Monday, June 23, 2008

The Worst Casts of All-Time

Last week, I ran down some possible best casts of all-time. This week, I'd like to do the same thing for bad casts. This list, unfortunately, is heavily weighted to the last decade or so, because I simply don't know bad movies as far back as I know good movies. Here are the considerations:

1.They must be big names. Sure, any Lifetime movie can have a terrible cast, but generic crappy actor doesn't count. Tom you've got the making of a terrible cast.
2.Inconsistent Actors, Actors who Jumped the Shark, and Actors who turned a corner all count.
Examples: Anthony Hopkins can be better than almost anyone else. He's also frequently terrible and can count as a black mark for a cast.
Pre-Scent of a Woman Al Pacino is a feather in a cast's cap. Post-Scent Pacino is bad news.
Both Brad Pitt and George Clooney are really, really good actors. Mid-90s Pitt and Clooney: Do not want.
3. They should be bad in the film in question, i.e. Tombstone should have a terrible cast but bad actors Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer are actually good in it.
4. Depth counts. A movie with a lot of bad actors is worse than one with just two or three.

Just like with last week's list, there's a prohibitive favorite. And that's Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko follow-up, Southland Tales:

As you can see from the poster, the movie appears to feature The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and not one but two Seann William Scotts! Disaster already! But what if I were to tell you that the movie also featured Justin Timberlake, Christopher Lambert, Jon Lovitz, Janeane Garofalo, and Mandy Moore. If that is not the worst cast ever (as evidenced by two comedians who weren't even funny comedians, and three, count 'em, three "entertainers" (Rock, Timberlake, Moore)). Oh my god. Avoid.

The Challengers:

Welcome to your destiny, Colin Farrell. You suck. Angelina Jolie's with you? That's great. You'd like to add Val Kilmer? Wonderful. Anthony Hopkins is cashing a paycheck at your expense? Bring it on. And you'll throw in Rosario Dawson for free? I guess Christopher Plummer is your Katie Holmes.

2.The Wedding Singer

I know I said depth counts, but I loathe the two principals in this movie so, so much. This is the bad cast version of The African Queen. And no, the Billy Idol cameo, while fun, doesn't alleviate anything. Totally not Awesome.

3. Rat Race

Picking on Rat Race just makes me feel bad about myself. John Cleese, 25 years past his prime, is surrounded by Rowan Atkinson, Dean Cain, Cuba Gooding, Jr, Jon Lovitz, Whoopi Goldberg, and Seth Green. I don't actually know who Breckin Meyer is, but he's in this movie, so he probably sucks. And don't even try to say "Whoopi's made some good movies." She hasn't. See:

4. Ghost

Shudder. The bad cast version of The Philadelphia Story. You have to watch Patrick Swayze for two hours, and frequently Whoopi Goldberg is with him. Also, Demi Moore. And yes, Patrick Swayze's ghost does inhabit Whoopi Goldberg's body at one point, so we get to watch Whoopi and Demi make-out, with Whoopi acting as Swayze. Acting.

5. Mission Impossible: II

Oh, Tom Cruise. We knew you were showing up. Anthony Hopkins is back, and I've actually seen this movie and can vouch: he is terrible, terrible, terrible in this movie. Thandie Newton is even worser, and she should be a no-name, but has somehow continued to get work. And Dougray Scott. Dougray Scott is a no-name. He is absolutely horrendous in this movie - even worse than Newton. I shouldn't count him, seeing as he's never been an actor of note, except: he was originally cast as Wolverine for the X-Men movies, but overruns in this movie prevented him from taking the part. Please now, imagine an alternate universe in which the crappy villain from MI:2 has Hugh Jackman's career. Damn, that's scary.

6. Dogma

I know, I know. Just like some of you probably like Buffy and think Sarah Michelle Gellar is great, plenty of you probably like Kevin Smith. Well, we're just going to have to disagree there.

Crappy actors/gay-lovers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon anchor this picture, and by themselves they'd constitute another Wedding Singer. But such pseudo-actors (ie comedians, singers, etc) as Janeane Garofalo (again!), Chris Rock, Alanis Morissette, and George Carlin are running around making things worse, while perpetual craptor Selma Hayek and pre-tolerable Jason Lee bring their lack of magic to the proceedings. I'm not really familiar with leading lady Linda Fiorentino, and Alan Rickman is always awesome, but even if Linda is the second coming of Julie Christie, that's still a bad cast. And again, I've actually seen this movie. Ugh.

Well, I've got a few other ideas, but those are my top picks. Now I want to hear from you. Do any of these casts get your vote? Have I left anyone out? Are you confused as to why this list is completely lacking in Cameron Diaz? Let me know.


Cinexcellence said...

For the record, Colin Farrell didn't suck in The New World or (dare I say) Daredevil.

I heard good things about In Bruges as well, but haven't seen it myself.

But yeah, aside from that he sucks. :)

Fletch said...

First of all, to tackle that comment, I submit that Farrell = bad in any movie where he's not using his native accent and good in any movie that he is.

Say what you will about mid-90s Clooney, but there's no way you can include True Romance Pitt as bad. I'll hear nothing of it. Cool World? Terrible. Johhny Suede? Terrible.

Val Kilmer = bad actor? He's mad some questionable choices over the years, but there's no way Kilmer is a bad actor.

The Southland Tales cast is certainly eccentric, and featured way too many oddball SNL folks (Dunn, Lovitz, Oteri), but I like the cast overall. It worked for the looniness of the film (don't forget Wallace Shawn, Miranda Richardson...). I'd place Rat Race way ahead of it in terms of a bad cast.

Dougray Scott does indeed suck and blow simultaneously, as does M:I2.

I love the Dogma cast, regardless of any Kevin Smith thoughts or the fact that many are indeed non-actors. It's a friggin' comedy, for chrissakes. Damon a bad actor? Uh, no.

Evan Derrick said...

Collin Farrell is brilliant in In Bruges. If he takes more character roles like that one, and less of the Alexander/SWAT roles that force him to be the Pretty Hero, he'll have a career turnaround akin to Brad Pitt's.

And it might just be me, but it seems that you're really highligting bad movies that drug their cast into the mud with them, rather than movies with terrible casts.

Again, that might just be me and it might be semantics.

Graham said...

Ok, to try to get to everything: I haven't seen In Bruges or New World, but I hear good things. But I definitely have a rule: one-three good performances don't make one a good actor; Val Kilmer is actually the actor I've always used for this rule. Farrell better be good for a while before I credit him with getting better; I'm actually being a bastard and reserving judgment on Heath Ledger until Dark Knight.

Most people like Matt Damon. He's grown on me in the right roles, but I'm not a big fan.

Evan, although I either don't like or haven't seen any of these films, my understanding is that the consensus on Dogma, Ghost, The Wedding Singer, and even Southland Tales ranges from mediocre to pretty good. No one likes Alexander or MI:2, but with MI:2 at least, that cast is bad no matter what.

Also, as in Tombstone, bad casts who did good acting (ie, in most cases, were in good movies) don't count, so that also might give you that feel.

I've started to just feel bad about including Rat Race. I think that cast is too bad and too D-list to even count - it's like picking on a Lifetime movie.

Derek said...

I agree with Evan--this list is basically bad movies with bad performances. For it to be a bad cast, the movie would be better if someone else more suitable for the role had been cast. I guess that's more "mis-cast" than "worst cast". Here's 5 off the top of my head:

5) The Human Stain--Nicole Kidman is a janitor???
4) Cold Mountain--Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are southerners? And I'm sorry but Shohreh Aghdashloo was robbed of the Oscar that year.
3) Charlie Wilson's War--Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks did NOT fit their parts at ALL! Way too much of a stretch.
2) Breakfast at Tiffany's--Love the movie but Mickey Rooney as a Japanese man--ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
1) West Side Story--I still love this movie, but Natalie Wood doesn't have a drop of Latina in her and Tony "the white boy" was clearly darker-skinned.