Typically, bad movies are all-around awful to watch for a reason: usually they feature poor writing, cringe-worthy acting and ridiculous special effects. However, some movies are notoriously bad despite the fact that they star big-name celebrities and award-winning actors.
Many great actors have had at least one dud of a movie role in their careers. Unfortunately for them, because of the nature of film, their poor career choices still exist on DVD or in the depths of Netflix for the world to watch at any time. Luckily, many of the actors on this list moved on to score decent roles in other movies after their performances in cringe-worthy flicks. However, these infamous roles that they probably should have never said yes to are still floating around to haunt them. The following is a list of ten not-so-great movies that star some great actors.
10. Brad Pitt – Cutting Class
Before Brad Pitt became a star from his role in movies such as Fight Club and Ocean’s Eleven and before he became a sex icon, he starred in the mediocre – if not downright bad – 1989 movie Cutting Class, about a murderer who is on the loose in a high school. A high school student, Paula, is the object of attention by two of her classmates: one is a bad boy (played by Pitt) and the other a disturbed student who had just been released form a mental hospital. Soon after the disturbed student is released, the murders start happening at the school. The format of the movie is a typical “whodunit,” but unfortunately Pitt played an unlikeable character and the story is predictable and derivative. This is definitely a movie that Brad Pitt fans can skip; after all, he luckily moved on to much better roles.
9. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – The Third Wheel
This movie isn’t ridiculously bad, but it is forgettable. Making a forgettable movie with a roster of all-star actors was quite the feat: the movie’s stars include Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Denise Richards and Luke Wilson. The story is about a man who is a good guy with a crush on a girl at his office. He finally lands a date with her, but then accidentally hits a homeless person with his car and then he can’t get rid of the man, who begins following him around. With mindless humor and not much that is memorable about this movie.
8. Johnny Depp – Private Resort
Private Resort is a movie about two teenagers who are staying at a resort in Florida, looking for a good time. Made in the mid-1980s, it’s mostly about sex and the boys’ mishaps as they crudely chase after women (sometimes much older than them) throughout the movie. Depp’s character was nothing unique and the format of the movie was like other mediocre films of the time: a typical dumb boy chasing after women. Depp, of course, enjoyed a remarkable career after this forgettable role. He landed breakout roles only a few years later in movies including Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco, Sleepy Hollow and The Pirates of the Caribbean.
7. Bruce Willis -Hudson Hawk
In this movie, Eddie, the main character played by Willis, has just been released from prison and wants to live out the rest of his life as an honest man. Unfortunately, he is blackmailed and is forced to steal works of art by Leonardo DaVinci. This movie is generally considered “bad” because the critics gave it terrible reviews and began to question the talent of Willis, who had been a promising actor in other film roles. However, some audiences didn’t hate it nearly as much as the critics did: many ended up enjoying its low-brow style of comedy. Either way, Willis certainly continued to have a successful career after the movie.
6. Madonna – Swept Away
Madonna is of course a pop music icon, but has had a difficult time proving herself on screen in high-profile roles such as Eva Peron in Evita or behind the camera as the director of W.E.; both projects were met with mixed reviews by critics and audiences alike. However, the on-screen role she has been most notoriously criticized for was in the 2002 movie directed by her then-husband, Guy Ritchie, called Swept Away. The movie is about a snobby socialite (played by Madonna), who is shipwrecked on a deserted Mediterranean Island with a Communist sailor. The movie performed so poorly on its opening weekend in the U.S. that it went straight to video in many other countries.
5. Jessica Lange and Gwenyth Paltrow – Hush
After her role in the acclaimed movie Emma, rising star Gwyneth Paltrow made the unfortunate choice of starring in Hush, a movie with a weak plot and poor writing. The movie stars Helen, played by Paltrow, a young girl who gets pregnant and marries the father of her child and then moves to his hometown. Unfortunately, his mother begins to cause problems and does strange things to Helen. The mother, played by Jessica Lange, ends up being silly and campy instead of being convincingly evil.
4. George Clooney – Red Surf
Before George Clooney became the iconic Hollywood star that he is now, he starred in this flop of a movie about surfers who deal drugs to make a living. The movie is about them trying to set up a final deal when their friend is found by the cops. Covering typical “B-list” 80s movies subjects like drugs, sex and parties, the movie doesn’t offer much in the way of story or direction. Clooney certainly went on to have much, much better roles.
3. Jennifer Aniston – Leprechaun
Yes, this movie really is about leprechauns… an evil killer leprechaun, to be precise. Actress Jennifer Aniston – who, shortly after doing this forgettable movie would move on to a starring role in Friends – co-stars in this movie about a leprechaun that follows a man who stole some of his gold. The monster is locked in a basement, but when he is released by accident, he goes on a killing rampage as he searches for his gold. Luckily, Jennifer Aniston recovered quickly after playing a part in the cringe-worthy flick.
2. Angelina Jolie – Cyborg 2
Angelina Jolie has taken on many critically-acclaimed roles over the years, but early on in her career, in 1989, she starred in Cyborg 2, in a role that even she herself has admitted she was not a fan of. The movie is about an “almost-human” cyborg, played by Angelina, who decides to seduce her way into a rival manufacturers’ headquarters. The cyborg starts to have feelings for humans, however. The movie is heavy on violence and mindless entertainment.
1. Ben Affleck – Gigli
Gigli is still famous for being a notoriously bad movie with an all-star cast. Gigli’s cast was excellent: after all, Ben Affleck had, years before Gigli was made, written and starred in the movie Good Will Hunting that had earned him an Oscar. Jennifer Lopez, while not necessarily as prominent of an actress as she was a pop star, had also done some decent work on screen. The movie’s other cast members included big names like Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and an A-list director, Martin Brest. Gigli, however, was a movie that simply did not work. The 2002 movie is about two gangsters who have to kidnap and watch over a mentally challenged man while keeping an eye on each other. The movie is complete with wild antics and side plots that do not make sense. The critics gave this movie terrible reviews and many viewers quickly agreed, with the result that it tanked in the box office and became the target of many jokes.