Friday, April 20, 2012

Zac Efron: Top Five/Bottom Five

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

Today, the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, comes to theaters nationwide. I've never seen a Nicholas Sparks film in theaters, but plan on breaking my streak for this solider-falls-in-love-with-a-woman's-photo-then-there's-shower-sex! flick. Unfortunately, Zac Efron's record isn't too strong when it comes to making quality pictures, so there is a strong chance that this movie will be terrible. But the Zefron isn't 0 for 22, some of his credits are actually less than awful. Doubt me? Read on, as we try really hard to rate the films of Zac Efron. It should be noted that FINE, finding five good Zefron films is no easy task, so we took some liberties.

Top Five

5. Hairspray
I know lots of people love this movie, and yes, I LOVE the stage musical, but I tried and failed to watch this film three times before actually succeeding. I don't know what it was about the transition from stage to film that made me dislike it so, but my best guess is John Travolta. Zef is undeniably adorable at least, and perhaps the only part of the movie I truly enjoy, even though his acting is actually pretty horrendous. Still, I can't ignore a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, so Hairspray, you make it in the top five.

4. Liberal Arts
Okay, let's be honest, I haven't seen Liberal Arts, truth, but I needed something to go here, and everything I've heard about this movie (which got a rare standing ovation after screening at Sundance this year) points to making it into Zefron's top five. Written and directed by How I Met Your Mother's Josh Rador, who also stars, Liberal Arts is about a thirty five year old man who visits his alma mater and falls for a nineteen year old student, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Aldo Zac Efron doesn't have a large part, here is a rare case of a Zef character role, playing what the Hollywood Reporter describes as a "shamanistic campus hanger-on" and D Magazine says he plays one of the most enjoyable characters in the film and First Showing calls his performance the "real treasure" of the film. 

3. Me & Orson Welles
Not perfect by any means, but this Richard Linklater movie that follows a teenager (Zef, natch) hired by Welles to play Lucius in his production of Julius Caesar is no question one of Zac Efron's best films, although not even remotely his best performance.  In fact, Efron and Zoe Kazan as a potential love interest are easily the least appealing parts of the movie, but if you can get past them, it's not half bad. Christian McKay is perfect as Orson Welles, and any film that takes place in the theater will take a small part of my heart.

2. Firefly Episode 1.7, "Safe"
In the seventh episode of Firefly, Zac Efron plays a young Simon Tan in the opening flashback, wearing fancy clothes, speaking Mandarin chinese, the whole deal. Although he wasn't as perfect as Skylar Roberge, who might *actually* be a Summer Glau clone, Efron does a fine job. And although Safe is one of my least favorite Firefly episodes, it still has probably the best written script of anything Efron has ever done. IF I'd seen The Lorax, maybe it would take this slot? But I haven't, so FIREFLY IT IS!

1. 17 Again
I LOVE THIS MOVIE. The film that made me fall for Zac Efron. Before seeing this movie, I didn't get the Zac Efron thing. I thought he was a horrible actor and not even that good looking - the swooning he attracted made no sense to me. But that aaallll changed with 17 Again.  I've seen the film countless times, and despite the befuddling negative reviews, I consider it to be Zefron's best film, and his best work. The film is so in on the joke that there is even a Zefron dance number, helloooo. I feel the same way I did today when I saw the film almost three years ago, and encourage you to see it if you haven't already. I'm completely serious.

Bottom five after the jump

Bottom Five

1. High School Musical
The film that catapulted Zef to stardom and began the whole teens in high school singing trend. I suppose I'm okay with both of those things, so HSM gets rated as the least worst of Zef's Bottom Five. But it's still unwatchable. The film originally aired on the Disney Channel in 2006 and is about hot athlete Troy (Zef) and shy smartie pants Gabrielle (Vanessa Hudgens) who are cast in the high school musical together (get it?) and fall in love. I would be lying if I didn't sing the titular line from the closing number "We're All In This Together" way more often than is appropriate.

2. New Years Eve
Zef is EASILY the best part in this ridiculous, illogical piece of crap that yes I saw in theaters and obviously totally enjoyed. Efron plays a bike messenger who helps a dowdy Michelle Pfieffer (hey remember when they were in Hairspray together?) complete all of her New Years resolutions before midnight. The film ends with them dancing at a party and I just, I have to say, Zef knows how to move. In fact, the whole movie was worth it just to watch him dance at the end. I have a problem. A zroblem if you will?!

3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
The only theatrical release of the high school musical films! Yay? PS I would have put all of the High School Musicals together if Efron had enough movies to round these out otherwise, trust me. HSM3 is rated slightly higher than its predecessor because it feels slightly more cohesive and like there is an actual purpose for its existence. It's senior year and the film ends with everyone graduating, a nice button to the franchise that made so many tweens lose their minds and began the careers of so many actors I'm told have careers now.

4. High School Musical 2
The most forgettable of the three, I can't remember a single thing that happens in this movie and the only song I recall is Sharpay's mildly fun number. HSM2 follows the kids during the summer, when they work at the country club where Sharpay is a member. The climax is some sort of talent show, of course, and it ends with a Miley Cyrus cameo. 

5. Charlie St. Cloud
Much to my surprise, Charlie St Cloud was *not* based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, but rather a Ben Sherwood one entitled The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud. The film is extremely strange, and not in a good way, the crux of the plot being that Charlie can see spirits, which include spirits of people who *are* dying, but haven't died yet? None of it really makes that much sense. But it did begin the trend continuing with The Lucky One of Zefron's leading lady being a lesser known actress. For whatever that's worth. Conclusion: this movie is dumb, but also dull, so it ends up at the bottom.

Does that more or less line up with how you would rate the oeuvre of the Zef? Are you weirded out by the fact that I've seen eight Zac Efron movies? Do you trust me when I say 17 Again is amaze-balls? 

Authors Note: You may have noticed the absence of The Lorax. I didn't see it, and although reviews say it's better than 17 Again I have to say, A, no, impossible, because nothing is, and B. I've ultimately heard such mixed things, I can't know where it ends up until I see it for myself.


breve711 said...

I really enjoyed 17 again. I wasn't expecting to like it, because of Zac Efron, but saw him in a new light after this.

Haven't seen any of those other movies (apart from High School Musical 1&2) but those two are very worthy "bottom five" movies

오피 said...

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
I don't know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!풀싸롱