Mediocre movies salvaged by one great performance

Now that they’re remaking Arthur, it reminded me of my reaction to the film: it really wasn’t all that good (Liza Minnelli was badly miscast), but John Geilgud’s performance made the thing worth watching.

There was also Teen Wolf, which had one clever moment, and a terrific performance by Jay Tarses as the basketball coach.*

Anything else?

*I’m convinced Tarses – a writer for The Carol Burnett Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Buffalo Bill (including the classic “Jo Jo’s Problem”), and other TV shows – wrote all his own lines.

Val Kilmer in Tombstone. When he’s on the screen, it’s brilliant. When he’s not, it’s all but unwatchable.

Morgan Freeman as the pimp Fast Black in Street Smart. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it mediocre, it’s not particularly memorable either, save for Freeman’s performance. Earned him a well deserved Oscar nomination.

Alan Rickman in Robin Hood - (whichever).

It was seriously like watching two different movies. In previous threads like this, someone mentioned (linked to?) the fact that Kevin Costner had quite a lot of Rickman’s scenes cut because he was just too good.

I’d love to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in another comedy role after Along Came Polly, which as a whole was the definition of mediocre. But Hoffman was hilarious.

I will now give you the instructions for taking the SAT.
The answer is almost never E
OK, here we go.

There was a terrible movie about wine growing in California - Bottle Shock - which would have been awesome if it was cut to the half an hour or so Rickman was on screen.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was an awesome bad guy in Mission Impossible 3. A tough as nails unflinching criminal. Wasted in a Tom Cruise action flick.
I would have loved to see him use this character as a non-literal Penguin in the next Batman film. Just a vicious bad guy who’s alias happens to be Penguin.

That that and that. Along Came Polly was a pretty mediocre movie, but Hoffman’s stuff in it was fantastic. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted more of him and less of everyone else.

He pops to mind from seeing him recently in “BoardWalk Empire.”

Michael Shannon kept me sane during “Revolutionary Road” (which my wife dragged me to). Dull, cynical movie, but when Shannon’s character was involved i was riveted.

I feel like the first Pirates of the Caribbean film wouldn’t have been nearly as good without Johnny Depp’s performance.

Inglourious Basterds was mostly a pile of crap save for a brilliant performance by the then-unknown Christoph Waltz.

I’ll probably be the only one, but I agree wholeheartedly.

Speaking of Arthur, the recent King Arthur movie with Clive Owen would have been entirely forgettable if it wasn’t for the magnificent performance of the main bad guy.

Betsy’s Wedding was a pretty crappy movie, but Anthony LaPaglia was absolutely terrific as a young goombah redeemed by love. I’ve never seen him better.

He’s pretty much the only reason for them existing.

Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory - Ghastly movie with a great performance by Gene Wilder.

Pretty much everything I’ve ever watched that had Glenn Close. It seems like either she picks movies that feature her acting ability, or movies are made just to create a backdrop for her amazing solo performances. I would guess that she’s on screen over 70% of the time in all her films.

Independence Day is rather mediocre, IMO. But I watch it anyway, if I tune in at the right time, to see Brent Spiner’s performance as the underground, uber-nerdy ET scientist. I think he’s great in that role. And I also like Will Smith’s character, but not as much as Spiner’s.

I dunno… I thought Bill Pullman was pretty good as the President.

ETA: Jeff Goldblum was pretty one-dimensional, but Judd Hirsch as his father was very funny.

HIRSCH (forming a Jewish prayer circle): Here, come pray with us.


HIRSCH: Nobody’s perfect.