Sometimes, even amazing, talented actors are capable of giving unconvincing or utterly uninspiring performances. Other times, they fall victim to wretched writing or terribly trite characterization, or they simply don’t mesh well with their dramatic surroundings.
Once in awhile, a performance can be so bad, or so off, that it drags the entire film down with it. This list is for those performances— with a specific caveat. We’re looking at terrible performances in Netflix original movies specifically.
Why? Well, partly because we think it’s interesting that, while Netflix has had great success in the television department, they haven’t exactly duplicated that success with their original films. Sure, not every Netflix original can be as all around riveting as Beasts of No Nation, or feature a stellar breakout performance like that of Jessica Williams in The Incredible Jessica James.
However, it does seem as though there have been tons of crappy Netflix original movies— and a great many incredible actors who have totally stunk it up in them. Whether the performance was way off, or the role was miscast, we compiled a list of the absolute worst cinematic performances the streaming service has seen.
Thus, here are the 15 Terrible Performances That Ruined Netflix Movies.
15. Jason Segel – The Discovery
Don’t get us wrong— we love Jason Segel. He was amazing on Freaks and Geeks, as Marshall on HIMYM, and he was a revelation as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour. However, in The Discovery, he just feels flat and out of place.
The film itself has a fairly interesting premise: Segel plays Will Harbor, whose father (played by Robert Redford) has not only discovered proof that there is an afterlife, but also invents a machine capable of recording what the deceased see during said afterlife. This sounds cool, until we learn that this has led to a mega increased suicide rate.
The film is about Will’s struggle to determine how to handle this afterlife machine and all that goes with it, but Segel fails to disappear into this character the way he has with other characters in the past, and thus, watching The Discovery wasn’t really much of a discovery at all.
14. Bob Odenkirk – Girlfriend’s Day
It almost feels sacrilegious, saying that the man who brought us Mr. Show and who brought Saul Goodman to life is capable of giving a bad performance. Yet, Girlfriend’s Day exists. As Ray, the greeting card writer with nothing but tough luck, Odenkirk simply doesn’t register, and he gets upstaged by every supporting player around him.
We don’t mean to be so hard on Odenkirk, but the cast is full of aces (Amber Tamblyn and Alex Karpovsky are standouts) and the plot, at least on paper, has loads of potential.
Odenkirk’s Ray, whose career as a greeting card writer has all but dissipated, gets involved in some risky business when he enters a competition to create the best greeting card for a new holiday, Girlfriend’s Day.
The film should be comedy gold, but the leading man meanders a bit too much, and we never felt like we were watching Ray Wentworth, greeting card writer. It felt more like we were watching Bob Odenkirk be Bob Odenkirk.
13. Kevin James – True Memoirs of an International Assassin
If we’re being real, this script and James’ character most likely couldn’t have been saved by any actor (maybe Edward Norton?) but casting Paul Blart/The King of Queens in the lead role doomed this flick from the get-go.
James plays Sam, an author who whose fictional novel about an assassin gets altered by his publisher into a nonfiction account.
(Non-)Hilarity ensues when Sam is mistaken for the assassin in his book and is kidnapped by multiple ridiculously clichéd bad guys who attempt to convince him to utilize his amazing assassin skills to off their enemies. Um… yeah– Leon The Professional, he is not.
At this point, we’re not sure it’s a good idea to cast James in anything, as he has failed to display any kind of evolution as an actor (even Adam Sandler has Punch Drunk Love and the recently filmed upcoming Meyerowitz Stories to his credit, which looks promising). Trust us: there’s nothing memorable about these memoirs.
12. Bella Thorne – You Get Me
Sure, this flick isn’t going to be winning any major awards (unless MTV throws it a few way undeserving bones) but it could have been campy scary in the same vein as Riverdale… except that, unlike Riverdale, this film wasn’t cast perfectly.
To be fair, Bella Thorne is given just a few notes to play here—there’s only so much you can do with the “jilted ex” role. However, Jennifer Jason Leigh did a lot more with very similar material in Single White Female (which was also a dud, but Leigh was fantastic in it), whereas Thorne just plays the same note over and over again until the audience loses its collective mind.
To stay aboard the Riverdale train for a moment— it’s pretty easy to see either of its leads, whether it be Camila Mendes’ bad girl Veronica or Lili Reinhart’s good-girl-with-a-dark-side Betty— stepping into Thorne’s role here and doing much more with it. We’ll chalk it up to bad casting.