Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FILM: The Actors with a Bad-Year Report Card for 2011

Every year, there are a few actors who taint their reputation with crappy movies, crappy roles, and even crappier acting. It's painful to witness and terribly disappointing when you're confident that they can do better. Here are the worst offenders of the year and my pleas for them to stop:

Crimes Against Humanity: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

Dear Brandon T. Jackson,
Do you know how hard it is to shine in a movie starring such comedic heavyweights as Robert Downey, Jr., Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Danny McBride? You do, right? Because you did. In Tropic Thunder. Three years ago. That was impressive. You had everyone laughing and wondering who's that kid, how did he get in this movie, and why haven't we seen him before? Now granted, there aren't that many funny young black man roles out there. And scoring in one movie isn't going to give you creative leeway to create your own. But at what point exactly did playing half-man half-goat seem like the logical next step? I will not blame the craptastic efforts of Percy Jackson on you completely. Even the hilarious Steve Coogan and the shamelessly funny Rosario Dawson were horrible in that movie. But I can blame you for agreeing to portray such a goofy and overacted character, AND for also agreeing to strap on a fat suit and play Martin Lawrence's son. I know what you were thinking when you got the call. It's Martin! MARTIIIIIN! I loved that show too. In the 90s. That Martin Lawrence is dead. And he died somewhere between Big Momma's House and Wild Hogs. It was a suicide. I suggest you stop being equally self-destructive before you end up being referred to as "that black guy from that ghetto movie."

Someone who is not looking forward to hearing you bleat in Percy Jackson 2

Redemption: If you found some way to get in on Bad Boys 3, set for 2015, or got a recurring role on a series.

Crimes Against Humanity: Something Borrowed

Dear Kate Hudson,
I have been a loyal viewer of your romantic comedies since 2003's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I thought you were funny and spunky and not as derivative as all those other fragile damsels of yesteryear. So I stuck with you through Alex & Emma, Raising Helen, You, Me, and Dupree, Fool's Gold, My Best Friend's Girl, and Bride Wars. But the nail in the coffin of your rom-com career has to be Something Borrowed. Sure, playing a woman who has the gall to turn on her bff for "stealing" her fiancee after she gets knocked up with his best friend's baby would be considered branching out, but it would also be considered ridiculous. That woman was irredeemable, delusional, and impossible to love. I realize you didn't create her, but you made me watch her and that in and of itself is unforgivable. I get it. It's hard for you to get other roles because you're Goldie Hawn's bubbly blonde mini-me. You've tried to make critics and producers see you in another light with war dramas (The Four Feathers), horror movies (The Skeleton Key), thrillers (The Killer Inside Me), and musicals (Nine), but I feel like you're not trying hard enough. Katherine Heigl is kicking your ass. Meanwhile, you should be showing Jennifer Aniston, who wowed audiences this year in Just Go With It and Horrible Bosses, how it's done. You're Hollywood comedy royalty. Those bitches should be bowing to you. Take note from McConaughey and get out while you still can.

Someone who is going to force herself to watch the sequel because it stars John Krasinski as the romantic lead.

Redemption: The thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist with Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.

Crimes Against Humanity: Letting Blake Lively outshine you

Dear Leighton Meester,
I did not watch The Roommate remake. I'm sure you were sufficiently insane. I did not mind your uptight big sister act in Monte Carlo. Wasn't that much of a stretch for you though, so I wasn't that impressed. I didn't even remember you did The Oranges. Thank God! Since apparently you seduce an old man in that movie. I finally got around to seeing 2010's Country Strong, yet another variation of your spoiled bitch routine, which you also did briefly in Going the Distance. I don't know if you can tell by how depressing your resume looks, but you're not doing too well. The end of "Gossip Girl" is nigh. It's time you start padding your resume with some impressive screen gems before you turn into Rachel Bilson, forced to pretend you enjoy starring in a series about Southern living, or even worse Mischa Barton, who's been relegated to C-list horror movies. Meanwhile, your costar Blake Lively is out there getting "chummy" with Leonard DiCaprio and Ryan Reynolds, casted by Ben Affleck in his film The Town, costarring in the comic book flick Green Lantern, and chosen to be in the highly anticipated Oliver Stone indie Savages. Leighton, listen to me, you're hilarious. You are the best part of "Gossip Girl," hands down. Without you, it would just be a depressing whinefest starring Ed Westwick and Penn Badgley. Play to your strengths. You're funny, sexy, smart, and you can sing. Do something with all of that.

A Dair Fan

Redemption: Costarring in Adam Sandler's father-son comedy Donny's Boy with Andy Samberg.

Crimes Against Humanity: No Strings Attached and Your Highness

Dear Natalie Portman,
Hey girl! Remember that time you were in every fanboy's wetdream, being so badass in The Professional, Star Wars, and V for Vendetta? You were so hot even a buzzcut couldn't fan your flames. You could do no wrong. Not when you were pretending to be a profane gangster rapper on "SNL," not when you were a skanky stripper in Closer, and not even when you went psycho in Black Swan. However, having a baby and winning an Oscar has now deleted you from the Hot Girl list in their masturbation diary. You were actually supposed to graduate to MILF, and by your scantily clad costume in Your Highness, that was practically a guarantee. Unfortunately, the real reason you were awesome was because you chose awesome movies. You never coasted on your looks—almost as if you didn't realize you had them. You didn't do things for the money, but the intrigue and the content. So tell me, what part of No Strings Attached or Your Highness or Thor made you think "Winner"? I realize you have responsibilities now. Your baby daddy is a ballerina so...you're basically responsible for all the bills. I respect your determination to do whatever it takes to make a buck. But I would rather you resort to actually stripping than ever have to endure another movie about dicks and pot, or your half-assed attempt at playing a romantic lead in a rom-com. You weren't phoning it in, you were practically texting it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a carrier pigeon involved. Thirteen-year-old you would look at you now and say, "Seriously? Metal thong?"

Someone with self-respect

Redemption: Raising your son Aleph to be normal.

Crimes Against Humanity: Hop & Arthur

Dear Russell Brand,
Only two short years ago you were a rebel comedian who looked like a rockstar. Americans were a little slow on the uptake when it came to your clever jokes, and they didn't fully embrace you and your British snark until they saw how effortlessly cool and funny you were in Jason Segel's Forgetting Sarah Marshall. After that, America embraced your open-condescension and overlooked your druggy, sex-crazed past in favor of watching you play a variation of overgrown manchildren in films, like Get Him to the Greek and Arthur. But that's not where I thought you were going with your whole funny grunge schtick. Your comedy special Russell Brand in New York starred a very self-aware, culturally informed, intelligent critic of society. You raised the bar on humor to include more than just dick jokes and sight gags. You were like Ricky Gervais's younger, slimmer, criminal brother—like Sacha Baron Cohen's non-theatrical twin. By all accounts you should've made a huge splash in the American world of comedy, changing the face of it forever. Instead, you combed your hair, did a romantic comedy and married a popstar. I'd call you a sellout, but I think it was hardly worth it. We want you to make us laugh again. Stop preaching about sobriety and true love. Keep writing thought-provoking articles about pop culture for The Guardian. Keep doing comedy specials for HBO or Comedy Central. And, most of all, keep being British. Americans are boring, remember?

Someone who doesn't need a translator when listening to your jokes

Redemption: The adaptation Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise and the untitled Diablo Cody religion comedy, based on Steven Spielberg's idea.

Crimes Against Humanity: Green Lantern

Dear Ryan Reynolds,
You are an extremely funny dude. I knew you'd be hot shit some day back in '98 when you stole every scene of "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place." I knew it when you managed to revive the awesomeness that once were National Lampoon films with 2002's Van Wilder. And I knew when you started getting tapped for every handsome-yet-goofy role under the sun, from Just Friends to The Proposal. You were like Jim Carrey toned down on the crazy meter, from a 10 to a 6. Comic relief was your thing, so much so that they asked you to add a little humor to both Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It made perfect sense that someone as charismatic and charming as you should be a superhero one day. Playing Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern, was practically your destiny. One thing though, you probably should've read the script first. It made The Green Hornet look good. It made that other green guy, The Hulk, in both incarnations, look good. A punch? Really? The world is about to come to an end. You can manifest anything out of thin air or morph into anything and you choose a giant fist? Seriously? How incredibly unimaginative! A 5 year old with ADHD probably would've come up with something better. I honestly think you were just being greedy. You were already in a comic book film and getting your own spinoff. Did you really have to play yet another character? And don't even get me started on your love life. You went from Scarlett Johansson, a girl who is 8 years younger than you, to Blake Lively, a girl who is 11 years younger than you. You keep it up and you'll be branded a pedophile, all the while missing out on the incredible and age-appropriate laugh factory that is your former costar Sandra Bullock. Sure, she's 13 years older than you and still healing after her divorce from that no-good, cheating, white supremacist dipshit, but I think it's time you grow up in all aspects of your life.

Someone who laughs at your jokes while staring at your abs—double-dipping

Redemption: The thriller Safe House with Denzel Washington, the graphic novel adaptation R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon, and the spinoff comic adaptation Deadpool.

Crimes Against Humanity: Dating Justin Bieber

Dear Selena Gomez,
There aren't that many young actresses who play interesting characters. They're usually boy crazy, overly-bubbly, and boring. Your character on "Wizards of Waverly Place," Alex, however, may have been a law-breaking, magic-stealing, juvy-bound delinquent, but she was funny and memorable, which is more than I can say about 90% of the characters on the Disney channel. As far as I'm concerned, you and iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove and Jennette McCurdy are the coolest teenagers on Disney and NICK. I was certain when you first made me laugh a few years ago that you would one day outshine your Disney predecessors Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus. But once you started to venture out on your own with albums and non-Waverly-related films, it became apparent that the public was taking a little longer to acknowledge your talent. So it's my theory that the only reason you gave Justin Bieber the time of day is because he raises your profile. You are now one of the most talked about young starlets and singers in the business. Except now there's no real reason for all the chatter. Your music isn't that great, although your singing has gotten better—Cyrus better, not Adele better. And your choice in movies, Monte Carlo, are the same as before. The only change in your life really is who you're currently banging—and yeah, we all know you're banging. I thought you were better than that. Sure, you're not airing out your dirty laundry like your BFF Taylor Swift, or selling your harrowing self-mutilation stories like your ex-BFF Demi Lovato, or dancing on a pole like Cyrus, but pimping yourself out so that you can remain famous is called fame-whoring. If you're using the same methods as a Kardashian to stay in the spotlight, you know you've made a wrong turn.

Someone immune to Bieber Fever

Redemption: The Brokedown Palace-like crime drama Spring Breakers with James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens.

Crimes Against Humanity: The Hangover Part 2

Dear Zach Galifianakis,
What the fuck man? You were good! You were riding high off that Hangover buzz. You could've had anything you asked for. Look at Bradley Cooper. Sexiest Man Alive?! Pfft!!! Bought and paid for with his popularity. Everybody knows that The Gos was robbed. The only reason Cooper slid right on in there is because he wooed the gays (Valentine's Day), acted like a badass for the guys (The A-Team), and rubbed elbows with De Niro for the critics (Limitless). What the fuck have you been doing? Other than regurgitating the same personality for every single fucking moving AND TV show you do. I let 2010's Dinner for Schmucks and Due Date slide because you tried to "get real" with the indie adaptation It's Kind of a Funny Story and cracked me up on HBO's "Bored to Death." But that abomination you call a sequel, The Hangover Part II, was an insult to my intelligence. Repackaging the same bullshit in a different country for an even lamer missing person, and slapping a damn monkey on it? Are you fucking joking? And then you went kiddie on me with Puss in Boots and The Muppets? No wonder your series was cancelled. HBO is as over you as the rest of us.

Someone with a Sense of Humor

Redemption: He'll costar in the political comedy Dog Fight with Will Ferrell and Jason Sudeikis...but don't hold your breath because it's co-written by the writer of Land of the Lost and The Other Guys.
Crimes Against Humanity: The film New Year's Eve

Dear 90% of The cast of New Year's Eve,
I shall address you all individually for each of your crimes within this film:
Robert De Niro: Are you lost?
Halle Berry: Just because no one wants to see you be serious (Things We Lost in the Fire and Frankie & Alice) doesn't mean you get to trick us into it with your incredibly depressing long distance relationship.
Hilary Swank: The next time I see you spouting some romanticized bullshit on screen, I will petition the academy to revoke BOTH your Oscars. I would rather see you in the sequel to the Karate Kid remake than watch you get giggly over a guy again. Character-acting is what you do. Do you see Daniel Day-Lewis? Have you seen him in a romantic comedy? No? That's because he's fucking Daniel Day-Lewis. Even Meryl Streep can't pull off romantic comedies (It's Complicated and Mamma Mia!). It's not your thing. Stop doing it.
Josh Duhamel: I like it when you're taking charge and blowing shit up (Transformers). Please God, go do more of that.
Ludacris: I don't even understand what you were doing in this movie. You were like an overdressed personal assistant to a neurotic overachiever. A 20-year-old no-name could've done your role. And no one should've done your role in No Strings Attached. You were useless and easily forgettable. You've proven you can handle dramas (Crash) and comedy (Fast and Furious). Don't sell yourself short.
Katherine Heigl: *sigh* Girl don't you already have like 8 billion rom-coms under your belt? Was this one even remotely necessary? Also, your character was nonsensical. Who accepts a rockstar's proposal and then expects them to quit being a rockstar? And who slaps someone twice in one day and then forgives them at the end of it? Did she forget her medication somewhere?
Jon Bon Jovi: You were 16 years older than your costar. No matter how attractive you might still be at 49, that's still gross.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Honestly, I don't know how you'll ever top "Sex and the City," but I can assure you playing second fiddle to a teenager aint it.
Abigail Breslin: I think you're old enough to accept constructive criticism without crying: You sound like a boy-crazed ditz. Please don't resort to fame-whoring. The slow-and-steady win the race. And the cheaters get chlamydia.
Seth Meyers: I basically tune into "SNL" every Saturday night/Sunday morning to watch your "Weekend Update" at midnight. You were one of the most consistently funny components of that variety show. You wanna know why you're consistently funny? Because you help write your own jokes. That's what makes all comedians funny. Reading someone else's jokes rarely if ever works. Ask Ricky Gervais, Russell Brand, and Dane Cook.
Jessica Biel: Congratulations on your engagement! Not many people know how hilarious you are. And no one will learn that after seeing this movie. You were much better in Valentine's Day, and that bar was pretty low.
Ashton Kutcher: Some would say capitalizing off of Charlie Sheen's misfortune and stealing his series has bestowed bad luck upon you, what with your divorce and the slew of craptacular films you've been shelling out, but I don't think all is lost. You were surprisingly convincing for the serious spy segments of Killers. You should look into that. Just because you're tall and lanky doesn't mean you have to be the class clown in everything you do.
Lea Michele: Did you know that you sing every word you say? You can't be an actress if you can't speak normally. Work on that. Or don't. I have no problem just listening to you sing. Pick one though, for my ears' sake.
Til Schweiger: Are you lost?

Someone who enjoyed about 5% of Valentine's Day

Redemption: Not appearing in the next holiday-related romance anthology.

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