Random Thoughts: Fabulous actors, puzzling choices

Amanda Seyfried & Gary Oldman in RRH

This is another one of those posts that’s been sitting in my draft folder for ages. I actually started writing this back in December! But some of the comments on the Gary Oldman post questioning his decision to take on Red Riding Hood inspired me to finish this.

The Twilight-ish version of the classic fairy tale garnered a paltry 11% Tomatometer. Granted, a thespian of Gary’s caliber is certainly the least of the movie’s problems, but no matter how good an actor, he can’t possibly ‘rescue’ a movie from a terrible script, bad directing or inept acting from his co-stars. It kinda make you want to scream ‘do these actors actually read the script?!?’ But that is assuming that a ‘good’ script is the one and only reason an actor sign on for any role. Of course that’s not always the case, there are surely a bazillion other reasons (a dump truck full of cash being dropped on the actor’s backyard perhaps?) that are a much compelling deciding factor.

In any case, Mr. Oldman is hardly the only great actor who’ve made some puzzling role choices. I decided against making a top ten list as most likely I’d be excluding a bunch actors and/or projects that people deem more ‘worthy’ to be included. I’ll just list a few of them just to illustrate that even the best and most talented actors are not exempt from making bad movies. The higher they climb, the harder they fall, or so it seems. Some of their movies are so terrible they actually end up in the Worst Reviewed Movies list on RottenTomatoes. Here are just a few I can think of at the top of my head (the titles link to their RT.com pages):

  • Before Russell Crowe became critics’ darling, he was in a silly supernatural comedy Rough Magic. What’s more peculiar than the movie is the Aussie thespian’s involvement.
  • The multi-talented Ralph Fiennes was actually in a rom-com with J Lo called, get this, Maid in Manhattan. I saw this on TV once and cringed every time I saw Fiennes on screen. It didn’t help that he had no chemistry whatsoever with Lopez.
  • Even the recent Oscar winner Colin Firth made one of the worst rom-coms ever graced the big screen, The Accidental Husband. It’s no accident though that it also boast one of the worst movie posters of all time. (Sheesh, just look at those hands holding the bouquet, I mean I can’t imagine someone actually approved this going to press!)
  • Sean Connery in the Highlander sequel, which earns a big fat ZERO Tomatometer, yikes! Mr. Connery is known to turn down a bunch of roles, yet he accepted this one?? [shrugs]
  • Robert De Niro in …  well, he’s in quite a few stinkers in the last decade, just check out his RottenTomatoes profile page
  • And as long as we mention De Niro, Al Pacino’s been making poor role choices lately as well. In fact, they did it together in Righteous Kill, though it’s still got a [slightly] better score than 88 Minutes. Oh, did you know Mr. Pacino was also in Gigli?

Now, before you accuse me of listing only the male actors here, great actresses have also signed on to duds. Love Ranch, Helen Mirren’s movie directed by her own husband Taylor Hackford was poorly received. Bad title doesn’t usually translate to a bad movie, but it certainly does in the case of Because I Said So, starring Diane Keaton. Did someone yell those very words to her to take on the project?? Surely Mrs. Keaton, you deserve better!

I’m sure there are better examples than the ones I listed above, but anyway, it’s just meant to illustrate that even the best actors don’t make proper role choices. Even if any of these actors ends up being the only saving grace in it, one can’t deny the movie in question is a stinker. But hey, as long as they learn from it and don’t continue making the same mistake, I’d say we ought to cut them some slack. Who hasn’t made a single bad decision in the course of one’s career, right? Certainly we are guilty of it just the same. Besides, it’ll make us appreciate their good movies all the more and hope they’d help erase the bad ones from our memory.

Well, what do you think of the topic? Feel free to add to the list which actor(s) you think have made terrible or simply head-scratching role choices.