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10 of Hollywood's Most Unpredictable Career Arcs

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | November 14, 2012 | Comments ()


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10. Wil Wheaton

1986 -- Break-out star of Rob Reiner's Stephen King adaptation, Stand By Me

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2012 -- Internet personality, former "Star Trek" cast member. King of the Geeks.

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9. Leonardo DiCaprio

1991 -- Cousin Oliver to "Growing Pains."

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2012 -- Three-time Oscar nominee, star of the biggest box-office hit of all time, and soon to be racist villain in a Tarantino pic.

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8. Cary Elwes

1987 -- The actor behind one of the most beloved characters of all time, Princess Bride's Westley, owner of 100 million hearts.

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2012 -- Bobbly Wobbly in the biggest box-office bomb of all time, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure.

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7. Eddie Murphy

1983 -- Influential, profanity-fueled stand-up comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member, the most popular comedy star in America.

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2012 -- A once popular family-film star reduced, after a series of huge box-office bombs, to overseeing a television show based on one of his 30-year-old movie franchises.

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6. Ryan Gosling

1997 -- Former Mickey Mouse Clubber, star of Canadian teen television series, "Breaker High."

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2012 -- Oscar-nominated actor, stomper of faces (Drive), considered one of the sexiest men on the planet.

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5. Tom Hanks

1980 -- Star of a popular cross-dressing sitcom.

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2012 -- One of the most popular, well-respected, and liked actors in Hollywood. Five-time Oscar nominee, two-time winner. Producer of "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific," obsessive chronicler of The Greatest Generation.

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4. Bryan Cranston

2000 -- Regular sitcom actor and mild-mannered star of family sitcom, "Malcolm in the Middle."

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2012 -- Dramatic actor, Emmy winner, plays the most bad-ass character on television.

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3. Bill Murray

1981 -- "Saturday Night Live" cast member, Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, star of Stripes.

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2012 -- Oscar nominated actor, Wes Anderson regular, Shunner of Hollywood, and party crasher.

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2. Ice Cube

1987 -- Gangster rapper, member of N.W.A., performer of "Straight Outta Compton" and "F*ck the Police."

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2012 -- Actor of family movies like Are We There Yet?, which was spun off into a TBS television show. Has his own clothing line.

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1. Mark Wahlberg

1993 -- Boy band castoff, hip-hop singer of terrible pop songs. Underwear model.

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2012 -- Twice Oscar-nominated actor with a Lifetime box-office gross of $1.7 billion, plus television producer behind shows like "Entourage" and "Boardwalk Empire."

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Jezzer

    Waiting for someone to show up, still pissed that Tom Hanks did his research. <3

  • Xulux

    Veronica Lake. Leading lady to hotel barmaid.

  • As a child I licked ice-cream off her face which was on the inside of the little school cafeteria dixi cups. We loved it when we got her.

  • I would put Sally Field, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Williams on this list in a heartbeat.

  • "Sally Field, Jamie Lee Curtis "

    I love them both, I really do, but I don't see anything particularly unpredictable about their career arcs. OK, Jamie Lee married royalty, there is that.

  • I don't know man, Sally Field went from flying nun to Oscar winner. I mean, sure she's got a pretty traditional trajectory now, but FLYING NUN to OSCAR WINNER.

    And Curtis went from scream queen to poo regularity queen.

  • e jerry powell

    DOUBLE OSCAR WINNER. Because they like her, they really like her, even her fragile little-old-lady bones.

  • e jerry powell

    Lord Haden-Guest is a Baron, not a Prince, and his title is now considered honorific, as it doesn't even confer a seat in the House of Lords anymore, much less a throne anywhere. His children won't even inherit his title, because they're adopted, which kinda sucks.

    So he's a hereditary aristocrat, and there are literally thousands of those.

  • I needed to know that. Seriously. Thank you.

  • e jerry powell

    Your nick is Meander, no?

  • Yes, it is.

  • Jezzer

    Isn't Jamie Lee a children's book author now? I thought I read that somewhere.

  • DJS

    Yeah, not a single female. Michelle Williams is easily as unpredictable as many of these.

  • tinad5

    Yet, no women at all.

  • John W

    I'm surprised Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera didn't make the list. From rival pop star divas, selling million of records, to rival karaoke show judges.

  • Bodhi

    I'm from Charleston, SC & I have loads of friends back home who have hung out with Bill Murray. He is a co-onwer of the Riverdogs baseball team & is at the ball park all the time. He also hangs out at Moe's Crosstown Tavern (excellent burgers) a lot. I have never been so lucky & am always hella jealous when I see "I had dinner with Bill Murry again tonight" on my FB news feed.

  • Nicholas Cage going from the satirical Valley Girl, edgy Wild Things and Oscar winning Leaving Las Vegas to being a sad mocked b-movie slut.

  • But Nic's Hollywood arc wasn't at all unpredictable.

  • Ice-T going from singing "Cop Killer" to playing a cop on tv.

  • Groundloop

    I've often thought that Bill Murray IRL is a beautiful mutant clone of Carl Spackler (with better diction), and Dr. Peter Venkman and/or John Winger.

  • Four Eyes

    Am I the only one who remember Gosling as Young Hercules? Am I? Am I? Those were the days....Makes his transformation even more stupendous. At least to me!

  • MIND BLOWN. I forgot all about Young Hercules!

  • Blake

    Mark but no Donnie Wahlberg?

  • dizzylucy

    The two that surprise me the most are Mark Wahlberg and Eddie Murphy, for the exact opposite reasons.

    Oh my...I think I need to rewatch the Princess Bride again.

  • e jerry powell

    So Baby Goose's hairline has always been that far back.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I think Ice-T belongs on here somewhere.

  • DominaNefret

    I remember hearing him on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" tell a story about running into an old lady and her grandson and the grandson went "You're from Law and Order, right?" and asked for a picture and autograph. The grandmother, in turn, responded "No, no, he's a rapper. He's the O.G."

    Of course it also probably says something that he has been one of the most frequent guests on Wait Wait. That's not very O.G.

  • lowercase_ryan
  • DominaNefret

    He was also voted "all time favorite guest" by listeners.

    Do you know who listens to Wait...Wait?
    White people. Lots and lots of white people. Old white people. Middle aged white people. Young white hipsters.

  • lameaim

    Don't forget that he ran Heaven.

  • pnnylne

    Ice T is kind of all over the place. From Cop Killer to Scotty Appleton to Danny Cort to Fin. He's overdue for a bad guy role.

  • chanohack

    I was thinking the same thing. In fact, since I perpetually confuse Ice-T and Ice Cube, I was surprised for a second to not see Ice-T in those pictures. Then I figured out that, once again, I'm a ditz. But still, Ice-T is a good one.

  • oilybohunk7

    My friend taught me a helpful trick to remember which is which, Ice Cube is the one that is cube shaped.

  • Pawesl

    Remember when Mark Wahlberg had a 3rd nipple?

  • Brooke the Replicant

    What really? ew.

  • BWeaves

    I think you're missing two biggies: Ron Howard and Rob Reiner.

    Not only did I not predict their career arcs, but I didn't predict their hairline arcs, either.

    Also, Andy Serkis. Actor to Gollum to King Kong to one of the directors of The Hobbit.

  • thenchonto

    Nothing short of puppy strangling could make me ever love Cary Elwes any less. Hell, even then I'd probably want an investigation done to determine whether or not the puppy had done anything to deserve the strangling. I'm amending reality and banishing the Oogielove movie to the darkest timeline along with the Star Wars prequels and all things candy corn flavored. There. Fixed. Now no one is allowed to mention it again without putting on one of these and scarfing down bastardized bizarro world oreos: http://images1.wikia.nocookie....

  • Ginger

    As you wish.

  • emmelemm

    I wholeheartedly approve of sending all those things into the darkest timeline, pronto.

  • BobbFrapples

    Is it wrong that Baby Goose looks cute even with the receding hairline and porn glasses?

    Also, where's the female version of this?

  • Arran

    MINOR FACT CHECK: Leo is no longer the star of the biggest film of all time. He's the star of the SECOND biggest film of all time.

  • pajiba

    DAMNIT, ALL MY JOY HAS BEEN STRIPPED AWAY.

  • Arran

    My plan has WORKED.

  • Good ... good ...

  • Fruity Fonzie

    um... whalberg has only 1 oscar nomination

  • Mr_Grumpypants

    1 acting nom for The Departed, 1 best picture nom for The Fighter, which he produced

  • pajiba

    OH MY GOD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD I'VE BEEN WRONGLY CORRECTED. I WIN THE INTERNET. THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

    Ahem. Two: The Departed and The Fighter.

    Apologies. That was an ugly moment for me. I'm sorry you all had to witness it.

  • This is why we drink at night.

  • ,

    Only at night?

    Rogue makes a maple-bacon ale that would go great with pancakes. Maybe even ON pancakes.

  • I'm trying to make it seem like we're classy folks here!

  • You mean someone was WRONG on the Internet? Surely you jest.

  • Monica

    Haha, you're feisty.

  • atticus

    well you got the ice cube photos half right...

  • Williamson

    Who you tryin' to get crazy with, ese? Don't you know I'm loco?...

  • googergieger

    You bad mouthing good vibrations, D-Ro? Thought that was like your peoples anthem.

    Also I like to call my testicles The Funky Bunch.

    *struts away*

  • e jerry powell

    Just for that, I am condemning you to a massive community hate fondle. Hope you have your good jock strap on.

  • Three_nineteen

    "Bunch"? Now I'm insanely curious. Do they look like grapes or something? Also, isn't strutting hard to do with anatomy like that?

  • googergieger

    Na, I just created a ball hammock cause I'm not a fan of boxers or briefs, and they love to dance in said hammock.

    TALKING GOOD VIBRATIONS!!!!!!

  • Opie Curious

    Dustin saw the whole Kirk Cameron thing coming, apparently.

  • pumpkin

    Those of us who watched Growing Pains during it's heyday know that Kirk always had a thing for bananas and boners.

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