10 Great Movie Performances That Received Way Too Much Hate

5


Summary

  • Good performances are sometimes unfairly ridiculed due to extenuating circumstances like bad scripts or misunderstanding the intent.
  • The success of a performance can be tied to the audience’s perception of the movie itself.
  • Many mocked performances were undeserving of hate and were actually great in their own respect.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Many great performances have been unfairly ridiculed because of extenuating circumstances. From last-minute casting to bad scripts, to just misunderstanding the intent of the performance, critics and audiences missed what was great about many roles. Some incredible and thoughtful performances have been nominated for Razzies, an award show that honors the worst in movies, while others have just been the subject of online mockery.

Often, it is the film around the performances that don’t connect with audiences. Whether the characters work is tied to the audience’s perception of the movie itself. It is easy to praise a great performance in the best movies of all time, but it is harder to recognize a good performance in a movie that doesn’t work. Hindsight is important, and looking back, many performances that were mocked for years by critics and the internet were not only undeserving of hate but great in their respect.

10 Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone

The Godfather Part III

Sofia Coppola grinning as Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III.

The Godfather Part III

Release Date
December 25, 1990

Director
Francis Ford Coppola

Cast
Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Diane Keaton

Rating
r

Francis Ford Coppola’s final film in The Godfather trilogy is often unfairly hated. While nowhere near as great as the first two, it is still a strong effort from one of the greatest living directors, and unfortunately, Sofia Coppola’s performance is often the center of that hate. In a role originally meant for Winona Ryder, the director’s daughter plays mob boss Michael Corleone’s child and does a perfectly fine job. Sofia Coppola’s line delivery was mocked at the time, but she seamlessly fits into the world of The Godfather. It is the clunky scripting and bizarre romantic subplot that let her down.

9 Dakota Johnson as Anastasia

Fifty Shades of Grey

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

Release Date
February 13, 2015

Director
Sam Taylor-Johnson

Cast
Jennifer Ehle, Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dorman, Marcia Gay Harden, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora

Rating
R

Because of the novel it is based on, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie had a target on its back before it even went into production. While the first film isn’t a masterpiece, or even arguably good, it is not nearly as bad as many made it out to be, and the central performance by Dakota Johnson holds the movie together. Anastasia Steele isn’t a character with much depth or inner conflict, but Johnson does the best with what she is given and turns an empty void of a character into a somewhat likable protagonist. The same can be said about all the following Fifty Shades of Grey movies.

8 Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula Keanu

Keanu Reeves’ movie career includes box office hits and all-time classics such as John Wick, Bill & Ted, and The Matrix. However, his more dramatic work is often written off or mocked. This is especially true regarding Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in which Reeves plays Jonathan Harker. Reeves’ performance is particularly criticized for the accent. While Reeves tries his best, he still does sound like he is from California. However, the film has an extremely heightened tone, and putting the accent aside, Reeves delivers a nuanced and complex performance. Reeves was not miscast, and the movie is improved by his presence, regardless of the accent issue.

7 Megan Fox as Michaela Banes

Transformers

Megan Fox as Mikaela on the phone in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Megan Fox’s career would only evolve after her breakout roles. However, what Fox was doing in her first few iconic roles, namely Michael Bay’s Transformers​​​​​​ movies, should not be overlooked. Her charisma and screen presence are often ignored when discussing what the first Transformer films got right. Fox’s Michaela Banes is the most likable human character in the first two Transformers movies, to the point where it is frustrating she is not the main character. Fox owns every frame she is in due to her ability to play in a scene and sell the absurd reality of giant robots fighting. The character deserved better, but the performance was never the issue.

6 Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker

Elvis

Elvis Tom Hanks

Elvis

Release Date
June 24, 2022

Director
Baz Luhrmann

Cast
Austin Butler, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natasha Bassett, Tom Hanks, David Wenham, Luke Bracey, Olivia DeJonge, Xavier Samuel

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
159 minutes

Writers
Jeremy Doner, Craig Pearce, Sam Bromell, Baz Luhrmann

Studio(s)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite the waves of praise Austin Butler received for Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 Elvis biopic, legendary actor Tom Hanks’ performance as Colonel Tom Parker was ridiculed. Almost unrecognizable under a lot of make-up, Hanks’ performance is a big swing, and one that turned off many audience members and critics. However, Hanks is doing exactly what he is asked to, and matching the wild nature of the movie. The silly voice and over-the-top make-up don’t feel realistic, but they feel true to the tone of the film and the character. The character of Colonel Tom Parker is meant to be out of this world, and Hanks makes him feel that way.

5 Jennifer Lawrence as Mother

mother!

Jennifer Lawrence looks distraught in Mother!

Darren Aronofsky’s shocking horror film mother! was always bound to be controversial, but Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as the titular character should stand on its own. The Academy Award winner delivers what is the most physically demanding performance yet, and brings humanity and ethos to a character that is purposefully one-dimensional. mother! isn’t an easy movie to like, but that hardly means such a committed performance from one of the few remaining movie stars is worthy of a Razzie nomination.

4 Ben Affleck as Count Pierre d’Alençon

The Last Duel

Ben Affleck In The Last Duel

The Last Duel

Release Date
October 15, 2021

Director
Ridley Scott

Cast
Adam Driver, Michael McElhatton, Harriet Walter, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sam Hazeldine, Nathaniel Parker, Jodie Comer

Rating
R

Writers
Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Nicole Holofcener

Studio(s)
20th Century

The Last Duel is arguably one of Ridley Scott’s best movies of recent years, but it was sadly slept on during the 2021/22 awards season. The only major nomination it got was at the Golden Raspberries, where Ben Affleck was nominated for worst supporting actor. Not only was this nomination completely unjustified, but Affleck’s darkly hilarious performance should have been up for actual award consideration. A purposefully bad haircut and real-world drama do not define performance, and Affleck delivers a sinister performance that is hard not to watch. He is a colorful villain and one of the best parts of the film.

3 Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock

Venom

Tom Hardy in a MRI Machine in Venom

Venom

Release Date
October 5, 2018

Director
Ruben Fleischer

Cast
Woody Harrelson, Jenny Slate, Michelle Williams, Scott Haze, Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
112 Minutes

In the current glut of comic-book movies, the Venom films are hard to define. Not technically in the MCU, nor loved by critics, Tom Hardy’s Venom is a strange product of its time, but one that will be remembered. Hardy is doing a lot as both Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote Venom, and making many strange noises in the process, but it is this oddball energy that keeps the movies alive. Without Hardy’s strange performance at the center, Venom would have been a forgotten failed attempt at starting a franchise, but because of him, it is one of the more unique modern superhero adaptations.

2 Adam Sandler as Jack and Jill

Jack And Jill

Adam Sandler as Twins in Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill

Release Date
November 11, 2011

Director
Dennis Dugan

Cast
Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Eugenio Derbez, Tim Meadows, Santiago Segura, Nick Swardson

Rating
PG

Runtime
91 Minutes

Adam Sandler’s comedy vehicles were easy punching bags for critics and audiences, as they are often presented as dumb crass entertainment. While that isn’t entirely untrue, there is a certain skill and charisma needed to lead one of those movies. Sandler has proven to be a great actor in his dramatic works like Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems, but he is a great leading man and can be very funny. Jack and Jill is seen as a critical low point for Sandler, but it features two great comedic performances from him. Sandler is the straight man in Jack as well as the goofball Jill, and he does so while having good chemistry with himself.

1 Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan

Twilight

Twilight

Release Date
November 21, 2008

Director
Catherine Hardwicke

Cast
Robert Pattinson, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Rachelle Lefevre, Elizabeth Reaser, Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Cam Gigandet, Kellan Lutz, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick, Billy Burke

Rating
PG-13

Not only is Kristen Stewart one of the best and most interesting actors working today, but that has always been the case, even in her less acclaimed work. Criticized for being awkward and stiff in the Twilight films, particularly the first one, Stewart was making those choices on purpose. Her goal was clearly to make Bella Swan feel like a real person. Stewart was too good at playing an awkward teenage girl in an exaggerated, almost comical world, and got mocked for doing so. Thankfully, her dramatic work is now being recognized, as she is a once-in-a-generation talent whose movie career continues to evolve.