“I think there was something in me at a young age that was not worried about success, but was worried about becoming a better actor” – Paul Dano. How do you differentiate between a good actor and a bad one? I believe three things matter the most : Versatility, control over the words uttered through the body as well as the tongue and most importantly, the culmination of every emotion to impact the viewer. Now I believe this is not as subjective as comparing films, because though actors show depth, it’s nowhere near that of a film. You may look up to the actors as messiahs of entertainment or art, but when it comes to judging, they have to be measured on the same scale. Actors, as Dano says aspire to achieve one thing in life: success, but may choose to either gain it immediately or as a result of their dedication to the profession.
Though I wouldn’t like to generalise, but I assume we are all aware of the differentiation between actors who chose the former and the ones who do not. It isn’t, however, necessary that people who indulge in serious acting cannot chose immediate success at a later stage in life, as we’ve seen many great actors go wayward in their careers. Every era has a set of actors who set new lows for many other names to follow suit. I’ll now be looking at the worst actors/actresses working at present. To be noted, I’ll be considering the given names as actors and not performers, there’s a big difference between the two. With that said, here is the list of worst actors working today.
10. Johnny Depp
Starting off the list with, yes, you do not need to read the title twice, this is a list of the worst actors and Depp has emerged as a strong contender, something he might have to agree with. It’s been more than half a decade since Johnny Depp has actually given a performance that would be worthy of any kind of praise. Depp’s greatest assets have always been his chameleonic versatility and comedic charm. Its 2017, and versatility has become an essential quality demanded from actors and people like Christian Bale, Jared Leto and Eddie Redmayne have given a new edge to the craft, while Depp’s multiple personas may look different but possess the same quirkiness.
Talking about his charm, it is fading away and an actor cannot survive only on witty one-liners and comedic body language. This trait has always been restricted to comedians, which Depp surely is not. His various characters lately; Jack Sparrow is as dusted as the franchise, The Mad Hatter was good but didn’t deserve a central place in a sequel, Mortdecai was amateurish while Tonto was typical of Depp (makeup and deadpan). His collaborations with Burton are no longer a salvaging option as the director himself faces steady decline, and it can only be advised that he features in low budget alternatives that are character oriented.
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9. Dakota Johnson
There was a time when actresses like Marilyn Monroe or Sharon Stone were considered sex symbols not only because of their bodies, but the way they synced it with seductive body language and delivery. Getting casted in a mediocre erotic thriller, apparently makes you a hot property in the business. Dakota Johnson’s acting feels like it’s contained by handcuffs and chains. The only thing that’s gonna rise after her performance is your sugar levels, a resultant of all the popcorn you had to eat to console yourself for spending 2 hours of your time. After a decent performance in ‘The Social Network’, which was the perfect stepping stone, her venture into comedies didn’t prove out to be fruitful. The fact that she received international recognition over her casting for a character rather than her performance, says a lot. Though not everyone can salvage their careers like Kirsten Stewart, let’s hope Johnson who’s got decades in front of her realizes the impact of her affiliations.
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8. Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson, for more than one decade has only been Samuel L Jackson in every movie. Though people may argue about his Nick Fury, have you ever seen his delivery? He simply reads lines. Now, I do not call him a bad actor, in fact he has had some great performances in the 80s and 90s, in genre defining movies. But his angry black man attitude has now got monotonous and it was something you would’ve expected him to grow out of, after ‘Unbreakable’. Evidently, more than half of the world hasn’t grown tired of his same old mannerisms, and production houses as well as the actor have decided to bank on it. To track the last time SLJ played an original character, you’d have to go back to 2011, where he played Black in ‘The Sunset Limited’. The man has talent, but I’m not quite sure if he really cares anymore.
7. Will Smith
There was a time during the mid-2000’s when Will Smith was considered as one of the most talented actors. ‘Independence Day’, ‘Men in Black’, ‘Hitch’ and ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ proved how he could drop kicks, one-liners, charm and tears with such ease. Where did it all go wrong? I believe Will Smith has never evolved from that POH stage, never really stepped out of his comfort zone. He has tried to tackle difficult roles, but they are nothing he hasn’t done before and he is unfortunately stuck in this loop : Action comedies or Oscar baits. ‘Suicide Squad’ was an all time low, and no amount of sadness in ‘Concussion’ or ‘Collateral Beauty’ is gonna sway audiences. He is an A-lister now, and has a fan following that’d never let his bank balance reach 6 figures. Another criticism would be his melodramatic approach. In ‘Ali’ and POH, he portrayed real life characters and their adversities and it worked out extremely well for him as an actor, his emotional range was astonishing. But now, every alternate movie of his explores the same emotions and he tries to force them, rather than acting them out.
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6. Nicholas Cage
NOT THE BEEEES! Nobody on this list has been as good an actor as Nicholas Cage was. So, it is sad to witness his never ending descent into critical and commercial trash. Around 8 of his last 10 movies have failed to cross an RT score of 30%! He ended the 20th century with some solid action flicks and started the 21st with ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ and ‘Adaptation’, then arrived ‘The Wicker Man’s and nothing has ever been the same. He did find his slickness back as the Ghost rider but his desire to take on a multitude of films completely varying in genres, resulted in a complete mess and his over-the-top acting naturally didn’t fit into many.
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5. Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy. Annoying. The two words are turning to be synonymous. McCarthy, along with Amy Schumer, Rebel Wilson and Leslie Jones are an emerging group of female comedians, who will always remind us about the disastrous state of entertainment in today’s world. I’m no male chauvinist, but this over-the-top loud, pretentious brand of comedy is laughable and TV-show gags do not make films! Lazy physical comedy mixed with offensive sarcastic remarks regarding feminism, unfortunately goes down well with the tumblr consuming world, and McCarthy has made a career out of it.
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4. Zac Efron
The 21st century has seen an astronomical rise in the number of sex comedies, and almost 80% of them are as funny as a German scheisse. You’ll usually find two kind of performers in them : the versatile ones, who tend to try every genre without compromising their touch and the others, who should probably spend the time they do in the gym on acting classes. Guess which category Zac Efron falls in? After amassing a huge fan base for his role in teen comedy ‘High School Musical’, he could have used the exposure like Heath Ledger or Emma Stone did. But he just graduated from teen to adult comedy. He is no Christian Slater either, and his only dramatic role worth mentioning is the one in ‘The Paperboy’ alongside Matthew McConaughey.
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3. Megan Fox
Megan Fox was never a good actress to begin with and has shown no signs of ever becoming one. Spielberg has helped launched several careers, and Fox is one of them. Remember that scene in ‘Transformers’ where she has hot shorts on and looks sexy? If you think about it, that’s probably every scene featuring her, in the movie. We all know how Michael Bay movies work and with only a couple of half decent actors around, you can’t really blame her for bad characterization. She later appeared in ‘Jennifer’s Body’s which was quite different and could’ve paved a path in horror, but it was then followed by the horrendous ‘TMNT’ live action adaptation and it was only when the computer generated images acted better, her qualities were confirmed.
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2. Adam Sandler
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1. Tommy Wiseau
I think as members of the human race, we are always in dire search of a revelation and most of them, fortunately or unfortunately are right in front of our eyes. As Locke says “The greatest art of learning is to understand but little at a time” and maybe Tommy Wiseau’s talent, though not incomprehensible is taxingly hard to realise. “Oh, Hi Reader! How’s your sex life!” Who am I kidding. Absolutely no surprises here. Taking the mantle away from the King of bad actors would be blasphemous and this is exactly why Wiseau tops the list. Wiseau’s name first emerged when his movie ‘The Room’ was universally panned and gained a status of the greatest worst movie ever made. Take into consideration, all the controversies surrounding the filming and it’s enigmatic auteur whose true identity is the subject of hundreds of conspiracy theories, The Room elevated Wiseau as the undisputed king of bad acting. Why does he find a place on my list when his last movie came out in 2003? Wiseau’s appearing in a new movie ‘Best F(r)iends’ with friend Greg Sestero, which is scheduled to be released this year. Probably the only actor to look forward to from this list.
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