Kyle Smith at the New York Post has posted a list of movie stars whose careers are in trouble. You can read the full thing by clicking this link, but I'll post my own thoughts about them here.
1. RUSSELL CROWE: I actually think this is a shame because Crowe actually is a good actor, but there's something about him that leaves the bulk of the audience cold. Some think it comes from the incident where he threw a phone at a hotel employee, but I think there's more to it than that.
2. GEORGE CLOONEY: Funny that folks are only now talking about how Clooney's main audience is within Hollywood and not the ticket buying public, I've been SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING FOR YEARS. Congratulations on finally catching up to me all you so-called "experts."
3. COLIN FARRELL: Farrell was hurt by becoming famous relatively early in his career which he squandered with cliched "bad boy" behaviour like drugs, womanizing, and even a sex tape scandal. Even though he's matured and become a much better actor over the years, attempts to make him a blockbuster star have failed pretty consistently.
4. STEVE CARELL: Carell's a second banana that they tried to make into a movie star, and it didn't work. Recent developments say he's going for more diverse character roles, which is probably for the best.
5. ADAM SANDLER: Sandler thought he had a perfect formula. Be loud, be crass and keep the costs relatively low, and he couldn't lose. Well, the costs started creeping up and up, and Sandler and his posse got lazier and lazier when it come to creating material which is a dumb move considering the comedy competition from Seth Rogen and his band of pranksters using the same plan, but adding hard work into the mix. Now he can lose, and will probably keep losing until he does some pretty drastic reinvention.
6. JOHNNY DEPP: Depp has been sunk by too much praise. When he first broke through people thought his eccentric stylings were novel and original. Now, outside of Captain Jack Sparrow, it looks like a guy playing "look at me and my wacky affectations." Plus, movies he's in have a tendency to bloat in budget way beyond what's delivered on screen and him being the biggest common denominator puts a lot of that blame on him, whether he deserves it or not. Costly and a bad box office bet is a terrible combination.
7. WILL SMITH: Will Smith used to be considered one of the shrewdest stars in Hollywood. He and his management worked out a formula for success, and for a long time it seemed to work. However, there is no perfect formula for success, but Smith's refusal, possibly ego driven, to step out of this master plan has caused him to refuse jobs that might have opened new doors for him, like Django Unchained. Also his attempts to win critical acclaim under his own terms have come across as shallow, low grade, Oscar bait. The less we talk about his attempts to foist his family on the moviegoing public, the better.
8. VINCE VAUGHN: Won a lot because of charm, and then tried to coast on it. Should consider doing something radically different to show people he can, you know, do stuff.
9. MATT DAMON: Made his name as an actor, then tried to turn movies into activism. He made a movie about the evils of "fracking" called Promised Land, that not only tanked at the box office, but was also criticized for taking Middle Eastern oil money to make a movie condemning American oil production, making him look like a spoiled rich hypocrite. And then he made Elysium, a socialized medicine PSA disguised as a sci-fi action movie that I criticized for having totally batshit economics. He dwells in what I call the "Offend Bore Matrix." His "political" message movies offend those who disagree with him for their ham-handedness, and boring those who do agree with him because it's preaching for a choir who don't have to attend if they heard the sermon before.
10. TOM CRUISE: Outside of Mission: Impossible Tom has a problem getting people to pay to see him in the numbers necessary for those movies to make a profit. Maybe Tom should do deliberately smaller films outside of his flagship franchise, get people interested in him as an actor, over being a major movie star that he did so well in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He's not getting any younger, and could use a lightening of the physical workload. He also shouldn't have split with Paramount to try to turn United Artists into the Tom Cruise studio. No star is big enough to carry an entire studio, and the move cost him precious time and effort.
Now let's look at stars in trouble who were not on the New York Post list:
WILL FERRELL: His films get more expensive but their box office shrinks. Even his big "comeback" picture Anchorman 2, where he and his cronies took big pay cuts to get it made, really only did just okay when you calculate in the immense amounts spent on marketing and releasing the picture.
MIKE MYERS: Myers won't give up the levels of control he enjoyed when his career was on fire in the 1990s, but that control gave the world The Love Guru. Since then the only thing he's done is a documentary about someone very few have heard of and even fewer people will see. Not a good comeback vehicle.
TINA FEY: The most heavily hyped non-entity in entertainment. Her most successful vehicles only do just okay, most just fizzle out and fade away, her TV series had ratings lower than shows that were cancelled. Her career is based on her popularity within Hollywood, but inevitably they cold hard facts of economics will make even her most powerful patrons think twice.
SACHA BARON COHEN: He exploded onto the scene with Borat, and then promptly fizzled. Possibly because people realized that he did his schtick on Americans, because people in other countries were more likely to violently beat him up. He's now digging up characters from his TV days in the 90s hoping to be relevant again, which is unlikely.
RUSSELL BRAND: Is constantly hyped as the next big thing in American entertainment, and then the movies flop and his US TV shows get cancelled, because too few people actually give a shit about him. It won't stop him getting work for a while, but eventually, it will catch up with him.
NICOLE KIDMAN: One of the few cases of someone actually undergoing petrification and living.
EDDIE MURPHY: When was the last time Eddie Murphy did something really watchable?
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: He's too old, but still thinks he can kick ass the way he used to. He used to be cartoonish, but in a super heroic way, now, after time as a pretty impotent politician and low rent philanderer, he just looks ridiculous.
JIM CARREY: Carrey's digging up Dumb & Dumber in the hopes that it will jump-start a career that's been more or less moribund for years.
Anyway, that's what I think, what do you think?