Shun an Actor? Disown an Actor? Mock an Actor?
If you want to ask yourself, "How far downhill can an actor's career go?", you don't have to go back in film history to Bela Lugosi or Errol Flynn or any other actor who was cast aside by the system when they got older. All you have to do is look at the career of Cuba Gooding Jr. He use to show up in good movies, really good movies. He wasn't always the star in these good movies, but he did good work and helped make those movies better. Here's a partial list of good films from earlier in his career.
Boyz in the Hood
A Few Good Men
The Tuskegee Airmen
As Good As it Gets
Little noted from this era of general quality films featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. was a little comedy called Lightning Jack, in which he co-starred with Paul Hogan. I didn't see it, but friends of mine did, folks who usually give somewhat more generous reviews that I give. They hated this movie with a white hot hate. To steal a line from Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000, it's not just that Lightning Jack was the worst movie ever made. It was the worst thing ever made.
It was also the awful blueprint of much of the rest of his career. I give as examples these horrible films from later in his career.
Daddy Day Camp
The last on this list is in theaters as we speak. It is a sequel where the original actors refuse to show up. While sequels are of mixed quality, sequels without original casts uniformly stink. You didn't see The Fly Too? The Sting II with Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis? Caddyshack 2? You are a fortunate person indeed if saw none of these.
"New comedy with Cuba Gooding Jr." is not so secret code for "Avoid at all costs".
Then we come to the movie that made Cuba Gooding Jr. an Oscar winner. Some people love Jerry Maguire. I am not some people.
Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this film. He also wrote and directed Say Anything, which I did like very much, so I always give him some credit, even after I see yet another mess of a film he has made since then. To me, I saw a crass attempt to combine a sports film with a chick flick, much in the same way that Titanic is a special effects disaster film/chick flick.
Some people love the lines "Show me the Money!" from the sports movie part and "You had me at hello." from the chick flick half. For me, I will always remember this as the film where Cameron Crowe wrote dialog for Frank Gifford, Al Michaels and Dan Dierdorf that made them sound stupider than they are in real life. That, gentle readers, takes some doing, since Frank Gifford really is as dumb as a bag full of hair and Al Michaels and Dan Dierdorf are enormously pompous windbags who wind up sounding stupid by their own self-importance.
As for Gooding's Oscar, maybe Hollywood thought it was brave for a male actor to do a nude scene with Tom Cruise. Though to be fair, if you are in the shape Cuba Gooding Jr. was when he made Jerry Maguire, it's not so much brave as show-offy.
Matty Boy says save your money and time on comedies starring Cuba Gooding Jr.