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15 Movies That Ruined The Careers of Famous Actors

27 December 2015 | Features, Film Lists | by Ryan Anderson

Halle Berry as Catwoman

Sometimes a movie is so terrible that when it gets thrown to the scrap heap of life it takes everyone involved with it. A bad role can really ruin a career. Actors are handed scripts and have to make a decision, to take the role or not. Well, it’s not really that simple, but still. Many of these decision have worked out well for actors. Think Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump. These roles did not and have not, at least so far, for these actors.

Here is our list of 12 terrible movie roles that ruined the careers of famous actors. If you’ve been wondering why these actors have been forgotten about in recent years, now you’ll know why.


1. The Love Guru (Mike Myers)


What a disaster this has been for Mike Myers. The SNL alum and famous voice of Shrek in the successful franchise for Dreamworks, Myers hit quite the career stumble with The Love Guru. Myers, who was also famous for successful comedy franchise like Wayne’s World and the Austin Powers films, was a highly regarded name in comedy, based on the success of these franchises and his stint on Saturday Night Live.

His first misstep was The Cat in the Hat, a frightening mess of a children’s film that audiences and critics chalked up to Myers trying to earn a quick paycheck. It was The Love Guru, his return to adult comedy, in which he starred, produced, and directed, where the true damage was done.

The Love Guru earned Myers Razzies for acting, directing, and producing. Since then, Myers has a small role in The Inglorious Bastards and another Shrek film, but other than that, he has not returned to the limelight since this mess.


2. Star Wars Episodes II, III (Hayden Christensen)

Star Wars

When George Lucas decided that Attack of the Clones, the second episode of the Star Wars Saga would be set ten years after The Phantom Menace, a new actor was needed to play Anakin Skywalker. Christensen had some fame in his native Canada from a collection of successful television films. He had also earned acclaim and Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild nominations for his role as Sam in Life as a House. Christensen beat out 1,500 other candidates for the role.

For his role in Attack of the Clones and in Revenge of the Sith, he received mixed to negative reviews. Critics and audiences alike cited his whininess. lack of chemistry with co-star Natalie Portman, and lack of charisma as faults. He received Razzie nominations for Worst Supporting Actor for both Episode II and Episode III.

The super-fans of Star Wars were also not particularly happy with his performances. Since Episode III, Christensen has not done much. We have just learned over the years that it has just as much, if not more with Lucas’ direction than of Christensen’s acting ability. He has really dropped into obscurity.


3. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Christopher Reeve)

Superman IV The Quest For Peace

The Superman curse begins. Christopher Reeve was an up-and-coming actor when he fought for and won the role of Superman in the 1978 classic. He portrayed the Man of Steel for four films total, the first three being successful, with the fourth being a hit to his career. He also turned down many roles that could have furthered his career, including leading roles in Body Heat, American Giglio, Fatal Attraction, Lethal Weapon, and more.

After Superman III, Reeve said he was done with the franchise. However, he agreed to do the fourth film, with the condition that he had some creative control over the script. The nuclear disarmament plot was his idea. The film was a critical and box office bomb and his career never recovered. He was seen in a supporting role in The Remains of the Day, but the time before his paralyzing accident were active, but unsuccessful for his career.

He, then, in 1995, fell from his horse and was paralyzed from the neck down. He became an activist for the advancement of research in the field spinal cord injuries. His foundation, The Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation raises money and gives grants to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace may have killed his acting career, but up until his death, Reeve’s determination and philanthropy made his a force for good.


4. Cutthroat Island (Geena Davis)

Cutthroat Island (Geena Davis)

The 1980s and early 90s were a wonderful period professionally for Geena Davis. They were filled with box office successes like Beetlejuice, A League of Their Own, and Thelma and Louise. She also earned several Academy Award nominations, winning for The Accidental Tourist. Then this swashbuckling, box-office bomb, threw her career into a tailspin for a while.

Cutthroat Island endured a chaotic and troubled production filled with re-writes and re-casts. Released to mixed to poor reviews and making just $10 million against a $98 million budget, the film was a flop. One of the biggest box office bombs in history, actually.

As of late we have not heard much about the work of Geena Davis. She did win a Golden Globe for her portrayal as the first female President of The United States in Commander in Chief in 2005. She now keeps busy as an activist for film diversity and her foundation to help female athletes. Even with this bomb, Davis is still highly respected, even if she doesn’t get cast anymore.


5. Snow Dogs (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

Snow Dogs (Cuba Gooding Jr. )

The Oscar curse strike again. Cuba Gooding Jr. will always be referred to as an Oscar winner from his scene-stealing performance in Jerry Maguire, but this was the beginning of the downfall for Gooding Jr. With his roles in Jerry Maguire and in the critically acclaimed As Good As It Gets, Gooding Jr. looked like he was primed to take Hollywood by storm.

Then came Snow Dogs, which was ripped apart by just about everyone who saw it. His career continued to crumble under the pressures of bombs like Daddy Day Camp and Norbit, which earned his Razzie nominations for Worst Actor. His career has started to rebounded slightly with roles in Lee Daniel’s The Butler and Selma, but his career has never really recovered from this family friendly mess.


6. Showgirls (Elizabeth Berkley)


What happened to Jessie Spano? I know that Elizabeth Berkley has been ripped apart too many times to count for this cult classic, but for what we are writing about, she certainly fits the bill. Before this disaster, Elizabeth Berkley played the brainy and successful student Jessie Spano on the classic 90s T.V show, Saved by the Bell. She played this character from 1989 to 1993. It was in 1995 when she auditioned for, and won the role of Nomi Malone in Showgirls.

The film’s nudity, eroticism, and violence gave it a NC-17 rating, which gave the film the honor of the first and only NC-17 film to be released wide to theaters. Despite this wide release it could not make up its $45 million budget, earning poor reviews and 13 Razzie nominations. However, it has earned a cult following, earning $100 million in video rental sales. Berkley’s career never recovered from the blunder of a movie. She mostly sticks to independent films and small stint on primetime dramas like CSI: Miami.


7. Superman Returns (Brandon Routh)


The curse of Superman strikes again. Brandon Routh didn’t really have any spectacular performances on his resume when he was cast as Superman in Bryan Singer’s reboot of the classic franchise. He was virtually unknown, but his chiseled features and ripped muscles helped him to earn the role.

Superman Returns could have been a breakout role for Routh, it did not end up that way. Superman Returns may not be the best superhero film Singer ever directed, but it did receive positive reviews from critics. However, a poor box office return, ruining the chance for a sequel and possible franchise, and disappointment from the fanboys derailed Routh’s chances of being a star.

Since becoming that guy who played Superman once, Routh has had small supporting roles in Zack and Miri Make A Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and starred in some straight to DVD releases.



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  • Pingback: 15 Movies That Ruined The Careers of Famous Actors |

  • Ozz Wald

    Kevin Costner – The Postman

    • It hurt his career badly but he redeemed himself with Open Range which is probably one of the most underrated films of the past 15 years.

      • Matthew Sutton

        Agreed. Open Range is actually pretty good, and probably one of the last respectable westerns.

  • Pingback: 15 Movies That Ruined The Careers of Famous Actors | roberto cimatti()

  • Jacob Lyon Goddard

    The Love Guru was so bad it made me re-evaluate his earlier movies.

  • Jacob Lyon Goddard

    Wish the list went back farther than 2 movies from the mid-80s

  • FlixtheCat

    1. Fairly certain many other movies ruined careers before the aughts as movies did exist before 1990. Might want to check those out in a sequel list or something.
    2. I’m fairly certain Sharon Stone’s career was already dead by Basic Instinct 2.
    3. Fairly certain Lohan’s career was on life support by I Know Who Killed Me due to the habit of her being a royal C U Next Tuesday to everyone she’s worked with.
    4. Routh has rebounded huge. Not only by regaining momentum with smaller roles, but playing another superhero in the popular “Arrow” on the CW as Ray Palmer aka The Atom. The character started as a charismatic supporting player and is now leading the new highly anticipated spin off “Legends of Tomorrow.”

  • First off, Hayden Christensen, Lindsay Lohan, and Elizabeth Berkley I wouldn’t call great actors since they never really did anything that people really remember them for with the exception of Lohan for Mean Girls and A Prairie Home Companion. Second, C. Thomas Howell is a fine actor but not a great one and he’s managed to do alright for himself after Soul Man as he was in the first Spider-Man reboot. Cuba Gooding Jr. is someone that I wouldn’t call but rather someone who started off with a lot of promise only blow it. As for Haley Joel Osment, A.I. didn’t kill his career as he’s still working. Not as big as he once was but he’s working. This list is stupid and how you even got a degree goes to show that you don’t know shit.

  • Matthew Sutton

    For what it’s worth Howard the Duck pretty much tanked both Lea Thompson and Howard the Duck’s respective careers. Also Rhinestone should’ve killed Sylvester Stallone’s career but I don’t think Dolly Parton’s acting career survived it.

  • Carl Peter Yeh

    One nasty article that ruined the writing career of a sophomore.

  • Edna Foster

    Interestingly, one of Hayden Christensen’s best performances, Shattered Glass, can be directly attributed to his “whininess” as an actor. He captured perfectly the victim complex that Glass used to manipulate and draw sympathy from his co-workers to avoid being exposed. As Skywalker though he came off as just some angry kid that’s mad because his parents won’t buy him a new phone. Which is also the same role he played in Life as a House, whiny kid.

  • Madrigalian

    With Christopher Reeve I will give you that the movie hurt him. As for the rest, there isn’t a movie is the world that could have saved them. The list would have been better titled; “People who Hollywood eventually realized couldn’t act.”

  • Steve Mahofski

    I actually thought Lohan, Stone and Moore were good in those movies. They weren’t particularly good movies, but the performances were good. I think Lohan and Stone were off the A-list well before these. Moore went into a semi-retirement, returned in supporting vehicles and threw off her momentum. Superman Returns is underrated. Shouldn’t have been a direct sequel, that was a bad idea, but would have been an interesting reboot. Most of the others I can see.

  • Karuna Jhani-Shikhar

    I think ‘Jumper’ is the reason of Hayden Christensson’s career and Brandon Routh was never famous.