We’ve ripped into annoying concert goers and rock stars in recent months, but irritating behavior extends way outside of the rock universe. In fact, Hollywood actors are just as annoying. Often times, they are significantly more annoying. They do all kinds of things that piss us off. Here’s ten of them.
1. Going Family Friendly
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good family film. Some of the greatest movies of all-time – from The Wizard of Oz to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – were aimed directly at children. Still, sometimes one-time edgy actors start churning out family friendly schlock to soften their image and pad their wallets. Eddie Murphy surely knew that Dr. Dolittle 2 was a shitty movie. He just didn’t give care as long as the check cleared. Imagine if he poured the time and energy he put into Dr. Doolittle into a new stand-up tour and film. It would have been difficult and potentially calamitous, but at least he would have challenged himself. Likewise, surely Ice Cube could have found a better project than Are We Done Yet?. We’re not saying great actors and rappers shouldn’t make family movies. They just shouldn’t make bad ones.
2. Becoming A Scientologist
This is a sensitive one, because it’s not cool to judge someone based on their religion. Also, many actors are born into Scientology, and it seems unfair to judge them for that. That said, anyone who has read Lawrence Wright’s new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief knows just how many horrible things the Church of Scientology has done to women, children and anyone they deem a “suppressive person.” You can probably say that about many other religions, but only Scientology would have made John Travolta think that Battlefield Earth was a worthy project. Beyond the simple fact that it’s one of the worst movies ever, it’s also a two-hour Scientology recruitment film.
Leah Remini recently quit the church of Scientology amid reports she was “blacklisted” after questioning the church’s leadership. Tom Cruise is unlikely to ever follow her example, but if he does, many of his fans will be overjoyed. It’s hard to argue it’s been a positive thing for his career.
3. Getting Too Political
Actors should be encouraged to speak their mind on any subject close to their hearts, but sometimes they go so far in a political direction that it’s hard to ever look at them in the same way. Take Clint Eastwood. He’s one of the greatest actors and directors of the past sixty years. But in the course of a few minutes at the 2012 Republican National Convention, he seriously damaged his reputation by speaking to an empty chair and pretended that President Obama was sitting in it. It was so over the top and embarrassing that even the Romney campaign was horrified. Imagine how the rest of us felt.
This isn’t only a problem with Republicans. Countless liberals fly around the country in their private jets and lecture people about reducing their carbon footprint. The public sees right through the hypocrisy, and the more they talk down to us, the harder it becomes to enjoy their movies. We’re NOT saying “shut up and act,” but we are saying practice what you preach – and stay away from the Republican National Convention.
4. Only Doing Blockbusters
It’s hard to turn down $20 million. Actors like Johnny Depp and Will Smith can get even more than that for a huge blockbuster, especially if they get a percent of the worldwide gross. It’s easy to understand why they swing for the fences every time, but all too often they fall short and we’re left watching dreck like The Lone Ranger or After Earth. These are talented actors. Back in the mid-1990s, Johnny Depp was willing to make a great film like Ed Wood, and Will Smith took a role in the art house flick Six Degrees of Separation. They must get scripts like those on their desks all the time, but they turn them down in favor of yet another Men In Black or Pirates of the Caribbean.
Both should learn from Bruce Willis. He’s happy to sign onto to The Expendables 2 and Red 2, but he maintains his credibility by agreeing to smaller paychecks for the chance to appear in things like Moonrise Kingdom. That’s why he’s still a big star while most his 1980s action flick peers are now punchlines. It’s important to balance your projects between big and small. If only Will Smith realized this. Remember, this is the guy who turned down the lead in Django Unchained because he didn’t feel that Django was the lead role. It’s the ultimate proof that his ego is out of control. Maybe he’s feeling a little humble after his newest movie bombed, but he’s probably just plotting how to maximize his money on Men In Black 4.
5. Blaming Everything On Exhaustion
Sometimes it’s hard to wake up in the morning, let alone drag our asses to the office and work all day. Day-to-day life is exhausting. As we all know, 99.9% of the time movie stars cite “exhaustion,” they are lying. They’re usually on drugs, booze or trying to bounce back from some insane, racist meltdown. That looks bad in a press release, so suddenly they’re “exhausted.” It’s an insult to our intelligence. Do you know what we’ve never done? Go the hospital or check into a rehab center. It’s never even entered our heads, yet actors seem to blame most of their hospital and rehab vistas on “exhaustion.” Having private jets, millions of dollars and personal assistants must be so incredibly draining.
6. Churning Out Way Too Many Movies
Remember when a new movie with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro or Dustin Hoffman was an event? You walked into the theater pretty confident you were seeing something special. What the hell happened? Did Robert De Niro really think that New Year’s Eve, Little Fockers and Red Lights were good projects? He’s released twelve movies in the past three years. What’s the rush? Al Pacino doesn’t work quite at that pace, but in the 2000s he did give us S1m0ne, Gigli and Jack and Jill. We can thank Dustin Hoffman for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and, once again, Little Fockers. Guys, if the script sucks, don’t take the movie. You used to be good at selecting the right projects. What happened? Mark Wahlberg, you’re getting into this territory now, too. Slow it down. Pick your projects slowly, and do whatever you can to get out of your contract for Transformers 4. Seriously, what were you thinking when you agreed to that one?
7. Casting Your Real-Life Children
Not to pick on Will Smith, but right now he’s emblematic of what’s wrong with Hollywood. You’d think he’d realize that early fame has destroyed many childhoods, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Before his kids were out of middle school, they were recording bubblegum rap songs and appearing alongside him in movies. After Earth was created by Smith largely as a vehicle to showcase his teenage son Jaden. He was so blinded by the desire to turn Jaden into a superstar that he didn’t realize the movie sucked. Matthew Weiner was so blinded by love for his son Marten that he couldn’t understand why so many Mad Men fans found him creepy. (He finally seemed cool in his last appearance, though.) There’s a simple lesson here: don’t cast your kids. You have no idea how much their presence warps your creative judgement.
8. Destroying A Sacred Franchise With Horrid Sequels
John McClane, Indiana Jones and The Terminator are three of the greatest characters in film history. The first three Indiana Jones and Die Hard movies are pretty amazing, even if the second one in each case is a little weak. The Terminator had two near-flawless movies. Then everyone got greedy and reckless. That last Die Hard sucked on a truly historic level. The last two Terminator movies were embarrassing to everyone involved, and the last Indiana Jones – while not quite as bad as many felt – was still a huge disappointment. We know the money is huge (and you go into these things with mostly good intentions), but please stop destroying our favorite franchises. Everyone should draw inspiration from Bill Murray. Not only did he leave the blockbusters behind many years ago, he’s single-handedly saving the world from having to sit through Ghostbusters 3. This has frustrated his co-stars and fans to no end, but he knows the truth. If only Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger were so bold. But we know we’re talking to a brick wall here – there are new Terminator movies in the works right now, and at least one more Die Hard is inevitable.
9. Turning Off The Funny
Some comedians have the dramatic range to excel in serious dramas. Not to keep mentioning Bill Murray, but. . . take Bill Murray. If he’d pulled a Chevy Chase and refused to leave his tiny comedic box, we would have missed out on so many great performances. That said, some comedians should stick to comedy. Jim Carrey’s best movies are things like Dumb & Dumber and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. His worst movies are uber-serious flicks like The Number 23 and The Majestic. Yes, he’s amazing in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but that has comedic elements and it’s genuinely weird. Thankfully, he’s finally doing Dumb and Dumber To now.
10. Suffering From The Delusion They’re Rock Stars
This one is a major, major problem that only seems to be getting worse as the years go by. Jeff Bridges is one of the greatest actors of our time. But he’s about to launch a West Coast tour with his band The Abiders. The music isn’t terrible, but if he wasn’t Jeff Bridges, he wouldn’t be able to draw ten people to his shows. He’s hardly alone. Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves and many others have also convinced themselves they are rock stars. They aren’t. All of them are talented actors. That should be enough. To be fair, it works both ways. Bob Dylan’s musical talent is undeniable, but it sure didn’t make his 2003 movie Masked & Anonymous anything other than an embarrassing vanity project. Of course, he was able to snag Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson and Angela Bassett into the film.