When it Comes to Some Actors, a Career Face-Lift is Required

1/03/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Spencer Morton

I was never much for New Year’s resolutions. I’d always hit the gym for a few weeks, but then I’d decide that just eating a chocolate donut would be more fun. So to usher in 2010, I’ve made some resolutions for actors who need a little jumpstart. The following actors have shown a great amount of talent and potential, but their movie choices in the recent past have been questionable at best.

The likes of Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan will not be on this list because, as previously stated, having talent is one of the requirements. It must be tough for Hilton knowing that her best-known film was 2003’s hour-long, night-vision sexual rendezvous, which received a wide release on computers all over the world. It was like “Quarantine” or “Paranormal Activity,” only not as scary…or was it scarier?

But I digress…

Here’s to hoping these actors can turn things around in 2010:

John Turturro

This guy needs to pick up a phonebook and look up either Joel or Ethan Coen. They bring out the best in Turturro. “Barton Fink” proved that he can be a seriously effective lead actor, and “The Big Lebowski” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou” showcase his skills in a supporting role. His role as Pete in “O Brother” was one of the most underrated performances of 2000. Since that film, Turturro has had a rough go of it.

He hooked up with Adam Sandler a couple times for 2002's “Mr. Deeds” and in 2003's “Anger Management." He was funny, but got lost in the sea of stupid Sandler jokes. He was solidly creepy in 2004’s “Secret Window,” but was overshadowed by Johnny Depp’s quirkiness and manic mannerisms. Recently, it’s been real bad. Supporting roles in the “Transformers” series, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” (again with Sandler), and “What Just Happened” have shown his judgment is at an all-time low. A bit part in 2008’s God-awful “Miracle at St. Anna” didn’t help. His performances are getting smaller and the movies he’s in are getting worse.

Pick up the phone book John….pick it up.

Robert De Niro

We all know what the two-time Oscar winner is capable of doing onscreen, so I won’t elaborate on that. De Niro was basically the God of film acting in the '70s, '80s and '90s. However, watching him act now is deeply aggravating. Ever since 2000, when he played Fearless Leader in “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle,” things haven’t been the same. Damn squirrel and moose.

Since that debacle, De Niro has been in a slew of boring thrillers (“Hide and Seek,” “15 Minutes,” “Righteous Kill”), unfunny comedies (“Showtime,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Analyze That,” “What Just Happened”), and “Stardust,” for which I can’t find a fitting, appropriate adjectives. His "comeback" was supposed to be 2009’s “Everybody’s Fine.” Academy and Globe folks were pushing hard to get him a lead actor nomination, but sane people realized the movie was below-average and his performance was just okay.

Hopefully 2010 can bring life to a dying career. De Niro has got a part in the much anticipated Robert Rodriguez flick “Machete,” but than again, so do Steven Seagal and Lindsay Lohan.

Sharon Stone

Once the sex-symbol of the late '80s and '90s, this actress is now a ghost. Her bold, sexy performance in 1991’s “Basic Instinct” made this seductive blonde a household name. In 1995, Stone won a Golden Globe and garnered an Oscar nomination for her role in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino.” She was at the height of her acting career.

And then she disappeared.

She fell out of the mainstream for reasons unknown and decided the best way to resurrect her career was to star in 2004’s “Catwoman.” Her Razzie nomination shows how well that turned out. She compounded that mistake in 2006 by starring in “Basic Instinct 2.” This time she brought home the Razzie award for worst actress. Since then, she’s joined Cuba Gooding Jr. in the world of straight-to-DVD films.

Stone was admired and respected for her gritty, seductive, strong characters. Somewhere, it was lost along the way. 2010 doesn’t look hopeful. It looks as if she has a few more stinkers on the way, but a comeback is always possible. Crazier things have happened.

Forest Whitaker

Whitaker is a bit of a conundrum. He deservedly won the lead actor Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” His performance was eccentric and terrifying; one of the best of the decade. He also has the dubious honor of starring in 2000’s “Battlefield Earth,” a major contender in any ‘worst movies ever’ list.

Unbeknownst to many, Whitaker also is the reigning heavyweight champion of the “ensemble-cast, intertwined-lives, chain-reaction movie” world. He’s been in four them since 2007 (“The Air I Breathe,” “Vantage Point,” “Winged Creatures,” “Powder Blue”). “Vantage Point” is the only one of those films that didn’t go straight to DVD in the United States.

Perhaps he caught lightning in a bottle with “The Last King of Scotland.” He’s been in some other decent movies, and his performances are always solid. He just hasn’t done anything else great. 2010 looks pretty packed for Whitaker. He’ll be starring in “Repo Men,” which looks promising.

One thing is for sure, if he doesn't pick it up soon, it'll be time for him to trade in that title belt and pass the reins.

Jennifer Connelly

Oh yeah…Jennifer Connelly--I remember her! If you thought that when you saw her name, you’re probably not in the minority. Connelly is one of the most attractive and likeable actresses in Hollywood. She’s has  major acting chops, too. Darren Aronofsky’s 2000 movie, “Requiem for a Dream,” gave her the critical acclaim she deserved. Her gritty performance as a tormented drug addict put her on the map as a legitimate lead actress. The next year, she followed that performance up by playing Alicia Nash in “A Beautiful Mind.” She walked away with an Academy Award for that emotional portrayal of a caring, neglected wife.

She continued her solid roles up until 2007. She starred opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo in “Reservation Road,” which is a powerful, underrated film. It was featured terrific acting. Things have since gone sour. 2008’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is one of the most unnecessary films in recent memory. 2009's “He’s Just Not That Into You” didn’t help her career as she seemed lost in a sea of other young talent.

Apart from her many of her counterparts on this list, 2010 looks promising for Connelly. She’ll star as Emma Darwin in “Creation,” the story of the internal struggles that Charles Darwin encountered. The film already has been released overseas, but will hit the U.S. on January 22. She also will portray the psychologically disturbed Virginia in “What’s Wrong with Virginia?” The film is directed by Dustin Lance Black, who penned 2008’s “Milk.” Let’s see if Connelly can avoid the labyrinth of poor films to which too many talented actresses fall victim.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Talk about a major downfall. Gooding Jr. cashed in some terrific performances in the mid to late '90s. He won the best supporting actor Oscar in 1996 for “Jerry Maguire.” He shined in 1997 in “As Good as It Gets” and in 1998 with “What Dreams May Come.” His charisma and huge smile took hold of audiences all over.

The 2000s haven’t been kind to Gooding Jr. in any way, shape or form. It’s been a decade full of straight-to-DVD garbage and terrible comedies. On the rare occasion one of his films hits theaters, audiences everywhere cringe in fear.  To wit, see “Daddy Day Camp” or “Norbit.”

I’m not entirely sure what Gooding Jr. needs to do to get back on track. He may be beyond the point of no return. He had a small role in the high profile “American Gangster,” but that didn’t lead to anything significant. Reports released today say Gooding Jr. is one actor on Hollywood producer’s short-list to play Tiger Woods in a possible movie about the athlete’s fall from grace.

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  1. Douglas327 said...

    If they do decide to make a movie about Tiger Wood's downfall, I think Cuba Gooding Jr. would be an excellent choice to play him. It would definitely help out his career.

  2. Leshy said...

    The second I saw the title, I knew Cuba would be on the list. I remember coming across a blog where someone wanted to compare DiNero to Pacino. As hard as that is to do, it noted how they both have become caricatures of themselves. In the same way Denzel Washington might end up if he isn't careful. (if I remember correctly it was a tie anyway between dinero and pacino)

    I'm sure it's not news in the sense of being new, but you should compile a list of actors who HAVE made it back. Robert Downey Jr should be at the top of that list.

  3. Admin said...

    Leshy, good idea on those who have made it back.


  4. Mark W. said...

    Seeing the title of the article, I wasn't expecting to see Turturro or Connelly on the list. After thinking about it, their addition makes perfect sense.

    Great article! Very funny too! Will be looking for more of your work.