Acting is a very subjective talent. It’s not something than can be measured, like someone’s proficiency in accounting or their reading comprehension abilities. It’s not even something with clear standards or milestones of progression, like talent in learning to play the guitar or writing a book. There’s only one way to know if an actor is good or bad at their craft: by watching them and by making a judgement. Therefore, it’s kind of hard to evaluate if you yourself are a good actor. You may think you’re doing everything correctly, but there never really is a right or wrong when portraying life, right? And if you’re thinking about your performance too much, then you’re probably not thinking about your character and are thus not as immersed in your craft, right? So it’s kind of a catch-22: you can’t know if you’re a good actor until other people see you, but most people won’t hire you until they know you’re a good actor.
What’s interesting is just how subjective the craft is. What one person finds to be hilarious, others could find mundane or downright stupid. For example, most of the world finds Daniel Day Lewis to be one of the best actors of our modern times, but some find him to be insufferable and overly-confident. Sometimes people have faith in actors simply because they have faith in themselves; if they believe themselves worthy of accolades, perhaps they are.
Well we’re here to discount that theory. Just because actors think they’re amazing doesn’t mean they are. Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but we’re going to put you in your place. Here are twenty actors who think they’re amazing- but actually suck at their craft.
20. Vin Diesel
Don’t even try to deny it. You think Vin Diesel is a great actor? Alright, let’s evaluate his career, shall we? Just like any of us would face a performance evaluation at work. His top films and franchises include The Fast and Furious series, XXX, and Riddick. Let’s be upfront, Fast and Furious has always been eye candy garbage. Sure, it’s fun to watch and there are cool sequences in it, but no one watches those movies for good acting or solid story. Same goes for XXX. Actually, we’re pretty sure people are only going to see the sequel because it has Ruby Rose in it and she’s stunningly kick-ass. Riddick had some potential to be good, but then it was ruined because HE WAS IN IT! Now, if he’s not playing a dancing Baby Groot who can say all of three words, we don’t want to see him in anything.
19. Dakota Johnson
It’s the second Dakota to wind up on our list! Word to the wise: if you want your child to be a talented performer, avoid the name Dakota- it may be cursed. While we really don’t like Dakota Fanning, we like Dakota Johnson even less. Why? Because she’s not just an emotionless actress, she is a downright bad actress. The only reason she is famous is because she landed the leading role of the movie series 50 Shades of Grey, which itself is only widely popular because it’s smut that the media dubbed acceptable to read in public and rating boards accepted as too boring to actually be pornographic. No matter what she’s in, though, she’s just been playing the sweet and innocent victim of small offenses that somehow dramatically upset her life (“poor me, I’m single,” “poor me, my rich boyfriend isn’t all that I wanted him to be,” “poor me”). Not only is she a bad actress, but we’re honestly repulsed by whatever character she plays. Take your sniveling elsewhere, it is not wanted here.
18. Mark Wahlberg
We’re going to say it: Mark Wahlberg nowadays is like a talentless and stupid Matt Damon. It’s true! While the actors are both handsome in ways that are very versatile (meaning, they could play the romantic interest or the dashing hero or the dramatic protagonist), only one has lived by standards his whole career and has insisted on placing art over money or exposure- and that isn’t Mark. Mark will star in almost anything that asks him to consider it; while that can include some amazing movies like The Departed or The Lovely Bones, it usually means he’s acting in crap movies like Ted, Four Brothers, Transformers, and The Gambler. Look, Mark: you’ve got some real potential. But you’ve got to have goals, create intention for your career, have a care about what you’re doing! Otherwise, you’re going to get stuck doing terrible Michael Bay movies for the rest of your miserable career.
17. Adam Sandler
Can we be clear about something before you throw a hissy fit about us including Adam Sandler on the list? You’re allowed to enjoy the movies of a bad actor- but that doesn’t make them a good actor. Maybe they’ve got good creative ideas and influence, like Adam does, but they still absolutely suck at portraying a character. Think about it: in all of Adam’s best movies, he always plays the same one of two characters. Either he is playing the dweeby underdog who’s just trying to make it by, and maybe get the girl (like in The Wedding Singer, Grown Ups, or Just Go With It), or he is the hot-headed sarcastic guy who needs a new set of experiences or a nice lady to mellow him out (like in Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, or You Don’t Mess With the Zohan). And half the time, all of his humor is at the expense of a group of peoples, like Middle Eastern people (Zohan), mentally disabled people (Waterboy), or homosexuals (I now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). He’s not a funny actor, just a guy begging for laughs wherever he can get them.
16. Scarlett Johansson
We know we’re really starting to boil your blood now, but actually think about it. Scarlett is absolutely stunning, we’re not arguing that point at all. But is she a good actress? We ask you to actually take a step back and think about this logically. She almost always plays the same character these days: either she’s the gorgeous action hero, saving the world while being all to vulnerable and human (like in The Avengers series, The Ghost in the Shell, or Lucy); or she’s playing the sexy young kick-ass lady who is surprisingly vulnerable under her charismatic facade (like in He’s Just Not That Into You, Lost in Translation, or Rough Night). And when she is playing her heroic roles, she rarely does her own stunt work! Not only is she a bad actor, she’s lazy! But we’ll let it slide because… well, that Black Widow costume looks so good on her.
15. Dakota Fanning
First of all, Dakota still looks like she is 12 years old and that is straight up weird to us. She still looks today like she did when Tom Cruise was lugging her around in the apocalypse in War of the Worlds; that’s weird! We kind of get why Dakota got famous in the first place: she was a cute little kid who could take direction well. That was perfect for War of the Worlds and I Am Sam and Trapped. But she’s grown up (at least on the inside, if not the out) and we’ve got to admit, we can’t see the appeal in casting her anymore. She’s not an interesting actor at all, yet she’s being cast as historical characters that deserve award winning actresses. She played Effie Gray! Cherie Currie! She’s about to play the iconic character Esther Greenwood! Can’t we find any good actresses to play these roles that could actually do it well?!
14. Ashton Kutcher
We get it. Cute, dumb guys are likable. You can go away now, Ashton.
Ashton got his start on the hit 90s sitcom, That 70’s Show! as the character Michael Kelso: a teen who was painfully stupid, but incredibly attractive and likable despite the shortcomings of his wit. Funny enough, Ashton is very smart in real life- he’s just really good at sounding stupid. But he’s done little else to make his career than play dumb! From Dude, Where’s my Car? to What Happens in Vegas, Ashton almost exclusively plays the cute dummy. Well, guess what: it’s not cute anymore. Oh, and when he tries to play serious roles, it BLOWS (example: Jobs, the movie about Steve Jobs meant to honor him but sucked so much we pretended it didn’t happen and replaced it with another starring Michael Fassbender). We’re really happy for you in your recent marriage with Mila Kunis, Ashton. Go try to be a good husband and leave acting to those who know what they’re doing.
13. Daniel Radcliffe
OOOO, THAT’S RIGHT! WE SAID IT! WHAT’RE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!
Can we be real for a second here? Stop getting defensive and pulling out your copies of the Harry Potter books and let’s be honest for a minute. Daniel was good at playing Harry Potter. You know why? Because he was trained to act while playing Harry Potter for a decade. He grew up being molded into the personality of Harry Potter so, to an extent, Daniel is Harry. But when he tries to play a role that he hasn’t spent every year of his life preparing for? He is downright boring and disinterested. The Woman in Black may have been the most boring horror movie of the past ten years. Horns was confusing and weird and boring. And guess how Imperium was? Offensive and incorrect and BORING. Harry Potter is over, Daniel. So is your minute in the spotlight. Time to disappear.
12. Kristen Stewart
Of all the insufferable actors in this insipid industry we call entertainment, Kristen Stewart may take the cake when it comes to terrible actors that think they’re amazing. Though she had a few handful of roles in her youth, her big break truly came with her being cast as the lead character in the Twilight series. We don’t even really understand why directors thought she’d be good as that character, but we chalked it up to bad casting (they also cast Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, so it must be true). BUT SHE KEEPS GETTING MORE ROLES AND MORE FAME! Her signature move of not caring a whole lot and seeming disinterested and aloof keeps earning her more work and we cannot for the life of us discern why. However, there’s a bright side: simply seeing her name on a movie poster is enough reason to pocket the cash you may have spent on the movie ticket- at least she’s helping us save money.
11. Megan Fox
People have been saying for years that Megan Fox is a bad actress. Ever since catching her true big break in the Transformers series about ten years ago, she’s been the topic of both media scrutiny and accolades: scrutiny for her lazy and pathetic attempts at acting; but accolades for her seemingly effortless perfect looks. For a while, we thought that maybe Megan was starting to understand that she wasn’t a good actress. She started taking roles that were mocking her just as much as they celebrated her: roles in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Jennifer’s Body, and This is 40. But now, it almost seems like she thinks she’s become talented for merely admitting that she’s untalented! That’s not how it works! She’s now a lead on the show New Girl and is spitting out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies so fast, it’s making our heads spin.
10. Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy has been successful, that is an undeniable fact. He’s made millions of dollars in many industries, including (but not limited to) music, stand-up comedy, acting, producing, directing, and writing. He’s definitely got a lot of creative juices pumping through him but if it were up to us, Eddie wouldn’t be acting any more. There’s an age old maxim that “art reflects life,” meaning that we should be able to see ourselves in the characters we see in film. But Eddie doesn’t play characters- he is a caricature in and of himself. He just speaks wildly and dramatically and makes wide eyes and everyone finds it hilarious. Don’t get us wrong, we really appreciate all he’s done for cinema and comedy- but after his latest works like Norbit, Tower Heist, and Meet Dave? We’d rather if Eddie just cut his losses and walked away from the industry. Unfortunately for us, a fourth Beverly Hills Cop has been announced…
9. Robert Pattinson
We’re pretty sure that Twilight star Taylor Lautner realizes that he’s not a good actor. Besides not being hired or cast in anything anymore, his characters were never really that admired in the first place. But Robert Pattinson has been adored since he took up the role of the mysterious Edward in the teen romance series, and he’s been told how amazing he is for years- we’re pretty sure he actually believes it. But this brooding boy is pretty talentless in our opinion. Besides not being incredibly attractive (he looks like he’s never been in sunlight his entire life), he’s just not captivating on the screen! When he speaks, audiences just tend to lose interest. Yet, he’s been cast again and again, time after time. Honestly, we’ve never liked him more than in his small role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter– it’s been all downhill for his acting talent since then.
8. Zac Efron
BLUH, Zac Efron. Has anyone else made the connection that Zac Efron is essentially a version of Justin Bieber that everyone just decided to like? They both got famous when they were in their teen years, Justin for his music and Zac for his work on the stupidly famous movie High School Musical. After all the musical movies were under his belt, he started taking the film jobs that would come to him- after all, he was a stunning young guy that twelve year old girls all over the world were dreaming about. So he kept landing gigs and to this day, he just keeps landing gigs! Not because he’s good, but because casting directors remember, “oh yeah, he’s a teen sensation, right?” NO. STOP MAKING US WATCH HIM. He’s now playing the role of stupid frat boy over and over again (in movies like Neighbors, Dirty Grandpa, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) and he’ll soon be a lead in what will certainly be dreadful: Baywatch.
7. Nicolas Cage
You know, there was actually a time when one might have argued that Nicolas Cage was a good actor. Not everything he’s ever done has been terrible! For example, kids that grew up watching the National Treasure movies love him, and for good reason! He did a wonderful job of adding wonderment and excitement to the history of the world! And his older movie, Leaving Las Vegas, which is based on an exceptional novel, is a stellar story of sadness and care and agency. When Nic has cared about the projects he’s worked on, he’s sometimes been exceptional in them. But his biggest issue was that he landed himself in insane debt early in his career, and he’s combated it by taking any role offered to him in order to earn back his fortune. Now, he phones in almost every performance he does so that he can get his paycheck and walk.
6. Justin Timberlake
Yes, he’s adorable. Yes, his music has always been incredibly entertaining, from “Bye, Bye, Bye” to “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Yes, he’s a good person that seems to want only great things for his fans and for the world around him. But does that make him a good actor: um, no. In fact, Justin is terrible. He’s likable and looks fairly average (like a normal cute guy), but he always plays the same character: an average Joe (who really isn’t all that average) going on an adventure, helping his pals, and maybe getting the girl along the way. We just summed up almost every movie of his, from Trolls to Friends With Benefits to In Time. Oh, unless he’s just a supplementary character that was brought on to the movie to increase production value, like he was in The Social Network or in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Stick to what you’re good at, Justin: your music and Saturday Night Live hosting.
5. Keanu Reeves
This isn’t a surprise to anyone, right? We bet you saw this on your friend’s news feed somewhere and thought, “hmm. I wonder who’s on the list. I bet Keanu Reeves is. Probably Nicolas Cage, too.” Good job, sport, you hit the nail on the head. Maybe you should be writing these things.
Yeah, Keanu Reeves kind of sucks. Sure, he was pretty good in The Matrix movies, but that’s only because he was technically playing a versatile computer program that was emotionless. And he was good in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure because he was playing a stoned idiot, who was also fairly emotionless. But anything that requires affection? Can you imagine how good A Walk in the Clouds would have been with a good actor, like Michael Fassbender, instead of Keanu? Or how amazing Devil’s Advocate could have been with a talented actor like Idris Elba in Keanu’s place? Can we stop casting Keanu and cast better actors in his movies, please?
4. Steven Seagal
You know, we are completely at a loss as to why Steven Seagal was ever famous in the first place. Yes, we know about all of his action movies. We’ve seen each and every last one of them and we’re still stumped. Seth MacFarlane actually kind of nailed our problems with Steven Seagal in his show Family Guy, where Peter was asking, “um… why are you so fat? What are you? Except fat?” Steven has never been in remarkably good shape, not as far as we can tell, and he’s never really looked very attractive so we can’t figure out why any women would idealize him. For example, we get why Liam Neeson is a big action star- even though he’s not always in the best of shape, he’s got an attractive voice and a mysteriously dangerous appeal. But Steven acts terribly and we’re not convinced he could win a fight with an elementary gym teacher. We’re stunned he ever made as many movies as he did.
3. Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughn can play one character pretty well. That character is the awkward, lumbering guy who gets into shenanigans but manages through them with his humor and honesty. It’s the same character he played in Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers, The Internship, and The Break-Up. He’s good at it, we’ll admit that- mostly because we’re pretty sure that’s just who he is in real life. But if he ever tries to stray from the trope? Oh man, Vince Vaughn is insufferable. For example, when he was in the remake of Psycho? Hitchcock had to be rolling in his grave. Luckily for us, Vince Vaughn seems to know his place in Hollywood and rarely tries to do anything outside his solidified “type.” But we’ve got to say, we see him straying in his upcoming film Brawl in Cell Block 99 and we want to warn him to stop before he even begins what is sure to be a terrible film.
2. Jessica Alba
Don’t get us wrong: we actually like Jessica Alba– the person- very much. She’s actually a very smart woman and a very caring person. She’s started her own business called The Honest Company which is all about providing families with non-toxic items (that are healthy for both children and the environment) to support their household, from cleaning supplies to diapers. She’s a great person with great intentions and a sound mind. Does that make her a good actress? No. We don’t think anything could make Jessica Alba a good actress. She’s stunning and radiant so we usually overlook her terrible acting, but let’s be honest: the Fantastic Four movies were dreadful for a lot of reasons, and she sure wasn’t an exception. She doesn’t have an eye for good career decisions at all either, as she’s done movies like Spy Kids and The Love Guru. She’s almost unbearable to watch.
1. Mike Myers
Speaking of dreadful projects like The Love Guru, we’d like to have a serious sit-down with Mike Myers. No goofy ploys, no witty puns. One serious person to another: you are bad at acting, Mike Myers. You’ve gotten lucky a few times with some blockbuster movies like Austin Powers, Wayne’s World, and Shrek, but almost all of those have ended in disaster. Mike Myers is like that kid that is excited to show you a new trick they learned: it’s cute the first time they do it, but after a while it gets downright annoying and they’re still pressuring you to watch the damn trick. You’re not funny anymore, Mike. Stop dragging out your movies out until your audiences are quietly trying to sneak out of the theaters. We’ll admit that we’re moderately interested to see what his newest movie Terminal will yield, since it stars powerhouses Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg, but we really wish he weren’t in it.