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Scenes Acted So Badly We Can't Forget Them

A great performance can leave a permanent impression on moviegoers. On the other hand, so can bad acting — in fact, as much as we all admire our favorite actors, sometimes an outright terrible performance can be even more memorable than a wonderful one. 

Of course, no one is perfect, and no matter how talented a person is, they're bound to have a bad day at work once in a while; actors are no different, with the notable exception that their mistakes are often captured on film for audiences to relive over and over again. With all that in mind, we've compiled a list of some scenes that were acted so badly we'll never forget them — keeping in mind the caveat that all of these performers have done praiseworthy work at other points in their careers. Get ready to squirm in your seat, because this is some of the worst acting (lots and lots of) money can buy.

LAWWW! - Judge Dredd (1995)

Of all the ridiculous scenes in Danny Cannon's dystopian disaster "Judge Dredd," none play out quite as badly as the long-awaited confrontation between Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) and Rico (Armand Assante) at the end of the movie. What begins as a slow-burning war of words quickly escalates to the point where Stallone and Assante forget how to pronounce basic English. Assante's climactic line reading of the word "law" is perhaps the scene's most memorable moment, and remains as unintentionally hilarious today as it was 20 years ago. It also holds a special place in the internet's heart, thanks to multiple parodies, remixes, and more.

Oh God, Oh Man! - Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987)

Ryan O'Neal's acting career essentially died with the release of "Tough Guys Don't Dance," which features one of the most uncomfortable and badly acted reaction scenes ever caught on film. In the scene, O'Neal's character reads a letter from Isabella Rossellini's character, a former lover who is writing to tell him that his wife is having an affair with her husband. O'Neal's response: shouting "Oh man, oh God" over, and over and over again, while dramatically standing on the edge of a cliff. To be fair: "Oh man, oh God" is such a terrible line of dialogue, not even an actor of Meryl Streep's caliber could make it work. Still, O'Neal's stiff, emotionless reading is so bad, it wouldn't even land him a bit part in a high school production of "Annie." No wonder writer-director Norman Mailer eventually apologized for keeping the scene in the final print.

DIFFERENT PLACES! - Showgirls (1995)

Pretty much any scene from "Showgirls" is bad enough to make this list. But the one that always sticks out as being the Very Worst happens toward the beginning of the movie, when Nomi meets her future roommate, Molly, for the first time. As we saw on "Saved by the Bell," Elizabeth Berkley cranks each line up to 11. Here, she vigorously files her nails and pours ketchup over french fries as if she's auditioning for a commercial about anger management. Eventually, after Molly inquires about Nomi's past whereabouts, Berkley gets so cooked up, she throws her fries into the air, leans back and declares "DIFFERENT PLACES!" with a bubble caught in her throat. It's enough bad acting to get anyone banned from Juilliard.

HOW'D IT GET BURNED? - The Wicker Man (2006)

Nicolas Cage's performance in "The Wicker Man" is so bad, people who haven't even seen the movie are able to quote such infamous lines as the ones featured in the next scene on our list. In this particular moment, Cage's character — a policeman who interrogates a group of neo-Pagans after a child goes missing — discovers a burned doll he believes belonged to his daughter. Approaching one of the island's women, he asks relentlessly, "How'd it get burned?" The question quickly becomes so repetitive, so overacted, the woman shouts, "I don't know," as if to say, "please shut up!" Can't say we blame her.

Is It Still Raining? I Hadn't Noticed - Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

Andie MacDowell never quite lived up to the promise she displayed in movies from the late 1980s like "sex. lies, and videotape." Perhaps that was due to the wooden performance she gave in 1994's "Four Weddings and a Funeral," which features a truly terrible line reading that nearly derails an otherwise charming movie. At the end of the film, in the pouring rain, Hugh Grant delivers one of those classic, sappy "It was you all along" speeches to MacDowell. "It wasn't the person standing next to me in the veil, it's the person standing next to me now, in the rain," he says. MacDowell interjects, saying "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed" with so little emotion, it's as if she were actually the funeral featured in the film's title.

It's Raining! - Cold Mountain (2003)

Yes, it's possible to win an Oscar for a bad performance. Just ask Renee Zellweger, who stomped and yelled and y'all-ed her way to an Academy Award for her insanely over-the-top performance in Anthony Minghella's Civil War tearjerker Cold Mountain. In one particularly bad monologue, Zellweger's character reacts to her abandoned father's sudden return by comparing war to the weather. "They call this war a cloud over the land," she declares. "But they made the weather. And then they stand in the rain and say, 'S***, it's rainin'!" Sorry, what?

No. Wire. Hangers. EVER! - Mommie Dearest (1981)

Over-the-top disaster or pure genius? It's still hard to figure out what the hell to make of Faye Dunaway's insanely committed performance as Oscar-winning Joan Crawford in the 1981 critical disaster "Mommie Dearest." Whatever side you fall on, it's hard not to marvel at the ridiculous scenes Dunaway agreed to perform. Among the many: the scene in which she flips out on her daughter Christina for keeping wire hangers in her bedroom closet. The scene is absurd on numerous levels (remember when Joan actually beats Christina with the wire hangers?), but Dunaway's cracked-out line readings, which feature much, much, much more yelling, screaming and neck veins than necessary, truly take the cake. Though, to be fair, you've probably never looked at wire hangers the same way since.

I Don't Like Sand - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones (2002)

George Lucas' ill-advised "Star Wars" prequels continue to linger painfully in fans' memories. And little is worse than Hayden Christiensen's misguided performance as Anakin Skywalker. Christensen's performance reached its lowest of lows in "Episode II – Attack of the Clones," during an attempt at bonding with Natalie Portman's character, Padmé. "I don't like sand," he complains. "It's coarse, and rough and irritating." Then, in full monotone glory, he declares, "And it gets everywhere!" The scene is a joke in itself; who the hell says that kind of stuff? But Christensen's dull-as-nails performance only makes things worse. Even Portman appears to be holding in her laugh.

What? No! - The Happening (2008)

What do you do when you try to calm down a crazy lady? You deny her accusations with the convictions and believability of a four-year-old boy. That's exactly what Mark Wahlberg does in his brief (but hilarious) confrontation with Betty Buckley in M. Night Shyamalan's campy thriller "The Happening," which only gets funnier with each reply. Even Wahlberg himself admitted the movie wasn't any good during a press conference two years later. "You can't blame me for wanting to try to play a science teacher, you know?" he laughed. "I wasn't playing a cop or a crook." With line readings as bad as this one, it's actually quite easy to blame him.

Dad? - The Godfather: Part III (1990)

SPOILER ALERT! Sofia Coppola's performance in "The Godfather: Part III" is unquestionably a disaster; she ruined every scene she was in. We ultimately chose her death scene as her worst moment for two reasons. One, because hooray, she died! And two, it was really, really, really hard to watch. Seeing her drop to her knees, then collapse onto the stairs is the equivalent of watching a tree fall in the woods. Yes, she was being directed by her father, but c'mon, by this scene, someone should have yelled "CUT!"

Oh My Godddd! - Troll 2 (1990)

When you film a movie like "Troll 2," the last thing you're going to get is Oscar-caliber acting. Instead, you're going to be subjected to the kind of bad performance delivered by co-star Darren Ewing, who plays Arnold, one of the film's nerdy teenagers. Ewing's worst (read: funniest) moment in the film comes just as Arnold realizes he's going to be eaten alive by trolls. (Apparently, getting stabbed by a spear wasn't warning enough.) Watching the woman he picked up in the woods turn into a plant, he exclaims, "They're eating her — and then they're going to eat me!" Then, as if he's falling off a cliff to his sad, pitiful death, he screams, "Oh my Goddddd!" While Ewing's delivery certainly contains more energy than Ryan O'Neal's "Oh God, oh man" moment, it's about as close as any actor has gotten to a true cinematic trainwreck. It's no wonder Ewing waited 16 years before he tried acting again.

It's burning! - Twilight (2008)

Just about everyone involved in the ballet studio-set climax to Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance can be accused of phoning it in, but "Twilight" MVP Kristen Stewart takes top honors for worst performance in the scene (and any others involving her rampant lip-biting, too). In the story, her Bella has just been tricked into the impromptu lair of the murder-happy tracker vampire James (Cam Gigandet), who'd been wandering around bored while looking for someone to torment and eat until he stumbled across the Cullen clan and their protected human pet. Bella is dense enough to fall for his tricks — he played an old tape of her mom freaking out about her taking a tumble at that very site long ago — and lands herself smack dab in his toothy clutches.

Her hunky vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) shows up just in time to save her, but not before James has played a game of twig snap with her leg and gotten a venomous nibble of her hand. In Meyer's book, the pain is supposed to be indescribably exquisite, but watching Stewart's grunting and grimacing in the moment makes the tiny teeth marks look hilariously innocuous. Runners-up for worst acting moments in the movie: Pattinson in the "you are my life" scene and Gigandet's sniffing, snarling eye-rolling when he first encounters Bella in the field.

I hate that jerk! - Dazed and Confused (1993)

Richard Linklater's coming-of-age classic has given the world the gift of many Matthew McConaughey-isms (chiefly, "all right, all right, all right" and "l-i-v-i-n"), but it's also responsible for unbearable nuisance Mitch Kramer. The goober freshman (played by child actor Wiley Wiggins) is a categorical case in social awkwardness, so there was some lack of screen savvy to be expected from his portrayal.

But in the scene where he's trying to flirt with Sabrina (Christin Hinojosa) outside the Emporium, it's full-tilt amateur hour. Instead of coming out with traditional acting devices like facial expressions, vocal inflection, and, you know, presence, Wiggins relied on eight — yes eight — cringe-worthy nose grabs, five hair tussles, and one super clumsy elbow nudge to coast through the scene. Linklater later accepted responsibility for letting this extra bad bit slip through the editing racks, telling the Daily Beast, "I just thought [the nose grab] was kind of an awkward gesture. I'm the director, so it's on me! That's a thing people only notice if it's the third time you watch it. I just thought it was that young, awkward man kind of thing. Maybe it was one or two too many." Even one of those goofy gestures was one too many, really.

Gobble gobble - Gigli (2003)

Considering this is a movie whose 6% Rotten Tomatoes score is probably a little generous and in light of the way it ended the career of an otherwise solid filmmaker (writer-director Martin Brest), there are a lot of awful aspects to choose from. The stupidity of this thing extends all the way up to the title itself, so it's a tall order to pick just one scene as the worst of the worst. Since "Gigli" was such a turkey at the box office, though, it makes sense to focus on the WTF factor of a scene that tried (and failed, miserably) to make Thanksgiving-themed cuisine a workable piece of sexually suggestive dialogue.

In the scene, Jennifer Lopez's character, a lesbian named Ricki, has decided to make Ben Affleck's buffoon of a hitman (the eponymous Gigli) the newest object of her affection, presumably to indulge his stare-and-drool courtship ritual that's led up to that point. And although she's nowhere near modest about her bod — an entire monologue had earlier been devoted to her explaining the sacred mystery of her lady region — she decides to invite him to bed with the codeword "turkey time," and when Affleck's numbskull alter ego is too "uh, whaaaa" to get the innuendo, she follows that up by saying, "gobble gobble." Scream. It was gross, and it's an evergreen highlight for both of their career blooper reels.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX? - Seven (1995)

With all due respect to Brad Pitt, this is a classic case of an actor completely missing the emotional mark of a movie moment and instead making a mockery of what should've been a pretty powerful scene. To be fair to Pitt, who played Detective Mills in the movie, he was working with three industry giants — director David Fincher and actors Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman, all at the top of their games — while he was still something of a Hollywood newcomer at the time. Compared to everyone else's delivery in the "wrath" scene, though, his contribution was pretty inexcusable.

In the grand finale of John Doe's deadly sins-inspired plan, Kevin Spacey's killer character leads the detective duo out to the desert to a package containing ... something. We're led to believe it's the head of Mills' pregnant wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), an innocent and lovely lady who had nothing to do with any of this mess, although we never get to see the contents. Freeman as Somerset gets a gander at it first and his face dutifully reflects the grim reality of the situation, and the tension is staggering until Pitt starts screaming his lines and jumping around like a carnival clown instead of evoking any real sense of anguish. It's a scene-ruiner upon revisit, and looking back we're almost tempted to believe it was secretly Pitt's talent that was actually hidden in the box.

NOT THE BEES! - The Wicker Man (2006)

There's a reason Nicolas Cage is such a meme-able member of Hollywood: he's pretty hilarious—often unintentionally so. Sometimes it totally works for him, like with his dead-panned double dose of "put the bunny back in the box" in "Con Air." In the 2006 remake of "The Wicker Man," though, the joke was only on him. In the film, he played a ill-fated detective who's generously trekked out to parts unknown to look for his ex-fiancee's daughter. What he ends up encountering is a cult of man-murdering witches who make it a game to let him feel like he's just heroically rescued the girl, only to have her return him right into their clutches so they can sacrifice him to their bee-making mother spirit.

In the process of his torturous demise, the sisters enclose him in a mask of bees, making a wicker-wearing man to nod to the title. His flailing, screaming reaction — "What is it? What is that? Not the bees! NOT THE BEES!" — is monumentally funny, given the gravity of the situation. The film now enjoys a cult notoriety owed to Cage's performance, which here is an outright classic example of overacting ... powerful enough to earn a second place of dishonor on our list.

Bloody wolves chasing me - Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

If Keanu Reeves could really take a "Bill and Ted"-style journey back in time, we hope he'd at least consider returning to the early '90s and undoing everything he did in "Bram Stoker's Dracula." At the very least, he should retroactively hire himself a proper dialect coach, for crying out loud. Reeves' British accent is so horrible that it actually distracts from Gary Oldman's butt wig, which is saying something.

In one scene in particular, Reeves' Jonathan Harker starts to realize that the Count is bad news and delivers a monologue recap of his Transylvanian adventures that includes the words "I've seen many strange things already — bloody wolves chasing me through a blue inferno." Even director Francis Ford Coppola, who's practically president of the Keanu Reeves Fan Club, had to admit to Entertainment Weekly, "it was tough for him to affect an English accent. He tried so hard. That was the problem, actually — he wanted to do it perfectly and in trying to do it perfectly, it came off as stilted."

Who killed my father? - Alexander (2004)

Speaking of terrible accents, Angelina Jolie's cadence as the fabled Olympias in Oliver Stone's laughable historic epic "Alexander" is ridiculous, especially since no one else around her adopted the same accent, but her contrived dialect is nothing compared to whatever was happening with Colin Farrell in the movie. It isn't just his bad blonde dye job that makes this stinker sink; he also couldn't help but devolve into the kind of pure histrionics you might see from a baseball dugout — not the future conqueror of the Persian Empire.

In one scene, Alexander confronts his completely miscast mom (fun fact: Jolie is just one year older than Farrell) about her involvement in his father's death and all hell breaks loose. The worst bit comes early on when he demands she tell him what she did to him, and between Farrell's close-up nostril flare game and arm-thrashing rage and Jolie's heinous made-up Macedonian tongue, the scene is a master class in D-list-worthy acting taught by two A-listers. The white snake was the best actor in the room during that scene, and it wasn't even close.

I don't want your life - Varsity Blues (1999)

1999 presented two major movie moments depicting sons rejecting stodgy old dads' wishes for them to follow in footsteps, and let's just say one of these things was not like the other. Jake Gyllenhaal's breakthrough performance as Homer Hickam in "October Sky" featured him standing up to the status quo of making way to the mine shaft after school like his dear old dad. Instead he was literally shooting for the sky as a wannabe space cadet who builds rockets on the sly. It built to a poignant moment of father-son friction that totally resonated the way it should have. Meanwhile, James Van Der Beek's showdown with his pop in "Varsity Blues," which hit theaters a few weeks before, didn't go over quite so well.

In the movie, Van Der Beek plays a backup high school quarterback named Mox who hikes his way to the starting squad after a terrible injury takes out the team's original star. Somehow, even though his kid has barely made waves on the practice squad and spent most of his time reading books on the sidelines, this ignites some kind of long-held dream his dad's head that he'll become a football rock star. After he's pushed too hard by making a fool of himself at the family picnic, Mox stands up and declares in his most exaggerated Southern accent, "I don't want your life." It ... is not a touchdown, needless to say. Honestly, the scene should've been reserved for the spoof "Not Another Teen Movie."

Peter ... you killed my father - Spider-Man 2 (2004)

James Franco made a jump to the blockbuster A-list with Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy, but it's also a regular go-to source for some of his most accidentally farcical acting moments. His character spends the first sequel desperately seeking the web-slinging vigilante who killed his dad in the first film (even though he was actually impaled mid-surrender to Spider-Man), and when he does raise the mask to reveal his captured culprit, he discovers his best friend Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is his new worst enemy.

Franco's slack-jawed gape and awkward footwork in the scene of surprise is only bested in badness by his whispered threats about returning the pain he's been caused. He stumbles and skitters away before furrowing his eyebrows and breathily accusing Peter of killing his father. Then, on the other end, there's Maguire being completely subdued and one-dimensional — there's even almost a smile lingering in his eyes as he utters his warnings of grave danger to their mutual love interest Mary Jane. The whole thing adds up to almost a cheesy parody — and a scene too cartoonish even for the comics.

You're tearing me apart, Lisa! - The Room (2003)

Skip to any random scene in Tommy Wiseau's 2003 writing, acting, and directing debut, and it's painfully bad. The film is so poorly constructed that it's been dubbed "the 'Citizen Kane' of bad movies" and touted for its exposition of Hollywood's "fabricated nature." It's hard to narrow it down to just one laughable moment, but the most popular poor acting point arrives when Wiseau's cuckolded Johnny confronts his thought-to-be-cheating fiancee with his now-iconically terrible plea: "Why, Lisa, why, Lisa, please talk to me, please! ... You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" Believe it or not, he was inspired by James Dean, who uttered a virtually identical line in "Rebel Without a Cause," but opted not to go for Wiseau's method of hair-pulling, closed-eye snarling, and red-faced shouting.

Reportedly, there were even worse bits of dialogue left on the scripting table. One anonymous actor told Entertainment Weekly that viewers somehow got the better of two possible versions of the so-bad-it's-great cult flick. "It was actually a lot longer," the actor said of the original screenplay. "There was stuff that was just unsayable. I know it's hard to imagine there was stuff that was worse, but there was."

Wiseau has since defended the scene in question by saying it's just misunderstood and way above everyone's heads. Yes, really. In the same logic that plagues his perplexingly disjointed script, he told Stanford Daily, "When Johnny says, 'You're tearing me apart, Lisa!' — people don't actually talk like that, but where I grew up, people actually exaggerated their relationships themselves in real life. ... I wanted to put American culture to the movie." That's exactly the kinda nonsense talk that got us here in the first place, but hey. People are still talking about this thing all these years later, so he obviously did something right.

Oh, ninjas. - Miami Connection (1988)

There's plenty of overacting on this list. And there's plenty in "Miami Connection" too. But sometimes, actors swing too far the other way and bring absolutely no emotion to scenes that demand a whole lot more.

Tae kwon doe master Y.K. Kim's ill-fated foray into moviemaking stars him and his students as a bunch of adult orphans who live together and play in a bar band that sounds like it'd be more at home recording a kiddie show theme song, with lyrics like, "Friends to eternity/Loyalty, unity/Stick together, 'cause we're born to win!"

They run afoul of drug-dealing ninjas, leading to hilarious scenes of complaining about "stupid cocaine," a thug blurting out "I ain't seen nobody since nineteen-sixty-two!" in a bad Redd Foxx accent, one of the heroes squealing out "I found my father!" and the incongruously gory final fight.

But out of all the over-the-top zaniness, there's nothing quite as memorable as one of the heroes' very under-the-top reaction to the bad guys preparing for the final showdown. "Oh. Ninjas." You'd think he sees this kind of thing every day — but in the bizarro fantasy world of "Miami Connection," maybe he does.

I can't believe you'd commit suicide. - Fateful Findings (2013)

With Ed Wood dead and buried (hopefully not in the clown-car sized crypt from his "Plan 9 from Outer Space") and Tommy Wiseau remaining a one-hit wonder, bad movie lovers have had to look elsewhere for unforgettably strange actor-directors. Fortunately, Las Vegas architect Neil Breen has been more than happy to fill that gap.

His third film, "Fateful Findings," is just the wildly unjustified ego trip trash fans love. It's tough to describe the plot, since it's got about four or five only vaguely related ones, but it's mostly about Dylan (Breen) hacking into "the most secret government and corporate secrets" on a desk full of broken old laptops, revealing that people in power cheat and lie, to the shock of people living under rocks everywhere.

One of the most loosely connected subplots follows the tumultuous marriage of Dylan (Breen)'s Jim and Amy, who eventually shoots her husband and stages it as a suicide. Breen discovers his friend's very lively corpse and says, "I can't believe you committed suicide. I cannot believe you committed suicide. How could you have done this? How could you have committed suicide?"

Breen the writer already turned in something so repetitive it's almost dada, but it's Breen the actor who really makes this essential viewing. His bored, flat reading is less appropriate for a man finding his best friend dead and more for a parent finding out their kid got a D on the math test.

I wish he'd UP and fly away - Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)

Some bad movies transcend mere badness to become artifacts of a strange parallel world. They're painful to watch, but you can't look away. That's certainly the case for "Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny," created by the doomed Florida theme park Pirates World just before Disney World arrived and ran them out of business. The movie's evenly split between a growling, muttering Santa Claus trying to rescue his sleigh that's "stuck" in a couple inches of dry Florida sand, and the story he tells the local children.

Depending on the copy, he told one of two repackaged fairy tale adaptations: "Jack and the Beanstalk" or "Thumbelina." Both of them are treasure troves of acting badness, with the entire cast of each one apparently reading their lines off cue cards one word at a time, dropping their emphasis at random while still staying creepily monotone. For instance, when Thumbelina finds a dying bird in the underground tunnels where she lives with Mrs. Mole, her host has no sympathy. "I wish he'd UP and fly away," she says, and somehow that take was good enough to print. We can only imagine what the others were like.

The Narrator - Fun in Balloon Land (1965)

Can we call this a scene if it takes up over half of a (barely feature-length) movie? Can we call it "acting" when it seems to just be boozily free-associating over home movies of parades? We sure hope so, because this list just wouldn't be complete without this slice of truly inexplicable strangeness.

"Fun in Balloon Land" was released in 1965 by Giant Parade Balloons Inc., but beyond that, we can't find much else about it. And that's a shame, because we have lots of questions. The first half or so is a series of dream sequences involving a kid in a warehouse full of balloons, and that has some bad acting in its own right (half the dialogue seems to be shouted across the room). But that's nothing next to the parade balloon showcase. We're not sure who this woman is, but her surreal descriptions and even more surreal cadence are unforgettable. For a knight balloon: "You may now go out and slay a-nee dragon you wish to straaayyy." (Not a typo).

Or how about this? "Slithering snake! You slidy, slithery snake. Slide along past me! Yes, I don't want to be a snake chaarrmer. You have lots of cloowwns to charm you. I'm glad I'm not waawwwking with you," and if that wasn't odd enough, she caps it off with a deep moan. We may not be sure what "Fun in Balloon Land" is, but we do know it's a unique trashterpiece all bad acting fans need to check out.

I think I hear a mountain lion. - Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

One of the true classics of modern so-bad-it's-goodness, "Birdemic" built most of its cult on the back of its hilariously unconvincing killer birds. And they're quite the sight, sub-AOL-gif-level computer creations hanging in space as their wingtips wiggle and they squawk monotonously.

But there's no shortage of bad human acting here. Despite the imminent threat of bird murder, the stars of "Birdemic" don't do much but take a leisurely drive down the California coast, giving them the opportunity to meet a whole menagerie of awful performances. We've got to give the gold to Stephen Gustavson as a forest-dwelling hermit in a legendarily bad wig who rants about bark beetles and other environmental bugaboos.

But the episodic plot has to keep moving, and you can hear the gears grinding as writer-director James Nguyen hastily writes the hermit out of the script. And so, out of nowhere, he says, "Oh, I think I hear a mountain lion. I gotta get back to my house and you better get to your car. It was very nice meeting you."

That's ridiculous enough, but it's Gustavson's performance that sells it, with his wobbly voice and a tone that sounds like he's just about fed up with these obnoxious guests and wants to make up any excuse to shoo them out of his woods.

I'm extremely beezvee. - Replica (2005)

James Nguyen's aggressive self-promotion and devoted fans put him on the map with "Birdemic," but it was just one stop in a career that had already produced two equally strange films that didn't find distribution until after "Birdemic" found infamy/success. Just as "Birdemic" borrowed the template of the Alfred Hitchcock classic "The Birds," "Replica" puts a science fiction twist on the Master of Suspense's most beloved film, "Vertigo." Both films' protagonists discover a woman who's near-identical to their dead lover. Only while in "Vertigo" the love interest posed as the dead woman for a con, in "Replica," she's a literal clone. Also, instead of falling out of a church tower, she dies in a car crash despite going about two miles an hour.

We know we're in for a good time when Joe ("Birdemic" star John David Braddock) first asks Evelyn (Lana Dykstra) out. She responds that she's "extremely beezvee," but she'll try to find time. Not "busy." "Beezvee."

It's hard to be sure if the acting's really to blame here. Rob Hill writes in "Bad Movie Bible" that the Vietnam-born Nguyen refused to let his actors correct the non-standard English in his screenplays. Could "beezvee" have actually been written into the script? Whoever's to blame, it's an unforgettable flub that's worked its way into at least this writer's vocabulary.

Death shrug - Enter the Ninja (1981)

Every trash fan eventually needs to learn the legend of Golan and Globus. During their tenure at Cannon Films, they produced some of the most bizarre and incoherent movies ever made: "The Apple," "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo," "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," and dozens of others.

Directed by Golan himself, "Enter the Ninja" was one of Cannon's biggest hits, inspiring two sequels and even more knockoffs. Despite his final speech about how a true ninja never kills, only eliminates (by killing, apparently), spaghetti western star Franco Nero slaughters his way through the population of a major city to protect his friend's plantation in the Phillippines from an evil land baron.

The ninja's biggest kill gets the biggest laugh when he finally catches up with his nemesis. We get to see every detail of Christopher George's magnificent performance in slow motion, first blowing out his mic with a hilarious grunt-scream, then raising his hand so high you'd think he was reaching for a cookie jar, dropping his gun, looking down at the shuriken embedded in his chest, shrugging as if to say, "Yeah, I just got murdered by a ninja, but whaddayagonnado?" and flopping over.

That thing is going to work. - Bolero (1984)

"Bolero" is a true meeting of the minds between Golan and Globus and softcore power couple John and Bo Derek. The wobbly plot involves Bo Derek as a young heiress in the '20s living out her movie-inspired dreams of sleeping with sheiks and bullfighters. It's not until the movie's almost over that a story begins to take shape when a bull gores Derek's matador lover right through the crotch and she trains to take his place in the ring and reawaken his vitality in the bedroom. As to how she chooses to express it ... "That thing is going to work. I guarantee you this!"

There's probably no good way to deliver that line. Derek certainly didn't find it. Good thing too, because her ridiculously chipper attitude makes the dialogue even more hilarious. So does her theatrical body language, when she points straight at "that thing" and follows up her promise with a huge grin and thumbs-up that "Twin Peaks"' Dale Cooper might have thought was a little much. In the documentary "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films," costar Olivia D'Abo can't get through that line without cracking up. Neither can we.

Yay... - Stargames (1998)

With the legendary Tony Curtis leading the cast, you might not expect "Stargames" to show up on this list. Then again, it's also a direct-to-video kiddie sci-fi film from veteran schlock peddler Greydon Clark with his own kids in the starring roles, so maybe it's not so surprising to see it here after all. How Curtis went from "Some Like It Hot" to this, we have no idea.

Hunted by an interplanetary conqueror dressed in a pile of patchwork quilts whose face looks like a half-finished wasp's nest, lacy-collared Prince Kirk flees to earth in a ship piloted by a holographic clown head (!). There, he meets Brian, who's gotten lost in the woods on a family camping trip.

Then, while the two of them camp out in an abandoned brick shack, Kirk's space watch starts making Pac-Man noises and he looks straight into the camera with a truly bizarre expression and delivers the single syllable "Yay" in an indescribable whisper-cheer. Sadly, "Stargames" viewers are stuck watching this kind of nonsense in a movie that briefly promises a stop-motion dinosaur fighting a bear instead.

Macaviteee! - Cats (2019)

Where to begin with "Cats"? Every scene is so badly acted, badly motion captured, and badly conceived on every imaginable level that it seems unlikely anyone who's ever seen it will ever forget it. The 2019 adaptation of Sir Andrew Loyd Weber's long-running musical somehow managed to drag in stars as venerable as Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Hudson to prance around in "digital fur." Few of them get away with their dignity intact, and few of them have more to lose than Idris Elba.

The British star defined gangster cool for a generation as Stringer Bell on "The Wire," landed scene-stealing roles in blockbuster franchises from "Thor" to "Suicide Squad" to "Fast and Furious" to "Star Trek," and become the internet's number-one choice for the next James Bond.

We can only imagine those online petitions lost a whole lot of signatures after Elba appeared as Macavity, the magically powered villain of the piece. Elba's signature stoic cool has deserted him all through the movie, not helped at all by an unsettling character design that leaves him frequently bare naked in flesh-colored fur. But if we have to choose a single moment, it's the one when Macavity blurts out his own name as he disappears in a puff of smoke. He sounds less like the stoic tough guys Elba made his name playing or the menacing master criminal he's supposed to be and more like a chipper birthday clown.

GARBAGE DAY! - Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2 (1987)

"Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2" is only barely a movie. About half of it is just recycled from the original "Deadly Night," as narrated by a character who didn't actually witness any of it. So how did it become such an evergreen cult classic? Two words: Eric Freeman. And two more: "GARBAGE DAY!"

Freeman's performance as Ricky, younger brother of the original Santa Claus-costumed killer, is exquisitely awful. Even the recycled footage is worth sitting through just to hear him narrate over, it sinking his teeth into every word and dropping a sarcastic sneer in random places. And that's before he goes on a rampage of his own, bellowing "PUNISH!" and cackling at his own apparently self-reloading gun.

The writers weren't up to the task of coming up with the snappy quips slasher fans demand, and when Ricky takes aim at some poor schlub taking his trash out, they can't think of anything better for him to say than "GARBAGE DAY!" Fortunately, Freeman makes the most of it, eye-popping and eyebrow-waggling his way to online memedom. It doesn't help that every other aspect of this scene is just as hysterically terrible, with the editor cutting the scene to shreds so we get an almost subliminal shot of the bullet going through the victim's back and then disappearing when we cut to a different angle.

This is Katana - Suicide Squad (2016)

2016's super-antihero flick "Suicide Squad" was popular enough to rate a sequel (of sorts) with "The Suicide Squad." But word of mouth was so overwhelmingly negative that, as the name implies, James Gunn's sequel was as much a fresh start as a follow-up. And if you want to know why, look no further than the introduction of Katana, the token superhero in this motley crew of supervillains.

A big part of this movie's notorious reputation is the uneven pacing. The plot can't even get started until it's already half over since the first half gets eaten up with extended introductions for each character in the large cast. Well, most of them. Poor Katana ends up having the same amount of information crammed into a couple of seconds, and Joel Kinnaman as squad leader Rick Flag rattles it off like he's got ten minutes left before tee time: "This is Katana! She's got my back. She could cut you all down with one sword stroke, just like mowin' the lawn." Or, with his stop-start delivery, maybe it sounds more like he's making it up as he goes along, slowing down as if he's thinking of what to say next, then suddenly speeding through phrases like "she c'cut you down" or "mow'n'thelawn" like he's not quite sure of them.

Ya did it! - Samurai Cop (1991)

"Samurai Cop" is a true classic of unintentional comedy, and the story behind it's at least as fascinating. "Bad Movie Bible" relates how filming would often stop dead while director Amir Shervan chased down enough money to film the next scene. A lot of close-ups have a suspiciously similar backdrop because they were filmed in Shervan's office. And when it came time to dub in some of the dialogue, the book claims, "most of the cast lost interest and disappeared."

This meant Shervan voiced half the characters himself, and he had to get — let's be nice and say "creative" — to differentiate them. But he never tops the opening scene, a parking lot punch-out between the movie's main villains, the Katanas, and a rival gang, which ends with a disembodied voice saying, "Ya did it!" The voice Shervan chose for this mysterious character is less "intimidating gangster" and more "animal sidekick from a kiddie cartoon." We can't imagine what went on his head when he made that decision, but then we could say that about plenty of other scenes in "Samurai Cop," which could have filled this list up all by itself.

I love you, wife. - Lost in Space (1998)

There's no shortage of bad performances in "Lost in Space." There's the staggering miscalculation of casting "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc as a badass space marine. There's future "Mean Girls" star Lacey Chabert putting on an ear-piercingly high, nasal voice that's somehow more cartoony than her role as an actual cartoon character in "The Wild Thornberries."

And then there's William Hurt, who could not sound less invested. For an emotionally charged scene that calls for him to say goodbye to his wife before leaving to explore an uncharted planet, possibly never to return, he sounds more robotic than the actual robot who plays a major role. It doesn't help any that he doesn't even call her by name, adding to the impression that he really is a robot reading out lines of code.

That perfect storm of bad writing and bad acting has caught the public imagination enough to resurface on the internet from time to time. But it's worth watching "Lost in Space" all the way through to confirm that, yes, Hurt's whole performance is like that. From the very first frame, he announces the achievement of world peace by narrating, "Finally, the warring nations of earth had forgotten their differences," with all the conviction of a man waiting for his pizza to thaw. Even when he has to deliver lines like, "Wow," or "My family will be so excited," he sounds like a man who's only vaguely aware of what excitement is.