Monday, January 4, 2010

Bad Acting: 101

That's a photo of Jon Lovett and John Lithgow in a "Master Thespian" sketch from SNL. Lovett's Master Thespian character is one of my favorites. Ridiculously over-the-top, Master Thespian may well be the worst actor ever. Of course, Master Thespian is just a sketch character, created as a joke. Sadly, there are real-life professional actors who are just as bad. Cases in point: Keanu Reaves; Steven Seagal; Sylvester Stallone (sorry D, you know it's true); Al Pacino; Elizabeth Berkley; Sharon Stone; Matthew McConaughey.

It's not always easy to spot great acting, though bad acting always seems to stick out like a sore thumb. The line between subtle and over-the-top is very fine, and even some of the best actors can give bad performances. Ever see Robert DeNiro in Meet the Parents; Halle Berry in Catwoman; Christopher Reeve in Village of the Damned; Will Smith in Hancock or Anne Baxter in The Ten Commandments? Awful.

Occasionally, there is a performance so terrible, it must be recognized as such. Thankfully, YouTube is there to provide us ith some of the worst performances ever captured on celluloid. And I'm here to share those performances with you.

Let's start with an unknown (and deservedly so) actor named Dan Taft. Here's a clip (I can only imagine it's part of his audition reel) in a truly wretched performance I call "Why?":

Awful doesn't even begin to describe that mess. Then there's this piece of crap from a movie so bad, the YouTube poster doesn't even bother to give it credit:

Of course, there's this bit of genius from 70's wunderkind (and washed-up drug addict) Ryan O'Neil in "Tough Guys Don't Dance":

The female Voice-Over in that clip is Isabella Roselini, in case you were wondering...

And Canadian actors aren't immune. Here's the trailer for Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (a movie I own - it was gift - and have blogged about before). 'Terrible' doesn't even come close to describing the performances in this Piece de Garbage:

And finally, this delightful montage of bad acting in several films goes to show that with enough money, anyone can be a "star":

Aye-yi! Leonard Pinth-Garnell would be so pleased (and if you are old enough to know who Leonard Pinth-Garnell is, then why hasn't Nurse brought you your meds yet?)

Of course, my biggest fear is that some future blogger will talk about bad acting in the same way, and post a clip of Uncle Prospero in some godawful show that has been (gratefully) purged from my memory in the same way that trauma victims block events from their own memories.

More, anon.


William said...

'Plan 9 From Outer Space' remains my all-time favorite bad-acting guilty pleasure, Uncle P...

pastime17-Pam said...

OMG, this was so funny.
I still watch SNL since hs!! On TIVO, it's easy to skip the bad parts. Jon Lovitz is great doing over the top acting.
Those movie clips were excrutiatingly painful yet hilarious.
I agree with you about those bad actors-Matthew McC. is the worst!! And he thinks he is hot stuff, bleccch!
Thanks Bri, for a great read as usual. Pam

Stephen said...

I have worked with Mr.Reeves & I really liked him. I think his acting is more enigmatic, than bad:

I always think that Orlando Bloom seems to be a bad actor... & I can only come up with 1 good Tom Cruise performance...