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Great acting in terrible movies

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Wouldn't call it awful exactly, but Mos Def is so great in 16 Blocks he single-handedly raises what is another dull Bruce Willis cop thriller up a notch.

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I thought that while Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans was a steaming bucket of monkey piss, Nic Cage's performance in it was inspired. Just balls-out insane, and that was totally the right direction to go with the character.

Nic Cage didn't know he was in that movie until 6 months later.

 

Which reminds me: Bowfinger was pretty bad but Steve Martin was pretty great in it.

 

Blasphemy! I remember it being one of the funnier movies I've seen, and Eddie Murphy is gold. . . 

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Kevin Spacey and Paul Giammatti have this amazing scene towards the end of Fred Claus where they talk about Spacey's character wanting a Superman cape as a kid and Santa (Giammatti) not giving it to him.

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Washington in Safe House might qualify, although he's so damn great he might pull it above terrible and initio passable.

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Michael Moriarty in Q: The Winged Serpent. I mean, I liked Q, and I love Larry Cohen, but Moriarty's acting rises above the level of most Cohen flicks. Usually a great performance in a bad movie comes because the actor gets what kind of movie he's in a plays it appropriately. But Moriarty  plays it note serious and it becomes transcendent.

 

James Woods is my favorite actor, and he has turned in some awesome performances in some bad-to-awful films: Most obvious is his great turn in The Specialist, which is a horrendous film, and he's the only one in the flick who knows what notes to hit. Stone and Stallone sleepwalk through it and to the shock of everybody Eric Roberts overacts to insane levels. But Woods knows exactly what he's doing in it. See also his work in John Carpenter's Vampires, the overbearing football coach in the Straw Dogs remake, or the John Travolta plop The General's Daughter.

 

Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons.  

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Safe House was terrible? Fuck off!

 

Agreed

 

If we're going to go Denzel trying his best to stop actors from imploding a movie recently, you got to go with Book of Eli and the Pelham remake. Kunis and Travolta were single-handedly dragging those movies down. I think Mila Kunis is a pretty lady, but Meg Griffin doesn't belong in a post-apocalyptic movie. She was just...dreadful.

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It was a horribly cliched bad action movie with a tired, predictable plot that just fucking died whenever the camera wasn't on Denzel.

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It was a horribly cliched bad action movie with a tired, predictable plot that just fucking died whenever the camera wasn't on Denzel.

 

You didn't have to bring Man on Fire into this.

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The Rock in Be Cool. Awful movie, where the only scenes worth watching are the ones involving Johnson.

 

Also, agreed on James Woods in The Specialist, though I don't think it's horribly bad for an action film. Woods is so incredibly over the top in that film.

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Denzel has saved too many shitty movies to count.

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Denzel has saved too many shitty movies to count.

 

I saw people talk about how vanilla Chris Pine is in another thread (btw I have no real problem with him), but Unstoppable is a good example of why you need Denzel around. Rosario Dawson, Kevin Corrigan, TJ Miller, and Ethan Suplee were solid in supporting roles, but Pine next to Denzel is a charisma vacuum.

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Unstoppable works first because of Denzel, second because of the nonstop momentum the movie has, and last because of Pine.

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How about Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron in The Blind Side?.

 

Oscar or not, Bullock is one cliche after another in this movie (She's sassy! She has an accent! She has a gun!) and the movie itself is very cheesy and only a notch above Lifetime movie of the week.. But McGraw and Aaron seem to be the only ones playing real people and not cardboard cutouts.

 

Kind of made me wish we'd gotten to see more of their interaction. The book is more interesting partly because it focuses more on the father-son dynamic between them. 

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Wow, it doesn't seem anybody gets Lost in Translation.  The main characters aren't supposed to be sympathetic.  Maybe because I experienced something similar in Japan, it makes sense to me.  Minus the Park Hyatt Tokyo.

 

As for the topic, I'll say everybody in Outbreak besides Dustin Hoffman.

 

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I'll never understand the accolades surrounding The Blind Side. Didn't it win for Best Picture? Or did Sandra just get actress? Either way, without Neo to carry her, she's consistently underwhelming.

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It won actress. It did not win best picture

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IMO, Bullock is a decent actress, but she really didn't deserve that Oscar. It was honestly like watching someone going through a checklist on-screen of what they thought would win an oscar. You could practically see the wheels turning.

 

[ ] accent

[ ] gaudy wardrobe

[ ] constantly acting feisty and over-the-top

[ ] yelling "MAH SON!" a lot.

 

The scene where Bullock reveals to the (extremely dangerous) drug dealer she carries a gun in her purse and he looks truly terrified of her is embarrassingly bad. Yeah, OK. Hardened criminal who is around guns constantly is going to be petrified of some Southern housewife because she tells him she's got one.

 

If you read the book, it is a genuinely interesting story. Lee-Ann is also far more than deeper and complex than the movie makes her out to be.

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How about Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron in The Blind Side?

 

I knew McGraw would be decent--he's actually a very good actor--but Aaron was a pleasant surprise.  He has a lot of charm.  His IMDB page shows several projects for him, which is good.  One of the project stars Nicolas Cage, which is interesting. :D

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Its splitting hairs, but Andre 3000 was way better than The Rock in Be Cool. And I'll agree, Rock was great in it. 

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Vince Vaughn is fun in Be Cool, if not exactly great. 

 

"I bet you don't even know who the Sugarhill Gang is..."

"Nah, but I know who the bust-a-cap-in-yo-ass gang is!"

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All the Hoffman tributes reminded me that he was fantastic in the otherwise so-so Red Dragon.

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Apart from Philip Seymour Hoffman's roles, I've pretty much blocked out Twister, Patch Adams, and Along Came Polly from my memory.  Even if he was just in it for the money, he would put everything into his role and make any godawful film worth watching.

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Take an utterly thankless and on paper a pretty bland part like Brandt in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and let him go with it.

 

Turns a one-dimensional lackey role with a half dozen lines into a guy that you insantly dislike but kind of sympathize with at the same time.  He managed to show smarminess and fear, weakness and disappointment, cynicism and just a touch of self-awareness all at once in, like, a minute of total screen time.

 

And so much of it was in his voice.  His voice was like Michael Caine's eyes.  It could be deadly flat and terrifying or totally animated and sympathetic.

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