More overrated actors

Last year, I wrote some posts about overrated and underrated actors and actresses. My opinions were just that of course, my own opinions. However, those posts were well-received, and did generate some debate. I promised to add more, but became consumed with posting photos, and compiling A-Z challenges, so I didn’t get around to it. Some of the choices that follow are bound to be controversial. I know in advance that I am in danger of naming some names that are currently unassailable, cinematic icons to many viewers.

But anyway, here goes nothing…

In another post, I nominated ‘Blade Runner’ as my (current) best film of all time. So, you might be surprised to find Harrison Ford on this list. But I never liked that film because of him, although it might be his best role to date. Like many other stars, including many that I really like, Ford tends to play himself, whatever the role. The problem is that he is not that interesting. Whether being an action hero in ‘Star Wars’ or the ‘Indiana Jones’ films, or the solid policeman John Book in ‘Witness’, Harrison is always Harrison, just wearing different clothes. In his romantic dramas, he still comes across as a caring cop, or someone from the Secret Service. He has certainly avoided typecasting over the decades, but it made little difference. He was and always will be Harrison Ford, whether in a film, or walking down a street.

Tom Hanks is loved by millions. He has played everything from a tough army officer in ‘Saving Private Ryan’, to a clownish cop in love with his dog, in ‘Turner and Hooch’. He has grown up in the industry, going on to play serious roles in later life, in films such as ‘The Road To Perdition’, ‘Captain Phillips’, and ‘Sully’. His name can sell a film, endorse a franchise, and make millions of people get a warm glow inside. He is the new James Stewart, the all-American down-home boy who symbolises all that is good. Many of the films he has starred in have been excellent, and I confess to liking most of them a great deal. But other than ‘Big’ (1988), I never liked any of those films because of Hanks’ acting talent. I liked them for other things in them, and for the other cast members. Who doesn’t love ‘Turner and Hooch’? But it’s the dog we love, not the humans around it. Who do I remember most, in ‘Saving Private Ryan’? Barry Pepper, as Jackson the left-handed sniper. Giovanni Ribisi, as the medic Doc Wade. Joerg Stadler, as the German prisoner who returns to kill Stanley Mellish. That’s who, and because they were acting. Tom Hanks was being Tom Hanks, playing an army officer. Sorry Tom, it has never worked for me.

This post is not just about Americans though. Britain has its fair share of duds, playing to packed houses, loved and admired by legions of fans. But like those mentioned above, it becomes debatable whether or not they are good actors, or just bankable stars. Roger Moore died this year. Best known to most people for his numerous outings as James Bond, he was known to me from my childhood as ‘Ivanhoe’, the chivalrous knight in a long-running TV series. He later went on to star alongside Tony Curtis in ‘The Persuaders’, after becoming known nationally for his other TV character, ‘The Saint’. He starred in more than forty films, and almost all of them were awful, unable to be saved by his wooden presence, and trademark raised eyebrow. He started his career as a male model, featured on knitting patterns.
He should have stayed there.

Being voted ‘The World’s Sexiest Man’, or being in the list of the ‘Top 50 Best Dressed Men’ might be something to aspire to. Also being undeniably good-looking and attractive to women doesn’t hurt. But in my book, that’s not enough to make you a great actor, not even an average one. That the British star Henry Cavill seems to have been able to use those social credentials to achieve some status as an actor is beyond my comprehension. I won’t even list the lamentable catalogue of films that have launched him into star status, but suffice to say that I have watched only one of them, ‘The Cold Light Of Day’, where he is forgettable, in a below-par film, opposite Bruce Willis. Sorry Henry, your credentials just don’t add up.

Just one more to close this particular post, but there will be more to come, I’m sure.

I will close with another controversial submission. Leonardo DiCaprio showed great promise as a child actor. He starred in two of my favourite modern American dramas, ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’, and ‘This Boy’s Life’. He seems like a nice man, and has apparently avoided the personality defects that have afflicted so many actors who started as children. However, I just don’t get him. Take ‘Gangs of New York’ as an example. He was totally unsuited to the role, and playing opposite acting heavyweights like Daniel Day Lewis, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson, his shortcomings left me feeling embarrassed to watch his scenes. Adored by Scorsese, he was launched into films that he just didn’t sit right in, like ‘The Departed’, where he was once again acted off the screen by Jack Nicholson (who will feature later) and -almost unbelievably- by Mark Wahlbergh too.
In ‘The Aviator’, he completely failed to convince me that he was Howard Hughes, even though the film was stylish, and very good to look at. I have yet to see ‘The Revenant’, for which he won a Golden Globe. But when I do get around to watching it, that will be because Tom Hardy is in it. And he is a very good actor indeed. Sorry, Leo (and sorry Cindy…) but you are on my list.

Feel free to agree (or disagree 🙂 ) in the comments below.

70 thoughts on “More overrated actors

  1. I am not sure if I commented on this post before, but I kind of agree with you on Roger Moore and Tom Hanks. Regarding Leo DiCaprio, he just chooses his films too carefully. It is hard to find him a bad movie, and, therefore, in a bad role.

    I think the most overrated actor in the history of Hollywood is Brad Pitt. The only performance which I found mind-blowing on his part was in “Kalifornia”. But, who remembers “Kalifornia” now? That man has been given super roles and has been worshipped because of his “model” looks. I have always found his acting unconvincing and very repetitive. In his “break-through” “Thelma and Louise” he has been ripping off the style of James Dean, and he always tends to chew something in his movies. Urgh. Minus the looks, and you have nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and comment, DB.

      As I said in many replies, I am suggesting they are overrated, not bad. That is my main thought about Di Caprio, who can often act wonderfully, but is still lauded for an average performance. I think Brad Pitt was fine in ‘Interview with the Vampire’, but it’s easy to out-act Tom Cruise, let’s face it. I also liked him in ‘Fight Club’, but he’s obviously not a patch on Edward Norton. Despite his obvious copy of the late 1950s style, I did remember him in ‘Thelma and Louise’, so he must have made an impression, in a small role. Other than in those films, I agree that he is criminally overrated.

      Another of these to come soon, and it may well include the aforementioned Mr Cruise. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Oh! I don’t think we are even considering the likes of Tom Cruise! That man is in the league of his own when it comes to overrated things, I meant beings 🙂 I will be looking forward to your next instalment of overrated actors.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks. Both are good actors, but I agree that they usually just play themselves on screen instead of disappearing into the character they play. Respectfully disagree about Leonardo DiCaprio, I think he has actually gotten better as he’s got older. Check him out in Shutter Island, Catch Me If You Can, Django Unchained (he is downright scary in that film) and Revolutionary Road to see some good performances from him.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Maddy. I have seen all the films you mention, save for Django Unchained. I still didn’t get Leo. I must be missing the ‘DiCaprio gene’! 🙂 As for the others, (and Leo to some extent) I only consider them to be overrated actors, not bad ones.
      Thanks again, for taking the time to read and comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with you about Harrison Ford Pete! Everytime I watch him in something you just know what to expect but I disagree with Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks did an amazing job at playing Forest Gump in my opinion. He played a very diverse role in that movie and pulled it off great in my opinion when I think of Tom Hanks I think of Forest. He played the serious Saving Private Ryan and then the sweet and disabled Forest Gump well!😗 I think it’s awesome you posted this! I love seeing the diversity in others’ opinions! Great Post Pete!!!😉💯😎🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Dani. Obviously, people have different opinions, and these posts are also meant to generate debate, which is something they usually succeed in doing. Hanks was great in ‘Forrest Gump’, but I don’t feel the same about him in so many other films, hence my own conclusion that he is not a bad actor, just overrated. Glad you enjoyed the controversy. There are others in this series previously, and more to come.
      Best wishes, Pete. 🙂 x

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      1. I loved the controversy! I love enjoying the differences in others! I will be looking forward to your posts! I have to agree with you on is other shows I can see how you feel he is overated. I guess Forest Gump being one of my all time favorites, blew me away. There was so many different genres and emotions in one in that movie. We went through drama, laughter, action and romance. I just loved it. I felt he did “okay” in Castaway but it wasn’t fantastic! Thanks again for sharing this and will be looking forward to future ones!😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can see your point for many of these actors. It is weird how although I like many of Tom Hanks movies (he is a solid performer, but I agree he is very much himself), I always thought he was better when he was younger and he played comedies (but then, I also prefer the less serious movies of Steven Spielberg). Harrison Ford, I guess has become part of the family, but I agree with you too. Leonardo… He is a bit like Peter-Pan, he always looks so young, even now. I love ‘What’s Eaten Gilbert Grape?’ but I think he is more suited to lighter parts (Catch Me If You Can I thoroughly enjoyed, but then I love stories about con men). I’ve never been one for James Bond movies, but I did enjoy Roger Moore’s because they didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously.
    Funnily enough, I’ve caught a couple of films recently with nobody in them I knew that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
    Losing Love (a treat for writers and a very gentle film, with a very caring portrayal of people with mental health problems http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5058998/) and As High as the Sky (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119383/).
    I did enjoy Sully too.
    All the best.

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    1. Thanks, Olga. I always knew I would be taking on some actors who had die-hard fans. Hanks was wonderful in ‘Big’. I doubt anyone could have played that role better, channeling that inner child. I thought he would go on to be a fine actor, but whether or not it was the parts he chose, he mostly disappointed me. The same applies to Leonardo, at least as far as I can see. I didn’t like ‘Catch Me If you Can’. It reminded me of the fluffy lightweight comedies of Cary Grant, someone else greatly overrated. I have also never enjoyed the Bond films, but I agree that Moore’s refusal to take the role seriously suited the franchise. I will have a look at your linked recommendations, so thanks for those.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, some interesting choices there. I’m actually a fan of Harrison Ford, mainly because of Indiana Jones and Han Solo. Tom Hanks seems like a nice guy and I often buy into him as an actor. Henry Cavill, I must admit is a man crush. As I always say, we can’t always agree on everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha! A fun, subjective post. WELL, we’ve had these talks before and I don’t care that you find LDC overrated. I think he’s swell. So I got that out of the way. 😉
    As far as Tom Hanks and the others listed above are concerned, including Tom Cruise, they both have had roles that were difficult, complex with fine acting. (Castaway & Born on the Fourth of July) However, these two also have a slew of films that could have been played just as well by many other actors EXCEPT Tom Cruise’s Peter Pan ability to incorporate his own stunts, his own personal stamp, into action films, no one could duplicate his longevity. That makes him unique. I am entertained watching his films.
    I dreamed last night of Mel Gibson. We were waiting to present at an awards show and hung out backstage for hours talking. What a down-to-earth, sincere, charming man. It felt so real.
    Anyway, Mel Gibson is one of those actors that people love to either love or hate. I’ll let you guess which side my affections fall.
    My personal opinion regarding overrated? Seth Rogan, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Liv Tyler, Julie Roberts and Will Smith.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, Will Smith. He is on one of my lists. 🙂 I never really think of Mel Gibson as an actor, until I remember films like ‘Tim’ (1979), with Piper Laurie.
      Thanks, Cindy. As always, your input is most welcome, and much appreciated.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean about Cumberbatch. Despite loving the new ‘Sherlock’, I also found him irritating. But when I saw the BBC series of plays about the Kings of England, he was simply riveting as Richard III.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. I can see where you are coming from, but I quite like the familiarity of actors sometimes, at least you know what you are going to get. But then again, in an ideal world, all films should have a cast of unknown actors, as I believe you have said many times before its probably the best formula for any truly good film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Eddy. Sometimes, I will watch a film just because a certain actor is in it. It’s just that others can make me do the opposite!
      (By the way, I just found the lip balm sample. Thanks for that.)
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I seem to agree with most of that, Leonardo De Caprio especially was an actor I just didn’t want to watch, then I saw him in The Wolf of Wall Street and he was mesmerising, then in The Revenant where he really pulled off an incredible performance. I like Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks and especially in The Road to Perdition where he wasn’t so much Hankified, also Charlie Wilson’s War was fab but I don’t think you’ll ever watch it as he stars with Julie Roberts who I know you don’t rate as well haha, but really the movie is a true story and worth putting aside one’s prejudices for. Roger Moore just blah and blurk worst Bond ever too. Henry Cavell I really liked him in the TV series The Tudors, I thought he did a great job in it, but maybe because the character he played was interesting anyway. He’s now the new Superman and I like those movies as you know so a bit of eye candy is appreciated, he doesn’t need to ‘act’ just fly around 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i agree about Cavill in The Tudors. But that was a role where he wasn’t just a pretty boy, and could have been played by any stage actor with a modicum of talent.
      I might have to see The Revenant, but I will be hard to convince about DiCaprio.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The whole movie is a tour de force Pete, the other actors are just as good and the scenery is stunning. But I suppose if you’ve already made up your mind that LDC can’t act you would be more inclined to find fault with him and then not enjoy the movie! So don’t see it and maintain your equilibrium! 🤪😂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your challenge of seeing how they would make it on the live stage. That is a great test, I think.I had the privilege of seeing Richard Dreyfus, whom I had only seen on the screen, live in an Arthur Miller play. He took my breath away with his performance.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember the second time I saw a film with Sean Connery in it, “The Longest Day.” the role was so different from his portrayal of 007 that it took me off guard. However, he was still Sean Connery and for that reason, I liked the role. What I am saying is that Connery played himself in much the same way James Cagney played himself or any of the big names. The thing is I really like this guy so I give him the benefit of the doubt. The dude is simply cool. I half suspect self-confidence and innate coolness it what it takes to be a box office draw. Get enough people to like you and you too can be a box office draw.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

            1. ..and of course, casting Brit actors as Germans in WW2 movies. 🙂 “Valkyrie” comes to mind (great movie!). Speaking of which… I liked Hardy Kruger, Maximillan Schell, Anton Diffring, Karl-Otto Alberty (what a face), Curt Jurgens, all these old guys. I actually like Thomas Kretchman… and the best Hitler of all cinema, Bruno Ganz.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Liking’ is a big part of the argument, Theo. I obviously am not attracted to those in my list, but I can forgive others their dubious acting talent, when I ‘like’ them as people. (I could perhaps cite Roy Scheider as an example, as I like him)
      That is of course why I cautioned that these suggestions are simply ‘my opinion’! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  11. I have to agree with you on all counts—not necessarily bad actors, simply overrated and mostly because they just play themselves. I look forward to your future lists (good to know Cruise will be on one).

    And Roger Moore featured in knitting patterns?! Thank you, thank you for that piece of trivia. It will stay forever in my mind and probably cause me to laugh out loud suddenly at the most unexpected (and perhaps inappropriate) times. Great way to start my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I suppose if one were to sit down and evaluate true overall acting ability I would pretty much have to agree with your summations here, Pete. But then one could assign “categories” of acting.. not so much by movie genre. Drama, comedy, action, bankable at the box office, number of movies made in a lifetime or last year.. I mean, it’s endless.
    There is also age.. as I am sure you will agree, like real human beings, actors also mature in their professions as they age. Take Harrison Ford for example. In his early stuff before and up through the first two Star Wars, I could easily see in his facial expressions that he was “forcing” an interpretation of his role… a bit contrived was coming through. He got way better as he got older, but has anything he has done worth an Oscar.. or even a nomination? Yet… I will absolutely go see pretty much any movie he was in .. up until the last decade when he’s been since cast as some sort of co-star old man character; the sad part of growing old in the movie business. The only Hollywood character who is so far achieving movie immortality as it relates to age is Tom Cruise; the guy’s in his damn 50’s and he’s still plays very active roles… and still commands the young-enough looks to keep young females interested.
    For me the sad part is, for the huge movie buff I have been through my own decades, I’ve pretty much been an action/drama guy and all my movie heroes have gotten old with me. Hell, just watch The Expendables movies and you see a compilation of every movie actor I grew up with and enjoyed over the last 40+ years. Admittedly the plots for The Expendables movies have been very weak, but those films were made simply for the last hurrahs of the actors involved as well as a nod to all us aging action-loving baby boomers; the continued pursuit of our box office money.
    ironically, when I was growing up I used the winning of an Oscar in some acting category as a “kiss-of-death” regarding me seeing the film. Yuck.. it meant romance, human drama, feel-good artsy, yawners. I became more tolerant as I got older. 🙂

    Regarding Ford… you know, I never completely watched Blade Runner all the way through.. some sci-fi’s just do not hold my attention yet I do know that film has a huge Ford fan base. But honestly, I thought Ford acted very well in Six Days, Seven Nights, yet that’s considered one of his more benign films.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks as always for your thoughts, Doug.
      Funny you should mention Tom Cruise, as he’s on my list for a future post. Then again, I doubt anyone thinks he’s a great actor. That is the essence of what these posts mean to me. I don’t have to like someone to think they are a good actor, just be aware that they can act, and do it very well. My gripe is with those who are lauded as ‘fantastic’, or ‘award-winning’, when all they are doing is being themselves, in some different outfits. Put them on a stage, playing in something like ‘Death of A Salesman’, or even ‘An Inspector Calls’. That will undoubtedly reveal their flaws.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  13. Great post. Henry Cavill is…just terrible. Like Jason Momoa he’s been acting for years and his skills still haven’t improved. Henry’s a very attractive man and I enjoy looking at him, but I do believe given his poor acting skills he wouldn’t have a career in Hollywood were it not for his appearance. I would say the same of Kit Harington. Nice to look at, but can’t carry the lead role in a film to save his life.

    At the onset of DiCaprio’s fame he made many poor film choices: The Beach, Celebrity, the Man in the Iron Mask, and later on films such as Body of Lies, J. Edgar, and the Great Gatsby. However, for the most part I think he’s starred in some great films, and I’ve really enjoyed them. I think he still delivers very strong performances, and would point to his roles in Revolutionary Road, the Aviator, Django Unchained, and Shutter Island as examples.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for your considered comment, it is most welcome. Glad to hear you agree about ‘pretty boys’ getting by on looks alone. As I said, I have enjoyed many films that DiCaprio appeared in, but not just because he was in them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Seems that you don’t like when the Actor becomes bigger than the role – meaning to me that their real-life persona makes it impossible for them to lose themselves in another character, and in some cases as you mention they don’t even try, but let their well-honed persona carry the day. That said, Tom Hanks struggling to survive in “Castaway” is a master class of commanding the screen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true, John.. Cast Away was a Hanks role for sure. But like I was lamenting in an earlier reply here… even he is taking less active character roles. I honestly do not think he is anything special in his “Robert Langdon” Da Vinci character… they could cast most anyone in that role. It’s so obvious Hanks himself was the box office draw in promoting the first film. I will continue to watch the series as they will no doubt continue with the franchise in pursuit of the money and I find the plots somewhat interesting and a bit more cerebral than bullets & bombs genre.. but they could have easily put a Micheal Douglas or even a Morgan Freeman in the role.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. “Tom Hanks…is the new James Stewart, the all-American down-home boy who symbolises all that is good.” I’ve seen a handful of his films, but don’t own any. I definitely do not consider him to be in the same category as James Stewart, who is one of my favorite film stars of all time. Also, due to the fact that he actively supported the Hillary Clinton campaign, he has alienated a good many people. As for Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks, I suppose the same thing could be said of John Wayne and a host of other actors. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Tom Hanks just doesn’t “do it” for me.

    I do like Harrison Ford, who I think more closely deserves a comparison to James Stewart in terms of likeability and acting chops. As for Leonardo DiCaprio, the darling of Martin Scorsese, I think he’s a good actor, but he has been ill-suited for most of the roles I’ve see him play, including “The Aviator,” though he was quite good in “Django Unchained.” I haven’t seen a Roger Moore film or an episode of “The Saint” since they were fresh out of the camera, so I can’t comment on whether he’s overrated. And I’ve never seen a performance by Henry Cavill.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David. As I said in the post, many actors do very well just playing themselves. As with John Wayne (or the British actor Ray Winstone) we know what to expect, and they rarely disappoint. Like you, Tom Hanks doesn’t work for me in that area, or in any other, outside of ‘Big’, which I loved. The comparison with James Stewart is something I read online, and do not necessarily agree with.
      I also never warmed to Harrison Ford, so accept that sometimes these things are very ‘personal’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s always an interesting debate, this one… Oddly enough, we were discussing Tom Hanks just the other day, having seen ‘Sully’ – not a movie I was particularly keen to see, but one that I was very glad I did. Hanks seems to me always recognisably Hanks, but he does, somehow, get into a part such that you are convinced he is who he says he is. Unlike, say, Cary Grant, who really was always Cary Grant – but nevertheless enjoyable to watch. A bit like Roger Moore. And there’s a thing; in terms of entertainment, it may not matter that an actor isn’t in the same league as, say, Lawrence Olivier or Dustin Hoffman, provided s/he makes the experience enjoyable? Now, Leonardo DiCaprio, I think can act (see ‘Blood Diamonds’?), but for some reason he irritates the hell out of me; the best bit in Titanic was when he sank… Good post, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I have seen ‘Blood Diamond’, but as usual thought it might have been a superior film with someone else in the lead! 🙂
      I have no plans to watch ‘Sully’, but appreciate your enjoyment of it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks are tops on my list. Excellent movies and acting. Maybe a few so-so ones here and there, but I always remember the characters they played years later. Their movies stick with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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