Every star has their share of flops. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how famous or how successful, you end up making a movie that’s a total bomb with critics and audiences. How you recover from it says a lot as some bad flops are actually good films. John Carter was one of the most epic disasters ever but Taylor Lautner insists on it being his favorite film. It helps with stars getting further roles, able to brush off and move on. Some can insist on “misunderstood projects.” Mariah Carey admits Glitter was bad but is working on a Broadway version of it. Others can just be thin-lipped and brush it off. But other times, stars just can’t hold back on how bad a movie really was.
They often wait until a few years have passed and the fuss has died down to confront it. But other times, they can acknowledge it as soon as the movie opens or even beforehand. They don’t hold back on it being a disaster, a nightmare shoot, just turning out nowhere near as expected and even trying to figure out what they were thinking even taking the role. A few actors don’t have just one such movie but several that they have to apologize for and trash majorly. It’s fun to look back on and marvel at how bad a flick is when its own stars can’t defend it. Here are 15 stars who trashed their own movies and how some have a better sense of humor about it than others.
15 George Clooney - Batman & Robin
Any list of stars trashing their work has to include this. After three successful instalments, the Batman franchise was a huge money-maker for Warner Bros and most felt it could survive anything. Instead, Batman & Robin was such a critical flop and box office disappointment that it would take eight years for the franchise to be rebooted. Most believe nothing could have saved a terrible script and Joel Schumacher’s campy tone and direction but the leading man didn’t help. Back in 1996, George Clooney was still best known for ER and only starting to make any headway in movies. When Val Kilmer decided to drop out of the part of Batman, Clooney was chosen, seemingly because he had a good chin. Frankly, anyone in the role would have suffered because of how the movie was.
Almost as soon as the film was released, Clooney started apologizing for it. It was light-hearted at first but has gotten more serious as time has gone by. Clooney has stated more than once that “I killed the franchise” and how it turned into a mess. He’s not alone as on a special DVD documentary, most everyone acknowledges how the movie was a disaster and Schumacher himself apologizing for it. Clooney has since gone on to have a fantastic Oscar-winning career and the franchise revived but to this day, he will still offer apologies for one of the worst movies ever made.
14 James Franco - Annapolis & Your Highness
James Franco has had a rather…eclectic career. From his breakout in Freaks & Geeks, Franco has moved on to some rather unique roles in movies but also known for bizarre behavior. This is a man who took on a role in General Hospital as a lark, who cracks about his bad time hosting the Oscars, been a writer and more. So it’s no surprise he can be up front on some of his bad choices in projects. One movie he doesn’t speak well of is Annapolis, a 2006 drama with him as a Navy cadet training for a boxing match. The movie was rough, not helped by trailers making it look like a war drama and Franco stated that he “ended up not liking the experience and not liking the movie.”
There was also Your Highness. This 2011 movie had Franco and Danny McBride co-starring with Natalie Portman in a send-up of fantasy adventures. It had promise with stoner jokes and Franco’s star power but ended up being a critical and commercial flop. Franco has been up front on how it’s one of his worst flicks, openly saying “this movie f----ng sucks, you can’t get around that.” When Franco actually admits one of his choices is bad, you know it’s a terrible one.
13 Arnold Schwarzenegger - Red Sonja
Over the course of his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger has made more than his share of duds. He was riding high in the 1980s and early ‘90s but the infamous flop Last Action Hero stopped that. For every success, he had something like Junior, Batman & Robin and The 6th Day. But one movie always gets his goat. Arnie broke out to stardom with 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, bringing the acclaimed fantasy hero to wonderful life. So when producers began work on a spin-off film of Red Sonja, they figured it’d be great for Arnie to co-star. While he couldn’t be Conan, he played a warrior aiding Brigitte Nielsen as the title character.
However, the movie ended up being a flop, killing hopes of a new franchise. Arnie is up front on how “It’s the worst film I have ever made.” He’s also cracked that “when my kids get out of line, they’re sent to their room and forced to watch Red Sonja 10 times. I never have too much trouble with them.” Looks like the former governor isn’t pardoning himself for this.
12 Megan Fox - Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
When Transformers was released in 2007, Megan Fox was instantly a star. The sight of this pouty, sexy brunette in just jeans and a cut-off t-shirt was a fantastic image and boosted her up majorly. She agreed to take part in the sequel, Revenge of the Fallen but like many involved, was bothered by how the 2007 writer’s strike cut the script short and marred it a lot. The final movie was a harsh one, ravaged by critics for its story and idiotic work with special effects. Star Shia LaBeouf has been up front on how it lacked “the heart and commitment” of the first film and even Bay acknowledged it wasn’t a good product.
Fox, however, was the most outspoken. She ranted on how badly Bay insisted on take after take, sloppy one minute, then insanely direct the next. This led to rows on set between them, not helped by Bay basically wanting Fox to show off more of her body than a real performance. Even before the film was released, Fox was warning it’d be bad, including her now famous line comparing Bay to Hitler. That led to her fired from the sequels but the fact is, almost no one was happy with this movie and showed it.
11 The Cast Of Amazing Spider-Man 2
It’s almost forgotten how Sony wanted to turn The Amazing Spider-Man into their own universe of massive properties. The first ASM movie in 2012 was a good hit and the studio had huge plans for spin-offs of Venom, Black Cat, the Secret Six and more. But then ASM 2 ended up underperforming so badly that Sony not only scrapped the idea but allowed Marvel/Disney to get back the rights to put Spider-Man into the MCU. So it may not be a surprise that many of the actors from the movie are up front on how badly the whole thing was done. Spidey himself, Andrew Garfield, said the movie’s lost opportunities were “devastating” and ranted about the badly done final edit.
Emma Stone doesn’t seem to trash it too much but Shailene Woodley is naturally not pleased that she spent over a month shooting scenes as Mary Jane Watson only to have her part totally cut from the final film. But Sally Field has been the most vocal. The Oscar-winner was cast as Aunt May but only took the role as a favor to a producer friend. But she said she struggled to find something worthwhile and “you can’t put ten pounds of s---- in a five pound bag.” No wonder Marvel felt rebooting the whole thing was a lot easier.
10 Katherine Heigl - Knocked Up
2007 was the high point of Katherine Heigl’s career. The gorgeous blonde won an Emmy award for her role on Grey’s Anatomy, the only member of the cast before or since to get that honor. She also starred in Knocked Up, a comedy of her as a professional woman thrown when her one-night stand with a goofy loser (Seth Rogen) leaves her pregnant. The movie was a smash that put Heigl on the A-list of Hollywood, leading to further romantic comedy success like 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth. However, a few months after the movie’s release, Heigl did an interview with Vanity Fair slamming the movie as “a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a b---h; why is she being such a killjoy?"
Rogen and Judd Aptow weren’t pleased with this at all and the press was all over Heigl. She since apologized for it but it still hung around her and led to her less than great reputation that continues today and it might have been best had she just not opened her mouth.
9 Halle Berry - Catwoman
After the epic disaster of Batman & Robin, Warner Bros was wary of getting involved with comic book films again. However, they felt there was a push for an old script, a solo movie based on Batman’s feline foe. Naturally, the first thought was to get Michelle Pfeiffer to reprise her role from Batman Returns but she refused. So instead, someone decided to rewrite the script so the movie had absolutely none of the comic book mythos. Instead, Halle Berry (then known as a sexy actress like Swordfish and Storm in the X-Men films) was cast as Patience Phillips, a designer somehow transformed into a cat lady.
The sight of Berry in a torn-up costume flashing her nice form was attention-grabbing. But the movie itself was completely ravaged by critics and one of the biggest box office flops of 2004. At the annual Razzie Awards, to no shock, Berry “won” the Worst Actress award for the film. In a delightful surprise, Berry herself showed up in person to accept the award, mock crying and thanking Warner Bros “for putting me in a piece of s---, God-awful movie ... It was just what my career needed.” The movie tanked but at least Berry was open about it.
8 Brad Pitt - The Devil’s Own
After becoming an instant star thanks to Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt was offered a lot of “handsome man” roles. However, he also stretched as an actor, wanting to take on more daring parts. He thought The Devil’s Own would be a good opportunity. Pitt plays an IRA operative who goes undercover in Boston, befriending a cop (Harrison Ford) who finds his family in the crosshairs of a gang war. The movie soon became infamous for a tortured production as the egos of Ford and Pitt clashed with a skyrocketing budget ($90 million meant a hell of a lot in 1996) and Pitt ranted on the script being constantly rewritten and a total mess. The movie ended up a huge disappointment with critics and audiences (many mocking Pitt’s bad Irish accent). Pit himself put much of the blame on Mark Canton, the studio head who was on his way out and let the whole thing turn into a mess.
“It was the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking—if you can even call it that—that I've ever seen. I couldn't believe it. I don't know why anyone would want to continue making that movie. We had nothing.” Pitt claimed he tried to walk out after a week of shooting and only the threat of lawsuits dragged him back to make a movie he’d like to send straight to the Devil.
7 Bill Murray - Garfield
While Bill Murray is well known as a great comedic actor, the man can have a surprisingly dark side. Over the years, Murray has gotten into some scrapes, most notably on the set of Charlie’s Angels. Murray had a row with Lucy Liu over her diva behavior and according to legend, head-butted director McG in a fight. He thus refused to do promotion for the movie and his bad-mouthing of it led to him written out of the sequel. But nothing gets Murray going like Garfield. This live-action/animated movie had Murray voicing the famous cartoon cat in a wild escapade. Murray went ahead and did the voice work and waited a year to see the movie. When he did, he was appalled at a horrific film.
So why did he do it? Because Murray was under the impression the script was by Joel Coen, the famed future Oscar-winning writer/director of hits like Fargo. When Murray went to do some re-recording, he was horrified at the movie which made no sense, screaming as to why Coen would write something so bad. At which point, he learned the script was by Joel Cohen, a totally different guy. Murray kept up with it and even poked fun in the comedy Zombieland when, asked if he had any regrets, replies “Garfield, maybe.”
6 Ben Affleck - Several Movies
When Ben Affleck broke out by (alongside best friend Matt Damon) winning an Oscar writing Good Will Hunting, Hollywood had a new leading man. Soon, Affleck was in everything from action flicks like Armageddon to romantic comedies such as Forces of Nature and blockbusters like Daredevil and Pearl Harbor. But Affleck is more than ready today to acknowledge how many bad choices he made. Hosting Saturday Night Live, he mentioned how he went to see the action thriller Paycheck and “I went to ask for my money back then remembered I was in it.” He and Charlize Theron both regret Reindeer Games. Affleck states that the much-maligned Gigli was a bad film but blames the attention on him and then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez for making it seem even worse than it was. He’s also taken much of the blame for the disaster of Surviving Christmas. Today, Affleck is much better received thanks to Argo and proving doubters wrong playing Batman but he has to acknowledge some of the crap he’s made.
5 Michael Caine - Half His Entire Resume
This esteemed British actor was a great presence in the 1960s with roles like Alfie, The Italian Job and other films. He was a dashingly handsome man who could bring the drama and comedy well and a big star. But starting in the mid-1970s, Caine suddenly started to appear in just about any movie that offered him a handy paycheck. Many of these roles he openly despised such as the disaster movie The Swarm which he calls one of his worst films ever. He couldn’t accept his first Academy Award in person because he was filming Jaws the Revenge. Caine has said that he’s never watched the movie once but “I can see the pool it paid for.”
There are so many movies he’s basically apologized for: The Hand, Water, On Deadly Ground, Mr. Destiny and more. In 1998, when he won a Golden Globe, Caine explained that he’d always worried about being irrelevant, thus the reason he kept busy by taking any script. “So I made a lot of crap. But I made a lot of money so I can afford to be picky.” The next year, he won a second Oscar, proving this a good strategy.
4 Mark Wahlberg - The Happening
Until the success of this year’s Split, M. Night Shyamalan was quickly becoming known as a major one-hit wonder. He burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense and then the hit Unbreakable. But then came the fall with The Village and Lady in the Water both flops. In 2008, M. Night wrote and directed this would-be thriller about a bizarre natural disaster that causes chaos. The movie was ravaged by critics and laughable with its nutty storyline and terrible acting. That included star Mark Wahlberg who seemed to spend most of his time staring out in disbelief and reacting to the wind blowing things around. Wahlberg himself would acknowledge this as a mess, going to far as to say that Amy Adams (up for the role played by Zooey Deschanel) “dodged a bullet” by not getting it. He then admitted it was “a really bad move and f--- it for the story” and he basically took it just so he wasn’t “playing a cop or a crook” for once. M. Night has done a bit better since but this is one Happening Wahlberg wishes he’d avoided.
3 Sylvester Stallone - Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Throughout the 1980s, Sylvester Stallone was the epitome of action movies. Between Rocky, Rambo and various roles, Stallone had made a fortune off his performances as a tough guy. But as the 1990s began, Stallone worried he was growing stale and thus made the mistake of trying to segue into comedy. First was Oscar, a farce best known for a performance by a young Marisa Tomei. Much more infamous was Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot! Stallone played a tough cop annoyed when his meddling mother (Estelle Getty) gets involved in his life.
The critics ravaged the movie and Stallone was right there with them. The box office flop convinced him to return to action with hits like Cliffhanger before moving to more dramatic roles later on. In an interview, Stallone cited it as “the worst film I’ve ever made by far, maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system, including alien productions we’ve never seen. A flatworm could write a better script than Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. In some countries – China, I believe – running Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot once a week on government television has lowered the birth rate to zero.” Hard to top his own insight to the film.
2 Michelle Pfeiffer - Grease 2
In the annals of great movies that had absolutely horrible sequels, Grease is right up there. The original movie was a massive hit that helped launch John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as stars and still a loved musical. The fact the sequel had none of the stars of the original should have been a warning sign. In one of her earlier roles, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Stephanie, new leader of the Pink Ladies who falls for a new British student. But while the first movie was a success melding rock and roll songs with a wild story, the sequel fell totally flat and became a forgettable box office flop. Many cite Michelle as a highlight of the movie with her number “Cool Rider” but Pfeiffer herself is up front on how the film is bad. She says she “hates it with a vengeance” and can’t believe it’s a cult hit. Amazingly, Pfeiffer’s career flowed pretty well but still an embarrassing early credit.
1 Jamie Lee Curtis - Virus
Based on a cult comic book, 1999’s Virus was meant to be a big deal. This thriller about a ship attacked by alien entity turning people into cyborgs was pushed hard by its studio complete with a planned toy line. Jamie Lee Curtis plays the ship’s navigator who has to handle all this with major stunts and wild action. But thanks to a bad promotional campaign and terrible reviews, the movie became a huge flop. Curtis herself is no fan of it, openly declaring it a “piece of s---- movie.” She mocks a scene where she’s trying to hide from this monstrous creature by constantly hiding under a set of metal stairs. She’s referred to it as a career-killer and “it was maybe the only time I've known something was just bad and there was nothing I could do about it.” Looks like this was a Virus Curtis hated catching.