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Roles That Rocky Actors Probably Want Us To Forget About

As the all-time champion of sports sagas, the "Rocky" story is also among the longest-running movie franchises in Hollywood. Created by star Sylvester Stallone when he was nearly penniless, the first film landed in 1976 to critical acclaim and turned him into an overnight A-lister (and Academy Award-nominated actor). He quickly churned out a number of sequels, with the series seemingly concluding in 1990 with "Rocky V." But like most franchises, it came roaring back in the 21st century, with "Rocky Balboa" reviving the boxing champ for one more round in 2006.

But for an encore, Stallone handed the reins to director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan for a spinoff series, beginning with "Creed" in 2015, then a sequel in 2018, while "Creed III," helmed by Jordan himself, is due in 2023. Across six decades, "Rocky" has made stars out of many in its cast and provided others with career-defining parts. 

But each of them has a role they aren't quite as proud of and while they might have fighting words for us for pointing them out, we're ready to take the challenge. So let's get into the ring and rumble because we're highlighting the worst movies from the cast of the "Rocky" films that they probably want you to forget about.

Carl Weathers in The Bermuda Depths

Today's younger audiences probably know Carl Weathers best from his role as Greef Karga in the Disney+ series, "The Mandalorian," but for decades he was known as Apollo Creed. The person with arguably the biggest character arc in the franchise, Creed began the saga as Rocky's (Stallone) arch-nemesis in the first two films before ultimately becoming his very best friend. Weathers himself was able to parlay the part into some measure of success, with roles in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic "Predator" and his own underrated 80s action movie, "Action Jackson." But before those now-iconic films, he starred in the lamentable 1978 television movie, "The Bermuda Depths."

"The Bermuda Depths" mixes elements of American adventure movies with Japanese kaiju disaster films and begins with a confusing series of jumbled flashbacks where we meet Magnus Dens (Leigh McCloskey) and a beautiful woman (Connie Sellecca) on a beach playing with a turtle. Flash forward some years, and Magnus reunites with his old friend Eric (Weathers) and they're confronted by a monstrous giant turtle terrorizing the area. At the same time, they're also haunted by a strange phantom woman with glowing green eyes.

Suffice it to say, mixing "Godzilla" and "Jaws" with some supernatural elements fails horribly, especially not on a TV budget. It has its charms, and if you're a lover of bad '70s B-movies you might get a kick out of it, but we don't imagine it's anything Weathers looks back on with much pride.

Dolph Lundgren in The Minion

Playing Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV" is actor Dolph Lundgren in what proved to be his breakout role following his debut feature role in 1985's "A View to a Kill." An actor whose physical presence is as fear-inducing as his cold stare, Lundgren became a force in action movies into the 1990s, with a string of underrated flicks like "Universal Soldier." Over the years his career has been rocky, to say the least, and he has a number of movies he might want to bury. But one that stands out more than most is the 1998 film, "The Minion."

As the dawn of the new millennium approached, there was a strange wave of action movies centered on religious doomsday prophecies, and "The Minion" was one of them. But unlike Schwarzenegger's "End of Days" or Johnny Depp's "The Ninth Gate," this film is completely nonsensical and just plain awful. It centers on Lukas, a member of an ancient order tasked with preventing the apocalypse. With a goofy-looking spiked glove, Lukas heads to New York City where he must do battle with the Anti-Christ.

Unfortunately, "The Minion" isn't just bad but completely misuses Lundgren. While the star is always at his best when he's a surly, quiet warrior, here he's given far too much clunky expository dialogue. Between his poor performance, a surprising lack of action, and special effects that don't even hold up for the time, the former Drago is probably hoping nobody rented this one.

Talia Shire in Gas-s-s-s -or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It

Actress Talia Shire, sister of director Francis Ford Coppola, plays Rocky Balboa's faithful wife Adrian in the first five movies in the "Rocky" franchise. While Shire did make a few other important movies in her career, her time as Adrian will always be her signature role. By contrast, one part she might not wish to be remembered for is her role as Coralee in the Roger Corman farce, "Gas-s-s-s -or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It." Believe it or not, the film's unwieldy title isn't even the strangest or worst thing about it.

A notoriously awful B-movie released in 1970, it revolves around a group of free-wheeling hippies who happen to be some of the last survivors of an apocalypse. Caused by a deadly experimental gas developed by the military that's mistakenly leaked to an unsuspecting populace, it ultimately kills everyone over the age of 25. What follows is a wild road trip for some bohemian youngsters in Texas, who must battle dirty cops and biker gangs on their way to a free-love commune in the desert.

At times, the movie feels like it's attempting some kind of incisive political commentary about '70s youth and the establishment, but none of it makes any sense. What we're left with is a jumbled mess of a film that feels like it needs some psychedelics to enjoy, let alone understand. 

Burt Young in Beverly Hills Brats

In the "Rocky" films, Apollo Creed may be Balboa's buddy in the ring, but his closest pal is Paulie, the blue-collar grump who sticks by his side through thick and thin. He's played by actor Burt Young, and like many in the cast, counts his role in the franchise as his most famous part. Still, he has appeared in some other classics, with small roles in "Chinatown" and "Once Upon a Time in America." But into the late '80s and '90s he had a number of lackluster efforts, but few as bad as 1989's "Beverly Hills Brats."

Led by "A Christmas Story" child star Peter Billingsly, the film follows Scooter, a teenager from Beverly Hills. Scooter is frustrated by the lack of attention he gets from his father (Martin Sheen) and stepmother (Terry Moore), and the scorn he receives from his spoiled brother and sister. In an effort to get be appreciated by his good-for-nothing snobby family, Scooter hatches a scheme with the help of petty miscreants Clive and Elmo (Burt Young and George Kirby) to fake his own kidnapping. 

It's all a pretty by-the-numbers caper, but things don't work as they should. The jokes don't land, the plot is predictable and worse still, it's incredibly boring, barely entertaining enough to be a Sunday afternoon TV movie. Low on laughs, "Beverly Hills Brats" just can't compete with the kinds of classic '80s romps that it's clearly aspiring to be.

Burgess Meredith in The Last Chase

Unlike Burt Young and Talia Shire, the man who played Rocky Balboa's trainer was already a celebrated character actor long before the 1976 classic. The gruff, surly old Mickey is played by Burgess Meredith, whose career stretched back decades before "Rocky," with roles in several of the best "The Twilight Zone" episodes and as the villainous Penguin in the '60s "Batman" series. But following his role as Mickey, he took the lead in a weird dystopian sci-fi adventure movie called "The Last Chase."

Released in 1981, "The Last Chase" takes place in the far-flung future of 2011 where the United States has become a totalitarian nightmare world. A deadly plague has decimated the population and the government is led by a dictator who has banned the use of personal transportation thanks to an energy crisis. Lee Majors stars as former race car driver Franklyn Hart, who rebuilds his old speedster with a plan to race his way to California, the last free state on the continent. Meredith plays J.G. Williams, an Air Force veteran sent to stop him in a high-speed jet.

A movie inspired by the likes of "Cannonball Run" with a huge debt to "Mad Max," the mashup flops because the stunts are weak and the action is lame. While it's fun to see the Six Million Dollar Man go up against the Penguin, it's just downright stupid, with none of the grit or flare of the movies that inspired it.

Hulk Hogan in Santa with Muscles

"Rocky III" sees Stallone's boxing champ facing off with a wrestler known as Thunderlips, played by pro wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan in his feature film debut. But outside of "Rocky III," Hogan — real name Terry Bollea — made almost exclusively awful movies including "Mr. Nanny" and "3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain," and any number of them could qualify for this list. Still, there's definitely one that stands out above the rest ... or perhaps below it.

The stinker in question is the 1996 kids' Christmas comedy, "Santa with Muscles," a movie that even on paper sounds absolutely dreadful. In the film, Hogan stars as Blake Thorn, a wealthy entrepreneur who goes on the run from the police. While hiding beneath a Santa Claus outfit, Thorn gets bonked on the head and suffers amnesia, and comes to think that he's actually the real Santa Claus. But if you think that was the extent of the stupidity, think again, because we're just getting started. 

On top of the amnesiac wrestler who thinks he's Santa, there's also an orphanage that's hiding a treasure trove of powerful energy crystals and a mad scientist named Ebner Frost (Ed Begley Jr.) who wants to get his hands on them so he can take over the town. Frankly, we're not sure how this even got made. Though Hogan has plenty of scandals in his career he probably wishes we'd forget, "Santa with Muscles" might top the list.

Brigitte Nielsen in Galaxis

While Ivan Drago was staring down Rocky Balboa in the ring in "Rocky IV," his imposing wife Ludmilla was giving Adrian the evil eye outside of it. Ludmilla Drago is played by model-turned-actress Brigitte Nielsen, who had made her acting debut just a few months earlier playing the barbarian warrior "Red Sonja," and believe it or not, was on the cusp of marrying Stallone while "Rocky IV" was in production. Unfortunately, the rest of her career didn't pan out the way she might have hoped, with a long string of disappointing movies, the most cringe-worthy being the 1995 sci-fi stinker, "Galaxis."

"Galaxis" is of those low-budget cheese fests that littered video rental stores in the '90s. And yes, her part as a scantily clad super-powered space warrior is worse than her leading role in 1997's "Snowboard Academy" and more embarrassing than her time in the sexploitation prison film, "Chained Heat II." In this one, she stars as Ladera, who comes to Earth to get her hands on a magical gem that is the only means to stop a diabolical tyrant named Kyla (Richard Moll).

Barely good enough to warrant a direct-to-video release, the production is cheap, lame, and laughable ... and it's not a comedy. Somehow, despite a career of bad movies already under her belt, Nielsen sank even lower with this one, and it's more than likely she'd want us to forget it exists.

Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four

Following the return of the franchise in 2006 with "Rocky Balboa," the story of Stallone's title character was deemed concluded, and spinoffs seemed the natural next step. In came "Creed," from writer and director Ryan Coogler, and he cast his "Fruitvale Station" star, Michael B. Jordan, as Adonis Creed, the now-adult son of Rocky's old pal Apollo. The film made Jordan a bonafide superstar and garnered enough praise (scoring 95% on Rotten Tomatoes) that he could put behind him his most embarrassing role as the Human Torch in the disastrous superhero reboot, "Fantastic Four."

"Fantastic Four" was actually released just months before "Creed," but its rocky road to the screen had been full of so many troubles it seemed like it was in production for a decade. Helmed by indie darling Josh Trank, the film initially was said to be a darker, more horror-inspired reinvention, but studio meddling and behind-the-scenes drama led to extensive reshoots that turned it from an intriguing sci-fi flick into an incomprehensible mess (per Yahoo).

Toss in some grossly racist backlash from some fans (as noted by Variety) to a nightmarish production and critical drubbing, and we can't imagine that Jordan is terribly proud of it, even if he doesn't necessarily regret it. "I look back at the film as a learning experience. Every film isn't going to be a home run," Jordan told IGN in 2016.

Milo Ventimiglia in Cursed

Rocky Balboa's son, Rocky Jr., is played by Milo Ventimiglia. The actor has had a pretty solid career thanks to stints on "Gilmore Girls," "Heroes" and "This is Us" on television. In the film world, he hasn't quite been as lucky, and if we had to put a wager on which movie he might want to be forgotten, it'd be the 2005 horror movie, "Cursed." Insert pun here.

In the film, he plays the school bully, Bo, who picks on a kid named Jimmy, who just so happens to have supernatural powers. He and his sister Ellie are cursed by a werewolf after rescuing a woman from a car crash, and soon begin to exhibit the effects of lycanthropy themselves. Now they must track down the woman and kill her if they want to avoid becoming nightmarish creatures for the rest of their lives.

Though the movie has a strong pedigree — written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, the same team behind the "Scream" franchise, and co-starring Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg — it's a huge misfire. Riddled with bad cliches and plot twists you'll see coming a mile away, it can't decide if it wants to be a dark slasher or a tongue-in-cheek comedy and ultimately fails at both. But it might not have always been that way. In 2018, a hashtag movement began on Twitter, #ReleaseTheCravenCut, that suggests the director's original version of the film isn't nearly as bad.

Tessa Thompson in Exquisite Corpse

In the "Creed" films, Michael B. Jordan's relationship with aspiring singer Bianca Taylor is more than a mere subplot but it sits at the heart of the movies. To play this crucial role, director Ryan Coogler turned to Tessa Thomspon and it would wind up being her breakout film. But while she's since gone on to stardom in the MCU in "Thor: Ragnarok" and films like "Annihilation," Thompson can't be thrilled that audiences are now looking back at her earlier films. That's because among them they'll find the 2010 horror flop, "Exquisite Corpse."

To make matters worse, more recent re-issues of the film have played up Thompson's role in the film despite her having a relatively small role. The movie tells the story of a scientist named Nicholas (Steve Sandross) who has developed a procedure to revive the dead and hopes to use it to bring his girlfriend (Nicole Vicius) back to life after a deadly drowning incident. But this is no zombie movie, instead an attempt at psychological horror. Because to keep her alive, he must go on a killing spree and extract a chemical from post-coital victims. Yes, you read that correctly.

Beyond the ludicrousness of its baffling story logic, the movie fails because it's just painfully dull. In the film's relatively short run time, cardboard characters do a lot of standing around spewing awkward dialogue at an excruciatingly slow pace.

Phylicia Rashad in The Possession of Michael D.

When "Creed" came around in 2015, several key roles had to be recast. In addition to Milo Ventimiglia taking over the part of Rocky Jr. from Stallone's own son Sage, Phylicia Rashad stepped in to play Mary Anne Creed, replacing Sylvia Meals who'd filled the role in "Rocky II" and "Rocky IV." She's probably happy that most audiences still remember her for playing Clair Huxtable in "The Cosby Show," because it usually overshadows some of her more regrettable roles, such as her part in the 1995 horror movie, "The Possession of Michael D."

The film stars Stephen Lang in a story claimed to be based on a true story of demonic possession (hey, a VHS box never lies). The story opens with Michael and Jenny (Lang and Shiela McCarthy), a freshly married couple who are embarking on their new life together. But when Michael begins suffering terrible nightmares and doctors are left dumbfounded, they turn to parapsychologist Dr. Marion Hale (Rashad) for other-worldly answers. As it turns out, you guessed it, he's been possessed by a demon.

As a made-for-TV movie, don't expect any real horror, gore, or even legitimate scares. And that's the problem, because without any of the hallmarks of a decent horror movie, what you end up with is some bad VFX and a lame story that feels churned out by a middle-schooler who'd stayed up too late watching a B-movie marathon while chugging Jolt Cola.

Sylvester Stallone in Rhinestone

The star of the "Rocky" franchise, Sylvester Stallone, is also the creator of the entire franchise, having written all six original films. With a long career that continues in 2022, where he stars in the Tyler Sheridan series "Tulsa King," Stallone has his share of duds, but while we could go the easy route and talk about his most famous flop, the eye-rollingly awful "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!," we think there's another earlier film in his career he probably wants us to forget about, and it's one many may not even remember.

"Rhinestone" is the ill-conceived 1984 musical comedy co-written by Stallone himself, and co-starring country music legend Dolly Parton. Parton plays Jake Farris, a frustrated singer who performs at a dingy club called The Rhinestone. To get out of her contract with club owner Freddie (Ron Leibman), Jake makes a bet that she can turn any old schlub into a star. Freddie takes the wager and plucks city cab driver Nick Martinelli (Stallone) from the streets, and now Jake has two weeks to turn him into a string-strumming, country-crooning heartthrob.

If you ever wanted to see Rocky Balboa in a shiny fringed jacket and a mullet singing and dancing on stage in a sleazy nightclub, "Rhinestone" delivers. But what it doesn't provide is entertainment, as it's a downright cringe-inducing experience that will have you mortified for the "Rocky" star as he laughably tries to pass himself off as a country glam rocker.