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15 Amazing Performances In Terrible Movies

There are some movies that are just so bad that you wouldn't recommend them to anyone. With few good qualities, they've either completed missed the point of their subject material, are a shameless cash-in or just have no plot to keep them going long enough. However, sometimes an actor gives their all to a really bad project.

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Whether it is because they are a consummate professional, they don't know how the final product will turn out or that they've just got a point to prove, these actors give a decent show of themselves in otherwise bad films.


15. Christopher Walken - Gigli

A dull affair of a film that was unique in that it was odd yet still boring in its oddness and followed the questionable storyline of a low-level mobster (Ben Affleck) working with a lesbian criminal (Jennifer Lopez) to kidnap the mentally challenged brother of a federal prosecutor. Walken doesn't have a big part in the film but when he crops up he provides the only decent moment.

 

Known for his wacky,over the top character, Walken pulls a genuinely interesting police investigator out of the bag with his odd emphasis on words making the character one worthy of screen ti,e. Probably the only one that was.


14. Naomi Watts - Shut In

Shut In starts off as an intriguing drama about a child psychologist whose patient goes missing and then begins to stalk her house. It has all the potential of being a genuinely brilliant thriller but pretty rapidly devolves into silliness and cheap jump scares for the sake of being scary and failing miserably.

 

That being said, Watts gives a great turn as a grieving woman in psychological turmoil and if she were offered something meatier to get her teeth into, this could have been a really, really good film. But it wasn't.


13. Andrew Garfield - The Amazing Spiderman 2

The reboot of The Spiderman series was a shameless cash-grab after the rights for the Spiderman name were running out and so Sony had to make a new film. Original director and star didn't want to take part so Andrew Garfield was called in to help out in a hastily cobbled together series that only made money because...Spiderman.

 

Anyway, Garfield gave it his all and actually nails the angsty Peter Parker role really well which is a shame because the films stank to high heaven and now there's a new bloke playing Spidey. Garfield comes into his own in the second film but we'd already lost interest by that point.


12. Mickey Rourke - The Expendables

This was a stupid film, it knows it's a stupid film because the concept is to get as many aging action stars on screen as possible. Many of them sleep walk through it because it is easy money and they know people will see it just because there's a load of names involved. Rourke, however, is the only one who treats it like art.

 

It's not art Mickey, it's trash but your desperate attempts to add depth to your character are appreciated.


11. Max Von Sydow - Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

People may point to this film's Oscar nomination as a way of suggesting it doesn't deserve the tag of 'bad film' but although it was undeniably adapted from an incredible book, the on-screen version of events is overly sentimental to the point of it coming across as shamelessly tugging at the heartstrings without ever doing too much to deserve it.

 

Von Sydow is a great actor in pretty much everything he does but, playing a mute man, he manages to bring a level of sincerity to the picture without having to say anything and that takes some doing.


10. Jennifer Aniston - Cake

Jennifer Aniston typically finds herself in standard rom-com's or films that cast her in a variation of her iconic Rachel role from Friends. However, in Cake, she stepped out of this and into the shoes of a woman dealing with chronic pain issues. The film is hardly a revelation and is filled with cliches that you'd expect to see from an indie film.

 

Aniston is a breath of fresh air though as she gives an inspired performance that will shock many who dismiss her standard repertoire.


9. Jim Carrey - The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

A comedy satirizing the absurdity of professional magic, this movie had an all-star cast and a hilarious concept but it fell short as just a picture putting together cliched jokes and going through the motions of things we've seen before. If only it had pushed the envelope a bit more it could have been great.

 

Carrey however, gives a committed performance as a pretentious and deluded endurance artist that raises him above everyone else there trying to pick up a paycheck.


8. Ben Foster - The Program

Given that its subject matter was one of the most controversial and shocking sporting deceptions ever and that it was still in the news at the time, The Program had all the characteristics to be a brilliant portrait of a man driven by his desire to win no matter what the cost. The problem is that only Ben Foster appeared to get this memo.

 

There are actually some excellent performances in this otherwise lackluster tale but Foster raises the bar with his cold, arrogant portrayal of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that leaves others in his wake.


7. The Huntsman: The Winter's War

Snow White and The Huntsman was a decent but unoriginal adaptation of the Snow White fairytale that had nowhere to go after it was completed and yet the studio decided to squeeze out a wholly unnecessary sequel that looked very pretty and lacked any substance. Still, Charlize Theron managed to salvage something from it.

 

Clearly clocking the film for what it is Theron offers up a sense of deliberately chewing the scenery whilst everyone else takes their characters far too seriously. This makes her far more fun than anyone else to watch on screen as she plays all out evil to perfection and upstages everyone else in the process.


6. Jake Gyllenhall - Southpaw

To be fair to Southpaw, it's not actually a bad film but it is disappointing for ll the potential it offered up. Billed as a modern day Raging Bull, the film is so dark that it becomes a real slog to get through it as it lacks any wit or brevity what so ever. Nonetheless, Gyllenhall smashed his way through it with commitment.

 

Physically altering himself to epic proportions, he gives the performance of a lifetime as the downbeat boxer and he uses his physicality to his advantage throughout.


5. Eddie Murphy - Tower Heist

For those who remember Eddie Murphy as a star in the 80s, a grandstand performance will be nothing new to them. The 2000s generation might look upon him less favorably, though, although, he has pulled some amazing performances (Dreamgirls anyone?) out of the bag here and there and he does so in Tower Heist.

 

It's just such a shame the film is a terrible, comedy by numbers with an orchestrated Ben Stiller lead performance. 


4. Hank Azaria - The Smurfs

  A cynical CGI adaptation of the tiny, blue comic book characters and their wizarding nemesis sees the Smurfs supplanted into New York city in a slapstick family adventure that is as dry as heck, but very young children may enjoy it (few else will). Azaria however, embodies a human cartoon character very well.

His ability with voices and comic timing makes his performance as an over exaggerated villain, actually very watchable.


3. Showgirls

The guy who gave us genuine action classics such as RoboCop and Total Recall (the first one, the good one) turns his hand to gender politics and screws it up...like, really, really badly. To the point that it is exploitative, offensive and morally repugnant. So why would anyone want to watch it? Well, for one thing, it is overly dramatic, it is a wonder that anyone thought this would be a genuinely thought provoking film.

 

That being said, Gina Gershon seems to know how bad this film is and so runs with it making the hammy overacting of everyone else look even worse as she seems to have fun with what she's doing, making her the scene stealer in every shot she's in.


2. Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

What many American viewers don't appreciate is just how divisive and controversial a politician Margaret Thatcher was to the British people. Loved or hated, there were many extreme policies she enacted that garnered her both praise and got the hackles up of others. A biopic of her years in power with perennial Oscar nominee (and sometimes winner) Meryl Streep should have been immense award fodder.

The fact that the film completely glossed over many of her most controversial moments and cobbles together a rather dull narrative by picking and choosing the moments it does show very poorly, Streep, however, nails the portrayal with a fiery determination and an excellent turn from loud and unmovable 'Iron Lady' to softer, more diplomatic leader.


1. Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar

Before he won an Oscar, Leo threw himself into everything he did in order to try and win one. J. Edgar saw him give a towering performance as the former FBI director who was controversial and widely feared. The actor manages to capture the rage that terrified his enemies whilst also humanizing the man, which is no mean feat for a character that was previously seen as untouchable.

The problem with the film is that it is too ambitious. Hoover has so many elements to his life that could be films in their own rights that the film can only cherry pick but it does this too lightly, not covering enough when it does settle on something and completely ignoring other parts altogether.


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