The Worst Movies of the Best Actors

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The Worst Movies Starring the Best Actors
The Worst Movies Starring the Best Actors
Columbia Pictures
Almost 40 years after achieving idolatry as Michael Corleone, Al Pacino decided it would be a neat idea to play himself as a Dunkin’ Donuts sponsor who falls passionately in love with Adam Sandler-in-drag in Jack and Jill. But Pacino is hardly the only legend to sink to harrowing lows. Flip through our gallery to relive the horrors of watching the most esteemed, respected thespians of our time take the stage in hot garbage.
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Robert De Niro: New Years Eve
Robert De Niro: New Years Eve
Warner Bros. Pictures
As you watch an aging Robert De Niro succumb simultaneously to the equally debilitating wills of mortal illness and a marquee slate that seems to have no room for actors over 60, you might let your mind wander back to his career-defining role in Raging Bull. As a heyday Bobby once said, “That’s entertainment.” But this isn’t.
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Kate Winslet: Movie 43
Kate Winslet: Movie 43
Relativity Media
Kate Winslet is not the sole purveyor of shocked disappointment to lend her name and face to Movie 43; venerated folk like Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, and Uma Thurman all laid waste to our belief in earthly justice when they signed on for what ended up being the most detested comedy of 2013. But Kate… that one hurt the most.
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Jamie Foxx: Stealth
Jamie Foxx: Stealth
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Jamie Foxx first proved his yet unseen proclivity for a meaty role in Ray, stepping into dramatic enchantment from a career of small-screen comedy. But 2004’s Ray Charles biopic wasn’t the end of Foxx’s gaffes: one year later, he gave us Stealth, a sci-fi mistake that remains graciously forgotten thanks to the large shadow of Ray.
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Tilda Swinton: The Beach
Tilda Swinton: The Beach
20th Century Fox Film
2014 alone is enough to earn Swinton a virtual superhumanity when it comes to acting gravitas (now if Marvel would only grant her actual superhumanity and cast her as Doctor Strange already!). But way back when, she had to wade through the murky waters of films like The Beach, which wasn’t exactly 2000’s Only Lovers Left Alive.
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Jack Nicholson: The Terror
Jack Nicholson: The Terror
American International Pictures
You want a legitimately frightening piece of film from Nicholson’s younger days? Try The Shining. You want a movie that is only frightening due to how narrowly it missed destroying the career of a Hollywood giant? The Terror is the flick for you.
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Halle Berry: Catwoman
Halle Berry: Catwoman
Warner Bros. Pictures
Yeah, yeah, this one’s old news. Galleries like these are legally mandated to include mention of the otherwise talented Berry’s superhero misstep Catwoman, so don’t blame me for unoriginality!
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Dustin Hoffman: Little Fockers
Dustin Hoffman: Little Fockers
Universal Pictures
Sure, Mr. Hoffman, you’ve made films like Midnight Cowboy and Rain Man and The Graduate and Kramer Vs. Kramer and Tootsie and Lenny and Strawdogs and All the President’s Men. But people really wanna see that Meet the Fockers shtick again!
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Joaquin Phoenix: Ladder 49
Joaquin Phoenix: Ladder 49
Buena Vista Pictures
These days, any cerebral, esoteric, and dramatically powerful film warranting a commanding male lead looks to Joaquin Phoenix. But there was a time, marked by Ladder 49, when the actor settled for routine schmaltz. That I’m Still Here ordeal really does seem to have turned things around for the guy.
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Jodie Foster: Flightplan
Jodie Foster: Flightplan
Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection
Remember Flightplan? Jodie Foster on a plane with a kid? But then the kid goes missing? And you start to wonder if there ever was a kid in the first place? And you start to wonder if Jodie Foster is just going crazy? And you start to wonder if the entire flight staff is just in on a giant conspiracy against Jodie Foster? And you start to wonder how much damage you’ve done to your cerebral cortex exposing it to this nonsense movie?
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Tom Hanks: Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Hanks: Bonfire of the Vanities
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Brian De Palma, Tom Wolfe… and yet, somehow, we got Bonfire of the Vanities: a movie almost as bad as its title.
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Denzel Washington: Heart Condition
Denzel Washington: Heart Condition
New Line Cinema
Before Denzel Washington earned glory playing a bigoted lawyer who teamed up with a gay Tom Hanks, and in turn learned the true dangers of homophobia, he earned pity playing a non-bigoted lawyer who teamed up with a quite bigoted policeman (Bob Hoskins), and in turn helped him to learn the true dangers of racism. It wasn’t quite as moving as Philadelphia.
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Judi Dench: Doogal
Judi Dench: Doogal
The Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Dame Judi Dench might have avoided the same black mark that her fellow listees garnered from their worst entries thanks only to the fact that her face is never seen in the animated Doogal. Good move, JD.
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Matt Damon: The Brothers Grimm
Matt Damon: The Brothers Grimm
Dimension Films via Everett Collection
We like to imagine Ben Affleck rising from bed each morning and smiling wide as he gazes warmly at the poster for The Brothers Grimm. “Sure, I did Gigli,” he whispers with comfort. “But I didn’t do this.”
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Charlize Theron: Aeon Flux
Charlize Theron: Aeon Flux
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
This movie was worse than The Ocean Walker.
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Leonardo DiCaprio: Critters 3
Leonardo DiCaprio: Critters 3
New Line Cinema
We feel a little bad being so harsh with a 17-year-old Leonardo Di Caprio, who was only paying his dues in the treacherous Critters 3. He had to start earning that Citi Bike money sometime!
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Cate Blanchett: Robin Hood
Cate Blanchett: Robin Hood
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Just because you’re British and classy that doesn’t mean you’re ordained to be in medieval fantasy movies, Cate!
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Philip Seymour Hoffman: Along Came Polly
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Along Came Polly
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Chronicling Philip Seymour Hoffman’s gifts to the big screen proved an arduous task upon the actor’s passing earlier this year. But among the lot of gems there are one or two clunkers: Along Came Polly, the Ben Stiller rom-com, is perhaps the nigh unparalleled actor’s weakest point.
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Meryl Streep: The Giver
Meryl Streep: The Giver
The Weinstein Company
You might think it too soon to declare The Giver the absolute worst movie that Oscar’s favorite child Streep has ever unleashed upon the many, but cinematic treachery of this degree travels at lightning speed.
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Daniel Day Lewis: Nine
Daniel Day Lewis: Nine
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Three: Day-Lewis’ Best Actor Oscar wins. Four: Day-Lewis’ BAFTA Award victories. Eleven: Day-Lewis’ triumphs from various Critics Award organizations, spanning three decades of acting genius. Nine: Day-Lewis’ sole torrential blunder.

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