5 Great Actors Who Keep Making Shitty Films


Some performers are destined to make their living in schlock. We’re not going to condemn them for this. We love schlock, and those folk who throw their all into them are part of the reason we love them. On the other hand we have the A-List. People we look to when we want a performance to move us, to raise the bar and to go down in history as a legend.

And then some of them appear in shitty films. We know they can do better, and we’ve seem them do some amazing things with their talent, yet they persist in making crap. Not just the odd clunker, but piles of shit. Time to name and shame.

Johnny Depp

The Talent

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Ok, you saw this one coming a mile off. Wind back a decade – even less than a decade – and it felt like Depp could do anything. After stepping out of the small screen he built a reputation with amazing performances in Fear and Loathing in Las VegasEdward ScissorhandsWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dead ManEd Wood and Blow. Even some of negligible projects like From Hell and Sleepy Hollow were weighted by his good performances. He broke into the mainstream with his madcap performance as Capt. Jack Sparrow and became the industry darling and fan favourite.

The Crap

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When the sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean were announced we were stoked. Sadly they fell pretty flat. This shouldn’t have have been more than a bump in an otherwise stellar career but everything has been downhill since. Secret Window was lacklustre, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was confusing, The Libertine was dull and then it seemed like he just stopped caring. Stilted and awkward performances in Alice in WonderlandSweeney ToddThe Rum DairyThe Lone Ranger, The Tourist and Dark Shadows. When a cameo in 21 Jump Street is the only recent highlight, something has gone wrong.

Is It Going to Stop?

Currently on the slate is a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, another Pirates of the Caribbean and some shit by Kevin Smith. So…no.

Nicolas Cage

The Talent

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It’s become one of those ‘wacky’ bits of trivia about how clueless Hollywood gave Nicolas Cage an Oscar. What were they thinking, don’t they know Cage is ridiculous? Look at the memes! Maybe it was that awesome performance in Leaving Las Vegas that convinced them. Then there’s other great performances: Vampire’s KissRaising Arizona, 8MMBringing Out the DeadMatchstick Men, the amazing Adaptation and more recently Kick-Ass. When he’s taking a role seriously he can deliver the goods.

The Crap

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But when he’s not he can drag a movie into the ground and out the other side of the planet. The Wicker Man is the bottom of a pile that features Next, Ghostrider, Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Season of the Witch, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, City of Angels, Face/Off, Con Air, Guarding Tess

Is It Going to Stop?

Unlikely. He seems to have embraced his status as a kooky loon. Plus he’s got debts to pay.

Peter Dinklage

The Talent

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Tyrion. Fucking. Lannister. Easily one of the most entertaining characters in modern television. The intellectual and quick-witted but malformed son of House Lannister is always a highlight on Game of Thrones, one of the best TV shows ever. By admission of series author George R.R. Martin he provides the best interpretation of the original character. In addition Dinklage won massive acclaim for his withdrawn character in The Station Agent. Plus he’s filled out entertaining supporting roles in Death at a Funeral, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Elf.

The Crap

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In between seasons of Game of Thrones Dinklage appears to have a pretty lazy approach to picking movies. He fills out the cast in cheap, second rate comedies including The Boss, Pixels, Knights of Badassdom, I Love You Too, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, one of the Ice Age movies and most recently the perplexing-because-it-exists Angry Birds Movie. Plus there’s the downright confusing dwarf comedy-drama-thing Tiptoes. That one is just weird.

Is It Going to Stop?

We hope so. Rather than the cookie cutter comedies we’d like some more challenging roles.

Rachel McAdams

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The Talent

McAdams killed it in 2004. Absolutely killed it. Between the critically lauded role of queen bee Regina George in Mean Girls and the lead in one of the most popular romance films of the modern age The Notebook she must have had every door in Hollywood open to her. It was enough to overwrite her role in The Hot Chick. She’s also gotten positive reviews in Sherlock Holmes and Spotlight.

The Crap

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She needs to fire her agent because she is a proven talent turning in good performances in forgettable roles. Wedding Crashers and Red Eye should have solidified her fame but they were forgettable. What followed was a decade of largely forgotten films – Passion, State of Play, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, The Vow, Everything Will be Fine, About Time and the heavily criticised Aloha. The second season of True Detective should’ve been a slam dunk, but sadly it’ll be best remembered as the season not as good as the first.

Is It Going to Stop?

We should be expecting good things, but she’ll need another break out role to get back on track.

Liam Neeson

The Talent

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Neeson, the gravely voiced Irishman, made his way through the ranks of the film industry for a decade and half before landing the lead role in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, a performance for which he justifiably won pretty much every award. He rode this success for a while, playing similarly historical roles in Rob Roy and Michael Collins and he’s turned in a couple of cool villain roles, such as Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins and Bad Cop in The Lego Movie, but from 1999 something was going wrong.

The Crap

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First off the bat in 1999 was The Haunting, a pissweak remake of House on Haunted Hill, comparing poorly to classic horror actor Vincent Price. Following this was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a disappointed waste of time with flat, dull performances of ridiculous dialogue. Since then there’s been interchangeable angry vigilante roles in Taken 1, 2 and 3, A Walk Among The Tombstones and Non-Stop, formulaic Hollywood remakes of The A-Team and Wrath of the Titans and unfunny comedies A Million Ways to Die in the West, Anchorman 2 and Ted 2. And he was in Battleship.

Is It Going to Stop?

We doubt it. He seems to have lost the passion.

There’s plenty of other actors who will get a spot on this list the next time around. If you’ve got a suggested, chuck it in the comments!

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