The 20 Worst A-List Actors of All-Time

This is perhaps one of the most frustrating lists to ever have to do. Being a big fan of films and the actors in them I don’t often care to criticize, but when things just don’t look right or somehow don’t come off as they should it becomes a little easier. Actors do what they can to entertain the masses, they deal with emotions that are meant to make us feel happy, sad, angry, and in many ways are the authors of the inspiration that we take with us throughout our days. But to be quite honest there are those among the ranks that make bank on our emotions without truly earning the payday they’re given. A handful of A-list celebrities seem to coast by on past glory that keeps them relevant in the current era. That is why there is such a list as the worst A-list actors of all time.

They’re still considered great, but they haven’t done anything great in some time. Here are 20 individuals that tend to bank more on nostalgia and past triumphs than anything.

20. Ben Affleck

Affleck has had a kind of up and down career thus far that has seen him take on some real stinkers and yet come roaring back with one or more roles that seem to redeem him somehow. That trademark look that sees him set his jaw and offer up a grin that says “here we go again” has become a gesture you see in every movie now, and it’s hard not to agree with the sentiment.

19. Owen Wilson

He looks like he’s on the verge of giggling in every other shot, as though his acting is just that hilarious or he finds everything around him simply too amusing to keep a straight face. His sense of comedy and his delivery is usually on point and can wow the audience, but when it’s time to be serious it’s as if he just can’t get the last joke out of his head.

18. Vince Vaughn

He can be genuinely funny like you saw in Old School, but the unfortunate part is that he’ll try to ride that funny for years even when the wheels have fallen off. His foray into more serious films just felt a tad creepy, and when he tried to mix drama with comedy the effect was like trying to mix a ham sandwich with peanut butter and jelly. Makes no sense right? Well that’s how it felt to a lot of people when Vaughn tried it.

17. Ryan Phillipe

This guy was actually in the running to play Captain America. Surprised? Yeah, the rest of us were too but thankfully Chris Evans came along and we didn’t get that major Hollywood faux pas. Besides that, Phillipe has been kind of stained by roles such as he had in Cruel Intentions where he might be able to take on someone his size but isn’t much to look at after that. The pretty-boy look doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of other roles these days.

16. Luke Wilson

Wilson gets overshadowed by pretty much anyone that he stars with. In Old School he was supposed to be the lead but Vaughn and Ferrell pretty much dominated. In fact the entire cast kind of pushed him aside and took over the movie. Maybe that was the effect they were going for when they labeled him the godfather, to insulate him and make it seem like he was behind the scenes pulling strings. But if that were the case then what’s the excuse for his other movies?

Real Genius Movie

15. Val Kilmer

Kilmer had such promise when he was younger and in better shape. His portrayal of Doc Holiday still lives on in legend with a legion of fans claiming “I’m your huckleberry”. But then he started falling off the map and lo and behold he fell victim to the curse of Batman. It’s strange how that curse began with Kilmer and almost died down after Clooney was done with it. After that failed role however Kilmer has started fading out even more, almost to the point of extinction.

14. Christian Slater

It’s kind of difficult to say that his career was ever fully-promising and keep a straight face. He was great for a little while and then faded off. Then he would come back and then fade off again. He never really faded out entirely, but he certainly seemed to pick his times to make a comeback. The only issue there is that he didn’t always pick the best times. It’s as though he tried to be fashionably late to newest trends and wound up just missing out entirely.

13. Jean Claude Van Damme

I think a lot of us have been waiting for more character development since his earliest days as an actor. He almost always plays the guy that needs to fight for something, to stand for something, and is never at fault for the bad things that happen to him. It’s a niche to be sure, but over the years it’s become more of a rut that he doesn’t seem keen on pulling himself out of. Nowadays he seems to be taking on the role of the mentor that’s seen some things and done some stuff.

12. Kevin James

He almost seemed like a wannabe replacement for John Belushi and Chris Farley at one point. The only difference is that he doesn’t really have the look or the David Spade-like sidekick that he can fall back on to be extra funny. He does have a kind of dumb cow look that he uses for comedic effect but can only be watched so many times before you begin to believe that he has a screw or two loose upstairs. He is a funny individual, but he’s not the same type that Belushi and Farley were.


11. Terrence Howard

On his own and without need for backup he’s actually a great actor. But when you pair him someone else that has an ego equal to or greater than his then there’s bound to be conflict of some sort. He actually believed his salary needed to be on par with Robert Downey Jr.’s, which is almost comical. While the discrepancy in pay is noted and not always right Howard didn’t put in the same performance as Downey and in truth wasn’t missed in the second one. Sorry Terrence, but Don Cheadle took the money and redefined Rhodey, in a good way no less.

10. Channing Tatum

He’s not bad in action scenes, but when it comes to drama or anything other than comedy he seems to struggle like he’s walking through quicksand. The whole pursing his lips thing and looking serious just doesn’t fly as well when he’s being spoken to in a serious manner. In fact in some movies it almost seems like some actors want to slap him to see if he’s awake when the serious moments hit. Maybe one of the stage hands should have a long stick to poke him with off screen to make sure he’s not snoozing with his eyes open.

9. Steven Seagal

Where to start? His acting has been terrible since the 1980’s when his movies were actually popular. It was easy to give him a pass because the action was entertaining and believing that he could break bones and throw people around so effortlessly was pretty cool. Then people went out and tried it and figured out that the weight of a fully grown human being isn’t like one of the dummies or trained stuntmen that flip and fling themselves around on screen. Steven Seagal however would often play it off by stating that he was one of the greatest Aikido masters in the world. Any wonder why people started gravitating away from him?

8. Bokeem Woodbine

Woodbine looks perpetually worried, almost as though he expects trouble to pop off at any moment. His acting depth is nowhere near where it needs to be for someone of his caliber and despite his more enjoyable roles he seems to have two or three settings at most for his expressions and after that he just looks lost.

7. Jamie Kennedy

To be honest it’s really surprising to see this guy showing up in as many roles as he does for simply being a bit player in films. In Scream he was the perfect over the top movie buff that everyone should have listened to in order to survive. But then, after that, he kind of became the irritating movie geek know-it-all that people might have actually cheered for when he bit the big one. Since then his roles have seemed like an attempt to get back to the fame that his Randy persona started up, but really it’s been nothing more than one failed gimmick after another.

6. Rob Schneider

Maybe if he would have attached himself to Grown Ups 2 the criticism levied his way would have been lessened. Or maybe not, because he did manage to act in a few more stinkers along the way before Sandler decided to do a sequel. To be quite honest he is funny but he seems more like an add-on character and less of a leading man like was attempted in The Benchwarmers. Schneider just can’t emulate a tough guy or a leading actor that well.

5. Dane Cook

His over the top comedy is acceptable on stage but on the big screen it just seems like too much. And when he attempts to get serious and play a sincere role it still seems like he’s just waiting for the moment to bust out with a joke or a silly quip designed to make us laugh. That might have worked in Employee of the Month and Good Luck Chuck, but in films like Mr. Brooks it just felt wrong on so many levels.

4. Chris Klein

Have you noticed how he’s never really stepped out of his Oz role from America Pie? It’s like he took a look at the character and figured he could transpose it onto pretty much anything else he did. Even in Rollerball he didn’t expand much. He’s always had the boyish, cool, handsome look and manner that pushed him through the first American Pie. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work in films like Street Fighter and We Were Soldiers. He has the depth to be a great actor but it’s like he keeps missing the metaphorical on ramp that will lead him to that level

3. Josh Hartnett

He got dull after the first eye-squinting, wooden delivery of his career. Everything is delivered in the same wooden-jawed manner, he seems disinterested in nearly every role he plays, and to be quite honest he isn’t believable as any of his characters. Even as Slevin in Lucky Number Slevin you really had to wonder if he wanted to be there. And seriously, what self-respecting guy wouldn’t want to be that close to Lucy Liu in the more tender scenes of the film? Hartnett just didn’t seem that interested.

2. David Arquette

It’s just a constant wait to see when he’s going to spaz out. You know it’s coming because it’s come with every role he’s ever taken. From Ready to Rumble to his time spent on the show My Name is Earl David Arquette has yet to find a film in which he can’t go full on crazy. It seems to be a part of his DNA that just demands that he goes nuts every now and again as though to appease his own sense of normalcy. Sometimes it’s amusing, but at other times it’s kind of uncomfortable, almost like the guy at a funeral trying to crack a joke to ease the tension. Yeah, that kind of uncomfortable.

1. Hayden Christensen

A lot of people throw shade at this guy for almost ruining the Star Wars franchise with his less than stellar representation of Anakin Skywalker. From Jake Lloyd to this guy the role was almost destroyed with wooden, unbelievable acting and a sense of humor that seemed canned so that it could be taken out and aired out for the audience to see. If that was his only faux pas then fans might have forgiven him after a while, but that was just the most noticeable occurrence. His roles in Takers and Jumper have also come under serious attack for his lame attempt at trying to act like a serious character. Jumper was a cool premise that could have been something, but then they went and cast Hayden Christensen. Even Samuel L. Jackson can only do so much to save a movie.

It’s understood that a lot of people won’t agree with this list, but that’s the point of criticizing. It’s all subjective people, and I’m glad to discuss it with anyone.


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