11. Snow White and the Huntsman
Great: Charlize Theron Terrible: Kristen Stewart
Snow White and the Huntsman is a pretty good movie overall, that is undone by less than stellar acting by some of its parts, poor pacing, and a terrible script. Although critics praised the production design, visual effects, musical score, action sequences, and Charlize Theron’s and Chris Hemsworth’s performance, Kristen Stewart’s and Sam Claflin’s performances received mixed reviews, and the screenplay was heavily criticized.
Charlize Theron stars as Snow White’s evil stepmother, Queen Ravenna, a powerful sorceress and she brings it. There is an evilness and anger that courses through her vain, her root for her evil scheme because even through Stewart’s transformation of character, she dominates the screen.
Stewart’s performance as the titular heroine received very mixed reviews, some applauding her ability to be innocent and a true warrior in the same film, but others stating she didn’t pop on the screen and was outshadowed by Theron and Hemsworth. I am more with the second camp here. Stewart didn’t do all that well here, contrary to other films in her post Twilight career.
I can’t really see Stewart’s heroic nature through her constant dead eyes. She is emoting through her voice and actions, but her face is telling a different story. Theron on the other hand, emoted from her entire being, her facial expressions are electric, her body movements, feminine and strong, and her voice carries from room to room.
Stewart, simply does not bring that presence, weakening the film. Theron came back for the sequel, which was unnecessary but she was the best part of the movie again. Stewart saved herself from that, but was so meh in this film, that maybe she would’ve been welcomed back.
12. Batman Begins
Great: Michael Caine/Gary Oldman/Morgan Freeman Terrible: Katie Holmes
This should really say the whole rest of the cast and Katie Holmes, but I just used a few examples. The first film in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman Begins set the groundwork for the amazing works to come.
Director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy explored the darker themes of the comics and was a return to prominence from previous Batman films, particularly Batman and Robin from director Joel Schumacher.
The romantic subplot between Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes was seen as a weak aspect of the film. This mainly has to do with the incredibly flat performance of Holmes and the lack of chemistry between the two actors. She was even nominated for a Razzie award for her performance, losing to the very deserving Paris Hilton for her role in House of Wax.
Katie Holmes signed on to do the sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight but was replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal who gave a really nice performance in that film. Compared to Katie Holmes, the rest of the cast, particularly Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, all assistants to Bruce Wayne perform magnificently.
The villains played by Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy also shine. Nolan does a marvelous job rebooting the Batman franchise, and the movie would have been that much better if Holmes delivered, but she did not, everyone else, did.
13. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Great: Ewan McGregor Terrible: Hayden Christensen
I know the prequel trilogy has been dogged on to death, but I still put this one in, because it’s true. They both, along with every other actor in the prequel trilogy struggled with the horrible writing they had to endure.
The difference is McGregor made the best of it and Christenen let it dominate his performance. McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan-Kenobi was a highlight of the prequel trilogy and was truly a highlight of Revenge of the Sith, arguably the best of the three. He brought a true sense of gentleness and ferocity that the character needed and is look on by critics and fans alike as staking his claim in the legendary series.
Christensen also stuck his claim in the series, although for all the wrong reasons. His physical acting abilities are there and are strong, but every time he opens his mouth, everything goes downhill fast. He did have to deal with some incredibly bad dialogue, but others succeeded with the work, while he did not.
Christensen deservedly won his second Razzie award for Worst Supporting Actor. Although, Sith is the best film of the prequel trilogy, many critics and fans agree and McGregor is its best feature, Christensen along with the dialogue almost bring this film down to the depths of the other two less successful prequel titles.
14. Thank you for Smoking
Great: Aaron Eckhart Terrible: Cameron Bright
Although it did not garner a lot of notice from the major award circuit, Thank You For Smoking has been recognized as a superior satirical comedy. Aaron Eckhart’s leading performance as Nick Naylor is the film’s crowning achievement. Without Eckhart in the line-up, the film would not be half as good as it is now.
Eckhart plays a tobacco lobbyist who is also trying to be a good role model for his 12-year-old-son. He delivers the smooth talking and impeccable charm needed for his job. He also showcases his struggle between his professional and personal life in a very engaging and convincing way.
His son, however, played by Cameron Bright is not as successful in his performance. He just doesn’t seem to be the right actor for the role. His age does not excuse him, he was 12 at the time, as there are plenty of brilliant child actors out there. Bright is missing the spark, pun intended, that the role needs.
While Eckhart is jumping off the screen with his performance, Bright is falling back, not grabbing our attention at all. In my opinion, he is just not right for the part, as he has succeed in darker roles in films such as Godsend and Birth.
Cameron Bright’s performance does not bring down the film too much as Eckhart and directing and writing from the wonderful Jason Reitman save the show.
15. The Birdcage
Great: The Parents (Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest) Terrible: Calista Flockhart and Dan Futterman (their kids)
One of my favorites. This hilarious American remake of the classic 1978 Franco-Italian film, La Cage aux Folles, by Édouard Molinaro delivers the comedy but also all the heart in the world.
The film follows engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart) who shakily introduce their future in-laws. Val’s father, Armand (Robin Williams), a gay Miami drag club owner, pretends to be straight and attempts to hide his relationship with Albert (Nathan Lane), his life partner and the club’s flamboyant star attraction, so as to please Barbara’s father, controversial Republican Sen. Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman) and his wife (Dianne Wiest).
All of the “adults” in the film completely deliver their performances, from Williams and Lane as the loving and flamboyant couple, to Hackman completely serving scary father who hates everyone, to Dianne Wiest, whose beautiful innocence to everything around her is absolutely hilarious. They convey the message of the film while going beyond stereotypes through the depths of their characters.
The “kids” on the other hand, just fall flat. You forget that this is about their relationship in the first place. Their parents completely steal the screen, and although the parents have more interesting roles, the kids just don’t add much to the hilarity of the movie. They are there to serve their plot purpose and act as the straightness to all of the comedy. I will always love this film and I think it is absolutely hilarious, but the performances of the young couple have little to do with my love for the film.
Author Bio: Ryan Anderson is a sophomore at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, where he is studying Zoology and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. His love of classic cinema and film history keeps his love for film strong and ever-present in his life.