Skip’s Quips: Top (or Perhaps Bottom) 10 Worst Miscastings in Cinema

Blog Sketch 082813Yes, I’ve been thinking of this. There certainly has been a host of miscasting throughout the years in the movies. Yet none so much, to my mind, as the ones that follow. Here they are in descending order of badness; take a look and see if you agree.

10) Robin Williams as Peter Pan in Hook: A dreadful performance by the usually hilarious Williams as the now-grown-up Pan in a horrid reimagining of the classic tale. This is one that belongs in Neverland.

9) Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon in Nixon: Mr. Hopkins can do almost anything, but Tricky Dick was beyond his ken. Then again, it wasn’t completely his fault; a more tiresome, overblown film you’ll hardly find.

8) Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie & Julia: Just put on a bizarre accent and roll, right? Isn’t that the way to portray the seminal TV chef? Nope. It sure seemed like that was the plan in this awful film, which plodded its way to the ending like one staggers through an Escoffier-planned meal. Let the diner beware.

7) Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments: I never bought this one, despite its relegation to “classic” status. Not in my tablets. One has to wonder if Moses’ jaw was really that square. Surely his acting wasn’t.

6) Mel Gibson as Hamlet in Hamlet: At one time, I tried to convince myself that Gibson’s performance as the titular Shakespearean hero was interesting. Ah, those were the (naive) days. Really, it was a mannered, tedious portrayal in an otherwise decent film. Why, Franco Zeffirelli, why?

5) Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland: Stop the insanity! I’m not sure if this backstory-driven reimagining of the Lewis Carroll book was director Tim Burton’s idea or not, but it didn’t work. Especially dreary was Depp’s misguided portrayal of said Hatter as a tragic figure. Repeat after me: Aargh! This was not frabjous casting.

4) Tony Curtis as the Viking Eric in The Vikings: A Viking by way of the Bronx. Can you say: “Riiiiiggghht.” Sorry, Tony, we love you, but not in this.

3) Nicol Williamson as Merlin in Excalibur: What a wrong, strange performance this is. Excalibur‘s an otherwise intriguing film, but I’ve always been puzzled by Williamson’s peculiar, sometimes–quiet-sometimes-loud-and-always-bizarre acting decisions as the legendary wizard. Odd and unconvincing portrayal.

2) Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in, what else, Cleopatra: Do you have a hard time getting through this picture? Don’t worry; everyone does. Central to this issue is Taylor’s performance. Ah, the grandeur that was Hollywood.

1) John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror: Need I say more?

Skip’s Quips: To Squirm or Not to Squirm

Blog Sketch 082813Bad movies make me writhe. Stuck in my seat, knowing I paid mucho moola to watch them, I only have one recourse as the flicks meander on.

Fidget. Courageously.

It’s what I did while watching Oliver Stone’s dreadful Nixon, a dull, overstuffed journey into the life of Tricky Dick. The darkness of the theater, the film’s length and the fact that walking out would mean deserting my friends all prevented me from running the heck outta there.

So I writhed. Shifted in my seat. Tapped my fingers.

As Father Merrin from The Exorcist might cry: “The tedium of the movie compelled me!”

What else can we do in the face of such cinematic horrors? It’s even worse when you’re at a screening, where one must maintain a kind of politesse. Your power to criticize vocally is taken away from you. You’re even removed from any light—so there goes your ability to exit without stepping in someone’s popcorn.

The movie is your master. And you can’t do anything about it.

That’s why, these days, I prefer watching flicks on TV. You can always change the channel if, say, Nixon graces your screen. You can always go to the kitchen to get a snack or spend an inordinate time in the bathroom if the film takes too long.

The power of TV compels me … to embrace it. As well as remember that we still have the capacity, as consumers, to avoid the worst movies.

More power to us.