Hollywood is a fickle town where small-town dreams go to die. But the big studios are big business and they have to rely on big stars to headline their big movies so that they can keep their big-time shareholders' big-time bank balances big. After all, this is the big leagues, baby!
The star-centric system of filmmaking has peaked in recent years, as Marvel has perfected the art of teasing a few scenes featuring yet another huge name in one superhero movie, just so that they can count on another billion dollars in the next installment of punching and kicking—and don't forget that that next installment will, obviously, have another big name and another big movie to tease.
One result of the public's adoration—and idolization, in the sense that Moses would have hated—of movie stars is that some actors get to keep on making movies even though they clearly have completely lost whatever mojo they might have once had. Keep scrolling for 20 actors who have definitely peaked and need to just go away.
20 James Franco
James Franco is one of those actors that everyone loves to hate. The only problem is, his absurd real-life smiling, squinty persona doesn't seem to be a charade anymore; he just really is that spacey. After starring alongside Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, Franco became a token space-cadet in movies where his friends Seth Rogan et al made fun of him.
19 Megan Fox
Megan Fox took the world by storm during a few scenes in the first Transformers film, where she played Shia LaBeouf's smoke-show heartthrob. But besides bending over the hood of a vintage Camaro, there wasn't much to show off any potential acting chops. That trend has continued, with roles in Jennifer's Body, Jonah Hex, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The most interesting thing about her now is her repeated admissions about her love life with her husband Brian Austin Green.
18 Jared Leto
Jared Leto's career makes absolutely no sense. In reality, did he ever peak? He seems to have made a life for himself just being strange and thinking that his meta, arty lifestyle means that he's a genius. But he did a terrible job as The Joker, above, and was the worst part of Blade Runner 2049. Plus, his music is downright awful.
17 Russell Brand
Russell Brand put on a great show in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, playing a narcissistic, annoying rock star who more than borders on insane, primadonna behavior. But unfortunately, it appears that that's exactly how Brand negotiates real-life, as well. After his wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am romance with Katy Perry, things have been all downhill.
16 Adam Sandler
Every few years, Adam Sandler tries to make a serious movie to prove to everyone that he's not just a dude who makes movies for other dudes who sit around in their parents basements eating pringles at four o'clock in the morning. First it was Punch-Drunk Love, then it was Spanglish, now it's the forthcoming Uncut Gems. But he should have just quit after The Waterboy, really.
15 Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë Grace Moretz took fun action to a whole new level in Kick-Ass, which was based on a comic of the same name. As the foul-mouthed, costumed child of Nic Cage, she was perfect. But the rest of her career has been a long, slow slog and most moviegoers probably wouldn't even think of her as a star anymore.
14 Andrew Garfield
The various iterations of Spider-Man films have mostly led to career self-destruction. Out of all the actors and actresses to make it into these big movies, only Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, and Emma Stone seem to have made it out unscathed. Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, decided to swear off big-budget movies forever, which will probably last until he runs out of cash.
13 Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf is yet another victim to the big-franchise bug, after his portrayal of Sam Witwicky in the Transformers series. He was ditched pretty quickly, though, as his real-life shenanigans caught up with him. Since Transformers, LaBeouf appears to have turned his entire life into a modern art performance, though it seems like even he can't quite tell when to turn off.
12 Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman may not have peaked early, but he sure peaked hard. After all, where is there to go after playing Wolverine in 2000's X-Men other than down? Since then, his entire career has basically been a slightly-more-jacked version of Logan—other than a song-and-dance number at the Oscars to celebrate his role in Les Miserables, that is.
11 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise's career was on track to rival the likes of legends. He was being compared to Marlon Brando and Paul Newman after films like Risky Business, Top Gun, Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July, A Few Good Men, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But after his famous breakdown on Oprah, he should have just left the spotlight behind.
10 Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper's best role was probably his early, annoying turn as Sack in Wedding Crashers. Even though he's enjoyed success since then, every role he picks up just seems forced. No, Silver Linings Playbook wasn't that impressive—plus it had a plot that made zero sense—and American Hustle was just plain bad.
9 Michael Cera
Every group of friends has that one member who thinks being totally weird is the way to get attention—for Seth Rogan, James Franco, and the rest of the Judd Apatow crew, that annoying friend is Michael Cera. But after Superbad, where he played a semi-annoying weird kid, the rest of his roles have been identical. Is it just who he is inside?
8 Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill desperately, desperately wants everyone to think he's a serious actor with serious thoughts going through his serious head. Unfortunately, his early roles typecast him as a semi-earnest chunkster—and The Wolf of Wall Street sure didn't help. Now, he's been dropped from the Batman reboot with Robert Pattinson, which is definitely not a good sign.
7 Seth Rogan
Of the entire Judd Apatow crew, Paul Rudd has definitely parlayed himself into a solid career—mostly thanks to Marvel. But he had some better things going beforehand, too. Meanwhile, fellow star Seth Rogan has put money and time into developing a TV version of Preacher, which no one realizes because no one watched it.
6 Zac Efron
Zac Efron peaked early, with his appearances in the High School Musical franchise. But since then, outside of a downright bizarre appearance in a downright bizarre movie called The Paperboy—alongside Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, and John Cusack—he's mostly been trying to prove to everyone that he's funny, without much luck.
5 Tobey Maguire
Tobey Maguire was an odd choice to play Peter Parker in a Spider-Man franchise—and the movies turned out to be just about as bad as expected. The only lasting moment from the films is an upside-down makeout scene in the rain, which is saying something. He was the perfect choice to play the weak-sauce Nick Carraway in Baz Luhrmann's remake of The Great Gatsby, though he probably should have hung up his dancing shoes after Spider-Man 3.
4 Topher Grace
Topher Grace's claim to fame is being a goody-two-shoes on That '70s Show. But getting outshone in the acting department by the likes of Ashton Kutcher should have put the kibosh on him getting more roles—until a strangely emo turn as Venom in Spider-Man 3 turned his career around, if such a thing can even be said.
3 Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried's early career looked good. After a turn as a bimbo in Mean Girls, she was cast in Alpha Dog and Mamma Mia! for some solid money. But she probably should have called it quits then, since the rest of her filmography includes weak performances in the likes of Red Riding Hood and getting upstaged by a stuffed bear in Ted 2.
2 Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams may be the definition of an actor who peaked early and then slowly fizzled. She shot to stardom in 2004 after playing Regina George in Mean Girls and Ryan Gosling's love interest in the Nicholas Sparks romance The Notebook. Her 2005 started strongly enough, too, when she starred in Wedding Crashers, but it's been all downhill since then.
1 Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence may have been the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015 and 2016, but the truth of the matter is that she peaked in 2010's Winter's Bone. That role singlehandedly locked her in as Katniss Everdeen in the terrible Hunger Games franchise, which makes Harry Potter look like The Godfather. Then, a few blander-than-bland X-Men and David O. Russell movies later, and her movies have grossed over $6 billion!
Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes.