The Worst Movies from Brilliant Actors

Please explain Movie 43, Kate Winslet.

Just because an actor is amazing doesn’t mean he or she can’t make a stinker film—it just means we pay more attention to said stinker film when it comes out. (C’mon! Daniel Day-Lewis and “bad movie” are rarely associated with each other, so it’s novel when it finally happens.) And we don’t judge these 10 thespians for their rare less-than-stellar movie choices. In fact, let’s celebrate them! We all make bad decisions, right? (These guys just have theirs on tape.)

  • 1 Kate Winslet, Movie 43 (2012)
    Virgin Produced
    Kate has a small role in this hilariously awful anthology film. She plays Beth, who goes on a date with Davis (Hugh Jackman), a man with balls literally on his chin. (We’re not joking.) It’s grotesque, offensive, and not even ironically funny. We’re surprised Kate’s agent even sent her this script.

  • 2 Meryl Streep, The Giver (2014)
    The Weinstein Company
    To be fair, it’s impossible for Meryl Streep to make a bad film, but this social-scientific drama isn’t on par with the likes of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) or—heck—even Mamma Mia! (2008). Meryl’s performance is fine, but the film itself only scratches the surface of its source material, the novel by Lois Lowry. And that’s the real tragedy.

  • 3 Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine (2009)
    The Weinstein Company
    It’s gorgeously shot and contains a few hints of razzle-dazzle bombast, but Nine is a mostly-sluggish musical romp featuring a shockingly depthless performance from Mr. Lewis as an Italian filmmaker looking to women in his life to break him out of writer’s block. We feel no empathy (or anything, really) for his Guido Contini. And this is a man with three Academy Awards to his name.

  • 4 Robert De Niro, Hide and Seek (2005)
    20th Century Fox
    We hold Mr. De Niro to a high standard, and this cheap-thrills psychological schlock is waaay beneath him. His stab at Dr. David Callaway, the mourning father to Emily (Dakota Fanning), isn’t horrible. However, the movie’s bizarre mental plot twist makes the entire affair silly and passable. And Sir De Niro should never be passable.

  • 5 Glenn Close, The Stepford Wives (2004)
    Paramount
    The messy drama behind this mid-2000s remake is legend, but we still can’t forgive the laughable camp fuzz that is The Stepford Wives. Glenn’s deranged, cartoonish portrayal of housewife-on-steroids Claire Wellington is one-dimensional and vapid. (Which is a surprise, because she can nail these types of characters. Cruella de Vil, anyone?) We blame director Frank Oz, who reportedly clashed with the cast early and often.

  • 6 Julianne Moore, Body of Evidence (1993)
    MGM
    This erotic thriller (starring Madonna) is next-level terrible. Need we remind you of that awkward bathroom slap scene? (Yes.)

  • 7 Nicole Kidman, Just Go with It (2011)
    Columbia Pictures
    Why Nicole agreed to a supporting role in a sloppy, syrup-soaked Adam Sandler project is beyond us. Nonetheless, this aggressively unfunny rom-com is a sweat stain on the cashmere sweater of her filmography. Harsh, but true.

  • 8 Dustin Hoffman, Meet the Fockers (2004)
    Universal
    Meet the Parents (2000) is hysterical, but its 2004 sequel? Not so much. The film wastes Dustin’s comedic charm on cringe-worthy dialogue and slapstick gags—which is a pity, because we know he can deliver the laughs. (Please see: 1982’s Tootsie.)

  • 9 Al Pacino, Jack and Jill (2011)
    Columbia
    Another superb actor Sandler-fied. Mr. Pacino loses a few points for bravely playing himself in the universally-panned Jack and Jill, where Adam plays Jack. And Jill. Need we explain more than that ridiculous detail? We’ll spare you.

  • 10 Jennifer Lawrence, House at the End of the Street (2012)
    Relativity
    Jennifer is too good for this run-of-the-mill teen fright-night fare. The plot is banal, characters forgettable, and JLaw’s raw, natural talent goes to complete waste. House is fun for a buzzed Friday night, but it’s certainly no Silver Linings Playbook (2012).