Scoring Musician-to-Actor Transitions [PICS]

  • More than a decade after the one-two punch of Independence Day and Men in Black made Will Smith one of the bigest action stars on the planet, we're still humming "Parents Just Don't Understand" under our breath and watching the same "Fresh Prince" episodes again and again. And thanks, dad, for the parenting skills that make Willow Smith's contribution to humanity possible.

    SCORE: 10/10

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  • The musical accomplishments of Ol' Blue Eyes are indisputable, but how does his acting career hold up? He won an Oscar for From Here to Eternity, though that may have been due to a certain offer than someone couldn't refuse. You might catch him in Guys and Dolls or something, but in the end the films aren't what we'll remember Sinatra for. But he wanted to make them, and he did it his way.

    SCORE: 6/10

  • Cher's legacy is yet to be decided: 70s schlock goddess? Second banana to Sonny Bono? Autotune pioneer? Or, was her transition to film successful enough that our great-grandkids won't get "I Got You Babe" stuck in their heads approximately 12 times a day? Well, she did win an Oscar for Moonstruck, but everybody knows it was all because of Nicholas Cage's supporting work. He's always robbed!

    SCORE: 4/10

  • The jump to film seemed logical: Timberlake had already conquered the charts with NSYNC and, when he took off his own, he charmed critics as well. Raves on the big screen weren't quick to come — Remember Alpha Dog? — but his hilarious Saturday Night Live digital shorts and winning performance as the smooth mephistopheles-guru Sean Parker in The Social Network have sealed the deal. But, Justin: maybe you can go back to making music someday?

    SCORE: 8/10

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  • Her rap career — and sussequent singer career — were all but eclipsed by her performance in the Best Picture-winning Chicago. Even without doing too much since then, Latifah's high profile was enough to get her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Who knew?

    SCORE: 6/10

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  • With so many American Idol winners languishing at the bottom of sale bins in America's remaining music stores, it's impressive at a seventh-place finish can somehow lead to an Oscar. You did it, Jennifer!

    SCORE: 7/10

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  • The Friday movies: awesome. The Are We There Yet? movies: awful. But "Straight Outta Compton"? Classic. Should've stuck with the tunes, Cube.

    SCORE: 4/10

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  • Points must be given here for the sheer improbability that a white rapper named "Marky Mark" who rolled with "The Funky Bunch" making terrible/awesomely terrible 90s rap could ever feign a serious emotion on screen. But he continues to impress — Boogie Nights, Three Kings, and I Heart Huckabees, for instance, just wouldn't be the same without him. That being said, the guy just can't seem to turn down all that schlock you see advertised on buses and billboards. Oh, and points off for giving us "Entourage."

    SCORE: 5/10

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  • Few screen careers could hold a candle to what Bowie's done for music, so no one's holding it against the guy for giving it a show. But even if he can't act, we've never had a problem with a Ziggy Stardust appearance in a movie. He's played Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (seen on the left), Andy Warhol in Basquiat, and Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ. Wow, to sit down to dinner with those three guys.

    SCORE: 8/10

  • Let it be known that Madonna got the title role in Desperately Seeking Susan when she was still a total nobody — it wasn't until the film's release that she became famous. Admirable as that is, her time on the big screen isn't half as important as her time in music videos. Those are the true classics.

    SCORE: 7/10

  • All that's Glitter is not gold. We haven't forgotten, Mariah. No, we don't care about your role in the acclaimed Precious. That wasn't your movie. But Glitter was yours, and it was bad.

    SCORE: 2/10

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  • The movie Freelack takes place in the future — in the year 2009 — and Mick Jagger plays a bonejacker trying to steal the body of a time-traveling race car driver played by Emilio Estevez so a rich "freejack" can attain immortality. Yeah, we didn't think Mick would make it to 2009, either.

    SCORE: 3/10

  • Brooklyn's native son has sort of cornered the market on a particular type of quiet-genius, kindhearted sidekick character, and rarely fails at pulling it off. Plus he's still putting out albums. You can't complain!

    SCORE: 7/10

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  • Jenny from the block started out with choice roles in both Selena and Anaconda — memorable for entirely different reasons — before cashing in on her high wattage star power and taking on a slew of middling romcoms. Also, she was in Gigli.

    SCORE: 3/10

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  • His over-the-top rap persona scored him a part in 2 Fast 2 FuriousThe Godfather Part 2 of the Fast and the Furious movies, really — and before you knew it he was being feted at the Oscars for his role in Crash. We expect big things from him in the 2011 entry into the Fast and the Furious canon: Fast Five.

    SCORE: 4/10

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Comments

  1. guest says:

    Great list, just one thing…you left out Jamie Foxx. Besides that the list is impeccable.

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