Taking potshots at people can seem fun in the moment, but regrettable later. Especially when someone shoots back. For example, in choosing this list of the most overrated actors, I might at one time have chosen someone like Tobey Maguire, Mark Wahlberg or Ryan Gosling. At various points in the past, I was convinced that none of them could act a lick and they all proved me wrong. I could also shoot fish in a barrel, taking aim at people who are already down, like Freddie Prinze Jr., Ben Affleck, Chris Tucker, Paul Walker or Ryan Reynolds. Or Jennifer Hudson, whose flash-in-the-pan Oscar win will probably prove to be a hilarious mistake. History tends to sort things out into their proper places, which is why I ended up not choosing anyone from cinema's glorious past (I wrestled with Gary Cooper and Gregory Peck, but decided against them). So in choosing this final seven, I went with people who, at this moment, feel "overrated." They're all currently working, and each could use a serious career adjustment.

1. Ben Kingsley

Is there a more arrogant, conceited, pretentious actor alive? And why does no one ever call him on it? I wrote a nasty review of House of Sand and Fog in 2003 and got volumes of angry e-mail from his fans and supporters, but it remains that Kinglsey can barely disguise his own smugness even while acting. The last straw came during the opening credits for the small scale "B" picture Lucky Number Slevin: "Sir Ben Kingsley." If he can't even loosen up for something that silly, then what good is he? He is also a screen hog, overshadowing all his co-stars with his scenery-chewing. His one great achievement came in Schindler's List, in which he generously allowed the leads to shine, while he did marvelous things in his small, meek role. He needs more jobs like that.

categories Cinematical