Cool-ish Actors, Annoying Characters

Frodo Skyler Anakin Julie Deadpool Regina

Some actors suck. That’s just a fact. However, there are times where actors, through no real fault of their own, get a bit of flack because of the roles they play. Here are six actors who I’d say are at least pretty good at their craft, but are somewhat marred by the personalities and actions of their characters.

Anna Gunn as Skyler White

Skyler White Breaking Bad Anna GunnSkyler White is a fairly intelligent and strong woman who happens to be married to a teacher-turned-meth dealer. She loves her children, supports her husband more often than not, and generally tries to do the right thing. Yet, because of the few times she doesn’t stand by her meth-cooking husband, many Breaking Bad fans grew to hate her. Some weirdos who didn’t seem to appreciate the fact that Anna Gunn was simply playing a role in a fictional television show actually redirected their hatred toward the actor. Ms. Gunn wrote about this unfortunate phenomenon as the show was wrapping up in 2013.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

Anakin Skywalker Hayden Christensen Star Wars Revenge of the SithI believe the most annoying things about Anakin Skywalker were written into the character. It wasn’t so much Hayden Christensen’s fault as it was the intent of the writers to make Anakin a whiny teenager. While it’s true that Christensen hasn’t really shown us super great talent outside of the Star Wars movies, I don’t think his acting is as bad as people make it out to be.

I liked Christensen in Takers and Vanishing on 7th Street. Yeah, neither movie is great—the former lacked in character development, and the latter had an ending I didn’t care for—but, they’re okay, and it wasn’t Christensen who brought them down. If anything, he helped make those movies better than they would have been without him.

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor

Aimee TeegardenFor whatever reason, after the first season of Friday Night Lights, the character of Julie Taylor becomes incredibly annoying: she becomes selfish, unreasonable, and never seems to learn from her mistakes. Well, I suppose she does learn one thing: she’ll never do better than the awesome Matt Saracen.

Before her final good decision at the end of the show, Julie Taylor pulls some pretty obnoxious stunts. She has an affair with a married teaching assistant her first semester at college. Then, to avoid going back to school, she intentionally runs her car into a mailbox and lies to her parents about it.

Yeah, I haven’t seen Aimee Teegarden in anything aside from Friday Night Lights, but from FNL alone I get the feeling Teegarden’s pretty good with the acting thing and probably no where as near as annoying as Julie Taylor (also, she’s adorable, so she’s got that going for her).

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds DeadpoolReynolds is fit, handsome, and can handle both comedy and drama considerably well. For some reason, though, he’s been in a bunch of not-so-good movies.

One of Reynolds’ most unfortunate roles was as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He has a few lines at the start of the film, disappears, and then comes back at the end without a mouth (I suppose the writers thought they were being clever since the comic book character is known as “the Merc with the Mouth”). The movie wraps up with a very low stakes fight scene (i.e., villain with almost no character development, and a hero everyone knows will survive for the other movies, since this is a prequel).

Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen/Regina Mills

Lana Parrilla Regina Mills The Evil QueenThe Evil Queen of Once Upon a Time is, well, evil. She makes a lot of bad, illogical choices and just antagonizes just about everyone for no good reason. Though the writers try to make her sympathetic with a tragic event in her past, the motivation isn’t really strong enough to justify the Evil Queen’s actions (she’s no Benjamin Linus).

For most of season one, however, I stuck with the character because of Lana Parrilla’s performance. If not for Parrilla, I probably would’ve written off Regina Mills much earlier than I did.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Frodo Baggins Elijah WoodEverybody loves Elijah Wood—even after what he and Ryan Reynolds did to this guy who has a tendency to throw things on the ground. However, not everybody loves Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings films. That Hobbit is annoying. I’m pretty sure Frodo faints in every single movie. On top of that, while all of his other Shire buddies kill their share of orcs, Frodo just runs around in circles and lets his fancy elf-made blade go to waste (in the novels, and the extended/deleted scenes of the films, I think Frodo does more fighting than the theatrical versions show).

The list of pretty good (or awesome) actors playing crappy characters can probably go on for longer than I’d care to write or read (sorry, Callaghan, Jesse Pinkman’s not on my list ’cause I still think most people like the character).

I wrote this post as an excuse to hate on Julie Taylor.

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38 thoughts on “Cool-ish Actors, Annoying Characters

  1. You can add about half a dozen roles by Gary Oldman to this list. Great actor; some seriously bad movies and characters.
    As for Elijah Wood, his problem was that Frodo was by far the least likely of the Hobbits to actually succeed (which is probably why it was Frodo’s responsibility). Sam should have pushed Frodo into the fires of Mount Doom when Frodo pulled that crap!
    Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anna Gunn did a great job in BB and that’s the reason she was so annoying. Skyler and her sister ganged up in their womanish brand of self-righteousnes that worked extremely well. I thought that part alone was worth recommending the series for.

    It’s a good theme for a post you got there.

    I used to despise Denzel Washington because of the mood he always seemed to carry in some of his earlier movies. Today I see his name as a hallmark of quality. Actors make an impression when they are good and none when they are bad.

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  3. I always think it’s a sign of a great actor when they can overcome these less likable roles and play other ones that make us forget the original. Anna Gunn is in a new series this season. Will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed reading through your posts and I’m sure your novel will be amazing. Please keep writing even if you receive annoying rejection letters because your talent is evident to anyone with a brain. (You would make a fantastic newspaper journalist as well.) I hope to get to know you better! Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hahahaha. I won’t talk about Pinkman as you know my feelings on this sad boy. But we are watching Once (about halfway through season 1) and we are loving it. The premise is quite novel and is executed really well and that is pleasant surprise considering this is an uber network show. I too like Regina, for now anyway, and what she did to the Huntsman makes her one bad bitch, sexy and scary. Meow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That looks like it can work. I wonder if they’ll deviate from the comics so they can show his face without scaring little kids—and what they’ll add for drama and sympathy (maybe revealing his origin as they go).

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  6. That’s an interesting subject.

    I remember once reading Robert Pattinson complaining that he couldn’t do much for Edward in Twilight because the character was already flat on the page. I’m not sure if there’s anything that can save sparkling vampires, though. Or if his acting would be that much better if the character was better developed.

    I also used to hate Skyler White until I read this on tumblr once: “The Skyler White effect – the cognitive dissonance that happens when a female character is presented by the narrative as absolutely correct in their judgment of a male character, and yet the viewers assume she’s the bitch.” I didn’t begin to love her all the sudden after this, but it made me see her in a different perspective.

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  7. About Skylar White hate: We live in a world where being “annoying” is worse than being a murderer. People gushing over fictional (thank you God) psychopath serial murderer like Joker, etc etc and cosplay as him… but an “annoying” housewife get so much hate.

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  8. If Elijah Wood could have made his relationship with Sam in the last movie seem like a friendship more than a romance, I’d like Frodo a lot more. The peering into the eyes and soft, tender tones in their voices always makes me feel like Im on the verge of watching homo-erotic hobbit love.

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  9. Pingback: 1st Anniversary Post: Top Posts and the State of the Novel | A.D. Martin

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