It can be incredibly hard as an audience to determine how successful a film is going to be. It must be even harder to do that as an actor. As a result, sometimes when your favorite actor puts out an awful film or performance, you can sometimes give them the benefit of the doubt.
There are a lot of actors, such as Daniel Day Lewis, that have tremendous careers full of many more fantastic performances than duds. Other actors seem to care a lot less about their legacy, and a lot more about the dollar figure that sits in front of them on the cheque.
It's not that these actors don't have talent, in fact they needed to have talent to get where they are. They didn't get their movie opportunities by sheer luck, but once some actors taste success, they choose some movie roles that are the definition of lazy. There is nothing wrong with expanding your comfort zone, but some actors are content to stay in the same niche role their entire career. It is even worse when the failure on the actor's part leads to significant financial losses for the studios involved.
Laziness is one thing, but it can be concerning when you start to see a pattern develop. It gets worse when you start taking home nominations or awards from the Razzies (an ironic award show, awarding mediocrity) and not the Academy Awards.
Many of these actors have films coming out in the near future that will give them a chance to perhaps redeem themselves! Yet for every promising film, come others like Zoolander 2 which may be promising, but there is definitely cautious optimism towards the film. There will always be the chance that some upcoming films will flop and cement them even further on this list.
10 Will Ferrell
There was a long period of time when Will Ferrell was one of the funniest actors in Hollywood. People could not get enough of him on SNL, and his emergence on the big screen was well received with roles in films such as Zoolander, and Old School. Ferrell’s career furthered when he realized he could spoof the sports genre, and Blades of Glory and Talladega Nights both hit theatres. These films, while clear indications that Ferrell has fallen into his niche, survive persecution because we still quite enjoyed them. But Semi-Pro? Semi-Pro was an absolute train-wreck of a film and perfectly personifies an actor who can be so outstanding, but often just takes a gimmick way too far.
9 Kevin James
I don’t hate Kevin James, in fact, The King of Queens is one of my favorite sitcoms. Kevin James, despite his success on television, is absolutely awful in most of his cinematic films. It is clear that James is content to stay well within his comfort zone of being a zany heavy-set fellow and has yet to tackle a role that shows that he can act. The worst offense is the sequel that didn’t need to be made to begin with, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. There has been some great stuff, such as Hitch, but it all came early in his career before the sequels, such as Grown Ups 2, started taking hold and drowning his career in the process.
8 Nicolas Cage
How can one even begin to describe Nicolas Cage? He can blow you away with an outstanding performance like in Matchstick Men and then go on and do some awful and over-the-top garbage. If you haven’t seen The Wickerman, it is worth it only to see Cage’s acting continue to ramp up in zaniness as the film progresses (keep in mind it’s supposed to be serious). Other films like Next not only had Cage acting hurt the film, but also had Cage produce the film. There are no shortage of awful Cage performances to pick from, and if you can accept them for what they are, Cage can be a hilariously entertaining actor to watch. Just from the outside, it really seems like sometimes he just does not care anymore.
7 Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner to his credit, has some fantastic roles under his resume. In 1991, his work on Dances With Wolves helped land him a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards (and the film won best picture, not too shabby!). Costner also was the recipient of the Worst Actor Razzi in 1996 for his God awful performance in The Postman. The film was a commercial failure, with box office totals not even coming close to the production cost of the film. It’s clear that Costner was looking at the paycheque when he agreed to this awful film.
6 Mike Myers
As a fellow Canadian, I feel it is unpatriotic to be super against Mike Myers. After all, Wayne’s World is a classic and Myers is the man behind Austin Powers! Even if Austin Powers had moments where the jokes ran too long, it was still a fantastic series that offered some great comedic moments. Myers is also the creative force behind some of the worst films to come out, but none worse then The Love Guru. The film was not only a critical and commercial failure, but received the Worst Picture Award at the Razzies that year. To help complete the duo, Myers took home the Worst Actor Award for his performance in the film.
5 Rob Schneider
One has to wonder if Rob Schneider decided at one point to stop caring, or if he was always just incredibly unfunny. Schneider had some early success in the 90s after leaving SNL, but his track record is still awful. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo did okay, but of course it spawned an even worse sequel, which is the downfall of many of these actors. Schneider’s worst offense may be Don’t Mess With the Zohan, which was absolutely dreadful and was a collaboration with long-time friend and fellow non-caring actor Adam Sandler. It's understandable wanting to make movies with your best buds, but it would just be nice if they were funnier.
4 Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey has done a lot of films out there that help show his versatility as an actor. Whether you love him in his comedy roles, or are attached to his more dramatic performances such as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey is definitely a great actor. Carrey's film history definitely also has some clear examples where Jim Carrey did not seem to care. The worst offense, like many actors on this list, came in a sequel, with Dumb and Dumber To. The sequel was tired and unnecessary and it was clear that Carrey brought the enthusiasm to the character. If it has been several years since the last incarnation of the series, which also failed, why on earth did you think it was a smart idea to make a 3rd one? The script writer clearly didn’t care, and I feel bad for anyone that spent money to watch it.
3 Ben Stiller
I still want my money back for Along Came Polly. Don’t even get me started on other disasters like Duplex starring Stiller and Drew Barrymore. It’s always disappointing when actors can be so inconsistent with their work. Stiller had success early in his career with successes such as Zoolander in 1996. Stiller also had success as his career went on with some great films such as Dodgeball. Yet, mixed in with all of the success are inconsistent sequels (Meet the Parents franchise) and other films that clearly just seemed like a cash grab and it shows. Let's hope Stiller really cares about making Zoolander 2 awesome, or it’ll be a great tarnish on a fantastic film.
2 Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy has helped deliver some of the best comedic acting performances of all time. Whether you hate or love Beverly Hills Cop, it’s one of the best comedies out there. No amount of great performances or stand-up routines will overcome the amount of flops that Murphy had as his career went on. That will always ruin his legacy. The worst offense may have been The Adventures of Pluto Nash which earned only $7.1 million on a budget of over $100 million. If Murphy didn’t care before seeing those numbers, maybe it would be enough to bring him back to his senses. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t, and Murphy also created other awful films such as Norbit which earned him the Best Actor Award at the Razzies.
1 Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler is the personification of someone that just does not care anymore. Sandler has had some outstanding roles in his career, but that just gave him a bigger career to bastardize. Current-day Sandler is pumping out some of the worst, most mind-numbingly awful comedies, such as Jack and Jill, where he thought “hey, let’s play two roles!” Combined with the fact that Sandler often casts his friends, of whom most people are sick (such as David Spade, Kevin James, and the aforementioned Rob Schneider), his films are even harder so sit through. There are more duds than gems in Sandler's career now, and that trend does not look to be changing anytime soon.
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