Famous Actors Who Haven’t Made a Good Movie In Years
Even the best actors in the world can hit a slump every once in a while. Consistently finding lead roles in great movies is difficult, leading to periods in which some excellent performers seem to be in nothing but duds.
That’s the case with all of the celebrities on this list. They aren’t bad actors; in fact, we quite like them. It’s just that their talents have not been well utilized for some time, and they might need to start rethinking the movies they choose.
1. Will Smith
Everyone loves Will Smith, but his selection of film roles over the past few years has been seriously lacking. His most recent project was the Netflix stinker Bright, before which he was in the horrifically bad Oscar-bait drama Collateral Beauty. Months earlier, he starred in one of the worst comic book movies in recent years, Suicide Squad.
In 2015, he was in Concussion, which just barely earned a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes but was considered to be a serviceable, unmemorable drama at best. Before that, there was Focus, Winter’s Tale, and After Earth, all of which were destroyed by critics.
Really, the last film he was in that felt like classic Will Smith was Men in Black 3, which was six years ago. Smith is still a great actor, and he’s often good in these movies. But he really needs to get better at picking projects.
Next: This iconic actor has starred in a string of straight-to-DVD movies lately.
2. Bruce Willis
At some point in recent years, it seems that Bruce Willis just stopped caring. That’s not to say he has slowed down making movies; he’s actually been acting impressively consistently. But before Death Wish, his last five films have all gone straight to DVD and have received terrible reviews, from First Kill to Precious Cargo — the latter of which scored a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Not counting documentaries or cameos, the last movie Willis starred in that received a fresh on Rotten Tomatoes was Looper, which was released in 2012. He’s made 13 movies since then, all of which have been panned or received mixed reviews at best.
In 2017, the movie Death Wish seemed to capitalize on the fact that audiences would be hungry for a Willis movie that’s actually good; the marketing department used the tagline “Bruce is Back.” But it turned out the film wasn’t much of a change of pace for him; it got a score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Next: We really want to see this great comedic actor on top again.
3. Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey is an absolute comedic legend, but it’s been a long time since we’ve really seen him excel on screen. He recently was the subject of a great documentary, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. Beyond that, though, he hasn’t been acting as much in recent years, in part due to personal tragedy in his life. While we don’t want to kick Carrey while he’s down, it’s undeniable that his movie career is in need of some serious revitalization, as was the case even while he was more active.
After all, Carrey’s last four films were The Bad Batch, Dumb and Dumber To, Kick-Ass 2, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, all of which were definitely not worthy of his presence. Mr. Popper’s Penguins was fine children’s entertainment. But the last movie Carrey did that can be legitimately be considered great is I Love You Phillip Morris, which was eight years and six films ago.
Carrey did actually star in a Polish crime-thriller called Dark Crimes in 2016, but that hasn’t been released in the United States yet. In 2018, he will also star in a Showtime series called Kidding, which hopefully will be his triumphant return.
Next: Another comedic actor who hasn’t been doing too well lately.
4. Will Ferrell
Like Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell is another hilarious actor who has had a string of failures lately. His last movie was Daddy’s Home 2, which scored a 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. Before that was The House, which got an 18% and underperformed at the box office. Prior to The House was another bad comedy, Zoolander 2 (23%), then the original Daddy’s Home (31%), and finally Get Hard (29%).
So the last film that Ferrell was in that was great was The Lego Movie, which came out in 2014. But even in that, he was only a voice (except for one live-action sequence) and was hardly the main draw. If you don’t count that, the last good live-action film that Ferrell starred in and that was well-received was Anchorman 2 in 2013.
Next: This actor has really dropped off the map, but even before he did, he wasn’t getting many good roles.
5. Brendan Fraser
From the 1990s into the 2000s, Brendan Fraser went from being an action hero in The Mummy to doing comedy in George of the Jungle and Blast from the Past and even delving into dramatic territory with the Oscar-winner Crash.
But he hasn’t made a movie of any kind since 2014. Even when he was more active, his career was definitely on a downward trajectory, as he went 12 straight movies without earning a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The last film of Fraser’s that received decent reviews was 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, and even that was hardly a smash hit.
Luckily for fans of Fraser — many of whom have created a subreddit called Save Brendan — he recently returned in the FX series Trust, and his performance has received great reviews. Hopefully, this will lead to more movie roles in the future.
Next: This celebrity’s return to acting was celebrated, but it has turned out to be fairly disappointing.
6. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to acting after serving as governor of California has not exactly been a rousing success. Immediately after he came back to movies, he starred in a few pretty decent action flicks like The Expendables 2 and The Last Stand, which weren’t amazing but certainly got the job done.
But since then, it’s been a lot of nothingburgers from the former governor; everything from Escape Plan to Sabotage to Terminator Genisys has been fairly forgettable. We’re not looking for Oscar-caliber pictures from Schwarzenegger, but it’s now been about five years since he was in anything that was even worth watching at all.
Next: This major star has now had four terrible movies in a row.
7. Matt Damon
Maybe we’re being a little harsh on Matt Damon; after all, it’s only been three years since his last great movie, The Martian. But he’s a good enough actor that the number of stinkers he has now produced in a row is worth noting.
Since the excellent The Martian, Damon has starred in four back-to-back disappointments: Jason Bourne, The Great Wall, Suburbicon, and, most recently, Downsizing. The best thing he’s done in years is actually his cameo in Thor: Ragnarok.
We don’t doubt that Damon will be able to bounce back. But if so, we’ll definitely look back on this period as a rough patch in his career.
Next: This close friend of Matt Damon’s has also not been having a great few years.
8. Ben Affleck
Matt Damon’s writing partner, Ben Affleck, has also not been doing great lately. Affleck has been tied up with the DC Universe for the past few years, but while getting to play Batman must have sounded like a dream come true, the two DC movies he’s starred in so far have been horrible. Since becoming the caped crusader, Affleck has been in a few non-Batman films as well, but those have been fairly mediocre: Live By Night and The Accountant.
It’s been four years — since 2014’s Gone Girl — that Affleck really impressed critics.
Next: You may have assumed this actor stopped working years ago, but he’s still fairly active.
9. Hayden Christensen
You may have assumed that Hayden Christensen just retired from acting after the Star Wars prequels ended. But no, he has worked at a steady pace since then, acting in almost nothing but bombs.
Christensen has been in 11 movies since Revenge of the Sith, and every single one of them has a score of rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. His last few movies were First Kill (14%), 90 Minutes in Heaven (24%), American Heist (13%), and Outcast (5%).
It’s sad to see an actor who played one of the most iconic characters of all time fall so far. Sure, Christensen was not great in Star Wars, but that was mostly because of the writing and not because of him. If Christensen makes an appearance in Star Wars: Episode IX as fans have theorized, this would likely be the first well-received movie he been in in 14 years.
Next: This actor starred in one of the worst movies of 2017 and one of the worst movies of 2016.
10. Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler was never exactly Daniel Day-Lewis. But the last few years of his career have been particularly dreadful. In both 2016 and 2017, he starred in movies that topped many critics’ worst of the year list, first Gods of Egypt and then Geostorm. In addition to those trainwrecks, there has also been London Has Fallen, A Family Man, and Den of Thieves.
The last time Butler was in anything remotely good was How to Train Your Dragon 2, and that’s just a voice acting role. The days of 300 appear to be long behind him.
Next: This action star has made over a dozen direct-to-DVD films in recent years.
11. Steven Seagal
It says a lot about the state of Steven Seagal’s career that you probably didn’t even realize he’s still actively making movies. Granted, Seagal’s films were never the best of the year, but there was a time when he was consistently pumping out entertaining action flicks that topped the box office, like Hard to Kill, On Deadly Ground, and Under Seige.
Since 2010, Seagal has starred in 13 films, but every single one of them has gone direct-to-video — from Born to Raise Hell to A Good Man — and not a single one has a score of any higher than 5.0 out of 10 on IMDB.
Next: This great actor has starred in seven subpar movies in a row.
12. Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is an amazing actor, which is why it’s especially disappointing that it’s been too long since he was in a truly phenomenal movie. In 2017, he starred in three films: Song to Song, Alien: Covenant, and The Snowman. Only Covenant managed to somehow squeak out a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite the film being fairly disappointing.
Before that, Fassbender was in the terrible video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed, the middling The Light Between Oceans and Trespass Against Us, and the disappointing comic book movie X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s been three years since Fassbender has really excelled, as in 2015, he had Steve Jobs. Obviously, that wasn’t that long ago, but seven bad or mediocre movies in a row is fairly significant for an actor like Fassbender.
Next: This actor has gone from starring in one of the biggest movies of the 1980s to little-seen films.
13. Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer’s career was on fire throughout the 1980s, starring in movies from Top Gun to Real Genius and Tombstone. He continued landing lead roles in solid movies into the 90s, including in True Romance and Heat, and, of course, he played the caped crusader in Batman Forever. Even in the 2000s, he did some solid work, especially in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
But his career has fallen off dramatically. Since 2010, Kilmer has starred in 19 critically reviled movies, many of which went direct-to-video like Seven Below and Blood Out. The last film he starred in that received anything close to good reviews was 2012’s Breathless, which has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes (but with only five reviews).
Next: We would love to see this comedic actor make a comeback one of these days.
14. Eddie Murphy
It shouldn’t be so hard for someone as talented as Eddie Murphy to land a role in a movie that allows him to show off his skills. Yet his last legitimately good film was Dreamgirls in 2006. Since then, his movies have been Norbit, Shrek the Third, Meet Dave, Imagine That, Shrek Forever After, Tower Heist, A Thousand Words, and Mr. Church.
Mr. Church was Murphy’s return to acting after a four-year break. But sadly, critics weren’t much kinder to that film than to his other recent work.
Next: This actor won the Oscar in 2002, so what’s he doing in movies likes these?
15. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody has won the Academy Award for Best Actor. So why has he been in so many bad movies lately? In the past few years, Brody’s work has included Bullet Head, Enemy Territory, Manhattan Night, Backtrack, Dragon Blade, American Heist, and Third Person. All of those movies earned a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The last great film Brody was in was Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, but that was four years ago now. With an actor this good, one good movie for every seven bad movies is certainly not a good ratio.
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