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Anybody else think Robert Downey Jr is a horrible actor?


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Showing 1-25 of 118 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 17, 2010 2:58:24 PM PDT
Watching "Zodiac" today it suddenly occured to me his character was exactly like Julian from 1987's "Less Than Zero" with slightly fewer drugs. I like both movies but simply detest Downey's particular tone of manic, snappy, effeminent, and oh so clever dialogue. Why is this guy still getting huge roles in great movies if he can't act? Is there something I'm missing?

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 3:07:45 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 18, 2010 10:37:52 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2010 3:49:06 PM PDT
Gwaithmir says:
I thought he did a reasonably good job in "Iron Man" and the sequel. As for his other films, I can't say.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 4:53:26 PM PDT
S. Smith says:
He is probably the best actor of his generation. The characters he plays aren't always the most likable, but that's hardly his fault.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 5:59:10 PM PDT
E. Blair says:
I don't agree that he's the best actor of his generation, though I don't think he's a bad actor.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 9:53:00 PM PDT
If you ever saw his performance in "Chaplin" you would not even to occur to you to think of Downey as a bad actor. He was brillant and deserved an Oscar as far as I was concerned. And I have enjoyed his work for years.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 10:47:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2010 11:11:46 PM PDT
Larkinfield says:
Yes, perhaps there's something you're missing. He's handsome and has a good speaking voice, just for starters. He can play the straight or romantic lead, often good in character roles as well. Plus, he's bankable or he wouldn't end up with those juicy roles. I always wonder why more people don't spend time on actors they love, instead of seemingly trying to bring down a performer, out of negativity or disappointment, who has performed admirably in a number of high profile films. I also agree that he should have received the Oscar for 'Chaplin.' So, in short... No, I would not say that he's a horrible actor. I also admire what he's done to face his drug addictions and salvage his career. It's not everyone who can lose everything and then dig his way back to the top of his profession with such a high degree of professionalism. Not to mention that it's perhaps wise not to judge his or anyone's entire career on the basis of one movie. He's been around for years, and I wonder how many of his detractors have seen his earlier efforts. I first saw him in 'Back to School' with Rodney Dangerfield in the mid 80s and thought he was hilarious as the off-the-wall, college-campus reactionary from hell. I think he tries to do what's needed for each film, though some might not go along with his artistic choices, and that's fair enough.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 10:53:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2010 10:54:44 PM PDT
M. Gaudet says:
Chaplin was an amazing performance. Iron Man was and is over rated garbage B flick with high budget cgi that looks cheap. And he was also awful in Sherlock Holmes, he made the role fun but not very serious.

I know this totally dates my generation but I will always remember him as the bully in Weird Science,lol.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 11:06:26 PM PDT
PlanetHell says:
"Anybody else think Robert Downey Jr. is a horrible actor?"

Um, no. He is a great actor, having done an excellent job at playing Charlie Chaplin, and bringing the lesser known (but mostly superior to others) Marvel character to the big screen in two far above average super hero movies.

Though I do have to agree Sherlock Holmes was kind of bad, but it was directed by Guy Ritchie, wasn't it? At least the 2nd half was entertaining, the first half was snooze-worthy.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 7:27:06 AM PDT
GW™ says:
The last flick I saw RDJ in was "Restoration" & I thought he was pretty unremarkable.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 8:34:38 AM PDT
Nats says:
I dont think he's terrible, he would not get the parts in some of these big budget productions if he sucked as an actor.

I would say he doesnt do thing for me though! ;)

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 8:52:16 AM PDT
GSK says:
I admire him a great deal. I loved his work in Chaplin, the Singing Detective, Short Cuts, and many other roles but I avoid formulaic/superhero stuff in general and wasn't compelled to see the martial-arts Sherlock. I hope his career doesn't turn into profit-maximizing mush like de Niro, Pacino, et al. But I think he's a great actor. When I think of "horrible" I think of Nicholas Cage.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 9:00:40 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 27, 2011 1:54:25 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2010 9:40:07 AM PDT
Whatever you think of him personally, Downey Jr. is an excellent actor. He was outstanding in 'Chaplin'. He was hilariously brilliant in 'Tropic Thunder'. He was the only good thing about 'Less Than Zero'. His abilities are well-recognized and are the reason why, despite the multiple drug busts and jail time, his career is stronger today than it's ever been.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 10:05:09 AM PDT
Oh, one more thing : I don't know how much older he is than Downey, but I would say that Daniel Day-Lewis is the best actor of his generation. By far. And the best actor, overall, in cinema today.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 10:35:06 AM PDT
D. Larson says:
I'd put Sean Penn ahead of Daniel Day Lewis or Downey as the Great American Actor. I don't much care for Penn, but his ability is disappear totally into a character is astonishing. Havey Milk, for example. Or Mystic River. He may be a self righteous jerk, but what a talented jerk!

Not to take anything away from Day Lewis, or There Will Be Blood. He was mesmerizing, even a the overwrought Gangs of New York. You take out DiCaprio, and Gangs coulda been a masterwork.

Robert Downey doesn't have that immersive quality, apart from the performance in Chaplin. But he's always fun to watch, even in the terribly written and incoherently directed Sherlock Holmes. And can you imagine any other actor taking Iron Man from being a Watchmen-style one-off flop into the most lucrative franchise on earth?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2010 10:58:25 AM PDT
GSK says:
I agree with you about Penn being probably "the Great." I don't care about actors' personal lives much or whether they are nice people. But jerk or not, Penn's Haiti efforts are apparently the best thing going there: http://bit.ly/duisNN

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 11:56:20 PM PDT
D. Larson and GSK,

With all due respect, just as an example, I don't think that Sean Penn could have handled the role of the artist, crippled by cerebal palsy who learns to paint with his left foot, as smoothly and deeply as Daniel Day-Lewis did in 'My Left Foot'. Daniel Day TOTALLY made you feel he WAS that man. Sean Penn is top-notch, and was particularly excellent in 'Mystic River' and 'Milk'. But in my opinion, his range and depth don't go quite as far as Daniel Day's.

And D. Larson, just a small correction - Daniel Day-Lewis is not an American actor. To the best of my knowledge, he was born in England and is of Irish/Jewish heritage.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 12:09:51 AM PDT
Kathy says:
Robert Downey, Jr. isn't a bad actor. I think sometimes he's a lazy actor.

He has settled for playing the same wise-ass kind of character he has since his "Weird Science"/"Back to School" days. He even said once that "Chaplin" was his first film where he was really more interested in the work - up until then it was all about the perks (the money, his trailer, etc).

Since he's gotten sober however he's gotten better about it and puts out an effort.

And remember too....he has to do what the director tells him so if the director wants him to be that guy in "Less Than Zero" in his film, he's then got a choice of doing that or being labeled as "difficult".

"I dont think he's terrible, he would not get the parts in some of these big budget productions if he sucked as an actor."

Then, explain Shia LeBouf.... ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 1:24:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2010 1:28:04 AM PDT
Downey is a very good actor. I guess people raised on a diet of bad movies and bad actors wouldn't appreciate his charm, nuance, intelligence and talent.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 9:26:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2010 9:44:38 AM PDT
Kathy, isn't a lazy actor the SAME thing as a bad actor? If "Chaplin" was his only good performance, then he is nowhere near the caliber of Day-Lewis or DiCaprio, who each have 3 or 4 good, if not great, performances. Sean Penn doesn't quite reach this level either, though he played a good angry loser in "Assassination of Richard Nixon"

P.S. "Less Than Zero" was such a visually stunning movie that I think lots of actors could have played Julian and it would still be great. Ditto with "Zodiac"

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 10:09:13 AM PDT
He's one of those actors I don't particularly like as a person, but when I see him act I have to give him credit for being talented.

I liked him in Sherlock Holmes. He just one of those guys you just know is a star.

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 10:36:32 AM PDT
Hikari says:
I think David here nailed RDJ's appeal: he's got star quality. He's compelling to watch even as you realize the material around him might not be much good. His eyes are what draw you in--a lot of intelligence there. I think he definitely fits more into the Movie Star category rather than Serious Actor. Nicolas Cage is the same way; good or bad, audiences come to see an RDJ or Nic Cage 'performance', and if they weren't recognizable as themselves, there's half the fun gone. One could argue that being a Movie Star like that is the antithesis of great acting, where the goal is to disappear into the role. Daniel Day-Lewis qualifies as an actor who is a star rather than as a star who does a bit of light acting. DDL is about 10 years older than RDJ. I think to call RDJ the greatest actor of his generation is overstating the case a bit, but I say that as a fan anyway. I would nominate Russell Crowe for that crown. One could also make the case that a truly serious actor would steer well clear of making comic-book movies as RDJ and Nic Cage have done. I think RDJ and Johnny Depp have a lot in common as performers; they share a physicality in common along with an offbeat quirkiness that informs all their performances. They choose projects they will enjoy doing even if those projects have a whiff of the commercial or the silly. They have both created some memorable screen characters. RDJ's Sherlock took some getting used to, but I think it was a brave gamble that paid off. If only the plot hadn't been so convoluted and boring. I look forward to RDJ and Jude Law reconvening in "Sherlock 2", shooting this fall.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 10:38:48 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 27, 2011 1:54:34 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 11:25:59 AM PDT
K. Palukivi says:
I know i'm probably alone in this, but i think Downey is great both as an actor and a star. He certainly can rock my socks off when given the right material where i wont be thinking of him as "Robert Downey Jr" but as that character. Even though they are few and far between.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  61
Total posts:  118
Initial post:  Jul 17, 2010
Latest post:  Jan 17, 2013

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