Last night, PBS finished a two part documentary on acclaimed comedic actor, writer and director, Woody Allen. In spite of all his acclaim and talent, the sight of Allen onscreen in any capacity annoys and angers me. His voice falls upon my ears in the same register as nails on a chalkboard, or screeching brakes. It’s nothing personal (though I guess it is). I just can’t stand the guy.

However, there are some actors who, for one reason or another, surpass Mr. Allen in the annoying department, in my humble opinion. Let’s take a look at a few who can torpedo a movie with even so much as a cameo.

Jay Leno




Ok. Jay Leno isn’t an actor. But he appears in countless films as himself, a talk-show host who serves as the indicator that a character now exists in the cultural lexicon. His presence has become so clichéd, as have the inevitable bad, one-off joke that his “character” delivers, that I hate to see him in any film. He's a lumbering bridge between the fictional world and the real world that terminates suspension of disbelief and serves as a reminder that Jay Leno exists and that I just paid $15 to see him in a movie, if only for a second.

Harvey Fierstein




I don’t know what raspy rock this guy climbed out from under, but I wish he would get back to it. Fortunately, he doesn’t make too many appearances these days, so I’m able to largely keep him out of mind. But his turn in Independence Day still haunts me, my only solace being the knowledge that his character got crushed by a flying car. His voice and affectations dominate every scene. His acting is the equivalent of Brad Pitt deciding that he's going to do every film from now on with a KFC bucket on his head, but way less awesome than that.

Sarah Jessica Parker




Here uber-calm demeanor always has me feeling as though she is conducting an internal monologue. Granted, the heavy-handed narrative of SATC has everything to do with this, but we’re talking about effects here, not causes. She seems superhumanly patient with everything, always speaking with thinly-veiled exasperation that never seem to develop into anything more. And that’s annoying, like being around a person whose default setting is “whiney” when they’re oblivious to it.



Quentin Tarantino




QT isn’t an actor. He’s a guy that appears in movies. His manic characteristics play to his own writing really well, but he manages to stop every scene that he appears in otherwise, and that’s not meant as a compliment. I always feel as though there’s a passable actor deep down, but that’s negated the second he hoovers up seven lines of coke and starts the scene. That’s not to say I know him to be a cokehead – I don’t. But he’s got all the tendencies of one, and that puts me pretty ill at ease when I’m watching a film.

Jack McBrayer




Initially, his one note character in 30 Rock was refreshing and fun. But since then, his it's become a caricature of what it once was, a demented hillbilly that no one would ever encounter in real life.

As with Stephen Colbert, I have NO idea where Kenneth Parcell stops and Jack McBrayer begins. He seems to play a slight variation of this character in every role (Sarah Marshall comes to mind), and it becomes less and less charming every time.

Jon Bernthal


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My only real experience with him is his turn as Shane in The Walking Dead, which hardly offers actors the best material to work with. But nonetheless, since Jon Bernthal’s performances stand out among universally bad writing for all the characters, I’m going to assume that he’s got a special gift for annoying me.

Whenever he’s onscreen, I imagine the director off-screen, yell-whispering to Bernthal, “Act HARDER. Harder!”

And Bernthal, completely confused, gets slightly more intense, acting harder all the while ignoring the nuances of whatever lines and character he is supposed to convey.



Paul Walker




Now, against all odds Paul Walker has managed to find himself in some campy films that don’t really shine a light on his shortcomings as an actor. Most of the entrants on this list I don’t find to be annoying because they’re bad actors. I find them to be bad actors because they’re annoying. This is not the case with Paul Walker. I was able to enjoy his turns in The Fast and the Furious, The Skulls, and Varsity Blues mostly because I really, really enjoyed The Fast and the Furious, The Skulls, and Varsity Blues. However, I haven’t been able to see him in anything recently without imagining a big flashing sign around his neck that says “ACTING.”

Chris Tucker




“I’M CHRIS TUCKER, AND I’M EXTREMELY LOUD! WHITE PEOPLE WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT ME IF I WAS SITTING NEXT TO THEM AT A MOVIE THEATER USING THIS VOICE, BUT THEY PAY $15 TO BE SUBJECTED TO IT ONSCREEN! THE ONLY ACTOR THAT CAN TOLERATE ACTING WITH ME IS JACKIE CHAN! BECAUSE HE’S ASIAN AND VERY POLITE! BUT I THINK EVEN HE IS GETTING SICK OF THE ACT! HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Kristen Stewart




I loved her work in Panic Room and think she’s sort of coming into her own as an actress (though her selection of roles isn’t helping speed that along). At Screen Junkies, we constantly refer to Ms. Stewart as “twitchy,” which may seem mean, until one realizes that she’s really twitchy in her performances. Like “junkie twitchy.” It works for certain roles, but I have a hard time believing that she’ll find her way to super-duper stardom. She’s also always wearing long sleeves, which means she DEFINITELY has a heroin problem. Give her two Xanax and see if the condition improves.


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