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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cross Your Fingers and Hope this List isn't Outdated in Three Weeks

Failures. We are all familiar with them, we all have some we are ashamed of, and we all probably have more that we ashamed of other people for.

I recently embarked on a career path that was at the very least ill-timed and at worst employment Hiroshima. It stinks, it stings, but life will go on. That being said, The Sports Nerd has not exactly been in a "such is life, move along now" mood for the past few weeks. I'm decently bitter, disappointed, and have used this event as a springboard for being mad at life in general.

I'm getting better about that, and let's just call this list the next step in therapy for recovery. I failed, a bit, but I can still try this career again when the timing is better, and really I let myself down considerably more than I let anyone else down. Today we celebrate those who could not accurately make those claims.

Comic book movies have been a mixed bag of emotions for myself and other fanboys since the fad began about a decade ago. While some are great, more often than not, they have created hatred towards the actors, directors, and writers associated with the films. Over the last four years, the genre seems to have grown up and found it's place in the movie industry with films such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Thor, and X-Men: First Class all being widely accepted by comic fans and critics alike. Unfortunately, not every casting decision turns out as golden as Heath Ledger's Joker or Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Today we honor the actors so awful they let down millions and killed off franchises, and overall failing more miserably than I am even capable of competing with. I proudly present......

The Top Ten Worst Performances/Casting Choices in Comic Book Cinema

A list, that I hope is a good luck charm for the future. And by that I mean, I really hope that Chris Evans as Captain America doesn't need to be added to the list on July 22nd.

Honorable Mentions: Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, Ben Foster as Angel in X3, Halle Berry as Storm in the X-Men Trilogy, Eric Bana as Bruce Banner in Hulk, Colin Farell as Busllseye in Daredevil, and Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movies.

These performances were bad for a variety of reasons. Cage makes no attempt to actually protray a character that resembles Big Daddy in the comic series, Bana spends the entirety of Hulk looking more likely to drop to his knees and recite poetry than he does to become a raging monster, Foster and Berry both just kind of give confused stares into the camera the entire movie, McMahon just lazily reads his lines without any attempt to actually sound like the character he is portraying, and Farell does one of the worst jobs of overacting that I have ever seen in a movie.

Also I think its just sad that there have been so many performances in comic movies that Jennifer Garner as Elektra doesn't even make my honorable mentions list.

10. Halle Berry as Catwoman in Catwoman

Okay, I'll be the first to admit this is a bad spot for Berry's Catwoman, it should probably be in the top five. However, given the fact that I haven't actually seen the movie, I can't legitimately put it any higher. That being said, there is just no way I could feasibly leave her off the list, I mean she won the Razzy for worst female performance of the year for God's sake. This was a clear case of a casting director thinking "Catwoman is supposed to be sexy, Halle Berry is sexy." Unfortunately for Catwoman fans that meant that the actress would be talentless and about 30 shades darker than any catwoman they had seen before.

9. Nobody as Jarvis in Iron Man and Iron Man 2

This was not as big of a deal to most people as it was to me. For those that may not know what the problem is here, Jarvis was Tony Stark's (and later the Avengers) personal butler. He has been the only consistently present character in the Avengers since the team formed, he also is the lone defenseless presence at the center of the team, which I have always felt was important as he represented all of the defenseless citizens that the team formed to protect. In the movies, he is a talking burglar alarm. Lame.

8. Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man Trilogy

Let me be clear about this to start, Dunst did a fine job of acting in all three movies. She acted with emotion, was believable with her lines, and seemed to legitimately care about her character. The problem was that her character was not Mary Jane Watson, it was Gwen Stacy. Mary Jane is a spunky girl, loaded with confidence, charisma, and a throw your inhabitions to the wind personality. She is also a bit of a wild child. Dunsts's character is portrayed as more of the girl next door. Nervous, timid, pale, and whiny.

7. Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic in Fantastic Four

Gruffudd is considerably worse in the sequel than he is in the original, to be fair though that is like comparing a sweet pickle to a spoiled sweet pickle. Gruffudd has a bit of a Jimmy Fallonesque flaw to his approach to acting: no matter what the scene is, keep a goofy grin on your face. His acting seems worse than it is due to the fact that he is the key character in movie with a bad plot and bad supporting acting everywhere else and Ioan just never stood a chance.

6. Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider

There are times when I think that Nic Cage was cast as this films lead role and then film was written around how he decided to play it. Which makes since because from beginning to end this film is complete shit. Cage spends the entire movie portraying a character that is attempting to seem as avoidant and uninterested as possible towards everything that happens. Now I am no Nic Cage fan, so this is clearly a biased opinion, but when an actor seems perfect for a role because the character should be lazy and unentertaining, maybe people should stop offering him roles. He does seem enthusiastic for one scene, his first transformation into the Rider, which he spends screaming and overacting like LeBron trying to draw a foul in the NBA Finals.

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin

Have you ever seen Arnold Shwarzenegger in anything where he has more than one line per minute and isn't interacting with children? If you have, you know it never ends well. Throw on some blue makeup and one of comics lamest characters and you have a performance as bad as you probably expected.

4. Wes Bentley as Blackheart in Ghost Rider

Of all the things that went wrong with the Ghost Rider movie, the casting of Blackheart has to be worst. For starters, the character should have just been CGI. I understand they were trying to make the movie feel more real, but come one, the lead is a flaming skeleton in a biker jacket and Bentley was already playing the son of Satan. How "realistic" did they think painting a bad actor pale would make the film. Everything is bad here. The vocal acting, the facial expressions, and even pace at which he says his lines. At times it feels like Ghost Rider was just hunting down a Twilight vampire (which honestly would have made a better movie).

3. Tadanobu Asano as Hogun

A popular complaint among comic book fans over the years has been when a character inexplicably shows up on the big screen as a completely different race. A valid complaint, as really there has never been a single instance where this change was necessary. Black Heimdall, black Kingpin, and black Catwoman. Some of these have worked but this implementation was just terrible. The idea of an Asian Norse god was bizzare under any circumstance but did they really have to pick someone who had the stereotypical l's sound like r's accent. I saw this movie with my mom and every time he was on screen would whisper jokes to each other and ignore what was happening on screen altogether.

2. Ben Affleck as Daredevil

Sir Affleck would probably top most people's version of this list and that would be a legitimate choice. Ben Affleck is a hit and miss actor at all times but in this film the miss was akin to a Stormtrooper working as a sharpshooter. The usual bad acting characteristics are there but there is a unique blunder at work that cannot be accomplished by most bad actors: a blind man that moves his eyes to look at whoever is talking to him almost every scene.

1. Topher Grace as Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3

Topher Grace is not a very talented actor. He was great as a cowardly nerd in that 70's show, which would have made him a better selection for Peter Parker than Eddie Brock, and his range ends about there. The problem isn't so much the acting as it simply is the casting. Casting Topher Grace as Venom is the equivalent of picking John Goodman to play Thor, the image is wrong on every level. Even when he gets his powers, he still looks smaller than Spidey. The casting ruined this movie and arguably the entire franchise.