“I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” Carrey tweeted, adding, “I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
In the film, Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, a masked vigilante who fights crime with the help of his ball-munching canine sidekick. Producer Mark Millar took to his website to issue a response, writing, “I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin.”
Carrey, however, joins a long line of stars who have hated on their own films. From Alec Guinness’s distaste for the first Star Wars movie to Katherine Heigl’s accusations of “sexism” against Knocked Up, here are the stars’ most scathing critiques on their own films.
Alec Guinness, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi hated Star Wars. The book Alec Guinness: The Official Biography quotes letters from Guinness to a friend about Star Wars. Prior to filming the role of Obi-Wan in George Lucas’s 1977 sci-fi classic, he wrote, “Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps.” And during filming, his views didn’t necessarily improve, with Guinness writing to his pal, “New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week ... I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet—and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can't be right) Ford. Ellison (?—No!)—well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety—and treat me as if I was 106.—Oh, Harrison Ford—ever heard of him?”
George Clooney, Batman & Robin
George Clooney played the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s abysmal campy 1997 film, bat-suit nipples and all, and later had some choice words for the movie in an interview with Total Film.
“With hindsight it’s easy to look back at this and go, whoa, that was really shit, and I was really bad in it,” he said. “The truth is, my phone rang, and the head of Warner Brothers said, ‘Come into my office. You are going to play Batman in a Batman film,’ and I said, ‘Yeah!’ I called my friends, and they screamed, and I screamed, and we couldn’t believe it! I just thought the last one had been successful, so I thought I was just going to be in a big successful franchise movie. In a weird way I was. Batman is still the biggest break I ever had, and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it. It was a difficult film to be good in. I don’t know what I could have done differently.”
Kate Winslet, Titanic
James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster, Titanic, is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, took home 11 Academy Awards, and made instant stars of its two principal cast members, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet—with the latter garnering her second Oscar nomination for her performance. However, Winslet isn’t very high on her turn in the film.
“Every single scene, I'm like, really? Really? You did it like that? Oh, my God,” she told CNN. “Even my American accent, I can't listen to it. It's awful. Hopefully it's so much better now. It sounds terribly self-indulgent, but actors do tend to be very self-critical. I have a hard time watching any of my performances, but watching Titanic I was just like, oh, God, I want to do that again.”
Winslet also told MTV that every time she hears Celine Dion’s theme song to the film, “My Heart Will Go On,” she feels “like throwing up.”
Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up
One of the most puzzling instances of a star bashing her own film is Katherine Heigl’s rant against Judd Apatow’s 2007 movie Knocked Up—the film that features not only her best performance to date, but also made her a movie star. Heigl told Vanity Fair that the film was “a little sexist” and went on to say, “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.” Apatow took issue with Heigl’s comments and went on The Howard Stern Show to rip her subsequent film The Ugly Truth, saying, “I hear there's a scene where she's wearing ... underwear ... with a vibrator in it, so I'd have to see if that was uplifting for women.”
Mark Wahlberg, The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film, The Happening, where the environment seeks vengeance on mankind (it’s basically just people running from the wind), is one of the most unintentionally hilarious films in recent memory. In one scene, Mark Wahlberg talks to a plant, asking it to not harm him—and the sequence was mocked in a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit titled “Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals.” Wahlberg, too, is not a fan of the film and addressed its absurdity—and how Amy Adams dodged a bullet by not getting Zooey Deschanel’s role—during a press conference for The Fighter.
“We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie, and it was a really bad movie that I did,” said Wahlberg. “She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to ... I don’t want to tell you what movie ... All right, The Happening. Fuck it. It is what it is. Fucking trees, man. The plants. Fuck it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”
Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games
Before winning the Best Actress Oscar for Monster, Charlize Theron was a star on the rise with very few film credits under her belt when she was cast as a duplicitous robber alongside Ben Affleck in John Frankenheimer’s 2000 heist thriller. The film was panned by critics and grossed just $32 million worldwide against a $42 million budget. And Theron reportedly considers it her worst film.
“I found myself making making really bad movies, too,” she told Vogue. “Reindeer Games was not a good movie, but I did it because I loved John Frankenheimer.”
Woody Allen, Manhattan
Woody Allen’s Manhattan is not only considered one of the finest films of the revered filmmaker’s canon, but also one of the finest comedies ever made. But in Robert Weide’s 2012 Woody Allen: A Documentary, the self-effacing filmmaker admitted that he was so disappointed with the final cut of Manhattan that he begged the studio releasing it to ax it entirely. “I didn’t like the film at all,” said Allen. “I spoke to United Artists at the time and offered to make a film for them for nothing if they would not put it out.”
Shia LaBeouf, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Yes, Michael Bay’s second film in the Transformers franchise made over $800 million worldwide, but it was bludgeoned by critics for its nonsensical plot and mediocre performances, with the late Roger Ebert writing, “If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.” And the film’s star, Shia LaBeouf, also said he “hated it,” and added, “I just didn’t enjoy it. I thought we missed the mark. I got confused. I couldn’t see what the fuck was going on, you know, with certain robots ... I couldn’t decipher what was happening. There were storyline paths that I just wouldn’t have gone down.”
Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music
Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer has had many memorable roles over the years on stage and screen, but he’ll probably best be remembered as Captain Von Trapp in Robert Wise’s 1965 musical The Sound of Music. Even though the film is regarded as a classic, Plummer has made it known over the years that he hates the film. “It was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had to work terribly hard to try to infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it.” Plummer found the film so saccharine that he even developed a nickname for it: “The Sound of Mucus.”
Bill Murray, Garfield
It’s one of the greatest stories ever. When comedy legend Bill Murray signed up to voice the titular cat in the 2004 film Garfield, he thought the film was written by Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers, but it was actually written by another screenwriter named Joel Cohen. In an interview with GQ magazine, Murray explained the blunder:
“Finally, I went out to L.A. to record my lines. And usually when you're looping a movie, if it takes two days, that's a lot. I don't know if I should even tell this story, because it's kind of mean. What the hell? It's interesting. So I worked all day and kept going, ‘That's the line? Well, I can't say that.’ And you sit there and go, ‘What can I say that will make this funny? And make it make sense?’ And I worked. I was exhausted, soaked with sweat, and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, ‘OK, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we're dealing with.’ So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, ‘Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the fuck was Coen thinking?’ And then they explained it to me: it wasn't written by that Joel Coen."
He’d further mock Garfield in his hilarious cameo in the movie Zombieland, listing it as one of his only regrets.
James Franco, Tristan & Isolde
Perhaps James Franco should just stay away from sword-and-sandals flicks? Before the box-office dud Your Highness, Franco starred in the 2006 medieval romantic drama Tristan & Isolde, which he now considers not only one of his worst films, but also one of the worst filmmaking experiences of his career. “I learned a lot from doing the film Tristan & Isolde,” Franco told Newsweek. “It was a big mistake. I was an overzealous young actor and wanted to make great movies.” Franco also clashed with the film’s director, Kevin Reynolds, explaining, “I think our personalities just didn’t jibe. [Kevin] had the idea that my character would be more jovial, and I thought he was tragic. He was like, ‘James, I need you to smile in this scene.’ And I said, ‘No. My character has no reason to be happy.’ He said, ‘James, you can’t keep playing James Dean,’ and I replied, ‘Kevin, you can’t keep making Robin Hood.’ That kind of summed up our troubles. Plus, [producer Ridley Scott] was off shooting Kingdom of Heaven, so he didn’t help much.”
Jamie Lee Curtis, Virus
You probably don’t remember the 1999 movie Virus, a ridiculous sci-fi thriller about strange robots attacking a discovery crew aboard an abandoned submarine. The $75 million film managed to gross only $30 million worldwide and was slammed by critics. But the most brutal barbs came courtesy of star Jamie Lee Curtis:
“That’s a piece-of-shit movie,” she said. “It’s an unbelievably bad movie; just bad from the bottom. There’s a scene where I’m running away from this alien, and I actually hide under the stairs. I come down some stairs and then duck up underneath them, and I’m quivering and this big thing comes down the stairs, and I’m freaking hiding under the stairs. This is something that can open walls of steel, and I’m hiding under stairs! It was maybe the only time I’ve known something was just bad and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Red Sonja
Action star-cum-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has made just as many epically awesome films as he has epically terrible ones. The worst of the bunch, according to the former Governator, is apparently the 1985 sword-and-sandals flick Red Sonja. “It’s the worst film I have ever made,” he said. “Now, when my kids get out of line, they’re sent to their room and forced to watch Red Sonja 10 times. I never have too much trouble with them."