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One Movie Wonders

By Seth Freilich | Lists | March 31, 2009 |

By Seth Freilich | Lists | March 31, 2009 |

Everyone always talks about One Hit Wonders, those bands and musical performers who have one (generally ear-worming) hit, and then like that, poof, they’re gone. They’re still out there, making music. That music just sucks.

But why for nobody talk about One Movie Wonders? Folks who are great in a single movie, and then fill out the rest of their IMDB resume with stuff you’ve never seen or heard of, or flicks that make you want to murder them. Jennifer Grey almost made this list for Dirty Dancing, but she’s also got Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so her and her new nose are on the outside looking in. Ditto for Tom Hulce, who has Parenthood to backup his brilliant performance in/as Amadeus. The following five, however, One Hit Wonders to their very core.

russell-brand-2.jpg5. Russell Brand. He was absolutely great in last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He’s also the one who inspired this list, insofar as I drunkenly announced that I suspected he would be a one-and-done after this great performance. His schtick (“ooky-ooky” and “eeky-eeky” this, that and the other) is already getting infuriatingly old, and even though he’s got The Tempest in post-production (that flick’s got a balls-out stellar cast: Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, Alan Cumming, Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper and David Straithairn), I think it won’t be long before we’re all remembering that one brief moment when we actually liked Brand and didn’t want to stick a hot poker up his ass.

kalifornia.jpg4. Dominic Sena. Who dat, you ask? Well he directed a little ditty in ‘93 called Kalifornia. But you know what Sena’s done for us lately? Gone in Sixty Seconds and Swordfish. Fuuuuck. I mean, thanks to him we got Haley’s breasts in Swordfish but still, have you seen that movie. Ain’t worth it.

cary-elwes.jpg3. Cary Elwes. Very early in his career, Elwes gave a fantastic performance in the beloved The Princess Bride. Fast-forward 20 years, you only know one other thing about Elwes besides the fact that he was the Dread Pirate Roberts — that he melodramatically had to cut off his own leg in an attempt to appease Jigsaw. His overacting made me want to cut my own leg off.

jack-black.jpg2. Jack Black. Eighty-four acting entries on IMDB, including an amazing turn in High Fidelity, which was well before Jack Black the actor became Jack Black the character. Then came Shallow Hal,, The School of Rock, Envy, King Kong and Nacho fuck-you-in-the-ass Libre, among many other horrors. I loathe watching Jack Black on the screen, and the only fate worse than death I can think of at the moment would be getting tied down and forced to watch his upcoming turd Year One.

chucky.jpg1. Chucky. In Child’s Play, Chucky was terrifying. He really brought the horror like few actors before him. From Child’s Play 2 through Seed of Chucky, though, he was a joke. And he’s been unwilling to try to show any range, refusing to do anything but the Child’s Play flicks. Come on, little dude, at least try to stretch your wings and fly.

Pajiba Love 03/31/09 | In the Motherhood Review

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.