I'm Getting Better

A number of movies that end up on MST3K contain once-great actors on the decline. Their glory days past, they are now trading marquee recognition for a paycheck. But what about actors going the other way? Are there any actors who you feel have improved over time? I’ll start with three.

Neil Patrick Harris - I couldn’t stand him in his early days, but now he’s my exemplar for “how did they get so good?”. I’ve loved him in his recent work, particularly A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

Nicole Kidman - She once epitomised the “pretty vacuity” principle at work in Hollywood, but then came performances in films like The Others and Destroyer. Now I really enjoy her work, and her name in the credits is a positive draw for me.

Timothy Dalton - Another actor I was indifferent to, including his stint as Bond. But he too is getting better and better, and I very much enjoyed his more recent turns in Hot Fuzz and Doctor Who, and now in Doom Patrol.

Who have you found yourself warming to more these days?


Dalton was always a better villain than hero, love him in The Rocketeer


Sometimes it’s a curve.

I don’t think Harrison Ford turned in any actual acting till about Regarding Henry (1991); on the other hand I haven’t seen much since Crystal Skull (2008) that didn’t seem like a parody of himself.


I’ve been thinking about this, and no radical swings of opinion come immediately to mind.

I have been guilty of judging a book by its cover, so to speak. But that’s more my fault than theirs. Margot Robbie for one, The Wolf of Wall Street was where I first saw her, and I regarded her as someone who was cast more for her looks than as a serious actor. But when I saw I, Tonya I was like “shame on me”, she’s damned good.

I think Elizabeth Debicki suffers the same, I was on my movie site and wondering why there was no buzz about her as a top-notch actor? All the conversation there was about how tall she was, how attractive. But Jesus, people, she’s a hell of an actress, Widows, Vita & Virginia, The Tale… and she’s the one reason Tenet has a beating heart (it’s more about ideas and visuals otherwise) and the only reason to watch The Burnt Orange Heresy though that ending royally pisses me off

Anyway, I’ll try to think of something more actory, more about them going from m’eh to marvelous.


I saw this thread title on the main page and my first thought was … someone’s recovering from being a newt? :laughing:

No radical swings come to mind here either, but it’s a compelling question. It’s not quite in the same spirit as other responses, but Charlie Day comes to mind – I recently watched the last episode of the newest season of It’s Always Sunny, and he turned in a very unexpected performance, had me getting misty-eyed.


I was initially “meh” about Amanda Seyfried but have come around to her delivering the acting goods.


Same, and I’m likely more at fault than Kidman for what I perceive as her maturation into genuine talent.

I like her too. She suffered from some early typecasting into highly sexualised roles which may have hid her light under a bushel as well.


Ron Silver!

He was on a lot of sitcoms in the '70s, B-movies in the '80s, and I was always kinda “meh” on him. But his '90s/'00s stuff was really fine work.