?When you’re an actor, you have a lot of choices. Do I take a movie franchise over an indie film? Do I start asking for higher salaries since my movie was awesome? Does my guest spot on Heroes mean my career is over? (Yes.) They’re all perfectly logical questions for anyone in theater, and they generally demand a little bit of thought before answering.
However, there’s one question that every badass action movie star should know the answer to: Since you’re a hit action star, wouldn’t it be cute if you did something lighthearted for a change? The answer is always HELLZ FRIGGIN’ NO. Never take the easy money, action heroes, because you’re not broadening your appeal — you’re just destroying your credibility for future badass roles. Do too many stupid comedies where you have to take care of children and they teach you a valuable lesson and you’ll never make an action movie again. So keep making movies where shit blows up. Don’t make the same mistakes these actors did!
9) Vin Diesel in The Pacifier
Vin Diesel had it all. He name was synonymous with bad attitude and rage. He could probably have beaten a guy to death on the street and gotten away with it by calling it “research for a role where I beat a guy to death.” Then he did The Pacifier (or, as it’s known in the Philippines, Gnome — thanks, IMDB!) and people stopped taking him and his pects seriously. Vin gets to direct the Sound of Music, teach Girl Scouts, and do the Peter Panda Dance. He also stars with Brad Garrett, a former Star Search winner, who has never, and will never star in a badass movie. He does not, at any time, punch someone so hard their teeth shoot out the back of their neck, and the movie suffers for that.
8) Cuba Gooding Jr. in Boat Trip
Make no mistake, Cuba Gooding Jr. did some badass stuff back in the day (Judgment Night, Gladiator, Boyz N The Hood). Then he did (almost in sequence) Rat Race, Snow Dogs, and Boat Trip. All of which sucked, but only one of which got a 7% fresh rating on rottentomatoes.com. Boat Trip can be considered a comedy almost as much as Gooding’s Men of Honor or Outbreak can, mostly because they all contain the same amount of laughs (and only one was about a killer virus). The whole plot is that Cuba and his friend Horatio Sanz accidentally go on a gay cruise. They somehow expect to find babes, like the audience is expected to find humor in the premise but both fail utterly. He has not made a good movie in years.
7) Kurt Russell in Captain Ron
America would have been happy if Kurt just went through life killing street thugs and aliens (fact: Kurt Russell was indirectly responsible for the plots of 92% of Nintendo games in the ’80s), but of course he had to let his hair down and take a comedy role against Martin Short, who’s not funny and never will be. And Short was playing the straight man to Kurt’s incessant mugging. No one found this funny, no one found this entertaining, but you can usually find this for $5 at the Wal-Mart bargain bin.
6) Sylvester Stallone in Oscar
Oscar is a film that succeeds in doing what the Afghani terrorists in Rambo III couldn’t: cut Stallone’s nuts off. Fresh off Rocky V and Tango and Cash, Stallone slums it by playing a mob boss whom everyone insults and talks down to, especially his shrewish wife, played by Omella Muti (the poor man’s Annette Bening). It’s supposed to be a comedy, and it’s not totally unfunny, but watching Sly Stallone get yelled at over and over again is as disheartening as watching a clown pee on your comatose grandmother. And yes, we could have said Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot, but that would have been taking the easy way out.
5) Clint Eastwood in Space Cowboys
Space Cowboys is a movie for old people, by old people, and probably financed by Nazi gold stolen from old people. Clint takes a break from eating Communism and shitting America to play an old man who takes his equally old buddies on a trip to space. They have adventures that don’t involve old West gunplay, a hilarious orangutan, or firing a gun at the Scorpio Killer. Want to see this movie now? You’re probably old.
4) Tommy Lee Jones in Man of the House
“Hey Tommy Lee! You were great in The Missing, just great, and I have a question for you.”
“You know that No Country For Old Men is a few years off, right? Well how about you star in a film where you’re a sheriff who goes undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach?”
“Hmmm… does it have Cedric the Entertainer?”
“Sure does! And it won’t be watchable at all. Ever.”
“Where do I sign, young man?”
3) Samuel L. Jackson in The Man
Eugene Levy has made a career playing the same neurotic character he did in American Pie, which is okay because Sam Jackson has played the same angry character since when he held up John Amos’s restaurant in Coming to America. Put them together and the laughs are expected, but fail to materialize. And it’s not a wussy role for Sam, he maintains the same level of rage he always does, but it really handicaps him, always getting stuck behind Levy’s whine. It’s hard to fault Jackson’s performances (after all, he only has two emotions, “angry” and “more belligerent”) but his choice of roles?
2) Chuck Norris in Top Dog
Everyone’s talking about how badass Chuck Norris is and how he’s the manliest dude ever, but have any of these internet know-it-alls ever seen Top Dog? He’s a cop who gets partnered with a dog. Real action heroes don’t get partnered with dogs. Know who did get partnered with dogs? Tom Hanks and Jim Belushi. They’re not action stars. They never put their foot through a guy’s face. They’ve probably never even done a push-up that wasn’t on their knees like a girl. So this just proves one fact: if you need money, and that Delta Force threequel isn’t getting off the ground, you partner with a dog.
1) Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you thought we’d go with Jingle All the Way, but we’re a classy website. You remember Junior though, it’s the one where the governor of California gets pregnant. Maybe the world was so hungry for another Schwarzenegger/DeVito team-up that they would accept any load of dung that came into theaters. Jokes about a pregnant man can go only so far, and after he’s rattled off his 50th “it’s something a pregnant woman would say but it is funny because I am a man” line, we just hope that the kid is an alien chest hugger that exits through Arnie’s sternum with lots and lots of blood. Then moves on to Emma Thompson.