Hollywood living is lucrative but precarious. Acquiring a coveted role in a film can lead to traps and career dead-ends. Many veteran actors have found their livelihood in peril after playing roles the viewing public hated. Read on to learn about actors whose careers have been stalled, nearly destroyed, or completely decimated by the movies they worked on.
Hayden Christensen’s "Whiny" Character in Star Wars
We all try to put more value in everything that surrounds us, exerting effort to focus on positive and good energy. Hayden Christensen’s whiny character in Star Wars reminds us of what we are all trying to avoid each day, in workplaces, organizations, and clubs.
He reminds us of the negative people we try to ignore, the overly righteous, a voice that becomes pesky to hear after it's been grating on you for even just a few minutes straight. This jarring characterization came about despite Christensen’s impressive experience in acting before taking on Star Wars. Even the director’s career was stalled, too, after that. Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin Skywalker is something casting directors, movie fans, and we dare say even he himself, would like to forget.
Dwayne Johnson as Tooth Fairy
In fairness to Dwayne Johnson, transitioning from the world of professional wrestling to Hollywood movies, requires a different skillset, an entirely different resume, but he’s made it. Although his first few attempts were ridiculous.
How bad was it? The Rock, in all his buffness, large as a giant, playing cute in a role in "Tooth Fairy". He looked so desperate, the lines of the movie weren’t funny at all, the story was off and cheesy. It was hard for The Rock to land another major role after "Tooth Fairy", but we all know he got through persistently, in a way only The Rock knows how.
Kevin Costner and The Postman
Kevin Costner seems to have developed a habit of taking on so-so movies, with roles that can never be ranked among those up for award nominations. But life wasn’t always like that for him. In fact, he was a fan favorite, back in the heyday of his career.
Had it not been for his big name and charm, Costner would have been knocked off the ranks of A-listed actors after his role in the movie "Waterworld". A film that turned out to be an ocean of nonsense. He followed up this wet flop with "The Postman", hammering the final nail into the coffin of his leading man status. While his former celebrity status has been lost, he still manages to snatch up some projects now and then.
Son of the Mask Didn’t Work in Jamie Kennedy’s Favor
Jamie Kennedy knew he had big shoes to fill when he got contracted to work in a sequel to Jim Carrey’s "Mask", titled "The Son of the Mask." After all, Carrey’s type of acting apparently doesn’t work for just any actor. But Kennedy was believed to have something special, that everyone involved in the project was banking on.
He starred in three Scream films, "Malibu’s Most Wanted", and "Harold And Kumar Go to White Castle". But all that experience wasn’t enough for him to live up to Carrey’s work; particularly when working with less than stellar visual effects (okay, let’s admit it, they were godawful), and a cringe-worthy screenplay. This quite did his career in, although he still clinched a recurring role in "The Horse Whisperer", then, later on, scored a voice-over role in "The Cleveland Show".
Ben Affleck Alongside Jennifer Lopez in Gigli
Ben Affleck had less than stellar performances in "Pearl Harbour" and "Daredevil", but he was still riding high on the back of the popular films, "Good Will Hunting" and "Armageddon". In fact, he’d already won an Oscar Award before he was 25 years old, which is no easy feat. It should have been all gravy from there... but then he decided to work with Jennifer Lopez in "Gigli". He became the subject of ire and burning criticism from viewers.
Despite the nosedive, Affleck was still able to steer his career out of danger. He made it big by directing and acting in the movie "Argo", in 2012, from which he was able to win three Oscars. His strange, yet captivating "Gone Girl" movie, also got favorable reviews.
Rebecca Gayheart in Jawbreaker
Rebecca Gayheart starred in suspense-thriller movies in the 90s. She was a solid hit back in those days, popular with teenagers who loved her in "Urban Legends", and "Scream II".
When it was time to expand her fanbase, she took on a role in "Beverly Hills 90210", capturing prime-time attention on TV. She made another venture into the movie industry and got ensnared into the dark comedy "Jawbreaker". While the film enjoys cult classic status, Gayheart paid badly for it. She hasn’t had any opportunities to get back on top since then, and her career practically ended before it had really begun.
Will Smith in After Earth
Kudos to Will Smith for guiding his son, Jaden, showing him the ropes in acting, which is a warm story in itself. The father-and-son tandem has shown some glints of success in the past, but "After Earth" turned out to be a huge flop.
Perhaps it was a sacrifice Will Smith was ready to take, as he even took a back seat most of the time, to make way for Jaden’s role to unfold. The futuristic theme of the movie didn’t click. It was simply a forgettable movie, and it took Will Smith another two years to come back with a noteworthy film, titled "Concussion".
Fran Drescher in The Beautician and the Beast
Fran Drescher had been building up her career for years, through television. Who could forget her iconic role in "The Nanny"? She became widely popular through it, and casting directors felt she was ready, and so did she, for bigger challenges.
She finally got her first leading lady role on the big screen, with "The Beautician and the Beast". The title itself sounds tawdry, but that’s nothing compared to the movie itself. Drescher simply couldn’t connect to her audience. The movie was horribly written, and no one’s acting cut it. That was the last of Drescher’s leading lady role attempts.
John Travolta Took a Big Hit After Scientology-Inspired Film
John Travolta has been a household name for years; his career was buttressed by box office successes, "Saturday Night Fever", "Grease", and "Pulp Fiction". With his name so beautifully established, it seemed like there was nothing Travolta could do wrong. Until, of course, the advent of his Scientology-inspired film, "Battlefield Earth", in 2000.
Not only did this box-office failure slump Travolta’s career, but it also dragged the production company down into bankruptcy along with it. Travolta floundered for years following the film, based on Ron Hubbard’s novel of the same name. He kept himself relevant and kept his head above water, by appearing in a string of forgettable movies, up until he eventually snatched a role in the 2015 TV series, "American Crime Story", playing the role of Robert Shapiro.
Eddie Murphy in Imagine That
There was a phase in Eddie Murphy’s career when he could turn any action-comedy film into gold, as it were; major blockbusters. The man was beloved all over the world, deemed the funniest comedian alive. He’d reaped huge rewards from the Beverly Hills Cop and Doctor Dolittle franchises. Then, out of nowhere, he wasn’t so funny anymore.
His role in "Imagine That" was abhorred, scathed by critics. Even his most ardent fans would have none of it, and it’s funny how he’s never really regained his former form.
Charlie Hunnam in The Stone
It may be that classic tales, such as that of King Arthur’s if retold to fit the times, shouldn’t stray too far from their original storylines. That, or maybe Charlie Hunnam’s ability to lead in such a crucial role is questionable.
The film "King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword" could well become Hunnam’s undoing, as the film failed to gain favor from moviegoers. This, despite the efforts made to improve its effects, and Hunnam’s huge success in "Sons Of Anarchy". Could this mean his career is on a downward slope? With his remake of "Papillon" merely landing a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, doubts regarding his acting skills are on the rise.
Taylor Kitsch Almost Threw It All Away
Taylor Kitsch is the kind of guy who doesn’t just go away without really trying out his luck. In a series of struggles, Kitsch first exhausted all his energy trying to make it in professional hockey. After finally deciding the hard-and-fast sport wasn’t for him after all, he did all he could to start out an acting career.
Kitsch had to live out of his automobile to make it through the financial challenges that loomed over him, as he waited for his opportunity to come along. His major break came in the role of Tim Riggins, in "Friday Night Lights". Kitsch’s good looks captured the hearts of many girls. He was finally tested in the Hollywood scene when he starred in "John Carter", but it turned out so bad, it lost $200 million.
Lori Petty as Tank Girl
Somehow, some actors are better suited for supporting roles. Lori Petty did quite well while she played parts in "Point Break," "Free Willy", and "A League Of Their Own". Then she finally got a leading role she supposedly deserved, in "Tank Girl". It was an ambitious film that cost $21 million in 1995.
While the film boasts a loyal base of superfans, they are an extreme minority. Most mainstream critics felt that Lori Petty failed dismally in the role; and casting agents must have sensed something about her as an actress, as they avoided giving her leading roles after her cataclysmic performance. She finally made a mark in her career in 2014, after almost 20 years, in the TV series, "Orange Is the New Black".
Demi Moore In Striptease
Demi Moore had established herself in Hollywood as an A-list actress when "Ghost" and "The Juror" became instant successes. For a while there, she was all people could talk about, and the opportunities started pouring in. Moore became the highest-paid artist of all time, following from her growing reputation.
She made history by playing the lead role in "Striptease", with a paycheck of $12.5 million, raising brows amongst peers. But the movie barely took off. It wasn’t entertaining, Moore wasn’t on par with the role either. Critics couldn’t stand it, nor Moore, and she’s never made it back to the elite’s tier since.
Chris Kattan’s Corky Romano
The temptation to transition into movies can be very appealing, and history has proven this to be a viable option for a number of show hosts/casts. The odds are better if one comes from "Saturday Night Live", with Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, and Kristen Wiig being prime examples.
Chris Kattan finally made the plunge in 2001, leaving the SNL nest to take a lead role in a Hollywood movie. The only problem was, the movie he chose: "Corky Romano". It was a dream come true for Kattan, up until the reviews tore him apart, leaving a deep and permanent scar on his acting career. Audiences detested the film with a passion, and Kattan’s opportunities to pursue a successful movie career dried up.
Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi
One of the major challenges of works of fiction is how to make them appear as authentic as possible. Someone must have forgotten that Scarlett Johansson isn’t Japanese, and more importantly, shouldn’t be cast for roles that ought to be given to Japanese nationals (obviously).
But she happened to be cast as Motoko Kusanagi in the Hollywood adaptation of "Ghost in the Shell". Media Action Network for Asian Americans was extremely upset when she denied knowing she’d be playing a Japanese role, but how could she not have known? Anime fans all over the world were less than impressed.
Christopher Reeve Superman IV
Christopher Reeve has for years been the ideal actor for the role of Superman. In fact, his iconic good looks and personality became so associated with the role, that in the eyes of his fans, he became the superhero himself. After the third movie, Reeve was ready to take on new challenges but stayed on when management agreed to give him more creative freedom in the making of "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace".
This decision saw him sacrifice opportunities to star in "Body Heat", "American Gigolo", "Fatal Attraction", and "Lethal Weapon", among many others. Meanwhile, "Superman IV" didn’t live up to expectations and slumped at the box office.
Thomas C. Howell Went Straight to DVD
American actor, Thomas C. Howell, starred successfully in films like "The Outsiders", "The Hitcher", and "Red Dawn", making him popular among teen moviegoers at the time. Buttressed by early success, the artist in him had wanted to do something more challenging. He wanted to make a didactic movie, and worked hard on the film "Soul Man", in 1986.
Whatever the message was that Howell tried to convey, the public either didn’t like it or did not get it. Its viewers cried absurdity, and Howell ended up stuck in a purgatory of straight-to-DVD action flops for more than a decade.
Mike Myers’ Love Guru
True to their creative profession, artists like to experiment with new roles. They like to test new territory and see how far their skills go. This impressive trait might just propel an artist toward new heights of popularity, a testament to their abilities. Unfortunately, for some, it might as well spell doom.
Despite making it big with films like "Wayne’s World", and "Austin Powers", Mike Myers got stuck in a quicksand of his own creation with the woeful 2008 flop, "Love Guru". His cringy, self-help business promoting character, Pitka, was unpleasant enough; but the fact that he had also written and co-produced it, killed his career. Since then, he’s made a cameo appearance in "Inglourious Basterds", and settled for voicing Shrek in animated shorts.
Shaquille O’Neal in Kazaam
Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t need a resume from acting school to start a career in Hollywood. His name is marketable in itself, worth millions for being an NBA star with an army of die-hard fans. He got his start in the movie "Blue Chips", though it didn’t fare so well at the box office. Still, that wasn’t enough to stop the Shaq Attack.
He followed it with another movie, titled "Kazaam", playing the role of a genie, that was roundly criticized, and rated a mere 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie had a lousy, predictable storyline, but Shaq had no qualms, boasting about making $7 million from it.
The Passion of the Christ Hurt Caviezel’s Career
Jim Caviezel had an active career in the entertainment industry for years, before taking on the serious responsibility of playing Jesus, in Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ". This turned out to be a controversial film, some parts of it were questioned and suspiciously studied in religious detail.
Controversy aside, Caviezel’s performance was solid. At least none of the criticisms were about him, per se. Curiously though, he struggled to land a job after the film. For some mysterious reason, he had become less appealing, casting calls died down, and he slipped from the Hollywood scene.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith did phenomenally well in the 90s. She was charming and confident, and the public seemed to always want to see her star in more roles. Her demand was soaring, and then she made a mistake in signing up for "Woo", which got poor reviews from movie critics.
After "Woo", the very same people who tried to sign her up for all sorts of roles seemed to disappear. Smith had to wriggle her way back up, settling for smaller roles.
Nicholas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous
For some reason, Nicholas Cage seems nonchalant about his career. No stranger to low-budget (and often bizarre) films, Cage is a force in himself, refusing to conform to the Hollywood norms. We all know what he is capable of, though, for no one can ignore the success he had with blockbusters like "Con Air" and "Kick-Ass".
For the many movies he has starred in, some don't really show his acting skills. "Bangkok Dangerous" was called one of his worst movies of all time. Rotten Tomatoes rated it 9% — if that’s still a rating at all. Yet, with his face being a favorite among meme creators, it seems nothing could ever fully sink Cage into oblivion.
Adam Sandler Failed at Playing Two Roles
Here’s a harsh truth (okay, opinion): Adam Sandler isn’t the most talented actor out there. But he does have a funny way of getting to your heart, and he sure does warm up your laughing muscles with films like "Happy Gilmore", "Billy Madison", and "Big Daddy". They aren’t award-worthy, but if a film makes you feel uplifted after watching it, then how much do awards really matter?
Unfortunately, Sandler was not on an upward trajectory as he moved forward from these films. If anything, the quality of his roles was in constant decline, hitting rock bottom in a film titled "Jack and Jill". This failure of a film has gone on to become his most hated work of all. Even his most loyal fans would rather pretend it didn’t exist.
Justin Chatwin in Dragonball
Justin Chatwin is a Canadian actor who was making strides in the States. His role in the film "War of the Worlds" reaped favorable returns. He did well in "The Invisible" and the Showtime series "Shameless", but then he rushed into a movie that nearly ruined his career.
Chatwin had all the right intentions in taking on the lead role in "Dragonball: Evolution". The Dragonball franchise is close to the hearts of all those who grew up watching the cartoons before school. However, the adaptation turned out to be a wreck and is now set as a standard of what a terrible movie is. Chatwin will be lucky if he’s able to restore his career after this mess.
‘I Know Who Killed Me’ Killed Lindsay Lohan’s Career
Like many artists before her that have started strong only to fritter away their earnings and their fame, Lindsay Lohan used to have a sparkling, bright future in acting. She proved she was meant for stardom, in movies like "The Parent Trap" and "Mean Girls", which were both blockbuster hits.
Then fame started to become a burden for her, and she started drinking, partying, and all the rest. First, socially, then out of control, spiraling into dissipation. Her film, "I Know Who Killed Me", true to its title, did her in. But it was more like a ceremonial one, to a career that was already a time bomb ready to explode.
Seann William Scott in Movie 43
Seann William Scott had proved early on that his unique, comedic style worked in film. It clicked in movies like the American Pie franchise, which saw him skyrocket into popularity with teens of the early 2000s. He was able to prove his worth further on, in films such as "Goon", "Road Trip", "Dude Where’s My Car?" and so forth, and all he had to do was take care of his rising career.
But then he made a major misstep, appearing in "Movie 43." This fail of a film saw him fall to the bottom of the list in auditions, and he had to dabble in voice-overs for the "Ice Age" films to remain relevant, awaiting another opportunity to shine.
Pauly Shore’s Biodome
Pauly Shore charmed his way around Hollywood, with his unusual acting style, and a locution that seemed only he could pull off. Fans were amused by him, always wanting to see more of Shore’s abilities, and he, of course, obliged.
He made regular appearances on MTV’s Spring Break specials, and in theaters, where his shows were constantly sold out. His movies "Encino Man", "Son-in-Law", and "Biodome", too, made high marks. However, Shore made a faulty decision when he went for the hastily scripted "In The Army Now", which disappointed his fans to the max. He hasn’t played a leading role since, nor has he been part of blockbuster movies.
Cutthroat Island Cost Geena Davis Her Marriage & Career
Perhaps there’s a valid reason why one should avoid having a relationship with workmates, as in Geena Davis’ case. Prior to "Cutthroat Island", she’d done pretty well in "The Fly", "Thelma and Louise", and who could forget the cult classic "Beetlejuice"?
But her pirate-action adventure movie, directed by her husband, Renny Harlin, left in its wake flotsam of wrecked relationships, production bankruptcy, and a sinking career. She later landed leading roles in "Commander in Chief", and a couple more films that very few remember. Many wonder if she’ll ever be able to break the surface again.
Mark Hamill Following Return of the Jedi
Starting your acting career with a role as huge as Luke Skywalker, a leading man in one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, is a pretty stellar intro to the scene. It’s like being especially favored by the gods, while all other actors can only smile wryly, in secret envy.
But this is all Mark Hamill will ever be known for; sadly, he was a big star that went nowhere, gradually diminishing into minor roles and voice-overs. He’s become typecast to a single character, once again filling in for the same role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", and in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi".
Elizabeth Berkley’s Showgirls
Elizabeth Berkley captured the imagination of teenagers way back in the 80s and the early 90s when she starred in the highly popular TV series, "Saved By The Bell". Berkley played the role of Jesse Spano.
Her co-stars Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar moved on to enjoy successful careers in the biz. Elizabeth Berkley’s development as an actress, however, took a hard hit after taking on a sensual role in the film "Showgirls". It was a daring performance, intended to highlight her versatility, but it turned bad. Her performance failed to impress to such an extent, that casting agents seemed to roundly avoid her thereafter. After that, she shifted to playing minor roles and never really fully regained her footing.
Al Pacino Misfires With Misconduct
Veteran actors normally get paid so much more for their dependability and proven success rate. Hiring Al Pacino to play a lead role usually means a movie’s success is already in the bag. In the movie "Misconduct", however, Pacino failed to work his magic.
He received harsh reviews for it, along with Anthony Hopkins, making viewers wonder what happened to this powerful duo, that normally would have been simply infallible. Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter had this to say, “it’s a sort of by-the-numbers, forgettable thriller.” Monotonous and uninspiring, this movie failed to deliver the Al Pacino we have known and loved all these years.
Brad Pitt in War Machine
The name Brad Pitt has, for years, been associated with a manly, rugged, confident, and deeply appealing image. But Pitt wanted to show that he is more than just a handsome face. He wanted to show us his skills and versatility. He took the role of a general in the movie "War Machine", which got rated a measly 54% by Rotten Tomatoes.
A big part of it may come down to the fact that Brad Pitt’s voice sounded too contrived and annoying. Asked to comment on the film, Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian didn’t mince words, saying, “Not funny enough to be satire, not realistic enough to count as political commentary, not exciting enough to work as a war movie, David Michôd’s supposedly Helleresque romp, released on Netflix, is an imperfect non-storm of unsuccess.”
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Career Following Boat Trip
There’s good reason for artists to be picky with their roles. It may seem like they are snobbish at times, but this is absolutely necessary to protect one’s career. Cuba Gooding has been in the industry for many years, and at some point, it seems actors like him fall under the illusion that they are impervious to failure.
This is probably why he took a chance on such an awful role, as the one he played in "Boat Trip", a movie that was routinely hated, by critics and audiences alike. A comeback was hard for Gooding, but he ultimately made it back after 2002’s horror, by appearing in a season of the wildly popular "American Horror Story" in 2016.
Harman Baweja in Love Story 2050
Being born to parents well-nestled in the entertainment industry in Bollywood, one would have thought Harman Baweja had all the necessary elements needed to make it big in life. He had no problems starting his career with a lead role in "Love Story 2050", directed by his father, produced by his mother; a family affair, the stars aligned in his favor. But it turned out to be a rough start for him.
The movie didn’t do well at the box office, nor did his second movie, "Victory". In fact, Baweja has never fared well, failing in all four of his movies so far. Could it be that his starting advantages actually held him back, somehow?
Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3
There’s something about Tobey Maguire’s personality that just worked for many people in the role of Spider-man. The first part was a success, which warranted two more. The momentum gained from this run, however, was halted with the entry of Venom’s character, played by Topher Grace.
Grace is a familiar face to the general viewership, having come from "That 70’s Show". Playing Spidey’s villain was supposedly good for his career, but it ended up earning him heavy flak. It took some time before Topher Grace snatched another leading role in a movie.
Neve Campbell in Wild Things
When Neve Campbell went to the US to find an agent, she ended up auditioning for "Party Of Five". The next thing she knew, she was packing up her things to move from Canada to start an acting career in the States. She also became known for the Scream franchise.
Not wanting to be typecast, she tried to change her style, taking on a racy role in "Wild Things". The reviews weren’t particularly bad, and her acting wasn’t really sub-par, but she’s never made the best out of her career since. She had a bit of a rebirth in "House of Cards", in 2016. However, that series was destined to come to an abrupt close, thanks to a whole different controversy.
Halle Berry and Catwoman
Halle Berry scintillated silver screens with her bikini-clad role in "Die Another Day". James Bond could hardly take a sip from his cocktail just watching her emerge from the beach and slink up the shore. She also won an Oscar for her role in the intense and gritty film, "Monster’s Ball"; and was consistently impressive as Storm, in "X-Men".
Her role as Catwoman, back in 2004, however, was so horrible, that she won a Razzie as Worst Actress for it. From there, her career continued to sink. Her failure to impress as Catwoman made it hard for her to get back on track. She resorted, as so many stars do, to TV instead. But her appearances in "Extant" and "Kidnap" were reviewed as being mediocre at best.
Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio
In 1997, Roberto Benigni’s "Life Is Beautiful", re-opened our eyes to the horrors of WWII, portraying it in a way that is so simple, it is hauntingly clear, the message is unmistakable. Roberto Benigni became a beloved directorial icon.
People looked forward to his next film, which he withheld for five long years, making it the most awaited film of 2002. Benigni’s following creation was a live-action Pinocchio adaptation. Unfortunately, his ambitious project proved anti-climactic. The screening itself was not released to the press in advance, leaving it with an unheard-of 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While it has clawed its way up since then, it still occupies the lowest echelons of the review aggregator site.
Bruce Willis in Precious Cargo
Bruce Willis has become synonymous with all-out-action, especially after his Die Hard franchise. What makes him interesting, is his ability to mix in some humor in all the thrill, even while being shot at and surrounded by villains.
But, in "Precious Cargo" reviewers found his performance flat and boring. The movie got only 1 star on Roger Ebert's website. Perhaps, he merely needs to be inspired once more and not get too content with past achievements. It can tarnish a legacy.
Natalie Portman as Padme
If money were the only measure in determining success, Natalie Portman should have all the accolades for her role in "Star Wars" as Padme. It was, after all, the highest-grossing movie of the decade. But she had none of it. In fact, she thinks that even though it got her name out there in the universal marquee, she unfairly got branded as a bad actress.
She feels that she was too young for such a huge role, and it stymied her performance and limited her success. What’s important is that she’s learned from it, and is now known for more mature, deeper roles. Her haunting performance in "Black Swan" certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Too Much Baggage for Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone’s personality perfectly fits her role in the movie "Clueless", which was a surprise hit at the time. Silverstone had every reason to celebrate and her continued rise to fame seemed in order.
That’s what the movie "Excess Baggage" was supposed to achieve. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect, practically killing her career. It turned out to be filled with cliches, and the story itself was poorly thought out and trite. Both Silverstone and Benicio Del Toro received infamous Razzie awards for their efforts.
Babies and Vin Diesel Don’t Mix
Some writers get too creative for their own good, especially when they try too hard to come up with something entirely different for an upcoming movie. The miss-match created in "The Pacifier" was supposed to be humorous, in an odd way. A pairing of irresistibly cute babies with the muscular, action-ready militiaman, a cool undercover US Navy Seal.
While the unexpected can often result in spontaneous laughter, the effect in "The Pacifier" was terrible. A parent even posted a review saying that their kids were so bored, and didn’t even laugh once during the whole movie. It got an average rating of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, but more reviews reveal it could have been much worse.
Chris O’Donnell in Batman & Robin
Fans enjoyed watching Chris O’Donnell portray the jovial character of D’Artagnan; foolhardy, the life of the party, in "The Three Musketeers." He seemed very promising and got nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance in "Scent Of A Woman." Then Batman & Robin happened.
The 1997 sequel got scolded by critics, and while everyone knew the superhero movie would endure its troubles, Chris O’Donnell wasn’t what his future in acting held. The inimitable George Clooney was easily able to charm his way into new leading roles. However, it took O’Donnell twelve long years to finally find his groove on "NCIS: Los Angeles".
Sean Connery’s Final Film
During his lifetime, Sean Connery was hailed by a Sunday Herald poll as “The Greatest Living Scot“. He was arguably the most popular among the James Bond actors, starring in the franchise’s seven films, created between 1962 and 1983. But even the great Connery’s highly extolled reputation wasn’t fail-proof against poor film decisions.
In fact, after starring in the movie "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (2003), Connery’s showbiz career seemed to disintegrate into thin air. In fact, 2003 was the year when Connery retired from acting. His last few performances before peacefully passing away in October 2020 were voice-over cameos.
Madonna’s Swept Away
There can be no question about Madonna’s position in the music world, and even to this date, she remains one of the highest-paid musicians of all time. She has been at the top echelon for decades, but at one point, she wanted to crossover to the big screen. The world seemed so small, able to fit neatly into the palm of her hand.
She proved she had the power to carry a film in "Evita". The 2002 hit movie came out blazing, Madonna in full tilt. She followed it up quite ambitiously, with "Swept Away". It was a complete turnaround from the soaring heights of "Evita", failing so badly at the box office, that it tanked the career of her husband and film director, Guy Ritchie, too.
Colin Farrell in Alexander
Despite his thick Irish accent, Colin Farrell is capable of playing various roles. Versatility is one quality that will surely help any actor out in landing major roles consistently, over what they hope will be a long and successful career. Farrell’s name usually reminds us of the action films that made it big, like "S.W.A.T.", "Daredevil", "Phonebooth", and "The Recruit".
In 2004, Farrell accepted a challenge to portray Alexander the Great in the movie "Alexander". The result was a film replete with cringe-worthy scenes and dialogue. Critics couldn’t stand it, and the story itself had many inaccuracies. It failed to make up for the expenses needed to produce the film.
Terrence Howard's Departure From Iron Man
Terrence Howard did well in films like "Hustle" and "Flow and Crash". Things looked bright for the budding actor, and then a major boost came in the form of an Iron Man role. This meant he would be introduced to a bigger audience and get to star alongside major names in the industry.
The Iron Man sequel suffered some pay cuts, however, and Howard must have felt short-changed because he decided to back out from the project. He was replaced by audience favorite, Don Cheadle, and what followed was a long, tortuous road back to his groove. Since "Iron Man", he settled for minor roles in other movies. It took until 2015 for him to finally earn his way back into the Hollywood fold, with the critically acclaimed TV drama "Empire".
Michael Keaton in Batman
Michael Keaton is simply one of the most talented actors out there today. When presented with the chance to work on a huge Batman movie (with Tim Burton at the helm) he accepted without pause. With the success of "Beetlejuice" behind them, expectations quickly rose during the making of the movie.
Keaton, as expected, performed the lead role very well. However, critics and rabid fans alike attacked the movie with vigor. Michael Keaton felt dragged along by the misfortune, feeling like he was complicit in some sort of crime against the genre. Eventually, he cleared his name and has moved on nicely with roles in films like "Birdman".
Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
Charlie Chaplin is considered one of the biggest, most important figures in the history of film. He was a genius, rising to fame during the silent film era. But those were tough times the world over, and Chaplin got consumed by his political views.
As a result, his artistic side took a beating. In "The Great Dictator", he used his influence to speak to the public. What followed were accusations by the government and personal scandals and Chaplin left the US in 1952.
Mariah Carrey's Glitter Took a Hit
American singer and songwriter, Mariah Carey, often referred to as “the Songbird Supreme,” was criticized for being too amateurish back in 2001. While she was unaccustomed to such harsh judgments, thankfully, this didn’t hamper her singing ability.
This criticism came as a result of her work with rapper Da Brat, in a romantic-musical-drama titled "Glitter". While her fans were excited, the film turned out to be a dull affair and a complete commercial blunder. It was so bad that some called it the worst movie ever to be released, earning a measly $5.3 million worldwide, while her soundtrack edged the movie in sales.
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred
Freddie Prinze Jr. was the type of actor that got teenage girls cooing, regardless of the role he was playing. He was a heartthrob, graceful and blithe in films, effortless. He made his mark in popular films like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "She’s All That", after which his demand in the industry rose.
Later on, he said that he didn’t enjoy filming the Scooby-Doo live-action movie and its sequel, but he didn’t really have to admit to anything. It was quite obvious from his dismal acting, which viewers hated. He quit acting shortly after the sequel.
Chris Klein on Rollerball
Chris Klein humored us through the American Pie franchise, and co-working with Reese Witherspoon, in "Election", allowed him to benefit a good deal from the spotlight. It only took him a careful step or two afterward to make it big in Hollywood, with moviegoers’ hearts already half-sold to his boy-next-door charm.
But "Rollerball" was such a bad decision, it was a major setback to Klein’s progress. The film was rated phenomenally poorly, at 3%, by Rotten Tomatoes. Klein’s career stalled, as itsy-bitsy parts settled over him, until he appeared in the TV series "Wilfred", in 2011, and reprised the role of Oz in 2012’s "American Reunion".
Taylor Lautner in Abducted
The Twilight saga’s success was so enormous, that it catapulted Taylor Lautner to being labeled as the next breakout star. It’s the kind of kickstart every young actor craves, and Lautner was in high demand, seemingly overnight. Agents were clamoring to land him a leading man role, he was the center of a storm of attraction.
Lautner was keen to follow up his successful work without much delay, choosing "Abducted" from among a long list of proposals. The outcome, however, was a fail, even in the eyes of his most loyal fans. The movie was basically torn to pieces by critics. He settled for Adam Sandler’s "Grown Ups 2" and "The Ridiculous 6" to stay busy.
Tom Green’s Finger Almost Destroyed His Career
Tom Green was up to something good, and audiences found his magnetically absurd acting style irresistible in the 90s MTV series, "The Tom Green Show".
Audiences wanted to see more of Green and were happy when he followed up his MTV series with films such as "Superstar", "Road Trip", and "Charlie’s Angels". He was set for bigger things until he co-wrote and starred in the movie "Freddy Got Fingered", which viewers found tasteless and cliche-ridden. While Green disappeared for a long time after the Freddy fail, he kept working in stand-up and hosting "Tom Green Live".
Sofia Coppola Had a Rough Debut
There’s a reason why casting in a movie is vital. The actors must be able to prove they are fit for the role, skill-wise, and their addition must add value. Film critics accuse Sofia Coppola of pulling the ranks to land a role in the movie "The Godfather: Part III". With no acting resume to show, they believe she would not have gotten the role if the movie had not been directed by her father.
Instead of gaining all the advantages from starring in a very popular movie, Coppola was panned by critics and chastised for bad acting. It jeopardized her father’s career as well, for his purported role in casting his daughter.
Susan George in Mandingo
Going sexy in the film industry can bring much-needed attention to an actress’ fledgling career, and that can be used to jump-start something of more value, as the starlet strives to rake in better roles moving forward.
This was a strategy Susan George used when she starred in "Mandingo". Unfortunately, it backfired badly. The sexy image she wanted to portray, led her to be typecast in similar roles in a string of made-for-TV series. Luckily, she was able to snag better roles in films like "Straw Dogs", and "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" which helped her realign her acting career with her goals.
Brandon Routh’s Superman
Comic book fans had high expectations following the announcement of Brandon Routh’s role as Clark Kent, in 2006’s "Superman Returns". Routh undoubtedly had the right look, even described by some as similar to a young Christopher Reeve. He’d already appeared in several TV shows, too, and so the bar was set higher than ever.
As it turns out, it was the perfect recipe... for destruction. Routh’s acting appeared stilted and stiff; though, to be fair, it was not as bad as some put it. The movie itself made decent returns at the box office, and a Saturn Award was given to Routh for his role. However, the fans wouldn’t have any of it, seething with disappointment, albeit perhaps unfairly. He struggled to land a major role after copping such ire. However, he finally secured himself a win as Ray Palmer/Atom in "Arrow" and "Legends of Tomorrow".
Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace
Jake Lloyd was that sweet smiling kid people fell in love with, in "Jingle All the Way." Working alongside none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, that film opened many doors of opportunities for Lloyd, the red carpet unrolled before him, and everyone thought he’d made the right choice in signing up to play the young Darth Vader. It was purportedly the break of a lifetime; a role no budding child actor could refuse.
In hindsight, though, it seems that he should have. Lloyd ended up becoming a target of bullying at school, the result of backlash from not being able to live up to people’s expectations for the crucial role he played in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" in 1999. Struggling to take the harshness of the criticism, the young lad quit acting.
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach
Based on the novel by Alex Garland, "The Beach" was Leonardo DiCaprio’s first post-Titanic film, and it fell flat. The adventure-romance movie in the tropical islands of Thailand was an obvious letdown after the success of "Titanic".
By now, cinephiles are diving into nostalgia, taking a second look at the 2000 film, and seeing it as a lost classic. But nothing will make that Razzie nom for DiCaprio in"The Beach" go away.
Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Anticipation was palpable when word got out that Johnny Depp would play Willy Wonka in the classic Roald Dahl tale. Coming out of "Edward's Scissorhands" and other dark and whimsical endeavors with Tim Burton, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" seemed like the perfect pitch.
While Wilder brought a gravitas to the character, Johnny Depp in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was anything but. His character was supposed to be quirky, but all we saw was cringy. Let Hollywood take this as a huge lesson: never remake a Wilder classic.
Gwyneth Paltrow Stars in View from the Top
Among Gwyneth Paltrow’s many accolades, including an Academy Award for "Shakespeare in Love" and "Emma", and "The Royal Tenenbaums", you will not see mention of "View from the Top". It’s a rom-com story about a beautiful teenage girl achieving the dream of becoming an airline stewardess. She wasn't the only big name in the film, either...
It’s hard to say why Mike Myers, Rob Lowe, Christina Applegate, and Mark Ruffalo were all on board. She later said that she took the film for its large payout. "View from the Top" wasn’t a passion project like so much of her work, and it shows.
Meryl Streep in She-Devil
Some actors ought not to try comedy, and Meryl Streep is one of them. She’s an unrivaled film legend with a roomful of Oscars. Yet, next to the comic genius of Rosanne Barr, she’s just not that funny.
To put in perspective just how much of a blunder it was deciding to star in "She-Devil", Meryl Streep has not taken any interviews or spoken about this role even once since the film was released. It makes one think she would just like to forget it ever happened.
Mike Meyers in The Cat in the Hat
Whenever Hollywood decides to recreate the work of children’s author Dr. Seuss, we hold our collective breath. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" turned out okay, "The Cat in the Hat" did not.
It got a 9% Tomatometer rating, so it’s pretty clear that we can expect a full-fledged cringe-fest. And it is. As Austin Powers or Wayne Mike Meyers does a great job. Putting him in a catsuit to hang out with children who are home alone is predictably creepy.
Demi Moore in The Scarlet Letter
This list has more than one movie that nearly wrecked Moore's career. "The Scarlet Letter" has been adapted to the screen many times. But only this production has earned seven Golden Razzies nominations, including “Worst Remake or Sequel,” which it won.
This film veers too far from Nathanial Hawthorne’s 1850 novel about a 1660 Puritan colony. The 1995 movie comes off as ignorant. It was greeted with the dreaded movie critique, “unintentionally funny.” During this era, Demi Moore’s name was like a jinx. In short, her portrayal of Hester Prynne proved accidentally humorous.
Mary Kate and Ashly Olsen in New York Minute
Mary Kate and Ashly Olsen had a long and successful career that started when they were merely 9 months old. Everything they touched turned into gold, that until they released their final movie, "New York Minute".
"New York Minute" pulled in a lackluster $21 million, not covering its $30 million budget. It was a critical and financial failure, and one of their few professional disappointments. After the failure of this film, they pretty much quit acting altogether.
Melissa Mccarthy in The Happytime Murders
Initially pitched as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" but with puppets instead of cartoons, it sounded like it had solid potential. Unfortunately, when it debuted, stateside viewers were not impressed, and its acceptance overseas was just as calamitous.
The film received 6 Golden Raspberry Awards nominations, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress for McCarthy. Watching Muppets behave very R-rated-ly was quite impressive from a technical standpoint, but apparently, the movie as a whole was not and Melissa's name suffered because of it.
Russell Crowe in Les Misérables
Everybody knows that Russell is a great actor. But, the fact of the matter is, Crowe can’t sing, and starring in a musical was a jarring move on his part. He has done irreparable harm to Tom Hooper’s film version of "Les Misérables".
This production is a musical, and, as such, people who possess vocal talent should be cast. Russell did recover, moving on to parts that don't require him to try and use his non-existent singing voice. We really do hope he learned his lesson.
Tom Cruise in The Mummy
As campy as it may be, we can all agree that Brendan Fraser brings charm and lightheartedness to the entire mummy franchise. This fact is exactly why "The Mummy" remake that came out in 2017 was an entirely unnecessary addition to the series. Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, who’s supposed to be the hero, Brendan Fraser type but ultimately misses the mark.
The character simply doesn’t manage to excite the audience, leaving us lost in a fantasy world that takes itself entirely too seriously. Cruis really missed the mark on this one.
Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2
While the original "Zoolander" does have somewhat of a cult following, it grossed a mere $60 million on a $30 million budget. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly a smash-hit. Historically speaking, that's usually not promising. All that being said, for some odd reason, this didn't prevent its producers from making a sequel to the film 15 years later.
Its cult following wasn't enough to make it a box office success. In line with what most movie critics predicted, it was a huge flop. On popular movie rating sites such as IMDb, it scored a weak 4.7/10. Hopefully, Ben Stiller learned from this error, and let the Zoolander franchise R.I.P. once and for all.
Jared Leto in Suicide Squad
Jared Leto gave it his all as Joker in "Suicide Squad". The quirky A-lister was in full-blown method-mode the entire shoot, not once breaking character to chat with cast members. But, his performance was so unwatchable that the studio cut nearly all of his scenes.
Instead of being the most chilling Joker we’ve ever seen, he took the character to an irredeemably dark and creepy place. "Cinema Blend" had this to say, “Leto’s performance was the worst live-action Joker we’ve seen.” Ouch.
Colin Farrell Stumbled in Daredevil
A year before struggling in the film "Alexander" (also featured on this list), Colin Farrell floundered in "Daredevil". Perhaps it was a bad time for him. Maybe it was that absurd nameplate symbol scar on his forehead. Either way, the movie was too wacky to be dark, or else it was too dark to be wacky. The movie fizzled and flopped.
Even though he was allowed to keep his Irish accent as the fanatical assassin Bullseye, he still managed to mangle it. This was, all in and all, a very bad look for the actor.
Sandra Bullock in Nothing About Steve
Sandra Bullock has taken us on quite a rollercoaster throughout her career. We have high highs like "The Blind Side" (which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress), "Infamous", and "Crash". We also have low lows such as "Premonition", "In Love and War", and "Forces of Nature".
The performance that takes the cake, though, is in the movie "All About Steve", earning a whopping 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie supremely missed the mark with their attempt to make Bullock’s character quirky and endearing, leaving audience members more than slightly creeped out and borderline rooting against her.
Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man
Nicolas Cage claims that dressing up as a bear and going around killing people in "The Wicker Man" was genius. The New York Times, said, “The Wicker Man is comically inept as a horror movie, unable even to manage an effective false scare, or sustain suspense for more than a beat or two.”
That scene is great, but our favorite worst scene is him pointing his gun at people, stealing a bike, screaming at people, kicking in doors, and punching people. Cage is a great actor, but sadly, this isn't even the only film of his on this list.
Jessica Alba Was Not So Fantastic
All in all, there were a few salvageable moments in "Fantastic Four", but that’s about the best we can say about it. Jessica Alba played Fantastic Four member Sue Storm and was about as exciting in that role as a piece of white bread.
The film got a little bit lucky with the casting of Chris Evans as Johnny Storm and Julian McMahon as the villain Victor Von Doom. These two were able somewhat to salvage the film with their slightly better acting chops. Alba doesn’t seem like the ultimate choice for the role and her career suffered from it. She hasn't been featured in a memorable movie in years.
Ashton Kutcher in Valentine's Day
Ashton Kutcher was never known as a serious actor, but he does have great looks and great comedic timing. This should have been more than enough for him to knock the romantic movie "Valentine’s Day" out of the park. He plays Reed Bennett, who proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba).
Except for a few laughs here and there from the goofy Kutcher, his performance as a whole is supremely cliche, as if we could predict every line before he speaks them. He ended up winning a Golden Raspberry Award for his terrible performance.
Katie Holmes in Batman Begins
Katie Holmes played Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan’s "Batman Begins" but left after the first installment of the trilogy. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal stepped in to take over, and many fans wish she would’ve been the only Rachel Dawes in Gotham while others thought Holmes played her well.
Here's the thing, the lack of chemistry between her and Christian Bale was palpable on-screen. Nolan has been criticized relentlessly for miscasting Holmes. She hasn't appeared in a movie for three whole years after "Batman Begins".
Mark Wahlberg Tanked in The Happening
The Guardian called The Happening “a disaster on so many levels.” Mark Wahlberg earned an Oscar nomination in "The Departed", so his performance in this film was anticipated. Instead, his performance was deemed too whiny and self-pitying.
Even Wahlberg thought it was terrible, and he hated playing a teacher. In between expletives about "The Happening", he said, “You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”
Freddie Prinze Jr in Down to You
Oh, where to begin with this movie and this performance. How about the fact that this isn't even the only one of his on this list? Freddie Prinze Jr. was once the most popular teen movie heartthrob in Hollywood. His most memorable role was probably in "She’s All That". "Down to You" focuses on Prinze Jr. as he tries to navigate life post-breakup with his first serious love.
Not an original premise but the extreme measures he takes didn’t spark emotion but rather were quite disturbing and poorly acted. The one that sticks out most to us is the scene where he drinks her shampoo to try and immunize himself to her. It’s a hard no for us.