Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Most Overacting Actors: Take a Little Drama Off The Top

by: Jennifer Jordan

There are people in life who are exceptional actors, actors who could make you believe just about anything. Then, there are actors who aren't necessarily horrible, but their tendency to overact makes them about as believable as the Easter Bunny. Take myself, for instance, I am an overactor. I can't appear in front of an audience without overacting. I can't even stretch the truth without being completely dramatic. For me, it's a shame: I like to be on stage….and I really like to lie.

I am not alone in my tendency to overact. Our television and movie screens are filled with overacting men and women (and sometimes dogs (seriously Benji, let's tone down the whimpering)), overacting actors who take drama and make it a little too dramatic. The following is our list for the Most Overacting Actors, those who need a script for a chill pill.

David Caruso, CSI: David Caruso was good on NYPD Blue (good for all five minutes he was a cast member), but there is just something about his role in CSI that makes me want to slip him a Xanaz. With his deep voice, perpetually sunglassed face, and a tendency to speak a little too slowly and articulate a little too much, Caruso makes CSI raise the intensity level. But, then again, maybe that's the point.

Vincent D'Onofrio, Criminal Intent: Like David Caruso, I have really liked Vincent D'Onofrio in his previous work (Mystic Pizza forever, Vinnie), but he maintains a very obscure quality on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. In scenes where he is undercover as a married man, he comes across as gay, in scenes where he is supposed to pretend he is on the criminal's side, he comes across as patronizing, and in scenes where he is supposed to be happy…well, frankly, ya just can't tell. He nearly appears to be one emotion, all the time.

Tom Cruise: Hopefully, he can handle the truth. It isn't that I think Tom Cruise is horrible at acting, he just doesn't make certain roles all that believable. Well, that and he plays seemingly the same guy in most of his films. He's fine in movies like Top Gun or Risky Business (i.e., movies where he just needs to smile pretty for the camera), but could he pull off a role like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman? No way. Oh well, at least he always has Scientology to fall back on…or whatever.

William Shatner, Star Trek: Though I absolutely love him in Boston Legal, he makes this list for his role in Star Trek. Sorry Willie, you've been beamed up. In this science fiction series, he became known for narration laden in drama and odd, long pauses………………….yes, kind of like that. Though this overacting is often parodied, you have to give Shatner credit: his acting style thrives in comedic roles and he looks pretty darn good for his age.

Keanu Reeves: First of all, let me apologize to all the Bill and Ted lovers out there. You're right, that movie was, in a word, excellent. In fact, I believe that was one of Keanu's best jobs as an actor. I don't assert this because he gave a heartfelt performance or because the role he played was on par with Jack Nicholson's Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I say this instead because it was one role where he wasn't overwhelmingly stoic; it was a role that made him real. Did we believe that he was a high school slacker about to be sent to military school? Yes. Did we believe he was "the one" who could save the human race from slavery? Uh, not really