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Ten Movies With Not-So-Great, Actually Really Bad, Leads

The Best Actor/Actress Oscar rewards the talent that so embodies the character in a great movie, a viewer cannot imagine any other actor playing the part… This list does the opposite. But don’t expect to see Nicolas Cage or Kevin Costner on this roster — we expect their movies to be bad. What we’ve done is compiled the acting performances that make us say, that movie was great — except for that guy who was in every scene.  


1. Charles Bronson, Death Wish
Charles Bronson plays it tough and cool, like he does in all  of his movies. And that’s the problem. Was there any doubt that Charles Bronson could not be tough and cool? Unfortunately, the role calls for a nonviolent, peaceful architect who goes on to be tough and cool after a gang victimizes his family. Bronson works hard at being nervous and afraid, but having Bronson afraid or nervous is like having Kirstie Alley act not hungry in front of a buffet: You just do not believe it.
Better Casting: Jack Lemmon, Martin Landau, Richard Dreyfuss


2. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction
As a violent psycho, Close was pretty believable and scary. But her part? Not one male viewer of this movie believed Close was this sultry, attractive, sexual dynamo. That is, unless, you find wet greyhounds or George Washington attractive. OK, maybe that went a little too far, but if you’re Michael Douglas’ character, the woman that you will risk your marriage and career on is not going to be Glenn Close.
Better Casting: Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Kim Basinger, Sean Young


3. Neve Campbell, Scream
Scream brought back the thriller in a time when horror and suspense was resigned to slasher sequels and James Patterson/Ashley Judd collaborations. Scream was smart and action-packed, but it definitely didn’t have a strong lead actress. The masked killer was not the only thing that had viewers cringing as Campbell’s character, Sidney Prescott, tried to fit the storyline’s puzzle pieces together. Whenever you make David Arquette look good, you know you should think about returning to acting school.
Better Casting: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams


4. Edward Furlong, Terminator 2
Terminator 2 may be the best action movie ever made. It is the
paradigm for cool one-liners, unprecedented special effects… and the
most annoying pubescent scream ever recorded. Edward Furlong was never
a good actor, but still, a Corey Feldman-like performance would have
been Oscar-worthy compared to Furlong’s yelps. If the world was really in John Connor’s hands
and Furlong’s performance was a bellwether to his ability, we should
cash in that life insurance policy and head to Tahiti. Just how bad was
he? Remember how Nick Stahl took over the role in Terminator 3? Was there one peep of protest?
Better Casting: Any of the kids from The Monster Squad or The Goonies , even the fat ones.


5. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
DiCaprio has mixed his Hollywood looks with the emotion and  depth of a
Marlon Brando-esque method actor. The problem with DiCaprio and why he
merits inclusion on our list is because none of his so-called
“research” ever involves being as tough as he “acts” to be onscreen.
This guy is probably 120 pounds. When DiCaprio “acts” angry and tough,
most guys watching laugh like when they see a 12-year-old try and sit
at the adult table at Thanksgiving, only to be yelled at by mom.
Better casting: Woody Allen, Rick Moranis, Bob Balaban.


6. William Shatner, Star Trek I-VI
he was good looking and held his own as the ship’s leader, but what
from William Shatner’s performance was beyond the ability of Kermit the
Frog. His staggered speech, his lopsided toupee, his over acting
towards the camera… his performance is bad, bad, and bad. If you were
traveling across galaxies or even watching adventurers do so, wouldn’t
you want someone holding the ships’ reins who didn’t have a vanity
mirror taped to the ship’s steering wheel?
Better Casting: Richard Boone, James Garner, Kermit.


7. Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes
The problem with Heston is that in this movie, he is not holding a
stone tablet from a mountain, which is the level of faux-gravitas he is
bringing to a movie set in a world run by apes. His melodramatic cries
and grunts make the character as empathetic as a chair. Sure, he was
good looking and he had that voice, but image an actor with a broader
range in the part? Agony, anger, Heston had those covered. But what
about everything in between?
Better Casting: Marlon Brando, Roy Scheider, Laurence Olivier


8. Al Pacino, Scarface
Pacino’s portrayal is entertaining and electrifying, it’s so
over-the-top that it actually takes away from the movie and relegates
the story to a one-dimensional tale of the rise and fall of a king. You
know how it’s more disturbing when the super-nice guy in your office
freaks out about who stole his lunch from the fridge? It’s talked about
for days, maybe even years later. When the jerk in your office flips
out? That’s called Tuesday.
Better casting: Al Pacino in any other movie


9. Mark Hamill, Star Wars Trilogy
You might argue that we are unable to envision Mark Hamill as anything
but Luke Skywalker, he was subsequently unable to really find any other
work due to his type-casting. Or, maybe it’s really the fact that this
guy can’t act. He was in a horrible car accident that disfigured his
face in between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back
so we’ll just critique his work on the first movie: From his
disinterest in his calling to his little smile at the end as Luke is
being congratulated, Mark Hamill’s acting is as believable as C3PO not
being homosexual.
Better Casting: Daniel Day-Lewis, Mel Gibson, Robert Englund (who did audition for the role)


10. Keanu Reeves, The Matrix
Reeves’ performance is one of the worst atrocities ever put
on celluloid, even worse than the aforementioned cinema gems combined.
He has the incredible talent of looking and sounding like he just
smelled something foul and doesn’t know where it came from when he
delivers his lines. Likely, when you left the theater you needed to sit
back, absorb what you just saw and ponder: Could this actually happen?
Has it happened? Why does Keanu Reeves continue to get work?
Better Casting: Joaquin Phoenix, Will Smith, Ewan McGregor

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