Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Great movie, shame about that actor


This is not a list of terrible actors. Several of the people on this list have done exceptional work...in other films. This is instead a list of actors who have, either through poor direction, self-indulgence or inexperience, absolutely stunk up an otherwise wonderful film.

Of course, some of them are just horrible in just about anything they've ever been in.


Quentin Tarantino - Pulp Fiction

This entry could also have been Django Unchained, in which Tarantino was cruelly indulged in his belief that he could do an Australian accent. While far from the only director to cameo in his own movies, Tarantino shows perhaps the greatest drop-off in talent when stepping from behind the camera to in front of it. In Pulp Fiction, Tarantino plays Jimmie, a friend of Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) who helps out when Jules and Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shoot their passenger in the face, and for several minutes completely derails one of the greatest films of the 90s by being completely unconvincing as a human being.


Timothy Spall - The King's Speech

He's only in a couple of scenes but they're memorable for all the wrong reasons. Spall is playing Winston Churchill to Colin Firth's King George VI, but he goes for absurd caricature, snuffling and grunting like he's based his performance on Napoleon, the fascist pig from Animal Farm. We've seen documentary footage of Winston Churchill so we all know how he actually spoke. It seems Spall did not.


Katie Holmes - Batman Begins

Poor Katie has been deemed the low point of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but the fact she's completely wrong as Rachel Dawes isn't entirely her fault. She's not good in the role but why did anyone ever think a 27-year-old best known for a show about teenage moping would be right for a strident assistant district attorney? It was an uphill battle and one Holmes was never likely to win.


January Jones - X-Men: First Class

Honestly, she seems like she didn't even know the camera was on.


Daryl Hannah - Wall Street

Daryl Hannah's acting has improved dramatically as she's got older. Look at her in Kill Bill. She's so furiously committed as Elle Driver that she was, frankly, robbed of an Oscar nomination. That fierceness was nowhere to be seen in one of her earliest roles, in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. As Charlie Sheen's girlfriend she's as empty and ornamental as everything else in his shallow yuppy life.


Don Cheadle - Ocean's Eleven

The horror of Cheadle's performance comes down to one thing: that abysmal cockney accent. Cheadle is a terrific actor but by choosing, for no good reason, to perform the role with an accent he absolutely could not do he dragged the viewer out of the film. You weren't listening to anything he was actually saying but wondering why he was saying it in that bizarre voice. It was pure self-indulgence.


Andie Macdowell - Four Weddings And A Funeral

Macdowell has made the line, "Is it raining? I hadn't noticed" one of the most famous from Richard Curtis' comedy classic, but not in the way intended. She delivers it, as she does with all her other lines, with all the passion and charisma of the speaking clock. Hugh Grant deserves a lot more credit for the amount of heavy lifting he had to do to make this rom-com fly.


Mickey Rooney - Breakfast At Tiffany's

It's debatable whether this is a terrible performance or just horrendous direction? If Mickey Rooney is asked to play Holly Golightly's neighbour as an appallingly racist Japanese caricature and then he commits to that completely, is that his fault or the fault of director Blake Edwards? Whoever's fault it is, this is one of the worst casting decisions in cinema history.


Drew Barrymore - Donnie Darko

Drew Barrymore can be so charming, and yet she's so blank in Richard Kelly's first film, a movie that sadly turned out to be a fluke for the director. Playing the title character's English teacher she strains so hard to invest every line with meaning and importance that it's almost comical. Her production company, Flower Films, produced the movie so maybe nobody wanted to tell the boss to reign it in a bit?


Keanu Reeves - Much Ado About Nothing

OK, it's not a great movie but in a very successful film version of one of Shakespeare's best plays, populated by a cast weighed down by acting awards, Keanu Reeves sticks out like a sore thumb. Reeves is very well suited to one thing and that's playing blank characters. In The Matrix or Bill and Ted, playing someone perpetually handsomely confused, he's just what's required. Asking him to tackle Shakespearean language is just mean to everyone, including him.


(Images: AllStar, Rex)



Great soundtrack, shame about the movie

28 weeks later.jpg

Great scene, shame about the rest of the film


Great cast, shame about the movie


Great trailer, shame about the movie


Great movie, shame about the DVD cover


Nice poster, shame about the film


The 25 scariest movies on Netflix right now

Stream if you dare

15 Aug 2017

Ryan Reynolds reveals the best prank he's ever pulled

It's classic dad joke stuff

by Tom Victor
14 Aug 2017

Why 'Undisputed' is the best action movie franchise you've never seen

As an action fan, you owe it yourself to watch these movies

by Gary Ogden
11 Aug 2017

Watch the terrifying trailer for Jennifer Lawrence's 'Mother!'

It's the creepy new film from the director of Black Swan

by Gary Ogden
08 Aug 2017

An animated Transformers movie is coming to cinemas

Will it be a return to form?

by Gary Ogden
07 Aug 2017

Eminem is making a spoof film about rap battles - watch the trailer

So, Scary Movie 3, basically

by Gary Ogden
03 Aug 2017

How Christopher Nolan's first film set the blueprint for his career

His low-budget 1999 debut 'Following' helps us understand how the director developed his style

by Tom Victor
02 Aug 2017

A 'Nightmare Before Christmas' sequel has been announced

Jack Skellington is back

by Gary Ogden
01 Aug 2017

Bryan Cranston: "I was all in. I didn't have a backup plan"

We spoke to the actor about ambition & how long he could survive in a garage

by Ralph Jones
31 Jul 2017

Can you beat the world's hardest movie certificate quiz?

If you get over 8, we're impressed

by Gary Ogden
28 Jul 2017