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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Five Best: Overactors

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="264" caption="Scene from "The Other Guys" courtesy of"][/caption]

The Other Guys releases this weekend, starring Will Ferrell. Will is heading down a rocky road which is slowly turning him into one of this group. This got me thinking: who are the "best" overactors and their worst performances? So, here they - the five best overactors and their worst showings.

NOTE: In the days of old Hollywood, it was commonly good to be an overactor, so I didn't include some of our older gems. So, consider this the best of the last 30 or so years.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="270" caption="Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman" courtesy of"][/caption]

Al Pacino

Early in his career, he was fantastic. As his career began to dwindle, his work became more and more unhinged, over and over again. It becomes monotonous.

Worst Offense - Scent of a Woman (1992)

When you make Chris O'Donnell look like a good actor, you have problems. And the Academy gave Pacino an Oscar for this. Not for any Godfather films, not for Dog Day Afternoon - for this. It was basically a "sorry you haven't gotten one yet, so we'll throw you a bone." HOOAHHH!!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="275" caption="Mark Wahlberg in "The Happening" courtesy of"][/caption]

Mark Wahlberg

Ferrell's screen partner in The Other Guys, he's very hit an miss, but when he misses, he misses badly. He's great when he's playing semi-comic roles (I Heart Huckabees) or off-kilter dramatic ones (The Departed), but when he tries to be deep and thoughtful, it's just depressing.

Worst Offense - The Happening (2008)

First mistake he made was working with M. Night Shyamalan, so he got off to a bad start. Second mistake was apparently not reading the script for this ridiculous film. He did his best to make it seem the least bit intelligent, but instead came off incredibly unbelievable, even for him. But how could he think we wouldn't be interested in the bees?

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="184" caption="Sylvester Stallone as "Rocky" courtesy of"][/caption]

Sylvester Stallone

You can put any hulking action hero here, but I'm going with Stallone because he's the only one who truly seems to try and fail. I'm pretty sure Arnold doesn't take himself too seriously. Stallone needs to follow the Arnold track and take as many movies as possible where he doesn't talk much.

Worst Offense - Any Rocky film after the first one (1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2006)

He was pretty funny in the first one, too, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because it was a good movie, overall. It was also his first out of the gate. Every Rocky film following may have been fun, but  just sad from an acting standpoint. As much as I love the absurdity of the speech at the end of Rocky IV, it's just pathetic to re-watch. But hey - if he can change, we all can change.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="227" caption="Jim Carrey as "Ace Ventura" courtesy of"][/caption]

Jim Carrey

Jim has shown some slight range at times (The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but for the most part he is just unwatchable. I, like every other of my generation, love Dumb and Dumber, but even that is toned down a bit.

Worst Offense - Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)

He can get away with the first one, because it was "new" and "edgy" (so I'm told). To this day, When Nature Calls is possibly the least funny movie I've ever seen (including Schindler's List and Passion of the Christ). And I first saw it at ten years old, close to the peak of my immaturity. Carrey tries so hard to rip laughs out of your throat, it feels more like a root canal than a comedy. I'd rather eat bat guano...really.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="272" caption="Nicholas Cage in "Ghost Rider" courtesy of"][/caption]

Nicholas Cage

Don't get me wrong - I like Nicholas Cage. He can be hilarious (Raising Arizona) and even quite moving (Leaving Las Vegas). Thankfully, he's fun to watch on screen, even if he's overdoing it. Which is good, because he overdoes it a lot.

Worst Offense - Ghost Rider (2007)

Because he does his bug-eyed routine in movies that I like (Con Air, Face/Off), too, I have to go with the movie that was just awful. It's unbelievably over-the-top and Cage goes for broke. And he was playing off of Eva Mendes, who has never been good in anything (except maybe Maxim Magazine). But he's the only one who can walk in both worlds. He's the Ghost Rider.

So, here's to all those actors who try way too hard. Later this week, we'll look at the actresses who haven't necessarily overacted, but are certainly overrated. They can't escape the wrath of the acting curse either.

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