Check, Please! AKA When Good Actors Happen To Bad Movies
Or course, I'm not talking about the early stinkers that every actor has to do. Everyone must pay their dues, that is understandable. What I'm talking about is the well-respected thespian, the award-winner, the actor's actor doing a role that he has no business doing. Degrading himself for the sake of a paycheck. Seriously guys, you couldn't have been hurting this bad. So here, in no particular order, are my roles that should never have happened to good actors, let along great ones:
Michael Caine - Jaws: The Revenge
Okay, first warning sign: This is part four of the Jaws series. Part four of any non-literary film series is doomed to be terrible. You just can't get around this, it is as much a part of life as gravity and the rotation of the Earth itself. Following the regrettable Jaws: 3-D debacle, Joseph Sargent decided it would be a great idea to bring some of the characters back, played by different actors, so see if he could somehow make Jaws worse. After thirty-eight days of what I'm sure was a lot of heavy drinking, they managed to come out with this garbage. The only big name actor in this film was one of my personal favorites, Sir Michael Caine. At first glance, there is no reason for Sir Michael to have been within 100 miles of this garbage, however, when asked about the film, he famously said: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific." I can at least respect the honesty.
Gary Oldman - Tiptoes
A couple of years ago, the trailer for the dwarf family drama, Tiptoes, went viral. The film revolves around Matthew McConaughey and his struggle to tell his fiance, Kate Beckinsale, that he comes from a family of dwarves. Yeah, that's pretty much the plot. Now, there are several real actors in this one; McConaughey, Beckinsale, Peter Dinklage, and Patricia Arquette put in their time, but the one that has me baffled is Gary Oldman. Gary "Bram Stocker's Dracula" Oldman, Gary "Sid & Nancy" Oldman, Gary "Immortal Beloved" Oldman, Gary "The Fifth FUCKING Element" Oldman. I get all dizzy at the thought of Gary Oldman walking around on his knees playing a fucking DWARF completely straight in this garbage. Now, granted, Gary has been known to show up for a paycheck in his life. Just look at Planet 51 and The Unborn, but this is some serious shit. Ugh.
Joan Crawford - Trog
These days, most people who know of Joan Crawford know of her from Mommie, Dearest, the biopic exploring her relationship with her adopted daughter Christine. In that film she's shown to be a horrible, awful hag, with OCD and major control issues surrounding every facet of her life. What a lot of younger people aren't aware of is that there was a time where she was one of the most glamorous, talented, and desirable women in Hollywood. Joan Crawford even has a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Mildred Pierce. As Crawford crept up in years and her looks started to fail her, she became desperate to continue working, and became a regular on gimmick-meister William Castle's features, before finally sliding all the way to rock bottom with Trog. Trog told the story of the discovery of a caveman (get it? troglodyte = Trog) who goes on a rampage and must ultimately be destroyed. It is frequently mentioned in lists of the worst films ever made, and there is good reason for that. This marked Joan's final big screen appearance, and although she should've stopped years before, it is a good thing this ended her career, because I'd hate to see what trash she would've found herself in after Trog.
Ben Kingsley - Take Your Pick...
Ben Kingsley is an odd bird. An Oscar winner for his performance in Gandhi, Ben Kingsley seems to have absolutely no interest in maintaining any kind of dignity. He still gets decent film roles, he is, after all, a great actor; however, I get the feeling that he has never said no to a script in his life. In the last six years alone, Sir Ben Kingsley can be found in Uwe Boll's Bloodrayne, Micheal Myers' The Love Guru, Bollywood flop Teen Patti, Disney's video-game adaptation Prince of Persia, and one of the worst reviewed movies of the new century, A Sound of Thunder. In fact, he hasn't made a really great film since he was roped into Bloodrayne, he has made a couple of good ones, but nothing on the order of Sexy Beast. My point is that I get the feeling that if I called Ben Kingsley's agent and told him that my son needed a clown to make balloon animals at his birthday party, I think I'd have Gandhi ringing my doorbell within hours.
Raul Julia - Street Fighter
This one just makes me sad. Raul Julia was a Tony Award winning Broadway star, as well as a Golden Globe winning film actor. His performance beside William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman is one of the all-time great film acting performances. His Broadway portrayals of in Shakespearean works earned him awards and respect from his fans, critics, and peers alike. Hell, even in the two Addams Family films he was completely engaging, and his performance alongside Angelica Huston took what had the potential to be really awful comic adaptations and made them enjoyable and funny films. Then there's this. A film that is not only a video game adaptation, but also Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle, not exactly material that should appeal to the great actor that Raul Julia was. Julia reportedly took the part to get closer to his children, who were huge fans of the video game. Okay, so this would have been a blip on his resume, an unfortunate blip, but something he could have bounced back from. Oh, except for one thing. He died. Raul Julia's final gift to the world was fucking Street Fighter. Goddamn it.