When considering someone for the overrated list, I am considering more their ability as an actor/movie star in comparison to the attention and acclaim they receive for being an actor/movie star. This is not to be confused with people who are simply more famous than their level of ability would suggest they should be. For instance, Paris Hilton is confoundingly famous, yet no sane person claims that it is for any special talent of hers, thus she may be overly famous, but certainly not overrated.
5. Angelina Jolie- She starts the list because while she's overrated as both an actress and a movie star, she's not THAT overrated because more and more people are starting to catch on to her shortcomings. Of course, you may not believe that she's overrated at all, so allow me to enlighten you. Don't get me wrong, Jolie is über-hot, which is the secret to her celebrity. Which is fine, if people didn't also think she was a great actress, and worse, a bankable movie star. Jessica Alba is über-hot, but no one is giving her an Oscar. Jolie already has one. But here's the thing: the next good movie Jolie is in will be her first one. Yes, she seemed to act really well early in her career, playing troubled wild girls in Gia and Girl, Interrupted. Then, we got to know her and her wearing-Billy Bob's-blood ways, and it seemed less like she was "acting" and more like she was "being". As a movie star, Mr. & Mrs. Smith was the first movie she was in that didn't flop since 2001's Tomb Raider, which I would argue made money more due to the property itself than Jolie's presence. There's a reason why everyone talks about Girl when they talk about how much they love Jolie, and the reason is that they hadn't seen her in anything but magazines since then. The box office certainly suggests that they didn't see her in theatres.
4. John Cusack- That's right, John Cusack. I'm going there. The unofficial mascot for this very community, and I'm calling him out. The fact that some of you may consider this sacrilege is why he is overrated. Look, I love High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank as much as the next guy, each ranking high on my all-time favourites list. He is great in both, so great that it has blinded me to the fact that the guy churns out a lot of crap (2005 being a prime example of this). Apologists who think Lloyd Dobler can do no wrong will argue that everyone has to eat, that he may do a movie or two for the paycheque, but then he makes Being John Malkovich and everything's okay. But here's the thing: when Cusack is doing an inferior film (and he's done many), one that he CHOSE to be a part of, he generally gives a detached performance, in a "I'm too good for this movie and I know it way". And that? Is bullshit. You don't get to phone it in just because America's Sweethearts is beneath you. It isn't beneath you John, looking at your filmography suggests that it's par for the course.
3. Johnny Depp- Man, I'm just looking to alienate myself aren't I? Hey, the list isn't fun if I take on the usual suspects. Depp is one of those actors with a legion of fans that will see him in anything. He's a brand, and his brand is built on the rumour that he is a phenomenal actor, a movie star that is way more substantial than your typical movie star. He's the movie star you love if you hate movie stars. I'll admit, I liked his performance a lot in Finding Neverland. You know why? Because it was the first time in a long time I can remember a Johnny Depp role that resembled a human being. A human being that wasn't some caricature of some pop star of varying description. I get it. Depp does quirky roles. But if that's all he does, then he doesn't exactly have the great acting range his legions of fans would have you believe, does he? In some ways, it's easier to play kooks on screen. A truer challenge is to make a seemingly ordinary character become interesting. You know, like Depp did in Donnie Brasco?
2. Gwyneth Paltrow- I'm not saying Paltrow isn't talented, because she is. However, she is no more talented than Kate Winslet or Rachel Weisz (in fact, maybe less so), yet is infinitely more famous. Why? Because she's stylish? So is Paris Hilton. Because she's pretty? If you say so. I mean, she is pretty, in the traditional sense, but no prettier than say, Kate Winslet or Rachel Weisz (in fact, maybe less so). But do you know what Paltrow does have more of than Winslet and Weisz? Besides a rock star husband, that is? More bombs than Kim Jung Il. For all her red carpet fame and critical admiration, the only truly great film of her career in which she was a lead is Shakespeare In Love. That's it; and that was over seven years ago. Yes, both The Royal Tenenbaums and Se7en are great, but they would've been just as great without her involvement. Hell, you could've put Gretchen Mol in her place in Se7en and the movie would've been the same. Since Tenenbaums, it's been a steady string of Shallow Hal, View From the Top, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and Proof. Explain to me again why this makes her more relevant than Mira Sorvino?
1. Samuel L. Jackson- Jackson has been in roughly ten thousand movies in the past twenty years, and as time passes, the percentage of good to bad is dipping lower and lower. He's like an aging slugger chasing hitting records, all the while his career batting average drops. Which isn't to say that it's time Sam Jack hangs em up. I'm not even saying he has to stop being in so many movies. The guy likes to work. I get it. Better to be addicted to working than crack, I say. But, if he does insist on being in every The Man, Basic, and Snakes on a Plane that come along, then we have to agree to stop counting him as one of the best actors in Hollywood. And don't give me that, "the movies may be bad, but Jackson's always good in them" crap either. Cause he's not. Here's another thing: yes, Samuel L. Jackson is great at delivering fiery dialogue. He even had an extended cameo in a movie just so he could ironically do so. But just as great acting is more than just playing quirky characters, it is also more than just yelling bible quotes into the camera. Jackson is pretty good at what he does, and I've been entertained by what he does more than once. But I'm tired of people giving him a pass on every piece of garbage he's put out there, simply because he was a Bad Ass Mutherfucker in Pulp Fiction. If he isn't interested in protecting his resume, then we shouldn't be so quick to protect it for him.
There you go, enough snark to make me the new villain of topfive_reviews. I'm ready for it.