Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Ten Career Killing Films

Kevin Costner looking confused at a script

Stardom can sometimes happen overnight. And despite what some people may think, it is doesn't usually go away that fast. If it is a good actor it will take more than one bad role to sink his or her career, unless that was one absolutely horrible movie with no redeeming features what so ever.

Here's ten of those movies.

I'm only including films that directly led to the demise of an actor's career. For example, Pluto Nash was one of the worst movies of all time, but Eddie Murphy was already going down in flames at that time. Pluto Nash was such a flop, not enough people even know about it to judge his career on.

10. Gigli - Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
The two for one special everyone demanded in the early 2000s, and then wanted a refund. Affleck was in a string of blockbusters and J-Lo was releasing chart-topper tracks seemingly every week. Were they good? That's not important, everyone wanted to be them. But by far their biggest movie was Entertainment Tonight. If tabloids only kept box office grosses. The couple decided to release an "actual" movie in Gigli. The movie is about nothing. Nothing soon became the public's interest level of them. It was so bad, future movies (Jersey Girl, Smoking Aces) promoted themselves by saying J-Lo and Ben get killed. Sadly, after a few good years with them off the radar, they are both back. Affleck starred, wrote, and directed The Town and Lopez is the new host on American Idol, dropping Gigli down the deadliest films list. But it was still bad enough to rob the world of an Armageddon sequel.

9. Showgirls - Elizabeth Berkley
The cast of Saved By The Bell has seen various degrees of fame and infamy over the years. However, they were all stuck playing teenagers in other projects for the first few years after the show ended. Elizabeth "Jessie, the brainy feminist" Berkley was the first one to try to break the mold, and what better way to drop the kiddie image than by getting naked. Showgirls was the first NC-17 movie to receive a wide release by the studio Carolco Pictures (remember that name). And because of its massive failure, it was the last wide released NC-17 film. So now Berkley has no money nor any dignity. This just shows you how times have changed. Getting naked on camera now means instant fame. Just ask Dustin "Screech" Diamond.

8. The Love Guru - Mike Myers
Mike Myers is great at creating characters, as seen with his great roles as Wayne('s World), Austin Powers, and Shrek. In the early 2000s, everyone thought he was one of the funniest people around. Well after a seven year gap of no new characters, he decided to tackle a subject everyone finds funny: Hinduism. The Love Guru was unfunny, unprofitable, politically uncorrect, and worst of all, it gave hockey a bad name. The Love Guru was so bad, it made all his older movies retroactively bad. Does anyone even like Austin Powers anymore?   

7. The Conqueror - Everybody
A biopic about Genghis Khan? Genius. Casting John Wayne as the main role? Not so much. Filming the movie just downwind of a nuclear testing site? Just plain stupid. It is hard to say that this killed John Wayne's career as his two biggest films were released afterwards (True Grit and The Searchers), but this flop did mark the beginning of the end of Waynemania. It possibly marked the end for The Duke himself, as he would die of  lung cancer 20 years later. You can probably chalk that up to the six packs of cigarettes he smoked a day, but did the nuclear fallout play a role in the cancer deaths to co-stars Susan Hayward? Or Agnes Moorehead? Or John Hoyt? Or the 87 other cast and crew members who were diagnosed with cancer? The reign of Genghis lives on.

6. Cutthroat Island - Geena Davis
Arguably the greatest actress of the 80s hit a rough patch in the 90s. But no movie was as disastrous as Cutthroat Island. The $100 million budgeted pirate film made a mere $10 million in the US. Allegedly, the video game sold more copies than this sold tickets. This bankrupted the once great Carolco Pictures, makers of the Rambo films and Terminator 2. It knocked director Renny Harlin (Davis's husband) down to making straight to VHS WWE movies. The rest of the cast never even had a chance at stardom. And it made people completely forget about Geena Davis. To rub some dirt in the wound, this wasn't too long before the Pirates of the Caribbean films took the world by storm.

Ten years later, Davis would find rebirth and redeath in the TV show Commander in Chief, where she plays the first female president. It started out good, but then the writing just got crazy. Think tons of Bush worship with a huge dose of sexism. The show made people hate America and women at the same time. Still, a takes a special talent to win a Golden Glode in a show that got cancelled before the end of the first season.

5. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Sean Connery
This one is a little different that all the others. LXG just wasn't a good a movie. It deviated from the source material big time. It had randomly appearing characters, both figuratively as the studio forced Tom Sawyer to appear with the team of Victorian English characters, and literally as a character played by Winter Ave Zoli (great name) just showed up with the rest of the group in two scenes. Then there were the lawsuits, the script changes, the set changes, the entire-countries-where-they-were-filming changes, etc. It actually made a decent amount at the box office, but everyone hated it, cast included. This was Connery's last ever film, as was it the last job for director Stephen Norrington, and writer Alan Moore demanded his name be removed from any future movie based on his work (V for Vendetta, Watchmen). However, Connery still gets movie offers to this day. He declines them all because "Hollywood is run by idiots". This didn't kill his career, it made him kill his own career.

4. Heaven's Gate - Michael Cimino
As the past two movies have shown, the director usually goes down with the ship. I have avoided using directors here since their fame is much more fragile than the big stars. But there's an exception here as Michael Cimino is the gold standard for career killing films. His first film Thunderbolt & Lightfoot was a huge hit, starring a young Jeff Bridges and Clint Eastwood in a very un-Eastwoody role. His second film saw some popularity as well, as The Deer Hunter won five Academy Awards, including best film and best director. Third time wasn't quite a charm, as Heaven's Gate is considered one of the worst movies ever. The film went way over budget and over schedule, and saw Hollywood's future savior turn into a Hitler of a director. Despite a mega cast - there's too many people to name but look it up, it's legendary - the actors all came out mostly unscathed, meaning everyone knew where to point the blame at.

3. Herbie Fully Loaded - Lindsay Lohan
The story of Lindsay Lohan and the road she went down is such a long and complicated story. Her career has taken so many twists and turns that I don't even know where to begin. We can be talking about it all day and...

Rick James: Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Actually, that sums it up pretty well. But what is to blame for this all. Is it the excessive partying? Or the pressures of being a child star? What about bad parenting? Well Lohan's mom blames it on Herbie Fully Loaded, Lohan's last Disney movie and kids movie period. It was also the movie where she was out-acted by a car.  Mommy says it was so hot in the car and with all that dirt, and that was what led to Lindsay's kidney infection and the dehydration was what caused the massive weight lost, not drugs. So there you have your answer: Bad parenting.

2. The Postman - Kevin Costner
When I was a little kid, Kevin Costner was THE biggest star in Hollywood. Between Dances With Wolves (which he also directed), Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Robin Hood, No Way Out, and JFK, he was Untouchable (hey, he was in that too). He was such a huge star that Waterworld didn't even phase him. So how does the world's biggest star follow up a post apocalyptic flop? With another post apocalyptic flop. Maybe he just thought he could knock the genre out of the park the second time around? The Costner staring and directed Postman was ten times worst than Waterworld which already isn't even in "ironically good" territory. These were both the pure forms of bad. His films since haven't even come close to even his "bad" movies in his prime, and he even left Hollywood altogether for awhile to form a country band. Their three singles have yet to chart, so he can't even do that right. 

1. Star Wars - Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and Jake Lloyd
If your name is not Harrison Ford (or John Williams), then Star Wars ended your career. Some people, such as Anthony "C3PO" Daniels, have soaken the Star Wars fandom up, and have made a living off conventions. For others, it has almost ended their lives.

Besides Han Solo, the most successful cast member is Mark Hamill. He just did it in a different medium. The admittedly shy Luke Skywalker has become one of the best voice actors in the business, being most famous as the Joker in the animated Batman series. Speaking of voice acting, James Earl Jones has also done a good enough job post-Darth Vader. He just had to typecast himself into playing only black generals and kings with booming voices.

But the real losers are led by Carrie Fisher. She absolutely hated her time as Princess Leia and referred to her fans as "freaks" who would "jack off to her in the bathroom while putting together their stupid toy models". Her post-Star Wars roles dried up fast, leading her into a deep depression filled with drugs and lots of food. It has only been within the last few years when she was able to make ironic cameos. Princess she is not.  

The Broadway veteran Billy Dee Williams was once the definition of cool. He was one of the most respected young black actors, drawing comparisons to Sidney Poitier. His biggest achievement post-Star Wars? Being the spokesperson for Colt 45 malt liquor. Classy he is not.

Finally, there's Jake Lloyd, the young Anakin Skywalker in Episode One. Watch this interview of a 20 year old Lloyd, where he talks about how much kids picked on him in school. Sounds like he has had a good life. Notice how he shakes uncontrollably during the whole thing. Future real Darth Vader (and possibly serial killer) he definitely is.


  1. Ben Affleck atoning for his sins with "The Town" and "Gone Baby Gone" is a GOOD thing! Do you hate him no matter what he does? "Showgirls" may have flopped theatrically BUT it does have a devoted cult following and is a hit on video and DVD. I personally think it's a really good darkly comedic/campy melodrama (with tons of nudity to boot!) But, yeah, Elizabeth Berkeley never recovered. You're also forgetting Billy Dee Williams did the first Tim Burton "Batman" as pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent (He wanted to play Two-Face but alas, it went to Tommy Lee Jones).

  2. Oh yeah, I love Star Wars, nice post!

  3. Oh wow, so many cringe worthy films in that list... I felt so bad for Jessica Alba in The Love Guru... she should have fired her agent after that.

  4. Meh. Some of these are exaggerated.

  5. If Harrison Ford didn't get sunk by Star Wars, why did everybody else? Not sure you can blame the film.

  6. hey there!!
    im back from vacation:)!
    and i checked your blog out:) lots of posts

    new outfit post :

  7. Dear Jake Lloyd,
    Please don't kill people. Please? You for? Yeah, yeah, screw those bullies who wouldn't know who you were unless you told them! If you don't become a proctologist, you missed your calling.
    And you couldn't be more right about Mike Myers. I hate the Austin Powers movies now. They used to be great, but that movie was so bad it made me hate movies I forgot like Wayne's World 2 and So I Married an Axe Murderer.

  8. I'm actually Facebook friends with Jake Lloyd and chatted with him a couple of times. He seems like a nice, well-adjusted guy. But yeah, even he now thinks the "Star Wars" prequels sucked.

  9. This is actually really depressing...

  10. I disagree with a few of these. I think some hollywood careers go into transitions (in/out) and everyone loves a great comeback. Renny Harlin had a few add'l hits like The Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea. Gena Davis has been busy w/ Stuart Little and her twin babies and her archery career.

    Ben Affleck has had a career resurgence ever since his appearance in Hollywoodland.

    As for Kevin Costner, his career has been in decline, but it's not over. After all he's Pa Kent in the next Superman film.

    I don't think Elizabeth Berkley ever had much of a career after Saved by the Bell.

    Most actors have bombs every now and then. I think it's more so their personal lives that tank them (Lindsay Lohan).

    However, I am in complete agreement about Mike Myers. The Love Guru did him in.

  11. Oh Gigli-what a bad break for Bennifer #1. Also, Herbie Fully Loaded, wow-just bad news bears! Unfortunate, but Lilo has made quite the career out of rehab and courtroom stints.


    Erin @

  12. League of extraoridinary gentlemen was awesome.

  13. Yo, heads up, you are funny.