Like/Don't Like

I think it's safe to say most people have actors they like, and those they don't, for whatever reasons. And it doesn't seem to matter how talented they are, either; some we like may be kind of mediocre, and some we don't may be Oscar-winners (not that this means much). What I find frustrating is when ones we don't like appear in films we like—it's kind of like sticking a pickle in your ice cream. For better or worse, here are my most liked and disliked actors.


Chris Hemsworth. Ever since seeing him in Thor, I took to him instantly. His indominable charm and wit are captivating, not to mention that he makes the most absurd dialog sound totally authentic. That on its own takes a special talent.

Harrison Ford. Come on, what's not to like about Harrison? It's been fascinating to watch his career, and to watch him grow as an actor, going from two-dimensional action hero to three-dimensional human being. One of his finest moments on the big screen of late was his reprise of Deckard in Blade Runner 2049; his confrontation with Jared Leto toward the end was enthralling. "Her eyes were green."

Scarlet Johansson. Now, I know what many of you are thinking: I just like her because she's sexy. I won't bother attempting to deny this because who would believe me if I said she's "not my type?" But the truth of the matter is that she's probably underrated as an intense actress who brings far more to the screen than mere eye candy, and being a kickass action hero is a mere bonus. Tune out all of the rock-em sock-em noise from Black Widow and tune into the depth of her performance.

Alan Tudyk. Alan is a national treasure. His comic brilliance is on full display in Resident Alien, naturally, but so too are hints of his dramatic skill. I'd love to see a full-on drama with him in the lead.

Helen Mirren. Here's a powerhouse actress who has dominated the screen for decades, from the literate (A Midsummer Night's Dream) to the avant garde (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover). But who knew the Dame also had a gift at comedy? See RED for a glimpse of her lighter side—as well as her kickass action hero side!

Don't Like

Tom Cruise. Ego much? I mean, I don't know how Cruise can even fit in a sound stage with room left for anyone else. And don't get me started on the whole Scientology thing—it's beyond my ability to comprehend how anyone could ever buy into such a steaming heap of horse manure. Yes, he's a good actor—sometimes—but he can also be embarrassingly bad. Unfortunately he appears in a couple of films I happen to enjoy (Edge of Tomorrow and Oblivion); I just hold my nose and power through.

Jack Nicholson. Just the sight of him makes my skin crawl—it's no wonder he's typecast as a psychopath. Even in his roles as a "normal" person he creeps me out. I think the only director who ultimately knew what to do with him was Tim Burton: see Mars Attacks! for the evidence.

Danny DiVito. Ugh. "Repulsive" doesn't begin to describe him. I cringe whenever he's on screen, and do my best to avoid films in which he appears (I didn't bother reviewing War of the Roses because I loath him so much). His turn as The Penguin in Tim Burton's Batman Returns scarred me for life.

Bill Murray. Of all the Saturday Night Live alumni, he's by far the most annoying. He acts as if he's God's gift to comedy, when in fact he's just pathetic. Curiously, I could list nearly every ex-SNL actor in my Don't Like list—Will Ferrell, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Dan Aykroyd, Jimmy Fallon, etc., etc.—but I'll limit myself to Murray as the poster child.

Richard Dreyfus. The instant he opens his mouth, all I hear is whine, whine, whine. He is without question a very good actor. But I just can't get past his whining.

Alec Baldwin. Just a scum bag in every sense of the word.

All text is Copyright © 2017-2023 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.