When he was great: Primal Fear (1996), The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996), American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002)
Since then: The Incredible Hulk (2008), Pride And Glory (2008)
To be fair, Edward Norton’s most recent movies weren’t all that terrible, not even 2008’s Pride And Glory, with its derivative “dueling cop brothers” premise. It’s a forgettable film, yes, but not a trainwreck. So Norton’s inclusion on this list isn’t an indictment of his cinematic output—it’s more about his inactivity.
In the late ’90s, Norton was everywhere, and delivering terrific performances in every film he made, especially playing the skinhead trying to reform and save his impressionable little brother in 1998’s distressing American History X. Fast forward to 2008, when he starred in, and passionately spearheaded, the problematic The Incredible Hulk in 2008, a production that notoriously brought with it an abundance of behind-the-scenes drama; why else do you think Mark Ruffalo, not Norton, plays Hulk in this summer’s The Avengers?
After Hulk’s headaches, Norton hasn’t been as prolific as he was in the past; whether the Marvel Studios troubles are to blame or not is anyone’s guess—we just want to see the man back in action, despite why he’s been M.I.A. This summer, Norton has a pair of promising flicks on tap: Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and the franchise resurrection The Bourne Legacy, with Jeremy Renner taking over Matt Damon’s action her mantle. Neither film is an Edward Norton movie, per se, but we’ll take what we can get.