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Arts and Entertainment

Irksome and Insufferable 2: The Ten Most Annoying Actors

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Less is more, Shia! Less is more! | Photo courtesy of Paramount

A few weeks ago we ran a story called "Irksome and Insufferable: The Ten Most Annoying Singers". Given that actors are just as capable of being annoying as musicians, I thought it would be worthwhile to throw out 10 names for public review. I avoided the easy ones (Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, etc.) and tried to cobble together a list of actors who--for whatever reason--are actually considered to be pretty good by the masses. But not by me! In their own ways, each one of these actors makes me anxious whenever I watch them.

Shia LaBeouf - Here's the deal with Shia--he's a decent actor but he just lacks the natural charisma to be the star that he's continually being positioned to be. Because of that--when he gets in a role like he had in Transformers--he goes way over the top to play the hero. He virtually made Transformers unwatchable (well, he and Jon Turturro). Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen in the new Indiana Jones flick.

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Angelina Jolie - Again, an actor with talent who chooses terrible roles. Have you seen the trailer for Wanted? Beyond awful. I get that Angelina has an exotic personal life and some exotic ideas about life, but must it all be on constant display when she does a movie? Is she incapable of disappearing into a role? She played the wife of the founder of the C.I.A. in the ficitonalized The Good Shepherd and it was like I was watching fucking Gia.

Ben Stiller - There was a time when a new Ben Stiller movie was an event for me. No longer. He's turned into the Jay Leno of feature comedies--a formerly sharp mind who plays to the cheap seats (you'll have to trust me that Leno was once really funny). His Night at the Museum franchise is a disaster of mediocrity. Let's hope Tropic Thunder resurrects some of the edge that Stiller once had.

Drew Barrymore - Probably my least favorite actress. I just can't understand how people think she is a competent actor. I mean, Jennifer Lopez can act rings around Drew and Jennifer Lopez can no longer act! By all accounts, Drew is a very nice person and I think that accounts for a lot of the good will towards her. But she's awful in everything. Just terribly cloying. And isn't being able to speak clearly a critical part of being an actor?

Jack Black - Talk about overplaying a strong hand. Jack was great as a supporting actor (Anchorman) and can be good in narrowly-tailored material (School of Rock). But seeing him in dreck like The Holiday and King Kong proved to me that Jack is no lead. I mean, there was serious unintentional laughter going on in The Holiday. Like Shia, he's not a natural leading man and constantly overcompensates.

Jennifer Aniston - Jennifer Aniston is a subtle, gifted comedian who refuses to play parts that require a subtle comedic touch. It's almost as if she insists on being taken seriously. I don't know about you, but when I saw The Break-Up I was rooting for her character to die. I was rooting for her to die, folks. To be killed by Vince Vaughn's douche of a character. Which I don't think was the intent of the film.

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Jessica Alba - Here's a question: how does Jessica Alba get starring, highly-paid roles in feature films? Movies that she top-lines are virtually guaranteed to not only bomb, but be critical disasters. Sure, she's pretty but is that a quality that is in such short supply? In plainest terms, she just...can't...act. Drew Barrymore can act rings around her and Drew Barrymore...well, you know.

Julia Roberts - For me, Julia Roberts is the Holy Grail of Unwatchable Actors. I don't think I've believed a performance of hers since, honestly, Mystic Pizza. It's a shame really, because she's been in movies that would have been very good in her absence. When people joke about Marisa Tomei winning an Oscar, I always chime in that Julia won one, too, for a much worse performance.

Sean Penn - This is a tough one. I think Penn is a very, very good director. As an actor, though, I don't think he even cares anymore. He reminds me of Pacino in the sense that he equates emotion with loud energy. Mystic River was ruined by his false, over-the-rooftop performance. And have any of you seen All the King's Men?. Turn down the volume and sit far from the television.

Will Smith - Question: do pictures exist of Will Smith when he's not laughing loudly? I mean seriously--does he not come across as a complete phony to everyone on the planet? Other than Ali, I haven't seen him in a movie where I wasn't always 100% aware that, "Hey, there's Will Smith up there pretending. Sure, his movies are broad, summer tentpoles but so are Matt Damon's and Damon is a great actor.

Photo Credits:: Julia Roberts - Universal; Will Smith - Warners Brothers; Jennifer Aniston - Universal; Angelina Jolie - Twentieth Century Fox; Ben Stiller - Twentieth Century Fox; Drew Barrymore - Twentieth Century Fox; Jessica Alba - Lionsgate; Sean Penn - Sony; Jack Black - Sony