An acting career has its ups and downs, and there aren’t many actors out there who have not been in a movie that bombed at the box office, or ended up with a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. No one is perfect, right? Even three-time Academy Award winner, Meryl Streep has taken some missteps (Prime, anyone?), but there are some actors who, despite their best efforts, can’t seem to pick a decent movie to star in. As the saying goes “everyone’s a critic”, but some actors should really consider quitting the business altogether. Luckily, there will always be bad movies, and more than enough bad actors to star in them.
The Annual Golden Raspberry Awards honor the best of the worst in movies, handing out awards such as Worst Actor, Worst Screen Couple, and Worst Picture. Not even Oscar winners are immune, as both Halle Berry and Sandra Bullock have won the award for Worst Actress.
Here is our list of actors who can ruin any movie.
5. Steven Seagal – On Deadly Ground
Steven Seagal started out as an Aikido expert in the mid 1980’s. His martial arts skills got him noticed by executives at Warner Bros. who offered him a stack of movie roles. Despite being reluctant at first, Seagal ended up starring in multiple successful films, including Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice, and probably his most well-known film, Under Seige. The popularity of action movies in the 1990’s made Seagal a major star. But his action hero reign came to an end with the film, On Deadly Ground, which Seagal also directed. The film was heavy on environmental and spiritual themes, and despite also featuring big names like Michael Caine and Billy Bob Thornton, critics and audiences were not impressed. The film won Seagal a Golden Raspberry for Worst Director and a nomination for Worst Actor.
Seagal went on to do numerous straight to video films until 2011, when he played the main villain in Robert Rodriguez’ Machete. The film has been described as an “ode to violent B-movies” which is exactly what Seagal was famous for. The comedy/horror spoof genre was the only place Seagal’s typical tough guy, over-the-top portrayal of the exact same character would fit. He was basically acting out a parody of the roles that made him famous in the first place. Machete has a rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes and according to one reviewer, “it may be thin, but it’s fun, and for some that will be enough.” At least there are no surprises when you watch a Steven Seagal film.
4. Madonna – Body of Evidence
Madonna is the reigning Queen of Pop, and no one can argue that she is immensely talented. She has done multiple world tours, and even at the age of 55, she can still put on a performance like she did when she was 25. But Madonna has proven over and over again that her talent as a performer does not translate to film. She has received 19 Golden Razzie nominations for her worst acting prowess, and won 5 of those awards for movies like Who’s That Girl, Swept Away, and Body of Evidence. In 1993, Body of Evidence was Madonna’s chance to achieve acting glory. The problem was, the film was an obvious knockoff of the 1992 box office hit, Basic Instinct, starring Sharon Stone. According to the critics (with a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and the abysmal showing at the box office, Body of Evidence did not give the original a run for its money.
In 2000, Madonna won the coveted Golden Raspberry award for the Worst Actress of the Century, and in 2005, Roger Ebert included Body of Evidence in his list of Most Hated movies. It’s kind of hard to come back from honors like those, but Madonna is still trying. In 2011, she wrote and directed W./E, a romantic period piece, that although Madonna did not appear in, was still panned by critics and audiences.
3. Jennifer Lopez – Gigli
Who can forget the media spectacle that was Bennifer? Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s relationship culminated in one of the most hated movies of all time, Gigli, The pair won the Golden Razzie for Worst Screen Couple and Lopez took home the award for Worst Actress. She has been nominated for 6 Worst Actress awards, total, and was even nominated for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for her roles in Gigli, Jersey Girl, Monster in Law, and Maid in Manhattan, among others.
Jennifer Lopez started her acting career out with a Golden Globe-nominated turn as the title role in Selena, and she has had a few box office successes along the way, but generally, critics are not a fan of her acting. In the grand scheme of show business, Jennifer Lopez is recognized mainly for her adventurous red carpet fashion, and her successful music career (though it’s subject to opinion whether she’s any good at singing either).
2. Chris Tucker – The Fifth Element
Before his acting career took off with the Rush Hour franchise, Chris Tucker was a stand-up comedian trying to transition to film. He snagged a role in the 1997 sci-fi film, The Fifth Element opposite Bruce Willis, introducing audiences to his unique style of overacting. He played flamboyant talk show host Ruby Rhod, and his performance had critics divided. Some praised his high pitched squealing portrayal of the character, while others though his performance ruined what could have been a great movie.
Besides a toned down appearance in Silver Linings Playbook, the only characters Chris Tucker has ever played are high pitched, fast talkers. So unless that is what the script calls for, he isn’t in high demand.
1. Nicolas Cage – The Wicker Man
Nicolas Cage is one of those actors that is in a critically acclaimed movie one minute, and then in a hilariously bad movie the next. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor (for his role in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas), and has been nominated for another one (for 2003’s Adaptation), but since then he has only appeared in universally panned films such as Ghost Rider, Season of the Witch, and The Wicker Man.
He may have starred in a few box office successes, such as Gone in 60 Seconds and the National Treasure franchise, but those films seem to have done well despite his acting abilities, not because of them.
He has been nominated for 4 Worst Actor Golden Razzies, though never won one. The year he should have won was 2007’s The Wicker Man, which gave us the iconic bee scene. Cage’s character Edward Malus, is tortured to death by a swarm of bees and he screams, “NOO, NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AHHH! MY EYES! MY EYES! AHHH!” Granted, maybe that was the screenwriter’s fault.
Honorable Mention: M. Night Shyamalan – All His Movies
Director M. Night Shyamalan gets an honorable mention, because he isn’t an actor, technically. He just likes to make cameo appearances in all the movies he directs. Is it a way to make sure the general public knows who he is? Or is he saying to the many critics out there, “I don’t care if you don’t like my films, I am proud of them.” Either way, he has made cameos in his universally panned films, Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender. He may not be making the already terrible films worse, per se, but he certainly isn’t doing them any favors either.