While it’s incredibly easy to hate on bad movies, even the worst cinematic travesties aren’t without some merit. Quality acting doesn’t necessarily need a decent movie surrounding it in order to shine through (though it certainly helps) and there are a number of cases where we’ve seen great performances hidden away in bad movies. Taking in a disappointing movie is not a pleasant experience, but it can be mitigated somewhat if there’s a standout performance that elevates the material. Although the following 12 performances don’t necessarily justify a viewing on their own, the fact that they exist in the face of bad scripts, weak direction, or any other combination of factors that could derail a production are really small miracles.
15. Michael Sheen – The Twilight Saga
Michael Sheen seems to find himself in this position quite a bit. Although the Welsh actor has starred in a number of critically-acclaimed movies and television series (including, but not limited to Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and Masters of Sex), he also has a knack for winding up in lowbrow fantasy fare, especially ones involving vampires. Sheen had already cut his teeth on the mediocre, but popular Underworld franchise by the time he was cast in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, so evidently he knew what he was getting himself into.
And boy, does he not disappoint.
As Aro, one of three leaders of the vampire coven known as the Volturi, Sheen is at his campy best, acting circles around his morose co-stars. While you can tell by their mopey, disaffected performances that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson would rather be doing anything else, Sheen injects every one of his lines with life (ironic considering he’s supposed to be playing the undead). The final film in the series, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, contains arguably Sheen’s best and most over-the-top work, all exuberant energy and unhinged line readings (I’m fairly certain no other actor has ever produced this sound on-screen before or since). It’s a pity this franchise didn’t give Sheen more screen time but then again, he was too good for it anyway.