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The Top 10 Acting One-Hit Wonders

by dsussman   March 10, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 10,777

Over the years, a number of actors have burst onto the scene as the "next big thing" but somehow just never reached the same heights when they first hit the big time. You would think being in a successful film would help keep you in the spotlight for quite some time. This list of thespians begs to differ.

Photo: Mark Mainz/Getty Images

10. Brandon Routh

Here’s a virtually unknown actor who was lucky enough to nab a role in a film that any up-and-coming leading man prays to land. So why didn’t Brandon Routh become one of the 21st century’s biggest leading men?

Superman Returns was a pretty big success at the box office back in 2006, but it didn’t really get that much love from die-hard fans of the legendary series. This backlash might be the main reason why Brandon Routh hasn’t found himself in the limelight since the release of this Bryan Singer disaster. One of the things that really makes me scratch my head is the fact that he wasn’t bad at all as the Man of Steel. Even fans all over the internet seem to want him back in the new reboot of the franchise. Can Brandon save his career by returning as Clark Kent? It could happen, but I don’t think he’ll ever be able to shake the universal hatred toward Superman Returns.

9. Patrick Fugit

Photo: Kathryn Indiek/Getty Images

Back in 2000, this kid pretty much got a role that every young up-and-coming actor would dream of. As William Miller in Almost Famous, Fugit got to live the life as a high-school kid touring the globe with golden gods, writing for Rolling Stone, and losing his virginity to a gang of hot groupies. Sounds like a rough day at the office for a virtually unknown actor. And if that wasn’t enough, the movie also went on to become a huge critical smash and Cameron Crowe even took home an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

So what went wrong? It’s not like Fugit’s performance stunk up the joint. You would have thought that scripts would have been flying at his face like birds in a Hitchcock flick. Instead of headlining great new motion pictures, Fugit went on to co-star in throwaway flicks like White Oleander, Dead Birds, and even the The Vampire's Assistant.

I guess he was almost famous.


8. Eminem

Photo: Jim Smeal/Getty Images

Did you know that 8 Mile has made almost 250 millions dollars to date? Even though it was only in 2002, people tend to forget how big of a movie it was and how big a star Eminem had became by that point. Em even won an Academy Award for Best Original Song with "Lose Yourself." That’s still no f***ing joke. To put that in perspective, imagine Lil Wayne winning an Academy Award now.

With that said, I’m sure that Eminem fans the world over have been wondering why he’s hesitated to jump in front of the camera again. My only guess is that Eminem knows in his heart that this was the only role he could ever play. There is no doubt in my mind that if Marshall Bruce Mathers every attempted to take on a role that was even remotely different than his 8 Mile character, he would fall flat on his face. Maybe Rap Olympics: The Movie?


7. Jason Mewes

Photo: Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

I can’t help but love Jason Mewes, but as an actor, he’s absolutely a one-trick pony.

Mewes has played his drug-dealing "Jay" character in over eight feature films. Even when playing Tuott the Basehead in the low-budget indie flick Vulgar, Mewes is just doing a slightly different rendition of "Jay." You can literally go back and watch him in any one of his films where he’s not playing "Jay" and he’s still pretty much playing the same part.

Either way, the dude will always rule. All of us are totally aware that Jason Mewes is a one-hit wonder in terms of his acting, but he still seems to keep audiences entertained with each and every Kevin Smith-related film. What do you want, Grizzly Adams?!


6. Peter Billingsley

Phtoto: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Let’s just go ahead and just say that there isn’t a person alive that doesn’t love A Christmas Story. Peter Billingsley pretty much knocked it outta the park as Ralphie Parker and his face has been plastered on TBS 24/7 during the holidays ever since. Unfortunately for Billingsley, his career as an A-list actor seemed to take a B-list dive directly thereafter. Dirt Bike Kid anyone?

It’s strange to think that an actor so recognizable and universally loved was really only doing bit roles in TV sitcoms and popping up in odd feature films from time to time. The only other movie remotely worth mentioning in his career would be 1987’s Russkies and that’s a real stretch. Either way, we all know that Billingsley never even came close to reaching the heights of A Christmas Story. On a good note though, Billingsley has gone on to co-produce films like Iron Man and The Break-Up. I’m sure those 24-hour reruns of A Christmas Story have made this dude just a little bit a bread over the years.


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