This Friday, Robert DeNiro once again does his very best to assure you that he’s actually not one of the finest screen actors of all time, via his mercilessly overcooked performance in the alarmingly bad paranormal thriller Red Lights. Badly miscast as a superstar psychic, the two-time Oscar winner conveys not a moment of credibility, and while it’s not the absolute worst work he’s done (more on that below), it got us thinking about some of our finest actors, and some of their less notable performances. After the jump, our list of ten truly terrible performances by ten highly respected thesps; add your own in the comments.
Robert De Niro
THE FILM: The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
THE ROLE: Archvillain Fearless Leader, who antagonizes our heroes and mocks his own iconic “You talkin’ to me?” speech from Taxi Driver
THE CRITICS RAVE: “The sight of De Niro chomping on a cigarette holder, squinting through a monocle calling to mind every unpalatable, puddle-deep villain from Dr. Evil and Col. Klink to Rod Steiger-in-whatever left me afraid to dream. When De Niro cashes in his ‘You talkin’ to me?’ self-parody voucher here, the moment reeks of untamed desperation. They didn’t even have the decency to save it for an outtake reel.” — Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner