This is my second topic in a row – don’t worry, I’m not gonna spam up the boards or anything – but I’ve had a few ideas gestating in my mind for the past couple days and wanted to get the topics started before I forgot them altogether.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Can you think of any outstanding or especially impressive performances by actors/actresses in films that are otherwise bland, average or flat-out bad?
Nothing comes to mind for me, but I have a lot more faith in you guys to come up with some good examples.
Discuss and enjoy!
Tilda Swinton in Julia immediately comes to mind (although I actually like the movie a lot – though a lot of people don’t).
Actually, Tilda Swinton in pretty much anything.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say his performances were stellar, but John Malkovich has appeared in some very questionable films over the years. For every Dangerous Liaisons and Con Air there’s an Art School Confidential and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
I guess a few other examples in the Malkovich vein are Kristin Scott Thomas and Noami Watts.
Isabelle Huppert gave a characteristically dramatic performance in her guest role on an awful Law and Order SVU episode last year.
I always found Stacy Keach’s performance in the grossly misfired The Ninth Configuration to be outstanding.
The philosophy going on isn’t exactly Schopenhauer, but just try to imagine any number of other actors actually selling the dialogue like Keach.
Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis
His perfromance is the only thing I actually remember about the film.
Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice
One of Pacino’s finest performances in the last 15 years, but the film is absolutely unwatchable.
Julian Beck in Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Billy Drago in The Untouchables
Rodney Dangerfield in Natural Born killers
His scenes are the only great thing about this film (imo)
Vincent Cassel in Sheitan
I always thought Bette Davis was the queen of this. Due to her contracts (which she then later fought), she had to appear in a lot of mediocre films. I’m not a fan of “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (which seemed to me to be “Ooh, let’s get on the technicolor bandwagon”) but she’s VERY convincing as Elizabeth. I also thought that “A Stolen Life” had a lot of internal problems but Bette Davis was SO GOOOD at distinguishing between the two sisters she was playing. And maybe, it’s just me but I thought “Deception” was just okay but again, Bette Davis can make me want to nominate her an Oscar for anything.
Good call on Bette Davis.