Phoned for life

“I liked us in <i>Reds</i>.”

“I liked us in Reds.”

The final five inaugural inductees into Cinema Scoped’s Phoned-In Hall of Fame, for once-great actors who have continued to make movies long after giving up:

Gary Oldman: It might be a stretch to call Oldman a “once-great,” but starting with Sid & Nancy in 1986, he had a nearly decade-long string of reliably electric performances that ended almost overnight. Bad wigs and silly accents are the main signifiers of a phoned-in performance, and since 1995, Oldman has played at least nine snarling supervillains only minutely differentiated by their wigs and accents.

Harrison Ford: If you’re one of the poor souls who watched the dreadful Morning Glory, you can be forgiven for wondering whether Harrison Ford’s grumbly newsman wanted to pinch Rachel McAdams’ dimples or attack them with a claw hammer. Ford has been set to “perma-glower” since the early 1990s, playing even light comedy as though he were Jack Ryan busting up a terrorist cell.

Anthony Hopkins: At this point, it seems preposterous that Anthony Hopkins’ performances were once synonymous with subtle nuances.

Jack Nicholson: I hate to think that Jack will never be great in a film again, but we’re almost 10 years removed from About Schmidt, and since then his strongest work was as the weakest link in The Departed. How Do You Know? Because I watched the damn thing.

Diane Keaton: As much as I love and admire the past accomplishments of guys like Nicholson and Ford, this is my most depressing enshrinement. From The Godfather to Annie Hall to Reds, Diane Keaton has always been one of my favorite actresses (I saw Baby Boom in the theater!). I could never have imagined dreading her presence on a movie screen, but two solid decades pressing those same neurotic buttons in increasingly decrepit vehicles wears you down.