Celebrity is an odd thing. Get a few kudos under your belt — maybe an Oscar nod or some Hollywood Foreign Press accolades — and your judgement can go out the window. The below actors all have an impressive body of work, each responsible for some of cinema’s most iconic modern-day films. And then, at some point in their careers, they decided to star in awful, awful movies like these…
Al Pacino in ‘Jack and Jill’
In the 1970s, Al Pacino was untouchable. The Godfather movies, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, …And Justice for All. He was the Man, his role as ‘One of the Greatest Movie Actors of All Time’ firmly cemented. Then his choices became a bit hit and miss in the ’80s. Then, uh, the past 20 years rolled around. Which brings us to Jack and Jill, not just one of the worst-reviewed comedies of 2012, but one of the worst-reviewed comedies of all time. Big Al plays a version of himself who’s not beneath slumming in Dunkin’ Donuts commercials (not far from the truth at this point) and falling head over heels for a screechy Adam Sandler in drag. If you’d like to preserve your memories of the great one, don’t click on the video below. Seriously, don’t click on it.
Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Attack of the Clones’
Attack of the Clones often gets a free pass in the annals of the Star Wars canon. Nobody’s ever accused it of being a good movie, but coming off the heels of The Phantom Menace, most viewers were simply relieved the Jar Jar Binks content was at a minimum. Here’s how it went down: the masses yelled, “George Lucas, there are 100 things wrong with The Phantom Menace, starting with this Jar Jar character of yours!” To which Lucas said, “Got it: nobody likes Jar Jar” and proceeded to immediately ignore the other 99 things. The end result is Attack of the Clones, a.k.a. the worst film in the franchise. One even a robed, serene-looking Sam Jackson can’t save. What good is it to give the badass Pulp Fiction star a lightsabre if he’s spending most of the movie yammering on in a friendship circle about senatorial voting or some such rigmarole?
Halle Berry in ‘Catwoman’
Halle Berry got all weepy when she won an Oscar for her turn in Monster’s Ball. Understandably so; it was a pretty huge deal, and one she credited as being highly empowering. Then she became a Bond Girl. Meh, less empowering. This was followed by her playing the campy, silly, and decidedly un-empowering Catwoman, whom, to be paradoxical, is a character exactly like the Batman villain but completely different. Catwoman was a critical and commercial bomb and Ms. B’s career has yet to fully recover. One silver lining: Halle landed the ‘Worst Actress’ Razzie award, which we’re sure looks really nice on the mantle next to her Oscar.
John Travolta in ‘Battlefield Earth’
With a Rotten Tomatoes ranking of 3%, Battlefield Earth is certifiably one of the all-time cinematic stinkers. Clearly the key to box office success does not involve adapting a goofy L. Ron Hubbard sci-fi novel into a screenplay, spending a zillion dollars getting it made, and having its lead actors dress like Rastafarian Klingons at swim class. Hey, hindsight is 20/20. That said, John Travolta should have known better; he was already an Oscar nominee at this point (dude was in Pulp Fiction for the love of Mike!), and had classics like Get Shorty, Saturday Night Fever and Grease under his belt to boot. Hmm, maybe those mean ol’ thetans made him do it.
Nicolas Cage in ‘The Wicker Man’
The Wicker Man! It’s Nicholas Cage fighting a gaggle of neo-pagans on an island! While wearing a giant bear costume! Cage has made countless great movies (Adaptation, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas, the list goes on). And as we all know, he’s made some truly embarrassing ones. But in the latter category, nothing holds a candle to The Wicker Man. Spoiler alert: at one point, the aforementioned neo-pagans place a helmet over Cage’s head and dump a bunch of bees into it. His response? Here’s the transcription, with zero embellishment on our part: “Oh no! Not the bees! Not the bees! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ahhh, they’re in my eyes! My EYES! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!”