Top 12 ½ Actors Who Need to Take a Break

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We’re zeroing in on what’s been weighing on everyone’s mind for a while now (go on, admit it!). We all love films, but there are those of us who appreciate a bit of dignity when it comes to the art, and I (read “we”) believe that the following individuals deserve a break, or need to be sent on an enforced sabbatical, because really – enough is enough.

Okay, so admittedly a few names on this list are exempt (sort of) from a verbal flogging, or ‘word whipping’, as the industry has perhaps served them a rather bum deal, others however have simply abused their star power by smearing their name on every cinema corner available. For some, an intervention may be in order, for others though; it may be about some well-timed career coaching. Here’s the list in no specific order:

 

Nicolas Cage

He needs no intro or explanation… he needs to go, for a while, a long while (some might argue the “indefinite” plea, but there was a time when Mr. Cage was cool; remember Face OffLeaving Las VegasCon Air… okay there are more, but then he lost it somewhere between City of Angels and Captain Correllis *ugh* accent) I shall remain steadfast in my belief (as I have witnessed glimmers, slight flares, twinkles maybe, of his talent in recent years, spread out over many mostly bad films… I did enjoy Matchstick Men and Lord of War) that one day, ONE day, sometime in the fairly distant future, we shall see him regain a semblance of street cred. Meanwhile, Bad Lieutenant anyone? – Though I can understand if that mandolin movie was the last straw.

Tom Cruise

Why is the Lord of Scientology still in the biz? I thought we established that he was no longer bankable after (apparently/allegedly) eating his wife’s placenta and his sporadic couch jumping episodes… Apparently a lot of people in the industry still owe him money/favours (unless he cast some spell on them)… his films though still seem to rake in the cash. I however remain steadfast in my belief that for every role he steals, the powers that be could find someone waaay (Many many times!!!) better if they just looked with their eyes. Some Follywood execs need schooling; can you say I-Idris El-Elba, or even Michael Fassbender (that’s the easy one). It seems that we’re the Collateral in this equation!

Channing Tatum

I’m not saying ‘he’s NOT the most talented actor around’ (we all know that), but we don’t have to see him EVERYWHERE… at least it feels like everywhere. Okay, so maybe I’m being harsh here, he’s still young, so we’ll be seeing his name up in lights for some time to come – can you see where I’m going with this? All I’m saying is: ‘Chill out dude, take a breather!’ His most recent endeavors haven’t exactly been spectacular (money spinner’s mostly) – and when too many of those pile up on your resume… well, it doesn’t bode well son. Also, the trend of H-wood doing semi-pseudo-biopic films of certain actors lives (before they turned to acting) tends to have mixed results, and by my conservative gauge, Magic Mike didn’t have the desired effect… put it to you this way: it didn’t do for him what The Wrestler did for Mickey Rourke – Woah woah woah, okay okay, that’s stretching it a lot, but I did mention somewhere that I was being a little harsh, you feel me. I suppose we really are asking too much from ‘ol GI Joe #3. Then again he and the wife do have a baby on the way, so maybe he’s stockpiling the money in preparation for that, accepting any and all roles available, he’s becoming like a tool.

Ryan Reynolds

He ruined The Green Lantern, then he (with considerable blame/fire-and-brimstone hurled at the brain turd producing writers, and #F*O^X $tUD10$) spat in Deadpool’s face… need we say more? Let me be clear here – Ryan’s a nice guy, even has some cool films under his belt (they fail to come to memory just now), but he needs to learn to read the smoke signals of doom – As such, legions of fans hate/shun him for desecrating their heroes. Erm, need I mention he’s signed on to reprise the latter superhero, or that he’s also been confirmed to play the title role in the rebooted/re-whatevered Highlander (Yes “There can be only one” – that one). Learn to say no Ryan, just NO! I, I’m at a loss here people…

*Recently, due to many of Reynolds films NOT living up to box office expectations, studios are looking to him with more of a suspicious eye… He’s since, as of last month, pulled out of Highlander, and the Deadpool film looks increasingly shaky (with some suggesting it will never happen). The actor himself has stated that it’s the worst relationship he’s had with a character (Hooray for all fellow Deadpool fans!). Thankfully it seems that he’s taken a rather more introspective look at his career of late – Good luck to him!

 Scarlett Johansson

I used to be a fan of hers. I used to think she was hot, curvy, talented, cute, all of the above, while I reminisced about the Horse Whisperer and how young she was. I even remember a friend asking me “what happened to that girl from The Horse Whisperer?” – As if she’d disappeared – because, she kinda did… now, I wish she hadn’t returned, not in the way she did anyway. You see, her novelty wore off pretty quickly; doing countless commercials didn’t help either, because all of a sudden she too was Everywhere: TV, cinemas, magazines, billboards (yes I know it goes with the territory), but it all seems such a waste, so generic… and then she shows up in a pointless role in The Avengers, making me yearn for Milla Jovovich (at least her action scenes would’ve been believable). In short, I’m tired of Scarlett – she always seems overshadowed by the talents of those around her, always playing the face and little more… pity. When you think about it, how much of her work has really stood out?

I feel a deep sense of BLAH every time I see her name attached to anything.

Meryl Streep

“Gasp!” – What, how dare I… ohh yes, I dare, I sooo dare. I am not fooled naysayers – she was miss-cast in The Devil Wears Prada (can someone say Glenn Close as Cruella Deville –carbon copy), I believe Miranda Richardson could outdo Streep’s The Iron Lady (she actually played a similar type of role years ago in Made in Dagenham… why do they insist on picking American actors for British roles – It’s as if Richardson was born to play Thatcher). I sometimes feel that Streep throws her considerable weight of talent around a bit too easily. Sometimes the unpopular choice is the right one… Nowadays though, it’s more “Meryl Streep playing…” instead of one just seeing the character take center stage… Aah the catch22 of talent and fame – what a fickle bunch we are…

 Jason Statham

I feel sorry for Jason. He’s inherited the action star/hero status and seems to be running with it for all its worth, goodness knows his bank balance is probably looking handsome right about now. What’s disappointing though, is the fact that many of his run-of-the-mill blockbusters could actually be very good… his most recent Parker a case in point (bad support casting, *cough* JLo mainly), then look at The Mechanic (a decent remake that never fulfilled its potential – and what was it like 85 minutes long?), both The Bank Job and Killer Elite were really underrated and suffered from skewed or lacklustre marketing. Most of his films tend to start well with a good premise, but then plateau a third of the way in – falling into clichés and genre formulas (though they’re all still entertaining mind you). What separates Statham from action men of old is that he actually has enough ability to comfortably hold his own opposite superior acting talent, but he’s too often short chained for more guns, kicks and explosions… he needs to spend more time back in Europe. This is what happens the moment Hollywood sniffs out a bankable actions star and then order a steady stream of “Much of the same” to fill his menu… for all its faults and through the divided critic and audience reception, his new film Redemption (a.k.a. Hummingbird) is at least a departure from that norm… I’m betting it’ll prove critics wrong and once again demonstrate Statham’s real pulling power.

Anne Hathaway

Ahh, Anne. Quite frankly I was never a true fan, though suffice to say I didn’t hate her either. She was there, in that princess movie with the ever glorious Julie Andrews… things progressed and she did the expected thing for pretty-goodie-two-shoes actresses; she “re-invented” her image. As is usually the case, they embark on some less savoury roles – in Anne’s case it involved showing the customary boob and playing a pseudo delinquent looking for a quick thrill. She then took it a step further by playing a drug induced or recovering bridesmaid-something-or-other, which predictably got her some award attention because she smoked and wore some dark eye shadow, cut her hair and went all Winona Ryder on us (on screen anyway)… All in all, it’s what’s commonly referred to as: pay dirt. Hollywood predictably fell in love all over again as she kept reinventing herself for her roles… oh yes, aaand SHE CAN SING! This is Hollywood formula 101 etc. It’s boring, and now, from being somewhat amusing, vaguely delightful if not fairly tolerable (appreciate it for what it is-sort of thing), she’s ended up as more than somewhat annoying. Despite her performance in The Dark Knight Rises being commendable, her role was pointless, and I can’t help but fantasize about Olivia Wilde as Selina Kyle (the screen would melt), or perhaps even better: Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her role, making a daring return as a Cougar Catwoman… (I know, GENIUS!) However, Hollywood tends to do this sort of thing with an actress; once their fascination with Hathaway wanes, we’ll see another up-and-comer take her place as the A-list favourite. Remember when all the female lead roles went to someone named Kate? Although Anne’s time to shine is taking a lot longer than anyone (I) expected.

Bruce Willis

Yes, it is time Bruce, some would argue it was time a few years ago – just give it a rest for a few years at least, then make your comeback in an Oscar touted musical western set in space, to be directed by the Coen Brothers. He’ll be sporting a bucktooth smile, a bionic eye and a fully grown beard (I should copyright this idea). I think we all wonder if he doesn’t get tired of playing himself… apparently not, and now in perpetual supporting roles no less… I really do miss the old John Maclane, “… go to coast, get together, have a few laughs…”

Will we ever see him in a proper leading role again, that actually requires some acting?

Ryan Gosling

Mm, here’s one you probably didn’t see coming, or maybe you did and just didn’t want to acknowledge it. Ryan is seriously running the risk of becoming over Hollywood-ized. Something is amiss, I fear, in some of his most recent work. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t necessarily bad, but if Gosling is a racing car then some of his latest films haven’t clicked into gear as we expected. I suspect it has something to do with his over sex-symbol-led image (and I’ve gathered this titbit from an intellectually charged female crowd, unafraid to venture to those unspoken lands). Admittedly, as a guy, it is hard to criticize him, but I believe things were catalyzed by that pretty good film Crazy Stupid Love. It may have been decent, but it lacked balance, and though Gosling and Stone were billed as the central attraction, the support cast and central storyline (as well as subplots) outshone his contribution – in other words, it flattered to deceive – the classic “bait ‘n switch“. Now though, he seems overworked – he was also in that little noticed politically charged Ides of George Clooney film, and then there’s the on-going partnership with director Nicolas Winding-Refn (one that I really like BTW) which has yielded Drive, the imminent Only God Forgives (which critics are not fond of – say their early reviews; “A beautiful disaster” was what one called it), with another Terrence Malik project in the works. So, from no releases in 2008 and 9, to three films a year from 2010 onwards; for me, that’s a bit much (your thoughts – over exposure maybe?). One could argue the quality-quantity issue, but either way, I think he should take a short break and come at things from a new angle. He probably won’t, not at the rate he’s going, but here’s hoping he knows better and proves me wrong – I hear he and Refn are planning a comedy for their next gig.thankfully though he seems very aware of the need to pull out…

  • Gosling has always said that he may take a break at some point, well it looks like that time has come: “I’ve been doing it too much. I’ve lost perspective on what I’m doing. I think it’s good for me to take a break and reassess why I’m doing it and how I’m doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does.” – Gosling to the Associated Press.

 Amy Adams

I place her in the same bracket as Ryan Gosling, only because I am actually a fan of hers (have been ever since Catch Me if You Can) – its hard not to like her. She’s got a load of talent but as always, once Hollywood finds such a resource, they milk it for all its worth as quickly as they can. What this does is develop that strange complex where although they’re developing a full and diverse body of work, it still somehow feels the same. Adams has managed to negotiate her way around one or two casting issues; she wasn’t the best suited choice in The Fighter, but the producers were obviously looking for a little extra weight to counter Melissa Leo and co. She’s experiencing that age old Hollywood leading-lady syndrome of being the first choice actress for certain “award-baited” roles (you know how it goes – read the last name in this article for the other example of this complex*) and hence runs the risk of becoming stale. I believe she (and everyone on this list, mind you) could benefit greatly from spending some time away from Tinsel Town, just to regain some freshness.

Leonardo DiCaprio - (*My unofficial #1*) 

You all saw this coming right? You’ve seen those sympathetic articles on “What does Leo have to do to get an Oscar?” and “Oh, he was robbed… for Candy in Django Unchained”. There are still some who have bitter feelings about The Aviator, and now DiCaprio has returned to working with his old friend Baz Luhrman in The Great Gatsby remake. Anyway, I am a firm believer that Leo is still getting better and may well peak in his  late fifties (we’ll see). The best thing for him now (IMO) is to take a decent sized break, allowing the audiences to miss him and then comeback in a few years with a completely unknown indie project, and then disappear again. Recognition will come, but for me, he’s still got a lot of Tinsel shine no matter how much he tries to shrug it off; he’ll always be Hollywood’s golden boy. It may well take a gruff, weather beaten DiCaprio, playing a well written and rather visibly ‘uncomfortable’ role to truly gain the type of recognition he deserves… that performance, in some way or form, will probably be his coup de gras. He did state in a recent interview something along the lines of ‘searching for the ultimate fractured hero’… Anyway, for now we can still look forward to The Wolf of Wall Street. as he plays muse once again to Martin Scorcese – not that anyone’s complaining about that… NOTE: he currently has nothing lined up beyond 2013!

 

***

The entire cast of Twilight
Uhhh, yeah, actually I have a mini soft spot for Kristin Stewart – she does have (hear me out) a modicum of talent… it is there, just check out some of her other films… give her a chance okay. As for the rest – just retire (especially the two “male” ‘leads’).

Extra Recommendations (or the other “1/2″):
Morgan Freeman – I don’t see characters anymore, just him… is it perhaps too late for him to take time off?
Gerard Butler – What the heck happened Gerry? It been rom-coms and cheap action flicks mostly… so sad after the promise of Rock n Rolla’s ‘One-Two’ and then “THIS IS SPARTA!”, ‘this is depressing’ is more like it.
Brad Pitt – he lost it when he couldn’t shut up about Fight Club – the most overrated underrated film ever!
Tyler Perry – He needs to go back to funny school and stop visiting Oprah; he should take a break from both acting and filmmaking.
Natalie Portman – this decision is inspired by her lackluster performances in Thor.

Will Smith and Family - I know times are tough, but is the child labor necessary?

Johnny Depp - Maybe just a break from face paint, I can’t tell.
*Jessica Chastain – On the fast track down Amy Adams lane, but I do like her so, for now, she gets the benefit of the doubt…

- Do you have any names to add to this list?

  • Rowan Govender

    You left one really important name off that list:

    Samuel “Mother-f*&%#@%” L. Jackson – A man whose roles seem to have devolved to the point where he’s the angry black guy that swears a lot…

    • http://stevenbenjamin.weebly.com/ Steven Benjamin

      Agreed, though his performance in Django Unchained was good – maybe that’s what inadvertently saved him from the list.

  • JB

    great list. i fully agree with all candidates and sentiments