If you have ever had a job, then you’ll likely be aware that they are pretty much all rife with competition. Whether that comes in the form of jockeying for more hours or shifts at more desirable times or promotions, there is bound to be something desirable that people fight for. Then, you have the acting world where the amount of people trying to get coveted roles is so massive that finding any meaningful success is absolutely against the odds. That is why those that find their way to the top of that industry should thank their lucky stars. Still, once you reach the top of that profession, you can still be knocked off at any moment. Realizing that is what inspired us to put together this list of twenty actors whose glory days are already gone.
In order for someone to be up for consideration for possible inclusion on this list, he/she first needs to have been a celebrity at one point in his/her life. Next, that celeb needs to have found at least some of his/her notoriety as an actor in major movies or television shows. Keep in mind, however, that if they are also known for something else as well, like being a musician, athlete, or anything else aside from acting, that does not preclude them from appearing on this list. Finally, it needs to seem pretty clear that their glory days are firmly in the past. When it comes to that, however, we want to make it clear that an actor can stage a comeback out of nowhere, but these actors don’t seem likely to be as big of a deal as they once were.
20. Chuck Norris
A martial artist in real life who was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and was a part of the Air Force in his youth, unlike many action stars, Chuck Norris has a past that confirms that he is a bada*s. Able to seamlessly make the leap to the film world, he would even appear with screen legend Bruce Lee early in his career when he was in the movie Way of the Dragon. Otherwise best known for movies like The Delta Force and its sequel, Sidekicks, The Expendables 2, as well as the show Walker, Texas Ranger, he was seen as a unique entity in the movie world. All but gone from the pop culture scene today, we’re not holding our breaths for a comeback anytime soon as in his recent performances, he began to seem like a parody of himself.
19. Amanda Bynes
One of the biggest child stars at one time, Amanda Bynes starred in series like All That and The Amanda Show while also trying her hand at stand-up comedy as a kid. Going on to appear in several successful films as she grew into a woman, fans loved her in What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, Hairspray, Sydney White and Easy A. At first seeming like someone we’d all be able to point to as surviving the child star grind spectacularly, she appeared like a well-adjusted person even as she became an adult. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth as she has since been the subject of criminal charges, scandals, and stores looking at her odd behavior and looks. Recently announcing that she wanted to make a comeback, it is clear that isn’t happening as she no longer appears to be able to feel at ease enough to become someone else on our screens.
18. Demi Moore
One of the biggest movie stars in the world not too long ago, a lot of people may not realize it today but at one time, Demi Moore received the largest paycheque out of any actress in Hollywood history. Best known for her part in movies like St. Elmo’s Fire, A Few Good Men, Indecent Proposal, Disclosure, and G.I. Jane, at one time, it seemed like she had the Midas touch when it came to her film choices. That is no longer the case at all as she still acts to this day but for the most part, the roles she has taken since the early 2000’s have been in flicks that people aren’t aware of. While you could argue that her acting skills aren’t at fault for that, if any of her work since then was remarkable, at least cinephiles would have heard about it.
17. Taylor Kitsch
An actor that turned a lot of heads early on in his career, Taylor Kitsch earned a lot of fans with his role in the critically-acclaimed and much-beloved series Friday Night Lights. Able to become a movie star based on the strength of his work in that show and the fanbase he built up with it, he has never been able to live up to expectations. Seemingly tapped by the powers that be as the next big thing, he was a star of movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Battleship, John Carter, and Savages, all of which were roundly hated. In fact, he was a part of a single great movie, Lone Survivor, which came out four years ago, and its quality was based largely on the strength of its action and cinematography even though he was good in it. If you ask us, he’s going to have to do something wonderful to turn around the way that many filmgoers see him today.
16. Lindsay Lohan
It may be hard to remember today but at one time, Lindsay Lohan was an absolute phenomenon who was killing it both as an actress and as a singer. After all, her music was never the type that was going to get rave reviews but she was selling lots of singles and albums at the time. On top of that, she starred in several beloved movies including The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Herbie: Fully Loaded among others. Then, she went through a period of such intense scrutiny and controversy that her star power started to severely suffer. These days either ignored or pitied most of the time, she also seems to have lost the ability to act based on her dreadful work in movies like Liz & Dick.
15. Richard Gere
A baffling case of an actor that gave two of the strongest performances of his career and then largely disappeared, it almost seems like Richard Gere forgot what it means to be a big deal. Turned into an international heartthrob and leading man in the eighties and nineties, his work in movies like An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, and Primal Fear wowed audiences. Then, he starred in Unfaithful and Chicago back to back in the year 2002 and he seemed to be at the absolute top of his game both as an actor and entertainer. Since then appearing in twenty-one movies, the only times he gained a lot of attention was when he sucked like in the cinematic abomination Movie 43 which shows that he is missing a step.
14. Eddie Murphy
If you are anything like us, when you see Eddie Murphy, it makes you wish for a time in which it seemed like the man could do no wrong. The person that brought Saturday Night Live back from the brink and released two stand-up specials that defined the genre, if he was involved in something, we were interested. The star of some of our favorite retro comedies like Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, and Boomerang, he just seemed to innately know what was funny. What happened? Spending the last two decades lending his name to mostly awful movies, aside from the Shrek series and Dreamgirls, now his involvement in a movie makes us think we should avoid it. After all, who wants to sit through another The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit, or Meet Dave?
13. Angelina Jolie
One of the largest powerhouses in the film industry over the last couple of decades, Angelina Jolie proved herself capable of fronting a major movie again and again. The star of movies like The Bone Collector, Gone in 60 Seconds, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Wanted, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, she was a major part of several films that people flocked to see. Then, it seemed like she began to lose interest in her craft and chose to focus more on working behind the scenes and spending time at home with her large family. She was last seen in a hit film when she starred in 2014’s Maleficent. On top of that, the last time she gave a highly-praised performance was in the 2008 film Changeling which is a surprising turn of events.
12. Jessica Alba
An actress that has spent much of her career getting more noticed for her looks than skills at playing other characters, Jessica Alba has still managed to become a big movie star. Chosen to play major roles in movies like the Fantastic Four and Sin City franchises, as well as Idle Hands, Honey, and Good Luck Chuck, people have come out to see her movies again and again. Able to become a notable entrepreneur in recent years, she is the co-founder of The Honest Company which has become an international business with a passionate following. Perhaps that is why her work in recent projects have continued to regularly underwhelm even though she has started to act in smaller and more dramatic films which are usually buoyed by performances.
11. Charlie Sheen
If you wanted to put together a case study of one of the most unusual celebrities of all time, you may want to focus on Charlie Sheen. Made a big deal since he starred in a slew of quality films, including Platoon, Wall Street, Young Guns, Major League, and Hot Shots!, he seemed to be well-suited to a number of genres. However, his public persona took hit after hit as his conduct in his personal life came to controversial light over and over again. Given another huge hit when he was tapped to star in the hit series Two and a Half Men, it made him relevant again right up until he had a meltdown of epic proportions. Never quite able to recover from that moment, whenever he has acted since, we’ve felt a tinge of manic energy that takes away from his character, which is why he is no longer as good as he once was.
10. Cameron Diaz
An actress that seemed born to be a star when we saw her on the big screen for the first time in a soaked red dress that clung to her body in The Mask, we knew we wanted to see more of Cameron Diaz. Moving on to star in other big movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, as well as the Charlie’s Angels and Shrek franchises, her movies did big business. These days, however, she doesn’t seem to be able to find a hit film even though her professional life depends upon it. Actually, since the year 2003, her only big movie is Bad Teacher which did a huge multiple of its budget in part because it only cost twenty million dollars. On top of that, her movie output has been largely ravaged by critics as well over that same time period.
9. Nicolas Cage
An actor that has become a complete joke of late, Nicolas Cage has one of the worst reputations out there as far as acting quality goes and in some ways, he deserves that and in others not. The principal reason why we would push back on that perception is due to the quality of his performances in some films earlier in his career. For instance, we love his work in movies like Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, and Adaptation, all of which he was a major part and made a great deal better. Unfortunately, he is known for other movies in which he hams it up and does terrible work, and we can’t defend him and sometimes feel like he has forgotten how to do anything but sneer and scream.
8. Katherine Heigl
Looking at the career of Katherine Heigl just makes us sad. Someone we think has shown real acting skill in the past as well as a personality that can draw people in, at one time, she seems to have been poised to become a star. A hit in shows like Roswell and Grey’s Anatomy, and well-received in movies including Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, and more, she has been a part of several projects that entertained many. The problem, however, is that her choice to rail against some of the characters she played and how they were written has distracted her from all of that. Performing as a part of increasingly low-quality productions since she can’t get larger roles, we think that is probably a good portion of the reason why her acting seems to be getting worse all the time.
7. Goldie Hawn
A hilarious actress that has charmed the world through the decades, Goldie Hawn brought a smile to the faces of millions of people who were laughing alongside her. Perfectly able to play someone that was dimwitted or smart and strong-willed, she was a pivotal part of hit movies like Private Benjamin, Overboard, Bird on a Wire, Death Becomes Her, and many more. Also someone who has garnered acclaim, she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance in the film Cactus Flower. Unfortunately somebody who opted to get plastic surgery on her face that is pretty obvious, that isn’t our business as what she does to her body is up to her but there is a reason why it makes us sad. That is because she is not nearly as expressive as she once was which has taken away from the few roles she has taken on since the year 2000.
6. Chevy Chase
An actor that is considered a comedy legend by many, it seems like there is one thing that has always held Chevy Chase back—the fact that he is seen by many as a total jerk. First becoming a star when he was one of the stars of the original season of Saturday Night Live, he opted to leave earlier than his contemporaries which allowed him to become a film star. The main figure in classic comedies like Fletch, Caddyshack, the Vacation franchise, and Dirty Work, those movies and his work in the show Community have earned him a place in history. However, his angry and racist antics on set that became public have made many see him very differently and hurt his ability to be funny to a large degree.
5. Jim Carrey
One of the funniest actors seen on the big screen in a long time when he first became a star, Jim Carrey and his malleable face and manic energy made him a welcome breath of fresh air. The star of movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, as well as Dumb and Dumber, he has earned a place in the annals of film history. Also surprisingly talented at dramatic acting, he received rave reviews for his work in films like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with some even saying that he deserved an Oscar. Of late, things seem to have changed dramatically as he hasn’t been in anything that the world embraced because he doesn’t seem to commit to his roles like he once did.
4. Meg Ryan
Seen as America and the world’s sweetheart at the zenith of her career, Meg Ryan was beloved by the masses because she was in so many movies that were in their hearts. For instance, we can’t imagine classic films like When Harry Met Sally, The Doors, Sleepless in Seattle, City of Angels, and You’ve Got Mail without her being a charming part of them. Then, she appeared in some films that bombed and was the subject of some headlines that some felt tarnished her image, and she went away for a while. Recently seen in a pair of films over the last three years, had she been as good as she once was in them, people would have been overjoyed. But that was far from the case.
3. Megan Fox
Over the years, there have been a number of actor and director pairs that worked together again and again as well as seeming like they were meant to collaborate. One of them that has largely flown under the radar is Megan Fox and Michael Bay, and that is partially due to them publicly feuding but also because their output is less than beloved. However, say what you will about the Transformers and the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies they both worked on, but they were all seen and loved by masses of people even if some lambasted them. Then, Megan starred in the second TMNT film and not only was it disliked by most critics, but it wildly underperformed at the box office too. To us, that makes it seem like she can’t even star in a mindless hit anymore.
2. Bruce Willis
The star of quite possibly the best action film of all time, Die Hard, based off that incredible film, it seems like a deal was made between the audience and Bruce Willis that he would become a huge star. Taking advantage of that platform to be a part of several other classic movies in the years after that, we loved him in Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, and The Sixth Sense, for instance. Something seemed to have changed, however, as Looper and Moonrise Kingdom are the only movies in the last decade that he has starred in that he really seemed to fully engage in. Actually, if you need to see that perfect example of how little he seems to care these days and how bad his movies are as a result, then we suggest you look no further than A Good Day to Die Hard.
1. Al Pacino
We can’t think of an actor that has gone from being at the vanguard of the business and being amazing in almost everything to becoming a pale imitation of himself that always sucks as severely as Al Pacino. A legend due to his stunning performances in The Godfather franchise, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Donnie Brasco, he had a crazy good filmography at the time. Only winning an Oscar for his over-the-top work in Scent of a Woman, we think that is the problem since he was awarded for chewing the scenery and has mostly done the same ever since. Now terrible enough that he acts in movies like Gigli, Righteous Kill, 88 Minutes, as well as Jack and Jill, we really wish we could respect his skills again. Please join us in hoping that The Irishman, his upcoming film directed by Martin Scorsese and co-starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel turns things around.
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