The 25 Worst Actors of All Time
Success and talent aren’t always connected, especially in Hollywood. There are plenty of talented actors who achieved fame on the basis of their skills and hardworking demeanor, but there may be just as many who accelerated to fame via some combination of good connections, appearance, and plain dumb luck.
Let’s take a look at the 25 worst actors you’ll ever see in a major motion picture, ranked in descending order, moving toward the worst actor of all time.
25. Ben Affleck
The actor is certainly a movie star and has even received Oscars for producing and writing. Although he may have an eye for what makes a good movie, his acting performance is hardly the stand-out element in his best movies.
While Ben Affleck has worked in different movie genres, he has never truly disappeared into a role.
24. Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner was once one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Because apparently audiences at that time were especially infatuated with white-bread blandness. It isn’t so much that Costner is irritating, it’s just that there’s virtually nothing compelling about him or any of his performances. Now that he’s faded into moderate obscurity, it only feels appropriate that he’s resigned to play cookie-cutter father figure roles, as in Man of Steel.
23. Jaden Smith
The young actor got his start in the industry in The Pursuit of Happiness, thanks to his famous father, Will Smith. Jaden Smith’s debut in the film was moving given the sentimental story, but Jaden Smith hasn’t been able to give a compelling performance since.
His movie, After Earth, was torn apart by critics mostly because of his performance. This led to many calling into question whether he’ll ever give a good performance again.
22. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is, by all accounts, a nice guy, so it’s hard to be too incensed by his enduring success as an actor — at least, until you see one of his performances. His immovable, stone face singlehandedly sucks the life out of so many movie scenes, from Point Break to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Reeves always seems to be focusing on remembering his next line rather than conveying any sort of human emotion. His lack of expression and stiff line readings worked well enough when he was playing a San Dimas slacker like Theodore Logan for the Bill & Ted films, but they’ve only hurt his films since.
21. Quentin Tarantino
The writer and director is very talented in those two fields and has even won Oscars for his writing. But Quentin Tarantino also tried to act in his films and even he has acknowledged that his acting abilities don’t always match up to his writing. He is often awkward and seeing him in a movie can pull the audience out of the story.
20. M. Night Shyamalan
The producer and writer had a good buzz in the beginning of his career, but ruined it with a series of bad movies. He is known for putting a twist in his films, and he also often has a cameo. He’s not exactly a good actor and his cameos at this point are more self serving since no one particularly looks forward to them.
19. Jamie Dornan
The Fifty Shades of Grey star has the same struggle as the Twilight actors. Many of them just couldn’t quite overcome the material they were given, but later blossomed. Jamie Dornan is still in the thick of it though, and many critics have noticed his co-star Dakota Johnson has been fairing better than he has. Dornan’s performance as the seductive and dark Christian Grey is flat and boring.
18. Mark Wahlberg
You might think you like Mark Wahlberg’s performances, but check his filmography again and you’ll realize how few impressive roles he’s managed in his illustrious Hollywood career. Boogie Nights? All he had to do was look pretty and then act coked-up. The Departed? Be surly and curse a lot. The Perfect Storm? Look scared and scream over the sound of roaring waves.
Wahlberg’s career is defined by bland leading male roles wherein he’s rarely funny or has much chemistry with his co-stars. Look no further than M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening for a peek at what happens when Wahlberg tries playing someone more sensitive.
17. Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson is severely handicapped by his inability to play anyone who isn’t Owen Wilson. His collaborations with director Wes Anderson as a performer and screenwriter have yielded some fine results of Owen in weirdo roles, such as Eli Cash in The Royal Tenenbaums.
However, the remainder of Wilson’s career has been filled with little more than mediocre roles played by a mediocre actor whose behaviors and mannerisms make it impossible to see him as anyone else. But hey — at least he’s not as boring as his brother.
16. 50 Cent
The rapper has managed to maneuver into acting, producing, and writing. It’s definitely a smart move and many other rappers have done it, but 50 Cent doesn’t quite have the charisma or ability to make the audience believe him.
15. David Spade
The actor typically sticks to comedy. One of his highest-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes is The Emperor’s New Groove, which benefits greatly from it being an animated Disney movie. But most of his movies are rated “rotten” and that’s typically because his jokes don’t land.
14. Kirk Cameron
The actor started out as the beloved teen heartthrob, Mike Seaver in Growing Pains. But over the years Kirk Cameron’s career took a turn, mostly because he became more religious. This led him to acting and producing movies like Saving Christmas, which was referred to as “The Room of Christmas movies” by Christy Lemire. Cameron has definitely limited himself as an actor and it has hurt his career.
13. Hulk Hogan
There have been many wrestlers who tried to crossover into acting and some are successful. However, Hulk Hogan’s film roles never really strayed from the character he played in the ring. Hogan doesn’t have any range and none of his movies are well-written enough to make up for that.
12. Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is definitely a hard worker given he produces, acts, and writes. But his success might be more about his work ethic than his ability to resonate with an audience. Perry is mostly known for his character Madea, who he has managed to base an entire franchise on. Madea is one of his better characters, but the role still doesn’t measure up and has limited him as an actor.
11. Brendan Fraser
The actor had a good run and starred in big movies like The Mummy, Bedazzled, and more. He has made more bad movies than good, but that didn’t matter much until they started losing money. Now the actor isn’t seen as often.
10. Steven Seagal
The actor’s work typically relies on his martial arts and fighting skills rather than his acting technique. He got by with the former for a long time, but later in his career he was no longer physically able to do some of his old stunts.
9. Hayden Christensen
The actor played Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. Those movies were torn apart, especially the actor’s portrayal of the character who would later become Darth Vader. A big part of the problem with his character is that he was written to be a creepy petulant stalker, making it hard to believe he becomes the iconic villain we all know and love.
However, the role wasn’t helped by the actor’s stoic expression and weirdly soft voice. After being criticized for his performance the actor has taken much smaller roles.
8. Taylor Lautner
The Twilight movies drew a lot of deserved flak for pandering to teenage fans while investing minimal effort into the films themselves. Even the leads, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, sleepwalked through the ordeal before receiving varying amounts of critical acclaim in other projects. But the third person in the Twilight love triangle, shirtless werewolf Taylor Lautner, has found little success since.
It only takes one viewing of his starring vehicle Abduction to understand why (though good luck making it all the way through the film), as Lautner can barely manage a convincing line reading or a lick of chemistry with his co-star throughout.
7. Nicolas Cage
Many might insist that Nicolas Cage is, in fact, a good actor who throws himself wholeheartedly, almost foolishly, into the worst roles. We take the opposite stance, insisting that Cage is an over-the-top madman whose successful performances in films like Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation are simply flukes, allowing him the freedom to overact — as a train wreck alcoholic in the former and a panic-ridden screenwriter in the latter — in situations where it actually works.
Great as those films may be, the bad of Cage’s career far outweighs the good, littered as it is with performances both half-assed (Left Behind) and laughably unhinged (Face/Off, Wicker Man).
6. Rob Schneider
Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions has allowed the actor — who is actually talented when he occasionally tries — to keep his group of friends employed for a couple decades now. Thus, Rob Schneider is still in the public eye (barely), pretending he has comedic value even when he’s not dressing up like various minorities and adopting offensive accents in Sandler’s films.
His starring vehicles including Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick have somehow been even more dire and aggressively unfunny than his offensive supporting roles.
5. Pauly Shore
The actor has been in multiple terrible movies including Bio-Dome and The Wash. He typically plays the same character over and over, proving he doesn’t have any range. He acts in the comedy genre but doesn’t garner any laughs, making his performances awkward and tiresome.
4. Chuck Norris
The action star definitely has a fanbase, but he also has many bad movies on his resume. Believe it or not, he is the worst actor based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings, according to Slate. Chuck Norris has an average rating of 18.4% which is pretty rotten.
3. Eddie Griffin
The comedian starred in Undercover Brother, which was a big hit and fondly remembered. But most of his other comedies aren’t well-reviewed and included other bad actors. According to Slate, Eddie Griffin is also considered one of the worst actors with an average rating of 24.1% on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Alan Bagh
The actor played Rod in Birdemic: Shock And Terror, which is a bad film in every sense including Alan Bagh’s acting. But the good thing is that many would say his wooden performance is so bad you can get a laugh out of it. He has since been doing more background acting.
1. Tommy Wiseau
The Room is one of the worst films of all time, and most of the credit for its ineptitude belongs to Tommy Wiseau, the film’s star, writer, director, and primary investor. His otherworldly accent makes his lines unintelligible even when they aren’t overdubbed or nonsensical, and his fatigued face, which recalls a partially melted mannequin, doesn’t make his emotions any easier to read.
It’s no wonder The Room is Wiseau’s only feature-length role … who would cast him except for himself?
Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.
Read More: 25 of the Worst Casting Choices of All Time
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