If you’re a fan of old-school Star Trek, than you probably know about the episode where Kirk & the gang visit an alien planet that’s utopian in every single way – no crime, druge use, discrimination, or any typical societal ill. Everything about the people and their culture is perfect, until the crew learns that for one hour each day – the ‘red hour’, as they call it – the society completely collapses into chaos.
And just like the perfect alien race that can inexplicably go batshit, sometimes good actors can pop up in batshit movies. For whatever reason – be it a guaranteed hefty paycheck, a contractual obligation, or just bad judgement – they disappoint us out of nowheresville. So basically, a red hour in this case is a metaphor for good actors with good careers who seemingly never let you down, until BAM, they conscientiously fall off the horse.
10. Sean Connery – Zardoz
Before he retired from acting in 2003, Connery hadn’t made a good movie in a while. But that wasn’t the case back in the early 70s. He finished his last Bond film – Diamonds Are Forever - in ’71 and went on to mild critical acclaim that would serve him well for most of the rest of his career in movies like The Man Who Would Be King. But not before Zardoz. We’d rather just leave you with that picture to draw your own conclusions than explain what the movie was about.
9. Morgan Freeman - Dreamcatcher
Nobody wants to see Morgan Freeman play the bad guy, much less a crazy one with crazier-looking eyebrows. Freeman should’ve known this by then, and just stuck to playing the grandfatherly sidekick we all know and love that’s won him academy awards in stuff like The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby.
8. Natalie Portman - Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III
At the time The Phantom Menace opened, Natalie Portman was known as a talanted, but still quasi-up-and-coming actress, so it made sense for her to be apart of something huge. By the time Revenge of the Sith came out, it was patently obvious that she was too damn good to be play-acting just one of many of George Lucas‘ clumsily written characters. It was embarassing for her to be in and us to watch her.
7. Charlize Theron - Aeon Flux
Theron accepted the challenge of playing a post-apolacyptic assassin who wears skin-tight leather after she won the academy award for best actress in Monster and was nominated in the same category for North Country. Was she simply bored with being lavished with critical acclaim and wanted to prove that she could simply play a hot piece in a sci-fi flick that was so dumb even its creator hated it? Who knows.
6. Michael Caine - Jaws: The Revenge
Caine was only in the movie for like 15 minutes, but since Jaws: The Revenge is one of the worst cinematic miscarriages of all time – a movie that insists sharks can roar, despite the fact that they lack both lungs and vocal chords - he rightfully still gets flak for it. He only had a minor part, but everybody in this heaping pile of suck is guilty by association.
5. Halle Berry - Catwoman
Shortly after Halle Berry built up enough credibility to last her a short lifetime with Monster’s Ball and Die Another Day, she starred in this clunker that everyone remembers for the wrong reasons (we’re pretty sure she won a razzie of some kind). It took her standout perforamnce in the made-for-TV movie Their Eyes We’re Watching God to get Berry back on track.
4. Heath Ledger - The Brothers Grimm
We could’ve just as easily said Matt Damon, too, but since Ledger’s no longer with us, we have to live with the fact that his short-but-brilliant resume will forever be tainted by The Brothers Grimm.
3. Dustin Hoffman - Ishtar
Hoffman was at the point in his career when Ishtar was released where he could pretty much do whatever he damned well wanted. He had racked up awards for Tootsie and Death of a Salesman, and should’ve been able to know a train wreck when he saw one, which is exactly what Ishtar was – a train wreck that was nominated for a Razzie for worst picture, worst director, and worst screenplay.
2. Meryl Streep - She-Devil
The question ‘has Meryl Streep ever been in a bad movie?’ can be answered in a resounding yes. Streep is the undisputed high-priestess of drama, and arguably the greatest actress of all time. But as the old saying goes, time and chance happens to everybody. Sandwhiched in between Out of Africa and The Bridges of Madison County is this inexplicable collaboration with Roseanne.
1. Ben Kingsley - Bloodrayne
Inexcusable. Just inexcusable. Ben Kingsley is European, and British, which means two things: he undoubtably built up his resume doing sophisticated, King Lear theatre-type stuff, as Brits are wont to do, and he knows who Uwe Boll is. Who is Uwe Boll? The director of Bloodrayne, and arguably the worst director in modern movie history.
P.S. We omitted a lot of entries that seemingly could’ve made this list, like Liam Neeson in Clash of the Titans, because a lot of good actors like Neeson have made way more than just one or two bad movies (hello Love Actually, or The Haunting, or K-19: The Widowmaker) in between a string of solid ones, thus disqualifying them from consideration. Now, let the message board mudslinging begin.