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Top 5 Most Overrated Actors Working Today 
10th-Mar-2006 01:34 am
Colbert Truthiness
First off: my main goal for this list is to take a strong stance that may upset people and lead to differing opinions and possibly a discussion. Thus, it is possible that I left someone out, since I haven't poured over this list trying to find the EXACT five people. That said, I stand by my list here, and didn't just do it to be a troll.

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.

Yes, making dudes and chicks want to fuck you is a talent, but it's not exactly 'acting'

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.

My name is John Cusack, and I'm too good for this list.

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.

A thousand teenaged girls start sharpening their knives for something other than cutting themselves...

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?

My next baby will be named 'Potato'

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?

In the time it took me to write this post, Sam Jack wrapped five movies

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.
Comments 
10th-Mar-2006 08:49 am (UTC)
I have to say, I agree ENTIRELY with the comments on Jolie. I disagree with Depp, though I think your comments are fairly valid (though I think there's a difference between "guy who plays weird guys" and "guy who plays the same weird guy every time," especially when it's fairly clear and established that Depp CAN play real, ordinary peopl).
10th-Mar-2006 08:49 am (UTC)
People. Typos suck.
11th-Mar-2006 05:40 am (UTC)
That's a good point. Depp does play a variety of weird guys, unlike, say Christopher Walken, who plays the same guy every time.
10th-Mar-2006 11:59 am (UTC)
Oh god.

You put in Jolie and Depp.

:D I approve of this list.
10th-Mar-2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
A big fat "I totally agree" to all, especially Depp. I'd now like to make my own, semi-associated list: Top One Overrated Directors. Here goes:

1. Tim Burton

There.
10th-Mar-2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
Make it a Top Two & put Oliver Stone on it.
10th-Mar-2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
Woody Allen?
10th-Mar-2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Well shit.. now someone should just make a list.

1.... 2... 3 NOT IT!
11th-Mar-2006 05:45 am (UTC)
Wes Anderson.

Betcha don't want me to make that list now, do ya?
11th-Mar-2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
No no, make it all you like, that's cool. Life Aquatic kinda tarnishes Anderson's credits in a way, & Bottle Rocket was an above average movie, but certainly not for everyone. To an outsider or Johnny Multiplex, I can see how watching a Wes Anderson film could feel very condescending. They don't have those knee-slapping moments & broad generalizations.
12th-Mar-2006 03:49 am (UTC)
This, briefly, is why Wes Anderson is overrated: he is more interested in his style of passively framing his characters as if they were cardboard cut outs than he is in developing them as three-dimensional human beings. I've heard that Gene Hackman completely resisted Anderson on this during Tenenbaums, and got away with it because he's Gene-freaking-Hackman. And thus, Tenenbaums is Anderson's best film (the only one I truly like). Because the star was able to work around Anderson's shortcomings as a director.
10th-Mar-2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
Agreed for the most part, especially Paltrow and Jackson. What irritates me the most about Jackson is how he is selecting awful movies to act in, and seriously is so proud of himself because he's such a bad ass now in the eyes of so many movie goers.

"I didn't even read the script, I just saw the title 'Snakes on a Plane' and said I'm there."

I thought that movie was a joke, but it's really going to happen!?

Depp's one of my favorite actors but yes he is overrated. He's at a point where he'll be in anything and people will see it just because it features him. I thought Pirates of the Carribean was horrible, and I'll probably be forced to see the sequels ... oh joy.
13th-Mar-2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Snakes on a Plane has brought nothing but pain into my life as my friends will NOT SHUT UP ABOUT IT. I wish the thing would come out already so we can MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES.
10th-Mar-2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
The fact that some of you may consider this sacrilege is why he is overrated.

So, besides theskooch, who else is included in this group of people?
10th-Mar-2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
Actually I don't consider it sacrilege. I've noticed it in a lot of Cusack performances where he just seems to be phoning it in to a shitty movie, or like in Must Love Dogs where his character was just so absurdly different from everyone else in the movie.

Plus, I believe Cusack's #1 Box Office movie is fucking Con Air. The guy isn't a bankable movie star, he's more like a Rental King.
10th-Mar-2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
I figured it was down to you and lazerbug at most.
10th-Mar-2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
I think it's unfair to judge Snakes on a Plane without having seen it. I'm betting that Snakes was just the shooting title for the film & that they'd organise focus groups or something to find a better title for it. But since the Internet Community has pretty much been like "FUCK YEAH, SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!! ZOMG, a movie that actually says what it's about," the producers & market research probably will stick with it now. That said, I'm not expecting Snakes to be anything ground-breaking in the least.

That being said, I'm pretty much in agreeance with your list. Also, I don't feel like wracking my brain thinking of others.
11th-Mar-2006 12:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't agree with Cusack or Depp. I think there's a difference between being overrated with no talent (i.e. Jessica Alba, Paltrow, Liv Tyler) and being overrated WITH talent.
11th-Mar-2006 05:39 am (UTC)
There is a difference, but that wasn't in my criteria for this list. It was simply whether I believed their level of talent matched the level of hype that surrounds them. I would say all five people on this list are talented, but not as talented as many people say they are.
11th-Mar-2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
I don't see much hype for Cusack mainstream-wise though. Most of his movie releases are greeted with a meh-like attitude. In fact with that criteria, I would've put Jolie & Depp at 1 & 2, since most of their movies are insanely hyped-up, with Jackson at 3, Paltrow at 4 or even off the list (since she keeps getting knocked up), with Cusack at 5. But that's just my opinion & you keep getting more comments outta this.
12th-Mar-2006 03:46 am (UTC)
Cusack has a significant fan-following that will follow him anywhere, all the while believing that his presence in a movie gives it a stamp of quality. That's why he's overrated for me. As I said in the post, the reason why Jolie isn't higher on the list is because her mystique as a "great actress" slips every year. While she is the least talented of this bunch, she is also the least acclaimed. For her, the hype is more of the Paris Hilton variety (a list of the Most Over-Hyped Stars would look different than this list-- with Jennifer Aniston at the top).

I didn't rank Johnny Depp higher because I don't bother to see a lot of his movies, and I enjoyed him in Finding Neverland and Donnie Brasco, two films that go against my criteria for listing him in the first place. As for Paltrow, she was nominated for a Golden Globe this year, which keeps her in the overrated status.
12th-Mar-2006 03:38 am (UTC)
Johnny Depp is my number 1 pick, most of the time he cannot carry a film at all, he is all style and no substance. To irritate my brother who likes Depp, I made a list of 50 actors that never get any Depp-like recognition who are all better at Depp of playing either quirky characters and of playing actual human beings. When he does not do a wacky character and has no gimmicks like cartoonish accents or a funny look, a lot of times he comes across as more bland that Keanu Reeves. I think he probably avoids playing human beings since that probably takes so much more work that just phoning in a cartoon character performance. I do like some of his work, but I just view him as just another actor that is nothing special.

I would actually like him a lot better if he was a supporting guy, like if a real actor would carry the film with Depp at his side.
15th-Mar-2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with Paltrow. Cate Blanchett was soo robbed of that oscar!
11th-Apr-2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with you on Jolie, Paltrow, and Jackson. I really love Cusack and Depp, though. But kudos to you for having the guts to put some really ballsy choices on your list.

And yes, I know this comment comes insanely late, but I just joined the community.
12th-Apr-2006 12:57 am (UTC)
No worries about the lateness. The best part of this community is that posts are stored and organised so that people can access old posts easily at any time. Feel free to comment on any old post.
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