5 Great Performances (In the Worst Movies Ever Made)

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Maybe you paid to see Jack and Jill, or accidentally rented a mockbuster made by The Asylum, or were forced by your mom to sit through Mamma Mia! In any case, it’s hard to find the good in something that you hate, and oftentimes there isn’t anything to praise.

But sometimes, in the worst things ever put to film, there is someone putting in effort. And it’s about time those people are recognized.

  1. Gina Gershon as Cristal Connors, Showgirls
Gina Gershon in Showgirls (Photo Credit: Carolco).

Saying that the showbiz drama Showgirls is one of the most unintentionally funny movies of all time is anything but a controversial statement. The dialogue is ridiculous, the continuity is nonexistent, and the acting, while well-intentioned, is mostly over-the-top and delivered by performers who don’t really understand the script they’ve been given.

Except for Gina Gershon, henceforth referred to as the Gersh.

As Cristal Connors, the catty star of a Las Vegas casino’s topless dance extravaganza, she knows from the get-go what her role is: she’s the Margo Channing, the jaded star who will inevitably be upstaged by young upstart Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) onstage and in bed with the casino’s entertainment director (Kyle MacLachlan). The Gersh is sleazy enough, and unlike her costars, keeps it relatively reserved – or as reserved as you can get for something like this.

In any other time or place, where Showgirls was made properly and recognized as the show business satire it was written to be, the Gersh would probably be recognized as one of the best members of the ensemble. Unfortunately, we happen to live in this universe.

The best line: “We take the cash, we cash the check, we show ‘em what they want to see.”

  1. Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness, Legend
Tim Curry in Legend (Photo Credit: Embassy International Pictures).

Now, Legend isn’t usually on the list of the worst movies ever made, but in my experience it is one of the most tedious. The movie itself is nearly three hours long and the plot is a muddled and incomprehensible mess. While it’s generally pretty to look at, that detail blends into the background when you realize halfway through that you have no idea what the characters are saying and Tom Cruise is just staring into space and dear God didn’t you direct Alien why is this so bori – but I digress.

And then, more than halfway through the movie, something awesome happens. This is Tim Curry, in full-body makeup as the Lord of Darkness and giving us viewers the oasis we need in this arid desert of nothingness. I mean, just look at this:

But what of the performance? Well, again, this is Tim Curry. Anyone who’s seen him in as much as Home Alone 2 knows that he gives his all, and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, it’s probably his best work. He knows how to act through the prosthetics, and does everything possible with the script he’s given. Now that’s a character actor!

The best line: “The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity.”

  1. All the musical guests, Blues Brothers 2000
Paul Shaffer and Erykah Badu in Blues Brothers 2000 (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures). 

            Don’t you just love The Blues Brothers? Such a classic, so full of great action and comedy, with so many memorable characters! Yeah. Well, they made a sequel eighteen years later, and if you like the original, then boy, you will be –

Really freaking disappointed, because Blues Brothers 2000 is one of the worst sequels ever made. It’s not funny, there’s almost no action, and half the memorable cast is gone. Unless you like Dan Aykroyd going through a mid-life crisis, there’s almost nothing here.


For all the movie’s faults, its musical pedigree is nearly on par with its predecessor. There are performances from Erykah Badu, Blues Traveler, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, and a supergroup featuring B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Isaac Hayes, Billy Preston, Bo Diddley and Steve Winwood.

The best line: “And you know what I mean by respect.” – Mrs. Murphy (Aretha Franklin)

  1. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest
Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures).

            Recently I watched the miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan, and it got me thinking about actress Joan Crawford. Jessica Lange did a great job playing her on that show, and all the praise she’s been receiving has reignited people’s passions about Mommie Dearest. Based on a tell-all book written by Crawford’s adopted daughter Christina, it alleges that Crawford abused her children as they grew up. But the movie wound up a campy mess, which became a cult classic and won a ton of Golden Raspberry Awards, including one for Faye Dunaway, who played the leading lady.

But this isn’t warranted.

Dunaway was accused of chewing the scenery while playing a woman who was, in reality, a very dramatic and over-the-top person, and often turned on a dime when it came to emotions. Let’s have a look at this, shall we?

Yep, thought so.

The best line: “I should have known that you’d know where to find the boys and the booze.” 

  1. Charles Rocket as Kyle Jacobsen, It’s Pat
Charles Rocket in It’s Pat (Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures).

            It’s Pat stands a pretty good chance of being the worst thing to ever come out of Saturday Night Live. For those who weren’t born in time to see the early 90s, Pat was a recurring SNL character whose gender was impossible to determine – and that was the whole joke. As a sketch comedy character, it doesn’t sound bad. But 77 straight minutes…no. The movie is gross, crude, obnoxious, annoying and could almost be called unwatchable.

And then, at the 15 minute mark, he walks in.

He is Charles Rocket, an actor and a former player on SNL in its ill-fated sixth season, who was fired for saying a certain obscenity on the air.

Yes, that word. Oh, hi, Eddie Murphy! (Photo Credit: Broadway Video)

Here, Rocket plays Kyle, the new neighbor of the androgynous Pat, who quickly becomes obsessed with discovering Pat’s gender. He descends into madness, stealing Pat’s diary, calling into Pat’s radio show to make threats, and even fixing a doll to look like Pat. In the process, he falls in love with Pat, and Kyle’s life comes crumbling down around him as a result, but it’s no matter to him. And everything Rocket does in the role is complete genius. Exhibit 18:

If this movie were cut to be a short film, totally focused around Kyle, then it would be one of the funniest pieces of cinema ever produced. Go ahead and try to cut around him – I’d really like to see what you come up with!

The best line: “Don’t you see? We were meant for each other. We’re like two complementary pieces in the crazy jigsaw puzzle of love. I just need to know how we fit together!”

What’s YOUR favorite performance in a bad movie? Sound off!

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