It makes us sad to proclaim that a star is washed up, but at some point, it happens to all of them. Some of them make glorious comebacks, reminding us all why we used to love them so. Some stars are simply written off too soon, while others have behind-the-scenes issues that complicate matters. There are also some who never get better at acting. Apparently, that’s important.
Over time, these actors get stale in our eyes and we tire of them. In compiling this list, we refuse to suggest that there is no chance of comeback for any of those involved. In fact, we’re hoping that every one of these stars can right their ships and get back to the top of their games. The truth is, the celebs herein have fallen off track somewhere along the way, and despite their best efforts, they just keep on failing. It’s sad. We feel embarrassed for them. Some of them are so rich that they probably don’t even care, but we do. We like them. We want to love all of their work. It’s just that their new stuff is so bad that it’s impossible to like.
Some of the celebrities on this list might send you into fury and denial. You might accuse us of being haters. But before you do that, please note. These aren’t based on our personal opinions. The people on this list are here because the people, as a collective, hate their new stuff, whether it’s acting, directing or music. The people on this list are here because they’ve fallen from a position of excellence to average…ness, or even worse than that in some cases. Many of these stars are wonderful people, nice, talented, but lately they’ve been producing garbage. Don’t shoot the messenger. All we’re doing is pulling back the curtain that’s been hiding these washed up SOBs. Prior fame and brilliance can keep you afloat in the celebrity only for so long. These are the sinking ones, those who are currently drowning. Here are 15 washed up celebs who keep failing.
15. Mariah Carey
Over the last few years, the once-great Mariah Carey has become a reality TV-type celebrity. It’s no longer her music or her voice that makes her famous. She’s hanging on by a thread and her reputation is slowly dwindling. This all really came to a climax at the 2016 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Times Square, when Carey’s performance was wrought with technical difficulties, so the singer sort of stood around, waiting for the music to finish. It was awkward and unfortunate. It was also probably not her fault at all. Still, no one cares about who’s fault it was. In the celebrity world, it’s all about “what have you done for me lately,” and, when it comes to Miss Carey, she’s done nothing for anyone for a long time. Watching her walking forth back on stage while the instrumentals played out was one of the most painful things to watch. Then, like only Carey can do, she blamed everyone else, suggesting that there was a massive conspiracy against her. Irrelevancy is a hard pill to swallow.
14. Corey Feldman
Poor Corey Feldman. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, and this goes for many of the stars on this list, Feldman could stop doing anything today and he will be considered a great. At least, he should be considered a great. For some reason, when we look at the greats in the industry, we neglect child stars because, compared to adults, their abilities might not be all that polished. But all actors should be compared to their contemporaries. When we do that with Feldman, it becomes quite clear that during his run, there was no one even close to as good as he was. Still, his most recent attempts at a comeback with music have left a lot to be desired. It’s actually kind of sad. We hope he magically learns how to make good music quickly and turns it around or leaves the music behind altogether, one or the other and fast.
13. Brendan Fraser
We like Brendan Fraser, a lot. We also feel sorry for Fraser, a lot more. The story goes that Fraser was once a megastar and earning a massive paycheck. Then he split with his wife. Then the jobs stopped coming. Still, he’s reportedly paying $50K per month in alimony, a figure based off his early earnings. Now, Fraser can’t afford to live his life or pay his wife, and, worst of all, all of his new work is trash. It’s a sad riches to rags story. It’s been more than a decade since Fraser was in anything great, but he’s still plugging away. Now The Mummy is being remade or rebooted or sequel…ed or something and he’s been replaced by Tom Cruise. Life couldn’t get any worse for this poor sap.
Madonna has been around forever and she’s come back from so many things that would ruin the average celebrity, so far be it from us to say that she won’t come back from this latest dip, but she seems rather irrelevant nowadays, doesn’t she? Yes, she’s a legend. But even legends fade away into obscurity from time to time. People liked Madonna’s last album Rebel Heart, but at this point, Madonna could release an album of her making armpit farts and it would sell well. No one really ever hears what she’s saying anymore; they just nod their heads to her legacy. But that all changed a bit during the Prince tribute at the Billboard Music Awards. Madonna came out and did a rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and people generally hated it. She sounded flat and looked weird and the voice of her critics was loud, very loud.
11. Will Smith
It’s been a long time since Will Smith got bigger than Hollywood. Since that time, he’s had to battle the fact that every role of his seems like he’s just playing Will Smith. He’s not even acting anymore. It’s been a long time since he’s played a believable character and people are beginning to notice it. Even Concussion, a film that got a lot of award buzz, was strange. It was, again, nothing more than Will Smith with a strange accent. We didn’t believe it. Then we had Will Smith in Suicide Squad, the same humor, the same shtick, the same Fresh Prince of Bel Air except he had guns and a different name. Ever notice why he barely wore that mask? Because Will Smith doesn’t wear masks. After Earth, Focus and, most recently Collateral Beauty, it’s always the same. It’s old and it’s tired. It’s washed up, but it’s still going.
10. Johnny Depp
There are times when we wonder if Johnny Depp will ever stop. Now, if anyone’s been paying attention, we’ve actually called for Depp to have a comeback in 2017, but, as of right now, Depp is washed up and everything he’s done recently has been considered a failure. You can make the argument that Black Mass was a success, but in truth, it wasn’t. It gained no ground back that had been lost for Depp. All people could think about in 2015 was his enormous failure in Mordecai. Then, in 2016, we got another rendition of the Mad Hatter in Alice Through the Looking Glass, easily one of the worst characters ever put on by Depp. Unfortunately, for the past decade or so, everything Depp has done, every character, has simply been a version of Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s like he can’t shake him, or maybe we can’t. Either way, it’s stuck on him like a bad smell. Maybe revisiting that character in 2017 isn’t such a good idea.
9. Vince Vaughn
2007 was a big year for Vince Vaughn fans. It was the last year he was in a film that got favorable reviews from critics; the film was Into the Wild. He followed that up with Fred Claus, laying on his fast-talking routine thick, but critics weren’t digging it. Everything since then has been more of the same thing. Even if you love the films, it’s tough to differentiate any of the characters that Vaughn plays, and this is coming from fans of his. His bit has just run its course. He’s still trying though. Last year, he released Term Life, seriously one of the worst films you could ever watch. Vaughn isn’t even all that bad in it, but the movie is confused, so he is too. We hope he gets it going again, but at this point, he might be a lost cause.
8. Julia Roberts
In 2013, we thought Julia Roberts might be back. She was great in August: Osage County alongside an all-star cast. The next year, she did The Normal Heart, another good flick, and people were excited. You see, for half a decade before that, Roberts was in terrible film after terrible film. This new change was refreshing. She seemed revitalized. Then she did Secret in Their Eyes and Mother’s Day, which were just the worst. Now were confused and a little sad and we don’t know who Roberts even is any more. Does she still have the chops? She must, right? Right? Who knows anymore? All we know is that we’ve only seen a flicker of greatness from her in the past decade. We hope to see more of it, but we’re not counting on it anymore.
7. Jon Heder
Maybe greatness was thrust upon Jon Heder rather unfairly. He surprised everyone with Napoleon Dynamite and was even really funny in Blades of Glory, but ever since then (and that was literally 10 years ago), he’s been a big zero. Again, it’s probably unfair to expect much from Heder. He never really asked to be a superstar, but we want him to succeed. If the last 10 years and countless failures are any indication, though, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to reach his old heights ever again. But seriously, go watch Ghost Team if you’re looking for a shock. You might never see a film as bad ever again. And we’re not just saying that…
6. Kevin Smith
Heresy for some of you, we acknowledge that. We want to say up front that Kevin Smith is a wonderful talent. He always has been. He just hasn’t directed a good movie for a very long time. Zack and Miri Make a P*rno was funny, not great but funny. Even Red State was interesting and topical. But honestly, you’d have to travel back a long ways to find a film of Smith’s that is generally considered to be excellent. We won’t do that for the sake of his fans. So what’s his most recent film? Yoga Hosers. Jesus Christ. What were you thinking Kev? Come on man. We get that you wanted a vehicle for your and Johnny Depp’s daughters, but wow. Apologize to us for that nonsense.
5. Rob Zombie
You know, we’ve been Rob Zombie apologists for a long time, but even we have to say that he’s really fallen off. People freaked out when he made changes to Halloween, but, as real die-hard fans of the franchise, we accepted it. We don’t like it nearly as much as the originals, but we appreciated the new look. Still, everything since then has been nearly unwatchable. He seems to be stuck on the same themes and images like it’s Groundhog Day, but instead of living the same way over and over again, Zombie is forced to keep making the same horrible movie. You get the analogy, right? Change it up Rob. You’re losing fans faster than we can count.
4. Gerard Butler
A decade ago, many of us believed that Gerard Butler was going to be a megastar. Technically, he did become one, but not with the critics. He’s been in plenty of big movies but almost no good ones. Take away the voice acting in cartoons and his brief flash in Coriolanus and you’re left with 300. That’s it. What else is there? He’s pretty brutal. Olympus Has Fallen has already fallen too many times. He played a white Egyptian and offended nearly everyone in Gods of Egypt. Machine Gun Preacher was dumb; Law Abiding Citizen was hurtful to anyone with a skull filled with brains and don’t even get us started on Bounty Hunter. Even Butler’s accent sounds forced and we’re pretty sure it’s authentic. This guy is washed up. Once again, we’d like to be wrong, but Butler seems incapable of proving that to be the case.
3. Bruce Willis
Oh boy, this one might ruffle more than a few feathers. Personally, we believe that the Die Hard franchise has some of the best action films ever made, especially the first three. Recently, we loved Red, Looper and of course, Moonrise Kingdom. There were others scattered in there as well. Most of everything that Bruce Willis has been in, we go in expecting to love it, or at least love him. It just seems that lately, more often than not, he’s been disappointing us. Honestly, some of his most recent roles have been confusing. Is Bruce OK? What the hell is he doing? Precious Cargo? Have you seen that disaster? Extraction, Rock the Kasbah, Vice? Seriously, is Willis poor and forced to accept awful roles. These are guaranteed stinkers. This is Bruce Frickin’ Willis. Come back to us Bruce. Come back and show us you still have your honor.
2. Kevin James
Of course Kevin James makes this list. You’ve got to wonder if he’s just going to call it quits soon. He can’t win. He’s actually never won. Every movie he’s ever been in has failed. Well, Monster House was decent, but he was a voice actor and was barely even in it. Hitch was decent, but we won’t go as far as saying it was good. His latest film, The True Memoirs of an International Assassin might just be his worst and this is the same guy who did Paul Blart: Mall Cop a movie about a guy who falls over and his name rhymes with fart. You might think that has nothing to do with this, but this is Kevin James we’re talking about. You see the circular pattern here don’t you?
1. Adam Sandler
Yes, yes. Adam Sandler. We’ve defended him before and we will once again. Adam Sandler is not nearly the villain everyone makes him out to be. Yes, many of his movies, especially lately, have been bad, but people peg him as the worst living actor, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The Cobbler, The Do-Over, The Ridiculous 6, Pixels and Grown Ups 2 were all brutal films. Blended wasn’t half as bad as people say and neither was… Alright, so Sandler’s had a rough run in the past few years… Jesus, Funny People was 2009? OK, so the past almost-decade has been hard on the guy, but c’mon, if you let him, he can rebound. People go in to see Adam Sandler movies with a scowl on their face. Lighten up. Still, we will admit that, at this moment, he appears to be washed up and still failing. Pull up your socks Sandler and make us proud.