ByCarl Morris, writer at

This list deals with actors or film-makers whose careers weren't going very well until they took up one project that, well, changed their careers. Or on the contrary actors or film-makers whose careers were going well until they took up one project that completely destroyed their careers. Some people who had one hit an then returned to making crap or vice-versa are not included on this list.

10. Channing Tatum (Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street)

Channing Tatum who has recently received critical for his performance in Foxcather, it's hard to remember the rubbish that Tatum done just to be recognized as an actor such as She's the man (2006), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and Step Up (2006) to name a few. 21 Jump Street movie and it's sequel gave Tatum a whole new angle and completely changed his career for the better. His role in Magic Mike which was one of my favorite movies of 2013 was even better and with a Magic Mike sequel on the way his career is hopefully going to remain on a good curve. Unless he does She's the man 2: She was the man.

P.S. Please try to forget about Jupiter Ascending.

9. Ridley Scott (The Counselor)

Scott is an academy award nominee for directing. He's brought us some cracking films since his career began such as Gladiator (2000), Thelma and Louise (1991) and Alien (1979) He mainted a great level of excellence for a long time until The Counselor. with an all star cast: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem the Counselor should have been considerably better than it was. Since then Scott has done Exodus: Gods and Kings which universally panned. The Counselor ruined Ridely Scott's career

Ridley Scott on set.
Ridley Scott on set.

8. John Travolta (Pulp Fiction and Battlefield Earth)

This is one that is both good and bad. Firstly in 1994 fresh from 3 look who's talking movies Tarantino offered Travolta a career defining role in Pulp Fiction which was accepted. Travolta's peformance in Pulp Fiction was original, organic and phenomenal which rightfully earned him an Academy award nomination. This is one that would've been higher up the list if he had even mainted 50% of this for the rest of his career.

However in 2010 he done Battlefield Earth. Enough Said.

Pulp Fiction Good Battlefield Earth Bad

7. Liam Neeson (Battleship)

This is a tricky one for me because he just so happens to be one of mist favorite actors who has mesmerized us with his captivating performances in Schindlers List, Michael Collins and Love Actually. His career was already on a downward spiral but when he took the role in the board game adaption Battleship it confirmed that his career is dead. Battleship sunk his career (see what I did there?, about as funny as A Million Ways to Die in the West) In addition to Battleship he done Wrath of Titans in the same year. How awful. Since then he's done the Taken franchise. Which absolutely demolished any respect he had left. Luckily he has two films upcoming that are directed by Martin Scorsese (Silence) and J.A Bayona (A monster calls) so there is still hope.

Oh captain my, B-6
Oh captain my, B-6

6. M. Night Shyamalan (The Happening)

Following up from his big hit The Sixth Sense (1999) which earned him Oscar noms for writing and directing. Shyamalan's disaster The Happening (2008) followed Marky Mark and New Girl trying to escape from the wind. Sound good, right? well surprisingly this is considered one of the worst films ever made as is The Last Airbender and After Earth also the work of Mr. Shyamalan he made an absolute mess of a potentially great career.

"We're packing hot dogs for the road. You know, hot dogs get a bad rep. They gotta cool shape, they got protein"
~ guy from The Happening

5. David Fincher (Seven)

Following the studio Nightmare of Alien 3, where he was working on tight budget, controlling producers and an unfinished script, Fincher came back stronger than ever with crime thriller Seven (1995). He only improved after this with great films such as Fight Club, The Social Network and Gone girl which has helped David Fincher become one of the finest film directors living today.

4. Cuba Gooding Jr. (Snowdogs)

After his Oscar winning performance in Jerry Maguire and his performance in As good as it gets the future looked incredibly bright for Cuba Gooding Jr. Until Disney ruined it. A film about dogs who sled race. Why didn't that take off? Aswell as critical disaster Norbit (2007) Gooding's career went from bad to worse. With no upcoming films Gooding's stock isn't exactly in demand.

3. Ben Affleck (Argo)

This is an actor who has worked some hideous directors on some hideous movies, that's the problem, solution = direct it yourself. Argo was easily one of the greatest films of 2012 and Affleck was wrongly snubbed for the Best Director Oscar. Since then he has gone on to star in David Fincher's Gone Girl. He has been on fire.

2. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)

This may be a controversial one but Cooper starred mostly in mediocre or just awful comedies with the occasional drama. Since his outstanding performance in Silver Linings, he has just gone from strength to strength with hits such as American Hustle, American Sniper and The Place Beyond the Pines. Cooper really turned things around.

Cooper in action in Silver Linings
Cooper in action in Silver Linings

Just before I reveal Number One here is a quick recap.

  • Channing Tatum - Good
  • Ridely Scott - Good
  • John Travolta - Good & Bad
  • Liam Neeson - Bad
  • M. Night Shyamalan - Bad
  • David Fincher - Good
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. - Bad
  • Ben Affleck - Good
  • Bradley Cooper - Good

1. Matthew McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer)

Alright,Alright,Alright, This is one we can all agree on. Star of some of the worst movies of the 21st century e.g everything except Dazed and Confused. He really turned things around with the performance of a lifetime for any other actor. He followed this up with Mud, Magic Mike, Bernie, Interstellar and Dallas Buyers Club for which he won an Oscar for Best Acting. With a new Gus Van Sant film on the go the future looks bright.

If you don't agree or if you feel absolutely outraged by some of the inclusions drop a comment below.


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