10 films that wasted their incredible ensemble casts

  • 10 films that wasted their incredible ensemble casts

Making a film is tricky enough, but imagine having an ensemble cast full of Hollywood stars, having to juggle the demands and egos to make a Hollywood classic?

While some have pulled it off with great success, for every Ocean's Eleven or Almost Famous, we get...

1. The Monuments Men (2014)

Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin

The WWII drama co-written and directed by George Clooney about an American platoon tasked with rescuing art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their owners wasn't quite sure what it wanted to be.

Alternating between comedic scenes of art scholars at an army boot camp, and sombre moments, the tone of the script was choppy and never decided on whether it wanted to be a comedy or serious war film.

Added to the fact that it lacked any big stakes or real conflict, the impressively-assembled cast were let down by a forgettable and very dull script.

2. Nine (2009)

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren

In between Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar-winning turns in There Will Be Blood and Lincoln, he starred in the romantic musical drama Nine as a film director who urges all the women in his life, alive and dead, to help him solve his writer's block.

An adaptation of the 1982 Broadway musical (which is based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical 1963 film 8½), Nine had plenty of potential to be a modern-day classic musical.

Instead, director Rob Marshall failed to utilise the selection of actresses at his disposal, leaving most of the film's characters sorely underdeveloped, leaving disappointed audiences with a distant, formulaic and boring musical.

3. Batman & Robin (1997)

Cast: George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O'Donnell, Vivica A. Fox, Alicia Silverstone

One of the most-maligned films in history, Joel Schumacher's second outing with the caped crusader was hammered for its goofy tone, terrible one-liners and Batsuit adorned with rubber nipples.

Schumacher, often the main target for fan backlash, was pressured by studio Warner Bros. to make a more family-friendly superhero story than the previous Tim Burton movies in a bid to sell merchandise.

All of which resulted in a campy, bloated and unenjoyable disaster, and a planned sequel Batman Unchained to be immediately shelved until Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise in 2005.

4. Gangster Squad (2013)

Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña

The action crime film saw Josh Brolin's Sergeant John O'Mara build a 'Gangster Squad' of cops to take down mobster Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn.

A fictionalised and heavily-stylised account of the LAPD's real 'Gangster Squad' and their operation against Cohen, the writing fell well short of what could have been a great neo-noir style crime thriller.

Despite strong performances from Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn, it seemed that half of the cast thought that they were remaking Dick Tracy, and the other half remaking LA Confidential, which resulted in the occasional flash of brilliance in an underdeveloped and lacklustre movie.

5. All the King's Men (2006)

Cast: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley

The 2006 adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1946 novel (which already had a 1949 Oscar-winning version), and boasting a cast including a few Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated stars, there was nothing stopping the political drama from being a huge success.

Sean Penn played idealistic small-town lawyer Willie Stark and his right-hand man Jack Burden played by Jude Law move up the political ladder, and once he becomes governor, Stark lets corruption overcome him, while Burden maintains his good moral fibre.

Despite an incredible cast, it was a phenomenally boring and tedious experience, which one reviewer remarked that it "gives Oscar bait a bad name" and resulted in a massive critical and box office failure.

6. Collateral Beauty (2016)

Cast: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren

The 2016 Oscar bait film starred Will Smith as a successful advertising executive who retreats from life after the death of his young daughter, prompting his business partners to hire three actors to play the human manifestations of Death, Time, and Love and confront him in a bid to force him out of the company.

An attempt at a heart-warming, uplifting drama fell flat with a nonsensical twist ending and pretentious, sickly-sweet story.

With such an incredible cast at its disposal, the biggest disappointment was how poorly their skills were utilised, with none of them coming out the film with their reputations enhanced.

7. Aloha (2015)

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin

Cameron Crowe, director of Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky, saw his star-studded 2015 romantic comedy in the midst of a whitewashing row after casting Emma Stone as a character of one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Hawaiian descent.

Crowe wrote and directed the story about a military contractor who goes to Hawaii to find an old girlfriend of his, but defended his casting choice by stating that the character "was written to be a super-proud one-quarter Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one."

Regardless of the backlash, the film was a meandering and predictable love story that suffered financial losses of $65 million as estimated by The Hollywood Reporter.

8. The Counselor (2013)

Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Natalie Dormer, Toby Kebbell

With not just a talented, star-studded cast, the crime thriller was directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy, which meant that there was nothing stopping it from being a huge success.

Fassbender played a high-level cartel lawyer known as 'The Counselor', whose one-time illegal business deal sees him get in way over his head with dangerous gangsters.

Despite all the ingredients for an instant success, the result was a dull and disjointed thriller that lacked any suspense.

9. Triple 9 (2016)

Cast: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet

A staggering amount of top acting stars assembled for the crime thriller which revolved around a gang of criminals and corrupt cops planning the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist.

The script was on the famed Hollywood Black List - the annual list of most popular unproduced screenplays - in 2009, and was picked up by The Road director John Hillcoat who managed to accrue a collection of Hollywood stars for the cast.

Often fun with some spectacular moments, Triple 9 ended up mostly as a pulpy, by-the-numbers crime thriller that was left lacking after drawing in disappointed audiences with its all-star cast and superb and high-octane trailer.

10. Public enemies (2009)

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Channing Tatum, Stephen Graham, Carey Mulligan, Giovanni Ribisi

Michael Mann, who previously brought De Niro and Pacino together onscreen for Heat, gathered a toast of Hollywood stars together to star in his Depression-era biopic on notorious mobster John Dillinger.

Johnny Depp played Dillinger, while Christian Bale played FBI Special Agent Melvin Purvis, tasked by J. Edgar Hoover to lead the hunt for the gangster.

Depp dispensed with his usual make-up and dandyish performance for Dilinger, but ultimately it was for nothing, as Public Enemies failed to make use of the great cast and Mann's epic was a little too long for bored audiences, and that the director's attempts to deliver a docudrama as well as a stylish gangster drama and cramming in the talent at his disposal, unfortunately robbed him of what could have been something great.

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