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These Actors Have Had A Rough Streak Of Only Rotten Movies. Here's Why

One bad apple can spoil the bunch, right? Of course, in this case we're talking about tomatoes, and we're not even talking about real tomatoes. We mean the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles as many movie reviews as possible and finds the average rating. If at least 60% of critics liked a film, it earns the Fresh designation. Any less than 60% means the movie is officially Rotten. (Presumably, it's okay for audiences to throw fresh tomatoes, just not rotten ones.)

Below are a bunch of actors whose filmography has recently taken a turn for the rotten. Note that this may have nothing to do with their acting abilities. A film can be undermined by a director, a writer, or anybody at the film studio — no matter how good of a job an actor may be doing. Many of these performers are considered great actors, or at least once-great actors; some are young actors who were predicted to have a promising future ahead of them. Yet for some reason, these folks haven't been on the critics' good sides lately. After we examine these actors' careers and which Rotten movies might have led to their decline, we'll also take a look at their upcoming projects and speculate if they could make a comeback. Who knows? Maybe Meg Ryan or Sophie Turner will return to the limelight. After all, when life gives you rotten tomatoes, you make lemonade.

Or tomato-ade? You get the idea.

Amy Adams

Unbelievable as it seems, the actress who played Princess Giselle from "Enchanted" and Ashley from "Junebug" seems to be experiencing a dip in popularity with the critics. Amy Adams starred in a surprising number of Rotten movies lately, including the forgettable thriller "The Woman in the Window" and the misguided musical adaptation "Dear Evan Hansen." As an actress who's been nominated for six Oscars but brought home zero, Adams is "stuck in a perpetual limbo of having to overachieve," says Mel Magazine. Audiences constantly expect her next performance to be perfect — and finally earn her that Oscar — so they hold this actress (who is already quite accomplished) to impossibly-high standards.

Perhaps the movie most responsible for her turn in fortune is "Hillbilly Elegy." According to The Week, Adams deserves much better material to work with. Carla Meyer from SF Chronicle Datebook argues that trying to force Adams into the role of an antagonist doesn't play to her strengths. And make no mistake, says Meyer: Bev is the "screaming, crying bogeywoman of the piece." Meyer adds that for the first time in her career, Amy Adams has slipped into caricature. (You know it's bad when Bev seems more over-the-top than Princess Giselle.)

Of course, it's likely this is just a minor slump. After all, "Disenchanted" comes out in late 2022. Knowing that its companion "Enchanted" maintains a Rotten Tomatoes score of over 90%, and the sequel is hotly anticipated, we have a feeling Amy Adams will be just fine.

Liam Neeson

The career of Liam Neeson is not unlike the career of Charles Bronson, observes The Spectrum. Both actors took their career in a new direction after one major successful action film ("Death Wish" for Bronson and "Taken" for Neeson). However, as a result, almost every movie these actors have done afterward are basically just variations of that same story. Reel James insists that Neeson's thrillers are "a dime a dozen these days. They're so similar to 'Taken' but they're not 'Taken.'" For instance, he has starred in "Blacklight" and "Honest Thief" — both by the same director and both described by The Review Geek as "the action movie [equivalents] of a budget microwave meal."

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that not since the 2019 film "Ordinary Love" has Neeson made a Fresh movie. In fact, he's had six in a row with scores below 50%. Make no mistake, Neeson is still a gifted actor. But The Spectrum recommends that he "keep acting but should also choose his roles more carefully."

However, Neeson has a couple of upcoming movies that you may want to keep on your radar, including "Marlowe" and "Retribution." The former is a film noir, a genre Neeson hasn't done since 2014's "A Walk Among Tombstones." The latter is a thriller but could easily stand out from the rest of Neeson's recent work since Neeson's character will spend the entire movie trapped in a car.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker has suffered a bit of a dry spell; she hasn't gotten a Fresh movie since 2000. Notably, Parker has earned the wrath of critics with "All Roads Lead to Rome" and "New Year's Eve," to name a few.

Although "Sex and the City" was a beloved TV series, both the "Sex and the City" movie spin-offs were despised even more than the lowest-rated episode from the TV series, according to Showbiz CheatSheet. When you have a season finale that wraps up each character's arc as perfectly as this TV series did, the last thing you want to do is churn out a spin-off movie that undoes the perfect ending. Even if there was a "Sex and the City 3" that somehow managed to fix the mistakes of the first two movies, it still wouldn't be the same. Now that the reported off-screen rivalry between Parker and her co-star Kim Cattrall has gotten media attention, Vox predicts that this knowledge would tarnish the viewing of any future installments of "Sex and the City." The series works so long as audiences believe the four heroines are all close friends; the illusion would be broken if audiences started wondering how much of it was fake.

With that being said, the upcoming "Hocus Pocus 2" might give Parker an opportunity to win audiences' favor again. Critics weren't kind to the original "Hocus Pocus" movie, but it later became a cult classic, and fans are rapturous with anticipation for the sequel (The U.S. Sun).

John Travolta

John Travolta has certainly seen better days. On Rotten Tomatoes, this former "Grease" star has recently gotten four zeros in a row and then another movie with a score below 25%. In fact, he's only had three Fresh movies in the past two decades. Fanboy Nation points out that Travolta starred in two terrible crime movies in the same year: "Speed Kills" and "Gotti." The latter was crowned by the New York Post as "the worst mob movie of all time." Unless he figures out a way to channel "that cheeky Tony Manero sweetness," says IndieWire, his future doesn't look promising.

John Travolta may be in a slump right now, but this wouldn't be the first time it seemed like his career was over. His popularity has always ebbed and flowed, according to Den of Geek. After his initial rise to fame in '70s films like "Carrie" and "Saturday Night Fever," Travolta spent most of the '80s starring in critically-panned films (including "Staying Alive," which maintains a score of 0%). But the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction" made him a star again, and he held onto that winning streak until 2000's "Battlefield Earth," an embarrassing Scientology sci-fi. Still, "Battlefield Earth" didn't scar Travolta for life — he still made a bit of a comeback with movies like "Hairspray" and "Bolt" in the late 2000s. If his history tells us anything, then there might be another peak coming after this valley. Who knows? Maybe "American Metal" will give him exactly the boost he needs.

Mila Kunis

Although Mila Kunis made quite an impression as an ambitious ballet dancer in "Black Swan," her more recent work has been lackluster or even cringe-worthy. She has gone 10 years without a single Fresh movie. Kunis gave an unconvincing turn as the Wicked Witch of the West in "Oz the Great and Powerful," which most critics agree couldn't compare to the original 1939 film (duh). Meanwhile, "Jupiter Ascending" was universally ridiculed as a dumb sci-fi blockbuster that managed to be unintentionally funny (via The Mary Sue).

Maybe one reason why she's had trouble obtaining good roles is the same reason many female actresses cite: she's getting older. In an interview with Playboy (via The U.S. Weekly), she pointed out that it's especially hard for women to get cast as they get older, though she also admitted that she wasn't sure if she wanted to be acting for the rest of her life, anyway. "I also want a life. I want a family," said Kunis, and she would honestly prefer being the producer of a movie instead of the star. "You have to make compromises," she added. "If that means I do one movie a year ... great."

But perhaps we haven't seen the last of her yet. According to Showbiz CheatSheet, Netflix's "The Luckiest Girl Alive" will release later in 2022 and stars Kunis. It's helmed by the director of "The Handmaid's Tale," so it might mark a change of fortune for Kunis.

Aaron Eckhart

After "The Dark Knight," Aaron Eckhart seemed to have cemented his place in pop culture. Yet somehow, he's had a patch of Rotten movies lately. Sure, "Sully" and "Bleed for This" have gotten good reviews, but most of his other recent films were poorly received. In particular, "I, Frankenstein" earned almost universal scorn.

While we're sure that viewers had a little trouble taking him seriously after "I, Frankenstein," we think the main reason Eckhart no longer has his former presence in Hollywood has nothing to do with his filmography. The actor admitted to Vanity Fair that he's not so great at networking. "I could have a much better career than I do right now if I were more of a people person," he said, adding, "If you can't get on the covers of magazines, and they don't know your name, then you're not offered the movies that you really want to do." (Hence why he may have ended up with movies like "I, Frankenstein.") He acknowledged that it would probably help with his name recognition if he started agreeing to do more mainstream movies. However, it's hard for him to settle for doing just blockbusters because whenever he stumbles upon an independent project that he's really excited about, he can't resist. "What am I supposed to do? Sit home and not do it?" he said.

Still, there's hope for Aaron Eckhart yet. He's been cast in a leading role for "Bricklayer," an action movie that could give him exactly the mainstream boost he needs.

Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo's fortune has changed rather suddenly. Her popularity with the critics has taken a pretty huge dip since 2018; in four years, she's gone from a film with a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score ("The Parting Glass") to a movie with a score of less than 15%. That movie ("Measure of Revenge") takes a somewhat ridiculous turn as Leo's character becomes a vigilante who hunts down drug dealers while dressed as Shakespearean characters. After acknowledging that Leo is undoubtedly a skillful actress, The Observer adds that "she must also be a performer with abnormal dedication to craft if she could stay awake long enough to get through the shooting of ... 'Measure of Revenge.'"

Of course, another factor in her apparent decline could simply be ageism in Hollywood. After all, Leo insists that her age was the reason nobody wanted to do photo shoots of her to promote her 2011 Oscar campaign (via Deadline), so it's easy to see how her age could also impact her prospects more than a decade later. According to BuzzFeed, Leo is in Hollywood for the acting, not the fame. "I'm not on set to be comfortable and happy," she told the outlet. "I'm there to get my work done." So we think it's safe to say that she won't let a few negative reviews discourage her — she'll just keep doing the work she loves.

In fact, Leo still has a chance to turn things around. Her slate of upcoming movies includes pandemic-themed rom-com "Alone Together" and Creator+ original film "Jane."

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan has been acting ever since she was a kid, and for a while, it seemed like this rising star would only keep on rising (via CNN). Her films "Mean Girls" and "Parent Trap" were very popular, but then her addiction became the subject of tabloids, and her career suffered.

Although Lohan's decline has more to do with her personal life, there is probably also one Rotten movie to blame. The psychological thriller that almost ruined her career was called "I Know Who Killed Me," and it holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of less than 10%. To make matters worse, her experiences with addiction interfered with the film's production. She needed to frequently attend rehab sessions, which meant filming was off-and-on (The Guardian), and later, she made a public statement informing the world of her experiences (per People). Since then, Lohan hasn't been able to land a good role, and her recent filmography has been a string of largely Rotten movies.

However, maybe we shouldn't give up on Lohan just yet. According to People, she's set to appear in the Netflix rom-com "Falling for Christmas" in the 2022 holiday season, as well as two other Netflix movies. The Irish Mirror speculates that she might be able to revive her career. The fact that Lohan is willing to poke fun at her reputation in a recent Planet Fitness ad shows that she might already be putting her troubled past behind her, says People.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer's acting career had barely begun before it started to nosedive. Right before his film "I Am Number Four" dropped, The Hollywood Reporter released a story about Pettyfer's behavior behind-the-scenes. Allegedly, the young actor (who had only been in four films previously) grew upset that one of his co-stars was being paid more than him (IndieWire speculated it was the veteran actor Timothy Olyphant), so he demanded a raise; later, he missed an important scheduled interview. These incidents may have earned him the reputation as an actor who was difficult to work with.

He only cemented this reputation when he gave some audacious answers in a notorious interview with V-Man. When expressing his disgust with Hollywood, Pettyfer used a derogatory term for women and then declared, "Being an actor in L.A. is like being in prison." Pettyfer may have also burned a bridge by escalating a dispute about rent with his "Magic Mike" co-star Channing Tatum, according to The Mercury News.

All this made it difficult for Pettyfer to get the roles he wanted. Tatum didn't invite Pettyfer back for the "Magic Mike" sequel, and since then, Pettyfer hasn't had much luck with landing good roles. Critics hated most of his recent films, including "Collection" and "The Last Witness." However, one agent told The Hollywood Reporter that Pettyfer still had plenty of time to recover his career: "He'll have another day in the sun. He's only 24."

James Woods

James Woods has been in only two Fresh movies in the past decade, but the poor reviews aren't necessarily the reason for his decline. Lately, Woods has been alienating his audiences with his provocative Twitter posts. In fact, his vocal opinions offended his agent Ken Kaplan so much that Kaplan dropped Woods as a client in 2018, according to Variety.

However, it certainly doesn't help that Woods had a spate of Rotten movies lately. The 2008 film "An American Carol" likely marked the beginning of the end for Woods. The Guardian describes this political satire as "propaganda masquerading as entertainment." Even worse, says The Hollywood Reporter, it's not even all that funny, in part because it treats serious issues like jokes, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Meanwhile, "Jobs" is a rather underwhelming biopic that never delves into the motivations of the titular Steve Jobs, writes Susan Wloszczyna from Roger Ebert. Woods doesn't seem to be slotted for any films in the foreseeable future, and that's probably not likely to change unless he takes a different approach to his Twitter presence.

What's fascinating is that, for the last 25 years, most of the highest-rated Woods films have actually been animated movies. Films like "Hercules," "Stuart Little 2," and "Surf's Up" managed to surpass the Rotten Tomatoes scores of "Contact" and even "The Virgin Suicides." So perhaps that's another takeaway for Woods if he ever wants to get back in the game: give animation another try.

Jessica Alba

Aside from the 2014 film "Stretch," Alba has had a streak of only Rotten movies for the past decade, including several disappointing sequels (e.g., "Mechanic: Resurrection" and "Machete Kills"). But her most infamous sequel was "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." According to Elle (via Access), when Alba was filming the scene where her character died, the director reportedly told her that she looked too much like she was actually dying. (Um, wasn't that the point?) Instead, he told her, "Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica." It's outrageous to think that Alba was expected to be a "pretty face" instead of a human being in such a crucial scene, so we don't blame her for almost quitting acting.

Alba never left Hollywood completely, though she definitely prioritized other aspects of her life; she got married and launched her own company that sells non-toxic household products (per Hispanic Executive). She still acts, but she's frustrated that she often gets typecast. "The scripts I get are always for the ... motorcycle chick in leather, or the horny maid," she told Rolling Stone. Alba says she has a bit more freedom to choose roles she likes now that her company is her main source of income (via The Daily Beast). However, judging by her recent film roles (as a stripper-turned-killer in the sequel to "Sin City" or the hero's girlfriend killed off at the beginning of "Machete Kills"), she hasn't quite managed to shake her reputation as a "pretty girl."

Meg Ryan

While Jessica Alba has been typecast as a sex symbol, Meg Ryan has the opposite problem. She's been known as "America's sweetheart," thanks to the number of successful romcoms where she played an innocent, quirky heroine. Yet when she tried to try something a little more daring, her audiences felt betrayed, and her career never recovered. 

Ryan hasn't had a Fresh movie since 1998. In fact, she hasn't done a movie at all since 2015. This is partly by choice. Ryan told New York Times Magazine that she found fame to be exhausting. But if her fall from the spotlight can be attributed to a single film, it would be the 2003 erotic thriller "In the Cut," in which Ryan filmed a scene with explicit nudity. Needless to say, the role was a huge step outside her comfort zone. Her audiences were shocked, and many — including talk show host Michael Parkinson — condemned her for it. However, Slate points out that this reaction held Ryan to an unfair double standard. Regardless, by this point, Ryan had grown as disillusioned with Hollywood as Hollywood had with her, so she started to withdraw (per New York Times Magazine).

Yet for the first time in several years, Meg Ryan will be appearing in a film. She'll be directing and starring in "What Happens Next," so she could make a comeback. Funnily enough, her co-star is another actor who was once popular in the '90s but hasn't gotten many good movie roles lately: David Duchovny.

David Duchovny

David Duchovny has become a fan favorite thanks to his role as Fox Mulder in "The X-Files" TV series, but he's seemed to have a bit of difficulty making the transition to the big screen. Of his film outings, the highest-rated movie to-date is the 1998 film "The X-Files," which hovers around a score of only 67%.

Some of his most successful roles have been essentially self-parody, says Consequence; Fox Mulder appeared on "The Simpsons," and Duchovny played a caricatured version of himself on the Netflix series "The Chair." Luckily, Duchovny has been good-natured about spoofing himself, and many viewers (including Slate) agree he is actually quite funny. Unfortunately, his self-satire as a character named "Dustin" from "The Bubble" was not so well-received. "The Bubble" is only the latest in a string of Rotten movies Duchovny has done. To be fair, aside from "The Bubble" and a disastrous sequel to "The Craft," Duchovny hasn't acted in any movies since 2013 (IMDb). During that time, he told The Guardian, "I wasn't seeing [film projects] that I was desperate to do." Instead, he's been using that time to focus on his music and writing.

But then, he must've found some projects worth doing now because he's slotted to appear in "You People." And we know he's going to be co-starring with Meg Ryan in the rom-com "What Happens Later." So who knows? Maybe it will propel them both into the spotlight again — or maybe it will be another disappointment.

Taylor Lautner

Jessica Alba isn't the only one who feels like she's been typecast; male actors can be exploited as sex symbols, too. Taylor Lautner has never quite escaped his reputation as the hunky werewolf from the "Twilight" movies. He told GQ Magazine how frustrated he was when he read the script for "Valentine's Day" and saw the lines for the character, which was written with Lautner in mind for the part. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Time out," said Lautner. "He's gonna take off his shirt in the middle of school? No, no, no." Well aware of his public image after "Twilight," Lautner told Metro Daily, "I find myself rebelling against it now."

If "Twilight" limited the kind of roles that would be offered to Lautner, then the movie "Abduction" completely ruined his career. This thriller (in which Lautner is also shirtless) is so badly-executed that it's laughable, says The Salt Lake Tribune. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter considers the film to be the nails in Lautner's coffin. Though, it certainly didn't help that he followed it with films like "The Ridiculous 6" and "Run the Tide." All three films scored less than 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, Lautner hasn't yet gotten a score higher than 50%.

Maybe it's for the best that he hasn't gotten much media attention lately. Lautner told the Today Show that the pressures of fame make him anxious. "I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, [I wore a] hat [and] sunglasses," he said.

Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton isn't out of the game. Not by a long shot. However, it's worth noting that recently his success has been confined to the realm of TV shows (including the acclaimed "1883"). In terms of movies, Thornton has appeared in only one Fresh movie since 2011. Thornton believes it's better to quit while you're ahead rather than trying to make a sequel or another season if you don't need one. Speaking of his show "Goliath," he told Newsweek that he liked where Season 4 ended and didn't want the series to "go a bridge too far." However, he must not have considered this when he worked on "Bad Santa 2," a sequel that suffered a significant dip in quality from its predecessor.

Yet the biggest factor that impacted Thornton's career was 2018's disastrous "London Fields." According to The Wrap, it made box office history at the time; only one other wide-release film ("Proud American") had a worse opening at the box office. Even director Mathew Cullen hated it because his producers had released a completely different cut of the movie without his consent, says The Hollywood Reporter. Cullen later released a director's cut, which didn't fare much better, if only because his version got a much smaller release (per Amazing Stories). This was bad news for Thornton, especially because there were also allegations that Amber Heard had an affair with him while filming the movie (via People).

Still, Thornton seems pretty content where he is now. He actually prefers working in the medium of television because it means he can essentially "make a 10-hour movie," he told The Wrap.

Sophie Turner

A lot of actors on this list have gotten their share of bad reviews, but Sophie Turner is in a class all her own. As of June 2022, her highest-rated movie is "X-Men Apocalypse," with a Rotten Tomatoes score just below 50%. In other words, her entire filmography consists of Rotten movies.

Of course, that isn't the whole picture. Turner is much more beloved on the small screen, with a repertoire that includes "Game of Thrones" and "The Staircase" (both undoubtedly Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Still, MEAWW predicted in 2020 that Turner might not be able to coast on the success of "Game of Thrones" alone and would need to star in a few better-reviewed movies in order to make a name for herself. According to Vanity Fair, many expected "Dark Phoenix" to be Turner's next big "Game of Thrones," but instead, it bombed.

But then, this isn't the first time Turner's career has seemed at a glance to be declining. Previously, Turner was criticized for a portrayal of Sansa that was one-dimensional (at least in comparison to the other cast members) in early episodes of "Game of Thrones," but as her character matured later in the series, she quickly earned the respect of critics. "Sansa has grown a lot," says The Richest, "but so has Sophie Turner." So perhaps winter is not coming for Turner; maybe instead, spring is on the way. We are confident Turner has what it takes to get a foothold in Hollywood again.

John Malkovich

John Malkovich is synonymous with taste and sophistication (a reputation that "Being John Malkovich" capitalizes on, with hilarious results). Yet it's easy to forget that this actor has plenty of Rotten movies in his repertoire. In the space of just two years, he participated in six movies with a Rotten Tomatoes score of less than 25%. Loud and Clear Reviews points out that we simply overlook Malkovich's terrible films because they're much more forgettable than his most beloved films, so we assume he has a perfect record.

He doesn't. For instance, his character in the abysmally-rated "White Elephant" adds nothing to the story, says Brian Orndorf from BluRay.com. And not even Malkovich can redeem "Rogue Hostage," a film in which the actor is "seriously slumming it," according to The Guardian. Malkovich told GQ Magazine that he's made a resolution not to accept any more offers for film projects that can't afford to compensate him. As much as he enjoyed working on indie films like Manoel de Oliveira's "I'm Going Home," he needs to be a bit more practical. "I don't really want to work for free anymore," he told the outlet. Just like anybody else, Malkovich needs to make a living, which may explain why he seems to have settled for less-than-ideal films lately.

There don't seem to be any Malkovich films coming up on the horizon soon, but we can always look forward to seeing him in "100 Years," which is set to be released at Cannes in 2115 (and yes, we mean 2115).