There are actors who are very selective of their roles, choosing only the projects that truly interest them. Some go years in between roles waiting for that perfect script to land on their laps. These types are, by no means, the norm. Most actors aren’t so picky. Sure, they may turn down some weird roles in the hopes that something better will come along, but they’ll take what they can get for the most part. It usually comes down to money.
There have been a few actors who haven’t been shy about admitting that they choose some roles strictly for the dough. Because of this, we’ve been blessed with some absolutely horrible films that starred wonderful actors. It turns out that almost every year there is a terrible film looking to overpay for an A-list actor to star in it. Once these brutal films are completed, the stars leave the set and try to forget everything about the experience, but movie fans never forget. In fact, we’ve even got the photos to prove it.
Simply talking about these stinker films is not enough. We need the visual proof to really bring home how embarrassing these roles are. Compromising positions, ridiculous outfits and outlandish scenes; these are the types of memories that the photos on this list evoke. Oscar winners, legendary stars and industry icons; the actors on this list are some of the biggest names in the game, and prove that even the brightest stars fall at some point. Most of the actors herein rebounded from these low points, some were not affected at all, but our memories will never fade. We will always remember. 15 depressing photos that show how actors will do anything for money.
15. Al Pacino – Jack & Jill
For most of Jack & Jill, Al Pacino holds his head high enough to keep his integrity. It feels weird that he’s sharing the screen with Adam Sandler in a god-awful film, but he’s not doing anything that would embarrass him or his legendary name, but then the film ends and a commercial starts up. We’ve heard about this commercial throughout the film, so we expected to see it play out on screen at some point, but nothing could have properly prepared us for what we witnessed. The images you see in that commercial are even too shocking for younger audiences. Pacino, or the Dunkaccino as he calls himself in Dunkin’ Donuts, begins to dance and rap after he gets his order at the counter. In the song, he uses references to his Godfather glory days as the dancers shake, jerk and twerk around him like utter morons. Even though Pacino’s character tells Sandler to burn all copies of the commercial after he saw it, it’s too late. We can’t unsee what’s been seen.
14. Halle Berry – Catwoman
Oh, Catwoman. You never fail us. Halle Berry was sitting on the top of world after her Oscar winning performance in Monster’s Ball. Nothing could go wrong, well, except for Die Another Day, Gothika and worst of all, Catwoman. Just two years removed from her Academy Award, Berry mailed in three performances. When she showed up to accept the Razzie she earned for Catwoman, Berry essentially blamed the studios, saying, “Thank you for putting me in a piece of sh*t, god-awful movie.” Sure, the movie was garbage from top to bottom, but she didn’t take responsibility for her part in it. She was absolutely horrible and it serves her right for taking the role. Look at that promotional photo, a grown-ass woman crawling around the floor like a cat. You look ridiculous. Stand up.
13. Ray Liotta – In the Name of the King
Everything in Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King is alarmingly bad. Well, the cast is excellent, but even they couldn’t save it from its fate. So many of the actors in this one could have been on this shameful list, especially Burt Reynolds, but the one that stands out most is Ray Liotta. Yeah, Liotta’s done some bad films in the past, but he usually plays strong character roles. In this one, he’s a friggin’ wizard. There’s not a whole lot that can be said about this film. The script is utter shite. The acting is not over-the-top enough to make it campy but just enough to make it some of the worst you’ll ever see. It’s troubling that this got all the way to theaters. Is this how little we think of our filmgoers?
12. Jon Voight – The Karate Dog
A lot of people point to Anaconda as a rock bottom point in Jon Voight‘s career, but that’s hogwash. Anaconda had a chance at being good. In fact, we would even go so far as saying it is kind of good. But it’s royally disturbing watching an Academy Award winner like Voight karate fighting a dog that also knows karate. If you haven’t seen or heard of The Karate Dog, you might think were having a laugh, but this is serious stuff. The Karate Dog is a very real film and Voight plays the villain. In the climax, Voight and the dog (voiced by Chevy Chase) square off on a roof top. The fight is something to behold, plenty of jumping over leg sweeps and missed roundhouse kicks. The real Voight is swapped in and out with a stunt double with all the precision of a blind walrus.
11. Forest Whitaker – Battlefield Earth
The fact that John Travolta helped fund and starred in Battlefield Earth is bad, but this was a project of love for him. Plus, Travolta’s half crazy, so we half expect it from him. Forest Whitaker, however, is a wonderful actor and was at a good point in his career when he decided to take on this horrible role. Just look at that costume. What were you thinking, Forest? Why did you do this to us? How much did they pay you to soil yourself in front of millions of people? It’s truly amazing (depressing?) what becomes of a cockamamie concept and poor execution.
10. Robert De Niro – The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
The year 2000 gave us three Robert De Niro movies, one good—Meet the Parents, one decent—Men of Honor and one weird—The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The last one was true to the cartoon and was pretty entertaining, all things considered, but this is Robert De Niro we’re talking about. Travis Bickle and Jake LaMotta, not Fearless Leader. It just doesn’t feel right for him to be in this movie. He looks out of place. Alright, maybe we’re being too hard on him, but it’s not only us who feel this way. The film wasn’t loved and many were questioning De Niro’s choice to do the movie from the very beginning. When asked about it, De Niro said “I had a good time on Rocky & Bullwinkle,” so maybe it wasn’t all about the money. No, scratch that. It was definitely about the money.
9. Tim Allen – The Shaggy Dog
The worst decision Tim Allen has ever made was starring in The Shaggy Dog, and that’s saying a lot for a guy who faced a life sentence in prison for trafficking when he was arrested at the airport with over 650 grams (1.4 lb) of cocaine. But it’s the truth. Just look at that picture. Here’s Tim Allen pretending he’s a dog chasing a cat. Robert Downey Jr. was also in this movie, but he was just getting his career back on track during those years, so we can’t blame him too much. Allen was rich and was pretending to be a dog in a movie that everyone hated. Amazingly, Allen’s The Shaggy Dog is the third theatrical version of this film. What in the hell was he thinking?
8. Peter Dinklage – Pixels
Peter Dinklage had a massive coming out party with Game of Thrones. Though he had been in the industry for a while before he started on that show, his character Tyrion quickly became a fan favorite and the world was his oyster. From there, Dinklage landed roles in Ice Age: Continental Drift, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Pixels. It’s the last one that we’re most interested in. The premise was decent. The end result was a disaster. Just look at Dinklage in that picture. Why Tyrion? Why? Look at that mullet and that stupid outfit. We can’t be sure, but it doesn’t seem like Dinklage is that proud of his role in Pixels. Even before the film came out, he was asked about his character’s “journey” and his response showed that it wasn’t all that complex. “Journey?” he asked. “He is the childhood nemesis of Adam Sandler’s character. They are video gamers and he is very good. And then he falls on hard times, they find him in prison and they need him to defeat the aliens so they have to recruit him and he is very happy.” Simple.
7. Laurence Fishburne – Pee-Wee’s Playhouse
We tried to avoid embarrassing roles of actors who were just starting out or even struggling because most actors would take any roles they were offered when they were in such a position. Early on, Laurence Fishburne played Cowboy Curtis on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse during somewhat of a lull in his career, but it certainly wasn’t a down spot. To be honest, Cowboy Curtis was pretty amazing and Fishburne isn’t embarrassed about it, but we are, so we’re including it. Plus, the photos of him in that role are just too damn funny to leave off this list. Here’s what he had to say about the part: “I always wanted to play a cowboy… I just didn’t get to do it the way I thought I would.” He also said, “[Cowboy Curtis has] given me the opportunity to give a lot of people a lot of joy, and make people smile and laugh, which is not something that I often get to do in the work, because I mostly work in the dramatic part.” What a sweetheart.
6. George Clooney – Batman & Robin
Even he admits it. He was an awful Batman. 1997 was a weird year for George Clooney. He was coming off of a strong performance in From Dusk Till Dawn and preparing for Thin Red Line. Oh, and there was Batman & Robin. There are a lot of things wrong about Batman & Robin, but there’s also some stuff to like about it, too. It’s a pretty fun movie, but, at the end of the day, no self-respecting Batman fan, comic fan or just film fan in general can forgive the damn nipples on the bat suit. No, this wasn’t Clooney’s fault. He didn’t go out of his way to ask Joel Schumacher if his suit could have more distinct nipples, but he’s the guy in the suit. They’re his nipples. Clooney knows how lucky he is that his career survived that cataclysmic role. Hell, he thought he killed Batman, saying, “Let me just say that I’d actually thought I’d destroyed the franchise until somebody else brought it back years later and changed it. I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. Ummmmm, it wasn’t.”
5. Cuba Gooding Jr. – Radio
In Tropic Thunder, when Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) tells Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) about the harms of going “full retard” in a movie, he uses Sean Penn in I Am Sam as an example, but he could have just easily used Cuba Gooding Jr. in Radio. Though it received some mixed reviews at the time, Radio was wildly insensitive and something that Gooding Jr. will definitely not look back on with fond memories, despite how pure his intentions may have been at the time. The character Radio was a glorified talisman for the football team and the town in Radio. He was a mascot with an intellectual disability as his costume. Even though most will point to the earlier Boat Trip as the tipping point in Gooding Jr.’s career, Radio didn’t help. Not one bit.
4. Sean Connery – Zardoz
Sean Connery had a nine-year stretch where basically all he did was James Bond films. Connery never did like the character though, and he always voiced his desire to leave it behind. So, in between Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again, Connery took on a number of different films to show the world what he was capable of as an actor. One of the films in this period was Zardoz. There are two stories about why Connery took the weirdest of weird roles. One, Connery says he loved the script. He said, “It was one of the best ideas I’d come across for ages… So by the following weekend I was over in Ireland to prepare for filming. What gripped me especially was the direction the people in [the script] were taking in the future existence, as opposed to space ships and rockets and all that,” which sounds exactly like someone who was impressed by a script he didn’t understand. The other story is that after Bond, Connery couldn’t find work, so he accepted the role in the mankini for little money just to get some recognition outside of James Bond. We’re going to believe the second one.
3. Michael Caine – Jaws: The Revenge
Michael Caine has had a brilliant career, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been in his fair share of bad films. The worst, bar none, is Jaws: The Revenge, the fourth film in that franchise. It was a trainwreck. The plot made no sense, the action was stupefying and the special effects were laughable. When asked about the movie, Caine gave one of the most honest and hilarious quotes ever uttered: “I have never seen the film, but, by all accounts, it was terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” The year after Jaws: The Revenge, Caine would do Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as if to say, “see, I still got it.”
2. Ben Kingsley – The Love Guru
In 1982, Ben Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi. In 2008, he played Guru Tugginmypudha in The Love Guru for which he did not win an Oscar. However, Kingsley was nominated for a Razzie for his efforts, and he got the everlasting memories of playing a cross-eyed Indian monk. Even though Kingsley’s presence seemed to give the film some leeway with its otherwise insulting content, it wasn’t enough. Many Hindu organizations rallied against the film, calling it a mockery of their culture. For the main star, Mike Myers, it essentially ended his onscreen film career (left to voicing Shrek movies). For Kingsley, it is just a black mark on a stellar resume. Well, there was Bloodrayne too. That one was almost as bad.
1. Gary Oldman – Tiptoes
In between Hannibal and Batman Begins, the wonderfully talented Gary Oldman showed he’s not only versatile with the mentality of his characters but also the physicality. The film was Tiptoes and Oldman played Matthew McConaughey‘s dwarf twin brother. If you wanted to know what kind of film it was, the tagline should give you an indication: “It’s the little things in life that matter.” Puns. The film went straight to DVD after it was reportedly the victim of a terrible recut. The resulting film is insulting, awkward and insensitive. Though Oldman was pretty damn good in the role, he looked absolutely ridiculous. Considering Peter Dinklage was in the film as well, you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t just cast him in the starring role. While Tiptoes may be forgettable for Oldman, it’s etched in permanent marker in the mind’s eye of anyone who has ever seen it.