We'll start with Lifetime's Miracle Run where he played the mentally challenged, marathon-running son of Mary Louise Parker (before she was hashing out hash). His Gilbert Grape!
Then there was his cameo in Heist where he played a pizza boy that gets blown up.
There was his guest spot on CSI: Miami where his little brother murders an IRS agent.
His spot on NCIS where he accidentally purchases a murdered lieutenant's cell phone.
And, of course, his starring role on the WB's Summerland, where he played a victim of domestic abuse. Seriously? Can this kid catch a break?
I've saved the best for last though: a seminal classic, the direct-to-DVD film, The Derby Stallion. Truly the Rocky of horse movies. Efron is just an unlikely American with a big dream, riding to victory with help from Houston Jones, his "mystical negro" coach. "The heart of a boy, the soul of a champion." This film has it all: animal humor, sepia-tone flashbacks, Southern racism, comical trombone inserts, a porny jazz soundtrack, a tip-frosted obviously gay antagonist, the touching death of a mentor (one guess), and -- of course -- the gap between Zac's two front teeth. But really, you should just watch The Derby Stallion so you can hear my prince among twinks say things like "he's tied up and ready to go," and "OK, boy, show me what you got."
...and now I owe Zac Efron an apology.
-- ALEX WILBURN