Elliott Gould

Why Do People Hate Elliott Gould?

Elliott Gould is an American actor known for films like MASH, The Long Goodbye, and more recently, the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. While he’s had a successful career spanning over 50 years, some people have expressed dislike or hatred towards Gould over the years. There are a few potential reasons explored below.

Acting Style and Persona Rub Some the Wrong Way

One of the most common critiques of Elliott Gould is that his low-key, laconic acting style comes across as wooden or dull to some viewers. He often plays characters who are ironic, sarcastic, and detached in an understated way.

For example, in Robert Altman’s MASH from 1970, Gould plays the wise-cracking “Trapper” John McIntyre. While his improvised lines were hailed by critics, some found his casual, deadpan delivery off-putting. This acting persona has continued across Gould’s roles over the decades.

Some people may also be rubbed the wrong way by Gould’s public persona which matches his on-screen presence. He often comes across as wry, irreverent, and unimpressed in interviews, which could grate on certain people’s nerves.

Been in Some Notable Bombs and Flops

While Gould has his share of critical darlings like MASH, he’s also been a part of some major box office flops over the years. Movies like I Love My Wife, Harry and Walter Go to New York, and The Devil and Max Devlin were panned by critics and lost big money at the time.

Gould also notably clashed with the producers of 1978’s The Silent Partner, which impacted promotion and may have led to its financial failure. The actor’s outspoken, headstrong reputation likely didn’t help matters when these films failed.

The high profile disasters may have caused some viewers and critics to resent Gould’s seeming habit of making or starring in box office bombs during his career.

Fallout with Show Creators Like Robert Altman

In the early stages of his career, Elliott Gould was hailed as a counter-culture icon and even “the face of the ’70s Hollywood”. However, the actor later developed a reputation for difficult behavior behind the scenes of projects.

Most notably, Gould had an epic falling out with Robert Altman after the massive success of 1970’s MASH. He criticized Altman publicly and the two parted ways until working together again 20 years later.

Similar stories emerged on the set of The Silent Partner and other productions where Gould was seen as argumentative by producers. These kinds of strained professional relationships may have impacted public perception.

Made Questionable Choices Around Roles

Elliott Gould experienced a huge surge of popularity early in his career but made some choices in subsequent years that puzzled fans and critics. At the height of his fame, he began turning down high-profile roles like Midnight Cowboy and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which went on to win Oscars.

Later on, Gould took parts in many generic action thrillers and horror movies in the 80s that didn’t do much to bolster his reputation as a selective, thoughtful actor. To some, it seems like Gould failed to live up to his early promise.

Between questionable role refusals and later cash-grab roles, people may judge the missteps and uneven performances over the years.

Elliott Gould Actually Widely Hated?

Despite a small subset of critics and some questionable choices over his long career, Elliott Gould remains a fairly well-regarded actor by contemporary standards.

He has over 165 acting credits and a resume with genuine classics and fan favorites like MASH, Ocean’s Eleven, and Friends featured prominently. Later generational audiences may know him best for his recurring TV roles on hit shows like Ray Donovan in recent years.

So while Gould may have a few detractors upset over specific incidents or acting preferences, he doesn’t seem to provoke near-universal hatred these days as the question implies. Still, filtering through the possible reasons why some dislike his work can lead to a deeper understand of both Gould and film history overall.

Table 1 summarizes some of the key potential reasons explored in detail above behind why Elliott Gould rubs some audience members the wrong way to this day.

Reasons Some People Dislike Elliott Gould
Low-key, “wooden” acting style
Wry, “unimpressed” public persona
Appearing in box office flops
Strained relationships with directors/producers
Turned down acclaimed roles in peak fame years
Took questionable roles in the 1980s

Is hating Elliott Gould justified from an objective standpoint?

As with most intensely disliked celebrities who don’t have major personal scandals or outrageous behavior attached to their name, the animosity Elliott Gould faces from a segment of movie watchers is likely overblown.

While his acting style and career choices may not appeal to everyone, there aren’t glaring objective reasons to despise his body of work or contributions to film overall. At worst, reasonable critics may consider him unproven as a consistent box office draw or overly selective with roles at times.

But from an impartial view, Gould successfully pioneered an influential counter-culture comedic style in the 1970s and transitioned to supporting roles in ensuing decades without any major detractions or points of condemnation.

Blanket statements like “hating” Gould require selectively exaggerating flaws while ignoring reputable achievements across a 50+ year career. So while particular criticism can be valid, it seems disproportionate to elevate them to outright hatred frequently.

What are the best Elliott Gould movies to redeem him with hesitant viewers?

For those still unsure about Elliott Gould or inclined to buy into anti-hype, it may be worth revisiting a few of his highly regarded films that showcase his talents at their peak. Some noteworthy redemption options include:

  • MASH (1970) – Gould sets the tone for the whole picture as Trapper John with his endlessly quotable, sharply comedic presence. It topped the year’s box office and scored big with critics too.
  • The Long Goodbye (1973) – Arguably Gould’s definitive role as the cynical PI Philip Marlowe in Robert Altman’s clever update of the classic noir novel.
  • California Split (1974) – Gould got an Oscar nomination as the freewheeling gambler finding trouble across 1970s California in this offbeat buddy movie directed by Robert Altman.
  • Friends (1994-2004) – While not a starring role, Gould shined as Monica and Ross’s father Jack Geller for many seasons, blending humor and heart skillfully.
  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001)/Twelve (2004)/Thirteen (2007) – Gould adds gravitas and wry humor as elder statesman Reuben Tishkoff amid the glossy heist thriller trilogy led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Exposure to those peak performances capturing Gould’s unique comedic energy and presence may soften negative preconceptions.


In closing, Elliott Gould’s unusual screen persona and tendency to speak his mind has seemingly rubbed a vocal minority the wrong way during his long acting career. But an even-handed assessment suggests any overblown “hatred” is likely unjustified and driven by exaggerating his flaws while dismissing achievements.

Revisiting Gould’s best films reveals a singular talent for merging comic timing and a cynical spirit who made an indelible stamp during a vital Hollywood decade. Doubters should particularly check out MASH, The Long Goodbye, and Friends to experience the Elliott Gould effect that left such an impact over half a century and counting.

While he may not be everyone’s cup of tea as a performer, writing Gould off completely requires downplaying the dedication and versatility shown in nearly 200 roles and counting.

So rather than stoking the overstated flames around supposed Elliott Gould hatred, it may be wiser to appreciate the edgy creative spark he brought to so many memorable projects through the years instead.

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