Patch Adams (1998)
The Performance: Robin Williams proves himself a man with no gag reflex as he gushes his way through this syrupy monstrosity. The above picture says it all, really.
Hide Your Eyes When: Williams launches his children’s ward charm offensive, capering around with a red nose and silly voice. Do one, Patch.
The Wicker Man (2006)
The Performance: Nic Cage’s eye-rolling, woman-punching tour de force of lunacy is certainly entertaining, but his histrionics cause any sense of tension to evaporate from the word go.
Hide Your Eyes When: The bees. NOT THE BEES!
Batman and Robin (1996)
The Performance: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s puntastic turn as Mr. Freeze is the stuff of legend, sailing perilously close to “so bad it’s good” territory. However, whilst it might be amusing on YouTube, across a feature film, the joke wears very thin.
Hide Your Eyes When: Arnie spouts the following pearler: “Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. Learn it well. For it's the chilling sound of your doom.” And it’s all downhill from there…
The Performance: Cuba Gooding Jr. has seemingly spent most of his career attempting to confound those Academy members who awarded him an Oscar, but his portrayal of a mentally disabled man takes the cake. OTT to the point of offensiveness, it’s only trumped in the awful stakes by the eye-wateringly clichéd script. Dreadful.
Hide Your Eyes When: Radio takes a football square in the face. You see, mental illness can be hilarious. Or not.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
The Performance: Eli Roth might be Quentin Tarantino’s mate, but surely QT should have noticed that the Hostel director can’t act to save his life? An irritatingly wild-eyed distraction from the good work being done around him.
Hide Your Eyes When: Any of the scenes in which he’s required to talk should be avoided like the plague. He’s alright at swinging a bat, but that’s about it.
The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
The Performance: It’s almost impossible to reconcile the gibbering, corpulent wacko on display here with the man who brought such quiet menace to Vito Corleone. Still, Brando had quite the lifestyle to pay for at this stage of his career…
Hide Your Eyes When: Brando takes to the piano to perform a duet with one of his monsters. Stay classy, Marlon.
Fred: The Movie (2010)
The Performance: Lucas Cruikshank’s helium-voiced creation, Fred, appears to have been born purely to test his audience’s will to live. Our reviewer’s was distinctly lacking after ninety minutes of this.
Hide Your Eyes When: Fred throws a man-child tantrum halfway through inflating a children’s paddling pool. That boy needs a good slap.
The Performance: Morgan Freeman usually brings a touch of welcome gravitas to a film, but when he’s miscast so chronically as he is here, the results are painful to watch. He just about got away with it in Lucky Number Slevin … not so here.
Hide Your Eyes When: Freeman snarls, “somebody kill this motherfucker!” It just sounds so forced coming out of his mouth.
Rat Race (2001)
The Performance: Rowan Atkinson tweaks his Mr. Bean persona ever so slightly by adding an aggravating “mama mia” accent into the mix. “I’m weeeeening” he trills. The audience, however, is not.
Hide Your Eyes When: That accent is given a suitably irritating and repetitive line: “A race? Eeeetsa race! I ‘ope I weeeeeeen!”
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The Performance: God knows what Brett Ratner ever saw in Vinnie Jones, but his muscle-suit-sporting performance is the single worst thing in this disappointing threequel. And that’s saying something.
Hide Your Eyes When: He starts bleating “I’m the juggernaut, bitch!” in a comedy cockney accent. Embarrassing.
In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)
The Performance: Jason Statham plays a tooled-up farmer in shitfest supremo Uwe Boll’s medieval romp, and as ropey as the material is, it’s impossible to listen to Statham’s dodgily-accented growling without cracking up!
Hide Your Eyes When: Just before attempting to cross a cavernous gorge, Statham ditches his accent altogether, resorting to a very London-sounding, “let’s do it!” At least try, man!
The Godfather pt 3 (1990)
The Performance: Sofia Coppola’s dismal acting skills are well documented, but every time we watch Part 3 , it never fails to surprise us just how wooden she is. Thank goodness she moved behind the camera…
Hide Your Eyes When: Whenever she opens her mouth. Seriously, nobody has a talent for stripping the feeling out of a line of dialogue like Ms. Coppola.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Performance: QT was perfectly acceptable doing his pop-culture routine in Reservoir Dogs , but in Pulp Fiction he’s just incongruous. The one bum note in an otherwise flawless film.
Hide Your Eyes When: QT’s delivery of the “dead nigger storage” line is really uncomfortable. Should have ended on the cutting room floor.
The Performance: Eddie Murphy achieves the considerable feat of making The Nutty Professor 2 look highbrow with this fat-suit-sporting, perma-gurning dual performance. Yeesh.
Hide Your Eyes When: “Rasputia” heads to the top of a water-slide, muttering, “I’ma show you how a bitch come down a slide.” Any excuse to dress as a fat woman in a bikini, right Ed?
The Performance: The much-maligned Waterworld wouldn’t be half as bad were it not for Kevin Costner’s scowling, personality-free performance as grizzled anti-hero The Mariner. Even his name has us nodding off…
Hide Your Eyes When: The first exchanges between Costner and Jeanne Tripplehorn are just painful. Talk about a total lack of chemistry…
The Performance: Mariah Carey is basically playing herself in this sickly pop fairytale, which makes it all the more unnerving when she’s so spectacularly unconvincing. Stick to the singing, eh Mariah? Or better still, pack that in as well.
Hide Your Eyes When: Maria has a microphone shoved in her face in the midst of a packed dancefloor, making a sickening “who, me?” gesture before launching into a series of ear-splitting vocal acrobatics.
Six Days Seven Nights (1998)
The Performance: Anne Heche is so irritating in this half-baked adventure flick that it’s a wonder Harrison Ford doesn’t take a long, seaward walk on the first night, let alone the seventh.
Hide Your Eyes When: Take your pick from the lengthy list of scenes in which she squawks and shrieks at a defeated-looking Ford. Get that man some ear-plugs.
The Performance: Jennifer Lopez narrowly edges out Ben Affleck to take the crown as Gigli ’s worst performer. A thoroughly unlikeable character, played utterly charmlessly. Where did it all go wrong?
Hide Your Eyes When: “It’s turkey time… gobble gobble.” Need we say more?
Santa With Muscles (1996)
The Performance: You have certain expectations when watching a Hulk Hogan movie, chiefly, that it’s going to be shit. However, Santa With Muscles takes that to a whole new level. Granted, Hogan does a fairly convincing impression of an amnesia sufferer, but we’re not entirely sure it’s intentional…
Hide Your Eyes When: Hogan rolls out his best one-liner: “keep the milk and cookies warm.” Ouch.
The Avengers (1998)
The Performance: Sean Connery plays a cackling madman with a devious plan to control the world’s weather. Cue a slew of hideous puns, and even more risible “straight” lines. “You will buy your weather from me,” barks Connery, “and by God you’ll pay for it!” Indeed.
Hide Your Eyes When: Connery is forced to dress up as a giant teddy-bear. The man is a Knight of the Realm for heaven’s sake!
The Fifth Element (1997)
The Performance: Chris Tucker puts the audience’s eardrums through the wringer with a hyperactive turn shrill enough to shatter glass. You see that vein beating in Bruce Willis’s temple? That’s Bruce resisting the urge to end him.
Hide Your Eyes When: The theatre scene, where a panicking Tucker grows even more hyperactive than usual, cranking the gibbering hysteria up to eleven. SHUT UP!
Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Performance: Decent child actors are few and far between, but surely George Lucas could have found one less morale-sappingly hateful than Jake Lloyd? Jar-jar gets all the flack, but young Anakin is arguably worse.
Hide Your Eyes When: “Now this is pod-racing!” Cue hundreds of crossed fingers as audiences pray for a high-speed collision.
Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones (2002)
The Performance: If Jake Lloyd was bratty and whiny, Hayden Christensen’s performance arguably does greater damage to the prequel trilogy for sheer woodenness. Even if the script were any good (which it isn’t), the film would be hamstrung by Christensen’s comatose delivery.
Hide Your Eyes When: Hayden gets all petulant, his lip starts curling, and he begins an almighty whinge over his inability to win every battle. What a little bitch…
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The Performance: Shia LaBeouf’s “reputation” among film fans largely stems from his performance in this dud sequel. It goes a little something like, “shout…run… shout… run… shout.”
Hide Your Eyes When: Whenever there’s an action scene on the horizon. It’s the cue for another round of shouting… and running.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
The Performance: Robert De Niro mugs for all he’s worth as the “comically” accented Fearless Leader, in this dud kids movie. The tipping point of De Niro’s late-career slump.
Hide Your Eyes When: De Niro trots out his “you talking to me?” speech from Taxi Driver . For shame…
Snake Eyes (1998)
The Performance: If you cast Nic Cage in a big, dumb action movie you have to allow for a certain amount of scenery chewing, but Brian De Palma can’t have been expecting anything like this. Sporting a shirt just a shade louder than his voice, Cage bawls his way from one scene to the next with the dignity of an auditionee on Britain’s Got Talent . Calm down man, for goodness sake!
Hide Your Eyes When: Cage gets to his feet amid a packed crowd and starts shrieking, “I am the King!”
Batman Forever (1995)
The Performance: While Arnie is rightly lambasted for his shocker in Batman and Robin , everybody seems to forget that Tommy Lee Jones was almost as bad as Two-Face in Batman Forever . When your performance makes Jim Carrey look subtle, you know something has gone awry.
Hide Your Eyes When: The scene in which Two-Face meets The Riddler is a masterclass in overacting.
Little Nicky (2000)
The Performance: It’s safe to say that Adam Sandler is something of an acquired taste, but his gurning, squeaking, shrieking performance in Little Nicky is beyond irritating. The least endearing character in his locker, which should tell you something…
Hide Your Eyes When: Nicky gets stoned. If you thought he was annoying sober…
The Performance: What should have been a light, frothy comedy was turned into a total car-wreck by Demi Moore’s inexplicable decision to play it straight. Showgirls always gets panned, but Demi Moore out-stinks Elizabeth Berkley in the acting stakes.
Hide Your Eyes When: The moment when Demi grabs an over-amorous punter by his lapels and demands he go home to his fiancé. What a buzz-kill…
American Pie: The Wedding (2003)
The Performance: Stifler was always our favourite character in the American Pie series, but in the third instalment Seann William Scott dispenses with the roguish charm of the first two outings and turns full-on moron. Let’s hope he’s back to his best for American Reunion …
Hide Your Eyes When: The dog poo scene is probably the low point…
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
The Performance: Ashton Kutcher struggles with material as bright and breezy as What Happens In Vegas , so asking him to play The Butterfly Effect ’s tortured hero was always going to be a stretch. Setting his face to confused, Kutcher blunders his way through the film as best he can, but it’s not a comfortable ride for the viewer.
Hide Your Eyes When: The reality in which Kutcher’s character is a quadriplegic is a bridge too far for our Ashton…
Space Jam (1996)
The Performance: If Michael Jordan had agreed to appear in a cameo capacity, this might just have worked. But taking the leading man position? Not so much.
Hide Your Eyes When: Jordan waits just one beat too long before delivering his opening line. You can almost here Bugs Bunny cursing him out of shot.
The Happening (2008)
The Performance: We like Mark Wahlberg, but he’s appeared in his fair share of stinkers over the years. On a bad day, Marky-Mark can seem sullenly wooden, and on a really bad day, you get The Happening .
Hide Your Eyes When: A wide-eyed Wahlberg politely asks a plant whether he can use the bathroom.
Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)
The Performance: The late ’90s vogue for mob comedies hit a low point with this ham-fisted cliché-fest, in which Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant alongside a collection of cardboard mafiosos. Watching Grant try to adopt a wiseguy accent is excruciating.
Hide Your Eyes When: James Caan attempts to teach Grant some lingo, leading to a sequence in which the Englishman repeatedly struggles with the phrase “fuggedaboutit”
The Performance: An ageing Sean Connery sails straight past “suave” and hurtles into the arena of “creepy”, as he sets about flirting with an uncomfortable-looking Catherine Zeta Jones. Not the most dignified role of Connery’s storied career.
Hide Your Eyes When: Connery goes puffing up a flight of stairs at the film’s climactic platform scene, looking as though he’s about to drop dead when he reaches the top.
The Boat That Rocked (2009)
The Performance: Practically everyone involved with The Boat That Rocked is on autopilot (witness Bill Nighy rolling out yet another groovy granddad), but Nick Frost is particularly disappointing, given that he’s so much better than the Benny Hill-a-like performance he serves up here. The material might be garbage, but Frost’s half-hearted gurning does little to enliven it. An embarrassing misstep.
Hide Your Eyes When: Frost plays his part in the unsettlingly misogynistic bed trick. Really?
The Performance: Poor old Keanu attempts to remember his words and speak in a British accent, ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Sadly, the task proves too much for him…
Hide Your Eyes When: The scene in which he reads from his journal upon leaving Budapest is unintentionally hilarious. What is he doing with his voice?
Swept Away (2002)
The Performance: Madonna plays a snobby socialite stuck on a desert island with a socialist sailor. Does provocative social debate ensue? Sadly not, as attentions are distracted by the fact Madge seems to be reading the script for the very first time.
Hide Your Eyes When: The scene where she sings is the point at which most people’s patience will expire. Sure, it’s deliberately bad, but that doesn’t make it any more watchable.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
The Performance: Andie MacDowell was never really our cup of tea, but she’s particularly grating in Four Weddings , droning her way through the script as though she’s been sedated.
Hide Your Eyes When: She clunks her way through, “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.” Bleurgh!
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
The Performance: Keanu Reeves can play jocks. Keanu Reeves can play action heroes. But can Keanu Reeves play a Shakespearean Prince? Well, what do you think?
Hide Your Eyes When: Keanu shares a scene with Richard Briers, and begins to recite the Bard as though somebody’s just cracked him over the head with a two by four. “I am not of many words,” he begins. That’s lucky…
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
The Performance: Don Cheadle lets the side down with a comedy cockney accent that bears no relation to how anyone speaks in London, or indeed anywhere else. Distractingly bad.
Hide Your Eyes When: Don gives the rest of the group a crash-course in Cockney rhyming slang. Barney Rubble… trouble, etc. etc. Dear oh dear.
The Performance: John Travolta’s hair alone is enough to bag him a slot in the top fifty, but happily, his villain is also a camp, cackling wiseass, so he gets in on merit as well. All shouting, all screaming, all gurning… no stone is left unturned in Travolta’s hi-octane (i.e. god-awful) performance.
Hide Your Eyes When: He starts twitching and giggling during Hugh Jackman’s “initiation”…
The Room (2003)
The Performance: If you’ve never seen this catastrophic romance, it’s worth seeking out purely to appreciate the staggering incompetence of leading man Tommy Wiseau. It’s the stuff of legend…
Hide Your Eyes When: The scene on the roof, in which Tommy vehemently denies hitting his girlfriend, has to be seen to be believed!
The Performance: Halle Berry won an Oscar. It’s impossible to watch this show-stoppingly awful film, without that thought rattling around in the background. Sure she looks the part, but when it comes to spitting out (admittedly terrible) one-liners, Halle really can’t cut it.
Hide Your Eyes When: She and the equally awful Sharon Stone go head to head in a woefully pedestrian “cat-fight”. “It was me you flushed down the pipes,” hisses Berry, keeping her face remarkably straight…
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
The Performance: Bond Girls don’t have to be Oscar-calibre in the acting department, but they need to be able to string a sentence together. Denise Richards’ airheaded performance (as a scientist, lest we forget) falls somewhat short of that basic criteria.
Hide Your Eyes When: “Are you here for a reason,” she drawls to Bond, “or are you just here for a glimmer?” Doesn’t even make sense.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
The Performance: Keira Knightley often comes in for a lot of flack over her acting abilities, and adding a cod-Russian accent to the mix doesn’t really help matters. Throw in a collection of generic mental illness tics, and you’ve got a performance that threatens to derail the movie.
Hide Your Eyes When: The first time she opens her mouth is almost guaranteed to stun the audience into a trance of “is she really going to keep this up” wonderment. The answer, by the way, is yes.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)
The Performance: Orlando Bloom could get away with his stilted delivery in Lord Of The Rings , thanks to the fact that he was playing a magisterial, otherworldly character. Playing a humble blacksmith however, it just sounds weird. Thank goodness Johnny Depp was on hand to pick up the slack.
Hide Your Eyes When: Every time Bloom plummily shouts “Barbossa”, like an Etonian prefect berating a younger boy for burning a crumpet.
The Performance: Sean Bean tweaks his “gruff Yorkshireman” act into an all-punching, all-scowling extravaganza of thuggery. Refusing to crack a smile once throughout proceedings, he puts audiences into the uncomfortable position of admiring Danny Dyer’s relative charisma.
Hide Your Eyes When: Bean returns from war, has a brief scowl at some hoodies and decides the country has gone to the dogs. Who needs to act when you can simply look hard?
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Performance: The usually reliable Cate Blanchett reeks of ham as scowling Russian Irina Spalko, narrowly edging out cockney bawler Ray Winstone as the film’s most aggravating character. Should have stuck with the Nazis, George…
Hide Your Eyes When: Cate’s histrionics hurtle off the scale during the film’s risible finale.
Ghost Rider (2007)
The Performance: Nic Cage was such a fan of the comic-book, he was willing to take on the role of Johnny Blaze despite the appalling script. Fortunately, any criticisms of the writing are soon forgotten in the wake of Cage’s foaming-at-the-mouth breakdown of a performance. Truly terrifying.
Hide Your Eyes When: The transformation happens. Needless to say, Nic doesn’t leave anything in the tank.