Celebrity is an interesting thing. Once you’ve achieved it, losing it can be more difficult than some would ever imagine. You may no longer be nearly as celebrated as you once were, but in a lot of cases, people still give chance after chance to reclaim the glory you once held so dear. If nothing else, the corporate structure of the entertainment industry today will try everything they can to make money off the fans you’d accumulated at one point in your life.
That doesn’t mean that you’ll remain on top of the world however, and for this list we’ll be looking at celebs whose best days are behind them. In order to make our list, you need to have been a big star at one point in your life. Your time at the top of the heap doesn’t necessarily need to have gone on for a long time but we certainly gave figures who spent an extended amount of time on top of the world a premium.
22 Angelina Jolie
A woman that seems to ooze sexy from her every pore and doesn’t suffer fools in the slightest, Angelina is one of the biggest stars since the turn of the millennium. Building steam in the late nineties with her roles in Gia and Girl Interrupted, her films Wanted, Tomb Raider, Salt, Kung Fu Panda Mr. & Mrs. Smith and even the more recent Maleficent, were box office behemoths.
That no longer seems to satisfy Angie though. Now she has set her sights on more dramatic fare and behind the scenes credits, but unfortunately with the exception of Changeling and Unbroken, her change hasn’t barred fruit. In the Land of Blood and Honey, a movie she wrote, produced and directed made just over one million dollars and wasn’t big with critics either. Difret, a film she executive produced made less than twenty thousand and received mixed reviews at best. Her acting in dramas like By the Sea and the thriller, The Tourist, has also been panned. In short Angelina seems to be the exact type of roll you want to avoid.
20 Taylor Kitsch
It seems like Hollywood has an actor they desperately want to make into a big star with each generation. This time around there seems to be a couple of young men who’ve had their kick at the bucket, Jai Courtney, who we left off the list thinking Suicide Squad may finally get it done, and our 20th entry. Made famous after starring on the critically acclaimed football series Friday Night Lights for several seasons, Taylor was tapped to star in a slew of major movies. We’re guessing he thought the best was yet to come but it turns out he’d already peaked as he starred in one stinker after another.
Playing the X-Man Gambit should have been huge for him but X-Men Origins: Wolverine was terrible and his performance was awful. Then he played major roles in crap fests like John Tucker Must Die, Snakes on a Plane, John Carter, Battleship, Savages, and Lone Survivor. Even getting cast in True Detective didn’t work out as he appeared in the second season which was disappointing.
19 Michael Cera
Many are gigantic fans of Arrested Development in general and Michael Cera’s performance as George Michael Bluth in particular. Once that beloved show came to an end Michael made the leap to motion pictures where he would act exactly the same again and again. Movies like Superbad, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Juno and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist all have their fair share of fans but that doesn’t mean he stretched his skills in any way. In fact, the only roles we can think of where he seemed to show any range were This is the End and Youth in Revolt, which really isn’t enough to keep a career going. Set to appear in four movies over the next two years, he doesn’t seem to be struggling to get work but who among us isn’t a little tired of his shtick and as he gets older it seems like it will work less and less.
18 Justin Long
Even thinking about the sequence in Dodgeball where Justin has tools thrown at him still brings a smile to our face and a chuckle to our heart, even now. At one time, one of the biggest up and coming young comedic actors, Justin appeared in popular films like Accepted, Idiocracy, Funny People and many others. Also finding success in the horror genre, his films Drag Me to Hell and both Jeepers Creepers flicks all have rather devoted fan-bases. Then he started appearing in awful Alvin and the Chipmunks movies and the much-maligned Movie 43 which made the bud fall off the rose quickly. When Tusk, an over the top Kevin Smith movie where he was transformed into a horrific walrus/man creature is the highlight of his recent filmography, things are not looking good.
17 Lindsay Lohan
It may be hard to remember now but there was a time where Lindsay Lohan was a multi-faceted breakout star whose music was popular and seemed to be the go-to actress for casting directors. Oh, how things have changed. Starring in movies like Freaky Friday, The Parent Trap, Herbie: Fully Loaded and the classic teen film Mean Girls, she was on her way to becoming a bankable star. Additionally, at her zenith, she released two albums which earned her gold and platinum status.
Then drugs and alcohol reared their ugly heads and Lindsay began a descent that was almost as swift as her meteoric rise. Arrested multiple times, sent to rehab and a fixture of the tabloids for her open feuds and multiple reconciliations with her parents, she further ensured that she became unemployable with on-set diva antics. Over the last few years, Lindsay has attempted two acting comebacks by starring in Liz and Dick, and even going nude in The Canyons, both of whom were obliterated by critics and audiences alike.
16 Orlando Bloom
One of the stars of two of the biggest franchises of all time, Orlando only needed a few outside of them to become one of the biggest stars in years. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly have the Midas touch when it came to picking his other projects. Made a star after playing Legolas in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he transitioned to the immensely popular Pirates of the Caribbean films once those films came to an end.
Otherwise, his resume reads like a bit of a train wreck, highlighted by Troy, Elizabethtown, Main Street, Zulu, and The Three Musketeers, all of which failed to find much of an audience. Desperate to regain his former fame he made a return to Middle-Earth for The Hobbit trilogy and now that those films are done with, he is set to appear in the next Pirates movie. Although it is almost certain that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will be huge, the fact that he returns to the franchise lacking any kind of momentum just feels sad. When those movies mercifully come to an end, he’ll be stuck having to find original films to work in and his track record there is far from impressive.
15 Megan Fox
Made a star when she was cast by Michael Bay in the Transformers franchise, as the female lead, Megan clearly owed her notoriety to the rather suggestive way in which Bay shot her body. After appearing in the second film in the series, Megan and Michael came to odds and publicly took shots at one another, including Ms. Fox comparing her director to Hitler, which led to her departing the series.
Forgotten by many, she went on to appear in the perpetually panned film Jonah Hex, the instantly forgotten horror flick Jennifer’s Body and played a minor part in This is 40. With a Q rating at an all-time low since she’d first turned heads, she reunited with the man who made her a star by being cast in Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was hated by many. Set to star in TMNT 2 due to the first film’s box office prowess despite the haters, she seems to be relegated to playing second fiddle to some horrifically animated massive turtles. Not exactly where she thought her career was going, we’re sure.
14 Jessica Alba
Looking at Jessica’s filmography, it is actually pretty shocking that she ever became a star at all. Jessica has acted in thirty-six movies to date and her only films that have significant amounts of fans seem to be Never Been Kissed, where she played a small part, Idle Hands, Sin City, and Machete. We suppose that you could argue that her Fantastic Four films have her defenders but they are wildly outnumbered by people who were extremely disappointed in them.
Clearly surviving a horrible batting average due to her incredible looks, even Jessica couldn’t make it through movies like Good Luck Chuck, The Love Guru, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For unscathed. In fact, we haven’t even heard of any of the movies she’s starred in since the second Sin City film. Do Stretch, Dear Eleanor, Some Kind of Beautiful, Barely Lethal, and The Veil sound familiar to you?
13 Al Pacino
The winner of an Oscar, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmys, a British Academy Film Award, four Gold Globes, A.F.I.’s Lifetime Achievement Award and other accolades, people seemed to like Al’s work. The Godfather Trilogy, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon, Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent of a Woman, Heat, Donnie Brasco, Any Given Sunday, Insomnia, all right we get it, he’s been in some awesome movies.
Maybe he should have quit while he was ahead. Although his early years were far too magnificent to ever be forgotten, if he continues along the road he is traveling on, the bad years may begin to compete with the good. With the exception of two respectable TV movies, You Don’t Know Jack and Phil Spector, and last year’s Danny Collins, Al’s output since the new millennium has been mostly awful. Gigli, 88 Minutes, Righteous Kill, and Jack and Jill are among the worst movies ever made in the minds of many and yet one of our greatest actors is in each. When Al rapped to Adam Sandler’s Jill character in Jack and Jill we realize we are supposed to laugh but it just makes us want to cry.
12 Robert De Niro
It is painful for us to include this master thespian on this list but there is no way we could keep him off. One of the most respected actors of all time, seeing his name on a poster in between 1973 and 1997 was a really good indication that the movie in question had a great shot at being awesome. Mean Streets, The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, Brazil, Midnight Run, Goodfellas, Backdraft, Cape Fear, This Boy’s Life, Heat, Wag the Dog, need we say more?
Then comedy came a calling and although we enjoyed Analyze This and Meet the Parents a lot, once the dam was opened a slew of crap came down the pike. Both Focker sequels were awful, he took part in tripe like Last Vegas, The Family, and The Big Wedding and even lent his name and skills to New Year’s Eve, one of those bad holiday branded ensemble movies. Sure, a few good movies squeaked through, like Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and Limitless but we now longer bank on De Niro to filter out the crap.
11 Mike Myers
This former Saturday Night Live star, Mike has managed to pull off the incredible feat of creating four massively popular and unforgettable characters. Wayne Campbell, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and Shrek are all figures that are instantly recognizable and even when you hear them only the odds of knowing who you are listening to is amazingly high. Hell, you can even toss in Fat Bastard, Goldmember and his characters from SNL, So I Married an Axe Murderer, 54, and Mystery Alaska to the pile of beloved figures he’s created.
Then the first cracks in his veneer appeared when he starred in the criminally unfunny Cat in the Hat film, where he seems to think chuckling after each line will convince us to join in, which we didn’t. Even still, nobody could have been prepared for the offensive, cringe-worthy, annoying and just plain atrocious pile of awful that was The Love Guru. A Razzie award winner in the Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture categories, the movie which he also wrote and produced decimated the good will he’d created over nearly twenty years. It’s still sad that he’s only acted in a short film, lent his voice to another Shrek film and cameoed in Inglorious Bastards since The Love Guru took the wind out of his sails.
10 Gerard Butler
Where have all the action stars gone? Sure, we love The Rock as much as anyone and there are a few other young men like Vin Diesel and Jason Statham that are pretty great but this generation isn’t stacking up. For the briefest of moments after 300 was released, we thought we may have gotten the answer to our prayers in Gerard Butler whose performance as Leonidas, King of Sparta was awesome.
Then we were baffled again and again as he followed it up with romantic comedies like P.S. I Love You and The Ugly Truth and disappointing fare like Gamer and Chasing Mavericks. While we enjoyed RocknRolla, Law Abiding Citizen, and Olympus Has Fallen has a lot of fans, Gerard hasn’t even come close to the potential 300 promised.
9 Nicolas Cage
Listen, we died laughing when we saw that video that went viral of all of Nic Cage’s most over-the-top acting moments, but if you weren’t around in the eighties and nineties, it may lead you astray. Although it is clear that a lot of his roles have some pretty crazy moments, we need to all remember that Nicolas was entertaining as all hell in a bunch of movies. Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas, and Adaptation has our favorite acting of the man’s career. On the other hand, we love the awesome action he helped bring to life in The Rock, Face/Off, Con Air and even in the National Treasure movies.
These days, however, given what we know of Nic’s personal finances, it certainly seems like he’ll take practically any movie they offer him. Apart from a few highlights in recent years, Kick-Ass and Joe, looking at his latest outings is a treasure trove of disappointment. Ghost Rider and its sequel, Season of the Witch, Drive Angry, The Wicker Man, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and so many of his other offerings have been profoundly bad.
8 Eddie Murphy
At one time, Eddie Murphy was one of (if not) the best figures in all of comedy. Receiving huge laughs on Saturday Night Live, he left for the greener pastures of Hollywood while releasing two gigantic stand up specials that just killed. 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, Coming To America, The Nutty Professor, and DreamGirls were all huge due to the involvement of Eddie Murphy. Hell, the dude even released a hit single called Party all the Time, if there is better proof of how gigantic he was at the time, we can’t think of it.
Those days are long gone, unfortunately. Now our only option for our Eddie fix is to rewatch his classics or swallow crap like Holy Man, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit, Meet Dave, and Imagine That. In fact, with the exception of the Shrek series, the last well-received movie Eddie has appeared in is the aforementioned Dreamgirls, which came out in 2006.
7 Johnny Depp
For those of us who remember the days when Johnny Depp was one of the most talented and interesting actors in the world, watching most of his recent work is awfully sad. Gone are the days of Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Blow, seemingly never to return. Johnny previously seemed to pick his projects by looking for the roles that would challenge him and delight his fans the most.
Now Johnny appears to pick his projects mostly for the paychecks or in order to work with his buddies. An upcoming fifth Pirates film may have some people excited but there is an ever-growing contingent that simply rolls their eyes at the idea of seeing Johnny as Captain Jack again. We may be able to put up with those films a whole lot easier if he would promise to stop working with Tim Burton, though. At one time this duo would come together to make great movies like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, and even Sweeny Todd. Now when they come together they provide us with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland and its upcoming sequel. Additionally, he has recently partnered up with Kevin Smith to create the revoltingly bad character Guy Lapointe, which appeared in Tusk, and the upcoming Yoga Hosers. Toss in The Tourist, The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and Mortdecai for good measure and it quickly erases the goodwill his great Black Mass performance created.
6 Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen may be a cockroach who seems to rebound no matter how hard he falls but we can’t see him coming back from his explosive Two and Half Men departure. The son of Hollywood heavyweight Martin Sheen and brother of Emilio Estevez, it is arguable that for a long time Charlie’s career eclipsed his successful family. The star of Platoon, Wall Street, Young Guns, Major League and its sequel, Hot Shots, and its sequel, and Rated X, Charlie played a major part in some classic films. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame, however, came from his 2 season run on Spin City and 8 seasons of Two and Half Men, which despite having a bevy of haters, was one of the highest rated shows on television.
A man who has fought addiction for years, Charlie left his hit show amidst an implosion that is rare in Hollywood and life in general. Banned from entering the lot he’d reported to time and time again due to his public comments about the show’s creator Chuck Lorre, Charlie took part in a series of interviews where he gave erratic and peculiar answers. Taking his ramblings on the road, Charlie attempted to make a career out of speaking in front of crowds but that flamed out predictably quickly. Returning to TV, Charlie starred in Anger Management, a show where he was clearly trying to create an extremely similar character to his role in Two and Half Men but the show failed to catch on. Canceled after only two seasons, his acting days seem to be waning. In fact, Charlie’s only acting since 2014 has been a cameo in a single episode of the awesome sitcom, The Goldbergs.
5 Kristen Stewart
An actress who had put together a pretty nice little career for herself by appearing in Zathura, The Messengers, In the Land of Women, and Into the Wild, Kristen’s defining role began in 2008. Cast as Bella Swan in the Twilight series of films, she became an international superstar overnight after the first film and remained that way as another four came out. A star of the big screen and beloved off of it, her on again, off again relationship with her co-star Robert Pattinson had their combined fans swooning.
By the time the final Twilight film came out, even some of her most die-hard fans had begun to turn on her when it came to light that she’d cheated on Robert with a director she was working with. Although it is clearly unfair that her professional life would be damaged by her personal one, Hollywood isn’t fair and just that happened. Additionally, Kristen has been unable to find a role since that is nearly as beloved as her breakthrough one. Aside from her role in the Oscar-winning drama Still Alice, her films don’t seem to be finding much of an audience at all.
4 Katherine Heigl
The story of Katherine Heigl’s career is a pretty bizarre one. First becoming beloved for her role in a teen drama, sci-fi series Roswell, she was really made into a star due to her part in the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Leaping to the big screen, she played the female lead in Knocked Up, a film that was written, produced and directed by the comedy star-maker Judd Apatow. An opportunity that should’ve led to Katherine being offered leading roles in a lot of films; the hit comedy actually began the decline of her career due to off-screen drama.
Speaking publicly about the film, Katherine shared her feelings that it was “a little sexist” and “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight”, a claim that upon reflection has some basis in reality. Even the film’s director admitted at one point there was some validity to her remarks but torpedoing your own film in such a public manner was not the best career move. Following up that drama by appearing in a slew of romantic comedies that certainly didn’t present women in a better light, she seemed to make similar mistakes. Refusing to put her name in for Emmy consideration based on her work on Grey’s Anatomy because she felt the role didn’t deserve it. She even went so far as to say that she “did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials", an act that made many see her as a malcontent. Burdened with a damaged reputation and a series of bad movies under her belt, her films now receive very limited releases before going direct to video on demand. Is there any worse sign for an actor than that?
3 Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey is the one star on this list that it is nearly impossible to pinpoint what his downfall sprung from. Reaching the highest peaks of his career in the nineties due to starring in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Liar Liar, The Truman Show and others, he still makes good movies today. He was really good in Kick-Ass 2, I Love You Phillip Morris was extremely affecting, Yes Man and Bruce Almighty were funny and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably his greatest role.
Of course, Jim has fallen victim to appearing in some bad films like Mr. Popper’s Penguins, A Christmas Carol, The Number 23 and The Majestic, but a few failures are survivable. Perhaps Jim owes his declining career to a lack of quality comedies, the genre he made his name in. Perhaps Jim owes his declining career to his odd behavior, including a long-standing relationship with Jenny McCarthy, not supporting Kick-Ass 2 or the video he made professing his love for Emma Stone. To us, it is most likely a combination of all of those things and others but one thing is clear, Jim isn’t the star he used to be.
2 Bruce Willis
Of all of the people on this list, Bruce seems to be the man who could reclaim his former glory the easiest but given his recent behavior we’re sure the world had better not hold its breath. The star of one of the most beloved films ever Die Hard, Bruce became a huge action star that seemed to be able to write his own ticket in Hollywood. Appearing in great movies like the first two Die Hard sequels, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Sin City and many others, he seemed untouchable.
What changed you may ask? It seems abundantly clear that he has no joy left in him for acting and no longer seems to give a crap about the movies he puts out. Called out as “soul crushing” to work with by good-natured director Kevin Smith, Sylvester Stallone has called him “greedy and lazy” and he’s even served up vitriol to innocent interviewers on occasion. Although he appeared in an awesome movie as recently as 2012’s Looper, he should be embarrassed by the vast majority of his films released since 2010. Worst of all, the fact that he signed on to A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest Die Hard sequel which pisses all over everything that makes the franchise great, is the perfect evidence of why he sucks now.
1 Adam Sandler
Adam may sleep well at night on a pile of money but we can’t imagine the world in which even he is at all happy with his output over the last decade. After putting out films like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Punch-Drunk Love, and 50 First Dates, he had proven himself to his bosses and audiences. Seemingly able to get any movie he wanted made due to the fact that he’d reliably made money for the companies that bankrolled him, he could have given original stories and creative people chances.
Instead, he seems to have decided that he would use his new-found clout to get all of his comedy buddies jobs, spend time with beautiful actresses and get paid to travel to the world’s most beautiful locales. He’ll make sure a movie gets made in the process but we’re hoping quality control is no longer a concern because the alternative is that he actually thinks these movies are good. He couldn’t possibly think Pixels or The Cobbler or Blended or That’s My Boy or Jack and Jill or Bedtime Stories were actually good right?