The oddest early movie roles played by 19 of today’s biggest actors

It’s amazing that Johnny Depp can go from a random dude killed by Freddy Kreuger in A Nightmare On Elm Street to a major Hollywood star, earning $20 million for most movies these days. What other crazy first roles launched the careers of today’s biggest stars?

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Nominated for three Oscars (and won for Capote), Hoffman has a diverse filmography, but who would have guessed the tornado-chasin’ hippie in 1996’s Twister and high-school thug in the 1993 zombie satire My Boyfriend’s Back was secretly a great actor?

Sandra Bullock

Before she was Miss Congeniality or winning an Oscar for The Blind Side, she was a buck-toothed biochemist in Love Potion #9 (1992) and an ass-kicking futuristic cop in Demolition Man.

Matthew McConaughey

This southern charmer appears shirtless in just about every movie he stars in now, but in 1994, he was just an average baseball player who needed a little divine help in Angels In The Outfield (along with Adrien Brody).

Amy Adams

She’s been nominated for three Oscars?!? Wait, the same chick who played Kathryn in the horrible direct-to-video Cruel Intentions 2 sequel/remake?

Hilary Swank

This swanky actress won two well-deserved Oscars for Boys Don’t Cry and Million-Dollar Baby. In her first role, on the other hand, she and Kristy Swanson were cheerleaders in the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie.

Brad Pitt

Still hunky today and fun to watch on screen, Pitt followed his big break as a one-night stand in Thelma & Louise with, a year later, a cop protecting toons for 1992’s Cool World.

Kirsten Dunst

Sofia Coppola’s muse in both Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides, Dunst is better known as Spider-Man’s girlfriend or a spirit-fingered cheerleader — but before that, she was the little girl in Jumanji and a bloodsucker’s jailbait in 1994’s Interview With The Vampire.

Jack Black

He’s appeared in more than 90 titles, which eclipses his music career (it’s easy to forget Tenacious D sometimes). When he started out, he must’ve auditioned for anything and everything — he was even a “smoker” pilot in Waterworld and a DJ at a party in the divorce comedy Bye Bye Love, both in 1995.

Gwenyth Paltrow

More famous for her relationships (engaged to Pitt and later married Coldplay’s Chris Martin) than her acting, Paltrow has a lot of variety in her career — Shallow Hal, Iron Man, Great Expectations, Duets, “Glee,” and an Oscar-winning performance in Shakespeare In Love. In 1991, she played young Wendy in Hook.

Robert Sean Leonard

Dr. James Wilson on “House” is a fantastic actor, but he’s sadly unrecognized for it. He delivered truly Oscar-worthy performances in Dead Poets Society (1989) and Swing Kids (1991, alongside Christian Bale).

Zooey Deschanel

The voice of She & Him, Zooey is perfect to star in anything that requires singing as well as being cute. She sang a duet with Will Ferrell in Elf, and played guitar in a high school funk band in 2002’s The New Guy.

Paul Rudd

The go-to guy for “bromances” today, people forget he was Cher’s stepbrother (whom she made out with, ew) in Clueless. Rudd also was a goofy college student on a road trip in 1998’s overlooked Overnight Delivery with Reese Witherspoon.

Rachel McAdams

Before she blew up on the scene as Regina George in Mean Girls and Allie in The Notebook, she switched bodies (literally) with Rob Schneider in 2002’s The Hot Chick.

Keanu Reeves

Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, esquire) and Reeves (Ted “Theodore” Logan) both starred in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but only one survived with a career.

Meg Ryan

Even before she met Harry, the queen of romantic comedies in the 90’s was Goose’s wife in Top Gun, yelling “take me to bed or lose me forever!” (People also forget that the first Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie was the campy 1990 film Joe Versus The Volcano.)

Justin Long

He’s not a household name yet, but you know him from Dodgeball, He’s Just Not That Into You and the voice of Alvin in Alvin & The Chipmunks. (He’s also “the Mac guy.”) His first roles included a sci-fi fanboy in Tim Allen’s 1999 bomb Galaxy Quest and the nerd who tried to sleep with Britney Spears in 2002’s Crossroads.

Anthony Rapp

Also not a marquee name (unless you’re a Broadway fan – he played Mark in the original production of “Rent”), he’s been in a variety of movies but his first role was as a horny teenager in 1987’s Adventures In Babysitting.

Jennifer Connelly

Consistently sexy without looking slutty (unlike her younger doppelganger Megan Fox), Connelly won Best Actress for A Beautiful Mind and should’ve at least been nominated for Requiem For A Dream. She also starred in The Rocketeer (ha) and John Hughes’ underrated Career Opportunities, but her big start was opposite David Bowie in 1986’s The Labyrinth.

Elijah Wood

He may be most famous for playing a hobbit now, but Wood’s resume is pretty diverse. In 1989, the first time we saw him on screen, he only had one line: “That’s like a baby’s toy” in Back To The Future Part II.

What other fun, wacky first movie roles did your favorite actors play?

Top 11 Twitter Misconceptions and Misuses

Twitter is the third-most popular social networking site today. There’s a lot of people who are still new to it, so I understand. I’m here to help. These are the 11 biggest misconceptions and misuses of Twitter that I’ve seen and experienced.

1. You’re not a “social media expert”
Wow, you have a Twitter page. That doesn’t make you an expert in anything. You have a lot of followers? Great. Charlie Sheen got 1 million followers in just a day, but he’s not a social media expert; he’s just a famous person who says crazy stuff. The minute he tries to sell something on Twitter (and he will), you’ll see the true value of his influence. I think it’s ridiculous to consider yourself an expert in something that’s constantly changing, but if you must, back it up with a strong social media presence (that means real influence, not a Klout score or how many followers you have) and lots of experience.

2. Resist the urge to immediately complain about a business #fail
Yes, it’s 2011, and every business should be on social media, prepared to respond to customer complaints. But keep in mind, the best way to get customer service is to actually complain to a person when you’re still at the business. If the supermarket doesn’t have what you’re looking for, tell the manager and they can explain or at least tell you when the next shipment will be in. If a restaurant screwed up your order, tell the waitress, don’t tweet it. If they still continue to #fail after that, then share it. Otherwise you’re just complaining to complain and/or a power-hungry weasel trying to get freebies.

3. Twitter Chat
While I don’t think Twitter is designed for “chat,” I do see the value in creating a chat hashtag so other people can easily join the conversation from anywhere in the Twitterverse. Keep in mind, if you’re overly chatty, you’re going to aggravate people who don’t want to see the chat conversation and (probably) lose followers that enjoyed what you were saying the other six days of the week. Minimize that aggravation by NOT retweeting more than one or two really good chat points (and they better be damn good), and start your tweets with @username when responding to other people so regular followers don’t see them. Don’t worry, other people will still see those tweets, because they’re following the #chathashtag. Duh, that’s why you set up a hashtag.

4. Live-tweeting
Like Twitter Chat, be prepared to lose followers. Not everyone wants to use Twitter the way you do. Three rules for live-tweeting: 1, don’t just describe what you’re seeing – say something original or interesting; 2, use a hashtag so people can block it if they choose; and 3, only live-tweet a live event (what’s the point of live-tweeting “Glee” or a sitcom?).

5. 50,000 followers does NOT equal 50,000 people reading everything you say
“No one’s listening!” “Why isn’t anybody tweeting me?” No, your Twitter is not broken. Don’t assume everyone’s just dying to respond to everything you say, and whining about it will just make us resent you even more. Most people I see with 50,000 followers are following 60,000 people — a lot of people have this “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” attitude but don’t actually interact. This is a prime example of how a lot of followers doesn’t equal influence.

6. You’re talking, but not listening
If all you’re doing is posting tweets, but not responding to @replies or tweeting other people, then you’ve missed the point of social media. (Hint: It’s to be social.) Also, if you’ve been on Twitter for more than six months and you’re still following more people than are following you, that’s a sign that you’re not listening.

7. “Exclusive” and “breaking” are outdated – stop using those words.
“Exclusive” and “breaking” are old media terms. Three minutes after your “exclusive” interview appears anywhere, Huffington Post has already re-purposed it and 437 blogs, 92 television stations, and 162 radio stations have the same interview. Further, the speed of share has changed the meaning of “breaking news.” Fifty years ago, Walter Cronkite could say something was breaking three days after it happened, and everyone would accept it. Now, as soon as news “breaks” on Twitter, it’s already broken. Everyone already knows it, and if you claim something’s breaking six hours later, it’s just annoying.

8. A twitpic’s worth a thousand words.
You only have 140 characters, so if you’re describing something you saw, take a picture of it. It’ll get the point across faster and better. “Gross, there’s a fly in my burger” isn’t as interesting as an actual picture of it. Plus, a lot of us need to see it to believe it.

9. Trending Topics
“If you tweet it, they will follow.” Some people think mentioning a trending topic in a tweet will get them followers. Worse, they’ll ask “Why is Urkel trending?” which will just make it trend even more without contributing to the conversation. Also, while big news makes trending topics, not all TTs are actual news – I see this a lot especially in the afternoon, when British people are surprised/excited that some 90’s movie is on TV.

10. Fake News
Mick Jagger’s not dead. Neither is Sinbad, Jeff Goldblum or any other celebrity that you’ve read about on Twitter. Worse, this news gets spread further by people tweeting it because “RIP Matt Damon” shows up as a trending topic. Twitter’s like any other media — only believe it if it comes from a credible source (i.e. @CNN.)

11. Can’t say it in 140 characters? Don’t say it on Twitter.
Clerks director Kevin Smith commits this crime a lot, so I stopped following him. Some “social media experts” tried claiming Tumblr is the new Twitter, when that’s not true – Tumblr is for posting stuff that you can’t say in 140 characters. You keep it short and sweet, but you can’t make it short enough? Blog it.

Charlie Sheen gets one million Twitter followers in 24 hours – the fastest ever to reach the mark

@CharlieSheen on Twitter

“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available, because if you try it once, you will die and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much?”

Charlie Sheen’s Twitter account is powered by tiger blood, battle-tested bayonets and a drug called Charlie Sheen — and he is WINNING.

The “Two and a Half Men” actor’s very first tweet was Tuesday, March 1st at 6:43 p.m. EST. It was a picture of him and one of his “goddesses.”

The insanity has spread at blinding speed. At 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, 24 hours later, Sheen’s account had 996,395 followers.

A few minutes later, he passed the one million mark. Boom!

The previous fastest to hit one million, to my knowledge, was @Oprah, who took 28 days (from April 16, 2009 to May 14, 2009) to reach the mark. She joined when Ashton Kutcher showed her how the micro-blogging social site worked, a day before Mr. @aplusk beat @cnnbrk to be the first Twitter account to hit one million followers.

Fastest people to reach 1,000,000 Twitter followers:
1. Charlie Sheen (24 hours, 3/1/11-3/2/11)
2. Oprah (28 days, 4/16/09-5/14/09)
3. Kanye West (80 days, 7/28/10-10/15/10)
4. Conan O’Brien (90 days, 2/25/10-5/25/10)
5. Ashton Kutcher (92 days, 1/16/09-4/17/09)
6. LeBron James (97 days, 7/6/10~11/10/10)

According to Twitaholic, there’s just over 300 Twitter accounts with over one million followers. Who’s the most influential? You could argue Lady Gaga (8.5 million followers) and Justin Bieber (7.8 million followers) but neither of them have created such a stir in such a short amount of time.

Sheen’s crazy rants and beyond-out-there interviews have fueled a limitless collection of Internet memes and viral spinoffs, including:
New Yorker cartoons based on Charlie Sheen quotes
Superheroes using Charlie Sheen quotes for dialogue
Charlie Sheen soundboard (audio)
Cats quoting Charlie Sheen
Bunnies quoting Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen Book of Poetry
Sheen Family Circus: Family Circus with a dose of the drug called Charlie Sheen
Charlie Brown / Charlie Sheen mashup by Jimmy Kimmel
Charlie Sheen crazy rant quotes inserted in Charlie Sheen movies & shows
Cleen Sheen (the kid-friendly version of Charlie Sheen’s rants)
Live the Sheen Dream (random quote generator)

Maybe Charlie Sheen will use this media frenzy and newfound Twitter popularity to win back his role on “Two and a Half Men,” or maybe he’ll do something else entirely. Like get psychiatric help. Only time will tell, and Charlie’s got the watch that keeps Warlock time.