Top 5 / Bottom 5: Gwyneth Paltrow

Posted Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 01:50 PM PST by

by Aaron Peck

It's a well-known fact that High-Def Digest editor-in-chief Mike Attebery has a special fondness for Gwyneth Paltrow (and by fondness, I mean blinding hatred largely inspired by goop). That's why for this week's Top 5 / Bottom 5 article I decided that we'd take a look at Gwyneth Paltrow's filmography and see if we couldn't point out the good and the bad.

I know everyone has been chomping at the bit to get 'Shakespeare in Love' on Blu-ray. It comes out today, which is why we're highlighting Mrs. Paltrow here. Now let's check out the best and worst that Paltrow has to offer while Mike is out buying his third and fourth copies of 'Bounce.'

The Best


I have to admit, this takes some lady-balls. That's right, I went there. Paltrow is an international star. She's known everywhere, and she usually headlines whatever movie she's in. So it was just a bit crazy that not only was she the first one to die in Soderbergh's worldwide plague movie, but she also was part of the Best Scalping Scene of 2011. It was truly a gasp moment when the autopsy doctors flopped the top part of her head over onto her face. Didn't they know they were operating on Mrs. Coldplay?! For a movie star with her recognition, taking on a role like the one of Patient Zero, Beth Emhoff, was a pretty gutsy move.

'Iron Man'

It's one of those movies where she's not the main focus and that's a good thing. She's a great Pepper Potts and adds a nice calming feeling to the manic world of Tony Stark. She doesn't have to do much other than run errands and conveniently find herself in peril at the end, but that's exactly what a damsel in distress should do anyway!

'The Royal Tenenbaums'

Ah, Wes Anderson's comedic masterpiece. Even if her role was completely miniscule in this movie I'd still have it on her list. 'The Royal Tenenbaums' is a movie like 'The Big Lebowski' which will continue to be loved year after year. People, such as myself, often revisit the Tenenbaum household because the movie is that good and that funny. Isn't it about time that we got a 'Royal Tenenbaums' Blu-ray?


She's hardly in this and even for her most pivotal moment in the movie – you know, "What's in the boooooox!" – she's not even around. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize one of the best modern day thrillers on this list. Yeah she may have only about 10 full lines of dialogue, but she plays an important role in a fantastic movie.

'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'

Every so often I'll revisit 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' and realize all over again how much I really enjoy watching it. It's just so fun and so inventive. Even in the days of Zack Snyder green screen mayhem, there's something different about Kerry Conran's sepia-toned 40s-themed future. It's full of life. It's fun. And after nearly 10 years, it's still visually stunning.

The Worst

'Country Strong'

Did you even watch this movie? My guess is no. I'd like to tell you right now that you're better off. This movie reeks of shameless self-promotion. It's no secret that Gwyneth Paltrow is pursuing a career in music, because being a mega-movie star with an empire of goop just isn't enough apparently. She's even starred on 'Glee' and gone on tour with them. She like totally wants to be a singer. Beyond the trite screenplay and the awful, flat characters, 'Country Strong' was simply made so Paltrow could show off her singing prowess, which isn't all that great anyway.

'Great Expectations'

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón this all style and no substance drama failed to click in so many ways. It's been quite a while since I've seen this movie. I remember renting it as a teenager because Paltrow was lying half-naked on the cover staring at me. Beckoning me to rent it. None of my boyhood fantasies ever panned out and I was left watching a middling effort from a director who would soon go on to direct some fantastic films.


I reviewed 'Hush' a few months ago and laughed much of the way through it. If it wasn't for Jessica Lange's hilariously great overacting the movie would've been completely unwatchable. Paltrow sulks around on screen doing nothing more that screaming and gasping whenever she figures out some new horrid information about her sociopath of a mother-in-law. 'Hush' is a corny as thrillers get.

'Shallow Hal'

I put 'Shallow Hal' on the Worst List for Jack Black, so it only makes sense to include it on Paltrow's Worst List too. This movie is so offensive on so many levels. The sad part is that it thinks it's somehow standing up for obese individuals and people who look different, when in reality it's driving an even bigger wedge between them and society. I literally hated almost every moment of 'Shallow Hal'.


No really, she starred in a movie called 'Sylvia' which told the story of literary icon Sylvia Plath. From what I remember of this movie it was A) dreadfully boring and B) one of the most overly dramatic, biopics I've ever watched. It's an almost unbearable two hours in runtime. There's nothing worse than watching a sappy melodrama that runs on into the 120 minute range.

Gwyneth Paltrow has had some good movies (Yes, Mike, it's true), movies I even enjoy watching, but her bad movies are really, really, really bad. What do you think of the list? Are there movies that would've made your top five that weren't included? Or are you like Mike, thinking that we should've just done a Bottom 20 List? Let us know in the forums by clicking the link below.

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Tags: Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck, Top5/Bottom 5, Gwyneth Paltrow (all tags)