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Hollywood Hype Machine / Examples That Didn't Hold Up

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Ensembles and Other Group Examples:

  • Most of the "New Brat Pack" (a pun on the Brat Pack of The '80s) that emerged from the American Pie movies ended up like this. Many of them got star pushes of different levels, but in the end, only Alyson Hannigan went on to bigger fame — and this most likely had more to do with her pre-Pie exposure on Buffy the Vampire Slayer than anything else. Examples:
    • Shannon Elizabeth became a sex sensation after Pie came out. She showed up in countless men's magazines (including an all-nude shoot in Playboy) and got a half-dozen roles in films like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Thir13en Ghosts, and Tomcats. Just a couple of years later, she was a bit player and was essentially gone from any mainstream Hollywood attention. This may or may not have to do with her decision to no longer do nudity in film, even though that was what made her a star in the first place. She's since become more famous as a professional poker player, conservationist, and Dancing with the Stars contestant. While she does still act, most of her films now go Direct to Video and it's unlikely she'll do anything noteworthy anytime soon.
    • Mena Suvari got a decent push with Pie and American Beauty, but soon vanished from the spotlight and is now mainly known for indie films. She even inspired a blogger to make a series on the Hype Machine's victims once he was stunned to see her in Day of the Dead (2008).
    • Jason Biggs tried playing the same down-on-his-luck regular guy character (especially in Loser (2000)) a bit too much, and he now mostly plays supporting roles in films like My Best Friend's Girl and Over Her Dead Body. His luck seems to be improving as of late following a stint as the voice of Leonardo on the the 2012 Ninja Turtles series and a role on Orange Is the New Black. However, he ruined this opportunity by turning his Twitter feed into a place where he boasted about questionable sexual practices with his wife, terribly sexist jokes about the wives of Republican candidates, and racist jokes about the Malaysian Airlines missing plane. This, along with tantrums over TMNT fans and parents who criticize him for his off-screen vulgarity made him seem like poison to anyone hoping to promote their products. The only reason his character existed in OITNB is because of the source material, and fan response to Larry has been of him as The Scrappy of the show. He was written out of season 3 of the latter with a nearly-closed invitation to return only when needed, and season 3 of the former saw him be permanently replaced by Seth Green, which may mean he's again on a downward slope.
    • Similar to Biggs, Seann William Scott did mostly the same kind of "big dumb happy guy" roles and mostly vanished from the limelight after The Dukes of Hazzard film came out. He now mostly plays supporting roles in films like Cop Out, however his role in the Ice Age franchise has made him the most financially successful of his former castmates. He had something of a resurgence when he replaced Clayne Crawford on Lethal Weapon, even if the series only lasted one more season with him.
    • Tara Reid had one of the better shots, but problems with drugs and alcohol, botched plastic surgery, and a penchant for carrying the Idiot Ball (though she claimed that she was only "acting" dumb, most people aren't sure of whether that's true or not) derailed her into a mess. Her chances of becoming a big film star were quickly sunk with the disaster that was Alone in the Dark (2005), although that still hasn't stopped her from doing DTV films. She has since found success with the Sharknado franchise, which was a cult hit on Syfy.
    • Chris Klein attempted to establish himself as an attractive leading man, which went nowhere after his hoped-for star turn – the remake of Rollerball – turned into a Star-Derailing Role instead. His next leading role was in the ill-fated Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which seems to have buried his film career for good. Since that flop, he has focused mainly on television, most notably with The Flash (2014) on the CW.
    • Thomas Ian Nicholas saw all his hype from American Pie evaporate quickly when he starred in the disaster that was Halloween: Resurrection. Since then, he has appeared in nothing noteworthy beyond Pie sequels and a recurring role on Red Band Society.
    • Eddie Kaye Thomas went from Pie to a series of "dorky, lovable loser" roles in films like the infamous flops Freddy Got Fingered and Dirty Love (both of which won the Razzie for Worst Film), as well as a string of DTV films rebranded under the National Lampoon banner. However, he has at least attempted to restore his cred in recent years with appearances in the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle film series, as well as a starring voice on American Dad!, the HBO series How To Make It In America and his current gig on Scorpion. Only time will tell whether he can bring his star back.
    • Ironically, John Cho, who appeared in just one scene in the original film (as the guy who coins the term "MILF"), is the one whose movie career is most on the rise, between Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Star Trek (2009), along with their sequels. In 2018, he played the lead in Searching, which was significant for being the first mainstream Hollywood thriller headlined by an Asian-American actor. Made on a minuscule budget of $880,000 dollars, Searching premiered at that year's Sundance Film Festival to widespread acclaim. It grossed over $75 million worldwide during its theatrical release, joining the ranks of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity as one of the most profitable movies ever made based on return on investment.
    • Natasha Lyonne got much cred with Pie and But I'm a Cheerleader, but a serious problem with drugs and alcohol, which contributed to severe health problems and extreme mental illness, all but destroyed her career. There was even a period when she was living homeless on the streets of New York after being evicted from her apartment for her behavior. Eventually she returned with a cameo in American Reunion, and is finally coming back to prominence for her acclaimed role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and headlining her own show, Russian Doll. Unlike Biggs, Lyonne completely escaped the shadow of Pie after landing the show. She later headlined another successful series, Poker Face.
  • The cast of The Twilight Saga all enjoyed a big push, particularly Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Anna Kendrick. Stewart's first big post-Twilight role was Joan Jett in the biopic The Runaways, and while her stone-faced performance of Bella became a running pop culture gag, at least seems to get regular work and even some critical acclaim (albeit often in a "wow, she actually can act" sense) in fairly low-budget indie movies; Pattinson had the romantic dramas Remember Me (which seems to be more famous for its controversial ending than anything else) and Water for Elephants and the complicated David Cronenberg dramas Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars; and Kendrick went for indie and Oscar cred with her performance in Up in the Air, not to mention mainstream success in Pitch Perfect. She even got a top ten chart hit in "Cups", a track from the aforementioned film's soundtrack. If anything, Kendrick (who has a sarcastic and self-deprecating demeanor in real life) has maintained stardom following the end of the franchise and appears to be the most ready of the three to hit the next level. Other cast members don't seem to have the same luck as them, however:
    • Taylor Lautner parlayed his good looks and fame from playing Jacob into the action movie Abduction, but it was panned by critics and flopped at the box office. He's largely-disappeared into Adam Sandler movies.
    • Kellan Lutz seems to be on even shakier ground since his biggest claim to fame is being shirtless at every available opportunity. He recently dragged out the "I want to be taken seriously" line, but since he has yet to put his shirt back on, some people didn't really believe him. His first big post-Twilight work, The Legend of Hercules, was a flop.
    • Stewart and Pattinson have had a much better push in recent years with Stewart pulling off three critically acclaimed films in 2014 and becoming something of a critical darling (Even nabbing a Cesar award, making her one of only two American actors ever to do so). Pattinson has followed a similar path and Good Time seems to have finally given him the push he needs to break out from under the shadow of Twilight. The two, particularly Pattinson, have also done themselves favors by making it clear aren't very fond of the films either. Eventually, Pattinson got cast in Christopher Nolan's Tenet and played the title role in The Batman (2022), so things finally look up for him. And in 2021, Stewart starred as Diana, Princess of Wales in Spencer, which garnered rave reviews by critics and Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for her.
  • The cast of the MTV reality show Laguna Beach fell under this. When it premiered, Laguna was the first teen-oriented reality series on the network, and rode a wave of commercial acclaim, teen mag appearances, and ratings domination. The teenage cast members all attempted to parlay their exposure into different avenues (to various levels of success), with most falling into obscurity after high-profile appearances in series or films. Lauren Conrad made the jump to her own successful spinoff, The Hills, but left the program after several seasons to unsuccessfully try her hand at a fashion line. Kristin Cavallari took up Lauren's spot as the main character of The Hills, but she mostly does DTV films now. Jason Wahler is more well-known for his guest stint on Celebrity Rehab than any of his prior work. Audrina Patridge's self-titled spinoff didn't last long. Only Stephen Colletti from the first season (who parlayed his fame into a long-running role on One Tree Hill) has had a relative degree of success.
  • Thanks to Professional Wrestling becoming quite mainstream in the 90s, and The Rock managing to parlay his wrestling success into a respectable acting career, other wrestlers have also attempted to become mainstream. However, the amount that were successful can be counted on one hand.
    • Sable was an example that came before The Rock's breakout role in The Mummy Returns. Her beauty and popularity with fans led to her gracing the cover of Playboy (and she later got a second less than a year later), and she soon left wrestling hoping to break into the mainstream. It mostly translated to small parts on TV shows, a failed comic book series, and B-movies. She returned to WWE in 2003, stayed there for one year, and kept a low profile after leaving a second time. Today she's probably best known for being married to Brock Lesnar.
    • Chyna's mainstream popularity was almost as big as The Rock's in 2000, and she got a Playboy cover too. There were rumors of her playing Wonder Woman and the T-X, and she got a second Playboy cover. But numerous personal problems behind the scenes led to her abruptly leaving WWFnote , and her drug problems led to her being persona non gratanote . After a few years of appearing in small parts on TV shows and a failed music career, she moved to Japan to become a teacher and passed away tragically from a drug overdose at the age of 45 in 2016.
    • The cast of Total Divas got lots of hype after the show proved to be a ratings hit on the E!Network. Eva Marie left wrestling altogether in 2016 to launch onto film work - and her debut Inconceivable was trashed by critics, despite its All-Star Cast that included Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon and Faye Dunaway, leading her to return to WWE in 2021. The Bella Twins appear to be doing the best, with their reality show Total Bellas proving to be a successful spin-off and launching a successful fitness and clothing brand.note  Cameron announced an intent to produce music and go into acting, but has yet to make anything happen. The rest have focused almost entirely on wrestling.
    • Stacy Keibler attempted to go mainstream in the mid-2000s, appearing on Dancing with the Stars and managing to get guest spots on How I Met Your Mother (on its 100th episode, no less), Psych and Chuck and small parts in a few movies. She enjoyed a higher profile when she dated George Clooney but after they split up, she quit Hollywood - fed up with the politics of the industry. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2023.

Alternative Title(s): Actors That Didnt Hold Up M To Z, Actors That Didnt Hold Up A To L