This month Adam Levine makes his big screen acting debut in Begin Again. The verdict is still out on whether or not this is the beginning of a flourishing Hollywood career for the Maroon 5 front man, but he’s far from the first to attempt the crossover from musician to actor. Let’s take a look at the some of the biggest hits and misses in the world of radio turned video star.
5) Barbra Streisand
Although Babs can be an acquired taste, you can’t deny her talents. With 8 Grammys and 2 Oscars (one of each in the same year), the woman’s a performance powerhouse. She can sing, she can act. She can even sing while she acts. Although the quality of her roles has dwindled a bit over the decades (did anyone even watch Guilt Trip?), Barbara doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
4) Justin Timberlake
Sure, he was funny as a host of Saturday Night Live, but when Justin Timberlake announced that he would be taking a break from his music career to focus on acting right after he finished bringing sexy back, you could almost hear the collective groan. Another pop star ready to take on Hollywood, great. Fortunately, Timberlake’s acting career has been a pleasant surprise, with an emphasis on his dramatic roles. While most of the positive attention regarding his performances has been focused on The Social Network, Timberlake proved his acting chops long before that in 2006’s Alpha Dog, which is a ridiculously underrated movie.
3) Queen Latifah
Although she’s had some misses (Taxi, Beauty Shop), the first lady of hip hop has built an impressive resume in the acting world over the years. In 2002 Queen Latifah showed audiences that not only can she rap, she can act and sing. Her role as Matron Mama Morton stole scene after scene in Chicago, earning her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Let’s not forget her impressing showing in 2007’s Hairspray either.
2) Mark Wahlberg
Anyone who grew up in the 90’s will fondly remember Mark Walhberg first and foremost as Marky Mark. Go ahead, recall that poster you had up on your room of him shirtless in his backwards baseball cap and start. I know you still have “Good Vibrations” on your playlist, and I don’t blame you one bit. Since his funky bunch days, Mark Wahlberg has miraculously evolved into one of the most popular actors working today. He kicked ass in The Fighter was deservedly nominated for his supporting role in The Departed, and hell, he’s even fun to watch when he’s being dumbed down for terrible movies like Ted and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
1) Will Smith
Another artist from the beloved 90’s with a nickname, Will Smith has come a long way since his Fresh Prince days. He’s been cranking out the hits for 20 years now, and has more than proven himself as a serious actor. His lead roles in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness both earned him Oscar nominations, and I have a feeling those won’t be the last (Hancock 2, am I right?) Even if you aren’t a Will Smith fan, I guarantee you’ve enjoyed at least one of his movies. I love I, Robot and I don’t care who knows it.
5) Jennifer Lopez
Based solely on acting skills, Jenny from the Block isn’t really bad enough to deserve to be on the worst list, but the fact that she continues to crank out movies earns her a spot. J-Lo’s acting career as soon as it began in the late 90’s, with her portrayal of the title role in Selena, and the crime caper Out of Sight, which actually earned a fair amount of critical praise largely due to her chemistry with George Clooney. Since then she’s mostly released a slew of romantic comedies than can barely be distinguished from one another, and the fact that they continue to make money is beyond me. Let’s not forget she also starred in Gigli. Enough said.
Maybe some of you thought Evita wasn’t that bad; some people like their movies over the top and gaudy, with a touch of diva. A League of their Own boased a strong enough cast to make Madonna look like a halfway decent actress, but the real crime is neither of these. Have you ever seen a little movie called Swept Away? It’s one of the worst reviewed movies on Rotten Tomatoes, and with good reason. Madonna claims critics only hate it because of the collaboration with her husband, Guy Ritchie. I hate to break it to you Material Girl, but people hate it simply because it’s terrible.
Bey is one half of the entertainment industry’s ultimate power couple, so of course when she says she wants to act, Hollywood is going to let the woman act. Since it’s a requirement to amp up the cheese factor when playing a character in an Austin Powers movie, it’s unfair to base her acting skills entirely on her performance as Foxxy Cleopatra, so we won’t. We’ll skip right to the year 2009 where she starred as Sharon Charles, a loving wife who takes it upon herself to protect her husband from his new pretty blonde, psychotic assistant. If you’ve never seen this movie, please suffer through it just to see Beyonce throw down with Ali Larter. It’s laughably awful, but somehow amazing.
I recently came across Purple Rain while channel surfing, and I stopped to watch for a few minutes, mostly because I was curious to see if it was really as bad as the I remembered from the first time around. Survey says: it’s worse. To say that Prince is even acting in this movie is a stretch. He basically plays himself, and he doesn’t even do that well. Purple Rain is the result of someone indulging his request to make a two hour long music video, because he’s Prince. Or at least he was Prince. Are we supposed to call him Prince again?
1) Mariah Carey
2001. Glitter. Need I say more? Okay, how about 2009 and the fake mustache she sported in Precious? I rest my case.