Rule Of Sean Connery
A subtrope of the "Rule of Cool
". This is about actors who make movies cooler or better just by their mere presence in them.
A = Movie's Awesomeness Factor without Sean Connery
B = Awesomeness Multiplier of Sean Connery = 100
C = Movie's Actual Awesomeness Factor
If Sean Connery is in the movie then C = BA = 100A, otherwise A=C.
Nicolas Cage aka The Great Variable:
A = Movie's Awesomeness Factor without Nicolas Cage
B = Awesomeness Multiplier of Nicolas Cage = ±5
C = Movie's Actual Awesomeness Factor
If Nicolas Cage is in the movie then C = BA = ±5A, otherwise A=C
Connery Factors (Your mileage WILL vary with all of these)
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... It may be In Name Only, but Sean Connery single-handedly raises it from an F to a C-.
Captain Ramius: We will pass through the American patrols, past their sonar nets, and lay off their largest city, and listen to their rock and roll... while we conduct missile drills.
Captain Ramius: You're afraid of our fleet. Well, you should be. Personally, I'd give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?
- Humphrey Bogart actually rivals Connery for dominion over this trope if you go back and watch his less famous roles. Tokyo Joe, for example, is an absolutely horrible Casablanca retread with awful casting and a terrible script, yet Bogart somehow elevates it from "garbage" to "wow, that was pretty decent." The Two Mrs. Carrolls is another example, although even Bogie can only drag that wreck so far (though you still won't regret watching it). On a more positive note, he took The Caine Mutiny from a good-but-forgettable war movie to an Oscar nominated masterpiece, and he did it with what, twenty minutes of screen time? If that?
- He got the part in The Petrified Forest because he'd played the role on Broadway, and was so good that leading man Leslie Howard wouldn't make the movie unless they cast Bogie. He of course nailed it so well that he immediately became the go-to guy to play tough villains in Hollywood until The Maltese Falcon bailed him out of his Type Casting.
- Bogart wasn't named the Greatest Movie star of all time by the AFI for nothing. Even when he played supporting roles he elevated mostly forgettable films into must see viewing.
- Sean Bean, ladies and gentlemen. He can make even a Michael Bay movie good by his mere presence. To truly get an idea of his greatness, see this article.
- Hey, Bay did one truly good movie, The Rock - though as mentioned above, it stars the trope namer, and is a good example of Nic Cage contributing positively.
- David Bowie, even if it's just for one scene.
- Michael Caine
- Robert De Niro
- Bruce Campbell "Hail to the king, baby."
- James Coburn He made High Risk, a subpar action/drug comedy, decent for the twenty minutes or so he's in it. Not to mention his roles in good movies like A Fistful of Dynamite and Cross Of Iron.
- Russell Crowe
- Tim Curry
- Willem Dafoe, even in that ridiculous outfit.
- Harrison Ford
- Morgan Freeman, particularly his voice.
- Cary Grant
- Alec Guinness
- In the case of Guinness (or Peter Sellers), the true Awesomeness number of the film can only be arrived at by multiplying the normal total by the number of roles in the film played by Guinness/Sellers.
- Ed Harris
- Anthony Hopkins
- Jason Isaacs
- Dustin Hoffman
- James Marsden
- Johnny Depp
- Laurence Fishburne
- Hugh Jackman
- Samuel L. Jackson is synonymous with awesomeness. Except in Jungle Fever.
- Boris Karloff and/or Bela Lugosi.
- The Rock, though "Dwayne Johnson" is not as lucky.
- Frank Langella
- Christopher Lee: Look no further than The Man with the Golden Gun and Howling II for evidence of how even total crap can be made awesome by his being there (to say nothing of his good movies, and disputed stuff such as the Star Wars prequels).
- Also that he continued soldiering on through the Hammer Dracula films as they got worse and worse solely because of how many crew jobs the studio reminded him would be lost if they stopped making the films says something for this man's character. Not to mention that he tries his hardest to make each one of them worthwhile.
- Ian McKellen
- Bill Murray
- Jack Nicholson: Even when he's essentially playing himself, he makes everything better.
- Laurence Olivier: considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time. Despite all the professional success and having the official knight title of Sir Laurence Olivier, he always insisted on being called "Larry"
- Ron Perlman
- Vincent Price Mix carefully with Michael Jackson, and you get Thriller!
- Alan Rickman: Really, the only reason to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is him Chewing the Scenery as the Sheriff Of Nottingham. It's also another example for Sean Connery, who makes a uncredited cameo right at the end and steals the scene completely.
- Geoffrey Rush: Case in point, The Warrior's Way
- Patrick Stewart
- Meryl Streep is singlehandedly capable of making any movie she is ever in awesome, by virtue of the fact that she is Meryl Frakking Streep.
- AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) should just rename the Best Actress award into the Meryl Streep Award and call it a day. She won only 3 of 17 (!) nominations because it would be boring if she just took it every time.
- Christopher Walken, full stop.
- Denzel Washington
- The English quartet of awesome:
- Audrey Hepburn
- Katharine Hepburn: Was awesome both in movies and in real life.
- It doesn't seem to matter what Allison Janney is in: she sells it.
- Except for Date Movie. But then, no one could have sold Date Movie.
- John Wayne. Notice that his movie awesomeness multiplier increases by a factor of 10 when it's also a Western, or if Maureen O'Hara is playing opposite him.
- As pointed by her page, Summer Glau.
- BRIAN BLESSED is just SO hammy that any movie he is in is automatically awesome.
- Liam Neeson.
- Gary Oldman.
- David Thewlis.
- Julie Andrews.
- Hugo Weaving.
- Gene Hackman.
- Peter O'Toole.
- Marlon Brando. Even when he was behaving like a dick, demanding exorbitant salaries, or eulogizing about his own awesomeness, he delivered a whole new level of oomph to just about every film he was in.
- Maureen O'Hara Her synergy with John Wayne is noted above.
- Leonard Nimoy. Even Civilization IV improves from his presence!
- Vincent D'Onofrio. This Troper dares you to name just one bad performance he ever gave in any movie. Just. One.
- Michael Shannon, who is right up there with Christopher Walken and Orson Welles with his ability to steal a movie simply by showing up.
- Nathan Fillion
- Charles Bronson many of his films are just him staring people coldly before shooting them, but that's all that is needed.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger. Especially if you like a lot of Narm Charm in your films.
- It's been said that only the Ham and Cheese performances by him and Uma Thurman put Batman & Robin into So Bad, It's Good territory (plus Uma's Fanservice, of course).
- He does seem to really be enjoying himself with it. Possibly making him the only one who realized how awful that movie was going to be. His performance of Mr. Freeze was on par with the villains of Adam West's Batman. Probably BETTER than the actual Mr. Freeze actor from the 60s (of which there were three - George Sanders, Otto Premingernote and Eli Wallach).
- He's also been delivering absurd zingers for years, so he knew how to pull it off.
- R. Lee Ermey
- Tina Fey. Even when its just her voice...
- Mr. T pities the foo' who doesn't include him on this list!
- Helena Bonham-Carter.
- Jeff Bridges
- Steve Buscemi.
- Jean Reno. He even made parts of Godzilla (1998) bearable.
- Oliver Reed. The fact that he is in certain movies is often the most — or even only — notable thing about them.
- Tom Hanks. Used in-universe in The Simpsons Movie, during a tourist attraction ad: "Hi, I'm Tom Hanks. The American Government has used up all its credibility so it's borrowing some of mine."
- Angelina Jolie. Her bad movies would be much worse without her.
- Neil Patrick Harris
- Crispin Freeman
- Bruce Willis
- Robert Downey, Jr.
- Christopher Lloyd the best character actor in Hollywood in whatever role he may fall into, whether it's a mad genius going through time or allowing someone else to do so or as a videogame devil or else as a mad man in a madhouse or a crazy bald uncle coming back from the Bermuda triangle or an eccentric librarian; whatever his role is, it's awesome thanks to him.
- Jim Carrey
- Bruce Lee
- Lee Marvin: To quote Homer Simpson: "He's ALWAYS drunk and violent!"
- Claudia Black: Even if it is just her voice.
- Jennifer Hale: Full stop. Has been called the Meryl Streep of video games if that's any indication.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme, who gives some entertainment to even the worst movies. However, many consider his performance as Guile to be a massive exception to this rule, indeed — many think that it's one of the (many, many, many) things wrong with the film.
- Peter Lorre was the master of wit, style, and vaguely sinister Eastern European accents. Inspired a song by Tom Smith.
- Vladimir Vysotsky was this for the Soviet Sinema.
- David Warner. He was in both the fifth Star Trek film, second Ninja Turtles film, the third Beastmaster film, and he is arguably the best thing in those films.
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Christoph Waltz
- Holly Hunter
- Ricardo Montalban
- David Carradine
- Cate Blanchett
- Christian Bale, no one could have been a better Bateman or a better Batman.
- Kevin Conroy, so good he's played Batman more times than any other actor living or otherwise.
- Kevin Spacey
- Raul Julia, whose performance in the notoriously awful Street Fighter movie is widely regarded as the only part of the movie which is truly good (as opposed to merely So Bad, It's Good).
- His virtuoso turn as Gomez Addams is beyond reproach; he didn't make a bad film good, he took what could have been a rough film and polished it to a high sheen.
- To give an idea of just how iconic his performance as Gomez was, not even Tim Curry (also appearing on this page) could fill Julia's shoes in the role.
- Idris Elba, who from a guest shot on the American version of The Office to Luther to Heimdall, and everything in between, will always raise the quality of anything he is in.
- John Candy, the man who reeks of comic gold and silvery awesomeness.
- Nick Nolte.
- Philip Seymour Hoffman
- John Goodman The same rule under Steve Buscemi also applies to Mr. Goodman.
- Clint Eastwood
- Arguably, The Beatles, either solo or as individuals. Often an appearance or starring role by Ringo Starr or John Lennon is the best part of many films.
- Keith David. And his voice even more.
- Bill Nighy. The best part of many a bad film.
- Ellen Page. Not a lot of people liked X-Men: The Last Stand, but they did like Kitty Pryde taking down the Juggernaut.
- Pierce Brosnan, widely considered the definitive James Bond after the trope namer. Even if the Bond movies he did after GoldenEye weren't that well written, Brosnan in the very least made them watchable, if not more so. And then there's his other work.
- Voice actor Logan Cunningham.
- Martin Sheen
- Sam Neill
- How about Betty White???
- Roger Ebert has what's called the "Stanton-Walsh Rule" which states that nothing featuring Harry Dean Stanton (Alien, Paris, Texas, Repo Man and TV's Big Love) or M. Emmett Walsh (Blood Simple, The Jerk, Blade Runner) in a supporting role can be altogether bad. However when Wild Wild West (Walsh) and Dream A Little Dream (Stanton) came out Ebert had to recant.
- Al Pacino
- Amanda Tapping
- Or, for that matter, her Stargate SG-1 co-star Richard Dean Anderson. Stargate series aside, there's also a voice-acting turn as himself on The Simpsons, a stint in soap operas, and of course his other most famous role, MacGyver.
- Joe Pesci - Friend George Carlin claimed that he prayed to Joe because he looked like a man that 'could get things done'. If that doesn't say anything about how convincing he is, nothing will.
- Jason Statham
- Zeljko Ivanek - Falls under Hey, It's That Guy!!, but usually steals the show.
- Mark Hamill
- Jackie Earle Haley in everything he's made since his 2006 comeback.
- Jeffrey Combs
- Jeremy Irons: Even in the godawful Dungeons & Dragons, he was the one redeeming factor.
- Peter Weller: The man was cool before it was cool. He worked with some rough material; some more easier to get away with, some harder.
- Orson Welles: Enough said.
- James Earl Jones: The voice.
- Reese Witherspoon: She was in Freeway and Election. She will forever be awesome!
- George Clooney (except on Batman & Robin, where his Batman is - unfortunately, as he even looks like Bruce Wayne - a negative factor)
- Will Smith, to many people.
- Tilda Swinton who is a goddess that can do no wrong. It's the exact reason she's become obligated to appear in every one of the Narnia movies despite her character only being present in two of the books!
- Paul Giamatti
- Tom Wilkinson
- Alfred Molina
- Dennis Quaid. There's the obvious ones like Enemy Mine, Dragonheart, The Rookie and The Special Relationship. But he delivers even in less universally-praised films like The Day After Tomorrow, The Flight of the Phoenix (2004), Pandorum or the otherwise so-so Wyatt Earp where he rivals Val Kilmer with his rendition of Doc Holliday.
- Dean Stockwell
- Emma Stone
- Michael Fassbender
- Charles Dance Whatever your opinion of Last Action Hero may be, there's no denying that he stole the show right out from under the nose of Arnold himself. No small feat.
- Martin Freeman
- Viggo Mortensen
- Jason Segel, especially if he is singing or playing music.
- Jeremy Renner is becoming this ever since The Hurt Locker.
- Anne Hathaway
- Gene Wilder.
- Malcolm McDowell.
- James Cagney.
- Werner Herzog, whenever he acts.
- Patrick Warburton, even if it's just his voice.
- Monty Python members, collectively, individually or in sections, whether a Python has any input into the writing/directing/producing or not, can certainly be a highlight of many movies. In really dire productions, they tend to be the only light!
- Patrick McGoohan's intense presence (in whatever amount) would considerably lift the awesomeness of whatever production he was in and make you take even the most rubbish lines seriously.
- Movie critic Jeremy Jahns has what he calls the "Strong/Tucci Rule". Named after actors Mark Strong and Stanley Tucci, the rule reads that any movie featuring either Mark Strong or Stanley Tucci is instantly better than they would be were it not for their participation, and their the two actors are likely going to be the best things about the movie, regardless.
- Karl Urban, particularly if he's a doctor or the law.
- Peter Dinklage
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Any movie featuring Shailene Woodley is instantly guaranteed to be infinitely superior to that same film without Shailene Woodley. Even those who trashed everything else about the Divergent film praised her performance.
- Anthony Head
- Eddie Izzard's been in some objectively bad movies, but you'd be hard pressed to find even one of them that wasn't better for his presence.
- Nicolas Cage can elevate films like Wild at Heart, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, and Kick-Ass.
- Nicolas Cage is best described as good in good movies, and hilarious in bad movies.
- So much that The Wicker Man can be a GREAT movie as long as you view it as a comedy. I mean, how else are you supposed to view him punching a woman out while dressed in a bear costume, or the infamous "Not the bees"?
- Cage is the only reason anyone should EVER willingly watch the movie Deadfall. But good god he makes every second of his screen time a joy to watch.
- See also The Nic Cage Song
- Tom Cruise has played several roles that were seemingly made for him.
- Jack Black. His Large Ham can be positive (Kung Fu Panda), and he can even be subdued and rather sweet (The Holiday, Shallow Hal).
- Sylvester Stallone, who despite Rocky and Rambo under his belt, has taken home more Razzie Awards than anyone due to many unsalvageable films.
- Ben Stiller has certainly become this if he wasn't this already. He helps many of his mainstream comedies, such as Night at the Museum and Tower Heist, and is more successful when he's directing himself in a film like Tropic Thunder or is starring in an art house film like The Royal Tenenbaums.
- Consider the irony given that his dad Jerry Stiller certainly follows Rule of Sean Connery as far as his role and delivery in Seinfeld is concerned, though some of his work is irredeemable crap.
- Sandra Bullock is the only actress to win an Oscar for Best Actress (for The Blind Side) and a Razzie for Worst Actress (for All About Steve) in the same year. She even attended the 2010 Razzie ceremony to collect her "award".
- Michael Cera, to the point he earned a Hatedom - but still works in works such as Arrested Development.
- When it comes to Cera there are two types of viewers: Those who like Michael Cera Hipster flicks (who still hate Year One), and those who hate Michael Cera Hipster flicks (who will still enjoy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World).
- Jackie Chan may have some amazing fight scenes, but his acting ability and insistence on being family friendly trumps any Bad Ass factor he may have had.
- With the possible exception of Cage, the thing these actors have in common is playing every role the same way. When it works, it really works. When it doesn't, it can ruin the picture.
- Another thing these actors have in common is that their hits are usually films where their abilities are put to best use, for example if one considers Tom Cruise 'good' in Rain Man, it's because his acting style is minimalistic and doesn't clash with Dustin Hoffman's more extravagant performance.
- Matthew Broderick, depending on whether he's in Simba mode or "That's a lot of fish" mode.
- Kevin Costner. He makes great westerns, and helps films such as JFK.
- Jennifer Aniston has an acting range that stretches all the way from A to B, but sometimes (Friends, The Good Girl) is helpful to what she's working on.
- Owen Wilson
- Eugene Levy. He’s not the guy to save a film if it’s otherwise bad, but if you’re already suffering through it, he’ll brighten up your experience for however long he’s onscreen. And when he’s in a genuinely good movie, all the better.
- Robin Williams. Whenever he’s funny, he’s REALLY funny, and elevates such films as Aladdin, Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs. Doubtfire. However, when he’s obnoxious (see Jack, Flubber and Patch Adams), he’s REALLY obnoxious. And when he's creepy...
- And the there's those rare times when he's doing a dramatic role, which he can be surprisingly good at. It mainly depends on the writing.
... and let's not forget he who works in any work he's in, namely Chuck Norris