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The World’s Best Actors Starring In Surprising Films

We all have regrets in life, Hollywood actors included. The only difference is that their regrets are far more public. Epically bad films happen to every actor at some point in their career but some films are so tragically bad that they haunt actors for their entire careers. Sometimes it’s for the money, but sometimes it’s just one of those “what were you thinking” moments. We’ve traversed through the worst of the worst films so you don’t have to. Read on to find out which amazing actors have starred in very questionable (aka terrible) films.

1. Nicole Kidman- Just Go With It

Nicole Kidman started acting in the 80s and has starred in Hollywood hits such as The Others, To Die For, Moulin Rouge!, and Cold Mountain. It seems like Kidman is always popping up in movies, good and bad alike, and for some reason, she doesn’t age. Like at all.


Among some of her most questionable roles are movies such as BewitchedBatman Forever and of course, Just Go with It. Even heavy hitters like Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler couldn’t save this romantic comedy from being a huge flop, cited by the Daily Telegraph as one of the worst films of 2011. Somehow though, Kidman has the ability to pull off even her most questionable roles with an air of dignity.

2. Julianne Moore- Next

Julianne Moore began her acting career in the mid-80s and is well known for her roles as emotionally troubled women. One of her most questionable roles was her appearance as FBI agent Callie Ferris in the 2007 film Next alongside Nicolas Cage and Jessica Biel.



Next grossed $76 million at the box office with a budget production of $78.1 million, which isn’t exactly a success. Rotten Tomatoes rated the film 4.6/10 for “numerous plot holes and poorly motivated characters.

3. Charlize Theron- Aeon Flux

South African/American actress Charlize Theron has been in several blockbuster hits such as Mad Max: Fury Road, A Million Ways to Die in the West and The Devil’s Advocate. Theron has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.


Along with her hit films, she has also starred in a few flops, most notably the sci-fi-action-spy film Aeon Flux. Based on a popular animated series of the same name, the film grossed a measly $52.3 million on a production budget of $65 million. Even the original series’ creator, Peter Chung, referred to the film as “a travesty”.

4. Jennifer Lopez- Gigli

The word “Gigli” has become synonymous with bad, as it is largely considered one of the worst films of all time. After it’s release the movie became the butt of late-night television jokes for months. IMDb rated the film 2.4/10. The film’s cast was loaded with stars such as Ben Affleck, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken but that wasn’t enough to ensure even a mediocre movie.


The movie had a budget of $75.6 million and only gathered a measly $7.3 million at the box office. The movie Gigli received the prestigious Golden Raspberry Award for the worst film in their first 25 years of existence, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. The film’s producer, Martin Brest, hasn’t made another film since the Gigli flop.

5. Jennifer Aniston- Dream for an Insomniac

Jennifer Aniston’s role as Rachel Green on the hit sitcom Friends earned her worldwide recognition and multiple acting awards. Some of her hit movies include Bruce Almighty, Marley & Me, Horrible Bosses and We’re the Millers. Aniston is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.

questionable film roles

Some of her more questionable roles include her appearance in the 1993 film Leprechaun which as the title suggests was rife with Irish clichés and for her lackluster appearance in The Bounty Hunter. The 1996 rom-com Dream for an Insomniac only earned $26,000 upon its release, but at least Aniston’s performance got some pretty good reviews.

6. Angelina Jolie- Original Sin

Angelina Jolie debuted alongside her father in the 1982 film Lookin’ to Get Out but didn’t really get into acting until a decade later. Her career took off after winning an Academy Award for her role in Girl, Interrupted, turning her into one of the most celebrated Hollywood icons.

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The 2001 erotic thriller Original Sin alongside Antonio Banderas was one of Jolie’s more questionable films. Jolie was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for her role in the film as well as for her role in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which was far more successful.

7. Kristen Stewart- The Twilight Saga

Kristen Stewart began her acting career in 1999 with a few minor roles such as Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room. She went on to star in films such as Speak, Zathura: A Space Adventure and Into The Wild. Stewart rose to international stardom for her role as Bell Swan in The Twilight Saga but it was also one of her more questionable roles.



While the Twilight films certainly brought in the cash, critics weren’t too pleased with the final product. The films have been criticized for poor direction, lack of clarity and plain bad acting. Teen lovers of the book series ate the movies up, but those who didn’t were “bewildered and underwhelmed.”

8. Laura Linney- Congo

Acclaimed actress Laura Linney began her acting career on Broadway and then moved on to star in hit films such as You Can Count On Me, The Savages and Love Actually. Linney has won multiple Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes.


Linney’s most questionable role was as Dr. Karen Ross in the 1995 movie Congo. The film has an average rating of 3.6/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and has been heavily criticized for looking like the movie was filmed in a theme park. Believe it or not, Linney’s main co-star was a talking puppet gorilla.

9. Halle Berry- Catwoman

Prior to becoming an actress Halle Berry was a model, coming in 6th place in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. She rose to fame for her star roles in Boomerang, The Flintstones and Bulworth. She then went on to lead in more high-profile roles in films such as the X-Men series, Die Another Day and Swordfish.


Berry’s star role in the questionable 2004 film Catwoman was universally panned. Many consider the film to me one of the worst movies of all time. Catwoman was a box office bomb and earned Berry a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress of 2004.

10. Sofia Vergara- The Emoji Movie

Colombian actress Sofia Vergara started her television career hosting shows on Univision in the late 1990s and landed her first notable acting roles in films such as Chasing Papi, Four Brothers and the Tyler Perry films.

questionable films

Vergara rose to fame for her role on ABC’s Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. She has been nominated for four Golden Globes for the role. By far Vergara’s most questionable role has been her role as Flamenca the flamenco dancer emoji in The Emoji Movie, which is, well, a movie about emojis. The movie was rated a dismal 1.8/10 by IMDb and received equally terrible reviews by critics.

11. Elizabeth Berkley- Showgirls

Elizabeth Berkley is most notable for her role as Jessie Spano on Saved by the Bell. Berkley starred in the 1995 French-American erotic drama Showgirls which has been consistently ranked one of the worst films ever made. Berkley also received significant backlash for her role in the controversial film.

surprising film roles

Showgirls was an NC-17 box office flop, bringing in less than $38 million with a production budget of around $45 million. The movie made up for the gap in home video rentals and eventually came to be regarded as a cult classic, but not for its cinemtaic qualities.

12. Susan Sarandon- Mr. Woodcock

Susan Sarandon started her acting career in 1970 and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress for the films Atlantic City, Thelma & Louise, Lorenzo’s Oil and The Client. Sarandon has received an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Awards.


One of Sarandon’s more questionable films was Mr. Woodcock, a sports comedy which received mostly negative reviews. Co-stars Seann William Scott and Billy Bob Thornton have expressed their dislike for the film. Mr. Woodcock was criticized for underutilizing a talented cast and lacking in comic energy and timing.

13. Johnny Depp- The Astronaut’s Wife

Johnny Depp is one of the world’s biggest film stars and one of the highest paid actors ever, he even has a Guinness World Record to prove it. But just because Depp is starring in a movie isn’t going to make it good. He has had his fair share of box office flops.


Depp’s role in The Astronaut’s Wife is certainly one of his most questionable films. The film racked in a lousy $19.6 million at the box office on a budget of $75 million for production. The Toronto Star’s review of the film stated simply, “In space, no one can hear you snore.”

14. Paul Giamatti- Lady in the Water

Paul Giamatti is an American actor and producer known for his roles in Cinderella Man, The Illusionist and Saving Private Ryan. Giamatti’s most questionable role was his appearance as Cleveland Heep in M. Night Shyamalan’s fantasy film Lady In The Water. The film received negative reviews and won two Golden Raspberry Awards for worst director and supporting actor.

questionable film

Rotten Tomatoes deemed the film “a far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.” Even Bryce Dallas Howard couldn’t save this one.

15. Nicolas Cage- Left Behind

Nicolas Cage has starred in a wide variety of acting roles during his career. Cage started acting in the early 80s and rose to stardom for his roles in hit movies such as Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off, Con Air and City of Angels. Cage’s role in the 2014 film Left Behind was certainly one of his more questionable roles. The Christian apocalyptic thriller received a rating of 2% of Rotten Tomatoes.

questionable film roles

Entertainment Weekly wrote that “Left Behind is shoddily made sensationalist propaganda—with atrocious acting—that barely registers as entertainment. At worst, it’s profoundly moronic. Audiences, Christian or not, deserve better, and it’s hard to imagine that the ham-fisted revelations in this schlock could serve any higher purpose.” Ouch.

16. Sigourney Weaver- Crazy on the outside

Sigourney Weaver, aka the Sci-Fi Queen, is best known for her starring roles in the Alien franchise and Ghostbusters. Weaver was the first person to win two Golden Globes for acting in the same year. She has though, been in more than a few questionable movies.



Weavers more questionable movies include Heartbreakers, Deal of the Century and Crazy on the Outside alongside Tim Allen. Rotten Tomatoes rated Crazy on the Outside at a mere 8% and Entertainment Weekly wrote that “each actor appeared to have received the script to a different movie, while Allen adds his own directorial touch of sexual vulgarity.”

17. Frances McDormand – Aeon Flux

Frances McDormand began her acting career in the early 80s and is best known for her starring roles in Fargo, Blood Simple, Burn After Reading and Mississippi Burning. McDormand has won an Academy Award, Tony and an Emmy, but that doesn’t mean her film choices are always stellar.


McDormand appeared in the box office flop Aeon Flux along with Charlize Theron. On top of critics deeming the movie a “travesty,” McDormand looked like some kind of translucent monster. Just adding insult to injury.

18. Robert De Niro- Rocky and Bullwinkle

Robert De Niro starred as “fearless leader” in the 2000 movie production of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, proving even Hollywood icons like him make mistakes. The movie is considered by many to be one of De Niro’s worst roles, and IMDb ranks the movie at a meager 4.2/10.


De Niro reportedly said in an interview that he only made the film for the money. Critics have called the film a “disappointing embarrassment.” De Niro was also one of the film’s producers along with Jane Rosenthal, making him the prime target for the final product, which was, needless to say… not great.

 19. Samuel L. Jackson- Twisted

Samuel L. Jackson is known for his big hit roles in Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Unbreakable but he certainly has had a few faux pas throughout his career. Jackson starred in the movie Twisted along with Ashley Judd which received a lousy 2.9/10 rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


The movie has been dubbed “a suspense thriller without thrills or suspense” and “an implausible, overheated potboiler that squanders a stellar cast, [the film] is a clichéd, risible whodunit.” That didn’t stop Jackson from building an impressive career as one of Hollywood’s favorites, however, as he is currently ranked as the highest box office star, having brought in over $4.9 billion.

 20. Christopher Walken- Gigli, Envy, Nick of Time

Christopher Walken has appeared in over 100 films and television shows but unfortunately, a lot of them have been flops. Walkens questionable roles in movies such as Gigli, Kangaroo Jack, The Stepford Wives, The Country Bears and Envy (the list goes on) can attest to that.


The film Nick of Time, for example, starred Johnny Depp alongside Walken, but that didn’t stop the film from being a flop with an income of $8 million on a $33 million budget. Nevertheless, Walken has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, so he must be doing something right. Walken has been described as “one of the most respected actors of his generation.”

21. Judi Dench- The Chronicles of Riddick

Dame Judi Dench is known as one of the most acclaimed English actresses of the 20th century. She began her acting career performing Shakespearean plays and later broke into film. In recent years, Dench has been most known for her roles as ‘M’ in James Bond movies.


In a strange turn of events Dench agreed to a role in the 2004 science fiction film The Chronicles of Riddick produced by Vin Diesel. Dench played an air elemental named Aereon. The film received mostly negative reviews but has gained a cult following, and Dench herself admitted that she hasn’t watched the movie. Apparently, Vin Diesel asked Dench personally to appear in the film and Dench stated that she just couldn’t turn him down.

22. Denzel Washington- Heart condition

Denzel Washington is one of the best and most bankable actors out there today. He has received three Golden Globes, a Tony and two Academy Awards but he certainly isn’t without a few skeletons in his acting closet.


Heart Condition is one of Washington’s most notably questionable films. The storyline is based on a racist cop who receives a heart transplant from a black man whose ghost comes back to haunt the cop. At some point there was supposed to be some comedy… at least that’s what the release poster promised. Comedy was unfortunately never delivered. Perhaps it was just a typo.

23. George Clooney- Batman & Robin

George Clooney was ranked one of the Time’s most influential people in the world in 2009. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards for his various roles. Clooney’s best known bad film is without a doubt Batman & Robin. The film was heavily criticized for its cheesy comic-book one-liners and all around poor screenplay.

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The Chicago Tribune’s review of the film stated that it was “a sniggering, exhausting, overproduced extravaganza that has virtually all of the humanity pounded out of it in the name of an endless parade of stunt sequences.” Sounds like a masterpiece, doesn’t it?

24. Will Smith- Seven Pounds

Will Smith rose to modest fame as a rapper then moved on to star in the hit-series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith has starred in blockbuster hit films such as Independence Day, Men in Black and Enemy of the State.


Smith has been deemed the most bankable actor in Hollywood by Forbes. His most questionable role was in the 2008 drama Seven Pounds, where he played a man who recklessly causes a multi-car crash with multiple casualties. Even though the film received negative reviews across the board, it was still a box office success. The film received a 4.6/10 rating on Rotten Tomatoes and deemed grim and morose, also undone by an illogical plot.

25. Anthony Hopkins- Bad Company

Sir Anthony Hopkins is a popular Welsh actor, he started his acting career in theatre and got his first break in film in The Lion in the Winter in 1968. Hopkins is perhaps best known for his roles as Hannibal Lecter and the recent HBO series Westworld.


Hopkins starred in the 2002 film Bad Company which ended up being box office flop. Critics called the movie generic and predictable. The plot of the film was based on a terrorist attack in New York City by Islamic extremists and was the last major film shot in the World Trade Center. The film was set to release in December of 2001 but was delayed due to the September 11th terrorist attacks, which probably didn’t help ticket sales.

26. Jon Voight- Anaconda

Actor and father of Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight began his acting career in the late 60s and reached critical acclaim due to his roles in movies such as Heat, Mission: Impossible and Enemy of the State. Voight has been awarded multiple Golden Globes and Academy Awards, but that didn’t stop him from making this unfortunate film choice.


Voight starred in the questionable film Anaconda in 1997, alongside Jennifer Lopez. Despite performing well at the box office the film received generally negative reviews. The film is now considered a cult classic and is listed as one of the 100 most enjoyably bad movies ever made. It was also nominated for twelve different Golden Raspberry Awards.

27. Morgan Freeman- Dreamcatcher

The movie Dreamcatcher is based on a Stephen King novel and unfortunately didn’t translate well to the big-screen. The film is considered box office flop due to it being highly unprofitable, but Morgan Freeman’s eyebrows probably didn’t help either.


Freeman is ranked as the 4th highest box office star, racking in over $4.316 billion in the box office. The prolific actor has appeared in has appeared in numerous hit movies such as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus. Freeman has won multiple Academy Awards and a Golden Globe.

28. Tommy Lee Jones- Man of the House

Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for four Academy Awards for his role in the 1993 classic, The Fugitive. He began his acting career in the 1960s and gained early recognition for his six-year stint on the soap opera One Life to Live.


Jones moved on to star in hit films such as Batman Forever, Men in Black and No Country for Old Men. His most questionable role was in the crime comedy Man of the House in 2005, where he played a Texas ranger who goes undercover as a assistant cheerleading coach. What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Well, the movie turned out to be a box office flop and received overwhelmingly negative reviews.

29. Bruce Willis- Perfect Stranger

Bruce Willis began his acting career Off-Broadway in the early 80s and is most notable for his roles in the Die Hard series, Pulp Fiction and The Fifth Element. His career hasn’t been without faults though, in 1998 he was awarded the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor his roles in Armageddon, Mercury Rising and The Siege.

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One of this more questionable roles was in the 2007 production of Perfect Stranger which received dismal reviews. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film 3.5/10 deeming it “too convoluted to work, and features a twist ending that’s irritating and superfluous. It’s a techno-thriller without thrills.”

30. Michael Caine- Jaws: The Revenge

Sir Michael Caine is an English actor known for his cockney accent and has appeared in over 115 films. Caine was knighted in recognition of his contribution to British film. He began acting in theatre in the early 50s, and has since become one of the most well recognized and well loved English actors.


Caine’s most questionable film was clearly Jaw: The Revenge. The film was, by all means, a flop, criticized for an utterly nonsensical plot. IMDb rated the film a 2.9/10. When asked about the film in a later interview Cain stated, “I have never seen the film, but by all accounts it was terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

31. Kevin Spacey- Fred Claus

Kevin Spacey is an actor, producer, screenwriter and singer. Spacey began his acting career during the 1980s as a stage actor then moved into film and television. He rose to stardom for his roles in The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, he received Academy Awards for both films. In recent years, his most notable role has been as the crafty Frank Underwood on Netflix’s House of Cards


Spacey has appeared in a few questionable roles but most notably for his role in the film Fred Claus, a film about Santa’s bitter brother. Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states: “A slew of talent is wasted in this contrived and overly sentimental Christmas film, which can’t quite get the balance between slapstick humor and sentimental family moments”

32. John Travolta- Battlefield Earth

John Travolta started acting in the early 70s and quickly rose to fame for his starring roles in Saturday Night Fever and Grease. After a decline in the 1980s, he made a comeback with films such as Pulp Fiction, Face/Off, Swordfish and Hairspray.


Travolta’s most questionable role was without a doubt the Scientology based film Battlefield Earth, which he also coproduced. Apart from being a major flop, the film has been described as one of the worst films of all time. Rotten Tomatoes has deemed the film a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly.

33. Val Kilmer- The Island of Dr. Moreau

Val Kilmer became popular in the mid-1980s for his roles in Top Secret!, Real Genius, and of course, Top Gun alongside Tom Cruise. Other notable films include Batman Forever, Red Planet and The Salton Sea. But not all his films were quite as successful.


One of Kilmer’s most questionable roles was that of Dr. Montgomery in the 1996 film The Island of Dr. MoreauI, that was based on an H.G. Wells novel of the same name. The film was a box-office bomb and received mostly negative reviews. It also received six nominations for Golden Raspberry Awards including worst picture, worst director and worst actor. Too bad, Val.

34. Willem Dafoe- Body of Evidence

Willem Dafoe began his acting career in 1979 and is best known for his roles on the films Shadow of the Vampire, The Last Temptation of Christ, The English Patient and the Spider-Man trilogy. Dafoe has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards, but has also had his share of strange film choices.


Dafoe’s most questionable film was the 1993 erotic drama, Body of Evidence which also featured popstar Madonna and actress Julianne Moore. The film was a major bust at the box office and led to scathing reviews of Madonna’s frequent association with pornography. Critics were astounded at how an erotic film turned into an unintentional comedy.

35. Robert Downey Jr.- Shaggy Dog

Actor Robert Downey Jr. has been a fan favorite since the 1980’s, when he appeared in classics such as Weird Science and The Pick-up Artist alongside Molly Ringwald. Dwoney is perhaps best known for his role as Iron Man in numerous Marvel movies. As a result of the popular franchise, Downey topped the Forbes list of highest-paid actors in 2012-2015.


Lots of eyebrows were raised by Downey’s decision to appear in the 2006 film The Shaggy Dog alongside an English Sheepdog co-star. Downey played a geneticist named Dr. Kozak who has stolen a 300-year-old sacred dog named Khyi Yang Po from a Tibetan monastery. For some reason critics found the plot convoluted…

36. Liam Neeson- The Haunting

Irish actor Liam Neeson rose to fame for his role in the award-winning film Schindler’s List and went on to star in well-known films such as Les Miserables, Star wars Episode I and Batman Begins. Neeson has even been ranked in Empire Magazine’s the top 100 movie stars of all time.


Neeson’s most questionable role was that of Doctor David Marrow in the film The Haunting, which critics have described as “breathtakingly bad” and “unintentionally funny.” The film was criticized for its overuse of bad CGI, poor direction and bad monster design.

37. Martin Sheen- Spawn

Martin Sheen, born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez, began acting in 1961 and is known for his roles in films such as The Subject Was Roses, Badlands and Apocalypse Now. Sheen has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards.

questionable film roles

Sheen’s most questionable role was in the supernatural superhero horror film Spawn. While the film made a profit at the box office critics were less than pleased with the film. The New York Times called the film “an incoherent blitz of noise, chintzy special effects and bargain-basement allegory.”

38. Faye Dunaway- Dunston Checks In

Faye Dunaway started acting in 1962 and has since won an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy. She is best known for her roles in films such as The Thomas Crown Affair, The Three Musketeers, Chinatown, and Mommie Dearest.


Her most bizarre role was that of Elena Dubrow in the 1996 children’s comedy Dunston Checks In along with an orangutan co-star. The film received overwhelming negative reviews and has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also criticized for having little to no storyline apart from an unruly orangutan. Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

39. Warren Beatty- Town & Country

Warren Beatty started acting way back in 1956 and has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards. Beatty is widely known for his roles in films such as Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie and Clyde, and Dick Tracy. Beatty has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards throughout his career, and eventually won one for Best Director for 1981’s Reds.

questionable film roles


His role in Town & Country is by far his most questionable role. The film was one of the biggest box office flops in American history. The production budget for Town & Country was around $90 million and grossed a little over $10 million worldwide. Critics called the film “an unfunny, unfocused mess.” With an impressive cast that featured Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, and Andie MacDowell, this film’s failure is all the more painful.

40. Mike Myers- The Love Guru

Mike Myers is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter and producer. He started acting in 1975 and is best known for his roles in Wayne’s World, Austin Powers and the Shrek films, as well as impressive stint on Saturday Night Live.


Myers’ most questionable role was in the romantic comedy film The Love Guru, which he alos co-produced. The film received horrific reviews. Robert Ebert wrote that the film “could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents.” What is even more tragic, though, is that Myers made this flop with fellow A-listers Jessica Alba and Justin Timberlake.


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