What films were so bad they destroyed the actors’ careers?

  1. And Jessica Alba almost quit acting when the Fantastic Four director told her she needed to “cry pretty” as Invisible Woman.

“The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.’ He was like, ‘Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.’ And I’m like, but there’s no connection to a human being,” she said. “And then it got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don’t want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work?

2. The most heartbreaking for me is Miles Teller (partly because I have a huge crush on him). He delivered a brilliant performance in Whiplash which could have been the start of a really good career.

Then…. Fantastic Four happened.

I mean look at the hedious photoshop in this poster. That’s almost an omen of how bad the movie was.

That, coupled with the fact that Hollywood press doesn’t like his attitude or personality in interviews and public events, meant his fate was more or less sealed. He subsequently had a dazzling performance in Bleed for This, but this great movie was pretty much ignored.

Strolling through his IMDB page it’s sad to see how little he has worked.

Ultimately, I think he has potential in the indie scene, but Hollywood is definitely done with him.

3. In 2015, Jennifer Lawrence was lightning in a bottle.

Nobody in Hollywood had ever witnessed fame accelerate this fast. At just 25, she had won an Academy Award and had been nominated for 3 others.

Her perfect formula for mainstream and artistic credit brought immense success.

Her vulnerable, yet powerful performance as Katniss Everdeen made her iconic among teens. Her role in the X-Men franchise assured her of consistent box office glow, and her performances in art films made her an awards darling.

Lawrence was too big to fall. One film failure would barely make a dent, but 5 consecutive failures would tell a different story.

For the first time, the X-Men film success failed. X-Men Apocalypse represented all that could go wrong in X-Men, with an incoherent plot and muddled characters.

Jennifer, with the world watching her, failed to deliver. No amount of bravado could’ve saved the horrendous script.

Her following role in Passengers would mark the same mistake. A promising idea with a good cast, the writing was of the caliber of a fourth grader.

Passengers would mark Lawrence’s third lead into mainstream audiences and display her acting range for the masses to see. But this time, luck would run clean out.

Unlike the cunningly crafted set of Hunger Game films, Passengers represented everything to dislike when it came to blockbusters. The idea was stripped clean of any inspiration and programmed to climax with a CGI action mess.

Yes, Jennifer gave an above-the-brow performance, but the spotlight shifted away from her and shone upon the crash and burnout of such a large blockbuster.

Credibility was slowly fading and as Oscar season neared she needed to prove herself once more.

Her next choice in art films was perhaps taken a little too literally when she ventured into the mind of Darren Aronofsky in his completely arthouse horror piece mother!

Her interpretation of Mother Earth and Mary was showered in a blaze of confusion.

Audiences left with their minds wondering what they just watched, giving this film an F CinemaScore. Critics left thinking, “what a pretentious, self indulgent piece of shit.”

Unanimously derided as one of the worst of the year, mother! was as far off from any chance of redemption, both critically and commercially, and became the lowest grossing movie of her career.

This series of unfortunate events would continue. Red Sparrow suffered the same fate as her previous attempts, but this time the world was counting.

The leap into spy thrillers was a calculated choice.

Black Widow transformed Scarlett Johansson from a sprouting orchard into a global superstar. The right amount of badass and action could do that for anyone.

Red Sparrow however turned out to be much less of a deal than initially thought. A passable and thrilling, but confusing, action movie was all it amounted to be with no genius or strong performance to be seen. It was frustratingly mediocre.

Mediocrity would be Jennifer’s mortal enemy, an adjective that had haunted her throughout this four-movie streak.

Certainly, none of these movies was horrible, but the specialness of her previous roles vanished. Her magic, fresh face of Hollywood began to crumble under these barriers of mediocrity.

Her next film strayed far from any form of mediocrity. This time, it was just horrendous.

The X-Men franchise crashed spectacularly to the ground in its finale, Dark Phoenix.

Infamously known as a movie that horribly flopped, losing a nauseating 170 million dollars at the box office, Dark Phoenix became a joke in the film community.

And this wasn’t any Blade Runner 2049, whose unfortunate box office performance was entirely unjustified — no, Dark Phoenix wholeheartedly deserved this punishment.

In the clearest example of when studios should stop a franchise, something that could have ended with the ponderous, poignant finale that was Logan, unfortunately continued into one of the dullest finales.

Dark Phoenix shouldn’t have existed, it served no purpose, had nothing to say and was inexplicably shit.

Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t at the forefront in the movie, not a main player that would have to absorb all the criticism from the film. But being a supporting character in such a film did enough damage.

Slowly but surely, Jennifer’s career has been coming to a grinding halt.

Her rate of movies per year dropped from 3, to just one — to now, possibly none.

Hollywood is a vicious playground. You make a few errors and a soon you become buried deep in sand. Unfortunately, Lawrence made 5 of those.

There is a high possibility that Jennifer’s career will bounce back with flying colors. It’s a drop that all actors experience, albeit hers is noticeably more severe.

For now, the success of Jennifer’s career uncertain. Only time will tell how she recovers.

4. Eddie Murphy was the King of Hollywood for much of the 1980s and the 1990s.

From the Beverly Hill Cops franchise to Coming To America, up to The Nutty Professor(s) and Shrek – Murphy could do no wrong.

Eddie Murphy as Sherman Klump from the Nutty Professor

From action comedy to voice-over work and even a TV show (The PJs), Murphy could do it all.

(The PJs)

He was on an absolute winning streak, with many of his movies being considered the top comedies/action movies of all time (Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours).

And then, right at the peak and pinnacle of his Hollywood star… along came The Adventures of Pluto Nash in 2002.

“In the future, a man struggles to keep his lunar nightclub out of the hands of the Mafia.”

Pluto Nash was supposed to be Murphy’s star vehicle – he had been on an incredibly strong streak for the last 3 years.

And… it failed.

On a budget of $100m, it made back a total of $4,420,080 domestically, making it still one of the biggest box office flops of all time.

It failed critically, too – it sits at a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now.

Murphy recounts, years later: “Pluto Nash, that breaks me down, that breaks me all the way down.”

And it damaged his movie stardom too – coming from a high of nearly two straight decades, Murphy entered the 00s with mostly critically panned movies:

Norbit, Meet Dave, and Imagine That all came out within this time … and all currently stand at less than a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

(Eddie Murphy in Norbit)

Eddie Murphy’s losing streak continued for another almost two decades until 2019, where Murphy gets his starring role in the Netflix vehicle – Dolemite Is My Name – his first in 7 years.

(Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name)

Dolemite Is My Name received rave reviews – currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a critics consensus that states:

“In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore’s stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.”

with many critics raving about Murphy’s performance – something the man had not seen for two decades.

And, if his IMDb profile, is anything to go by, Murphy could be back on track to becoming a King of Hollywood once more, with the sequels of Coming To America (Coming 2 America) and Beverly Hills Cops (Beverly Hills Cops 4) in post-production & just announced.

So yes, Pluto Nash was the movie that ended Eddie Murphy’s career for the best part of two decades.

5. I guess people in India will remember this fellow

Aditya Roy Kapur, brother of the known producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, was one of the most famous faces back in 2013, thanks to Aashiqui 2. Things skyrocketed for him like crazy. For those who don’t know, Aditya’s role was that of a famous singer whose career was on decline and therefore he was finding solace in alcohol, until meeting a girl with aspirations to become a singer, and then began helping that girl out of sheer love for her.

Everyone I guess expected that Bollywood has just got a new talent at helm.

Following the above film, he did some other roles (not lead ones) and then he starred in a film with Parineeti Chopra which didn’t quite lift off. All was well.

Was well

Until of course, he decided to take part in this, a seriously big mistake

The story was about a painter in love with a girl from a high-class family. People who made this movie claimed that it was based on Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Now I haven’t read the book, however those who did, there was a joke they said –

We are trying to find the Great Expectations, with binoculars. Next week we shall use telescope.

Apparently, more attention and money was poured in to make Katrina Kaif get that highly unnatural red hair rather than deciding a good script . It was plainly a sick joke.

Since then, his career hasn’t quite lifted off. He tried with two more movies, including one last year, however that movie was a disaster, and his career hasn’t quite lifted off since then.

He is still very much active in the industry, however compared to 2011, he is now an almost invisible man.

6. Megan Fox – Jennifer’s Body

The plot was pretty bad. The main character becomes possessed by a demon when a sacrifice goes wrong. She then terrorises her geeky best friend. Cue vomiting black liquid, a lesbian scene that doesn’t fit into the plot and the finale at the schools abandoned swimming pool.

If the plot wasn’t bad enough, the acting is piss poor. I laughed all the way through. Apparently it was supposed to be comedy horror although this wasn’t obvious (at least not to me anyway). Megan is particularly bad.

Now I’m not saying this completely killed off her career as she has starred in a couple of high profile films since but none of them have really been box office hits.

7. Probably you’ve never heard of him, Michael Beck. Beck was a former college quarterback turned minor stage actor before landing his breakthrough film role as a tough, profane, street-fighting gang leader in The Warriors (1979). Although it received very mixed reviews at the time, mostly due to its heavily violent content, The Warriors is something of a cult flick today. Beck was propelled into instant prominence as a young, powerful, leading man type. His prospects after The Warriors were looking good.

But then….

Michael Beck accepted the leading role of Sonny Malone, a struggling artist, in Xanadu just the following year, playing opposite Olivia Newton-John. Xanadu was supposed to be a whimsical, almost Shakespearean fantasy musical film. It was a box office failure and universally panned as one of the worst films of the year. In fact it inspired the establishment of the Razzie Awards. Personally, I have sat through this movie exactly once and that will never be repeated. It’s an awful, clunky, bizarre, cringey, flaming bag of nonsensical dog crap. Although it did fart out a couple of musical hits that made the charts in the U.S. Beck looked completely out of his element in this film and it showed. Not that he didn’t try, but he was definitely miscast.

After the disaster that was Xanadu he would never again get offered another leading role. Not to say his career was over, far from it. But for its remainder he played only supporting characters in both film and TV. Most people don’t even know his name. If not for Xanadu, that may not have been the case.

In his own words: “The Warriors opened up many doors for me in film which Xanadu then slammed.”

EDIT: Ok, I rarely add addendums to my posts but I think this time one is needed. Lots of comments about Xanadu, obviously that film has a devoted fan base. To be clear, I was not trying to insult anyone over it. I mean there are many films I love that others think are terrible, I get it. My feelings about Xanadu are really not that important, as stated I’ve seen it once and I didn’t get it and didn’t like anything about it. My interest in it for the purposes of this answer was Michael Beck’s participation in it which I think was a galactic mistake for his career. Otherwise I’m not interested in any further critique about it and, again, not trying to make anyone feel bad for being a fan. That’s all.

8. The Love Guru was the metaphorical iceberg that unceremoniously sank Mike Myers’ titanic career. Prior to that 2008 disaster, Myers was a hot comedic commodity.

A career that bloomed following the successful film adaptation of his SNL sketch with Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World) only went from strength to strength in the decade to come.

A brief look at his career before The Love Guru reinforces his standing as a comedic actor of repute.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but by and large, Myers’ career was flourishing.

When Myers was in his prime, franchises were not as ubiquitous as they now are. That is not to say there weren’t any,just simply that there weren’t as many as there are today.

In such a scenario, Myers headlined three successful franchises-in short, he was a big deal.

And then, The Love Guru happened. An argument can be made that his descent began with The Cat in The Hat, and while that wasn’t a particularly well-liked movie, it was nowhere near being the certified disaster that The Love Guru was.

Mercilessly skewered by critics, The Love Guru tanked spectacularly, grossing only $40 million against its $62 million budget.

The audience too made their distaste clear-it has a 3.8/10 rating on IMDB.

To add insult to injury, Myers not only starred in the movie, but he also co-wrote and co-produced it.

I saw it quite a while ago and although I don’t remember much of it, what I do remember does not contradict the scathing reviews.

In the 11 years since the movie came out, Mike Myers has had only one leading role: Shrek Forever After.

In fact, since then, he has only appeared in three other movies with one of them being just a cameo in Inglorious Basterds.

While he has kept himself busy directing a well-received documentary and authoring a book[1], the heady days of him as a tour-de-force comedic leading man are mere specks on his rear-view mirror.

And The Love Guru played a large part in that happening. After that debacle, he lost his MOJO.

Not all is lost, though. It has been reported that Myers will star in and executive produce an as of yet unnamed comedy series for Netflix where he will play multiple characters.

I don’t know about you, but to my ears, as an unabashed fan of peak Myers, that sounds groovy baby!

Admit it- you read that in Austin’s voice, didn’t you?

[1] Why Hollywood stopped casting Mike Myers

9. Battlefield Earth(2000) dealt the death blow to John Travolta’s career. It basically sent it into the coffin and Gotti (2018) hammered the last nail on it.

It’s the worst critically reviewed movie of the 2000’s and it’s not hard to see why.

Personally, I endured an hour of it then I couldn’t stomach it anymore. The one hour I saw ruined any Travolta’s films after that.

I’ll let Wikipedia explain it to you:

… the film was a critical and commercial failure , frequently described as one of the worst films of all time.

Reviewers criticized virtually every aspect of the film, including the acting, cinematography, script, special effects, and art direction. Audiences were reported to have ridiculed early screenings and stayed away from the film after its opening weekend.

It received nine Golden Raspberry Awards, which until 2012 was the most Razzie Awards given to a single film, and won Worst Picture of the Decade in 2010. Franchise Pictures was later sued by its investors and went bankrupt in 2004 after it emerged that it had fraudulently overstated the film’s budget by $31 million; this, coupled with its poor reception, ended Travolta’s plans for a sequel.

Travolta had confidence in making the movie that he contributed million of his personal wealth to the production budget. He expected to make a sequel to the film.

Critics weren’t impressed however.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “rotten” score of 3% based on 148 reviews with an average rating of 2.29/10. The critical consensus states: “Ugly, campy and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly.”

Roger Ebert gave the film the rating of half a star out of four, and compared his screening to “taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way … I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies.”

Leonard Maltin rated the film a “BOMB” in his book Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, writing: “Clumsy plot, misplaced satire, unbelievable coincidences, and a leaden pace trample Travolta’s weird but amusing performance.”

I imagine several offices deliberated and approved these costumes. Well hung 🙂

Since 2000, Travolta has been in numerous films, however none worth writing about.

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story almost breathed life back to his carrer in 2016.

Then came Gotti in 2018. Another rotten rated film on Rotten Tomatoes at big zero percent.

Why why why Travolta!

RIP to a career. Or was there any to begin with?

10. According to Natalie Portman – her role as Padme in the Star Wars prequels destroyed her career – she couldn’t find any roles after (fortunately a friend of a friend owed a favor which finally did get her another role)

Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, “Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her.” And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis. I worked with Milos Forman a few years later. He said, “Mike saved me. He wrote a letter so that I could get asylum in the U.S.”

Natalie Portman reveals her career was ruined by Star Wars films

11. Nicolas Cage

His career pretty much died once he started taking any role just to pay off the massive debt on his shoulders. He was once a household name with amazing movies like Face Off, National Treasure, Con Air and so on. Recently, he’s been getting back on track with movies like The Croods & The Croods 2 but he isn’t the same actor he was before.

12. Mike Myers in The Love Guru

I kept waiting for it to get better, it didn’t. I should’ve asked for my money back. It’s sad because I didn’t think it was possible for Mike Myers to be this unfunny. It’s surprising how this movie had a budget of $40 million when it felt like a movie made by college students. I wish I could erase my memory of watching this movie.

13. Chris O’Donnel in Batman and Robin

Watching this movie is like giving birth to 15 little horses. If you saw this movie I truly feel bad for you and I recommend bleaching your eyes (and while you are at it, grab a knife stab and yourself as many times as there are ICE puns in this movie). Batman and Robin is the definition of the biggest mistake in US film history.

With a score of just 11%, I’m surprised as to why it is even that high. It certainly ruined Chris’s career and would have George’s too if it wasn’t for the Ocean’s series.

15. Kevin Costner in Waterworld

This was the most expensive movie for it’s time and became one of the biggest bombs in film history. It deserved to bomb as Kevin Costner’s acting is terrible. In addition, his character tries to murder a little girl after her mother rescues him then tries to drown her for calling him ugly. He also tries to sell them as sex slaves then cuts the little girl and her mother’s hair for the harpoon on his boat, which helped them (keep in mind, this is our protagonist!).

This movie had a budget of $175 million and this was back in 1995. With a terrible performance (box office & acting wise), it sucked Kevin’s career beyond the point of no-return. He has had a few roles since then but he was never the same.

16. Remember this guy:

Dennis Quaid. Amazing actor, he’s been in some top-quality films over the course of a long career including The Right Stuff, The Big Easy, and the remake of The Parent Trap.

And then, in 2009, this flaming bag of cinematographic dog crap was released:

Horsemen, for those unfamiliar with it, is basically a fourth-rate ripoff of David Fincher’s 1995 thriller Se7en, only instead of the Seven Deadly Sins, the theme of the day is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – hence the title.
And it is quite possibly the worst movie starring a big-name actor ever made. Yes, even worse than Battlefield Earth or Waterworld, both titles which basically ruined the careers of their respective leading men.
Horsemen has had the same effect on Quaid’s career. He’s been in a few movies in the decade since, but none of them especially good or memorable. I literally had to go on IMDb to look up whether he’d done anything since showing up just to get killed off in G.I. Joe. And apart from forgettable roles in mediocre movies, he’s now been reduced to hawking home insurance on TV.

17 . Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin (1997)

Everyone within a six-mile blast radius of Gotham felt the career aftershocks of Joel Schumacher’s epically awful bomb Batman & Robin, but former Clueless darling Alicia Silverstone went from “Betty” to “Barney” faster than anyone.

Her Razzie-winning turn as Batgirl to George Clooney’s begrudging Batman helped spoil the release of Excess Baggage (the poorly received crime-comedy that was supposed to be her big starring vehicle) and promptly turned 1995’s “It Girl” into 1997’s has-been.

18. Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls (1995)

From 1989 to 1993, Elizabeth Berkley was brainy but semi-neurotic Jessie Spano in 75 episodes of Saved By The Bell. But when NBC canceled the series, Berkley (then 23) sought mature roles and found one in Showgirls—the only NC-17 movie ever widely released. Berkley won the part over a young Charlize Theron, but Showgirls tanked and incited brutal reviews.

19. Freddie Prinze Jr. in Scooby-Doo (2002)

Freddie Prinze Jr.’s fame was a product of a time and place—that place being Hollywood, and that time is the 1990s. Back when movie studios were tripping over each other to put out teen slasher flicks and rom-com’s, Prinze Jr. was a young man in high demand.

He starred as Ray Bronson in 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and reprised the role in its 1998 sequel, then went on to cement his position as a Hollywood heartthrob with 1999’s She’s All That.

20. Tom Green in Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

It seems a lifetime ago that Tom Green was considered the next big thing in Hollywood. The Canadian funnyman actually dabbled in rap music as a teenager, going under the name MC Bones.

Green was a member of the Ottawa-based group Organized Rhyme and only turned his attention to TV after they were dropped by their label.

21. Taylor Kitsch in John Carter (2012)

Taylor Kitsch almost became a pro hockey player at age 20, though injury forced him to reconsider his future. The Canadian told The National that he was forced to live rough after deciding to pursue a career in the movies, sleeping on subways in New York while he trained, and then living out of his car in Los Angeles while trying to catch a break.

That break came when he won the part of running back Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights. Kitsch gained a cult following during his time on the NBC football drama, which may have ultimately worked against him.

22. Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004)

After her Oscar-winning performance in 2001’s Monster’s Ball (and famously accepting a $500,000 bonus just to bare her breasts in Swordfish), Halle Berry could’ve had any role she wanted. Unfortunately, she wanted to play Catwoman.

The 2004 Batman spinoff nearly swept the Razzies and Berry took most of the fallout with the Arizona Republic even suggesting she return her Academy Award. Instead, Berry returned to a diminishing role as Storm in the X-Men film series and has all but disappeared from leading roles.

23. Roberto Benigni in Pinocchio (2002)

In the space of just a few years, Italian filmmaker Roberto Benigni went from winning Best Actor at the Academy Awards to starring in a film so bad that it has a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the ten worst-reviewed films in the history of the website.

1997’s Life Is Beautiful (which Benigni wrote, directed and starred in) is a deeply affecting movie about a Jewish father and his child who are thrown into a Nazi concentration camp during the height of World War II.

24. Mike Myers in The Love Guru (2008)

If you ignore all the Wayne’s World, Austin Powers and Shrek movies, Mike Myers’ entire post-SNL résumé seems a lot less shagadelic. From So I Married an Axe Murderer and 54 through The Cat in the Hat, there were far fewer hits than misses.

After the third Austin Powers and a five-year break from movies, Myers reemerged in 2008 with the universally hated comedy The Love Guru, which Roger Ebert called a “dreary experience.” Myers took home a Razzie and apart from a cameo in one (previously filmed) scene in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and a few documentaries, he hasn’t appeared onscreen since.

25. Nicolas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

At this point, it might be hard to believe you need more than two hands to count the number of Certified Fresh films that Nicolas Cage has been involved in, but the vast majority of those successes came early in his career. The Oscar winner has settled for a life as a straight-to-VOD star in recent years, leaving fans and critics to wonder where it all went wrong.

Cage’s career has been pockmarked with a long list of flops, but he always seemed to balance them with well-timed hits; his position as a credible A-lister really started to look seriously dubious after duds like 2006’s The Wicker Man and 2007’s Ghost Rider turned out to be huge letdowns.

26. Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3 (2007)

A year after he made an early exit from That ’70s Show, Topher Grace had already put together an impressive movie résumé. From critically acclaimed performances in Stephen Soderbergh’s Traffic and P.S. to starring roles in Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! and In Good Company, Grace seemed poised for full-time movie stardom. Then he signed on to play Venom in Sam Raimi’s overwrought Spider-Man 3.

Although the movie was still a blockbuster, Grace didn’t exactly fit the ripped physical profile fans expected of Venom, and he was one of three villains battling for screen time. While Grace still found roles in Predators and Interstellar, Spider-Man 3 diminished his viability as a leading man.