Samuel L. Jackson: Badass MF’er
It’s a struggle to imagine a time when Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t angry at the man or just simply being a badass motherf**ker in a movie. In fact, it’ hard to imagine a time when he wasn’t in every movie ever. From the early Tarantino flicks of “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” to his recent role in the Marvel Universe as Nick Fury, Shaft has always and will always hold the position of great vengeance and furious anger.
Adam Sandler: Idiot Manchild
Sandler himself is (or at least was) a comedic genius, but the looping of cheesy, maturity-impaired roles with PG-13 ratings has become so redundant that we can scarcely bring ourselves to watch “Happy Gilmore” anymore. Okay, that’s not true; we love that flick, even if it’s because of Julie Bowen and Richard Kiel (God rest his soul). From his early roles as Billy Madison and Happy to “Big Daddy,” “Click” and “Grown Ups” — two of them, more surely on the way — Sandler seems to suppress his inner comedian to underplay his talents in terrible family-friendly comedies. And even exceptions like “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Funny People” don’t do nearly enough to make up for it.
Liam Neeson: Veteran Hardass
Neeson has always been a sort of veteran resident hardass, but ever since his Jason Bourne-like, bonebreaking hand-to-hand combat in “Taken,” it’s been nonstop. The “Taken” trilogy was surrounded by ruthless roles including “A Walk Amongst the Tombs,” “Run All Night,” and even managing to be a hardass in Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” Even in comedy, whether “Ted 2” or Ricky Gervais’ “Life’s Too Short,” he still can’t help but be intimidating. And we love him for it.
Michelle Rodriguez: Testosterone With Ta Tas
She’s seemingly a sweetheart in real life, but on the big screen, we’re plum terrified of her. Her early role in “The Fast & The Furious” franchise introduced us to what a tough girl looked like before Ronda Rousey and UFC became a popular thing. Then, her multi-season arc on “Lost” was followed by “Machete,” “Avatar” and “Battle Los Angeles,” all reaffirming the reality that she is not a chick you want to piss off, on or off camera.
Bruce Willis: Wiseass Badass
Not since his crybaby scene on “Friends” has Bruce Willis shown us another nonexplosive side of himself. Through five reproduced films in the “Die Hard” franchise to “The Whole Nine Yards” up to “The Expendables” films, Willis has always been the token badass with a catchphrase. And he’ll likely return to do the same in Bill Murray’s upcoming “Rock the Kasbah.” Yippee ki-yay, mother effers.
Jason Bateman: The Straight Man
One thing Jason Bateman has mastered in film is the art of the pushover. He also likes to star opposite female leads in which things are switched, stolen or just plum uninteresting. Bateman has long been known as the insecure father figure in “Arrested Development,” but his roles in “The Switch,” “Identity Thief,” and the recent “This Is Where I Leave You,” even his role in “Horrible Bosses,” have confirmed him as the easily impressionable straight man, in which he is cast time and time again.
Michael Cera: Forever Pubescent
In conjunction with his baby face exterior across from his adult nerd dad on “Arrested Development,” Cera has managed to maintain his dorky disposition in forever pubescent roles on “Juno,” “Superbad” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” His drug-addled role in “Crystal Fair & the Magical Cactus” led us to believe he might branch out, but only failed to deliver when nobody really watched that movie in comparison to his others.
Jennifer Aniston: Beautiful Impractical
Aniston just can’t seem to find the right kind of love. The exotically beautiful — for an American! — middle-aged gal has a knack for Mr. Unconventional, especially in films like “The Object of My Affection,” “Along Came Polly,” and “Rumor Has It…” which have her characters constantly searching with highly unorthodox men. Or how about extraordinarily sexy ways, like in “Horrible Bosses” “Derailed,” and “We’re the Millers,” where she’s mixed it up and played some sexually suggestive characters? It all comes back to trying to find love in all the wrong places. Though we can’t speak for “Cake,” as we have yet to see it.
Hugh Grant: Former Prince Charming
Up until that whole hooker fiasco — celebrating its 20-year anniversary this month! — Grant was sitting pretty as the lady’s Prince Charming. That, and Ryan Gosling came along. From “Notting Hill” and “About a Boy” to “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “Love Actually,” Hugh Grant was previously the ’90s answer to women’s ‘why can’t all men be like that’ prayers. Between him and John Cusack, there was rarely a dry eye or vagina in the theaters back then, depicting men as women would like to see them in an unrealistic ‘he had such a good mother, why won’t he just love me’ Hollywood kind of way.
Morgan Freeman: Detective Know-It-All/God
When has he not played the role of the wisdom giver? Since the early ’90s of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Shawshank Redemption,” Morgan Freeman has been both the best voice-over and the voice of reason in almost every movie, as well as the veteran detective in movies like “Kiss the Girls,” “Along Came a Spider” and “Se7en.” No matter the movie, be it “The Dark Knight” trilogy or “The Big Bounce,” Freeman has always remained poised, wise and full of guidance for his less experienced co-stars. He even played God in “Bruce Almighty” for Christ’s sake!
Danny Trejo: That One Mexican Mercenary
There are two things Danny Trejo is incapable of: looking handsome and not killing people. People got a TV taste for Trejo as Tortuga on “Breaking Bad” and a cartel boss on “Sons of Anarchy,” but when the “Machete” movies started up, things got extra bloody. With credits as early as “Desperado,” “Reindeer Games” and “Con Air” on his Hollywood rap sheet, Trejo’s pretty much too far gone to be considered for the Jennifer Aniston rom-com.
Michael Caine: Christopher Nolan’s Caretaker
He’s been Batman’s butler for so long we forget that Michael Caine has been around since the ’50s. However, in the past decade since 2005’s “Batman Begins,” Caine has mostly been Christopher Nolan’s guiding voice. With films like “Inception,” “Interstellar” and “The Prestige” — all Nolan classics — coating his IMDB page, in addition to three “Dark Knight” films, Caine has quickly gone from the Cider House to a Hollywood crew. Though these aren’t some of the greatest roles he’s played, it seems he’s become Nolan’s all-around caregiver almost exclusively. Cup a’ tea?