Wednesday, April 7, 2010

By The Numbers: Billy Zane

I feel oddly qualified for this one. My sister used to love Billy Zane and as a result I've seen most of his earlier movies. I've always liked him, even if he's been mostly a punchline since Titanic. Now obviously, anyone who knows him, knows there are a lot of bad films in his resume. The question is, when the numbers are crunched, can he squeeze into the good column?

First a quick rundown for anyone new to how this all works.

I take all the films an actor or actress has been in and break them down into three categories, 'Good' 'Bad' and 'Ok.' I do not count TV appearances or Made for TV movies. Afterwards a quick analysis will show whether or not they're a good actor by the numbers. Invariably there is a 2-3 +/- point bias on a person to person basis. Also, since 'ok' movies are not bad they count towards the positive column in the overall figuring. If by the numbers they fall in the 50 - 60% range, they're a bad actor; 61 - 70% good actor, and 71 - 80% great actor. Anything higher is unlikely, but will be classified as "elite."

Now then, let's roll out those numbers:

First of all, look at that picture of him and tell me how come he was never tapped to play Lex Luther? He pulls off bald sophistication so perfectly. Alright, so he's worse than bad. At a whopping 68% negative over an embarrassing 32% positive he falls into a category I had not yet determined. Ultra bad? Über bad? Doesn't really matter I guess, bad is bad. Much as I like Billy Zane, the truth is that most of his earlier career was in movies that amounted to little more than softcore porn. When your one real attempt at breaking through to A-list leading man is The Phantom, you know you're in trouble. Is it possible to turn it around? Probably not. He'd need to do good movies for several years, just to even out. 

But hey, at least there's always TV.

Billy Zane came at the suggestion of Kristy over at This Train of Thought Has Been Derailed
Thanks Kristy!

The list of actors for me to do in future installments is growing, but keep those suggestions coming, and I'll get to them in due turn.


  1. He can't dance, either...apparently. I read that he was originally cast in the part of Johnny Castle on Dirty Dancing, but was replaced with Patrick Swayze when the choreographer realized he couldn't dance. Really. Now I don't know about you - but I'm pretty much happy THAT happened. Patrick Swayze. Yum....there's a suggestion. Just be nice about him, or his ghost will come and haunt us both.

  2. I'm trying to remember what the top 16% movies were. Obviously Titanic, but has "he" actually every "carried" a movie that was decent?
    Good one!

  3. He actually recently did a UK movie titled fishtails – A splash remake. Pretty sure the US won't be importing it anytime soon. Zane kinda reminds me of a depressed Eric Roberts.

  4. Sadly, I expected these results... And no... he can't dance. There was a direct to DVD movie that we watched a few months ago that proved that.

    Was Sniper one of the good ones?

    I don't care, I love him anyway. I'll bear his children. I'll even wax his back if need be. (Hey Billy - call me!)

  5. He was such a jerk in Titanic. I agree with the numbers!

  6. TITANIC was enough to.. SINK.. his career for me. Ah ah ah... =D

  7. Actually, he'd be good in TV. I could see him in something relatively complex like Prison Break or Deadwood. Not as the lead, but in a secondary role.

    To add to the list, you should do one of these for Jeremy Irons.

  8. Marlene, Swayze is on the list, but I will note that as a second vote, so I'll probably do his next.

    Pat & Kristy, Sniper is one of the good ones. If for nothing more than the scene where the guy shoots through the other sniper's scope. Also don't forget, he was in the Back to the Future movies. It adds up.

    Carl, That was so bad I couldn't help but laugh.

    Guano, Now I'd go with that. Deadwood is exactly the type of thing he should be in. I will add Jeremy Irons to the list.

    Copy, yeah I actually saw part of it. It was just... not great.

    Ally, But he had my favorite line in the movie: "Rose is displeased... what to do."

  9. But how bad of an actor can you really be with the name Billy Zane? That's just a great Hollywood name, and demands a long career.

  10. I can only think of him in Titanic....well that and his cameo in Zoolander.

    Have you done Gary Sinise yet?

  11. The numbers don't lie. But I have to admit that I actually liked the Phantom.

  12. good point on the idea of him being Lex Luthor. I vote Christopher Lloyd next.

  13. Danny Devito, Rick Moranis, Val Kilmer (have you seen the Salton Sea?).... So many to choose from!

  14. Zane was the BOMB in "Memphis Belle"!

    Not literally, of course. They didn't fly over germany and push Billy Zane out of the plane or anything.

    I also enjoyed him in "Critters". He got et.


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