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So These Are The Highest Paid Actors In Hollywood. . .Have They Earned It?

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | August 4, 2011 |


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Forbes, as is their wont, has released their lists of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. And you know what? It's a wholly unsurprising list. Go on, guess who's on there. I bet you can get at least half. Ready? Here goes:
The Gents:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Johnny Depp
Adam Sandler
Will Smith
Tom Hanks

The Ladies:
Angelina Jolie
Sarah Jessica Parker
Jennifer Aniston
Reese Witherspoon
Julia Roberts

Listen, I'm not here to talk to you about who makes how much money for what and isn't it a mockery of a sham that actors are paid as much as they are when teachers get paid in Starbucks gift cards. (It is, they do.) I'm not even here to talk about the shocking difference between the highest paid actor and the highest paid actress. If you want to goggle over the giant vaults of swimmable gold these people are pulling down, you can read the Forbes articles yourselves. (The Gents and The Ladies.)

What I want to talk about is how bored I am, by and large, by all these actors and their projects. Scrolling through the last five films of each actor I could only find five, films that I really liked. Five TOTAL. Out of fifty. They are, if you're dying to know, Inception, Blood Diamond, Rango, Toy Story 3, and Horrible Bosses. The complete list of projects is below if you care to compare your own taste and yell at me about how amazing Julia Roberts was in Fireflies In The Garden. (WHAT IS THAT MOVIE?) I don't mean to say I'm bored in the pseudo-hipster, malaise-ridden "meh" and "whatever" way Dustin was railing against earlier this week. But when I go to see a movie, I want to either connect to it emotionally, be dazzled by the humor or maybe, MAYBE, be totally overwhelmed by the visuals (*cough*Inception*cough). But these actors who are, purportedly, at the top of their game, turn in stultifying performance after stultifying performance. (Two Dan Brown novels, Tom Hanks, REALLY?)

And maybe they've earned it. At 35, Reese Witherspoon is the youngest person on this list, but she's been working in the industry for twenty years, so if she wants to do uninspired tripe like Water for Elephants then, well, fine I guess. But is this what you've been working for? Did you scratch and claw your way to the top only to parade around in a succession of frights wigs and progressively thicker eye make-up, Johnny Depp? Where's your sparkle and your simmer, Angelina Jolie? Leonardo DiCaprio you, you, well you're doing pretty well, actually. Good on you. The real tragedy, in my opinion, is that these actors are (to a varying degree) undeniably talented. Oh sure, Jennifer Aniston may be vanilla, but she used to be a very palatable flavor of vanilla. What happened? Where did all that talent go? Is it my fault? Have I lost my ability to enjoy them? Do I know too much about their personal lives now to be sucked into a performance? Am I being too elitist if I think Seven Pounds is a quivering mass of mawkish crap? At any rate, you well-paid, highly coiffed, largely likable performers. Go ahead, rest on your laurels, but don't blame me if this is how I choose to remember you. Younger, hungrier, and almost famous.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)
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[Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Rango (2011), Inception (2010), The Tourist (2010), Shutter Island (2010), Alice In Wonderland (2010), Public Enemies (2009), Revolutionary Road (2008), Body Of Lies (2008), Blood Diamond (2006)]

Adam Sandler The Wedding Singer (1998)
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[Zookeeper (2011), Just Go With It (2011), Grown Ups (2010), Funny People (2009), Bedtime Stories (2008)]

Will Smith Men In Black (1997)
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[Seven Pounds (2008), Hancock (2008), I Am Legend (2007), Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Hitch (2005)]

Tom Hanks Philadelphia/Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
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[Larry Crowne (2011), Toy Story 3 (2010), Angels & Demons (2009), The Great Buck Howard (2008), Charlie Wilson's War (2007))

Angelina Jolie Girl, Interrupted (1999)
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[Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), The Tourist (2010), Salt (2010), Wanted (2008), Changeling (2008)]

Sarah Jessica Parker State And Main (2000)
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(Sex And The City 2 (2010), Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009), Sex And The City (2008), Smart People (2008), Spinning Into Butter (2008))

Jennifer Aniston Office Space (1999)
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[Horrible Bosses (2011), Just Go With It (2011), The Switch (2010), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Love Happens (2009)]

Reese Witherspoon Election (1999)
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[Water For Elephants (2011), How Do You Know? (2010), Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Four Christmases (2008), Rendition (2007)]

Julia Roberts Pretty Woman (1990)
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[Larry Crowne (2011), Eat Pray Love (2010), Valentine's Day (2010)
Duplicity (2009), Fireflies In The Garden (2008)
]

Joanna Robinson only said "almost famous" because she liked the taste of the words. Of course Tom Hanks was quite famous by the time he made Philadelphia. It's all happening.


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