Every actor had to start somewhere. Smash hits like Stranger Things launched the careers of its young stars, but not all actors are so lucky. Most of them have to grind-out terrible roles in low-budget movies and commercials until they get their chance at something great.
Some of the A-list actors on this list had to walk that path to make it where they are today. Others just made terrible decisions. Either way, many top-tier actors have a few stinkers under their belt. Sure, they’d love to be remembered for their hits, but we can’t forget about the dumpster fires they left behind.
Many of the actors on this list have been nominated for and/or won Academy Awards. Some of them even won an award, and then went on to star in terrible, low-budget movies. Everyone’s got a few decisions they’d like to take back, and for these actors, it’s saying “yes” to a bad script.
Ahead, we’ll take a look at some terrible roles that actors would love to forget. Unfortunately for them, the internet exists. Here, anyone can find a scene or two from an A-lister’s career that they wouldn’t want us to see. Their embarrassing performances are only a few clicks away at any time.
Here are 15 Humiliating Roles A-List Stars Want Us To Forget.
15. Jennifer Aniston – Leprechaun
Breakout roles are hard to come by, and Jennifer Aniston’s first film appearance was a bona fide flop. Leprechaun was a 1993 low-budget horror movie that spawned five unfortunate sequels, and it was also where the Friends star got her start.
Aniston has been unable to escape the shadow of her first film. She’s constantly asked about it, as it’s still one of the most popular flops in which an A-list star has taken part. Virtually every press tour Aniston embarks on has at least one reporter who will mention Leprechaun, so she’s gotten used to shrugging off the light mockery.
14. Halle Berry – Catwoman
Halle Berry’s appearance in the 2004 movie Catwoman was nothing short of awful. It garnered a whopping 9% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the audience score wasn’t far behind at 18%. Unlike some of the other stars on this list, Berry wasn’t plucked from obscurity to star in Catwoman. She was already at the top of her game, and this movie did nothing but knock her down a couple pegs.
Although Berry’s performance wasn’t the worst aspect of the film, she still served as the centerpiece for most of the criticism. She even won a Razzie for her role in the film.
Berry was a good sport about the whole thing, though. In fact she even attended the Razzies that year, and prepared an acceptance speech for her eventual win. “Thank you for putting me in a piece of s**t, god-awful movie!” she said to her manager when she took the stage.
13. Robert Downey Jr. – The Shaggy Dog
The Shaggy Dog was a 2006 comedy that featured Tim Allen turning into a dog. Tim Allen has made quite a few terrible comedies over the course of his career, so this probably isn’t one of his worst performances overall.
Robert Downey Jr. played the main antagonist in the film, which is probably a role he regrets taking. Downey was in the midst of a comeback following his drug arrests in the early 2000s, but this performance did nothing to help him get back on the map.
It was only two years later that Downey helped kick-off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first Iron Man film, which made him a top actor once again. He’s played his fair share of comedic roles, but there’s nothing funny about his appearance in Shaggy Dog.
12. Matthew McConaughey/Renée Zellweger – Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Though Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger would soon become household names, they were virtually unknown when Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation was released in 1994.
Fresh actors will take roles where they find them, but it’s probably safe to say this movie didn’t do either of them any favors, even if it was early in their careers.
The release of a sequel to the much-loved original Texas Chainsaw Massacre seemed more like a money grab than it did a serious attempt at making a movie. The plot made no sense, and just had the two future stars stumble out of their prom and into a family of thrill killers. It included every horror cliché in the book and is probably the worst mark on either actors’ list of credits.
11. Will Smith – Collateral Beauty
Although 2016’s Collateral Beauty received a 64% from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes, critics weren’t having it. They gave it a 15%, and with good reason. The film just doesn’t hold up. It’s cheesy to the point where it makes you want to puke, and the eventual ending leaves the viewer with more questions than answers.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you likely remember the trailers. This is the movie where a depressed Will Smith writes letters to Love, Time, and Death. His disgruntled co-workers then hire actors to impersonate these entities, with the eventual goal of making Smith’s character look like a crazy person.
10. George Clooney – Batman & Robin
People might be down on the most recent incarnation of Batman, but it doesn’t come close to the critical reception that Batman & Robin received in 1997. George Clooney tends to be the forgotten Batman, with most people referencing Michael Keaton or Christain Bale as “their” Batman, and there’s a reason for this.
Batman & Robin is widely considered one of the worst movies of all time. Even though it made money at the box office, it has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes and is still the worst-grossing Batman movie to date.
9. Johnny Depp – Private Resort
Private Resort was Johnny Depp’s first starring role as an actor – and boy, was it terrible. The movie served as a run-of-the-mill adolescent raunch comedy, but it failed to get the response that similar movies have in the past.
There wasn’t an original scene in the whole movie. Nearly every joke fell flat, with the best possible response being a sarcastic “Ha!” They were easily telegraphed and poorly written.
Depp is known for taking a lot of risks in his career, but this movie played it safe to a fault. Private Resort touches on almost every teen movie cliché imaginable, and it’s certainly one that’s likely to induce a cringe every time Johnny Depp remembers where he started.
8. Ben Affleck – Daredevil
Before the show that sparked Marvel’s Netflix universe, the only live-action incarnation of Daredevil was the regrettable 2003 movie starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. The film did well financially and received a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes (high for this list), but many considered the film to be shallow and uninspired.
One of those people is Ben Affleck himself. Affleck claimed he hated the movie, and the failure of Daredevil is what inspired him to tackle the role of Batman. He said that he wanted to get a superhero movie right – while promoting Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That movie got a 27% on RT – for those keeping score at home, that’s considerably worse than Daredevil’s score.
7. Robin Williams – Old Dogs
Robin William’s costar, John Travolta, has put out quite a few stinker performances in his career. Robin Williams, though, was an iconic hit machine. Unfortunately, there was nothing his comedic genius could do to save Old Dogs.
The best thing that can be said of Old Dogs is that it tries. It tries to be funny and original, it just isn’t. The premise is that two aging bachelors get twins thrust into their lives – that’s basically all you need to know.
The jokes are cheesy and the acting is just bad. It’s no wonder why the movie received a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for four Razzie awards in 2009, including worst actor, worst supporting actress, and worst director. Critics and audience agree: it’s not even worth reading the Wikipedia page for Old Dogs.
6. Jessica Alba – Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer
Disney’s acquisition of Fox breathes new hope into the Fantastic Four franchise, but there’s no erasing the past. The original Fantastic Four movies were a bust.
Critics didn’t like the movie either; consensus resulted in a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen Chris Evans go on to be successful as Captain America, and Alba founded the billion-dollar Honest Company. To hear her talk about this movie, the fault actually lies at the feet of the director, Tim Story.
In one interview, Alba even claimed that filming Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer made her want to quit acting for good. She said that the director kept giving her direction that contradicted her instincts, and resulted in an underwhelming product on the screen.
5. Sir Ben Kingsley – The Love Guru
2008’s The Love Guru featured a star-studded cast, but that’s not necessarily a recipe for a good movie. It was full of crude jokes that were more likely to make you cringe than laugh. The whole production seemed like an attempt to capitalize on Mike Myers ‘ previous work without adding any substance.
And then there was Sir Ben Kingsley. Kingsley is supposed to be a respected actor, and his brief appearance in this movie just left audiences scratching their heads. It’s usually a treat to see actors step out of their usual roles, but this one just seemed out of place.
4. Kate Winslet – Titanic
It may be surprising to hear, but Kate Winslet can hardly watch her performance in Titanic. It’s a fantastic movie, and one that made her career, but to hear her tell it, watching the film is a complete cringe-fest.
Winslet has long complained about the way James Cameron scolded the actors on the set, but she’s gotten over that aspect of Titanic. For her, it was more about the dramatics of her performance. Even now, years later, Winslet is still pained to watch herself act in her career-defining role.
She seems to think she overacted too much in Titanic, and can’t bear to hear her American accent. She’s come to terms with the success of the film and is thankful that it launched her career, but there are certainly many scenes she’d like to have back.
3. Julianne Moore – The Ladies Man
The Ladies Man is one of a long list of SNL skits adapted into sub-par movies. Sure, it’s not the worst movie when it’s playing in the background, but it’s not exactly “laugh out loud” hilarious. The jokes fall flat, and certainly, don’t stand the test of time.
Julianne Moore’s inclusion in the film begs the question: why? Moore had already been nominated for two academy awards by the time she took the role. Why insert yourself in this movie based on an already played-out SNL skit?
To make matters worse, Moore’s character was embarrassing. She played an actress in the role of a clown and tries to seduce the main character while dressing up in her clown costume. It’s the kind of performance that just makes people shake their heads in dismay.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – Don’s Plum
When it comes down to it, the rest of the actors on this list at least acknowledge the role of which they might be ashamed. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t have to, though, because his embarrassing role never saw the light of day in North America.
Don’s Plum was a low-budge, black and white drama filmed in the mid-nineties. It’s supposed to be an artsy movie, but it was one that Leonardo DiCaprio clearly didn’t like very much.
You can probably find Don’s Plum on the internet, but Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire, two of the film’s stars, blocked it from officially releasing in America and Canada. Apparently, the movie is so awful that they thought it might taint their careers and hurt their image.
1. Gary Oldman – Tiptoes
Tiptoes is another movie starring Matthew McConaughey, but it’s not his performance that’s cringe-inducing. It’s his co-star, Gary Oldman. The movie is supposed to be a romantic comedy, but it ends up being funny for all the wrong reasons.
Oldman’s character is a dwarf, and Matthew McConaughey plays his brother. McConaughey’s wife is worried that her future child will be a dwarf but eventually becomes close to Oldman’s character as she carries her child.
Instead of casting an actual little person like Peter Dinklage – who is also in this movie – the director decided to hire Oldman for the part, and boy, is it hard to watch. It looks like they just slapped some shoes on his knees like you would in a high school play. Even when he’s sitting, his arms are regular sized and he has CGI baby legs. It’s hilarious, but it’s not supposed to be.
Have you seen any of these roles? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
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