it.CUBA CAN’T ACT!HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Keanu was good in The River’s Edge, though it’s been a while since I saw that movie. He was perfect for the Bill & Ted movies as well, but I guess that wasn’t much of a stretch.

  16. @nbakid2000

    Wrong with Darjeeling Limited: Pretty much everything. It had the look and sound of a Wes Anderson movie, but none of the feel. Just a major downer all the way through that never captured the sparkle of his earlier films. Had I never seen his previous movies, I would probably have said it was good just for the style points, but to me it was really disappointing. I elaborated a bit more on my blog:

    The Scarlett Johnansson comments are just way off to me. She’s even good in her crap movies.

    If Tom Cruise hadn’t been acting all nutso, nobody would be putting him in this list. His resume is impressive as hell. Rain Man, Top Gun, Born on the Fourth of July, Risky Business, A Few Good Men, Magnolia, Losin’ It. These are great movies and solid performances. Well, ‘cept Losin’ It.

  17. Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings was his stand out! LOL. I thought he was a very bland elf in that… tho’ I must admit, those Ring movies are not exactly stand out movies for me, should of seen the tantrum I almost threw when my Mum forced me to go see one of the movies after I’d already told her I just “saw it the other day Mum!” *sigh* I was forced to sit through a very long movie that I was not that much into for a second time.

  18. It’s a good list but I wouldn’t put Furlong in there. Yes, he was great in American History X and hasn’t really lived up to that level of critical acclaim but that’s not to say he hasn’t been good in anything else. I thought he was great in “Pecker”, pretty funny in “Detroit Rock City” and lets not forget his excellent performance in “Animal Factory”. Sure, he’s been more miss than hit the last few years but given the right material he steps up to the plate.

    And thoguh I’ve liked Mira Sorvino in a bunch of films, I wouldn’t consider any of them a testament to her acting abilities.

  19. Hayden Christensen shines his best in indie movies with strong ensemble casts. He was very good in “Life as a House”, “Shattered Glass” and I liked him very much in “Factory Girl” though it was a brief role. Kudos to him for pulling off the “Factory Girl” role under difficult circumstances due to Dylan’s lawsuit threats. He was forced to tone down the role (in which he is not supposed to be Dylan) but the essence of the musician is still a really good performance.

    Jumper still keeps him playing a character between late teen and young adult (like Life as a House and Shattered Glass) but I think that’s because there is an expected Jumper sequel about his older character. It’s getting harder for him to play those in-between ages parts since he’ll soon turn 27. He should do fine once he breaks free of those types of roles.

    I still think that, outside of the Star Wars movies he’s done, there are too few movies on which to really judge him just yet. Time will tell and patience is a virtue.

  20. You forgot Halle Berry. HALLE BERRY for the love of all that’s overrated! Taking it from Billy Bob and screaming and crying in Monster’s Ball fooled everyone. For shame.

  21. disagree wholeheartedly with Tom Cruise. It is a common misconception that he can’t act. Watch: Jerry Maguire, Collateral, Magnolia, Born on 4th July, A few good men, last samurai

  22. I must say, Scarlett Johansson sucks big time. If there was only one name out of all those to choose from, she’s the one. She truly cannot act, at all, I’d put her in the number 1 slot. I could stare at a picture of her for 2 hours, but as soon as she makes a face, or speaks, I’d prefer to punch myself in the face over and over.

    After her, Keira Knightly. She should learn how to close her damn mouth when she’s not talking and then open it a little more when she does attempt speech.

    I also agree with, Julia Stiles.

    In fact, all three of them are basically the same character.

    Colin Farrel, he acts with his eyebrows; move them inward, he’s being emotional; move them up, he’s being comedic. That sums it up for him.

    Matthew McConaughey is another idiot who doesn’t know how to close his mouth.

    Jonah Hill !!!! Horrible, I couldn’t enjoy superbad at all because of his complete lack of timing, he just blurbs out the lines.

  23. I think its a little early to proclaim Orlando Bloom, however, signs are not very positive.

    There have been lots of people who won Oscars that you have never heard from again. Winning an Oscar is not a guarantee that you are automatically always good in everything you do. In baseball, for those that remember the Mets with Dwight Gooden, had about 2 or 3 stellar years, and then they sucked.

    Anna Paquin won for her role in The Piano, but has not really done anything to reach those heights. She is good, I like her, but ultimately her career is mediocre.

    Sometimes its the movies they choose. Cuba has too many “disney”-like movies under his belt that move you away from serious roles and into family entertainment.

  24. I fucking HATE Kirsten Dunst. Everybody was lining up to kiss her ass after Interview With The Vampire(Which she wasn’t all that spectacular in). If it wasn’t for those fucks, I wouldn’t have had to watch her sleepwalk through Spidey 1-3 and pull the WORST Southern accent of ALL TIME in Elizabethtown.

  25. Good list. I completely agree with Hayden Christenson. He was great in “Life as a House”, but everything after that kept getting worse. I lost all hope for him after seeing “Factory Girl”. Who’s horrible idea was it to cast him as Bob Dylan?

  26. while i agree that orlando bloom is a terrible actor, i could watch him stand about & do nothing for 2 hours and be happy. whenever he talks in a movie i’m thinking “hon, just be quiet and pretty, that’s all you can handle.”

  27. Mostly right.

    I despise Hayden Christenson but he was decent in Shattered Glass. Not sure if you’ve seen that.

    Heather Graham was also decent in From Hell (movie not so much, but she was good enough).

    Same goes for Mira Sorvino in The Replacement Killers. The movie was a cheap Hong Kong knock off, but she performed well enough.

  28. @ Reed

    What was wrong with Darjeeling Limited?

    Now seeing as I’ve only seen like 3 John Travolta movies off the top of my head (Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction and Hairspray) I want to say he did an incredible job in Hairspray and a really good job in Pulp Fiction. I still haven’t seen Grease…

  29. @Josh – cool. I’ve yet to see Marie Antoinette or Shopgirl, so I’m willing to reserve judgment until I do. Darjeeling Limited had so many things wrong with it, and in my opinion he didn’t do much to salvage anything, though I hardly feel that the movie’s flaws were his fault.

  30. @ SFSilver

    Although I never saw Six degrees of Separation (although I have heard of it), Will Smith, for me, is a seriously talented individual. He’s made me laugh (Bad Boys, Prince of BelAir, Independance Day), he made me cry (Pursuit of Hapiness), he made me believe he was Mohamed Ali.

    OK, some movies sucked (Wild Wild West, Men in Black II) but he’s a sure fire winner in most films and always attracts my attention.

  31. Jason Schwartzman was the only good thing about “Shopgirl” (besides the haunting score) and he was also subtly perfect in “Marie Antoinette” and “The Darjeeling Limited.” He hasn’t really reached the level of excellence since “Rushmore” but he’s at least taking roles in good movies, and turning out pretty strong performances.

  32. In general I think this is a very solid list. Oh the glories of subjectivity.
    For me I actually really enjoy the broad campiness of Mira Sorvino in Romy and Michelle so she would come off the list for me. Amanda Peet’s work on Studio 60 more than proves she has real acting chops, she was very good on that show.

    I don’t buy the Edward Furlong or Hayden Christensen’s inclusion because I think at his best they’ve been mediocre so I wouldn’t say they’ve ever proved to me even as fluke that they are any good.

    Kate Hudson had already impressed me as the standout member of the rather large cast of 200 Cigarettes even before her very much award caliber performance you mentioned. I think she’s a victim of bad management and script selection.

    I would add to your list Tatum O’Neil – an old choice I admit, but her Oscar winning turn in her film debut launched decade long career of trying to recapture that fleeting spark she demonstrated in “Paper Moon”. Also Anna Pacquin. So great in The Piano, and a sad, stilted, awkward, film stopping, waste of screen time ever since.

  33. Forgot one – what about Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation? He was superb in that movie. I am not making judgment because I really haven’t enough of his movies. But I assume he can’t really act, right? Judges ruling?

  34. Oh yeah, after reading the comments, I would have to disagree with a lot of other people’s opinion that Cuba Gooding can’t act. Rather vehemently. I think he’s a terrific actor. In everything he’s ever done, specially Jerry Maguire.

    He had a small role in that Pearl Harbor movie. The movie was pretty bad, but I think Cuba was one of the very few shining moments in that film. He was also terrific in As Good As It Gets and Boyz in the Hood.

    One of the worst actors I’ve ever seen in a relatively successful movie was Stephen Lack in Scanners. Just simply awful. It made you appreciate how awesome Michael Ironside is in it.

  35. I take one major issue:
    Edward Furlong was fantastic in T2. It’s bull to dismiss him because he was “only a kid.” He also gave a strong performance in Little Odessa, which just wasn’t that good a movie, unfortunately. Heck, he was even good in that damn Aerosmith video. By your rules “with only one movie,” I don’t think he can qualify. My understanding is that he got into drugs and that’s when it all went south (right around Detroit Rock City or so). He’s still got potential.

    I was gonna argue with Mira Sorvino, but since the only thing I’ve seen her in since MA was The Grey Zone (and her part’s not that big, though she plays it well), I’m gonna have to nod politely.

    I agree with the Katie Holmes thing, though even watching Pieces of April, I kinda figured it would be her one good performance.

    Biggest oversight here:
    Jason Schwartzman — I don’t think anyone exemplifies this category better. Rushmore – just an amazing performance. Everything he’s done since – weighing down whatever movie he’s in. I feel sad writing this.

  36. I actually, agree with pretty much everyone on the list. Furlong…he actually distracted me from enjoying T2. He was that bad in it.

    And it took you long enough re: Hayden. I know that good movie he was in. I agree he was good in it. But your opinion of George Lucas is probably a little too low to blame him from Hayden’s dismal performance in Star Wars. I knew it was Hayden all along.

    I have expected to see Ben Affleck on the list. He was absolutely bloody awesome in Hollywoodland. He wasn’t so good in other movies. But I guess he’s got more than one movie where he showed he got some real acting talent in there.

  37. @Andreas, Mozzerino

    I wasn’t comparing the two actors. I like Mel Gibson movies in general and I hate Rob Schneider movies BUT Mel Gibson was shit in Ransom and Rob Schneider was funny in Deuce Bigalow.

  38. Excellent post John

    I would agree and disagree with all thats already mentioned but I would also add Vin Diesel. I loved his character in Pitch Black (and even in Chronicles of Riddick a few years later). Since Pitch Black I was just gunning for this guy to make it big but unfortunately he hasn’t. XXX, Fast & the Furious, just didn’t do it for me, always the same character with the same delivery of wise cracks.

    Nuff said.

  39. While I loved Vertical Limit, the weak link of the cast was Chris O’ Donnell. When I think of Verical Limit, I think of all the crazy non stop in your face suspense every three miinutes, and all the great character actors in it.

    I had recently seen ‘Jumper’, and I don’t think the failure of that film was on Christensen’s shoulders alone. It was simply a horrible film, perhaps butchered in the editing room if not the script stage.

    As for Cuba Gooding Jr:
    Race has nothing to with it. His work in Gladiator (the underground boxing film with James Marshall- where is that guy, anyway…?) Boyz N The Hood, heck, Lightning Jack. And as rancid as Peal Harbor was, Cuba was good in that picture too. Of course, he also played a person who actually fought at Peal Harbor…

    But after Jerry? Cuba has to get crap like Boat Trip. His best work since? His one minute scene in American Gangster.


    I also liked Kate in The Skeleton Key.


    Despite getting screwed by the Wienstiens, I heavily enjoyed Del Toro’s Mimic. And Mia Sorvino in it.

    Not a huge Paul Walker fan. But there was, as pointed out, Running Scared, and I came close to namedropping Eight Below…but technically, the doggies had more screen time.

    But….there is one name…who said it?
    Who said it?
    Who do I owe the guiness too???


    Bob is da man!

    Julia Stiles.

    Bob is spot on.
    I also want to ive a shout out to Urkel.
    Well said Urk. But you forgot Ice Cube, Snoop and 50 cent.

  40. I used to like Cage in his early stuff, he even mutters the most bad ass line ever in movie history when he’s surrounded by thugs in Wild at Heart. He pulls up a smoke, lights it, looks around and asks: What do you faggots want?
    He was fantastic in Raising Arizona but lately he just bugs the shit out of me. Mostly because every month he seems to be in another movie. And he’s usually either the suave Cage or the crazy eyed Cage.

    Cuba I haven’t liked ever since I saw him in Boyz in the Hood, he can’t pull off a convincing bad ass to save his life. There is just something about this guy that I don’t like.

    Here’s an idea for another list. Actors that sucked to begin with but blossomed later on.

  41. @Mozzerino.

    That’s exactly what i was trying to get across. Rob Schneider shud not be on the list cos he cant act, he can play the fool like any snl actor. And the oscar goes to…Rob Schneider :P. Vinnie Jones was merely playing himself in Lock Stock. He is a former football player.

  42. You guys are forgetting one giant of a tease actor. His name is Tom Arnold. I mean other than the True Lies, um I’m almost retching remembering the crapfests he’s made.

    Also, how about Gary Sinise? Good in small doses he can’t carry a role.

    Another actor who mails it in frequently is Ashton Kutcher. But you catch glimpses.

    Guy Pearce So good in Memento, but good god since then….
    Jason Schwartzman…
    Devon Sawa…disappear much?

    Actresses: Erika Christensen (Traffic), Kate Bosworth(Wonderland), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect), and the Queen of potential Kim Basinger (LA Confidential).

  43. @ Vek

    I’m sorry man, but talking shit about Mel Gibson while in the same sentence saying that Rob Schneider was good in DEUCE BIGALOW, that is the most insane thing I have ever heard.
    Oh, and Keanu wasn’t good at all in THE MATRIX. He wasn’t that bad and that was enough for that movie.
    The Golden Globes may mean shit, but neither Keanu nor Schneider will ever get one. The only awards that await them are the Razzies.

  44. You guys should do a list of people who get credited for being “actors” or even getting award nominations” for playing a role similar to their own personality.

    Angelina Jolie. Courtney Love. Keira Knightley. Queen Latifah. John Heder. etc.

  45. @Andreas

    The Golden Globes mean shit, and everyone in the industry knows that. Go back and watch Ransom again and his performance is that of a goddamn drug addict. It’s so bad. Vinnie Jones was great in Lock Stock. Keanu Reeves was great in The Matrix, Rob Schneider was actually funny in Deuce Bigalow… but aside from that? Every actor has been good in at least one thing or they wouldn’t get work.

  46. First of all, John – this post is amazing, it consummates what I love about your blog… original post ideas, intelligently articulated, and interestingly cool writing.

    Now for my pick – Katie Holmes in “Pieces of April”

    A gorgeous performance, utterly heartbreaking, and I’ve never seen anything like that from her since. I know she’s had a bit of the Cruise mind meld, but I’ve always wanted to see another delightful role from the missus since I saw “April” in ’03. We know what she did to “Batman Begins” (although that was still my favorite of ’05) and every other performance she’s “turned in” from her pointless role in “Thank You For Smoking” (a great film otherwise) to the moronic “Mad Money.” Ugh.

    At least Patty Clarkson went from “April” to a slew of equally amazing flicks and roles. A juicy return to form would be wonderful, but I don’t think it’s necessarily warranted (or desired for that point).

  47. My choice is Scarlett Johansson. I LOVED her in “Lost in Translation” but I thought she was not good in “The Prestigue” (didn’t like the movie at all) and pretty boring in the not-good “The Island.”

    She IS very pretty though.

  48. If anyone has seen Pride and Prejudice there is NO WAY you can say that Keira Knightly is a bad actress. She jumps off the screen in that movie and hits one out of the park. Her facial expressions alone are worth seeing the movie over and over again. It is interesting to see how many of those on the list today had great writing backing up the screen play like Lord of the Rings.

  49. Good start of a list… but y’know there are lots of worse actors that get paid much better and haven’t done anything good since ’95.

    Nicolas Cage: He sucks.
    John Travolta: He sucks hard.
    Tom Cruise: Blackhole of the Talent Universe.
    Al Pacino and Robert Deniro: As much as it hurts to say it ’cause i love their movies, they’ve traded in method acting for gimmicks… Shouting and Squinting are not always called for guys

  50. VEK. I think u have confused this list slightly. It is about actors who were good in one movie which made everyone believe they could actually act.

    David Spade, Keanu Reeves, Rob Schneider, Vinnie Jones? When have they ever given off the impression that they can actually act. They all do popcorn flicks. They are movie stars not actors.

    It not about actors who were bad in certain movies either. In ur opinion Mel Gibson cant act because he was apparently bad in Ransom, a performance he was nominated for a golden globe for!

    Disagree with Cuba guys, he just picks crap. He was good in Jerry Maguire, Men of honour, As good as it gets, even Radio.

  51. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so) Another great Nick Cage film not mentioned: VAMPIRE’S KISS. He’s gloriously over the top in that one. As for Kate Hudson, Cuba, Mira S., I’d agree with those who say they suffer at script choice rather than acting ability. But, to turn the conversation back on itself, isn’t that PART of acting–the actor’s estimation of his/her own abilities against the material?

    I also agree about Travolta. God, he can suck. But Samuel L? Oh, no, my friend. He’s always fun to watch.

    I wonder if Kirsten Dunst shouldn’t merit a mention. I watch her and I’m thinking, “Is anything at all going on behind those eyes?”

    And I hate to say it, as a HUGE X-Files fan…David Duchovny. Everything else he tries, he absolutely, positively sucks the energy out of. It makes me go back and watch the Files and think, wow. He actually kinda sucks there, too, but they just wrote it well for him.

  52. @ KC
    Walker doesn’t belong into this category either, because he has never given a good performance in anything.
    For the same reason Keanu Reeves would be wrong here as well.

  53. Oh come on Dave,
    Sam Jackson makes a LOT of bad movies, but that is because he makes a LOT of movies period. The guy shoots about 100 films a year, so of course most of them are bad. I don’t exactly know why he does it, my guess is he is just extremely bored sitting at home, or maybe has a bitchy wife.
    However, for every THE MAN, or XXX:STATE OF THE UNION, there is something like BLACK SNAKE MOAN.
    He isn’t a one-hit wonder, he’s just in a lot of shitty movies. There’s a difference.

    Now Travolta on the other hand……I give you that one.

  54. Paul Walker… I think he is horrible. I was really looking forward to Timeline after reading the book but I could never get past that guy’s performance in the film. He’s been in a couple other movies and I’ve yet to see a good performance out of him.

  55. I can’t believe we are missing the Grand Poohbahs of all over rated actors. There are two and they were both great in the same film and rarely even good since…

    John Travolta
    Samuel L. Jackson

    Every once in a while they will pull a performance out of their hats (187, Face/Off..way over the top fun) but they totally suck otherwise.

  56. Don’t diss my boy Nic Cage here, he is just a very greedy man and therefore does all this awful blockbuster, but it’s not only LEAVING LAS VEGAS that proves he is a really good actor, look at ADAPTATION or RAISING ARIZONA.

    Love this topic by the way.
    I would add Jennifer Lopez to the list. She was good in OUT OF SIGHT and that was it. Every movie with her has been a disaster since then.

    Oh and of course Ikea Knightley has to be added. She was alright in ATONEMENT, but that was the only film I didn’t absolutely hate her in.

    1. Keira Knightley wasn’t that great in Atonement. I thought Saorise Roanan out acted her, but she was great in Pride and Prejudice. In fact, that was my favorite movie for the longest time because of her.

  57. Yeah VEK, totally. Sarsgaard pretty much rips it up in everything he’s in.

    Also, Tea Leoni is pretty damn impressive in “Spanglish” – but other than that, I can’t think of anything she’s particularly good in off the top of my head. The one with Robin Williams and David Duchovny she was alright in I guess.

  58. @ Sound Designer Dan,

    Yes. He was awesome in that. I forgot about that. He should do comedy more and just stop trying so hard to be tough. He’s a wimp and that’s fine.

  59. I actually think Nicolas Cage is actually a remarkable actor who just chooses shitty movies (Next, the Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Windtalkers). His best work: Matchstick Men, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, the Weather Man, Bringing Out the Dead AND Raising Arizona. C’mon with films like that, how can you be considered a shitty actor?

    Hayden Christensen is just a shitty actor who’s just great at playing assholes (Life as a House, Shattered Glass).

    Kate Hudson would have been a more critically acclaimed actress if she hadn’t chosen the easy way with shitty ass rom-coms.

    Despite Orlando Bloom being in so many trilogies and epic films, his best work for me had to be the guest starring role in “Extras.”

  60. I recognize that Cuba Gooding Jnr. Tea Leoni and Nicolas Cage can all act — but I fucking detest them. I would rather die than watch them in a movie. No joke.

  61. I’m with you on all but Peet and Hudson. Hudson are not great but not bad either. I had the same opinion about Peet until I watched “A lot like love”. Not the best movie, but she was good.

    About Cuba. He can act, but can’t choose, wisely.

  62. and to SHPORQ:

    are you for real?

    Richard Gere – Days of Heaven, Chicago, I’m Not There, The Hoax, Primal Fear, Officer and a Gentlemen (surprisingly though, no Oscar nods, so you got me there.)

    Tom Cruise – Magnolia (Oscar nom), Born on the Fourth of July (Oscar nom), Eyes Wide Shut, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Vanilla Sky, Colateral, Jerry Maguire (Oscar nom)

    Julia Roberts – Steel Magnolias (Oscar nom), Closer, Stepmom, Charlie Wilson’s War, Pretty Woman (Oscar nom), Erin Brockovich (Oscar),

    Nicholas Cage – Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas (Oscar), The Weatherman, Adapatation (Oscar nom)

    1. Don’t forget Matchstick Men. Sure, Nicholas Cage hasn’t been in a good movie in a long time, but he’s had multiple good movies, proving that he really can act even if he hasn’t done so well recently.

  63. I completely disagree with Heather Graham, Mira Sorvino and Kate Hudson, and to be fair I have no beef with Chris O’Donnell. The rest I would agree with. I would add David Spade, Thandie Newton, Kate Beckinsale, Keanu Reeves, Rob Schneider and Vinnie Jones.

  64. Actually, Christiansen was pretty good in “Factory Girl” and “Shattered Glass.” But other than that, I can’t really argue with you, his movies are shit (Awake **shudder**)

    And to BeBlack. Yup, it’s totally a race thing. Good thing you brought that to our attention. It’s not that Cuba hasn’t done any good movies since Jerry Maguire, it’s just that the movie watching community doesn’t like the color of his skin. Same thing goes for Denzel and Cheadle.

    In other words STFU you tool.

  65. Great list John. I completly agree with Jon Heder, Hayden Christinsen, and Orlando Bloom. I dont know why but for some reason I really like Amanda Peet. She was pretty good in Studio 60.

  66. @DIG – you’ve gotta be kidding. Joaquin Phoenix? Have you ever seen Walk The Line? He even made horrible movies like Signs and The Village almost watchable. Almost. Also see Return to Paradise, 8MM, Clay Pigeons, U-Turn. I haven’t seen most of his other films, but I can imagine he is just as awesome in each.

    I could add a few to this list: Richard Gere, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Nicholas Cage, Wynona Ryder, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore. All horrible actors. Not an ounce of talent combined.

      1. Nicholas Cage: Moonstruck. Birdy. Raising Arizona. He was fantastic in those movies. The problem was when they started casting him as an action hero, and he started believing he was one. Noooooooo no no no — in fact, groooooss! Quirky, offbeat, original characters — that’s what he was great at. Indiana Jones wannabe, that’s what he sucks at. But he used to have that thing, that amazing thing — he just left it in a ditch somewhere a few years back.

  67. I;m sorry but i have to say that Tommy Lee Jones is a fuckin terrible actor….everyone loves him and he is the same dude in every movie.

    How bad was heas 2 face……wow

  68. These are obvioulsy our opinions, but it’s hard to say someone can’t act when they have an oscar.( Mira Sorvino- and Cuba , OMAR)

    You can say they havn’t been succesful since then, but that doesn’t mean they can’t act.

    1. Seriously, Joaquin Phoenix? The guy is a chameleon (though I would say Gladiator was his best). He was amazing as Johnny Cash, he was enjoyable in Signs, and also Hotel Rwanda.

      You could say Marlon Wayans in Requiem for a Dream. Though that might be more suited for a list of actors who were only in one good movie

  69. I would put Cuba Gooding Jr in there as well. Although I’ve never liked him as an actor the Academy apparently thought he could act in Jerry Maguire so other people thought so as well, and cast him in Snow Dogs and other classics.

    Keira Knightly should be there also.

    After seeing Peet in Studio 60 I thought she was really good and I’ve never really thought she was that bad, maybe that has something to do with her being fucking smoking hot.

    But I agree with just about everyone on this list.

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