Going to the movies can be a discouraging affair. Every new cinematic offering is simply a half-assed regurgitation of tired old themes that have been covered more insightfully by filmakers a million times over. Studios are so devoid of ideas that they puke out horribly irrelevant re-makes, hoping to hit upon something new. Think about that logic for a second. Does anyone need to see a “reimagining” of “Footloose” or “Fame?” Jeez, I barely survived the originals!It’s a sad time to be a cinephile, I tell you. Everything being produced is just this absolute common denominator, one note, coma-inducing pablum. What’s worse is, these films are being populated by such uninspiring ciphers.
Huh? What? Who’s a cipher, you say?
Take a look: here’s a list of the five “One Note Wonders”, actors with a limited range who’ve been giving the same performances — and getting away with it — movie after movie, year after year:
5) Kristen Stewart
Stewart’s acting style is nothing more than a shoe-gaze-y collection of tweaky tics, starting with the lower lip jut/furrowed brow combo, accompanied by the jittery Vietnam vet shoulder scrunch and ending with an open mouthed sharp intake of air…which makes her appear remarkably like a suicidal trout eyeing land. Rather than actually developing her characters, each portrayal of hers is a mere rearrangement of these tourette’s like convulsions. When you add to all of this her often unkempt hair and permanently vacant expression, she really looks a lot more like an escaped mental patient than an up and coming starlet. Worse yet, she’s got such an actively unpleasant persona. Each role she takes is performed with such a peevish air, as if she’s colossally bored and unhappy for having been rousted from her onset trailer, where she’d been contentedly writing in her diary, listening to “The Jesus and Mary Chain,” and drinking case after case of Diet Dr. Pepper.
Now you tell ME, are these not the same exact scene?? These are two different movies folks!!
4) Will Ferrell
Aside from his genius performance in “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy,” Will Ferrell has been the absolute definition of “‘One Note” in every other movie he’s been involved with to date. In the beginning, his shtick was funny enough, so much so that it hardly mattered he had all the dramatic range of a used tongue depressor, but lately he’s become pretty intolerable. Trying and failing miserably in more serious fare like “Stranger than Fiction” and “Melinda and Melinda,” Ferrell seems happy enough nowadays to just crank out absolute crud like “Step Brothers” and “Semi-Pro”. Sadly, he’s felt it necessary to take John C. Reilly with him down the rabbit hole. It is truly unfortunate as Reilly is actually a legitimately great actor, and slowly but surely his association with One-Note-Will is starting to take its toll.
3) Jennifer Aniston
Relying on the fading glory of her shag coif, and her tired template of comic facial expressions, Aniston’s work is hackneyed, uninspired and totally irrelevant. Each schlocky movie of hers is more irritating than the next. They all seem like sadistically extended throw-away episodes of “Friends.” I don’t know if it’s her Camille-like drawn out obsession over the break-up of her marriage with Brad, or just the fact that she has the emotional depth of a fig newton, but for her sake (and all of ours) she should have her SAG card confiscated, get a good therapist, and go on E-Harmony – pronto!
2) Michael Cera
Out of the glut of “sensitive, awkward types” plying their trade today, no one is more one-note than Michael Cera. His permanent deer in the headlights gaze and stutter-y Kermit the Frog on helium delivery was semi effective in the highly overrated “Arrested Development.” But, his subsequent turns in films like “Juno” (a masterpiece of pretension) and “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” have been as compelling as watching a plank of wood collect dust. As far as I’m concerned, actors like Jesse Eisenberg and Anton Yelchin have far more to offer if you’re looking to cast a movie about a young, neurotic, gawky loser. All Cera brings to the table are a pair of knobby knees and a voice that sounds like he’s been clopped in the nuts with a sack of oranges.
1) Ben Stiller
There used to be a time when Stiller was genuinely amusing. With films like “Flirting With Disaster” and “The Cable Guy,” he delivered major laughs with his unique brand of silliness, capturing perfectly the emotionally stunted, repressed rage of a generation. But after a barrage of tepid, inconsequential drek like “Envy,” “Along Came Polly,” ”The Heartbreak Kid,” “Duplex,” “Meet the Parents/Meet the Fockers,” “Dodgeball,” “Madagascar,” and “A Night at the Museum,” those days are long gone. When Adam Sandler and Jim Carey are surpassing you in the depth department, you know something’s amiss.
Still, I hold out hope for Ben. Unlike the others on this list, I believe he can turn it around. All it would take is a juicy part in a flick by Tarantino or Scorsese and he’d be back with a vengeance. Of course, it’s all up to him. He just seems so content to crank out the scatalogical, sophomoric, lazy drivel, that at this point it’s hard to imagine him actually putting in a decent performance.
So there you have it, the “Top Five Lamest Actors” out there today!
After writing this piece, I feel positively sticky with mediocrity. I think I need to watch “The Godfather” and cleanse myself!
Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed by Mr. Lancourt do not necessarily reflect those of the editors at TFT – who, for some stupid reason, actually like Cera and Ferrell.