Hollywood is fickle. Or maybe it is the general viewing public that is the fickle one. Either way, choosing to star in a movie that turns out to be a stinker can taint if not ruin an otherwise promising career.
Actors have to choose their roles carefully, or risk being left behind in the constant shuffle of A-List super stardom. The reality of being an actor is that you are the “next big thing” one day, and the next you can’t even pay the paparazzi to snap photos of you walking your dog.
So, what makes a film a success? A combination of critical praise, and mainstream popularity leading to box office gold is the winning, and yet elusive, combination. The following 10 films not only crashed and burned in both those areas, but completely destroyed any hope their stars had of maintaining their credibility. Sometimes, one bad movie choice can haunt an actor for the rest of their careers, and that’s hard to come back from.
10. Corky Romano – Chris Kattan
As a Saturday Night Live cast member, Chris Kattan obviously had the talent to be a big comedy star, just like SNL alums before him like Adam Sandler, and Chevy Chase. But not every sketch comedian actor translates well to feature films. He gave it a shot though. Corky Romano was a Mafia-esque comedy that although relatively successful commercially, was a complete disaster, critically. It was #64 on Rotten Tomatoes Worst of the Worst 2000-2009 list and has a 6% rating.
Kattan has been all but forgotten after trying his hand at films, but he has had a few roles in minor television shows. Evidence that everyone ends up leaving SNL eventually, but not everyone makes it big in Hollywood.
9. Batman and Robin – Chris O’Donnell
Chris O’Donnell started off his career strong, with a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Scent of a Woman, and a spot on a list of 12 Promising New Actors in 1992. Who ever would have thought that nabbing the part of Batman’s sidekick in Batman and Robin would actually hurt someone’s career? But that’s exactly what it did to Chris O’Donnell. Although a financial success, the film was panned by critics, and O’Donnell himself even called it a low point in his career.
The film was nominated for a long list of Razzies, and critics have gone as far as to accuse it of ruining the Batman franchise for good. Chris O’Donnell’s once promising film career all but disappeared, and it wasn’t until a few TV guest starring roles in Two and a Half Men, Grey’s Anatomy, and his current role on NCIS: Los Angeles that we even remembered he existed.
8. Showgirls – Elizabeth Berkley
The 1995 film about a young girl trying to make it in the Las Vegas show business game, was Saved by the Bell alum Elizabeth Berkley’s attempt to break away from her former teen star reputation. Critics weren’t buying it, and the film even inspired the term “Showgirls-bad” to describe movies that are considered guilty pleasures. You know it’s terrible, but you love to hate-watch it anyway.
Berkley didn’t have the acting chops to pull off the role (as if the Saved by the Bell episode where she took too many caffeine pills and hysterically sang “I’m So Excited” wasn’t any warning) and ended up winning the Razzie for Worst New Star. Not a good way to launch a film career.
7. Superman Returns – Brandon Routh
A role in a superhero franchise, especially as the lead character, has launched, maintained, and revived many actors careers. Just look at Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, and Chris Evans’ Captain America, and even Thor for Chris Hemsworth. But the same thing didn’t happen for poor Brandon Routh when he was cast as Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns.
Although the film made over $300 million worldwide, and wasn’t a total critical failure, the expectations for the film ended up sinking it. Fans of the comic series, and previous Superman films were the toughest critics and ultimately, Routh’s portrayal of the hero didn’t cut. A lot of reviews said his acting “lacked charisma” and he was probably cast mostly because he looked like previous beloved Superman, Christopher Reeves. Routh was even replaced by Henry Cavill in the reboot of the Superman series, Man of Steel, in 2013.
6. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Sean Connery
Sure, Sean Connery was James Bond, and no one is denying that he had an impressive acting career. But his role in the film version of Alan Moore’s comic book series, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman sparked his retirement from the film industry. Comic book nerds are a tough crowd, and the film adaptation of this one did not impress. A lack of loyalty to the source material is cited as one of the major reason that film didn’t resonate with audiences.
Connery was paid $17 million for his role in the movie, so all in all, not a bad pay cheque to call it quits on.
5. Cutthroat Island – Geena Davis
The fact that Academy Award winning actors can experience a career ending turn on a single film is more proof that Hollywood is a hard place to make a living. Geena Davis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1988, but then went on to star in action flick, Cutthroat Island, which was directed by her husband at the time. Not only was the film listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Biggest Box Office Flop of all Time, but it bankrupted its production company, Carolco Pictures.
Davis’ film career stalled after the critical and financial bomb that was Cutthroat Island. The only films she has been associated with since are the three Stuart Little installments. Although she has managed to find some success in TV roles, her movie career is pretty much non-existent now.
4. Gigli – Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck‘s star was on the rise in 2003. He already had a screenwriting Oscar under his belt for Good Will Hunting, and he had been in multiple Kevin Smith movies, including the cult classic Mallrats. But all that he had built came crashing down when he decided to star in Gigli, opposite his real life girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. The film was a box office disaster, making back only $7.2 million of the $75.6 million budget. Critics massacred the film, many calling it one of the worst films ever made, and it won six Razzies, including Worst On-Screen Couple for Bennifer.
Affleck’s acting career took a nose dive after that, but he has since revived his fame through his talent as a director. He is only now starting to work on more acting projects directed by others, and will appear in the film adaptation of Gone Girl, and portray Batman in Batman vs Superman.
3. Agent Cody Banks – Frankie Muniz
Frankie Muniz‘s breakout role and what he will always be known for was his character, Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle. He played a genius kid in a family of misfits, and the show was a big hit, running for seven seasons. Muniz tried to make the jump from TV child star, to film star with his movie Agent Cody Banks, where he plays a kid, who is, you guessed it, a government agent. The film received negative reviews, and was accused of being too formulaic, with nothing new to offer. It was a typical pre-teen comedy, basically. What can you really expect with a co-star like Hilary Duff? Despite being considered one of the most bankable teens in 2003, Frankie Muniz hasn’t done much in film since, preferring to pursue a career in open wheel racing.
2. Freddy Got Fingered – Tom Green
Not that Tom Green was ever much of a star to begin with, but the 2001 film, Freddy Got Fingered, which Green wrote and starred in was the last straw. He took his moronic sense of gross-out humor to the next level and included gags where he licked a bone protruding from a man’s broken leg, and sexually pleasured an elephant. Not surprisingly, critics slammed the film, mercilessly, and it won five Razzies. Film critic Richard Roeper went so far as to say that Tom Green is a “horrible comedian” that should be “flipping burgers somewhere”. Ouch.
Despite both MTV, and (former wife) Drew Barrymore giving Tom Green a chance, it became clear after Freddy Got Fingered that he didn’t belong in Hollywood and his filmography (or lack thereof) reflects that.
1. The Love Guru – Mike Myers
The Love Guru, released in 2008 to horrible reviews and a disappointing showing at the box office, is classified as a romantic comedy. Its star, Mike Myers also wrote and produced the film, which inevitably contributed to its affect on his career. The film’s hero is a hockey player who needs help managing his stress levels ever since his wife left him. Enter, the love guru (based on real life guru, Deepak Chopra), played by Myers.
Reviews accuse the film of relying too much on “gross-out gags”, and “shameless product placement”, and it currently holds a rating of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Mike Myers has plenty of successful films under his belt, including franchises Shrek, Austin Powers, and Wayne’s World. But The Love Guru earned him Worst Actor, and Worst Picture Razzies. Sure, some actors can come back from that, but he hasn’t done much since.