12 Movies That Killed Actors’ Careers
Bad movies inevitably happen to actors, no matter how talented the performer. Usually, a movie star opens a bad film and moves on to the next big project.
But sometimes, a film is so bad it stops an actor’s career dead in its tracks.
Here’s a look at 12 movies that did lasting damage to stars’ careers.
Showgirls: Elizabeth Berkley
Elizabeth Berkeley wanted something opposite of her beloved Saved by the Bell‘s Jessie Spano, which is why she took on Nomi Malone, the drifter turned stripper in 1995’s Showgirls. Critics panned the NC-17 film, and Berkley won a Razzie for “Worst New Star.”
Although the film later achieved cult status, Berkley subsequently stuck to small cinema roles and TV movies. She did, however, garner praise for TV spots in CSI: Miami and The L Word and for her work in the theater.
I Know Who Killed Me: Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan showed a lot of promise in The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and 2004’s Mean Girls. However, when she started to try adult roles, things went south.
2007’s erotic I Know Who Killed Me cast her as twins Dakota Moss and Aubrey Fleming and the result was so terrible that she won two “Worst Actress” Razzies.
Since then, she’s had smaller roles in The Canyons and Scary Movie 5 and collaborated with Duran Duran for the Paper Gods song “Dancephobia.”
Boat Trip: Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. had a rising career with roles in Jerry Maguire and the family-friendly Snow Dogs. His shining star burned out, however, when he took a role in 2003’s Boat Trip.
There wasn’t much redeemable about his unlucky-in-love bachelor who mistakenly boards a gay men’s cruise. The film even inspired Chris Rock to say at 2005’s Academy Awards, “You ever see a movie so bad that you question the actor’s finances? I saw this movie Boat Trip the other day and I immediately sent Cuba Gooding a check for $80.”
Cuba eventually regained attention for 2009’s Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and 2013’s The Butler.
The Love Guru: Mike Myers
The genius behind Wayne’s World and Austin Powers failed miserably in 2008’s The Love Guru, which he also co-wrote and co-produced.
Mike Myers could not engage audiences as sage Maurice Pitka and ended up offending the Hindi community. He was also criticized for being too crass and juvenile.
Myers later acknowledged the flop during his 2014 SNL hosting gig, joking, “If you really want to put a bomb in a theater, do what I did: put in The Love Guru.”
He later participated in some well-received documentaries, including directing 2013’s Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, but has yet to make a big-screen comeback as a leading man.
Batman & Robin: Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone
1997’s Batman and Robin took down two budding stars in one blow. Chris O’Donnell, reprising his Robin role from Batman Forever, and Alicia Silverstone, portraying Batgirl, never recovered from this flop.
O’Donnell was riding the coattails of 1992’s Oscar-winning Scent of a Woman and Silverstone was the Hollywood darling of Clueless going into the movie.
However, critics panned Batman & Robin‘s campy portrayal of Gotham City, and the movie earned Silverstone a “Worst Supporting Actress” distinction.
O’Donnell is now a TV favorite on NCIS: Los Angeles and Silverstone retains recognition through her vegan cookbooks, but neither starred in a blockbuster again.
The World Is Not Enough: Denise Richards
Many actresses covet a Bond Girl role, but for Denise Richards, 1999’s The World Is Not Enough didn’t live up to the hype.
Most of the film’s negative reviews were directed at her portrayal of nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones. Additionally, her “Worst Supporting Actress” win was the first for a 007 film.
The role ranks as Entertainment Weekly’s #1 of the “10 Worst Bond Girls.” Richards is now more noted for her turbulent marriage and divorce from Charlie Sheen and for her TV work.
Imagine That: Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy had successfully jumped from the blue adult humor of Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs. to family-friendly fare like The Haunted Mansion and Dr. Doolittle, but then things took a turn for the worse.
Norbit and Meet Dave flopped, and then came 2009’s Imagine That about a fortune-telling “Goo-Gaa” blanket that helps a father beat competition at the office.
For this flop, Murphy got “Worst Actor of the Decade.” 2012’s A Thousand Words didn’t fare any better, and Murphy has yet to fully recover.
The Phantom Menace: Jake Lloyd
10-year old Jake Lloyd was living many a kid’s dream with his role of young Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Yet he earned a “Worst Supporting Actor” nomination and a “Worst Screen Couple” nomination (with Natalie Portman).
Citing bullying and the overwhelming pressure of being in the film, Lloyd officially dropped out of acting in 2001. He reportedly destroyed his Star Wars memorabilia and suffered legal troubles in his adult years.
Superman Returns: Brandon Routh
Brandon Routh’s uncanny resemblance to Christopher Reeve won him the debut cinema role of a lifetime. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault that 2006’s Superman Returns failed to meet box office expectations, earning only $200,000,000 domestically on a $270,000,000 budget.
The film’s poor performance and lukewarm audience reception stopped the attempted franchise in its tracks, and Routh was replaced as Superman for the 2013 reboot Man of Steel.
Routh still remains in the superhero universe, though, as The Atom on TV’s Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
Town & Country: Warren Beatty
Even powerhouse legends like Warren Beatty fail, as an unimpressive performance in 2001’s Town & Country proved. The film took approximately three years to complete, and was rumored to be a trainwreck from the beginning.
A far cry from Beatty’s 1998 hit Bulworth, Town & Country nevertheless led to his 15-year absence from any acting or directing contribution
Beatty finally returned with his 2016 Howard Hughes biopic Rules Don’t Apply, which garnered mixed reviews.
The Beautician & The Beast: Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher tried capitalizing on her Fran Fine-Sheffield persona from TV’s The Nanny to no avail in 1997’s The Beautician & The Beast.
With elements of The King and I, the film centered around a brash woman who wins over a brutish royal while taking care of his children.
Drescher earned a “Worst Actress” Razzie nomination, and never did a cinematic starring role again. She later fared better with voice-over work, especially as Frankenstein’s wife Eunice in the animated Hotel Transylvania series.
Tank Girl: Lori Petty
Lori Petty was a name and face to watch in 1992, given her strong performance in the modern classic A League of Their Own. However, 1995’s Tank Girl, adapted from the comic book series, was deemed “tiresome” and “juvenile,” which effectively “tanked” her chances at cinema stardom.
Despite notable roles in TV’s Prison Break and Orange is the New Black, her only film roles since Tank Girl have been B-flicks with other fallen actors. As a small consolation, her role as Rebecca in Tank Girl did eventually reach cult classic status.