18 Actors Who Made Bad Movies Watchable

An actor’s performance will always have a huge bearing on a movie, but what about when it’s solely the actor who saves the movie? Have you ever watched a great performance in an otherwise bad movie? Read on and see if we’ve listed it below.

Alan Rickman, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Had it not been for the ‘Kevin Costner Effect’ of the early nineties, it is unlikely that the movie would have been the hit it was. His terrible English accent and charmless portrayal of Robin Hood confirmed that he wasn’t even the right man for the job. Alan Rickman’s wildly eccentric and innovative take on the Sheriff of Nottingham was the real saving grace. He saved the movie.

Liam Neeson, Taken

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

It’s hard to imagine not loving the movie Taken. Still, if casting directors had thrown in your typical action hero, the premise could easily have been an emotionless all-action movie with the token fist-clenching and wild car chases. Liam Neeson gave the film a heart, and we invested in him and his quest to save his trafficked daughter.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease 2

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

How do you follow a musical movie classic like Grease? Put simply, you don’t, and that’s why Grease 2 is one of the worst sequels to date. There was nothing positive to say about the movie besides the charisma and talents of a newcomer named Michelle Pfeiffer. She was enough to make it bearable; her ongoing success is a testament to this.

Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

To start with, it was 169 minutes too long. Add to that the comparisons to the novel, and you’ve got yourself an overly long bore fest. Modern cinema should have known better. One thing they did get right was casting British actor Martin Freeman as the lovable Bilbo Baggins. He brought a down-to-earth, naturally evolving innocence to the role, making it an easy watch.

Johnny Depp, Pirates Of The Caribbean

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Pirates Of The Caribbean is essentially swashbuckling nonsense. It’s a barely warm love story featuring Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, with a few pirate ships and a kidnapping thrown in for good measure. Without Keith Richards’ cockney accent, eccentric gestures, and king-sized stage stealing of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the movie would have been a 5/10 at most. He conquered the franchise.

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Remove Robert Downey Jr.’s charisma, and do you have a masterpiece? He humanized Tony Stark’s otherwise arrogant arrogance and gave him the depth that warmed us to him. Iron Man is often named a Hated Hero amongst comic fans, so perhaps it was Robert Downey Jr.’s parallel life experience that helped make the film a box office hit.

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Playing as a History Channel special for 150 long, painful minutes, the Lincoln biopic has become one of the most boring movies ever. If you stayed until the end, we’ll bet it was due to Daniel Day-Lewis’ incredible Academy Award-winning performance. Nothing else.

Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

A great set, dazzling costumes, and a big budget weren’t enough to save this disappointing Academy Award nominee. It was unbearably long, at 2 hours and 5 minutes, and the only redeeming quality was seeing Trainspotting star Ewan McGregor belt out the hits with his jaw-dropping vocals. Who knew the Scotsman could sing? 

Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

We expected little besides an array of back-to-back Abba hits, but the execution was still poor. Mismatched shots, painful dubbing, and bizarre CGI effects made viewers question their spent dollars, yet the movie seemed to break through despite the odds. Meryl Streep’s first musical-film performance won the day and proved that her Midas Touch applies to almost everything.

John Cusack, 2012

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

It’s a typical natural disaster movie with painfully unrealistic near misses and mindless content. Had it not been for the comedic and intellectual wit of atypical action star John Cusack, the movie would have been as disastrous as the storyline.

Anna Faris, The House Bunny

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

You might have ditched this one unless you’re a high-school movie lover. It contains all the usual ingredients from a classic rom-com but offers nothing groundbreaking in terms of premise or execution. Anna Faris and her perfect comedic execution opened this movie to wider audiences, saving a bog-standard script from failure.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, End of Watch

Photo Credit: Open Road Films.

It would have been a bland portrayal of cops on the job had it not been for the dazzling chemistry between its stars, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. The anticipated cop movie’s high points, such as takedowns and bad guys, were overshadowed by the cops’ hangout time between jobs. Kudos to the two actors for being the sole reason for watching to the end. They have to come as a duo.

Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

How did a movie about a fashion intern become a box office hit? Emily Blunt didn’t have high hopes for it, nor did the rest of the cast. That’s probably because there was nothing groundbreaking about it apart from a straightforward fact: Meryl Streep was in it, and her witty, scathing performance as Miranda Priestly was groundbreaking. Take her away, and the movie’s success would have likely met Blunt’s expectations.

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Oh dear, Deadpool. You didn’t quite live up to Marvel standards. Its over-spookiness makes it a teeth-wrenching watch, and there’s the constant feeling that it’s just trying too hard. Ryan Reynolds is the only bearable aspect of the film, and his commitment to the egotistical, eccentric, and mostly annoying character prevents it from being an out-and-out flop.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

While it’s not a bad movie, it wasn’t an original idea. The premise of a bunch of teens on a mission to meet girls with the token nerd in tow has been done a million times over. What made Superbad shine was the collaboration among a brilliant cast, with Jonah Hill at the forefront. Let’s be honest, though. Fogell, aka ‘McLovin,’ was the superstar of the movie.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures .

While Team Foxcatcher was well-received by critics and Rotten Tomatoes alike, the movie was slow, laborious, and mostly mind-numbingly dull. Steve Carell’s surprising non-comedic performance was the only positive takeaway and likely the sole reason many styled it out. Who knew that he could seamlessly play such a dark character?

Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Cast your mind back and ask yourself if you can even remember the storyline. We thought not. What you’ll remember most is the incredible energy and sharp dialogue from Eddie Murphy’s character, Axel Foley. Take away his sizzling presence, contagious laugh, and exaggerated facial expressions, leaving you with very little else.


Share Article:

Join the family!

Sign up for a Newsletter.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.
Edit Template