In what has been a slightly unspectacular year for the movies, it seems only fitting that I begin my mammoth awards countdown with something so negative and derogatory. I am a blogger after all. So, the Ten Worst Performances of 2009 goes something like this.
10) John Cusack, 2012
Fuck you John Cusack. For whatever amount of millions you got paid to feature in what might be the ultimate apocalypse fetish movie, you could have a least phoned a performance in. But no, he is fine with appearing visibly bored with his own movie and Cusack makes no apologies for clearly thinking about his golf stroke whilst escaping super volcanoes. If there was ever a performance so cynically half-arsed it is an embarrassment to the profession, it is this.
9) Paul Rust, I Love You Beth Cooper
A movie that tried to capitalize on the geek-chic that's been floating around for the last couple of years, but through a sheer misunderstanding of why that culture his risen, is just pure shit. Geek culture rose because they were tired of being laughed at and humiliated, which this movie takes to mean they enjoy being laughed at and humiliated. Rust's performance is perhaps the epitome of this. He is unlikable and repulsive both in appearance and personality and is the kind of person who should deservedly die alone. Rust is a large contributor to the character taking this turn, as the guy over sells the dweeb of it horribly, leaving the audiences of the world no choice but to not see this movie, and the ones who did lament them their wisdom.
8) John Turturro, Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen
Turturro. How could you do this to me. You were Jesus fucking Quintana for fuck's sake. It's hard to be appear obnoxious in a Transformers movie, since nearly everything is so inadequate. But Turturro manages it, joining the movie half way through and proceeds to be over the top in a way that nobody enjoys but him. It doesn't help that he has Michael Bay worthy dialogue to spout, but nonetheless this is shockingly bad form Turturro. You best make another Coen brothers film soon, to redeem yourself and those that watch you.
7) Vince Vaughn, Couples Retreat
Vince Vaughn has gone from an actor I liked, to an actor that disappointed me to an actor that now angers me with his presence. The sarcastic asshole bit that once seemed so vital and hilarious now seems so douchey and resigned. This guy doesn't give performances anymore, he reads half-baked one-liners off cue-cards. And in couples retreat, a movie that didn't really need his help to be depressing, he gives a performances so utterly run of the mill and invisible, I'd mark him down as a no talent has been if I hadn't seen what he can actually do. But Swingers seems like it came from another dimension now.
6) Rachel Nichols, GI Joe: Rise Of The Cobra
The fact that ten minutes after I left GI Joe, I couldn't remember what Rachel Nichols face looked like tells you all you need to know about Rachel Nichols in GI Joe. Just look a the picture for fuck's sake. Military fetishware. Its the kind of submissive, charisma-less, willfully objectified performance that gets feminists all riled up. I don't think the makers of GI Joe planned for this, but by casting such a talentless 'actress' like Nichols instead of someone who looked as good but could at least act a little bit, you know to keep us critics happy, they did themselves no misogynistic favors. Nichols is the worst kind of bland and forgettable.
5) Everyone, The Spirit
Just because this movie came out on January 3rd doesn't mean its awfulness should be forgotten. Frank Miller may be a great graphic novelist, but as far as the movies go he's got nothing. Clearly more concerned with the ridiculously overcooked look of this movie, he clearly just let the male actors do their thing and was too busy leering at his actresses with his camera to pay much attention to them. There's the criminally OTT Samuel L Jackson and horribly ineffectual Gabriel Macht, and then we've got Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson who get ogled to the point where even as a red-blooded teenage male I was offended by it. Some-sub TJ Hooker acting here.
4) Christopher Eccleston, GI Joe: Rise Of The Cobra
Well that was unfortunate. I want to like Christopher Eccleston, he has done some interesting work. But he can be fucking terrible. His villain in gone in sixty seconds springs to mind. Well that Manc tosser gets toppled by James McCullen, a villain for the embarrassing villain hall of fame. First off Eccleston struggles with the Scottish accent. So, dodgy accent, check. He spouts things like 'I've finally taken my place in the long line of McCullens!" when his face turns silver. I know that family lineage would be my first thought if my face turned silver. Then we've got Eccleston's manic/dweeb shtick, which can work in certain circumstances, but not when you are supposed to be a badass arms dealer. Just no.
3) Megan Fox, Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen
I didn't hate Jennifer's Body quite as much as the rest of the world, although I will concede its hardly a great movie, but there's no defending Megan in this really. Even if I'd like to. If you muted all of her lines I really don't think it would matter that much, to the viewer or to Michael Bay. He just points the camera six degrees south of her face and thinks of Los Angeles. Fox though, was at least a semi tough chick in the first movie, here all the bite and feisty is gone, leaving just submissive disinterest. Fox isn't a great actress, but Fox not trying all that hard is something to see in its awesome terribleness.
2) Eli Roth, Inglourious Basterds
The only performance here from a good movie, but there really is no excuse for this. Tarantino should have learned from the times he cast himself in movies. He didn't, and casting his friend didn't go much better. Roth has no idea what he is doing and calling him amateur would be an insult to the word. He just doesn't get it. My favorite scene of Roth awfulness is when he's opposite Christoph Waltz' Landa, surely one of the best performances of the year, and Waltz only just contains his laughter at someone so shit being allowed in the movie. " Excusi." No. Shut the fuck up Eli.
1) Kristen Stewart, Twilight: New Moon
So to number one, and it breaks my heart to do this because I do like Kristen Stewart as an actress, and she was excellent in this year's Adventureland. But fair is fair, she was a horror show in New Moon, full of unintentionally hilarious moments of badness. From getting distracted from her lines by her co-stars six-pac abs to her ever-present awkwardness at having to express emotion. She is not meant for gushing, openly gooey romantic material like this. I don't think the worse of her and am sure she'll do great work in the future once Twilight is all done and dusted. But her sheer level of badness in these movies well, while it lasts, its one for the books.