Sean Penn's intense acting style has earned him two Academy Awards and an impressive five nominations, but the actor does have some notable flops on his resume. Skilled at taking on complex and morally ambiguous characters, Sean Penn struck out with his performance as Willie Stark in the 2006 film adaptation of All the King's Men.
For a little background: All the King's Men was a 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a corrupt populist politician (who was based on the real life politician Huey Long). The story, which has already been turned into an Academy Award-winning film in 1949, is the type of prestige fare that most actors would kill for. So how did something that worked so well before fail so miserably for Sean Penn?
According to most critics, the 2006 film was boring, confusing, and overly serious. Penn in particular was criticized for a melodramatic performance. You know when an actor is really trying to win an Academy Award? That's what Penn was doing in this movie, and the result was an inauthentic performance.