These days it seems like anyone can be famous and anyone can get their faces on TV or even on the movie screen, regardless of talent. With the power of streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, more TV channels than we can count, and the Internet, especially the likes of YouTube, the world of entertainment is more accessible than it has ever been and anyone can get some screen time.
But where does that leave the select few who choose the career path of acting? Not too long ago, actors, and in particular movie stars, were seen as unattainable figures that we could only dream of being. However, because of today’s social climate, these movie stars are just as accessible as anything else and therefore they have to churn out movie after movie in order to stay on top of their game. Because of this the talented movie stars often have to take movies they wouldn’t normally take as they slowly let their talent go to waste. With that in mind, we look at 15 great actors that keep making bad movies.
15. Kate Hudson
We start our list with a “what should have been.” Kate Hudson grew up surrounded by Hollywood royalty, being the daughter of movie legend Goldie Hawn and then being raised from a baby by Hawn and Kurt Russell. That alone gave her a step up in the movie world. So when Hudson jumped into the movie business, Hollywood was ready for her and the world waited for her talent to be displayed on screen. So along came the cult classic Almost Famous.
Hudson’s breakout role in that movie was so good that it earned her an Oscar nomination and set her on the path to glory. However, since then, Hudson has had a string of mediocre romantic comedies, most of them bombing with the critics and the audiences, so much so that people are starting to forget that Hudson is actually a very talented actress.
14. Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler had a bit of a slow start to his Hollywood career. Starting off slowly in a few mediocre movies, such as Dracula 2000, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, and the big bomb that was The Phantom of the Opera, but then the Scottish actor got his big break leading man role in 300 and his status as a leading Hollywood tough guy was set. Telling the story of the Spartan’s war against the Persians, Butler stole the movie and became a worldwide smash. He then followed it up with a few great, cool performances, such as in Guy Ritchie‘s RocknRolla.
However, since then Butler has made bomb after bomb and misfire after misfire with a string of disastrous movies such as P.S. I Love You, The Bounty Hunter, Gamer, and The Ugly Truth, to name just a few. It’s time that Butler remembered what a commanding presence he has on screen and uses that for some good.
13. Adrien Brody
The next entry on our list is an actor whose talent shines on the screen in everything that he does. Adrien Brody has been a part of many of the highest critically acclaimed movies in recent years such as Grand Budapest Hotel, New York Stories, The Thin Red Line, and of course, The Pianist, for which he won his Academy Award for Best Actor.
However, having such a strong movie resume doesn’t stop Brody from making a few bad choices when it comes to the roles he takes on, and although he always gives a great performance in everything that he does, his recent movie choices, and their failure to be successful, have started to creep up. If he carries on like this, the bad movies will outweigh the good ones and Brody will be condemned to a life of a medicore movie star. The recent bad choices include: American Heist, Dragon Blade, Back to 1942, High School, and Wrecked.
12. John Travolta
Not many actors in Hollywood have had a career quite like John Travolta. During the 1970s, Travolta became a superstar due to his smash hit movies Saturday Night Fever and Grease. The singing and dancing actor became a big leading man and a movie megastar. Then the 80s hit and Travolta struggled to capitalize on his success with a string of terrible movies such as Urban Cowboy, Two of a Kind, and Look Who’s Talking. Incidentally it must be noted that Travolta was actually offered the lead role in An Officer and a Gentleman but turned it down. An Officer and A Gentleman became a huge hit and made Richard Gere a superstar.
So the 80s were not good for Travolta but then in the 90s, he came back as an action hero and gangster in movies like Pulp Fiction and Face Off. Travolta was back on top in Hollywood but then his poor choices crept up again in Battlefield Earth, Wild Hogs and The Punisher. We know Travolta has talent but it somehow gets lost in his movie choices.
11. Halle Berry
We now come to another Academy Award winner and another movie star that can’t seem to distinguish between good movie choices and bad. Halle Berry dazzled the world in such movies as Swordfish, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Frankie and Alice, and Monster’s Ball, for which she won her Oscar for. Watching those movies shows that Berry is an extremely talented actress so it is very disappointing when she makes movies such as Gothika, Movie 43, Dark Tide, The Call, and News Year Eve, and that’s not even including one of the worst movies she has ever done, Catwoman.
Unfortunately in recent years, Berry’s movie choices and failures have outshone every good thing that has come before and it won’t be long before she’s only be remembered for the bad movies. Even her redeeming comic book movie career, for which she played Storm in the X-Men franchise, was cut down significantly to a minor, supporting character.
10. Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis is a Hollywood legend, we all know this and we all love him. However, the veteran action star does have a tendency to make some truly awful movies, considering that Willis has given us some of the best, and most groundbreaking, movies in the last few decades; Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, Looper, 12 Monkeys, Sin City, the list could go on as there really is so many. But for every great movie that Willis makes there is at least three that are well below good.
For every Sixth Sense, we get Unbreakable, The Whole Nine (and Ten) Yards, and Perfect Strangers. For every Die Hard, we get any Die Hard movie after Vengeance, The Jackal, G.I Joe: Retaliation, and Bandits. There is no denying that Willis is Hollywood royalty and that he can command the screen better than anyone but we feel that the sheer number of movies that Willis has made in the last decade or two has been vast and therefore his bad movies far outweigh his great ones.
9. Morgan Freeman
It’s fair to say that there are two things about Morgan Freeman that have defined his career: one is that he is an incredible actor who oozes wisdom, dominance, and confidence better than anyone else has ever done on screen. The second, and probably more unfortunate for Freeman, is that he is always the supporting actor. Not many movie stars have made a career at being the best number two on screen but Freeman has done this in pretty much every movie he’s made and the world loves him for it. Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, Seven, The Dark Knight Trilogy, the list goes on and on.
However, the problem that Freeman has in recent years is that if any movie, TV show, or documentary wants a wise, older man with a commanding voice then they go to Freeman. For some reason he doesn’t know how to say no to anything. So far his great movies far outweigh the bad, but the bad movies are starting to creep up.
8. Forest Whitaker
If you were to ask a lot of people out there who is one of the best character actors working in Hollywood today, a lot of them would say Forest Whitaker. To some extent those people would be right, as Whitaker has consistently stunned and impressed both audiences and critics in a string of great performances such as The Crying Game, The Last King of Scotland, Panic Room, and The Great Debaters to name just a few.
However, the problem with Whittaker seems to be that once he achieved a certain level of fame, such as winning his Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, he seems to just be content with working rather than pushing himself. With a long list of straight to DVD movies and starring alongside the likes of 50 Cent and Lil’ Wayne, plus being in one of the worst movies ever made, Battlefield Earth, Whittaker is going a long way to undoing every great role and movie he has ever done.
7. Ben Kingsley
Our next entry is an actor who has won more awards than most. Ben Kingsley has won Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Grammys, and he is even a Knight, so we really should call him Sir! Kingsley has been involved in some of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time: Gandhi, Schindler’s List, Twelfth Night, and then there are the movies that, although didn’t win a lot of Oscars, they still smashed it at the box office, like Lucky Number Slevin, Shutter Island, Sexy Beast, and he even showed up in the MCU as Mandarin. It’s fair to say that Kingsley has starred in most of the biggest movies of all time.
However, given the fact that Kingsley has been making movies for the last 40 years or so and the sheer volume of movies he’s made, there are bound to be the odd dud. But Kingsley goes one further than that and seemingly seeks out bad movies such as Thunderbirds, Prince of Persia, A.I., The Love Guru, and Knight of Cups to name just a few.
6. Cuba Gooding Jr.
Our next entry shares a similar career path as our previous entries Kate Hudson and Forest Whitaker. Cuba Gooding Jr. burst onto our movies screens with a string of popular, critically acclaimed and award-winning movies such as Boyz in the Hood and Jerry Maguire. Unfortunately for Gooding Jr., these early success went to his head a bit and the man couldn’t say no to any movie.
As we’ve already mention with the likes of Hudson and Whitaker, Gooding Jr. reached a level of fame and success and then just decided to coast his way through movies with a string of terrible choices: Pearl Harbor, Rat Race, Norbit, Daddy Day Camp, Boat Trip, Shadowboxer, the list is honestly endless. Every now and again, Gooding Jr. shows us what a great talent he is with great performances like playing OJ Simpson in The People Vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. But then he just goes back to his mediocre straight-to-DVD movies.
5. Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke has probably had one of the most interesting, and craziest, Hollywood careers out of any other actor. Starting out in the 1980s, Rourke had a string of hit movies such as 9 1/2 weeks, Angel Heart, The Pope Of Greenwich Village, and Barfly. Staying away from the mainstream Hollywood movies, Rourke became known for his dangerous and quirky movie choices and acting style. During the 90s, however, after a few truly terrible movies, like Wild Orchids and Double Team (which co-starred Dennis Rodman!), Rourke turned his back on Hollywood to focus on a boxing career.
After a few fights, and some reconstructive surgery to his face, Rourke was back on the screens again and wowing fans with movies such as Sin City and The Wrestler. However, the bad movies started to creep up again with the likes of Killshot, The Informers, and Passion Play. There is no denying what a great talent Rourke is, but his talents are best suited to wiser movie choices.
4. Adam Sandler
Oh, Adam Sandler, how far a great comedic talent can fall from grace! The man that pretty much saved Saturday Night Live in the 90s when the show took a nose dive and became stale, Sandler revamped the show and then used his talent in a string of great comedy movies like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer.
However, that’s where this comedian’s greatness ended and the string of mediocre to truly terrible movies began. Over the last decade or so there really have been too many bad Adam Sandler movies to name. That subject in itself could warrant several list articles! Needless to say, each year Sandler gets a string of Razzie nominations for his movies and his legacy gets watered down more and more. For some bizarre reason, his movies still make a ton of money which is why he keeps making them. It’s such a shame as we all know there is a talented actor and comedian underneath it all.
3. Tom Hanks
Next we come to an actor that is possibly one of the greatest, most popular, and most prolific actors of his generation. Tom Hanks started life out in comedy and became a big comedic star thanks to such movies as Splash, Big, Sleepless in Seattle, and Turner & Hooch. Not content with being just the “funny guy,” Hanks pushed himself during the 90s and became one of the few actors to win Best Actor Oscars in consecutive years. Not only that, but it seemed like every movie Hanks was in became a huge hit and a critical smash, such as Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Cast Away, The Green Mile, and of course the Toy Story movies to name just a few.
However, Hanks seems to have forgotten what a force he is in the movie business and has taken bad movie after bad movie. There are the Dan Brown movies The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno. Then there are the disastrous Cloud Atlas, The Terminal, and Sully. Thankfully Hank’s list of great movies is so long that he’ll have to go a long way to undo them, but it seems like lately he’s trying his hardest to do that.
2. Nicolas Cage
Not many actors working in Hollywood today are as disputed as Nicolas Cage is. Some people love him, some hate him, and others just think he makes bad choices in the movies that he makes. Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that Cage has talent and he can hold the audience’s attention and commands the camera better than anyone else.
His crazy and eccentric acting style may not be to everyone’s taste, but the Oscar winning actor has put his style to brilliant use in movies such as Leaving Las Vegas, Face Off, Adaptation, and Moonstruck. However, his bad movies are so bad that this turns a lot of people off and they won’t even watch a movie if they know he’s involved. As with a few other entries on this list, his bad movies are for too many to list but we all know what they are.
1. Johnny Depp
The number one entry on our list of great actors that keep making bad movies is Johnny Depp. During the early 90s, Depp was one of the most talented, exciting, and fresh actors that Hollywood had kicked up in decades. Although he was often pushed into the same bracket as the likes of Tom Cruise in his early career, Depp stayed away from mainstream Hollywood and put his talents to good use in offbeat and quirky movies such as Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
However, because of those early successes and the fact that Depp is just pure talent, the last decade of his career hurts us all the more. With a string of truly terrible movies such as Dark Shadows, Mortdecai, The Lone Ranger, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both Alice in Wonderland movies, and the last few Pirates of the Caribbean movies to name only a few. His die hard fans will continue to watch him in anything he does, but for the rest of us, we are just left with a taste of disappointment in someone who was once possibly the greatest actor of our time.