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12 terrible performances in sensible films, from Hugh Grant to Jake Gyllenhaal

Mark Hamill in ‘Star Wars’, January Jones in ‘X-Males: First Class’ and Hugh Grant in ‘Love Truly’ (Disney/Shutterstock/Common)

It’s far simpler to be the saving grace of a foul movie than the worst a part of an important one.

The latter hardly ever is sensible – absolutely if a movie is firing on all cylinders and has a reliable director behind it, each aspect will work simply as properly?

If solely it have been so easy. Whereas it’s uncommon, there are cases of excellent movies being undone by a sole dangerous aspect. Typically it’s an accent gone awry, or a distracted actor, and even one thing so simple as a little bit of miscasting.

To shine a lightweight on this phenomenon, we’ve compiled 12 askew performances in nice movies, from the famously incongruous (Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York), to selections which are extra controversial (Hugh Grant in Love Truly? Sure, actually!)

And when you’re right here, why not additionally pattern the inverse of this unusual prevalence – sensible performances in in any other case horrible films…

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners

Gyllenhaal is responsible of an excessive amount of performing in Denis Villeneuve’s dirty child-abduction thriller. Whereas the opposite A-listers that encompass him (together with Hugh Jackman and Viola Davis) bury themselves in grief and rage, Gyllenhaal appears to be in a distinct movie completely. He’s all twitches and facial tics, injecting off-putting weirdness in a film that completely doesn’t want it.

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January Jones in X-Males: First Class

The Mad Males star adopts a flat have an effect on for this in any other case nice franchise reboot. In equity to her, the character she’s taking part in – mutant henchwoman Emma Frost – is written as quippy arm sweet and completely nothing extra, however Jones appears painfully uninterested all the identical.

Mark Hamill in Star Wars

First, some caveats. A few of our best residing actors have been no match for George Lucas’s incapability to write down good dialogue, and Hamill received infinitely higher as an actor as he aged. In these first three Star Wars films, he’s additionally taking part in off Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, two of probably the most charismatic actors in movie historical past. All that stated, he’s nonetheless not excellent within the unique 1977 Star Wars, taking part in Luke Skywalker like he’s a bratty 10-year-old. That will have been the purpose, nevertheless it’s nonetheless irritating.

Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley in ‘Bend It Like Beckham' (Film Council/Lionsgate)

Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (Movie Council/Lionsgate)

Keira Knightley in Bend It Like Beckham

Keira Knightley is to Bend It Like Beckham what Mark Hamill is to Star Wars: an actor who would blossom with age, however whose fresh-faced weaknesses are on full show of their first huge movie. Enjoying a younger footballer, Knightley is distractingly picket. She additionally agreed, admitting years later that she didn’t assume she was excellent in it.

Hugh Grant in Love Truly

Many might imagine Grant’s inclusion on this listing a travesty, each as a result of he’s Hugh Grant and/or as a result of Love Truly isn’t excellent anyway – these persons are incorrect. However the actor is an sudden weak hyperlink in an in any other case well-performed film. On paper, he ought to work because the British PM, however there’s a self-conscious, barely withdrawn high quality to his efficiency right here, as if he didn’t notably wish to be there. Even his memorable Downing Road dance sequence appears as if it’s been filmed at gunpoint.

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Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York

Sunny, glamorous (and now retired) Cameron Diaz was all the time being solid against-type, notably as John Cusack’s tragicomic, frizzy-haired spouse in Being John Malkovich. Each on occasion, although, against-type veered into “horribly miscast”. Take Gangs of New York, wherein she performed an Irish pickpocket and the movie’s love curiosity for Leonardo DiCaprio. Even past the dangerous accent, Diaz is just actually there so this Martin Scorsese epic may have one other A-list identify on its poster.

Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon

There’s an argument to be made that O’Neal’s blank-faced miscasting right here is the purpose, or a uncommon occasion of a void on the centre of a film truly working within the movie’s favour. However that is likely to be giving even the good Stanley Kubrick a bit an excessive amount of credit score. Pressured to solid him after Robert Redford handed on the chance, Kubrick appears to color round O’Neal – that is an eye-wateringly attractive epic stuffed with wit and appeal, if hamstrung by its vacant lead.

John Travolta in The Skinny Crimson Line

Even in a film that includes cameos from George Clooney, Woody Harrelson and John C Reilly, John Travolta is by some means too well-known for it. He solely has a couple of minutes on-screen, taking part in a navy basic, however he appears so out of step with the movie’s extra ethereal rhythms that it will probably’t assist however throw off the film.

Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained

A persistent cameo participant in a lot of his films – and different folks’s – Tarantino is all the time a bit distracting, however his presence in Django Unchained takes the cake. He solely has a couple of unlucky strains of dialogue – together with the regretful “Shut up, black!” – and likewise speaks in a horrid Australian accent. Fortunately, Jamie Foxx’s Django blows him up quickly after his arrival, saving us all within the course of.

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Russell Crowe in ‘Les Miserables' (Universal Pictures)

Russell Crowe in ‘Les Miserables’ (Common Photos)

Russell Crowe in Les Misérables

Russell Crowe can’t sing, which doesn’t assist when he’s been solid in a movie adaptation of Les Mis. However he additionally appears uncomfortable within the movie, struggling to undertaking beneath a tiny blue hat. His dreadful singing remembers Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! Besides the place Brosnan’s distinctive timbre added to that movie’s rinky-dink appeal, Crowe’s boorish growl appears misplaced right here, notably when his co-stars are all on the high of their sport.

Jared Leto in Blade Runner 2049

Buried within the Blade Runner sequel is Leto’s overcooked efficiency because the movie’s villain. He’s problematic partly because of the movie’s script, which saddles him with hammy monologues and much too many alternatives to chew the surroundings, however Leto is usually insufferable right here in any case. In probably the most Jared Leto sentence conceivable, he additionally partially blinded himself to play the character, selecting to put on blurry contact lenses that diminished his sight. All that exhausting effort is seen on display screen, to the movie’s detriment.

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Isn’t it annoying when an in any other case excellent film is infested with outrageous racism? Greater than only a doubtful efficiency wrecking issues, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is undermined by Mickey Rooney’s abhorrent caricature of an Asian particular person that’s tragic even by 1961 requirements. Carrying faux tan and a pair of buck tooth – together with tape to alter the form of his eyes – Rooney destroys the movie single-handed.


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