Meryl Streep

12 A-list Actors in Their Most Cringe-Worthy Roles Ever

These movies are proof that sometimes even A-listers can make bad movies. How bad? We're talking TERRIBLE.
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Oh, how the mighty sometimes fall. And when they do, it can be majorly painful to watch.

A-List actors build the bulk of their coveted careers by taking on unforgettable roles and elevating the films they’re in. Still, even the most gifted thespians to ever grace the silver screen once starred in movies they’d rather we forget, even if they can’t.

So allow me to remind you of the worst of the worst, starring the best of the best.

Leonardo Dicaprio – Critters 3

Remember Critters 3? Leonardo DiCaprio does, but he probably prefers you bury that memory in the back of your mind immediately.


Long before the Oscar-winning star became king of the world, he played Josh in this forgettable 1991 horror flop. Giving credit where credit is due, this is a Critters movie we’re talking about.

As noted by Bloody Good Horror, Critters 3 was “profoundly stupid” and “dangerously idiotic,” but admirably unapologetic in its complete disregard for good film-making. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you’re after with a low-budget horror franchise on its third installment.

All ill feelings aside, kudos to the Critters casting team for spotting A-list talent at its greenest.

Uma Thurman – My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Uma Thurman is a world-class actress. From Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill, she’s starred in some of the most culturally defining films in American cinema.

Frankly, she did all she could with the material in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, but it just wasn’t enough.

Uma Thurman

While her portrayal might’ve been on point, the comedy was alarmingly unfunny. Most notably, it too heavily and lazily relied on shallow and sexist stereotypes to see it through.

As the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus puts it, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend is an only sporadically amusing spoof on the superhero genre that misses the mark with a nerd-turned-superwoman who embodies sexist clichés.”

Halle Berry – Dark Tide

You might firmly believe Catwoman was Berry’s most ill-fated role, but the 0% rating Dark Tide earned on Rotten Tomatoes suggests otherwise.

Halle Berry holding her Oscar

It’s always exciting when stars venture into unknown territory. However, fans still can’t pinpoint what possessed the Academy Award-winning actress to star in this one. For the 2012 horror thriller, Berry took on the lead role as Kate, “the shark whisperer.” But her acting chops couldn’t save the film.

Once the critics finished ripping it apart, Dark Tide fully tanked at the box office. Luckily, this blip left no real mark on the seasoned pro’s career.

Read More: What the New Oscar Rules Mean for the Future of Movies

Kristen Stewart – The Twilight Saga

No matter how you feel about Twilight, Kristen Stewart has undeniably given way better performances than this. In recent years, I’ve learned what a talented actress Stewart truly is, but this wasn’t clear with her performance as Bella.

Kristen Stewart

Yes, the Twilight franchise was a teen cultural phenomenon that defined a generation. And yes, it turned K-Stew into a household name. But critically speaking, the movies have often been deemed a joke.

As the franchise star, Stewart’s acting abilities were frequently called into question. One famously scathing review remarked that she “couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.” After breaking away from blockbusters and taking a more indie route, even the A-list actress has admitted she can totally see why.

And many moons later, she’s proven her earliest critics wrong.

Read More: What the Stars of ‘Twilight’ Really Thought About the Movies

John Leguizamo – Super Mario Bros.

John Leguizamo has always been brave when it comes to his roles. With Super Mario Bros., it wasn’t the type of risk that led to a standing ovation, but it was still relatively early in his budding career.

John Leguizamo

In hindsight, Leguizamo might call signing on for the novelty movie a misstep, but maybe not. Nothing was bigger than the Mario Brothers in the 90s. Disappointingly, the film didn’t live up to its heyday hype.

Reportedly, Tom Hanks was once considered for the larger-than-life role of Luigi. Still, no amount of A-List power could’ve stopped this adventure comedy from falling overwhelmingly flat. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean all too well.

Meryl Streep – She Devil

Is there nothing Meryl Streep can’t do? Shockingly, the answer is yes.

Meryl Streep

Even the woman declared the world’s best living actress could not make this 1989 black comedy into a true success. IMDB ranks She Devil as her worst film to date, but it’s not really Streep’s fault. The real issue with marvelous Meryl’s performance lies in the hollow role she took on.

Put it this way, if Meryl Streep can be upstaged by Roseanne Barr in a movie, that’s really saying something. Regardless of taking on a script that was sorely beneath her, she still managed to receive a Golden Globe nomination. No surprise there.

George Clooney – Batman & Robin

It doesn’t get more A-List than George Clooney. With Batman & Robin, the problem wasn’t really Clooney. It was the impossible hand he was dealt.

Bruce Wayne is a historically difficult role to get right in the eyes of the audience, especially when your batsuit comes with its own set of nipples. On top of the many questionable costume “updates,” he wound up coming off like one of many supporting characters rather than the star.


Alongside the famously overstuffed cast (including Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Vivica A. Fox, Alicia Silverstone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger), Clooney had his work cut out for him. Per Variety, “Clooney might’ve been remembered as one of the better Batmen had he not been stuck in one of the worst Batman movies.”

Contrastly, some felt he didn’t take the iconic role seriously enough, dubbing Clooney “the smuggest” Batman of all time. To this day, the reviews of his portrayal are remarkably mixed and unforgiving, but the veteran actor has since laughed it off.

Watch: The Batman (2022) Official Trailer

Michelle Pfeiffer – Grease 2

There can only be one Michelle Pfeiffer. Unfortunately for the phenomenal actress, the general consensus is that there can only be one Grease.

Michelle Pfeiffer

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Pfeiffer in pretty much all of her roles, even when the movies aren’t that great. Grease 2 is the exception to that rule.

Typically, those who love the first film say they could watch it again and again. On top of its timeless appeal, the cast is irreplaceable. But after you see the follow-up flick once, there likely won’t be a second time.

Needless to say, there was a lot working against Michelle Pfeiffer from the start.

Read More: Grease Prequel Series Officially a Go at Paramount+

Benicio del Toro Big Top Pee Wee

If you’ve ever wanted to see Benicio Del Toro in bizarre and bushy facial hair prosthetics, now’s your chance.

Benicio del Toro

To be fair, “the dog-faced boy” was del Torro’s first movie role. Luckily, it wasn’t his last. Following the wacky fantasy-comedy, he went on to garner endless acclaim, racking up accolades like an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe, to name a few big ones.

But in its own right, nothing will ever be bigger (or more unseeable) than the monstrous mustache he dawned in this poorly received follow-up to Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It stole the scene in all the wrong ways.

Don’t believe me? I dare you to look it up.

Jennifer Aniston – Leprechaun

Before she was Hollywood’s sweetheart, Jennifer Anniston scored a role in this 1993 horror flick. In a nutshell, Leprechaun is what it is. And by that, I mean it’s so scarily bad that it’s gold.

Jennifer Aniston

Is it a cult classic? Most definitely. Was it an award-winning performance or plot? Most definitely not.

A few years back, the Friends star said she decided to rewatch it with her then-beau Justin Theroux for a good laugh. But that’s not exactly what happened. Apparently, the Golden Globe-winning actress couldn’t sit through it, leaving the room more than once, and “cringing” until the credits rolled.

Denzel Washington – Heart Condition

Typically, Denzel Washington is one of those actors who can do no wrong. But Heart Condition was another story. Of the 47 films he’s made, Vulture called this one Denzel’s absolute worst. And they’re not alone in that belief.

Denzel Washington

After opening to unanimously negative reviews, the 80s buddy comedy scored 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics most consistently call it “unfunny” and “forgotten as soon as it’s over.” Roger Ebert said it’s “all over the map, trying whatever seems to work at the moment.”

Looking back, I doubt Denzel would disagree.

Scarlett Johannson – Home Alone 3

Scarlett Johannson has proven she’s one A-lister who is always going to do whatever she wants. Once upon a time, she wanted to be in Home Alone 3. We all must start somewhere, I guess.

But let’s be real. Beyond the first and second flick, the Home Alone franchise isn’t known for its cinematic brilliance. I sincerely hope that changes with the upcoming installment, but for now the fact remains.

Scarlett Johansson

The third movie was famously the most despised because it was the first to completely deviate from the OG storyline and bring on a new lead. It’s often considered the pivotal point where the franchise went downhill. Still, I doubt the award-winning actress regrets her involvement with the Christmas comedy that much.

After all, Scar-Jo was just a kid back then. And thankfully, she’s come a very long way since Home Alone 3.

Read More: 7 Actors Who Are Overdue For an Oscar