I think it’s fair to say that Miles Teller needs a break. I don’t honestly like the guy, but he’s a gifted actor who could be Robert De Niro in the ’70s. Alas, something’s not working for him. People respect Teller, I think, for being a grade-A talent who chooses well and always pushes himself to the limit or beyond, but in the four years since Whiplash none of Teller’s films have combusted critically or commercially. He was happening in the immediate wake of The Spectacular Now and Whiplash, but not lately.

The reviews of Teller’s latest film, Thank You For Your Service, are mixed so far, but Variety‘s Owen Glieberman is a fan, and so is The Village Voice‘s Alan Scherstuhl.

Teller to HE on Hollywood-Highland escalator: “Don’t be a pervert, man.” That alienating April ’15 Esquire interview. Not getting the La La Land lead role that went to Ryan Gosling, allegedly for being “too demanding.” Hiring “no” publicist Susan Patricola to represent him. (Patricola isn’t exactly a crisis publicist but she seems to be popular with clients who want the press kept away.)

2013’s The Spectacular Now (alcoholic teen) plus Whiplash (great drumming, his best performance yet) started things off well, but then came a trio of paycheck fantasy films that weren’t so hot — Divergent, Divergent: Insurgent, Fantastic Four. Then a trio of respectable, hard-driving performances in films that made the grade in my book but which didn’t connect with reviewers or at the box-office — War Dogs, Bleed For This and Only The Brave. Thank You For Your Service, which I won’t see until Thursday evening, probably isn’t going to make any money either.

Review-wise Teller has done himself proud in the last four, as noted, but that’s still seven tanks in a row if you count TYFYS.

Critic friend: “He was not only in one bomb after another, but seemed like one of those flaky young-fuck narcissists on a star trip who was destined to flame out. But the dude is fucking talented. I don’t have much commercial expectation for Thank You For Your Service, because no one — no one! — wants to see a movie about Iraq War vets. It just sounds like medicine. But I think his very strong and heartfelt performance (the opposite of flaky/narcissistic, etc.) will help bend the curve back his way.”