What the Hell Happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.?

19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Backstage And Audience

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Academy Award winner, Cuba Gooding, Jr. used to be cast in movies to give them an air of prestige.  His presence was a signal to the audience that the movie they were seeing was meant to be taken seriously, even if it was directed by Michael Bay.  But then, Gooding’s image changed.  After a string of critical drubbing and commercial disasters, Gooding went from Hollywood darling to direct-to-video pariah.

What the hell happened?

I love it when a celebrity’s humble beginnings have been preserved for posterity.  In the case of Cuba Gooding Jr., he started off as a breakdancer.  In 1984, his dance troupe performed alongside Lionel Richie at the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in LA.

That couldn’t be more 1984 if it was written by George Orwell.  Side note: I learned via VH-1’s Pop Up Videos that Richie was a terrible dancer.  His videos frequently featured him from the waist up.  Even his hit song Dancing On the Ceiling features very little dancing from Richie.  He relied heavily on back-up dancers and future Oscar winners to supply the “karamu” for his “fiesta”.

Gooding made his acting debut in 1986 on a TV show called Better Days.  He followed that with a couple of episodes of Hill Street Blues in which he played a kid in a gang.

Gooding continued paying his dues with bit parts in shows like The Bronx Zoo and Amen.  In 1988, he made his movie debut playing a kid who gets a haircut from Eddie Murphy in Coming to America.

Cuba Gooding Jr and Eddie Murphy - Coming to America - 1988

Cuba Gooding Jr and Eddie Murphy – Coming to America – 1988

The TV roles continued with a CBS Schoolbreak Special and an episode of the sitcom 227 in which Gooding played an undercover cop.

Cuba Gooding Jr. - MacGyver - 1989

Cuba Gooding Jr. – MacGyver – 1989

In 1989, Gooding appeared on an episode of the TV series MacGyver.  In his first appearance, he played a character named Ray Collins.  But later that year he played a different character named Billy Colton.  Gooding would return to the show to play Billy Colton two more times in 1990 and 1991.

Cuba Gooding Jr. - Boyz N The Hood - 1991

Cuba Gooding Jr. – Boyz N The Hood – 1991

Gooding’s big break came in 1991 when he landed the lead role in John Singleton‘s directorial debut, Boyz N the Hood.

Gooding played Tre, a high school student in a bad neighborhood.  Tre was at a point in his life where he could go either way.  He had plans to go to college but he was in danger of getting dragged down by his violent surroundings.

Boyz was one of the first films to depict life in South Central LA.  It tapped into the growing rap culture in a way no previous film had.  Over time, its cultural impact has lessened thanks to the imitators Boyz spawned.  But in 1991, Boyz N the Hood was a pop culture revelation.

Twenty years later, Gooding admitted that he was still learning his craft:

You gotta remember this was early in my career.  It wasn’t about reading scripts for me. It was about picking up your sides for an audition the next day. This is embarrassing to really cop to, because I’m looking back on it now, [but] I didn’t know what stage direction was. I didn’t know what ‘EXT,’ ‘INT’ — I didn’t know that meant ‘exterior,’ ‘interior.’ I just knew my lines. I knew Tre’s lines. I knew his father Furious is mad at him, and I knew that emotion. That’s how I came to this story.

That inexperience gave Gooding and the rest of the cast a sense of liberation:

None of us knew what we were involved with.  We just knew that we had nothing to lose to put our whole body, heart and soul in these roles, and that’s exactly what we were looking to do

Boyz N the Hood was screened at Cannes.  It opened to rave reviews and was a smash at the box office.  It opened in third place behind Terminator 2 and a reissue of Disney’s 101 Dalmations, but Boyz held on to a top 10 spot for six weeks and eventually grossed over $50 million dollars on a budget of around $6 million.  Singleton became the youngest director ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Boyz was a triumph and Gooding was at the center of it with his leading man debut.  Much like the character he played on-screen, Gooding’s career could have gone a number of ways.  Anything was possible, but nothing was guaranteed.

Cuba Gooding Jr. - Gladiator - 1992

Cuba Gooding Jr. – Gladiator – 1992

The next year, Gooding followed up Boyz N the Hood with Gladiator.  No, not the Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott hit from 2000.  This Gladiator was a boxing movie which co-starred Brian Dennehy, Robert Loggia and James Marshall from TV’s Twin Peaks.

Marshall and Gooding played boxers who become friends.  They are manipulated into fighting each other by a promoter played by Dennehy.

Gladiator was Marshall’s only shot at being a leading man.  When the movie flopped, that was it for him.  Fortunately for Gooding, he already had Boyz N the Hood on his resume.  So he was able to walk away from Gladiator unscathed.

Cuba Gooding Jr. - A Few Good Men - 1992

Cuba Gooding Jr. – A Few Good Men – 1992

Later that year, both Gooding and Marshall appeared in Rob Reiner’s military courtroom drama, A Few Good Men.

A Few Good Men starred Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.  The all-star cast included supporting roles by Kevin Pollak and Kevin Bacon.  Gooding’s role is minor.  He has less screentime than his Gladiator costar.  But A Few Good Men was a critical and commercial success.  Gooding’s participation could only help his career.

Next: Judgment Night and Outbreak


Posted on January 26, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 128 Comments.

  1. Plenty of people who may have a WTHH on their own here

    Robin Williams
    Whoopi Goldberg
    Renee Zellweger
    Angela Bassett



    • 10 actors who could use a Quentin Tarantino-steered comeback:

      Angela Bassett

      Though she’s worked steadily since her Oscar-nominated performance as Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” it’s hard to escape the feeling that Angela Bassett is one of the most under-appreciated actresses in Hollywood. Since her big breakthrough, she’s appeared in a succession of films that have her playing second-banana roles unworthy of her talents, from lame sci-fi flicks (“Supernova”) to treacly inspirational dramas (“Music of the Heart”) to head-slappingly awful superhero movies (“Green Lantern”). What she needs is a top-tier director like Tarantino to give her a leading role that can harness the fiery/vulnerable on-screen energy we’ve seen her deliver in her best work – or at least in the few films that have actually given her something to do. From Pam Grier’s title character in “Jackie Brown” to Uma Thurman’s Bride in “Kill Bill,” complex anti-heroines are a specialty of Tarantino’s, and I have no doubt Bassett is more than capable of pulling off a similar role with aplomb.


  2. I have only seen two of Goodiings’ films: As Good as It Gets and Jerry McGuire. The man has some serious talent, and it is odd that he wound up on your list. To go from the upper atmosphere of big budget Oscar films to direct-to-video is just weird!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You need to watch Boyz N the Hood! It won’t be as radical as it was back in the day, but it’s still a great movie.


      • I will check it out….BTW…Gooding is like a black version of Val Kilmer….and you really didn’t explain how he went from Oscar material to low-brow stuff. There’s got to be more to it, right?


        • I think his highs were largely good luck. Not to say he isn’t talented. But there are a lot of equally talented actors out there. He got the right parts at the right time. Which is true of most any successful actor.

          But apart from those moments of extraordinarily good luck, there wasn’t a lot out there for Gooding. Making matters worse, he chose poorly. Radio being case in point.

          Realizing that he wasn’t going to have a lot of great leading roles, Gooding went for the dough. I can’t really blame him. He has a family to support. Might as well cash in on the Oscar clout.

          Still, Boat Trip and Norbit are hard to excuse. And Daddy Day Camp? He went from Oscar winner to a poor man’s version of post-success Eddie Murphy. That’s a pretty huge fall.

          Basically, I think Gooding was faced with very few good choices and made the most profitable choice available.


        • I guess we all do what is best for us. I just bought an antique pick-up truck because I couldn’t say no to a good deal….kind of puts things into perspective.


  3. 2 more takeaways from that awesome Oscar speech video:
    -what was Dennis Rodman doing at the Oscars ceremony?
    -good for Steve Martin for helping to kick-start the standing O

    It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is one of my Dad’s favorite movies ever and I really enjoy some of it. The wide screen photography is beautiful, the stunt casting is delicious, and Phil Silvers is pure genius in it. It is, however, bloated, too long, and its supposed climax is not very funny.

    So anytime it looks like they’re trying to recapture the magic that did exist in IAMMMMW, I am both queasy and unreasonably optimistic.

    Rat Race actually turned out better than I had every right to expect. There are multiple scenes in it which are fall-down funny and the overall tone works. The climactic scene is also not particularly funny, which is a wash. On the downside, it fails in comparison largely due to casting. While IAMMMMW boasted an absolute embarrassment of comedy legends, Rat Race stars Breckin Meyer. Uh….yeah.

    While a comedy which boasts Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Rowan Atkinson, and John Cleese certainly has some funny prestige, compare that to:
    Milton Berle
    Ethel Merman
    Sid Ceasar
    Buddy Hackett
    Mickey Rooney
    Phil Silvers
    Jonathan Winters
    Peter Falk
    Don Knotts

    It just isn’t close. The above cast helps put IAMMMMW over the top, while Rat Race’s set of mostly second stringers leaves it as a real hit and miss proposition that is quickly forgotten.


    • I think you summed up the Rat Race IAMMMMW comparisson nicely. I remember watching IAMMMMW for the first time late one New Year’s Eve while babysitting. Since I was stuck there with nothing to do and the kids were asleep, I appreciated the movie’s bloat. But I don’t think I would ever sit through it all again.

      That 2 minute Oscar clip really is a time capsule, isn’t it?


      • I remember watching Rat Race with my nieces. They loved it- I loved IAMMMMW- but not the redo.

        Ironically they also loved Snow Dogs- theses girls are well into college now and probably have a weird perspective on Cuba Gooding’s career- I wonder if they’ve seen Boyz in the Hood?

        Sadly- Cuba’s career illustrates the problems with being a black actor in Hollywood. Samuel L Jackson/Morgan Freedman can pick and choose- but the others have to consider how many criminals or clowns they want to play. Playing a Tuskeegee airman TWICE is also a good indicator that there are only so many roles.


  4. I don’t think I could write an entiire article about Hogan. I agree, he was a one-hit wonder. I don’t count CD2.

    Hartnett, I will definitely write about. I have a soft spot for actors and actresses who were expected to top the A-list and never did. Hartnett was The Next Big Thing circa Pearl Harbor. But it never came to be.

    I tried following your link, but I couldn’t find the Gooding/Smith quote. My daughter is warbling off key in the other room as I type this, so my concentration isn’t 100%. Nothing like hearing one line of a song over and over again for a half hour sung off key by a 7-year-old!

    Anyway, I agree that the good roles stopped coming to Gooding. I’m not sure that Smith was taking roles that would have gone to Gooding. Smith was arguably the biggest action star in the world when Gooding was accepting his Oscar.


  5. It seems I have not seen a single flick with this Gooding guys. But from the article it seems he starred in exactly two flicks that got good reviews and made money.


    • That’s true if you are talking about starring roles. As Good As It Gets was a critically acclaimed hit with Gooding in a supporting role. While he wasn’t the star, I don’t discount that.

      One thing to point out is that lead roles in movies that are a hit with critics and audiences are relatively rare. I have written about actors and actresses who have not had a single lead role in a movie that was critically and commercially successful. Christian Slater and Steve Guttenberg come to mind.

      So, two movies that were outrageously successful with critics and audiences alike is a pretty major success. Add in an Oscar win and you have a major career.

      More importantly, you should really check out Boyz N the Hood and Jerry Maguire. Both are really good movies.


  6. Ah, good ole Cuba Gooding. I’m afraid I will have to disagree with most of you on this one. WTH happened to him is that he just was never very good to begin with. I think he got lucky landing a couple sweet roles; three to be precise: Boyz, McGuire, and Men of Honor. He was decent in all three but it’s because he didn’t have to carry the movie. He played second fiddle to better actors who helped his performance shine a bit brighter. Now actually I kind of like the guy. I saw his Academy acceptance speech and he came across as genuinely humble and appreciative. I respect that. While I would have liked to see him become a big success, it was just never going to be. He is an over-actor. His delivery is almost always over the top and “hammy”. Just what was needed in McGuire, but doesn’t work in most other roles. Then all his attempts at comedy were very cheesy and cornball. And he isn’t heavy weight enough to pull off the tough guy, action hero. It was no surprise to me at all when he became a direct to video prince. Too bad. He really does seem like a nice guy.

    For what it’s worth I feel pretty much the same way about a couple others mentioned in this entry: Hartnett, Zellweger and Hogan.


    • I agree with you to an extent. Gooding does overact sometimes. I remember watching Judgment Night and laughing at his big dramatic moment. But sometimes, I think he shows restraint. He does best in flashy roles like Jerry MacGuire where his big personality can shine. But there aren’t enough roles like that out there to support a career. And maybe he’s right that Will Smith started taking them. I do think he’s a talent. But he’s probably better suited to supporting roles than leading men.

      Paul Hogan was an Aussie sensation who’s phenomenal success spilled over to America for a little bit. He was never an American movie star. He made a go at it, but it didn’t happen. You have to think he was satisfied being the King of the Australian Box Office and a minor celeb in the US. Hartnett was one of those annointed by the Hollywood press as the Next Big Thing that never came to pass. I always find that sort of thing fascinating. See also: Gretchen Moll.

      But Zellweger is in a completely different class. She was legitimately A-list. We’ll talk more about her soon.


      • ESPN Fantasy Guru Matthew Berry: Paul Hogan Of ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Fame Is A ‘Terrible Human Being’:

        If you listen to Paul Scheer (NTSF:SD:SUV, The League), June Diane Raphael (NTSF:SD:SUV) and Jason Mantzoukas’ (The League) podcast, “How Did This Get Made?” and you haven’t heard this week’s episode on Crocodile Dundee II, then I encourage you to skip the rest of this post and listen to the podcast. If you don’t listen to the podcast, I encourage you to do so as quickly as possible, and perhaps this anecdote will inspire you to subscribe. It involves Matthew Berry, who many of you know as the ESPN fantasy football analyst whose advice you often read but always ignore. What you may not know about Matthew Berry, however, is that he began his career as a television writer. In fact, he was on the writing staff of Union Square, one of those very short-lived sitcoms that was sandwiched between Friends and Seinfeld on Thursday nights. He also wrote for Married … with Children, but only in the end, when it wasn’t so good anymore.

        Anyway, I won’t go into all the specifics, but on a lark, he and his writing partner took a meeting with Paul Hogan, the star of Crocodile Dundee, who had wanted to make a sequel 14 years after the second Crocodile Dundee movie. As Berry explains it, he and his writing partner met with Hogan at his house and pitched a few ideas with no expectations whatsoever that they would land the gig. Their pitch was a very family-friendly sequel with “gentle humor,” meant to be something of an antidote to the Farrelly Brothers comedies popular at the time. For whatever reason, Paul Hogan liked their idea (“Finally, someone who understands me!”) and hired Berry and his partner to write the script.

        This is where it gets interesting.

        Paul Hogan, while a marginal actor, at best, has good business sense. In fact, he owns the Crocodile Dundee franchise, and because of that, he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars on, since he collects the majority of the profits. But part of his strategy, it seems, is to attach his name to as many titles as possible on a movie and collect residuals on all of them. It’s why you will see his name as a screenwriter on almost all of his films (he was even nominated for an Oscar for the original Crocodile Dundee). But if Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles is any indication, he procures those titles in perhaps sleazy ways.

        This is what happened: Matthew Berry and his writing partner spent a few months writing the first draft of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Then they took the script to Paul Hogan for notes. Hogan, in turn, essentially changed the names of the characters, deadened the punchlines on a few jokes, and basically rewrote the script like a “college kid changing his term paper from Wikipedia.” This way, he could justify his own writing credit. But he didn’t want shared writing credit, he wanted sole writing credit, so he took Matthew Berry’s name completely off the script. The problem with that is even that though the writers got paid for their work, they need writing credit to collect residuals (and Berry admits it was a total sell-out job that he took solely for the money).

        So, Hogan essentially sues for sole credit, and takes it to the Writer’s Guild. The Guild looks at the first draft, then at Hogan’s draft, and they agree unanimously to give writing credit to Berry and his writing partner. Hogan appeals, and AGAIN, the appellate board sides with Berry. Why would Hogan continue to pursue a losing case? “I don’t think it was money,” Berry says. “I think it was ego. He wanted to be a star again. He wanted to be in a universe where he’s making another Croc movie, where he’s the big star, where it’s all about him.”

        So, what does Hogan do after he loses the case and the appeal? He threatens to sue the Writer’s Guild, trashing Matthew Berry in public.

        The amusing irony of it, however, is that Matthew Berry was put in a position of having to defend himself as a writer on a script that he wasn’t particularly proud of. “It’s this very horrible public thing where we have to get up and say, ‘No, we’re the writers of this horrible sh*tty movie.’ We’re fighting to get credit for this terrible movie.”

        The good news is, Berry did get full credit, and he did get to attend the premiere, because Hogan was contractually obligated to give him tickets. The bad news, however, is that Berry was seated in the worst two seats in the theater. “It was a horrible, horrible experience, and we were treated like pariahs … [Hogan] was such a terrible human being to us.”


    • Cuba’s performance in “Radio” may have been the direct inspiration for the “full retard” scene in “Tropic Thunder”:


  7. I almost spat coffee at my computer laughing at your quote:

    “After that, Gooding made a stream of direct-to-video movies that would make Val Kilmer choke..”

    Le Beau you are hilarious with these posts!


  8. Hey Lebeau, just a teensy correction… Outbreak was released in 1995, not 1993.. I remember seeing the trailers back then.


  9. I freaking love Jerry Maguire – dont even know why, all my friends tease me about that – it had me at hello! But tbh, I love Regina King more than Cuba in that movie. She decided to choose the TV route, which is both good (she still has a good career and gets positive reviews from critics plus audiences still care) and bad (it is again a reflection of racism in Hollywood and a proof that such a funny & talented woman like her doesn’t get enough material). A big reason for black or Asian or Hispanic actors/actresses in Hollywood is that there aren’t simply not enough good roles for them. The roles mostly are supporting, so when Halle Berry or Cuba decides to jump on leading roles, they just come across such stinky material.

    If Cuba decides to choose the supporting but showy route, he could find success in the long term like Morgan Freeman. (Octavia Spencer from The Help seems to be firmly choosing that Morgan route) At that time (and probably now but to a lesser degree), black actors simply dont have good leading material enough. (Will Smith is a different example – tbh, since he is in Scientology like Tom Cruise, I cant help but think of shady stuff)

    Havent seen Boyz in the Hood in a long time, I forgot almost all the plot now tbh. I also havent seen Angela Bassett in anything in a very long time/


    • Good points. Lead roles for minorities are very limited. The Freeman/Jackson supporting roles are much more plentiful. But even there, competition is fierce. Morgan Freeman and Samuel L Jackson make a lot of movies between the two of them. Everyone else fights for what is left over.


    • Boyz in the Hood has to be a top ten movie of the past quarter century. Gooding was fantastic in it – even if he has chosen a career arc that appears more in line with Eddie Murphy than Denzel Washington.


      • When it came out, Boyz was a real game changer. If you would have told me then that Gooding would go on to win an Oscar, I would have believed it. If you told me he would then go on to settle for Eddie Murphy’s cast-off sequels, I would have been very sad.


  10. FRC’s Fallen Icon #6 – Cuba Gooding Jr.:

    After Jerry Maguire, it looked as though Cuba would be joining the ranks of acclaimed stars such as Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Kevin Spacey. He made a smart move in selecting As Good As it Gets as his lead off from Maguire, sadly though that would be his only smart career decision for the remainder of the decade. What followed was a seemingly endless pile of flop after flop to close out the decade. What Dreams May Come would be the closest he would come to showcasing his talent and why he was an Oscar winner.A Murder of Crows, Instinct and Chill factor never really brought him back to form nor did they perform well in theater or on DVD/VHS.

    Typically with the closing out of a decade you hope to accomplish better things in the next ten years, though there were glimmers of hope, Cuba still has not been able to break out and do something he is much more capable of doing. This new decade he started out strong in Men of Honor, which performed poorly despite the performances of the films two leads Robert DeNiro and Cuba. This was followed by the retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Michael Bay’s long winded, explosion spectacle, Pearl Harbor.

    After taking a stab at action and drama’s, Cuba decided to take a try at comedy. This was perhaps this biggest mistake because it led to some pretty bad comedies from 2001-2003. Rat Race, Snow Dogs, Boat Trip and the Fighting Temptations were all panned by critics and discarded just the same by viewing audiences. After this, he went back briefly to his dramatic roots and portrayed James Robert “Radio” Kennedy, a mentally challenged high school student, in 2003’s Radio. Cuba’s performance was praised, while the rest of the film was ripped apart by critics.

    In 2004, Cuba did some voiceover work in the Disney feature Home on the Range, this would be the last Cub film released in theater until 2006, entering the straight to DVD realm with the releases of Dirty, Shadowboxer and End Game. He would show up on the big screen in Eddie Murphy’s crap fest, Norbit, which was not well received, to say the least. At the end of a dismal 2006 for Cuba, he starred in What love is, the film only made $19,000.00 in its theatrical run and only made it to forty-two theaters world-wide.

    2007 would consist of the same choices, with the exception of a small role in Denzel Washington’s piece America Gangster. Daddy Day Camp and Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends would be a low points in his already diminishing career. He returned to the straight DVD market with Hero Wanted, Harold and Linewatch all during 2008.

    Recently he has been in a TV movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story as the title character.

    In the end what it really boils down to is some poor choices. Had Cuba been more selective and persistent in getting those great roles he may not be in the void of obscurity. But in all fairness, even the greats make a terrible movie every now and then, no one is perfect. Here is hoping Cuba can bounce back and deliver something more than Land Before Time sequels.

    We will have to wait and see if his latest film “Red Tails”, a re-telling of the Tuskegee Airmen is coming next year and may spark a comeback that Cuba deserves….if only he can stay away from the money grabbing easy choices in the future!!


  11. 25 A-List Hollywood Actors Who Fell the F Off:

    Cuba Gooding Jr.
    Best Known For: Jerry Maguire (1996), As Good as it Gets (1997)
    Most Recent Project: One in the Chamber (2012)

    Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career looked to be on the up-and-up after his turn as “Show me the money!” football star Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. Boy, everyone couldn’t have been more wrong.

    His choice of roles between the bright spots of 1997’s As Good as it Gets and 2007’s American Gangster are as bad as they come. It’s a resume of pain and shame: dancing in heaven with Robin Williams for What Dreams May Come; existing in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor; the damn snow dogs movie Snow Dogs; and Radio, of which nothing else need be said. That’s how you turn exciting promise into automatic Razzie nominations.

    His role in American Gangster was a fake. “Direct-to-DVD” is a permanent part of his agent’s vocabulary.


  12. Is it a safe comparison to say that Cuba Gooding, Jr. is kind of the “black Nicolas Cage”. Both kind of have reputations (for better or for worse) for sometimes being hammy actors. And after they one their respective Oscars, it seemed like, they no longer had much of an incentive to prove how “talented” they are and decided to go after the big paydays (although w/ Cage, he at least has the whole “I’m in debt!” excuse) regardless of quality.


  13. 9 of the worst Oscar winners ever:

    Somewhere in the universe, at a mall or maybe a boat show or maybe at the line outside of a food pantry on Santa Monica Boulevard, Cuba Gooding, Jr. is wearily shouting “Show me the money!” for mild, half-embarrassed applause from people who just sort of wish he would go away. And then later, he’ll swing by his agent’s office where his agent will be hiding underneath his desk with the lights off and Cuba will mournfully cry “C’mon man, show me the money” before trudging home, muttering “Show me the money, show me the money” and wondering if tonight will be the night that Tom Cruise finally returns one of his phone calls.


    • The Cinefiles — Favorite and Least Favorite Oscar Movies:

      At one point, the hosts argue that William H. Macy really should’ve won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year (for “Fargo”), not Cuba.


    • 5 Oscar Blessings and 5 Oscar Curses:

      3. CURSE: Cuba Gooding Jr.

      Cuba Gooding Jr. was building a strong career as an up and coming star in Hollywood in 1997 when he gave an exuberant acceptance speech for his equally exuberant work in ‘Jerry Maguire’. However, after a few box office misses (‘Men Of Honor’, ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Rat Race’) Cuba’s energy level crashed low when he started churning out stinker after stinker (‘Chill Factor, ‘Snow Dogs’, ‘Boat Trip’, ‘Daddy Day Camp’). The gold on his Best Supporting Actor statuette is still probably shimmering, but his career has been tarnished with some notoriously bad film roles and direct to video duds.


      • 10 Actors Whose Careers Went Downhill After They Won Oscars:

        6. Cuba Gooding Jr.

        When you hear the words “Cuba Gooding Jr.” nowadays, is your reaction something along the lines of: “Oh, yeah… I forgot that he existed”? That’s how I feel whenever I hear this young man’s name (he’ll always be a young man to me,), given that he seems to have been relegated to the pits of obscurity in the wake of his Jerry Maguire-based Oscar win, with roles in movies you’ve never even heard of, like Shadowboxer and, uh, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. For some bizarre reason, nobody seems to be able to find a place for ol’ Cuba Gooding.

        Rumor has it that, having won his Oscar, Cuba set about purposely avoiding more “Oscar-like roles,” because he didn’t want to be “that guy” in the wake of winning the big one. Turns out he wanted to be that other guy – the one who wins an Academy Award and consciously flushes his career down the toilet by opting to star in movies like Chill Factor and… Boat Trip? Boat Trip – are you kidding me? So pretentious this guy ain’t, but stupid… that’s entirely possible. Guess all he really cared about was being ”shown the money” (sorry, couldn’t resist).


      • Five Actors Who Define the Oscar Curse:

        1. Cuba Gooding Jr.

        This guy is as synonymous with the Oscar Curse as Martin Scorsese is with eyebrows. He was a rising star with great performances in Boyz in the Hood, Outbreak, Judgment Night, and A Few Good Men, and then came his coronation: A supporting actor Oscar for his role as Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. Cuba’s “Show me the money” catch phrase swept the country and became a part of the popular culture. But after a lively and memorable acceptance speech, something happened. Boat Trip was the first in a line of questionable choices, and of late, his career has been less American Gangster, more Norbit and voice work on A Dairy Tale and Home on the Range. At the Oscars last week, Gooding chided Robert Downey for playing a black man in Tropic Thunder, “Come on man, that’s not fair. The brothers’ need work!” We all laughed… and nodded knowingly.


        • The Oscar Curse: Big win doesn’t guarantee continuing success:

          Five years after Cuba Gooding, Jr., won Best Supporting Actor as the brash NFL wide receiver with the loud catchphrase “Show me the money!” in Jerry Maguire, his career literally went to the dogs with 2002’s Snow Dogs. By 2007 he made Norbit and Daddy Day Care, and has since starred in a string of direct-to-DVD films including Lies & Illusions, The Devil’s Tomb, and Ticking Clock, along with the occasional panned feature film such as 2012’s Red Tails.


        • 10 Victims of the Oscar Curse & Oscar Jinx:

          Victim’s Name: Cuba Gooding Jr.

          Won For: Jerry Maguire (1996)

          Why They’re Jinxed: “Show me the money,” had become a popular catchphrase across the country, and Best Supporting Actor winner Cuba Gooding Jr. appeared poised on the verge of super-stardom. Enter the dreaded Oscar jinx. Dark career clouds began to roll in when Gooding Jr. appeared opposite Anthony Hopkins in Instinct, a film whose marketing campaign made it out to be Silence of the Lambs…but with apes. That was a misrepresentation, of course, and audiences were not pleased. After that, Gooding Jr. starred in the awful Boat Trip, a film jam-packed with ignorant gay stereotypes. It only got worse from there, as he appeared in both Norbit and Daddy Day Camp, two films that the Nazis would’ve surely screened at concentration camps had they existed back then. Despite these career missteps, Gooding Jr. received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002 (so much for exclusivity) and nabbed himself a Hanes underwear commercial in 2007. But those Oscar days are far in the rear-view mirror.


        • HOT GALLERY: 10 Stars Who Fell Victim to the Oscar Curse:

          Cuba Gooding Jr.—Today

          Oh, Cuba. How we loved your exuberant joy the night you won your Oscar. If only you or your agents had kept up those positive feelings with some positive follow-up roles. Cuba’s post-Oscar career made like Tom Cruise leaping onto a couch—both were poorly thought-out and filled with negative repercussions. He was overly earnest in What Dreams May Come—then again, who wouldn’t be while playing an angel to Robin Williams? Then there was Boat Trip, Snow Dogs, Daddy Day Camp, and Norbit. Show us the talent, Cuba! We know you have it in you.


        • Top 10 Post-Oscar Busts:

          His turn as cocky but lovable football player Rod Tidwell in 1996′s Jerry Maguire earned Gooding a Best Supporting Actor trophy. His gushing speech — in which he shouted, “I love you! I love you all!” while leaping around the stage — won him a standing ovation from his peers. But almost none of the dozens of movies he has made since have proved worthy. (Snow Dogs? Daddy Day Camp?? Boat Trip??? Red Tails????) He’s become such a pop culture joke that even 30 Rock felt comfortable enough to take a recent dig at him — Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) says, “I won an Oscar so I can do real art. Begin Snow Dogs phase.”


        • 7 Actors Whose Film Careers Went Downhill After Winning An Oscar:

          Cuba Gooding Jr.

          Oscar Win: Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire, 1997

          It cannot be understated just how big of a hit Jerry Maguire was when it first came out. While Tom Cruise was at the height of his powers in the mid-90s, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s performance as Rod Tidwell is largely the reason why the film’s still memorable. “Show me the money” became such a ubiquitous catchphrase that it basically wore out its welcome by the end of the decade. Cuba Gooding had built up a solid, albeit unspectacular acting career up to this point; Jerry Maguire was the film that would make him a star.

          Except, that’s not exactly what happened. After a solid supporting role in As Good As It Gets that following year, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career soon took a sharp turn south. While he tried his best to capitalize on his success with spirited performances in What Dreams May Come, Men of Honor, and Pearl Harbor, Cuba never again received the same adulation as he did with Jerry Maguire. By the early 2000s, he was squandering his talent in terrible comedies and nowadays, he’s been stuck in direct-to-video hell.

          He still occasionally shows up in high-profile movies such as American Gangster and Lee Daniels’ The Butler, but his days as a leading man in Hollywood appear to be long over.


        • Re: People vs OJ Simpson Ep. 3 – 2/16/16 Watch Thread

          Quote Originally Posted by redmoney
          Cuba career is over because he cannot carry film, he lacks star power and is a drunk.

          Cuba is a drunk? I didn’t know that. I always thought the biggest detriment to his career was his poor selection in film roles. He has been in some truly awful films. The worst project I think I saw him in was “Boat Trip.” I actually wanted to send him from my limited funds after I saw it because I thought he had to be in desperate for money to do that movie, which was God awful.


    • 10 Worst Actors To Ever Win An Oscar:

      1. Cuba Gooding Jr.

      Cuba Gooding Jr’s Best Supporting Actor win over the likes of James Woods, Edward Norton, and William H. Macy – the latter of whom it is especially evident he robbed – remains the test case for an actor rising to fame so quickly and then plummeting into the cinematic abyss. After a number of decent supporting turns in not-awful films, Cuba got a major boost when he starred in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, and the phrase “Show me the money!” swiftly entered into the pop-culture lexicon at large. Of course, that phrase is used to refer to the actor in somewhat facetious fashion these days, given that he appears to be willing to work in just about anything that will pay him.

      His most risible offenders include Boat Trip, Shadowboxer, Norbit, Daddy Day Camp and Red Tails. This is one of the most depressing entries onto the list, given that the actor is rather likable, but given his countless dire performances against the one or two good one’s he’s given, we’re forced to concede that he’s really not a very good actor. At all.


      • Oscar Curse: 15 Actors Whose Careers Went Downhill After Winning


        Cuba Gooding, Jr. came into Jerry Maguire with some real heat. He’d appeared in the critical and commercial hits Boyz N the Hood and A Few Good Men, but his role as football star Rod Tidwell was his real breakthrough. From the moment he yelled, “Show me the money!” he was a star. When he accepted his Best Supporting Actor Oscar, his exuberant speech won America’s hearts.

        Like many performers, Gooding tried to parlay a win in the supporting categories into leading roles. Unfortunately, he either didn’t get very good offers, or didn’t have very good taste in projects. Or maybe it was a little of both. What followed his win was an embarrassing series of missteps: Instinct, Chill Factor, Rat Race, Snow Dogs, Radio, and the universally reviled Boat Trip. He eventually got to a place where he was stuck taking over for Eddie Murphy in the sequel Daddy Day Camp.

        Giving credit where it’s due, Gooding does seem to be working on getting his mojo back. He had a small role in Best Picture nominee Selma, and his work playing O.J. Simpson in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has earned him praise. We hope he keeps going in this direction.


  14. Cuba Gooding, Jr., The King of Redbox — A Study in Movie Posters:

    Standing in line at the grocery store yesterday (following proper grocery story etiquette), I noticed among the Redbox selections was a movie called Ticking Clock, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. And I thought, “That’s where he’s been!”

    But when I returned home and checked iMDB, I learned that Ticking Clock was only a tiny fraction of the truth. In fact, Cuba Gooding, Jr. is probably one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood right now. The difference between Gooding and Nic Cage, however, is that, while Cage continues to release moves on 3,000 screens, Cuba Gooding, Jr. has become something of the King of Redbox.

    Since 2007, Cuba Gooding, Jr. has made 10 movies. You’ve probably never heard of a single one of them. I haven’t, even though along the way his co-stars have included Harvey Keitel, Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Taryn Manning, Henry Rollins, Jason London, Lance Reddick, Ally Sheedy, Nicki Blonsky, and Ray Liotta, among many, many other recognizable names. My conclusion: There’s an entire universe of movies that most of us have no f***ing clue about. And the King of that Universe is Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr., whose face on a movie poster is apparently enough to sway enough individuals to rent his movies and keep his career afloat.


  15. When Star Power Becomes Too Much: 15 Celebrities Who Should Take A Break:

    Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Oscar win in 1996 for Jerry Maguire yielded the actor his pick of Hollywood’s best projects. What better response to have than saying yes to everything you’re offered? The actor has appeared in over forty films since then. This prolific period didn’t really kick off until 2007 when he appeared in an impressive total of five films. His batting average has continued since then, hurtling his career into the C-list and greatly detracting from the occasional big screen efforts like Red Tails.


  16. 10 Formally Respected Actors Who Have Probably Gone Insane:

    3. Cuba Gooding, Jr.

    In the mid-90′s, this guy was on top of the world following his breakout performance in Boyz n the Hood, a supporting role in A Few Good Men, and then an award-winning performance as Rod in Jerry Maguire.

    If you thought Adrien Brody was hit badly by the “Oscar Curse”, he’s got nothing on Cuba; following another supporting performance in As Good as It Gets, he has consistently churned out average performances in terrible movies of which there are literally too many to list here, but here is a few: Boat Trip, Daddy Day Camp and Norbit.

    For a guy that was riding on such a high which culminated with Jerry Maguire, I have no idea what went so wrong that he ended up being a lesser Eddie Murphy.



    Making a film so preposterous that the casting of baby-faced Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who looks to be about 12 years old) as a doctor and Mo’Nique as his lover/nurse (who is named Precious, strangely enough, the title of the Lee Daniels film that won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress four years later) qualifies as the 13th least-plausible element, just ahead of the equally surreal casting of Helen Mirren as a lover/mother surrogate to traumatized hitman Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Achieving the pretension of a David Lynch film, the ambition of a Pedro Almodóvar film, and the aesthetic achievement of a super-long Red Shoe Diaries episode

    Lingering on Gooding’s muscular posterior so obsessively that by the end of the film audiences will have seen it more than Gooding’s own proctologist

    Squandering a one-of-a-kind cast that includes Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr., Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mo’Nique, Macy Gray, and Stephen Dorff


  18. Once They Were Stars, Now They’re All Too Easy Targets:15 Celebrities Whose Careers Have Become Punchlines:

    Cuba Gooding Jr.’s performance in Jerry Maguire won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1996. The actor was among Hollywood’s biggest A-listers for a stint but a series of box office flops and bad career choice (see Boat Trip, Snow Dogs, or Norbit) led him down the drain of direct-to-video movies. Though the actor has managed to score a few substantial theatrical parts since his decline (in films like Red Tails or American Gangster), the actor has become a punchline among his contemporaries due to his “anything for a paycheck” attitude. Rumors of alcohol abuse have also hounded the actor, who was admitted to a rehab facility last August. Whatever the case, Cuba Gooding Jr. has become a testament to the fact that Oscar glory is a fleeting thing.


  19. That pretty much sums it up. I had never heard Gooding speak so honestly on the subject. Great find.


  20. Hollywood Career Killers: 15 Movies That Helped Do Away With Major Tinseltown Players:

    Cuba Gooding Jr’s career has been on the direct-to-video skids for years now. Looking back, he has no one to blame but himself. Well, actually, he can also blame Boat Trip. The 2002 comedy co-starred Horatio Sanz and chronicled the plight of two buddies attempting to restart their love life with a singles’ cruise. Of course, things don’t go as planned and they’re placed on a homosexual-themed boat ride instead. What follows from there is a sustained, 94 minute gay joke as a Gooding and Sanz’s characters pretend to be homosexual to win favor with two female cruise employees. The film did not make its money back, Gooding was ripped apart by critics, and Sanz hasn’t headlined a film since.


    • 25 Movies That Killed Careers:

      Boat Trip (2003)
      The casualty: actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

      Cuba Gooding Jr.’s resume is rather deceiving. Following his Academy Award-winning performance in the 1996 smash Jerry Maguire, the actor has appeared in over 30 movies, which would lead one to believe that his career is alive and well. And it is, if by “alive and well” you mean “relegated to either small, co-starring parts, dismissible family films, of straight-to-DVD junk.”

      The credit for Gooding’s downward spiral, post-Maguire, goes to Boat Trip, an excruciating embarrassment of a film that makes Snow Dogs look like Old Yeller. It’s the kind of movie an actor should make years before starring in an Oscar-baiting movie, when upstart thespians are desperate enough to establish themselves that they’ll willingly participate in the Z-grade comedies rejected by Saturday Night Live cast members. For a once-in-demand Academy Award recipient, though, Boat Trip is the kiss of leading-man death. Unless you consider Daddy Day Camp to be a good look.


  21. Where’s the Cast of “Coming to America” Now?

    Cuba Gooding, Jr.
    Most recent projects: Red Tails (2012), One in the Chamber (2012)

    Prognosis: In any other movie, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s credit of “Boy Getting Haircut” wouldn’t be anything to brag about, but in Coming to America, the then-unknown, young actor’s presence during the funniest barbershop scene ever filmed is admirable by association.

    Gooding, Jr.’s post-Coming to America career has been the stuff of high-and-low legend. He starred in the groundbreaking hood flick Boyz N the Hood (1991), appeared in A Few Good Men (1992), and eventually won an Academy Award for yelling “Show me the money!” in Jerry Maguire (1996). His lively, memorable acceptance speech promised a vibrant new Hollywood star.

    His decisions after the Oscar, though, betrayed that promise. Aside from the occasional pop-up role in a respectable film (American Gangster, 2007), Gooding, Jr. has mostly slogged through laughably bad comedies (Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, both 2002) and lessened his worth in straight-to-DVD thrillers like The Devil’s Tomb (2009) and The Hit List (2011).

    By year’s end, he’ll have co-starred in two movies that, for whatever it’s worth, will at least open theatrically: Machete Kills and The Butler. A far cry from Jerry Maguire, but much better than Daddy Day Camp.


  22. 10 Promising Film Careers that Stalled:

    6. Cuba Gooding Jr

    It is always sad to see Hollywood lose an African American acting talent to bad film choices as there are so few heavy weight black actors who have made it to the top of the game. There are only so many roles Denzel Washington and Will Smith can take on and both are getting older; Hollywood is genuinely on the lookout for the next major African American film star and they had thought they had found one in the form of Gooding Jr.

    With roles in films of notable pedigree such as Boyz n the Hood, A Few Good Men and Jerry Macguire – for which he went onto win an Oscar – Gooding Jr was the next big thing and he was actually beginning to open films.

    But then he starred in the atrocious The Fighting Temptations in 2003, which was a vehicle for Beyonce Knowles. It is unclear why Gooding Jr agreed to take on the film, perhaps he did it as a favor to Knowles or perhaps he genuinely liked the script but if that was the case then he was probably the only one.

    Following The Fighting Temptations, Gooding Jr has gone on to make poor film choice after poor film choice and is no longer seen as the next huge star but more as background noise; if he wants to return to the industry with the clout he once had, then he will have to up his game significantly in the next few years.


  23. 10 Most Wildly Inconsistent Actors In Movie History:

    Cuba Gooding Jr.

    For a while, Cuba Gooding Jr. looked as though he was set to become one of the leading actors of his generation – and yet, somewhere along the line, it sort of fell apart, and everybody seemed to forget why he was all that big a deal to begin with. You’ll remember that Gooding Jr. won an Oscar for his role in Jerry Maguire, of course, and was excellent in roles in Boys ‘N the Hood and A Few Good Men before even then. Check Cuba Gooding out nowadays, though, and something’s clearly missing: he’s been phoning it in for near-on 10 years. Say what?

    Now and again, there have been moments to savor, but – generally speaking – the last twenty or so movies that Cuba has made have ranged between “meh” and “this is unbearably bad, please take me outside and shoot me.” Hyperbolic? Perhaps. What’s strange, however, is how an actor capable of turns like the ones in As Good As It Gets and What Dreams May Come has made so little impact in everything else. And given how eccentric and fun he is in Jerry Maguire, it’s also weird to notice that – fairly frequently – Cuba winds up being so stiff and boring.


  24. What Happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.?

    With the exception of Lupita Nyong’o’s well-deserved win over Jennifer Lawrence, this year’s SAG Awards were a relatively predictable affair—until the very end, when Cuba Gooding Jr. suddenly charged the stage and grabbed the microphone away from Ben Affleck to commemorate the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend. It wasn’t Gooding’s first display of exuberance at an awards show, as anyone who remembers his ebullient acceptance speech when he won a best supporting actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire in 1997 can attest.

    The years since then haven’t always been happy ones for Gooding, professionally speaking, as he often seemed to take his Jerry Maguire mantra, “Show me the money!,” to heart. How else to explain Snow Dogs and Boat Trip, among other egregious missteps? Or perhaps he was taking his father’s biggest hit song with the Main Ingredient, “Everybody Plays the Fool,” a bit too literally. But every few years, he’d remind us of the promise he once showed as a young actor in films like Boyz N the Hood and A Few Good Men, contributing solid work in serious movies like American Gangster and Red Tails, not to mention Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which earned him an invite to the SAGs, where the film was nominated for Best Ensemble.

    Still, Gooding was playing the fool at the SAGs, delivering one of those corny “How did you get your SAG card?” monologues with a smirk, then popping up to pour champagne for his tablemates. Of course it was a reference to his role as a server in The Butler, but it almost made you wonder if Gooding might need the extra scratch he could earn by working for the caterers.

    Especially when you look at the box-office receipts for Gooding’s latest movie, Life of a King, which opened quietly in theaters over MLK weekend and earned $5,709 on 16 screens, for an average of $357. Meanwhile, Gooding’s Boyz costar Ice Cube‘s Ride Along raked in $48.6 million and an $18,260 average.

    It’s too bad, because Life of a King (which is also available on VOD and iTunes) is not a bad little movie. It’s a cross between Dangerous Minds and Searching for Bobby Fischer: Gooding does admirable work as an ex-con high-school janitor who teaches life lessons to a group of inner-city D.C. students by forming a chess club.

    Sure, it’s formulaic and a tad hokey, but Gooding’s inherent likability and a stellar supporting cast, including Dennis Haysbert as his jailhouse chess master and the always-underutilized LisaGay Hamilton as the school principal who gives him a chance, make it worth a $6.99 iTunes rental, at least. As for Gooding’s cinematic future, he’ll play a runaway slave who heads to Canada via the Underground Railroad in this year’s Carry Me Home. One can only hope this will keep him on the path of doing meaningful films, because when he steers clear of the likes of Daddy Day Camp, Cuba Gooding Jr. can be (to invoke a career high point) As Good as It Gets.


  25. Well- Amistad got good reviews- but it wasn’t a huge film- either Oscar or $$ -wise.

    Remember that he had a good role in As Good As it Gets the same year- and a lot more people saw that.

    If Men of Honor had been a hit in 2000- and if he had turned down Snow Dogs in 2003- things would be different.


    • OOps- Snow Dogs was 2002 (only 5 years after his Oscar? Really?)- 2003 was Radio- embarrassing Oscar -bait.


      • 10 MORE Oscar non-starters:

        “Men of Honor”

        Year: 2000

        Director: George Tillman, Jr.

        Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron

        What happened: Gooding spent a solid five years after his “Jerry Maguire” Best Supporting Actor win trying to live up to the award. With every overplayed, inspirational moment in “Men of Honor,” the true story of the U.S. Navy’s first African American master diver, you can see the actor squeezing the material like a sponge, hoping all the drama pours out. Tillman’s story was too feel good to make any kind of splash in 2000. De Niro entering his “comedy” (phoning it in?) period, surrounded by “Analyze This” and “Meet the Parents,” didn’t energize his role either. A decent box office take and middling reviews couldn’t keep the spotlight on “Men of Honor” long enough. It was destined for airplane viewing (everyone saw this on an airplane, right?).

        • Matt Patches


        Year: 2003

        Director: Michael Tollin

        Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger

        What happened: In the words of Kirk Lazarus: “Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, ‘I Am Sam.’ Remember? Went full retard. Went home empty handed.”

        • Matt Patches


  26. thomas osgoode

    wow, nice on the updating lebeau! I’m a regular reader and came back here because Jerry Maguire aired on tv (what’s that…people still watch tv?!). I do see some comedic blood in Cuba Gooding Jr…I couldn’t see him trying to be an action star. Then again…if Liam Neeson can do it, why not Cuba!


    • This one still needs a little TLC. I’m slowly going back and adding a fresh coat of paint to some of the older articles. I basically rework them as though I were writing a new article today. Sadly, that takes more time than I would like. I need to hire some unpaid interns!

      Liam Neeson’s late-career reinvention as a action star is lightning in a bottle. I never thought it would work out half as well as it did. But it just goes to show you that anything can happen. Any one of the actors or actresses I have written about could come back into the spotlight in a big way. I will bet against it 99% of the time. But I have been wrong before. Gooding could come back too. Stranger things have happened.


  27. Cuba Gooding Jr. to play O.J. Simpson, Sarah Paulson cast as Marcia Clark in FX’s “American Crime Story”

    Paulson will play the lead prosecutor who tried to convict Simpson in Ryan Murphy’s 10-episode anthology series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”


  28. 10 Actors You Hate Because Of One Movie Role:

    Cuba Gooding Jr. – Boat Trip

    Six years after winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his energetic performance in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, once-likable actor Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in this, Boat Trip, surely one of the worst roles for a former Academy Award winner in film history, and perhaps the only time in a commercial movie where one has had to shoot semen on an unsuspecting sailor’s face in the hope for – or for the sake of – laughs (please, if you know of any other examples of this, let me know.)

    Plenty of performers have starred in absolute trash (Cage, De Niro, Cage) and yet they don’t bring on the hate quite like this one – while they’re undoubtedly bad, they rarely sully the memory of their best roles. Something about CGJ in Boat Trip does, however, and the fact that he hasn’t atoned for it since (or even tried) doesn’t help.

    What also doesn’t help is that the film is downright offensive, with everyone from gay people, to African Americans, to Latinos getting slaughtered for a cheap laugh. It makes you wonder what in the hell Cuba Gooding Jr. was thinking. Even if he ever does match his work in ’96, I fear this will still linger far more in the memory.


  29. Cuba Gooding Jr. Defends the Academy at ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ Premiere


  30. 10 Acting Careers Destroyed By Great Movies

    Cuba Gooding Jr. – Jerry Maguire

    The Film: The Tom Cruise-led movie gained commercial and critical success as the film was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Cuba Gooding Jr stole the show with his over the top enthusiasm driven performance as a budding football star, sealing his place in pop culture history with his famous “Show me the money” line. Former Green Bay Packers vice president Andrew Brandt stated that the film “accurately portrayed the cutthroat nature of the agent business, especially the lengths to which agents will go to retain or pilfer clients”.

    What Happened Next: Cuba Gooding Jr. won and Academy Award for his showing as football player Rod Tidwell in the 1996 movie. Not so much that he couldn’t attain the same success as his breakout film, but Cuba would actively avoid the spotlight for months at a time in an attempt to make sure the hype of his Oscar win would not go to his head. Since then, not only has he never even been nominated at the Oscars again, he’s actually been nominated four times for the Golden Raspberry’s Worst Actor award. Almost going out of his way to make sure he wasn’t perceived as an Oscar hunter.

    What Now: Gooding Jr would flounder in the wake of his breakout hit, starring in the cringe worthy Boat Trip and Daddy Day Camp in the years following. Appearing in no less than fifteen direct-to-video films since Jerry Maguire is a testament to how far the once promising young actor has fallen.


  31. 15 Actors Stuck In Hollywood’s Dog House

    Cuba Gooding Jnr

    This is less an actor being consigned to the doghouse by Hollywood, as one intent on moving himself there personally. Gooding Jnr. has been very good in films such as The Butler and Jerry Maguire, for which he has an Academy Award to prove it.

    The problem is that he seems either unwilling or unable to refuse the offer of a part; any part. As such Gooding Jnr. is just as likely to appear in Norbit or Daddy Day Camp, or as some prefer to call them: Career Suicide 1 and 2. Constant work for an actor is essential clearly, but surely times never get so hard as to justify Snow Dogs?

    With good offers still coming in, such as the recent Selma, there appears to be no need for Gooding Jnr. to chase all these second- and third-rate roles.

    So What Next?

    Just say no. Simple. Good offers keep coming in so just stop doing all the other rubbish. Impressing in his role as the title character in The People v O.J. Simpson has kept Gooding Jnr. in audiences’ minds so time will tell if he can break the cycle.


    • Maybe Cuba had sort of the same issue that somebody like Kurt Russell suffered in that while he did occasionally drift deep in to comedy, he was never really taken that seriously (if there ever was a better oxymoron) as a comedic actor. The only difference is that most people seem to still like Kurt Russell’s “funny movies”. Instead, Cuba wasted his post-Oscar wealth on hacky stuff like “Boat Trip”, “Daddy Day Camp” and “Snow Dogs” that just made him look like an utter buffoon. Instead of “laughing with Cuba” were just “laughed at him” if you catch you drift.

      Maybe Cuba did all of this stuff because they were “fun” ideas on paper and were an easy paycheck. Let’s face it, there aren’t that many movies on the level of “Boys in the Hood” or “Jerry Maguire” to fall back on in the mean time. But it’s very hard to go back (and be taken seriously on face value) into more “quality fare” when you’ve bogged yourself down so long in a bunch of crap. The same sort of thing happened with Brendan Fraser.


  32. Actors whose careers were killed by one terrible movie

    Boat Trip, though, is kind of infamous as being the point of no return for his career because the movie was so amazingly horrible he should have turned down that script. It clued in to people that Gooding Jr. has no sense of quality control because at least with Snow Dogs and Radio (the former a mediocre kids film and the latter Oscar bait) you can see why he would say ‘yes’ to those.


    • 15 Movies That Completely Ruined Actors’ Reputations


      Today, moviegoers mostly recognize Cuba Gooding Jr. as that bumbling guy who pops up in second-tier comedies. A shame, considering the fact that in the late ’90s he was considered one of the biggest rising stars in Hollywood. After winning an Oscar for his intense performance in Jerry Maguire, audiences couldn’t wait to see what was next for Gooding Jr.

      Disappointingly, what was next turned out to be a string of awfully constructed comedy films, the worst of which being Snow Dogs and Boat Trip. A mere five years from being on the Academy Award stage, Gooding Jr. was chasing huskies across the tundra, and starring in a nautical comedy so homophobic, that it made Chandler Bing from Friends look good.

      While he’s managed to find work in projects of substance like The Butler and American Crime Story, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career has never quite recovered from the one-two punch of Snow Dogs and Boat Trip, which are formulaic Hollywood comedies at their worst.


  33. Looks like Cuba Gooding Jr. is riding the wave due to the acclaim from that Juice miniseries on FX. I can’t blame him for living it up and soaking it in, since he’s probably learned from 19 years ago on how fleeting it can be. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but I’m not sure this is a springboard for a full-fledged comeback; it just may be a wave like “Jerry Maguire” was. If it does lead to bigger things, I’d be happy for him. It just seems his carreer deals in both explosions and silence.


  34. Apparently he’s got an issue with gambling.

    Accrued a bunch of debt, then started taking on crap roles to pay for them.

    I’ve heard rumors of substance abuse but it seemed less reliable than the gambling rumor.


    • I only have had one bad experience with meeting someone and it was a long time ago so he might’ve changed. I met Cuba Gooding Jr in 93′ at a Los Angeles Kings game.

      We’re at our seats standing during the National Anthem, and we see a commotion coming down our row, so we look but don’t pay any mind because they stop right next to us. Normally, at sporting events the Staff stops all people from coming in during the National Anthem for respect of the nation, but this dude had none of that.

      After the National Anthem and we’re sitting I look to my left and who’s there but Cuba Gooding Jr! He’s 2 seats away from me. The only thing that separated us was one of my buddies and then one of his buddies.

      This was just after Boyz n’ the Hood, and being a young teen of color, I’m all over this, but I’m not about to be on somebody’s jock at a game. I tap my buddy’s and tell them who it is and some are like who? and others are like F’ yea!

      We don’t say a word to the guy, but obviously we’re checking him out, but by no means being rude. This ends after about 5 minutes into the game because we love hockey more than Cuba.

      About 15 minutes later he gets up all loud and says “Man, this is some bullshit!” All dejected like he’s being hounded by all these people, and leaves. He never comes back to his seat and we watch the rest of the game.

      TL;DR – Saw Cuba Gooding Jr. at a hockey game. He rolled in during the National Anthem. He left bitter because kids recognized him.


  35. Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Jerry Maguire


    Rod Tidwell is arguably the most memorable character from the entire film. Decades later, we still recall his famous catchphrase “show me the money,” his elaborate touchdown dances, and of course, his loyalty to Jerry. Rod acted as the comic relief for much of this film, and still, he served to add emotional depth as well. The character was so lovable, eccentric, and not to mention well-acted, that Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

    Sure, Cuba Gooding Jr. has been involved in some of Hollywood’s more teased movies, receiving Razzie nominations for multiple films with in the same year – Daddy Day Camp and Norbit for 2008’s award show, and Boat Trip, Radio, and The Fighting Temptations in 2004. Still, Gooding Jr. has been in a number of quality films over the past 20 years – Selma, American Gangster, and As Good as it Gets. Maybe his career has not been quite as promising as one would have speculated walking out of Jerry Maguire in 1996, but hopefully we are seeing a bit of a resurgence, as Gooding Jr. recently starred as O.J. Simpson in the critically acclaimed drama American Crime Story.


  36. Paula Abdul: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me (‘I Discovered Cuba Gooding Jr.’)

    I discovered Cuba Gooding Jr. when I cast him in a Bugle Boy commercial in 1988.


    • I wanted to drop an F-Bomb AFTER the game, since I don’t care much for the Penguins (like The Gap Band, they dropped a bomb on me, baby). Besides, the only Penguins I like are Burgess Meredith, Danny DeVito, and Paul Williams.


  37. Dallas Assassinations — Slain Cop’s Chance Meeting with Cuba Gooding Jr. (PHOTO)


  38. Blind Items Revealed #7

    March 24, 2016

    This A-/B+ list mostly television actor who is an Academy Award winner got slapped the other night at a club when he tried to snort coke off a woman. He didn’t even ask her first. The sad thing is, because he is on a hit show, several other women volunteered.

    Cuba Gooding Jr.


  39. Cuba Gooding Jr. doesn’t mind being mistaken for Terrence Howard


  40. Blind Items Revealed #2

    December 4, 2016

    This Academy Award winning actor was wasted out of his mind at an award show. He kept going up to women and asking if they wanted to be grabbed by the pu**y. No one took him up on his offer. He was at his worse.

    Cuba Gooding Jr.


  41. Cuba Gooding, Sr. dead at 72 of possible overdose: report

    Cuba Gooding, Sr., a soul singer and actor’s father, was found dead Thursday, according to reports.


  42. Cuba Gooding Jr mocks the Oscars mix-up when he announces Moonlight as a TV BAFTA winner… before handing the gong to Phoebe Waller-Bridge


  43. Cuba Gooding Jr. Crashed New York Fashion Week Party

    Notorious skirt-flipper Cuba Gooding Jr. is up to his old partying ways again. This week, Cuba crashed a party during New York Fashion Week on Wednesday night with a wingman/assistant/procurer in tow, reportedly with the express purpose of pulling some wool. Several party goers spied Cuba at the party and watched in horror as he strode into the room and screamed “Show me the poonanny!”. Ok, so maybe it didn’t go down quite like that. It was actually worse.


  44. 16 Insanely Hot Actors Hollywood Won’t Cast Anymore


    Gooding’s breakout role was in Boyz in the Hood, but it was four little words in Jerry Maguire that made him a household name. Hollywood showed him the money and an Oscar for his trouble. Though he tried to stay on the award track, 1998’s afterlife twaddle, What Dreams May Come, set the tone for the next 15 years. His stock continued sinking with lowbrow comedies like, Snow Dogs, Daddy Day Camp, Norbit, and Boat Trip. But it was 2003’s Radio, his attempt to cash in on the trope of a mentally challenged person overcoming adversity, which really sunk his battleship. The industry decided he was no longer a “serious” actor. Ryan Murphy has taken a recent shine to Gooding, casting him in the American anthology, but it has yet to truly resuscitate his career. Gooding is currently making his own work, writing, directing, and starring in the upcoming Louisiana Caviar.


  45. What happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s career?

    I mean I know he had Oj Simpson story, but cuba was starring in some straight to dvds movies..

    I mean, he was the lead and maybe he was getting paid, but damn he had boys in the hood, Jerry McGuire, and men of honor type roles at first?

    He should be on Denzel level, in some roles, he’s even better than him…

    Wednesday at 11:46 PM #2

    I always wondered what happened to his career as well… he won an Oscar and is actually a good actor. I thought the OJ movie would revive his career, but I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything since.

    Wednesday at 11:54 PM #5

    Too many poor choice in film roles and box office bombs IMO.

    Yesterday at 12:24 AM #8

    His breakout mainstream Hollywood role got him an Oscar, but he hadn’t proved himself to be a box office draw. For the most part, Cuba was way more known in the black community than the white one.

    Yesterday at 12:44 AM #14

    His career probably crashed and burned because of his alleged drinking problem and because he is a lousy actor. Casting him as OJ Simpson was probably one of the worst mis-castings of the 21st century — disappointing because the other actors delivered strong performances.

    Yesterday at 12:48 AM #15

    Hated him as O.J…. way to whiny, high pitched voice, and small. Honestly he was the worst cast member. Even David Schwimmer played Kardashian well.


  46. Jonathan Jaxson : My Very Personal Truth on Being Sexually Assaulted by Hollywood Power Names

    Celebrity publicist Jonathan Jaxson just came out – claiming that he was sexually assaulted by Cuba Gooding Jr. Jonathan has repped Kim Kardashian, Kim Zolciak Biermann and a lot of other celebs.

    Jonathan is openly gay.

    Here is what dude wrote on his blog this morning:

    Dear Cuba Gooding, Jr.,

    It has been nearly 8-years since we shared what was to be a quick friendly kiss goodbye followed by you grouping me and inviting me back to your hotel.

    The season was NY Fashion Week and it was a very cold February 2007 when I arrived to Bungalow 8 with several very high profile celebrity clients who had the balcony reserved above the crowd. I sat with some of the biggest names alive today in Hollywood, sharing a glass of champagne after a successful day of NY Fashion Week shows. Below our group was the likes of the Olsen twins, yourself and many others and their security into this private retreat where celebrities got to be undercover.

    That night hit me hard as I only knew you from the movie “Boat Trip” and honestly had no clue further. So when the group I was with asked if I wanted to go downstairs and say hello to some friend, I agreed and we ended up at your circular table briefly as they chatted it up with you. I went for a hug good-bye after conversing and you planted a kiss on me. This is what I wrote about in my 2013 book about the incident:
    Fashion Week Is Not for the Meek:
    I was backstage at the Heatherette show as part of the annual New York Fashion Week. I had clients in their seats awaiting the arrival of Britney Spears. This was during her very public breakdown, and Britney did finally show up. Late. I watched her get out of chauffeured car, obviously incoherent, where she proceeded to throw up all over herself and the sidewalk below. Her team quickly pulled her back in the car and sped off.

    Later that night I accompanied several of my clients to the ultra-exclusive celebrity club Bungalow 8. As we took over the top floor balcony overlooking the dance floor, with full bottle service and anything we needed at our fingertips, I watched some sad and unimaginable antics by a very famous pair of twins. Next, I was on my way out of the party and was saying good-bye to some clients who moved to sit beside a charming, Oscar-winning actor who I didn’t really know much about.

    At his booth was a gaggle full of young women, but as I got up to leave and give him a hug, he quickly turned his head and had his lips on mine and we kissed with our mouths open before I was shocked and finally said my official good night. I did an online search at home and found out he was still married with children. I was so shocked that he would make out with me of all people…

    What I had left out was the biggest part, you grabbing my penis through my pants and inviting me back to your hotel which prompted the very quick exit alone for me. This was left out due to the fears of my attorney’s at the time in what would possibly cause outrage from you and my already brunt honesty. I am fearless now and the truth shall set me free. I know if you did this to me, you surely did it to many others. As of matter of fact, it has been documented via many publications upon research you have touched many others inappropriately, yet it seems to stay hidden.

    You sir are forgiven, but will never be forgotten.

    Jonathan Jaxson


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