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Best performance by a bad actor?

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Mentioned in the other thread how shockingly great Denise Richards is in Drop Dead Gorgeous, and it got me thinking, what are the career best performances from people who otherwise do terrible work?

 

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

 

True Lies is the only Schwarzenegger film I would say he puts in a genuinely good acting performance (I know there's The Terminator films, but that's more just him standing around and looking menacing than actually acting).

 

Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love.

 

Also, I don't think Uma Thurman has ever been any good in anything that wasn't directed by Quintin Tarantino. 

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Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume.

 

Vin Diesel in The Iron Giant

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The first Terminator does a great job of using Arnold's then extremely limited range.

 

But in the second movie?  The man gives a god damn great performance of slowly letting in more humanity.  If a more respected dramatic actor had the role and turned in the exact same performance that man would have gotten serious Oscar nomination buzz.

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Keanu was great in Point Break dude..  Johnny Utah. Was Jessica Alba good in anything?

 

I saw some episodes of Dark Angel where she perfectly adequate.

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Mentioned in the other thread how shockingly great Denise Richards is in Drop Dead Gorgeous, and it got me thinking, what are the career best performances from people who otherwise do terrible work?

 

Also, I don't think Uma Thurman has ever been any good in anything that wasn't directed by Quintin Tarantino.

Baron Munchausen?

---

Didn't Hayden Christiansen get good reviews for shattered glass?

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Keanu was great in Point Break dude..  Johnny Utah. Was Jessica Alba good in anything?

 

I like Keanu in Dangerous Liaisons, although I'm not sure I'd call his performance "good."  Alba was fine as Nancy in Sin City, but it didn't exactly require a lot of stretching on her part.

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The first Terminator does a great job of using Arnold's then extremely limited range.

 

But in the second movie?  The man gives a god damn great performance of slowly letting in more humanity.  If a more respected dramatic actor had the role and turned in the exact same performance that man would have gotten serious Oscar nomination buzz.

 

 

He was fantastic in The Terminator movies, but that was based mainly on his charisma/screen presence. I don't think it was great acting.

 

Whereas True Lies...that's the only film I think he ever came across as something resembling a believable person. I could really buy he was this frustrated middle aged guy trying to fix his troubled marriage and save the world. 

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I thought Chuck Norris did a fine job poking fun at himself in The Expendables 2.

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The first Terminator does a great job of using Arnold's then extremely limited range.

 

But in the second movie?  The man gives a god damn great performance of slowly letting in more humanity.  If a more respected dramatic actor had the role and turned in the exact same performance that man would have gotten serious Oscar nomination buzz.

 

 

He was fantastic in The Terminator movies, but that was based mainly on his charisma/screen presence. I don't think it was great acting.

 

Whereas True Lies...that's the only film I think he ever came across as something resembling a believable person. I could really buy he was this frustrated middle aged guy trying to fix his troubled marriage and save the world. 

 

 

I just completely disagree on T2.  It is great acting.  He takes a completely set in-stone character everyone knows, changes it slowly and subtly throughout the film, ending up playing it in a completely different register by the end of the film, without it feeling at all contrived.  It's easily, easily, the best acting job of his career.

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Damon Wayans is a perfectly acceptable comedic actor I suppose BUT his performance in The Last Boy Scout showed a wide range of acting abilities.

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Damon Wayans is a perfectly acceptable comedic actor I suppose BUT his performance in The Last Boy Scout showed a wide range of acting abilities.

 

I've always liked that movie, even though Wayans is only slightly more convincing as an ex-football player than Adam Sandler.

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I agree that Alba was mostly really good in Dark Angel.

 

I've come to really appreciate what Dolph Lundgren did in Rocky IV.  Not nearly as one dimensional as one might think.

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Denise Richards in Drop Dread Gorgeous.  It doesn't get better for her than that performance.

 

I think part of it is that her character is meant to be really fake, stiff and uncomfortable around all these lowly small-towners.

 

And that's how she comes off when she acts anyway. So it works here.

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Denise Richards is used brilliantly in Starship Troopers not quite the same thing but worth noting.

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Denise Richards is used brilliantly in Starship Troopers not quite the same thing but worth noting.

 

Liz Hurley in Austin Powers is a similar deal. Apparently, she was meant to be a homage to all the Bond girls over the years who couldn't act.

 

I don't know if she was actually told this was why she was cast, though.

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I agree that Alba was mostly really good in Dark Angel.

 

I've come to really appreciate what Dolph Lundgren did in Rocky IV.  Not nearly as one dimensional as one might think.

 I don't disagree. I ended up finding him oddly sympathetic in the end.

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Denise Richards in Drop Dread Gorgeous.  It doesn't get better for her than that performance.

 

I think part of it is that her character is meant to be really fake, stiff and uncomfortable around all these lowly small-towners.

 

And that's how she comes off when she acts anyway. So it works here.

 

 

Yeah, the role feeds into Richards' tendencies.  But I think she's self-aware enough to pick up on some nuance in the role and it helps.

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Denise Richards is used brilliantly in Starship Troopers not quite the same thing but worth noting.

 

Liz Hurley in Austin Powers is a similar deal. Apparently, she was meant to be a homage to all the Bond girls over the years who couldn't act.

 

Which brings us right back to Ms. Richards.

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Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street. Prior to this film I felt he was completely useless...  This film showed me that I was very wrong.

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Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street. Prior to this film I felt he was completely useless...  This film showed me that I was very wrong.

This.

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I've always thought Eric Roberts was pretty terrible, but he was great in The Dark Knight.

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