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This CB Top 5 is dedicated to those big celebrities who simply don’t care. Maybe they’ve stopped caring or maybe they never cared, but one thing is for certain: they don’t give a damn. Got an awful script and a truckload of cash? They’ll do it. Have a guaranteed stinker you want to slap a big name on in order to fool audiences into buying tickets? These are your men. They’ll show up, phone it in, and head home to count their money. This is our Top 5 Actors Who Just Don’t Care.
TOP 5 ACTORS WHO JUST DON’T CARE
5. Christopher Walken
The thing about Chris is that even when he’s not trying, he’s entertaining. You may not have even noticed that he’s stopped caring. In fact, he’s been in good movies recently. But so much of his work, in fact almost all of his recent work, has been nothing more than self-parody. You have to wonder what’s even in it for him to show up on the set. It has to be the cash. In Hairspray it’s just one long excuse to get Walken in a dress. In Man of the Year he’s Christopher Walken as a campaign manager. In Wedding Crashers he’s Christopher Walken as an overprotective parent. Christopher Walken hasn’t actually acted since Catch Me If You Can in 2002. Instead he shows up on set and plays Chris.
Lucky for him, simply playing Chris more often than not, works out to be hilarious. But the guy isn’t acting, and shows no real inclination ever to do it again. Christopher Walken has stopped caring and seems perfectly content to live out the rest of his career in walk-on roles and self-parody. We’ll keep watching Chris, but we’ll hate ourselves in the morning.
4. Robert De Niro
His best days are long behind him, and De Niro has decided there’s no longer any point in trying. Even when he lands in good movies, De Niro barely bothers to act. Look no further than the rather excellent fantasy movie Stardust, which opened this past weekend. The film gives De Niro the juicy role of a closeted gay air pirate, and De Niro treats his dialogue as if he’s reading a soup can label. In The Good Shepherd, he lolls through the movie as if he’s preparing for a healthy nap. At least Stardust and to a lesser extent The Good Shepherd are decent films. I’m sure that was only an accident.
Look at De Niro’s filmography over the last seven years. It’s a litany of sequels, self parody and barely there, laughable performances in varying degrees of godawful family films and gangster parodies. Voice work in two of the crappiest computer animated movies ever made in Shark Tale and Arthur and the Minimoys stands out prominently. Starring roles in Hide and Seek, Meet the Fockers, Analyze That, Showtime, Meet the Parents, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle are hard to forgive. The truly sad thing here is that Stardust is the best movie De Niro has been in since Analyze This in 1999, and even that was another case of De Niro parodying his own past mob boss persona. Bob, retire already. You’re embarrassing us.
3. Ben Kingsley
The truly depressing thing about Ben Kingsley is that he’s still a brilliant actor. He’s just stopped caring what he acts in. Hire Ben Kingsley and he’ll show up on set giving you his goddamn best, every time. Unfortunately, his best is wasted on horrible Uwe Boll movies and frighteningly terrible family films like Thunderbirds; or miserable, generic serial killer movies like Suspect Zero. This is Ben Kingsley goddammit. He played Ghandi! He could get better parts, but for whatever reason seems content to settle for utter tripe. Ben Kingsley stopped caring in 2004 after he made House of Sand and Fog. In the three years since, he’s appeared in no fewer than ten movies… and every one of them is worse than the last.
In three years Ben Kingsley has so torpedoed his reputation that showing up for one of his movies is now a guaranteed ticket to agony. Does he try to correct it? Does he start looking for better projects? Nope. Instead he’s allowed himself to become Uwe Boll’s muse. Ben Kingsley is now synonymous with Uwe Boll, and if that isn’t proof that the man simply doesn’t care then I don’t know what is.
2. Cuba Gooding Jr.
While at some point in their careers Kingsley, De Niro, and Walken must have cared, I’m convinced that Cuba Gooding Jr. never did. Cuba lucked into stardom and if he hadn’t fallen into Jerry Maguire we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about him. Sadly he did and we’re stuck with Cuba replacing Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Camp. Cuba Gooding Jr. is an Oscar Winner, and he’s currently starring as a replacement actor in a sequel to an awful Eddie Murphy movie. If not for Dreamgirls, Eddie would be on this list too.
There’s no excusing Cuba Gooding Jr. He could find better projects if he wanted to. Take a low budget indie movie, prove you can actually act man! Do some community theater, try street mime, anything is better than appearing in Snow Dogs or Boat Trip. Cuba Gooding Jr’s disinterest in making decent movies is so great that it’s almost become offensive. It’s as if he exists to hurt audiences, to slap them in the face with this undeserved stardom, lure them into the shit he agrees to and then take a big cinematic dump all over ticket buyers. It’s sickening every time someone calls him an Oscar winner, and frankly I don’t know how the guy can look in the mirror. The real kicker is that he not only makes garbage, he’s incredibly prolific with it. He’s made 16 movies since 2000, all of them terrible, all of them lucrative, and he shows no sign of slowing. He may luck into a Ridley Scott movie now and then, but never forget: Cuba Gooding Jr. not only doesn’t care about his craft, he fucking hates you.
1. Jon Voight
Once a venerable force in cinema, Jon Voight is now an international joke. When he’s in good movies, he bumbles the part or chooses a role that probably should have been eliminated in the editing room. Just take a look at Transformers. If there’s a dark blotch on the movie it’s Voight, sucking the life out of the movie whenever he walks on screen. It’s not just that he sucks, it’s that he doesn’t care. Run down a list of the worst movies of the past ten years. There’s a good chance that Voight will be in at least half of them, and an even better chance that he’ll be wearing a fake nose. What’s up with that Jon? You can’t hide behind a prosthetic. We know it was you in Bratz.
The man’s filmography speaks for itself: Bratz: The Movie, Transformers, Glory Road, September Dawn, SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, The Karate Dog. This is more than an actor stumbling into a few bad flicks. This is an actor who simply doesn’t care. Voight has taken not caring and turned it into an art form. Got a lot of money? Want to make an awful, insidiously shitty kids movie? Hire Jon Voight. He will literally do anything and he comes with a stick-on nose. While Cuba Gooding Jr. may well intentionally make bad movies just because he's a jerk, I think that even he has a line somewhere. For Jon Voight there is no line. I firmly believe that if you have a movie about an old man who gets fucked by a horse for 90 minutes, he'll do it... if the price is right. And that, is why Jon Voight is number one. He cares less than anyone.
On the bubble: Jason Lee, Jean Reno, Jackie Chan, Anna Faris, Sandra Bullock, Eddie Murphy