EEven the best of us sometimes make mistakes – they’re just not being observed by millions of people around the world.
For actors, however, life is an endless series of criticisms. A bad film performance can live on in shame just as long as a great one, and no actor is immune.
From veteran legends like Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro to stars at the height of their power like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, even the best actors have proven themselves capable of truly terrifying twists and turns.
Sometimes these performances are met with nothing but scorn, ridicule, and Razzie nominations — sometimes they mercifully manage to slip under the radar.
To be clear, the actors aren’t always the culprits; Many of the appearances on this list have been in generally awful films, with actors let down by shoddy scripts or filmmakers.
Here is The Independent‘s list of 17 absolute worst performances by some of the world’s best actors…
tom hanks – Cloud Atlas (2012)
Hanks actually plays six different roles in the Wachowski sisters’ ambitious, era-spanning epic, and he’s by no means bad in all of them. But his performance as mobster-turned-novelist Dermot “Duster” Hoggins could well be the worst of Hank’s entire career. Ridiculously wide and with an accent that’s supposedly Irish but comes across as evil Cockney, “Duster” is a creation best left in the dustbin.
Nicolas Cage – The Wicker Man (2006)
There were few, if any, actors of Cage’s caliber offering so many bad performances to choose from; his career polarizes extremes. Although apologists may try to invoke “stylistic risk-taking,” Cage’s work is in 2006 willow man Remake stays at the bottom of the pile – an exercise in rural horror that comes across as ridiculous excess. You’ll never be able to say “bees” again after watching this.
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Halle Berry – Cat Woman (2004)
Produced before superhero movies became as ubiquitous as Oxygen, cat woman was a notorious dud when it first came out. Berry was in the glamor of her fame at the time, having won the Oscar for Best Actress just a few years earlier. In his own nefarious way, Berrys cat woman turn was also worthy of an award: she accepted her golden raspberry personally and joked in her cheerful acceptance speech: “To deliver such a really bad performance as I did, you need a lot of bad actors around you.”
Al Pacino – Jack and Jill (2011)
Still, as one of the greatest actors who ever lived, Al Pacino is known for delivering his fair share of questionable (over)performances over the years. However, there’s none quite as cracking in line as his brief cameo in the dismal Adam Sandler vehicle jack and jill Pacino plays himself, making his way through a music ad for a drink called Dunkaccino. It’s not very funny, and Pacino almost seems humiliated by his mere presence in it.
George Clooney – Batman & Robin (1997)
There’s no way Clooney can be blamed alone for this infamous superhero flop; From head to toe, this film was stupid, indulgent and misunderstood. But the Ocean’s Eleven Star certainly isn’t covering himself in glory with his version of the caped Crusader, resulting in perhaps the worst on-screen Batman of all time.
Robert De Niro – Dirty Grandpa (2016)
Once considered by many to be the best actor alive, De Niro’s star has waned somewhat in recent years. Though he’s still capable of pulling greatness out of the bag (see: The Irishman), his recent output offers a litany of telephone appearances, from Little fockers to The Comedian. In terms of sheer, humiliating “how did it happen” moments, there’s nothing quite like it Dirty grandpabut in which De Niro plays a horny seventy-year-old who accompanies his grandson (Zac Efron) to Florida for spring break.
Russell Crowe – The Mummy (2018)
The general lackluster of this Tom Cruise vehicle helped set Crowe’s performance as Dr. Covering up Jekyll (officially “and Mr. Hyde”) in what was quietly the worst supporting turn of Crowe’s career. The scene in which Crowe lets off steam and transforms from sanguine doctor to savage Mr. Hyde is one of the most giddy over-the-top scenes in recent memory, and the seedy CGI is just the icing on the cake. Had Warner Bros’ planned (and pre-announced) Dark Universe materialized, Crowe would have had his own standalone film as a bipartite fictional character. What a terrible and ancient curse that could have been.
Natalie Portman – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
All three Star Wars prequels were blessed with a plethora of veteran actors; All three also put on some truly awful performances, often by the same actors. Natalie Portman was never well served by attack of the Clone warriors‘s screenplay, but this nonetheless remains one of her worst performances. Portman’s Padme Amidala, who shares most of her scenes with Hayden Christensen’s pouting Anakin, is painfully wooden and lacking in charisma; The swollen political storylines surrounding the Galactic Senate also didn’t give Portman room to develop her considerable talents.
Robert Downey Jr – Dolittle (2020)
There were few men as naturally charismatic as RDJ; The camera loves him and so does the audience. So it’s no small shame that his acting career took off after the success of iron man is pretty much limited to Marvel’s Tony Stark – ever since The Avengers In 2012, his only major roles were outside of the MCU The judge and dolittle, both of which could sympathetically be described as disappointments. His role as animal doctor in dolittle However, it has to be the worst – a bland and tasteless twist on a classic children’s premise.
Tom HardyCapone (2020)
As an actor, Tom Hardy makes big decisions. That’s what makes him great; it’s a big part of what infused movies like Bronson or Mad Max: Fury Road with such unique, specific energy. But those big decisions don’t always work out, leading to bizarre results in movies like last year’s weird Al Capone biopic. The film was devastated by viewers on social media, with one critic writing that Hardy “grunts, coughs, and fucks his way through scenes that lack any form of direction, liking, and/or purpose.”
Adam Sandler – The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
So many of Sandman’s performances can be described as broad, lowbrow, or just plain bad that it’s easy to forget just how great an actor Sandler is. When he engages himself, either in his self-produced comedies or in more dramatic projects (Beat drenched love; The Meyerowicz Stories; Unpolished gems), he can be a force to be reckoned with. In which Ridiculous 6, but he’s not even a force to be tolerated. Playing a white orphan raised by Native Americans in the Wild West, Sandler is frankly awful. The film is similarly bad, earning a rare zero percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Leonardo DiCaprio – J Edgar (2011)
It’s a testament to DiCaprio’s consistency that when it comes to poor performances, there isn’t much to choose from; J Edgar, but is an absolute stinker. Shot in the turbulent days leading up to DiCaprio’s Best Actor win, the inflated biopic was a see-through ploy for Oscar gold, and saw the actor don a horrific prosthetic leg to play an older version of the controversial FBI director. It’s little better than a younger J Edgar Hoover, mind you – this is a bad, indulgent film, one that does the titanic Stern fails to get up.
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Michael Caine – Jaws: Revenge (1987)
Getting Michael Caine to be the fourth entry in the Jaws franchise should have been a coup. With Roy Scheider leaving the franchise afterwards pine 2, it needed some star presence. Unfortunately, Caine hasn’t exactly covered himself in fame. For his part, the British actor quipped hilariously about the film’s dubious merits, famously saying: “I’ve never seen it, but by all accounts it’s awful. However, I have seen the house they built and it is great.”
Naomi Watts-Diana (2013)
This year saw a stellar portrayal of the late Princess Diana on screen as Kristen Stewart tacked on the role for the bold, revisionist biopic spencer. However, previous attempts to capture the “People’s Princess” haven’t been quite as successful with the 2013 biopic Diana as the low point of Naomi Watts’ career. That Mulholland Drive Star is far from bad in her attempt to inhabit royalty, but the film itself is a shoddy and ill-considered piece of work.
Idris Elba – Cats (2019)
Gaze at the screen during any frame of the 2019 musical cats and you will see poor performance; That spot could just as easily have gone to Judi Dench, Ian McKellen or Ray Winstone. It’s not necessarily Idris Elba’s fault, more the damn CGI, but Macavity is a creepy alien creation – and not what it should be. The lofty heights of The cable‘s Stringer Bells have never felt so far away.
Meryl Streep – Into the forest (2014)
Meryl Streep’s place in the Hollywood Hall of Fame has long been undisputed; She practically has Oscar nominations for an annual subscription. Nonetheless, some of her performances and acting quirks have drawn dubious reactions from critics – with her role as a witch in In the forest Stand as one of their lowest ebbs. Stephen Sondheim’s masterful musical has been stripped of much of its charm and bite for this Disney-produced adaptation, and Streep’s performance is hammy and off-putting. The part in the opening song where she has to rap is also nightmarish.
Glen Close – Backwoods Elegy (2020)
Glenn Close’s performance in this patronizing slice of rural Americana may be one of the worst performances ever to be nominated for an Oscar. Close has proven to be one of the best actresses of her generation – with diverse but top-notch performances in all of the 2017 films The woman to the FX cop drama The shield – but as a hardened grandmother “Mamaw” in Backwoods Elegy, Close is unfortunately an exaggeration. Everyone seems to agree that an Oscar win for Close is long overdue; Thank God it didn’t come to that.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/best-actors-bad-acting-movies-list-b2077171.html 17 terrifying performances by great actors, from Tom Hardy to Robert De Niro