Why do we like certain actors? Oh so many reasons. There are those who can give a charming interview, those who share our nerdy or hipstery pursuits, those who can write a wicked tweet or those so scintillatingly sexy they send us scurrying to our bunks. And, I’d like to think, talent plays a part somewhere. That the reason our Pajiba 10 differs from, say, People’s 50 Most Beautiful or Maxim’s Hot 100 is that we like our celebrities comely and accomplished. But sometimes even the most discerning among us are caught off guard by an untalented actor. Our affection for them grows until it’s too late, we’re fans and almost (almost) blind to the limits of their range. Usually this happens when a performer lucks into a TV or film franchise role that fits them like a glove. A character so like their own that we mistake every shrug, smirk and stammer for acting when, in fact, it’s just doing. It’s when an actor branches out from that beloved role that we begin to see, reluctantly, what they’re really made of. Here are 10 actors I loved and continue to love…but for all the wrong reasons.
Alexis Bledel: Oh, little Rory Gilmore, my affection for you started to wane in the later season of “Gilmore Girls” when your character turned into a bit of an entitled brat. Then you were sort of the worst in those Share The Pants movies, embarrassingly miscast in Sin City, and boring as all hell in Tuck Everlasting. I have literally not even heard of your last four films listed on IMDB and am embarrassed for myself and for my future offspring that I sat through all of Post-Grad. I wanted the best for you, I really did. But I’m beginning to think Lauren Graham did all of the heavy lifting on that show and that you never should have left Stars Hollow.
Michael Cera: Okay, let’s be clear, Michael Cera is not without talent. This kid is a charming little stammery f*cker. I own Scott Pilgrim, Juno and Superbad. But woe befall any of us should he try to branch out. Youth In Revolt where he braved a tricky Id/Super Ego split role was a complete mess. You are many things, my friend, but Tyler Durden you ain’t. Strike that. You are one thing, kid. You’re a Bluth and as much as I look forward to your glorious, Bluthy return, I’m not expecting you to surprise or dazzle me any time soon.
Summer Glau: Joss Whedon is sort of famous for wringing memorable performances from completely untalented actors. Gellar, Dushku and Glau represent just a few of the small miracles he has worked. And because Glau was so endlessly fascinating as River Tam, because her endearingly stilted ways delighted us with every rewatch of those 14 episodes, we were fooled into thinking she was someone worth following. But it’s no surprise that her second most identifiable role is as a robot. Beautiful she may be, sweet to her fans, certainly, and graceful as they come, but a good actress she most certainly is not.
Elijah Wood: Wood showed a lot of promise as a young actor bringing an appropriate amount of energy and pathos to his earlier roles. And he was perfectly serviceable as young Frodo, his limpid eyes puddling in all the right places. But the only truly great thing I’ve seen from him is the smarmy creep he played in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Every other performance has been bland and forgettable. Yes, even in that FX dog show. I like the guy, he has great taste in music, I wish him the best. But I don’t wish to see him in anything else.
Rachel Bilson: For those of you who somehow avoided getting sucked into “The O.C.,” congratulations. You win. You’re better than me. Scroll on down. For the rest of us, there was something inescapably charming about the chipmunkish Summer Roberts. But the more I see of Bilson, the more I expect that she was merely spattered in some of the spare charisma gushing from Adam Brody. Or maybe we liked her so much because we disliked Marissa Cooper so intensely. Regardless, Bilson has yet to convince me that she is not, in fact, a vapid cutie from Southern California. From uninspired guest turns on “Chuck” to haplessly headlining her VAAAAAAAPID show on the CW, Bilson don’t impress me much. I wanted so much from you Summer, so very much.
Jorge Garcia: Dude.
Liv Tyler: Maybe you’ve been over Liv Tyler for a long time, but back in the 90s, when she was the queen of Empire Records and breathtakingly gorgeous in Stealing Beauty, Tyler had me wrapped around her finger and hanging on every word that tumbled from her pillow lips. And it’s not that she’s any less gorgeous now, but somewhere along the way (maybe the first time she tried to speak Elvish), the spell wore off. And when I looked, really looked, I had to admit that Tyler didn’t bring much else to the table. She’s a nice enough girl and certainly seemed to have worked hard after the initial break courtesy of her famous father, but her name in the credits does nothing for me now.
Daniel Radcliffe: I’m on record as saying I don’t really think much of any of the kids from the Potter franchise. (Except, possibly, Tom Felton.) I like them, I adore the movies, I think they did the best they could, but I am not clamoring to see what Emma and Rupert do next. Dan gained so many goodwill points with me for skewering himself on “Extras,” pursuing some stage work and generally seeming like a down-to-earth bloke who could buy and sell any of you one thousand times over. But all the gold in Gringotts won’t buy him talent and though I’ve seen every non-stage effort he’s made outside of the Potter films, I’m not impressed. I wish he were better, I truly do.
Amanda Seyfried: Ohhhh, you know, I fell for it too. With her oddly beautiful face and completely serviceable voice, Seyfried got me all giddy and frothy in Mamma Mia. Yeah I liked her in “Veronica Mars” and “Big Love” and in Mean Girls. But there wasn’t much acting going in there. That was Seyfried playing a small part in something great. And while that greatness rubbed off on her for a while, it completely abandoned her in the cavalcade of crap she’s appeared in since. Dear John, Letters From Juliet Red Riding Hood and In Time were nightmarishly boring. And while you may argue that its the material and not the actress that’s to blame, I would counter that there’s a reason Emily Blunt and Matt Damon made The Adjustment Bureau worth watching. Their charisma alone forced you to care about the two of them as they ran around holding hands and wearing hats. Justin Timberlake and Seyfried? Not so lucky. And, honestly, she had implied sex with a wolf in Red Riding Hood and I was still bored. So, Seyfried, because you were once Lily Kane, I’ll give you one more chance. But so help me god, if you f*ck up Les Miserables, we’re through.
Taylor Kitsch: Oh, sigh, Tim Riggins. I’m the only one I know who is even the teeniest bit hopeful for John Carter. And you know what, Tim? It’s all for you. It’s because I want the best for you. And so far, my young Canadian friend, you are sh*tting the bed. After a laughable Gambit and all the advance sneers you’re getting for John Carter, I’m nervous. I’m nervous that the way you broke my heart on “Friday Night Lights was an anomaly. I’m afraid that you (as well as Zach Gilford and Adrianne Palicki) tapped into something magical while filming down in Texas. And I’m afraid you have nothing left to give. Much like Tim Riggins, you peaked early. We’ll always have Texas. Forever.