imho, I believe Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” could have been a great film had it not been for Ryan O’Neal. He fit into the period like a Mr. Yuk sticker fails as punctuation.
Matt, I agree completely with the overacting in the first part of Mulholland Dr. Betty gets off the plane and is like a gushing robot when she (Naomi Watts) says her lines. That’s a good point that I never connected.
Great movie I think too… Part 1: optimistic Part 2: broken dreams …. you’re right, it works with the film.
But, other than that I love Eyes Wide Shut, but Tom Cruise acts pretty poorly in it.
“Star Wars Episode IV”. Not a great film, but a classic. Mark Hammill’s acting is God-awful, but somehow the movie still shines
Yes, re: Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon. He made that film impossible to really love. (It’s gorgeous to look at, too.)
Pretty much every Samuel Fuller movie is terribly acted, but amazingly well done. The exception is Constance Towers, she… she burned the screen up.
Pick up on South Street wasn’t bad at all but I know what you are say’n about Fuller
@ Peter Tran: Re: Barry Lyndon: I would argue that Kubrick wanted precisely the performance that he got from Ryan O’Neal (and Keir Dullea in 2001 and Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut): a vapid and insipid character without much emotional depth. I’m not saying that’s good.
For certain roles, Kubrick shoots MANY takes to try to drain any trace of “performance” or “acting” from his leads. This often results in performances that appear to be lifeless or soulless, and that’s probably what he’s going for. You can like it or not, and I usually don’t like it — except for Keir Dullea.
@Cineaste: As for Ryan O’Neal not “fitting into the period,” I wasn’t around during the Napoleonic Wars, so I wouldn’t know. I do think that his performance didn’t fit the expectations we have come to accept as appropriate for the early 19th century from watching period dramas, where we expect a little more passion from our leading men.
Robert W Peabody III — FAIR ENOUGH! I love Pickup on South Street, and now that I think about it, not a bad performance to be seen!
I was thinking of Shock Corridor, Naked Kiss, White Dog, and Big Red One in that statement. And honestly, for Big Red One alone it ruins it for me. An movie that would otherwise be good if, you know, the characters seemed real and thus emotionally effective. With the other one’s, though, there’s just such a clear device that it’s hard for me to dislike them.
@ Frank P. Tomasulo Ph.D. I said nothing about Barry Lyndon…
Peter Tran: I’m sorry I inadvertently mentioned you in my post about Barry Lyndon. In my haste to reply, I just spotted your name in the window just above the one I wanted to reply to and typed your name in in error. My first comment was supposed to be directed to Jazzaloha and my second was in reference to Cineaste’s remarks about Barry Lyndon.
BTW, Peter, I happen to agree with you about Star Wars Episode IV. Mark Hamill is not renowned for his acting “chops,” but some films (esp. action movies) don’t need sterling thespians. How else did Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris become mega-stars?
titanic – full of awful acting…
the departed – matt damon was bad in this.
A History of Violence. Amazing story, very well directed & terrible acting. Even though Vigo Mortensen is a great actor…I mean I think the bad acting was intentional to some extent to show the people were living in denial, but still…it was “bad” bad acting. Nearly ruined what could have been an astonishing film (and it sort of is anyway).
Wow, I get the feeling you guys aren’t even watching Barry Lyndon.
“imho, I believe Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” could have been a great film had it not been for Ryan O’Neal. He fit into the period like a Mr. Yuk sticker fails as punctuation.”
You’re completely missing the point. Redmond Barry fits into the 18th century about as much as Alex fits into the 20th. Both those movies are about those men and are told from their point of view. There are many scenes in those films that don’t appear to be based on objective reality, but more like how Redmond or Alex see things.
“a vapid and insipid character without much emotional depth. I’m not saying that’s good.”
That’s not accurate either. Barry is possibly one of Kubrick’s most genuinely feeling characters in his entire oeuvre. He had loads of passion in this movie. I would write out scene after scene in which he displayed this, but it seems too obvious to even do that. You should probably just watch the film again. I mean…what are some examples of things you didn’t like about Redmond Barry?
sorry, tried to cut this image in half!
Daniella you must be on crack if you seriously believe that Stanley Kubrick hated Shelly Duvall in the Shining. LOL!!! He cast her and said that he was extremley happy with her performance, as it was an extremley difficult and challenging role. They also had a great working relationship together and got on very well. But you can believe what you want.
How about Jaws The Revenge, wasn’t that ruined by the acting?
Zoe: Your comments on the “great working relationship” on the set of The Shining fly in the face of interviews with Shelly Duvall and objective observers who claimed she was moved to tears by the treatment she received. I believe that she’s interviewed in the documentary on Kubrick that came out right after his death.
Jack Nicholson also reported that he almost came to blows with Kubrick and threatened to quit because of the way that, late at night, Kubrick demanded take after take from Scatman Cruthers, who had a heart condition. Maybe everyone was eventually satisfied by the results on screen and/or people wanted to be polite about it after the fact, but this has been documented. Pass the crack pipe…
And I’ll believe what I want, as you say.
I think an obvious one would be Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, however; I don’t think the acting ruined the Film, but instead, enhanced it. The movie is about a teen going through a very real and personal experience. The raw quality to the Actors’ performances adds something unique, and something to be appreciated. The Film gains a sense of reality and brutality through the acting, and because of that, I wouldn’t change it.
I know the acting in The Mother and the Whore is perfect.
Somewhat, the actors accomplish a terrible job AT THE FIRST HOUR OF THE FILM.
Even Eustache said it in an interview with Cahiers du Cinema.
The recent remake of The Wicker Man showed what happens when you add terrible acting to a great movie.
I don’t shed too many tears over Godfather III, because I don’t think it was a very great film – even minus Sofia. Definitely not on par with the first two anyway. What I think is a greater tragedy is Coppola’s Dracula, which I think was a beautiful film – one of the truest and best adaptations of the novel for the screen, with great old school special effects and gorgeous costumes and set pieces. It could have been a truly fantastic film had it not been for Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves ruining every scene with their cringe-inducing fake accents and embarrassingly bad acting. The more I see the film, the more it makes me want to cry over what could have been but wasn’t.
I’m glad someone finally mentioned EYES WIDE SHUT. But for me, Cruise wasn’t the problem, it was Kidman who I thought was terrible. I love the film but cringe whenever I see the scene when she smokes pot and makes her confession. Horrible!
Other great films with terrible acting include BLADERUNNER. I don’t care what anyone says, Harrison Ford can’t act. Brad Pitt nearly wrecked SEVEN for me. This film would’ve been so much better with an actor in his place. Even the fantastic Morgan Freeman can’t save the scenes with Pitt in them. The ending scene is unbearable with Pitt screaming “Awww, what’s in the box!!??!?” Possibly the worst performance ever.
I find acting criticism to be the most capricious of all ways of evaluating film. I’m with Law on this one… I only recognize REALLY terrible performances, or REALLY amazing ones, and the rest just work out to be “fine for the movie.” Having thus explained my position, I generally observe that acting generates the strongest opinions, with the least consensus. Leon the Professional and Barry Lyndon are great examples of this… some people think they’re amazing, some people think they’re atrocious, and there aren’t a whole lot of clear artistic or ideological justifications for either position. At least, when Democrats and Republicans strongly disagree, you know it’s a clash of principles (“cooperative/ecological” versus “rugged individualist”). When people argue about who was a great actor and who was a terrible one, they just seem to be asserting irrationally strong opinions… and as a result, I become a bit dismissive of peoples’ opinions on the topic in general.
That said — I felt like in The Shining, Kubrick cast Duvall and Nicholson as themselves, rather than as characters. Jack Nicholson is amazing at channeling his core role, but he’s not that great at acting like a normal guy, before he goes homocidal. Same with Shelley… her terrified desperation would have been more compelling, but even in flashbacks and establishing scenes, she already seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. So I’d consider this an example of incredible performances, but not the pinnacle of acting as a craft.
Yeah, I’d also concur with Brad Pitt in “Se7en.” That film is very good on multiple levels, especially in terms of editing. It’s too bad that Pitt wasn’t up to snuff. That last scene is unbearable for me for the wrong reason.
Re: Coppola’s Dracula. I don’t think you can blame the bad acting on Ryder and Reeves by themselves. Oldman (again!) is doing a bad Bela Lugosi impersonation. Even Sir Anthony Hopkins is ham-fisted. (Richard E. Grant is in this, too!) I really wonder if Coppola intentionally went for camp. Btw, I saw this for the first time a few years ago and I thought the costumes and effects didn’t hold up very well. It made the film look..well, campy.
Nancy Allen in Blowout, I loved that movie except for her crappy acting of course
Of course Coppola was going for camp. The movie basically was a tribute to Hammer Horror and Cocteau.
Dracula was badly written. He should have simply been Byronic hero as Vlad the Impaler who became evil incarnate with a taste for pretty women. Instead the writers introduced the idiotic “his wife died so feel sorry for him and have him whine about it 400 years later angle.”
At least the prologue with him as Vlad the Impaler was excellent. This was the only ‘form’ of Dracula that Oldman nailed 100%. He was good as “old man with breasts on his head” Dracula but the ridiculous wig and Lugosi accent brought it down a few notches. 1800s dandy Dracula would have been ok if Coppola hadn’t made him sympathetic (has Oldman ever been sympathetic in anything?). Rotting corpse Dracula in the Byzantine robe was good. Werewolf and Man-Bat Dracula were great (Oldman is really unmatched at acting in rubber suits)
I rewatched this film last year and felt that it oscillated between inspired and hilariously awful depending on the scene. The first 10 minutes are great with Dracula impaling people and stabbing the crucifix and blood gushing out like The Shining and then Tom Waits hamming it up. Then Keanu shows up and the film goes down the shitter.
- Tom Waits as Reinfield
- The Brides of Dracula
- The montage of Dracula murdering everyone on the ship
- Oldman bursting through the coffin like he’s superman
- Hopkins and Withnail (Richard E Grant will always be Withnail) hamming it up to eleven.
- Dracula as the werewolf
- Dracula dancing w/ Winona surrounded by candles
- Dracula as the man-bat
- Final shot where Winona beheads him and gazes up at the ceiling. Yeah it’s ridiculous that he’s in heaven but the shot looks good.
- everything else
days of heaven – richard gere is just awful to me here, but the photography is absolutely stunning
This should be obvious, Pink Flamingos. lol…but then it depends upon what is considered bad acting, because the movie wouldn’t be as great as it is if it didn’t have these characters.