Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The worst film acting of the 20th century

"Hurry up, I'm bored," chirps Madonna in WHO'S THAT GIRL?  and, goodness, could audiences relate.

Reader Serena e-mailed that we have repeatedly hailed Jane Fonda in KLUTE as the finest performance of any actor in a 20th century film (we have) and wondered who we thought gave the worst performance in a 20th century film?

Good question.

And, like Serena, we feel we should focus on major studio films that had actual budgets.  No sense picking on some actor in an Ed Wood film, for example.

So who's the worst?

It's a really difficult decision.

For example, we thought of Madonna in BODY OF EVIDENCE . . . but then quickly realized that Willem Dafoe comes pretty close to matching her, so close, in fact, that it's difficult to tell who is worse in the film.  A similar thought occurred when we considered the disaster that is FAIR GAME starring William Baldwin's erect nipples (they have so much more range than his acting) and Cindy Crawford in her film debut (also her film departure).

Which leads us to WHO'S THAT GIRL?   This 1987 film cost $20 million -- and that's before advertising.  But it only grossed $7 million.

It had a real director -- James Foley who directed classics like RECKLESS, AFTER DARK, MY SWEET and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.  The film even had a great cinematographer -- Jan de Bont.  But even he couldn't do anything with the caterpillars Madonna insisted upon calling eyebrows.

As bad as she is, and she's bad, there was one other performance that we all agreed had to be among last century's worst.

"You get the ice, I'll get the ice man," George Clooney . . . ticks off?

The man who killed the Batman franchise was Clooney.  He was wooden and stiff throughout.

On ice or off, he's completely unconvincing -- a fact made all the more obvious is he's sharing a scene with Chris O'Donnell who delivers lines in a non-wooden fashion and also shows athletic grace in scene after scene.

The problem for Clooney, and why he never became a movie star (a star delivers at the box office, Clooney never has) is because he's a TV actor.  It's all close up.  He can't inhabit a character on the big screen because he can't act below the neck.

It was a huge mistake to cast him in an action role -- any action role.  It was a disaster to cast him as Batman.

Madonna will always have music and George will always have TV -- which is good because neither made a mark in film.

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