Angelina Jolie, Wanted

Angelina Jolie’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies

Angelina JolieLatest vs. Greatest looks at directors, actors, actresses, screenwriters and composers to assess the state of their career as it stands.  We’ll look back at the latest 10 movies the artist has done, rate them and then average them out to see where they stand today.  We’ll also rank their 10 greatest movies and give them the same treatment to compare what they have been doing to their very best work.  (A quick side-note: if an artist is/has been a regular on a TV show we’ll also grade the seasons individually; artists need 10 projects to qualify).

Angelina Jolie is the first actress that we’ve examined in this column and, I swear, it’s not for lack of trying on my part.  In doing research for these columns (which amounts to compiling a list of movies and watching them all), you can clearly see the gender bias in Hollywood.  There are few parts for women to showcase their talent outside of the “Oscar Window” and even then there are maybe six or seven who have most of them already nailed down.  Name a single actress that pulls people into a theater.  Go on.  If Denzel Washington opens a movie, a fan base comes.  Guaranteed.  You cannot make that claim about a single actress.  Jennifer Lawrence is close, but she needs to show she can open a movie without a bow or being in blue make-up.  The closest thing Hollywood has to a superstar, box office draw actress is Angelina Jolie.Angelina Jolie, Girl InterruptedJolie is not, in my opinion, a great actress.  She’s not on the level of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman or Emma Thompson, who I think are the three greatest working actresses who are not Maggie Smith (I have a Maggie Smith fixation insomuch that if there is a fan club with t-shirts, I want to be in it).

Jolie makes the news far more for things that have nothing to do with her movies than actually acting.  Either she’s adding another child to her private collection or, more recently, for her brave decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy.  Breast cancer has taken members of my family and her high-profile decision to take that bold step will, I hope, encourage other women at high risk to follow her lead.  In saying that, I do so without my usual degree of ironic snark.  I admire her tremendously for what she did and how she did it and I wish her good health to an old age.
Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb RaiderThis column is about a person’s movie career, though, so we’ll stay on track from hence forward.  Jolie is the daughter of Jon Voight (how did something that good-looking come from something that…not?) and won an Oscar very early in her career for Girl, Interrupted.  From there she has largely made a career as the leading actress for action movies.  Beginning with the two Tomb Raider films (which are crap but you have to admit, she eerily looks the part) and continuing with films like Wanted and Salt, she’s most bankable as the leading lady in a film where things ‘splode.

Angelina Jolie, A Mighty HeartThough she won her Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, she occasionally does stretch herself beyond action films and voice work (where she’s found another franchise in Kung Fu Panda) and when she does, you see the talent behind the glitz.    I think her two strongest performances are, though, in movies where the rest of the film was not as strong as her: Changeling and A Mighty Heart.

Let’s look at the last ten films she’s made (and because of her gaggle of kids, she doesn’t work as often as most actresses…which is how I was able to catch up with her movies).

1. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)…….7.00
2. The Tourist (2011)………………..3.50
3. Salt (2010)………………………………..7.25
4. Wanted (2008)……………………….9.00
5. Changeling (2008)…………………7.50
6. Kung Fu Panda (2008)…………8.50
7. Beowulf (2007)……………………….7.25
8. A Mighty Heart (2007)…………6.25
9. The Good Shepherd (2006)..4.75
10. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)…….5.50
(Higher than Brad Pitt‘s if she wants to brag at home)

Angelina Jolie, WantedBecause she’s fairly choosy, she hasn’t been in too many horrid films (though I wanted to konk out during The Tourist), but she also hasn’t been in any films that are particularly great.  Wanted is a film people either love or hate.  I hate the comic series it’s based on, but love the movie.  I think it, actually, is the best movie she’s ever been in as you can see below in her greatest ten.

Wanted (2008)……………………..9.00
Kung Fu Panda (2008)……….8.50
Changeling (2008)……………….7.50
Girl, Interrupted (1999)…….7.50
Beowulf (2007)……………………..7.25
Salt (2010)………………………………7.25
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)…….7.00
The Bone Collector (1999)..6.50
A Mighty Heart (2007)………..6.25
Gone in 60 Seconds (2004)..6.00
Lowest yet; first actress reviewed

Angelina Jolie, ChangelingThree of her greatest films are for voice work, and her career average is a little better than “rotten” on the Rotten Tomatoes scale of looking at things.  She doesn’t have a particularly impressive body of work despite her draw and her celebrity.  Her next film is extremely intriguing in that it has the potential to be the film that defines her career and tops this list or ruins the greatest Disney villain of all-time as she stars in the live-action Maleficent next summer.  After that, she’s loosely attached to a sequel to Salt and the inevitable Kung Fu Panda 3.

Angelina Jolie, MaleficentI want to see more of the potential that came out in Changeling and A Mighty Heart.  Perhaps, with age, and a little less tabloid fuss, she can decide if she wants to make a go at more serious films.  I think she’d surprise people with what she could do.  I’ve seen glimpses of it.  In the first bit of footage from Maleficent, she looks every bit the part and there’s certainly potential, but if you look at her body of work as it stands today (Oscar or no), it’s not a particularly impressive bunch of films.

Angelina Jolie

13 thoughts on “Angelina Jolie’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies”

      1. If I may make another suggestion while I’m at it: Judi Dench, quite possibly my favorite actress of all time. She exudes charisma and screen presence; she can give sensitive performances, or she can be every bit as cool as Sam Jackson or Christopher Walken (see her work in James Bond). Instead of settling on “grandmother” parts, she has continued to hold her own as she has aged.


      2. I love Judi Dench and the only problem is, and I have this with a lot of the older actresses, I haven’t seen their full body of work so how can I fairly evaluate their greatest? I’m working on it. I have a ridiculously comprehensive spreadsheet that’s expanding by the day of how many I need for each person and economy of convenience keeps me on deadline. I also want to rotate so we have actors, composers, actresses and directors (and screenwriters if I can nail one down) on a fairly regular basis. Actors are easy…ish. I have a long-term plan for this feature, though, so I’m building to it. One thing I’ve been mulling over is if the column would still work for a deceased actor. Would it still work to do Peter O’Toole’s last films or Paul Newman’s, etc. vs their greatest. Directors like Hitchcock, Kubrick, etc. Should we keep it to the living or do we expand to those whose numbers would be final; careers complete? Mulling it.


      3. If you’re looking for an ideal screenwriter to write about, one springs immediately to mind: David Mamet. Of course there is also Charlie Kaufman, but he doesn’t have a big enough body of work.


  1. Sorry, I posted too early by mistake. I was going to add that Carter is a rarity in that she basically forged a path for herself as a character actress, despite her youth and beauty. Unlike Jolie, she has had some fascinating roles.


  2. I always think it’s funny that even though I know all about Angelina Jolie, I’ve only ever seen one movie of hers, and that was before she got famous: Girl, Interrupted. I tried watching Tomb Raider once but it was just sort of dumb (and I like playing video games) and her other movies just look kind of meh.

    So here’s this famous actress that everyone always talks about and I know her only as a movie star but not as an actress. It makes me wish she’d make better movies I’d be interested in seeing.


    1. Your comment reflects the difficulty faced by talented actresses in Hollywood. Most of the roles they get are just love interests, only there to emotionally support male protagonists. And it seems like the actual starring roles they DO get tend to be substandard for some reason. But Jolie’s next film, Maleficent, might be different—after all, it’s based on a preexisting character, one of the great charismatic (if animated) female villains of all time. With an actress of Jolie’s caliber, and a strong, magnetic character like Maleficent to work with, it will take a LOT of incompetence to screw this one up.


      1. I think Maleficent is the pivot upon which her career will turn. I have no doubt she CAN do it. The question is do they have a script that captures the magic? This may open a whole new world of possibilities for her and I think an update will definitely be in order next summer. To be fair to her, also, she has made charities, her children and her health a priority which I respect her for quite a bit. When she was wearing a vial of her brother’s blood around her neck, I really didn’t think I’d admire her one day and she’s no angel, but I do respect many of her recent choices in life. These articles are a lot of work, but they’re fun and they spark a lot of cool discussion so they shall continue. Now I need to get back to watching a crappy Harrison Ford movie so I can do him. That came out wrong…


      2. Maleficent could be magical, As I said, all the pieces seem in place. But Disney modeled Oz: The Great and Powerful after Burton’s Alice, and I’m a little worried they’ll do the same thing here. Oz, however, is not a Disney property, and Sleeping Beauty is, and maybe that will make a difference. Maybe Disney will be on guard, lest they tarnish one of their icons. I can’t figure out whether Burton leaving the project was good or bad in the magic department…


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