Great Performance... Shame About the Film - Rooftop Film Club

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Great Performance… Shame About the Film

 Sometimes actors and actresses can be let down by their supporting cast. The saying goes that you’re only as good as your team (Zac Goldsmith, we’re looking at you…) but we wanted to take a moment to reflect on incredible acting performances that are often overlooked…because they happen to be in really terrible films. Stay tuned for when we flip reverse it with a compilation of ghastly performances in otherwise fantastic movies in the next couple of days. 

 

I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a shock, but Batman v Superman ain’t so great. It’s too long, too serious, too muddled and too riddled with Jessie Eisenberg turned up to maximum annoying Jessie Eisenberg mode. But despite the groans and whimpering when he was cast, Ben Affleck is pretty decent as Batman (or Batfleck). And this got my thinking. What other decent performances have been hidden in truly dire films? (Gazes to the heavens, deep in thought)…

 

Ewan McGregor – The Phantom Menace

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Up there with my second failed driving test and the cancellation of Fort Boyard in my list of life’s biggest disappointments. This atrocity is what happens when you mix inane political chatter with looney toons style childish action. But despite George Lucas’s gung-ho attempt at ruining his legacy, Ewan McGregor managed to emerge relatively unscathed. He wasn’t half bad (a very British compliment) as a young Obi Wan Kenobi! And all of that despite sporting a hairstyle that wouldn’t have looked out of place upon the head of a man riding a penny farthing in Shoreditch.

 

Alan Rickman – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

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Robin Hood isn’t a Yank! What is this fresh slice of bullshit pie? But despite the most outrageous casting since Sean Connery rocked up as an Egyptian in Highlander, I have fond memories of ‘Thieves’. I was a young, impressionable boy in deepest, darkest Wales sprouting new hairs by the day and discovering the magic of shell suits. Then along came Prince of Thieves with a catchy theme tune that stayed at the pinnacle of the charts throughout my puberty. I’m having nostalgia pains just writing this, but that said, it’s not a good film. It’s deeply flawed, yet one thing shone out. The performance of the recently departed Alan Rickman (RIP), who chewed up the part of The Sheriff of Nottingham and spat it out all over the audience with gusto and panache. Oh Alan. (sigh).

 

George Clooney – Batman and Robin

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You’re not sending ME to the COOLER!” Oh shut your frosty, blue chops Arnie. Without question one of the worst films that I have ever seen. How Joel Schumacher wasn’t sent to Guantanamo on the back of this abhorrent atrocity is beyond me. But, that said, George Clooney wasn’t actually that bad as the caped crusader! Honestly! He wasn’t! Nobody could have shone in this film. Not Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day Lewis or even the mighty Adam West! He was just dealt a particularly abominable hand. A better script and in better hands and his history as Batman could have taken an entirely more shiny path.

 

Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln

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Speaking of Day Lewis, what about this choice? I know this might prove controversial, but I’m sticking my neck out here. “A bad film!?”, the naysayers will cry. “It was Oscar nominated you cretin! Who is this joker!?” they will chortle as they stroke their well waxed, luscious beards whilst munching on their gluten free, soya bean energy bars. Well I don’t give a rats derrière if it was Oscar nominated! It’s boring! It’s a tedious and boring film! It shouldn’t have been nominated! The only thing that kept me awake was the staggering portrayal from Day Lewis. His performance is up there with the best of all time. He embodied the role masterfully. When he’s on this kind of form his peers should just give up and go home.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Great Gatsby

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Dull, pretentious and self indulgent. But enough about a weekend away with Piers Morgan, let’s talk about The (not so) Great Gatsby It’s just so ball achingly boring! The film’s one and only redeeming feature was Mr DiCaprio’s central performance as Gatsby. He wasn’t quite ‘wrestle a bear, sleep in a dead horse and freeze thy knackers off in icy rapids’ DiCaprio, but nevertheless he was (as always) eminently watchable.

 

Robin Williams – Hook

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Another gem who has sadly left in the not so distant past. As you read this he’s probably enjoying front row seats at a Bowie and Prince concert. But Hook, what a stinker! It was hated by its creator (Spielberg) and if truth be told, the film is a sugary, meaningless, meandering mess. Robin Williams however, is well cast and as watchable as ever as the boy who couldn’t grow up (but actually did on this occasion).

 

Al Pacino – Jack and Jill

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Playing a version of himself who will only agree to star in a Dunkin’ Doughnuts commercial if Jack (Adam Sandler) can get him a date with his sister, Jill (Adam Sandler). God knows what they had to give Big Al to agree to appear in this film. A film so bad that you can catch a virus from just watching it. Astonishingly though it’s not Sandler’s worst film. Oh no siree. That esteemed honour must surely go to his most recent creation, The Ridiculous Six. God knows what Sandler has on Steve Buscemi to make him continuously appear in his films. Compromising pictures with him and Al Pacino perhaps? That would explain things at least. Maybe the poor frog eyed fella needs saving? Do we need to do a whip-round or something? Should we start a campaign? #savebuscemi

Gareth Hutchins is a film obsessed, London based writer. Follow him on Twitter @gmhutchins.