A-list Stars and the Embarrassing Film Roles They Want You to Forget
20th March, 2020
Any aspect of a movie can leave the audience and critics unimpressed, be it bad casting, poor production and direction, or even shoddy performances. Some of the greatest actors in Hollywood have found themselves associated with some unforgivingly terrible films. From veteran stars to the up-and-coming ones, no one is an exception to such lapses in judgment. After all, the film industry can be unpredictable. So, we’ve decided to make a list of some of the A-list, top-notch actors who’ve worked in embarrassing films that they probably want us to forget.
Octavia Spencer as Madame Nora in Dinner for Schmucks (2010)
The movie follows up-and-coming executive Tim, who brings along Barry to a party where the hosts compete to see whose guest is the dumbest. Why is this embarrassing? Octavia Spencer is an award-winning actress and a comedy queen. This movie is a waste of her immense talents by casting her as a pet psychic who channels the spirit of a dead lobster. Boy, aren't we grateful that she was cast in The Help?!
Tom Hanks as Bailey in The Circle (2017)
After being hired in a tech and social media company, Mae rises to the ranks quickly but soon finds herself engaging in an experiment that pushes a lot of boundaries. Why is this embarrassing? With a 15% approval rating, the movie has a somewhat impressive cast and tackles problems that stem from the information age but it lacks substance and exploitation of the thought-provoking themes.
Idris Elba as Macavity in Cats (2019)
It’s about cats. That’s it. Why is this embarrassing? The Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes for the movie is, “Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.” Let’s not forget the horrible animation that could give you nightmares for years? The broadway show brought to the big screen is definitely one of the worst decisions of the decade and we’re talking worse than when people ate tide pods on the Internet.
Robert De Niro as Dick Kelly in Dirty Grandpa (2016)
A recently widowed Jason Kelly wants to go to Florida to convince his grandson to not get married. Why is this embarrassing? The reviews of this movie are off-putting enough to make you not want to watch this over-the-top gross comedy that is unfortunately just gross. It reduces a once acclaimed actor to a mere fumbling obnoxious character. This movie has a special place in hell. That’s all.
Karen Gillian as Martha in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
Four kids get trapped in a game of Jumanji and have to complete impossible challenges to make it out alive. Why is this embarrassing? The movie may have been entertaining as ever, but the movie unfortunately wastes the Doctor Who star and her acting talents. Characters are annoying, everyone seems to be yelling and most of all, Jumanji remains a slapstick adventure comedy with no spine and impossible plotlines.
Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian in Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Saved from death by being turned into a cyber-enhanced soldier, Mira soon realises that there is much more to the experiment than what meets the eye. Why is this embarrassing? Scarlett Johansson has kept us entertained as the highly trained covert agent Black Widow, but her role in the 2017 sci-fi movie was completely wasted as it lacked the enchantment of the original anime and movies. Conspiracy theory: did the movie low-key steal the plot from Robocop, or is it just us?
Lupita Nyong’o as Gwen in Non-Stop (2014)
A suspense thriller that follows U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks at 40,000 feet, where he and the passengers are being held hostage for a large sum of money. Why is this embarrassing? Yes, it has a 61% approval rating, which is a major upgrade compared to some of the films on this list. Despite this, the film fails on multiple levels. Critics condemn this movie for wasting its cast, great storyline and set up that ended up with us wishing this movie would stop.
Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones in Jupiter Ascending (2015)
A struggling human, who spends her days washing toilets finds out she is actually Galactic Royalty who owns Earth. Why is this embarrassing? Mila Kunis scrubs toilets but is actually a queen? Unsure if this is a sci-fi movie from the makers of The Matrix or a digital Cinderella remake. The movie pleases your eye with it’s fancy graphics but has such poor narration, you’re left wondering what’s happening.
Samuel L. Jackson as Hardman in Barely Lethal (2015)
A teenage special agent fakes her death as she wants to live a normal life but later realizes that wading through the scary waters of American school life is even more difficult than being a kick-ass spy. Why is this embarrassing? With mixed reviews, the movie tried to be intelligent but failed at many levels. For a movie that was made to poke fun at teenage cliches this movie adopts a whole lot of them. So, where can one file a petition to rename this star-studded epic fail to Barely Watchable?
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele In The Fifty Shades trilogy (2015)
The story of a masochistic turned romantic relationship between Ana Steele and billionaire Christian Grey. Why is this embarrassing? This movie condones controlling and over-the-top behavior as romantic, not to mention it fails in terms of characters defining, following a storyline, a decent screenplay and even a sense of narration. To top it all off, the poor direction and hit-and miss acting make this a must-miss
Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa in House At the End of the Street (2012)
Starting afresh in a new town, Elissa finds herself developing a relationship with a recluse in town and things soon take a dark turn. Why is this embarrassing? With a 14% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie fails Lawrence at every step. It’s horribly executed and obnoxiously predictable with literally every possible horror-thriller movie cliche ever.
Will Smith as Cypher Raige in After Earth (2013)
This M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi flick about a father-son duo that crashes into a post-apocalyptic Earth and now has to work together to escape. Why is this embarrassing? What was After Earth? The movie starring Smith and his son Jaden Smith definitely cost us some brain cells with it’s dull storyline and forced sentiments. Also, let’s not forget the casual nepotism.
Emma Stone as Veronica in Movie 43 (2013)
Different people and different storylines intertwine to create this jaw-dropping movie. Why is this embarrassing? We’ve heard the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth,” but have you heard “Too many directors ruin a film.” Well, now you have. You’ve not just heard it, you’ve seen it. Movie 43 has 12 directors, none of whom could redeem this legendary flop. The movie is just a star-studded offensive gag fest that is not even slightly funny.
Jessica Alba as Kate in Some Kind of Beautiful (2014)
A respected English professor at Trinity College in Cambridge leaves the country to settle with his 25-year-old American girlfriend who is pregnant with his child. Except, he doesn't love her but actually loves her sister. Why is this embarrassing? This movie is for sure some kind of something, but it definitely wasn’t beautiful, and review and ratings all over the Internet are a testimony to this. The movie was called out for being tone-deaf, bland, and not funny or even romantic.
Bradley Cooper as Himself in Brother’s Justice (2010)
This mockumentary is a parody of Dax Shepard’s life, wherein he quits comedy to pursue his dream of becoming an international martial arts star. Why is this embarrassing? The movie has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Read that again - 0%. Many critics panned the movie as a vain project with a low budget and no script. Even the charming Bradley Cooper could not salvage this movie and its doomed fate.
Katherine Heigl as Jen in Killers (2010)
Jen married the man of her dreams but three years later finds out that he is an international super-spy with a bounty on his head. Why is this embarrassing? Killers could be easily confused for a rom-com with no chemistry or a spy movie with no suspense. There may be fast-paced chases but the only thing it ended up doing is chasing people out of the theatres. Critics believe the movie is consistently dull and have given it an approval rating of a meager 10%.
Adam Sandler as Jack and Jill Sadelstein in Jack and Jill (2011)
Successful executive Jack hates Thanksgiving because his over-the-top, obnoxious twin sister visits that time of the year. Why is this embarrassing? Jack and Jill is hands down the worst Adam Sandler movie ever. He plays the role of both Jack and his identical twin sister Jill, nuff’ said.
Tom Hardy as Tuck in This Means War (2012)
Two men who work in the CIA, both who have chiseled abs and look like Greek gods, fight to the death over one woman. Why is this embarrassing? Totally realistic and definitely not setting the bar high for the real world dating scene. Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it a good movie? No. Critics believe the movie is loud, terribly edited, and has zero elements of comedy or romance.
Reese Witherspoon as Annie in Penelope (2006)
Cursed with a snout of a pig, a girl must find the love of “one of her kind” to break it. Why is this embarrassing? Despite the fact that the movie has a charming cast and a strong message about learning to love oneself, critics believed the movie failed in terms of a bad narrative and poor direction. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of pig jokes. And Reese Witherspoon just kind of hangs around.
Chris Pine as Jake Hardin in Just My Luck (2006)
A girl with the best luck in the world meets a guy who is always down on his luck. They kiss, lucks are exchanged, and chaos ensues. Why is this embarrassing? Critics believe that the movie was a waste of this glorious man’s talents! The movie is literally a compilation of every single slapstick-rom-com ruse that has ever existed and yet lacks the spark. It doesn’t mean we didn’t watch Chris Pine shirtless, just saying.
Jake Glynnelhal as Dastan in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Set in the ancient Persian empire, the movie follows the story of Dastan as he tries to stop the villain from going back in time to change the present. Why is this embarrassing? While the video game series is a masterpiece, the movie received mixed reviews. The movie did not offer anything of substance, but was entertaining enough to make it watchable. Glynehall has also expressed his regret with the film. Guess he wishes, he could use the dagger, go back in time, unmake movie.
Sandra Bullock as Annie in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Annie vacations aboard a luxury cruise ship that gets hijacked and is programmed to crash into an oil tanker. Why is this embarrassing? This sequel failed to capture the excitement and thrill we felt in the first one. It’s also ridiculously unbelievable to witness the number of times a single person can get into life-threatening situations. Oh, and not to mention the lack of a very important element - Keanu Reeves.
John Travolta as Terl in Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)
Aliens invade earth and annihilate the human species. There are a few survivors, and they clearly have superhuman skills because they instantly learn to build a rocket ship, fly it to the alien planet and destroy the entire planet with one single bomb. Why is this embarrassing? If the pictures of the movie aren’t enough to convince you of this horrible piece of film, here’s what a review had to say: “Here’s a film that should definitely be used as an example of what not to do when making a film”. Well, that’s that.
Jennifer Lopez as Ricki in Gigli (2003)
Gigli is a low-ranking mobster who’s asked to kidnap the mentally disabled brother of a federal prosecutor. Ricki is sent in to monitor him. Why is this embarrassing? The movie was condemned for its clumsy plot and the lack of chemistry between Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. The movie also bombed at the box office, collecting only $7.3 million against a budget of $75.6 million. It also ranks #2 on IMDB’s list for the worst movies of the 2000s, do we need to say anything else?
Halle Berry as Patience Phillips in Catwoman (2004)
Based on the DC Comic, Catwoman follows the story of a designer who is murdered after she discovers some dark secrets of the company she worked in. Brought back to life by feral cats, she takes on the role of Catwoman and fights crime outside the law. Why is this embarrassing? With a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics believed Halle’s performance was charming, but even she could not have this saved comical action thriller and its overtly S&M outfits.
Ryan Gosling as Henry Letham in Stay (2005)
A physiological thriller about a man who informs his therapist that he’s about to kill himself in three days. Why is this embarrassing? The movie flopped at the box office, making only $8.48 million against a budget of $50 million. Despite the stellar cast, the movie was accused of having no depth and a weak payoff. Also, Evan Mcgregor’s unusually short long pants throughout the movie are just plain annoying!
Denzel Washington in Heart Condition (1990)
Racially prejudiced cop Jack Moony gets a heart transplant, and the donor is black lawyer named Napoleon Stone, played by Washington. Soon after, Moony is haunted by Stone’s ghost to track down the gang that killed him. Why is this embarrassing? With a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences accused the movie of being racially offensive and forcing the element of comedy.
Jennifer Aniston as Tory Reding in Leprechaun (1993)
A man steals a leprechaun's pot of gold and traps him in a wooden box with a four-leaf clover on top. Years later, he’s accidentally released; now, the leprechaun terrorizes and kills people of the town until he recovers all of his stolen gold. Why is this embarrassing? Before she rose to fame on Friends, Aniston starred as the lead in this movie. This low-budget thriller with whimsical acting made it more of a comedy than a horror.
Brad Pitt as Heinrich Harrer in Seven Years In Tibet (1997
Based on the 1952 book, the movie follows the story of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer and his experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951. Why is this embarrassing? The movie may have a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but critics had a lot to say about what went wrong. While the story, journey, and shots are appealing, many pointed out that the movie focused more on Brad Pitt and his accent.