The Top 10 Acting One-Hit Wonders

March 10, 2010

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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5. Jeff Cohen

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Oh, Chunk. Who can forget the Truffle Shuffle? I sure as s**t can’t.

As far as The Goonies cast went, Jeff Cohen’s portrayal of the loveable Chunk totally stole the show throughout the 1985 epic. This is quite ironic because he was one of the few actors in the film that didn’t go on to bigger and better things. Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and even Corey Feldman all went on to have their very own solo successes. Even though Jonathan Ke Quan (Data) didn’t really do much after Goonies, he still had Temple of Doom on his resume.

How can a kid as talented and awesome as Cohen only go on to do roles on ABC Afterschool Specials and Family Ties episodes? He was in one of the biggest movies of the ‘80s and has one of the most memorable roles!

Cohen eventually went on to study at Berkeley and later became an entertainment lawyer after studying at UCLA’s School of Law in 2002. Variety even named Cohen to The Hollywood Reporter's Next Generation: Hollywood's Top 35 Executives 35.


4. Linda Blair

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Few can argue this one. As Regan in 1973’s The Exorcist, 13-year old Linda Blair played the role of a lifetime as a young girl possessed by the devil himself. Blair received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Golden Globe and People's Choice Award wins. Blair also received a Golden Globe nomination for the Most Promising Female Star category.

Although, for Blair, things never seemed to get any bigger than they did with The Exorcist. She went on to do the not-so-great 1977 sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic and eventually became a B-movie pin-up girl. Blair starred in raunchy cult classics like Chained Heat, posed semi-nude for the Playboy spin-off magazine Oui, and even dated Rick James for a while. It’s sad to say that Linda didn’t live up to the hype that her performance in The Exorcist created. Mama is still rad, though.


3. Paul Hogan

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Sure he’s freakin’ huge in Australia, but here in the States, Paul Hogan is only known for playing the lovable Aussie Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee.

In the ‘80s, Paul Hogan became a household name with the mind-boggling success of Dundee and even won a Golden Globe for his efforts. For a film that grossed more than 360 million dollars worldwide, you would think Hogan would have went on to do something a little bit more substantial than Almost an Angel and f***ing Flipper. It is true the sequel to Dundee was hated by every single critic around, but the fact that it made $230 million cannot be denied. I know the dude is a foreign actor, but how in the hell does such a big star fall off the map so hard? Hogan has admitted that he declined roles in the films Ghost and Three Men and a Baby. Sounds like this dude’s agent kinda blew the big one.


2. Jaye Davidson

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Even though he did play Ra in the box office behemoth Stargate, Davidson is really only known for his role as the transsexual Dil in the notorious flick The Crying Game. Davidson was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 1993 Academy Awards for his groundbreaking work. Although after doing Stargate in 1994, Davidson totally quit the biz and apparently took back the job he had before The Crying Game, working as a fashion assistant in London. IMDb shows Jaye doing one acting gig since 1994, but I doubt his role as a Nazi photographer in the film The Borghilde Project is really all that appealing 16 years after the fact.


1. Mark Hamill

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Yes, Mark Hamill. The man was in three of the biggest films ever made and somehow went from an international superstar to a straight up B-movie actor.

Now there is no doubt that the man is extremely talented as a performer, but is still blows my mind that after being the most famous Jedi on the planet he went on to voice an animated Joker and star in odd low budget sci-fi flicks like Guyver. I am totally aware that he still works constantly and is an extremely gifted voiceover actor, but I'm a little surprised that Lucas or Steven Spielberg never hooked Hamill up with some awesome role in one of their over-the-top big budget movies. A small role in Amazing Stories was the best someone like Spielberg could do? What a burn. I know the guy got his face mashed up in a gnarly car accident, but that doesn’t mean the man doesn't still have the acting chops to still bring the magic onscreen.


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