There have been plenty of examples that show why musicians and acting don’t mix: Crossroads, From Justin to Kelly, Cool as Ice, along with too many others to name. Some artists give it one go and move on, while others just don’t know when to quit (looking at you, Madonna). For the most part, these films are pretty well known and have been ridiculed since their release. But then there are those movies musicians wish you would forget and man, are there a lot of them. Here are 13 awful, ridiculous, and just plain bad movies artists wish you would forget.
13. Population 436
Co-Starring Fred Durst
Just when you thought this guy couldn’t get any sadder, turns out it’s worse that you thought. In this straight to DVD horror movie, he plays a small town deputy who helps census buerau reporter Steve Kady get to town. Kady’s there to survey the residents on the dwindling population. (Sounds legit). When he finally gets to the last family, he learns they have “fever” and “spooky” things ensue. I couldn’t find any clips online aside from the trailer, so I can’t comment on Durst’s acting ability, but considering the type of movie this is it can’t be that promising. What I do know is it doesn’t make him anymore likeable.
12. Straight to Hell
Starring Joe Strummer
The break up of the Clash must’ve been hard on Joe Strummer who agreed to star in this awful parody of Westerns. After watching 10 minutes of it online, I still have no idea what’s going on. The film is about a gang who is stranded in the desert after they almost get busted for a bank robbery. It’s actually an adaptation (if you want to call it that) of Giuilo Questi’s Django, Kill! The movie actually features lots of punk musicians including members of Circle Jerks, The Pogues, and Amazulu. Courtney Love is also in the film as a whiny pregnant woman who complains about everything. So, she pretty much plays herself. Strummer plays one of three hitmen and seems to do an okay job, when you can understand what he’s saying. Compared to other people on the list, he does a respectable job. The film has since gone on to receive cult status and is still an incredible mess.
11. Catacombs (2007)
That’s right. Pop music’s favorite rebel starred in this dud from 2007. Similar to As a Above So Below, the movie revolves around Paris’ famous catacombs, which apparently harbors a killer raised by a Satanic cult in this film. After that the plot unravels a bit. There’s something about a sister, a rave, a prank, and an actual murderer, and maybe a case of stolen identity, but I’m just going off the plot synopsis. There aren’t many clips on Youtube, but in the one I did find Pink manages to sound whiny and bratty, unlike her badass self. She must’ve been skeptical about the film as she used her real name instead of her stage one. Again, never knew about this one until I started research and for good reason too.
10. Hard to Hold (1984)
Starring Rick Springfield
It should be no surprised to find Rick Springfield in a movie. Afterall, he was on General Hospital for a few years before focusing music full time. What’s funny about this film is the role of James Roberts is not that much of a stretch for Springfield. Roberts is a pop idol who is used to getting any woman he wants, but finds himself tongue tied when meeting Diana Lawson in a car accident. Who in the world is in a car accident and thinks it’s the perfect time to try to hook up? Apparently, Rick Springfield. It’s one of those “we’re from two different worlds, how can we be together?” movies. In other words, it’s like every other rom-com from the ’80s. Even though Springfield wasn’t terrible, the movie didn’t do well, which is probably why it’s been hidden from the public eye for a long time.
9. Monster Dog (1984)
Starring Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is actually in a surprising amount of movies, but none of them are as bad as this one. I never even knew about it until I stumbled upon it via Netflix. In this horror film Cooper plays rock star (surprise) Vince Raven, who gets attacked by a bloody guy who says everyone will die except for Vince. Throughout the film we learn about his family’s lycanthropy curse. Spoiler alert: Vince is actually the monster dog and tries to kill everyone. Since horror and Cooper go so well together you would think the movie would be somewhat entertaining. The entire thing is bland and it’s clear Cooper is barely even trying to act. And as with most ’80s horror films, there is nothing scary about it. What’s even worse is since it’s a Spanish film, Cooper didn’t even dub his own lines for the English version. Throughout you’ll notice something is off about the mouth movements and it takes you out of the entire thing. Just stick with his cameo in Wayne’s World.
8. Strangeland (1998)
Starring Dee Snider
Apparently, all the old metal stars of the ’80s decided to make horror movies in the late ’90s. Since this was released around the time of the internet’s infancy, this movie preys on people’s fears that chat rooms harbor murderous weirdos. Enter Dee Snider. He plays the murderous weirdo whose really into pain and mutilating people. He’s supposed to look creepy with lots of piercings everywhere, but honestly he looked scarier in his Twisted Sister make up. Somehow Robert Englund of Freddy Kruger fame was roped into this project, but then again he doesn’t seem too picky about his film roles. Going by the trailer it’s probably a mediocre horror film, but probably something Snider wishes you’d forget about.
7. In the Mix (2005)
Usher already got a taste of acting in The Faculty, which showed fans why he sound stick with singing. Apparently, not everyone got the message. In this 2005 film, Usher takes the lead role of a popular, groupie mobbed DJ who takes on the job as a popular, ladies man bodyguard for the mob. Eventually, he falls in love with the mob boss’ daughter, which is what always happens in these situations. From the trailer alone, it seems like the point of the film is to prove how much of a smooth, ladies man Usher is. Just about all the scenes involving women flirting with him, patting his butt, or feeding him fruit. There are a few “action” scenes, if you consider him running and jump major action, but of course Usher can’t be involved with any project if dancing isn’t involved (arguably it’s what he does best). Is it any surprise the film flopped and has a score of 2.4 out 10 on IMDb’s Bottom 100? Unfortunately, it’s not enough to keep the singer out of movies.
6. Love and a Bullet (2002)
The former Naughty by Nature member starred in this major flop where he plays a hitman. It’s the classic trope of I’m bad, but now I wanna be good type of thing. The acting is so bad you can’t even describe it in words. Treach sounds like he’s struggling to remember his next line and the ones he manages to get are delivered flat. He sounds downright bored throughout the whole thing. It’s clear he should’ve taken on a solo rap career after his Naughty by Nature days. What makes this movie even more of a tragedy is it only grossed $18,926 and was released in only 14 theaters. When comparing these numbers, the other movies on the list did phenomenally better.
5. On the Line (2001)
Starring Lance Bass and Joey Fatone
Lance was very ambitious during his Nsync days. Not only did he try to fly to the moon and start his own record label, he tried his hand at acting. Spoiler: he’s not that great. This movie follows Lance as he searches for a girl he met on the L train in Chicago. It’s not a terrible movie; it’s kind of cute and has its funny moments. But the silly concept, cliched characters, sub par acting, and dry dialogue make it less than reputable. Also, watching the movie now knowing Lance is gay is kind of awkward. He can’t even fake chemistry with his intended girlfriend well though that could be due to his lame acting. Sorry, Lance. Joey, on the other hand, wasn’t that bad.
4. Longshot (2001)
Featuring Nsync, O-Town, LFO, Take 5, Britney Spears
Unless you were a fan of bubblegum pop, you’ve probably never heard of this movie. Since I did love Nsync and O-town at the time I wanted to see the film. Luckily, I never did. It has to be the most asinine excuse for a film ever. There’s supposed to be the typical guy in high school can’t get the girl, so he figures out ways to impress her type of plot, but really it’s all about the boy bands. There isn’t one second where you don’t see a boy band or hear one of their songs, but did you expect anything else from a film by Lou Pearlman? It’s a shameless vehicle to promote his “hot” bands at the time (before he stole all their money). He even recruited O-town to promote the film in the damn movie. It is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen. None of the pop stars can act and the film is full of goofy dialogue and shoddy production. To make things even worse both Kenny Rogers and Jermaine Jackson have cameo appearances. At least it wasn’t released in theaters.
3. Bad Timing (1980)
Starring Art Garfunkel
Bad Timing is a British psychological thriller that uncovers the sadistic, romantic relationship between a woman and her psychiatrist. The film caused a stir when it was released with the film’s distributor Rank Organisation calling it “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.” Sounds pretty intense, which makes it even weirder that Art Garfunkel plays the titular role of the psychiatrist. Sick, thriller, and British are the last things you would ever associate with the folk singer. The movie itself is pretty weird. Since it’s non-linear and is mostly told through a series of flashbacks, it comes off as an arthouse film with various closeups of paintings, Garfunkel scratching his head, and even him dancing in the nude, something no one has ever asked to see. If that wasn’t bad enough the singer tries to be cynical and sadistic, but looks too timid to pull it off. It’s hard to imagine him being threatening while maintaining his bozo hair cut. Not to mention every line he says sounds like he’s reciting it off of a cue card. Apparently someone thought Garfunkel was good; the film won Toronto’s People Choice Award in 1980.
2. A Letter from Death Row (1998)
Starring Bret Michaels
The ’90s weren’t a good time for Poison. With grunge music on the rise, hair metal was pretty much dead, which left former rockstars with a lot of free time. That would be the only plausible explanation for why this movie exists. This thriller is supposed to take the viewer into the mind of convicted killer Michael Raine and his experience on death row. But to add a twist, the viewer is never sure if Raine is innocent or not or even if he is telling his own story. The entire movie is available on Youtube, but watching the two minute trailer should be enough to see how awful it is. It looks like the entire thing was shot on a $200 budget, which is probably all the money the rocker had at the time, and filled with theater school rejects. The trailer even has the nerve to boast a “special appearance” from Charlie Sheen, like that’s supposed to entice people to see it.
1. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)
We all know that KISS isn’t ashamed to put their name on any and all merchandise from coffins to comics, but this movie is so bad they don’t even want to release it. This made for tv movie finds KISS not just a crazy rock n roll band, but a crazy rock n roll band that has superpowers. For some absurd reason, an evil inventor wants to destroy a California amusement park. Enter KISS to save the day with their powers of flying, firebreathing, telepathy, and shooting lasers from their eyes. During their quest to save the park, they fight robot monkeys, samurai, and even Frankenstein. But the inventor is a clever one! He makes KISS clones to perform a show and unleash his evil plans of destruction upon the world. In other words, no one knows what the fuck is happening in this movie. What makes it even worse is all of Ace Frehley’s lines are dubbed because he didn’t show up for looping; it’s painfully obvious. The movie finally saw a 2008 DVD release, but the movie was heavily edited with almost all of Frehley’s lines cut out. Still, it’s a must to see to understand just how bad it is.
Did I miss any awful musician movies? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!