Even more overrated actors

This short series has proved to be quite popular. It has also generated a lot of debate on the posts, something I enjoy a great deal, hence this additional post. For those of you who disagree with my choices, please remember that I am saying (mostly) that they are overrated, not necessarily bad actors. Some of them are in very good films indeed, and others can make a good film seem bad. As before, please pitch in with your own thoughts in the comments, and feel free to reply to those made by others too.

I first remember Jack Nicholson in the film ‘Easy Rider’. I quite liked the film, but I was only 17 when I watched it, and couldn’t really see the point of Nicholson’s character. The following year, I saw ‘Five Easy Pieces’. He was much better in that one, but I couldn’t get past Karen Black’s strange eyes, (still can’t) so found the film hard to watch. A few years later, and he started to play Jack Nicholson, in everything! He began to substitute shouting for acting, then shouted louder when he wanted to act better. Every now and again, I saw something of the old Jack. ‘Chinatown’ was his finest hour for me; weary and cynical, and less shouting. He managed to ruin ‘The Shining’ for me, by hysterical overacting that bordered on the comedic. I should have been terrified, but instead I was laughing. By the time he got to ‘The Departed’, I had pretty much had enough, to be honest.

Will Smith seems like a nice amiable sort of man. He even recorded a song that I liked, called ‘Summertime’. Then he was in a popular US TV series, and I didn’t watch that. Suddenly, he was a serious actor, and getting roles in major films. I blinked and missed there, obviously. I will give him one good role here, that of ‘Ali’, in the biopic of the same name. But I think that was because he looked a lot like the younger boxer, and not because of the acting. (And I liked the soundtrack.) But come on, an actor? ‘Bad Boys’, ‘Wild Wild West’, ‘Bagger Vance’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Men In Black’. They all looked like extended pop videos, with Will being good old Will. I managed to enjoy ‘Enemy Of The State’, but not because of Will, though he was adequate. Then there was ‘I Robot’, and ‘I Am Legend’. Both potentially very good films, ruined by Will’s comedic alter-ego that just won’t go away. Sorry Will, you are quite good, (sort-of) but that’s it.

To say that the diminutive Tom Cruise is overrated is a classic understatement. He is just plain bad. Before you all rush to tell me that he does his own stunts, gets injured, and that he looks great for his age, and blah blah, I know all that. But that’s not ‘acting’, not in my (very large) book. In his long career to date, he impressed me once. Just the once, and because he (almost) acted. I enjoyed the film ‘Collateral’ mainly because he played against type, and looked suitably menacing. But I can think of at least ten other actors who would have turned that into a great film. His woeful list goes on and on, but I will mention some of the worst. ‘Minority Report’, where he played opposite the wonderful Samantha Morton, who saved that average film. Who can forget the lamentable ‘Far and Away’, where even Nicole Kidman was awful? And the other films where better actors showed him up, like ‘Interview With The Vampire’, when the young Kirsten Dunst stole the film from the male leads. And ‘The Last Samurai’, where the Japanese actors showed how it should be done. No apologies Tom, you’re hopeless!

To prove it’s not only men I am talking about, here comes Sandra Bullock. If someone can earn a living playing basically the same part throughout her entire career, I say “well done to you”. But when they are boosted as an ‘actress’, that’s another story. From the start, I confess that I quite enjoyed ‘The Net’. But that was a very long time ago, (1995) and it had Jeremy Northam in it. That man can really act! Other than that, it is a case of Sandra playing Sandra, doing the same thing until my eyes bleed just watching her. OK, she was in a great film, ‘Crash’. But it’s not great because she was in it. And she was in the lamentable US remake of ‘The Vanishing’, a film that I think should just be thrown out with the trash. Sandra, here’s a tip. You are not just supposed to be Sandra Bullock. You are supposed to be a ‘character’. Just saying…

I will leave it at four today, and look forward to any comments. I want to save some others for later posts.

55 thoughts on “Even more overrated actors

  1. The term “overrated” gets thrown around a lot unnecessarily. Tom Cruise has a few solid performances under his belt. He made some good films in the 90s, but tends to do the same old thing now. I don’t think Will Smith is overrated. He has made some bad films of late, but he’s good at what he does – comedy, action whatever. Have you seen the Pursuit of Happiness? He’s brilliant in it, that’s his best role to date. He plays against the type completely.

    Jack Nicholsen is an on-screen legend, so I’ll have to disagree with you there also. Sandra Bullock – I’ve never been too bothered about her, in fairness, but I thought she was good in “Gravity” and “The Blind Side”, even though they’re not the best films.

    I respect your views, but sometimes the characters are bad, not the actors themselves.They only have the script to go on. Cheers.


  2. I have to agree with you on all of the besides Smith because when I watched “9 Pounds”, man did that movie pull my heart strings and Wow me. I also enjoyed him in the Pursuit of Happiness but have to agree with all the other movies you listed. Great post as always Pete and I always love hearing your thoughts!🤗😗😄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My view is that the man must be so good looking that I don’t care about his acting. Certainly eliminates Tom Cruise for me. I have a special category for these men which currently includes the late Paul Newman and Denzel Washington. I joke that I would watch a documentary about rutabagas with either of these men as the narrator!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never given Jack Nicholson much thought. I thought he had some good scenes: ordering toast in 5 Easy Pieces, As a witness in A Few Good Men and dozen other clips from movies. I think the part about not giving him much thought is telling.
    I like Will Smith. Probably because as you say, he is affable (Would have been good as Ed Masterson as he was to quote Earp ‘affable.’ in the Movie Wyatt Earp).
    The one movie that Tom Cruise was in that I enjoyed Night and Day. I thought the role of Roy was perfect for him. I kind of gave him a good grade for Edge of tomorrow, but really his costar, Emily Blunt, carried him.
    Sandra Bullock did a great job in The Blind Side. If that was her playing her, so be it; but, that was her role.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooohhhhh…these are certainly some things that can offer up some controversy here lol. I like your bravery. Let’s start with the one I agree with the most:
    Sandra Bullock. Inhave never really liked her as an actress. Like you I loved the Net, but the other roles were just meh for me. I absolutely hated her in Gravity, that was such a seriously annoying role, Ugh 🙁
    Will Smith….well he is a different type of actor. Most of his roles are in action/comedy type movies, and yeah….those are not truly acting type of roles. He was good in Ali..I will give him that, but the movie itself kind of well…was pretty bad. I really didn’t like it much.
    Tom Cruise../that’s where I am beginning to disagree with you (lol 😂😂). Tom Cruise has definitely had a few terrific roles: I agree with Cindy, all of the movies she mentions are just absolutely amazing roles. I will add one and that’s as the Vampire Lestat in interview with the Vampire. It was a role that was completely not one you were used to him playing, but he really pulled it off.
    And then there is Jack….well I just love that guy. He played so many great roles, but one of my favorites has got to be as the hard assed military man in A few Good men. Even though it was a small role, it was so awesome 😊😊
    Great post this one Pete 😀😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks very much, Michel. When it comes to these posts, I do have to gird my loins and prepare for “Incoming”! But I don’t mind, as that is what these are about, opinions. Yours, mine, anyone else’s. They are often different, as film fans rarely agree on everything. It would be boring if we did. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yeah tell me about it 😊 I wrote a rant post on the new Star Wars movie (I absolutely hated it despite being a fan for more than 25 years now). I have never in the entire history of my blog had a post that generated so many comments lol 😂
        But true opinions are just great as long as they respect others as well. Luckily that has so far been the case on WordPress 😀😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I only have (or have seen) a (relative) handful of films in which these actors star. Asterisks denote films in my DVD collection. For Jack Nicholson: Easy Rider, Carnal Knowledge, Chinatown*, The Missouri Breaks, The Shining*, Prizzi’s Honor*, Batman, Mars Attacks!, The Departed*. For Will Smith: Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, Men in Black, I, Robot*. For Sandra Bullock: Speed*, The Net, Practical Magic*, Miss Congeniality, Murder by Numbers*, The Heat. For Tom Cruise: Risky Business*, Top Gun, Rain Man, Interview with the Vampire*, Mission: Impossible I / II / Ghost Protocol*, The Firm, Eyes Wide Shut*, Minority Report, War of the Worlds*, Oblivion*. Of the ones mentioned not in my DVD collection, the only one that should be there is The Net. I suppose I should really see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest someday. I have no problem with these actors, though Will Smith is definitely not a favorite. I suppose the one with the most DVDs in my collection, Tom Cruise, would be my favorite, but maybe it has more to do with his film choices. I actually enjoy films in which an actor chews up the scenery. Classic examples (for me) would be Isabella Rossellini in Death Becomes Her, a film that is a huge guilty favorite of mine, Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein (which I’ve watched perhaps more than any other film!), and William Shatner in Loaded Weapon I, a film whose extreme silliness somehow works for me. So I have no problem with Jack “Here’s Johnny!” Nicholson in The Shining, though the film itself leaves me perplexed.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, but Will Smith made one very, very wonderful movie: The Pursuit of Happiness! I love it!… Tom Cruise – I totally agree with you, even if “A Few Good Man” is one of my favorite movies… But I do not agree with you about Sandra Bullock. She definitely can play, and proofs this in her later movies like for example “Our Brand is Crisis”. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Angela. I agree that sometimes the films can be good, even if the lead actor isn’t up to much. But this is only about them being overrated, not necessarily bad.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  8. Disagree on Jack. He may well chew the scenery and be over the top sometimes, but to be able to do that requires you to be able to act well to begin with(the same goes for Nic Cage). There’s a difference between being a wooden(bad)actor, and being an over the top actor. I love Jack in Wolf, Chinatown, The Crossing Guard, As Good As It Gets and The Pledge.

    Partly agree on Cruise. I do like him in The Mission Impossible Films, A Few Good Men, Color Of Money, Born On The Fourth Of July and Collateral. I think with those films he moved away from the Tom Cruise persona.

    Partly agree on Smith. Yes he often comes across as Will Smith on screen, but he is so likeable that I can give him a pass for that. He blew me away with his performances in Seven Pounds and The Pursuit Of Happyness. I will always think of him as the Fresh Prince. He steals Independence Day from the rest of the cast, and he makes Wild Wild West worth a watch (and that is saying something because the film is bad lol).

    Agree on Sandra. She is likeable but always plays Sandra. Love her in Speed, Miss Congeniality and While You Were Sleeping.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Maddy. I don’t dislike jack, and I don’t think he’s a bad actor at all. Just overrated…
      I will have to agree to disagree on Will and Tom, but that is exactly what makes posts like these fun to do. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha!
    Tom Cruise: “Taps”, “Born on the 4th of July”, “Magnolia”, “Jerry Maguire”, “The Color of Money”, “Rain Man”, “Tropic Thunder”. All the MIs. I’ll defend him to my death. Me, Myself, and I love Tom Cruise. He makes it look so easy and what he does is quite difficult.
    Now, I would love to see him veer off and do more serious roles that showcase his sensitivity than that loud energy and the Tom Cruise run everyone hates.

    Agreed on Will Smith.
    Agreed on Sandra Bullock.
    Jack disagree. Albeit, I would prefer to see 20 other actors more.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Cindy. We will never agree on Tom, I’m afraid. I actually love the film ‘Rain Man’, but because of Dustin, not Tom.
      I do like Nicholson in many films. As well as the above-mentioned ‘Chinatown’, I was riveted by his performance in ‘The Passenger’ (1975) where he wasn’t shouting… And I also have a great soft spot for ‘As Good As It Gets’ and ‘About Schmidt’, films where he shows more vulnerability. As I said, not bad, just often overrated during his career.
      Best wishes, Pete. x


      1. I’m reading the bio on Hackman right now, and I think their careers are similar in that they played bastards so well, it was hard to get out of that mold once they were in it so deep. I don’t know about Jack, but Gene was always worried the films would stop coming and he’d be out of a job. As Jack grew older, his characters got wackier and unrelatable to me; now I find him repugnant.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Jack I’ve always gotten a kick out of – he always seems to be having the last laugh on the story, director and crew – no matter what the movie.
    Will, IMO, should stick to comedy.
    Tom – haven’t even seen any of his latest, so won’t comment.
    Sandra has that cute “girl-next-door” look, so she gets a pass.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I completely agree with you on Tom Cruise and Will Smith, and partly on Sandra Bullock. I liked Smith’s acting in Concussion the best, but he will always be for me the TV’s The Fresh Prince, that is as far as he progressed. The only one I kind of disagree on is Jack Nicholson, and I noticed that you didn’t mention One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Even if Nicholson only made that one movie (there is some shouting there!), he will be a legendary actor for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, DB. That was a powerful play and film. To be honest, I mainly remember it for Louise Fletcher, and many others in the fine supporting cast. Nicholson came across as good old Jack for me in that film. But I am very pleased to hear your opinion, which I have no doubt will be shared by most people.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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