Ham and Cheese
"All that eye-rolling and foaming at the mouth was me deciding that if I was going to be in a piece of shit like that movie, I was going to be the most memorable fucking thing in it. And I think I succeeded."Say you're an actor, and a damn good one at that. You're hot stuff in Hollywood, with directors throwing money at your feet to be in their film. So you pick the one that gets you the most cash or sounds the most promising in general. It'll all be fine, right? Wrong. You arrive on set to find what seems to be a film Gone Horribly Wrong, complete with Special Effects Failure, bad actors and a worse script. So what do you do? You could go "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!", storm off and refuse to associate with the film ever again, you could take the film seriously, try with all your might to make it work... or you could unleash The Hog, and Chew The Scenery into dust. If it's going to be a well-remunerated bad movie, you might as well enjoy yourself, eh? And who knows? You might even end up saving the film. You may notice that these performances tend to appear in tandem with ones that Took the Bad Film Seriously, if only because they are such obvious Foils for each other. Also compare One-Scene Wonder; both roles/actors in these films play memorable, often over-the-top enjoyable performances and can make them one of the best parts of a film. Compare the Rule of Sean Connery; the rule often applies to actors who know exactly when to serve up the Ham and Cheese. Can overlap with WTH, Casting Agency? and Awesome, Dear Boy. Compare Chewing the Scenery, Wag the Director. Contrast Took the Bad Film Seriously. NOTE: This is not for listing hammy roles in good or even decent works. For the ham without the cheese, see tropes such as Large Ham and Incoming Ham for good alternates.
open/close all folders
- Those Wacky Nazis had a series of propaganda ads called Liese Und Miese, in which Liese, a patriotic woman, did things that were beneficial to Germany, and Miese, a traitor, did things like listen to foreign radio broadcasts and talk to spies. Miese was played by an actress who was secretly half-Jewish and deliberately made Miese extremely likable and entertaining.
- Listen in awe as Gilbert Gottfried tells us of Shoe-Dini! It's not just a shoehorn, it's a shoehorn ON A STICK!!
- Diabolik Wifebeaters: The anime itself is incredibly bad in terms of the sadomaschoism and the misogynist nature of the series. That being said, it is generally agreed that the anime would have been less enjoyable if it wasn't the overly dramatic voice acting in the English dub, particularly Chris Patton's Ayato and Maggie Flecknoe's Yui.
Films — Animated
- Orson Welles as Unicron in Transformers: The Movie. His final performance may have been voice-only in a rather silly kids' show movie, but damn if it wasn't the hammiest thing since pig roasts. Notably, being a Planet Eater, Unicron actually chews on the scenery.
PROCEED. ON YOUR WAY TO OBLIVION!
- Eric Idle as "Evil Martin" in The Secret of NIMH 2. Probably the best part about that movie.
- Malcolm McDowelll as Lord Maliss in the Snow White animated knock-off Happily Ever After. Also Ed Asner as his henchman, the owl Scowl.
- Kenneth Mars as Voltor in The Adventures of the American Rabbit. The script is garbage, but Mars is shamelessly over the top in every one of his lines, automatically making his role the most enjoyable.
Films — Live-Action
- Raul Julia just seemed to love this trope. If he had a reason to invoke this trope - any reason - he would. Hence why he is this page's image!
- Pictured above: Julia as M. Bison in Street Fighter. He succeeded in completely stealing the show and both naming and codifying an utterly awesome trope. All the more so because he was dying of cancer, and wanted his last roles to go out with a bang (as well as leave something for his kids to enjoy; they were fans of the video games). See the Best of Bison part one and part two.
- He also did this in Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (as seen on MST3K).
- The Addams Family too, but then, the whole cast was hamming it up except for Angelica Huston, and that's probably because her character just didn't work that way - Morticia, just by virtue of sitting back and letting Gomez chew scenery, ends up being the funniest one by treating the silliness around her as perfectly normal.
- His performance in a production of Kiss Me, Kate (a take on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew) is a wonderful example of it; he takes the over-the-top Petruchio and manages to turn the hamminess Up to Eleven.
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action gave us Steve Martin as the ACME Chairman (no name given), who was undoubtedly a Dr. Evil-esque parody of James Bond villains, combined with corporation owner (arguably based on the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies''). While the film wasn't exactly the greatest Looney Tunes piece ever made (quite the opposite, according to critics), Martin just went all-out with his character. In some of the developer reels, they talked about how Martin genuinely liked being silly with his character so much he would even stay in character during breaks for no other reason than because he could. Half the stuff they threw in because he ad-libbed it on the set.
Martin (voice steadily rising further into the speech): Here is your father, tied to these railroad tracks, and here is the ACME Train of Death, right on schedule! You see, Mr. Drake, if the train of death doesn't kill him, then maybe those cr-r-rates of T.N.T. will, not to mention the two-ton anvil hanging over his head, and— oh look! That's the Pendulum of Doom! What is the Pendulum of Doom doing there!? I did not order the Pendulum of Doom! THAT'S OVERKILL! GET RID OF IT!
- In Godzilla (1998), Jean Reno's Gallic disdain for American coffee, cigarettes, and doughnuts, along with his extreme competence, make him far and away the best thing in the movie. He's cheesier than a croque-monsieur, and yet his diet consists solely of scenery.
- The Core:
- Had a cast of veteran actors, including big profile stars Aaron Eckhart and Oscar winner Hilary Swank. Yet Stanley Tucci seems to have been the only person in it that was aware of the utter ridiculousness of the plot and thus provided a really campy performance. He is arguably the most entertaining thing in the movie. You can't necessarily tell from his performance, but Aaron Eckhart later admitted in an interview that he could barely keep a straight face through most of his lines.
"None of us could believe our eyes when we finally saw who else had been cast. These guys are all great actors; Stanley Tucci, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Bruce Greenwood. We kind of all looked at each and said 'you too?' ... Stanley Tucci and I got to manhandle some nuclear bombs, and there were times we were laughing so hard that he almost literally went to the bathroom in his space suit."
- The director himself gives as good as his cast in the DVD commentary. It's either exquisite self-parody turned up to eleven, or he really believes he was "staying true to his vision" and that the movie is untrammelled, if under-appreciated, genius. Either would explain a great deal.
- Had a cast of veteran actors, including big profile stars Aaron Eckhart and Oscar winner Hilary Swank. Yet Stanley Tucci seems to have been the only person in it that was aware of the utter ridiculousness of the plot and thus provided a really campy performance. He is arguably the most entertaining thing in the movie. You can't necessarily tell from his performance, but Aaron Eckhart later admitted in an interview that he could barely keep a straight face through most of his lines.
- Uwe Boll is notorious for crapass movies, but the first Bloodrayne movie is actually somewhat bearable because of distinguished actor Udo Kier (who has a history with vampires himself).
- Ben Kingsley was asked in a Time interview:
Time: What were you thinking when you accepted a role in Bloodrayne? It's hard to imagine someone so gifted not realizing what a terrible film that would be!Kingsley: I don't know whether to be upset or flattered by that question. To be honest, I have always wanted to play a vampire, with the teeth and the long black cape. Let's say that my motives were somewhat immature for doing it.
- Ben Kingsley was asked in a Time interview:
- Dungeons & Dragons and Eragon:
- Jeremy Irons, who manages to outham the entire cast and special effects department by virtue of his eyebrows alone. He gave a more restrained performance in Eragon, probably in an attempt to give Ed Speelers' acting career a chance.
- The guy who plays Murtaugh is clearly having the time of his life.
- He's only in a few scenes, the title for the largest ham in Eragon has to go to John Malkovich, who, along with his silly over the top costume, emphasises every single sylable and sound.
- -> I suffer without my stone. DO...NOT...PROLONG...MY...SUFFERING!
- Chris Egan had only a bit part as Roran, but managed to spin it into a staring role on the vastly superior but tragically short-lived Kings alongside the legendary Ian McShane.
- Irons and John Malkovich also co-hammed in The Man in the Iron Mask, along with Gérard Depardieu, playing aging Musketeers. All three must have been paid per cubic meter of scenery devoured, although Jeremy Irons takes the cake for delivering lines like "It's Judgement Day" and making them So Bad, It's Good.
- Malkovich is pretty notorious for this on his own as well:
- Malkovich got into the whole silly, OTT atmosphere in Con Air as well. To the point where he's standing on the ramp of a plane in flight, holding a pistol to the head of a soft toy and yelling at an assault chopper.
- Malkovich also hams up in the third Transformers movie.
- The Rifftrax for Eragon refers to John Malkovich as "the ham's ham. He makes Al Pacino look subtle."
- Along with Malkovich, Transformers also give room for the overacting of John Turturro in the first three movies and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction.
- Aasif Mandvi plays Admiral Zhao in The Last Airbender the same way he usually portrays himself on The Daily Show or other comedy-based productions. Thus, lines that were supposedly serious come across as hilarious when he reads them ("This is a SCROLL FROM THE GREAT LIBRARY!")
- Richard E. Grant as the flamboyant, over-the-top villain in Bruce Willis' musical heist movie Hudson Hawk. From his very first scene, it is wonderfully obvious that Grant is hamming it Up to Eleven. Richard E. Grant also has very interesting views in hindsight of the film, if you can find interviews on the web somewhere. It's probably easier to find his published diaries (With Nails - geddit?) which include Hudson Hawk among many film set recollections. They're a good chuckle.
- Ewan McGregor in The Island. He also shows a bit of it in the Star Wars prequels, although generally he's just reading his lines, rather like Sir Alec Guinness did in the same role for the original film. He enjoys himself much better when fighting than when talking, really.
- Alec Guinness in Scrooge (the Albert Finney version) gives the most upbeat, sarcastic Jacob Marley performance in history. Even during the scene in HELL of all places, he's skipping around and milking every bit of ham he can out of his lines.
- Richard Burton did this a few times; The Wild Geese is a case in point. Burton also had an unnerving habit of combining Ham and Cheese with Took the Bad Film Seriously. Exorcist II: The Heretic may be the best example.
- Kirk Douglas as the title character in The Villain. There is simply no way that he read that script (it's essentially a live-action Roadrunner cartoon) and expected it to be anything but a big, luscious, gooey block of Velveeta.
- Frank Langella as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe. He's always enjoyable, especially with his Evil Gloating. Especially near the end. Langella loved hamming it up so much that he doesn't even consider his role an Old Shame; he actually says it's one of his most favorite roles he's ever played!
- Brazilian movie Zoando na TV is stupid, cheap and would be unwatchable if not for the hammy and hilarious Miguel Fallabella
- Alan Rickman's completely over-the-top, campy performance in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He must have realized the film was going to be critically killed, because he signed onto the film on the condition that he get to play the part however he wanted. Similar to Raul Julia above, he also got to be a Trope Namer due to this film.
- Tilda Swinton in the not-really-critically-acclaimed Hellblazer adaptation Constantine. She seems to be having a fair bit of fun with the overacting opportunities of her role, and is damn sexy while at it, too (which is sort of inevitable if you have Tilda Swinton playing an insane, androgynous angel with well-pedicured feet and impressive martial arts skills...).
- Some of Peter Sellers' films from the early 1970s, when he desperately needed the work, most notably the unreleased-until-the-VHS era comedy-adventure Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1974). David Lodge, a friend, commented to Sellers biographer Alexander Walker "It was a case of the wrong people in charge of the right people." Luckily, Peter was playing a bedraggled pirate baddie, so he was free to be hammy and took the opportunity.
- Max von Sydow as Ming in the Flash Gordon movie. A touch more restrained than many on this list, but definitely having fun with the part, and Topol as Zarkov is, ironically, a Jewish ham.
- Both of them must have realized that you have to work hard to be remembered in a movie with BRIAN BLESSED.
- In Demolition Man, Wesley Snipes is having the time of his life as over-the-top bad guy Simon Phoenix.
- The Batman movies have a history of this.
- Batman Forever has Jim Carrey babbling about "brainwave manipulation", stating that his neon wardrobe keeps him "safe while he's jogging at night." Ham and cheese on rye. One gets the impression that Tommy Lee Jones was using the film as an excuse to enjoy himself as well. Case in point, the entire sequence involving the attack on Wayne Manor.
- Uma Thurman's performance in Batman & Robin. She clearly thought she was signing up for something good (Batman? And George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger are gonna be in it? Sounds awesome!) and then...got the script. And saw the sickeningly neon costumes. She plays Poison Ivy as a completely over-the-top villainess, and she's clearly having a fabulous time doing it. One of the very few saving graces of that movie. The same goes for Schwarzenegger, who admitted to hating the Mr. Freeze armor he had to keep wearing. He sure looks like he's having fun though.
- Really, most of the cast. The film ends up feeling like a giant prank on George Clooney, who Took the Bad Film Seriously.
- In the 2004 King Arthur film, Stellan Skarsgård as Saxon king Cerdic. Skarsgård also said in a later interview that he deliberately inflected his character's voice with a slight Texan accent as a Take That to George W. Bush.
- Laurence Olivier in the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice, complete with period-wrong costumes, casting that had the lead actors twenty years older than their characters, and inexplicable plot alterations that turned it into a farcical shadow of the book. Olivier's Darcy was a smarmy, smirking, effeminately fluttering dandy whose only function was to be shot down repeatedly by Elizabeth. From Olivier, a performance that bad had to be an intentional piss-take.
- Christopher Plummer in the horror of hysterical proportions that was Starcrash. "IMPERIAL BATTLESHIP! HALT... THE FLOW... OF TIME!!!"
- James Marsters as Piccolo and Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi in Dragonball Evolution.
- Probably not a coincidence that they were both fans of the show.
- Dennis Hopper in Super Mario Bros. seems to not want to waste any good acting on the movie.
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. He seems to be the only one in the movie aware of how bad the entire thing is, but is also the only named character who isn't treating the whole thing as Serious Business. Accordingly, he's the only character that looks like he's actually enjoying himself and shamelessly hams up his Scary Black Man role.
- There was Chris Klein, who was channeling two parts Christian Slater and one part David Caruso in his portrayal of Charlie Nash.
- Duncan pulls a similar performance as Kingpin in Daredevil.
- This movie also gave us Colin Farrell in a Hamfully stunning performance as Bullseye, a giggling, frothing, leather-clad Irishman. You just know he's taking the piss the whole time.
- There is a terrible Made For TV horror movie based on a Dean Koontz novel called Intensity. It is a movie littered with awful actors and an Idiot Plot for the ages, containing so many nonsense plot points and moron characters that it is virtually unwatchable... until you see that the killer is played by none other than John C. McGinley, who makes it his business to play the Ax-Crazy villain so over-the-top entertaining that you giggle with delight virtually every moment he's on screen.
- Michael York's performance in Megiddo: The Omega Code 2: what is otherwise a terribly acted, terrible special effect filled Christian B-Movie becomes a So Bad, It's Good laugh riot solely due to York playing his role as the Antichrist with record breaking amounts of ham. You can tell he's enjoying himself immensely.
- The Arnold Schwarzenegger apocalypse flick End of Days. Despite the presence of Kevin Pollack and Rod Steiger, the best thing in the film just may be Gabriel Byrne's Satan. He is all too aware that he is in a bad film, and swaggers through it like a drunken rock star. His character's introductory scene (after being possessed by Satan) involves him walking out of a restaurant's bathroom, making out with his possessee's date while copping a feel, then blowing up the restaurant for no reason and doing an Unflinching Walk out of the flames. The director reported near-fights among the female extras over who would get to kiss Mr. Byrne.
- Star Wars gives us Ian McDiarmid's performance as Emperor Palpatine, even in the Return of the Jedi, which earned a much better critical reception than the prequels later did. McDiarmid pulled off the impressive feat of securing three more blockbuster film roles with a Large Ham performance in that film. In the prequels, he was clearly having a grand old time playing a scenery-chewing, Evil Overlord with UNLIMITED POWAAAAAAH. He not only gained critical acclaim for his performance as Palpatine, but he is remembered as having perhaps the best performance in the entire prequel trilogy. It helps that, although the prequels as a whole aren't too well received, Ian is genuinely fond of his character and thus plays him the best way possible.
- Kenneth Branagh was clearly having a good deal of fun in the terrible 1999 rendition of Wild Wild West. His hamtastic performance is the only really redeeming thing about that movie (besides Salma Hayek, and the great Elmer Bernstein scoring his final Western).
- Komodo, the Big Bad of Warriors of Virtue is... astonishing. Angus Macfadyen seems to spend the entire film on the verge of bursting into laughter, and frequently gives in. Wow. What was he on? Given that the same actor played the stoic DuPont in Equilibrium and Robert the Bruce in Braveheart (both under a lot less makeup), he is clearly capable of turning in a subtle performance. Given what he had to work with, he must've just decided to pop some E and go Looney Tunes.
- Sean Connery as Sir August de Wynter in The Avengers (1998).
- The Highlander series has this trope in spades...
- Sean Connery realized how much Highlander II: The Quickening was sinking into Sequelitis, and made his performance one big raised middle finger to the producers who brought his character Back from the Dead so he could appear in the sequel.
- Michael Ironside's portrayal of Big Bad General Katana. The statement from him at the top of the page is quite possibly the most explicit admission of engaging in this trope in cinema history.
- Highlander II also features John C. McGinley (who, by his own admittance, was channeling Orson Welles) as The Dragon. Spoony, in his commentary for his review of the film, stated that although he hated the film overall, he gave credit to McGinley's performance.
- Highlander: Endgame features Bruce Payne (who also hammed it up as Jeremy Irons' lackey in Dungeons & Dragons) as the main villain, Jacob Kell, who gives one of the most questionable performances of the entire series.
Kell: What's wrong? Don't you want to be inside me?
- The Guardian acts ludicrously over the top in every scene he's in in Highlander: The Source. As Spoony pointed out, every word out of his mouth is a wisecrack.
- Brian Cox seems to be the only cast member from Troy who thinks "Ah, It Will Never Catch On.", judging by his performance. "This is a man drunk with power," he told an interviewer, "It's the best part in the film!"
- He is outdone by a fan of Troy in this scene commentary: "The greatest battle of all time! MWHAHAHAHAHA!"
- Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom had moments of this in Troy. Brad Pitt, fully capable of all ranges in performance, looks halfway comatose unless he's got a shirtless scene, in which case he turns into a Large Ham. Bloom is clearly out to lunch for half the movie and has fun with it when his character gets lines.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a cheesy, stupid movie. Nobody took that film seriously, but Christopher Eccleston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt realize exactly what kind of movie they're in and have fun with it. The problem is that there's not much Hammy latitude for the good guys. Marlon—"Whoo!", Storm Shadow and Baroness actually seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, though. It's part of the reason why it's so fun.
- In his long career, Sir Christopher Lee played this trope many times. An awesome actor, he nevertheless played (mostly villains) in many, many awful B flicks, and then deliberately set his acting to over-the-top mode. As a result, these movies often ended up into the So Bad, It's Good zone, almost only because of him. It probably helps that he'll rarely flinch at any project offered him. He once did the narration for a Rhapsody of Fire album, back when they were still called Rhapsody, and stated in the interview that he was told when he was young that a person should try everything in life, except murder and incest.
- Al Pacino, from iconic performances in classic films like The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon, was widely believed to be one of the greatest actors in the history of film. Al "HOO-AH!!" Pacino, from oversized performances in films like S1m0ne, Gigli and 88 Minutes, is widely believed to enjoy money. Ironically, it's the latter who won the Oscar.
- EVERYONE in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension but especially John Lithgow. It's just one reason why it's such an awesome movie instead of forgettable.
- Uma Thurman and Steve Coogan seem to be the only actors having a blast in the otherwise bad and forgettable film adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And it shows in their over-the-top but awesome performances.
- Nicolas Cage's overacting is part of the reason for the humor in many scenes of the So Bad, It's Good remake of The Wicker Man. He admitted in an interview that after finding out he was going to punch a woman while wearing a bear suit in it, it became impossible to take it seriously, and it shows in the film's much plentiful narm.
Cage (as Edward Malus): Ah, no! Not the bees!! NOT THE BEES!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!
- Really pick almost any Nic Cage movie at random, he's made a career of overacting in implausible action movies that would be utterly forgettable if he wasn't Chewing the Scenery. A particularly infamous example is Deadfall.
- Completely by accident, John Travolta does this a few times in Battlefield Earth. It's accidental because he thought the film was going to be great, otherwise he might have been doing that in every scene. Forest Whitaker, on the other hand...
- Michael Sheen, who joined the cast of Twilight to make his daughter happy. You can tell he's aware that he's in a film that caters almost exclusively to screaming tweens, none of whom will give him a second glance, and he hams it up magnificently.
- Ralph Fiennes again in the Clash of the Titans remake, playing Hades in that film. In the midst of a mostly negative review in the Washington Post, the review comments that "Fiennes' appearance provides a jolt. Arriving always with his head curiously fixed within a cloud of swirling black smog, he knows how to make an entrance. His part is surely the best in the movie, and he's clearly having fun."
- Maximilian Schell in the otherwise ghastly The Black Hole.
- Many critics have said that Nicole Parker is the only part of a Seltzer and Friedberg "film" that's even remotely enjoyable to watch. Critics said that while her roles in Epic Movie and Disaster Movie consist of just dressing up like celebrities and other movie characters and delivering some very low-grade "jokes", she actually puts some effort in it, and overacts with a style to the point where she can almost get a laugh.
- Christopher Walken in The Country Bears. It's one of Disney's mostly forgettable 'family films'. However, Walken's completely over-the-top performance as the evil banker makes it a lot more tolerable.
"THIS IS NOT OVAH! .....BEARS!!!
- Just watch this. Congratulations, you've seen everything worth seeing in that movie.
- Gary Oldman in the film version of Lost in Space.
- Consider this - he had Jonathan Harris' incredibly over the top portrayal of Dr. Smith from the TV series to try living up to.
- In Les Misérables (1998), Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Javert steals the show, and manages to be awesome despite his character being forced to play the villain instead of the original noble antagonist. But man, does he enjoy! And then he suddenly gives us that Tear Jerker ending.
- ALL of the killers from low-budget satire/horror $la$her$ hammed it up like pro-wrestlers (quite beautifully considering they were all non-actors). Justified, since they're entertainers as well as psychopaths, and play it to the hilt for their studio audience.
- The new A-Team movie: The main cast looks like they're having an absolute blast, especially Liam Neeson and Sharlto Copley.
- As well they should. If you watch an episode of the old show, the original cast was having a blast, too (especially Dwight Schultz as the original Murdock).
- George Peppard hams it up like crazy in this show, but his interviews after the show ended made it clear it was a perfectly miserable experience for him (especially his relationship with Mr. T which was fractured until just before his death).
- SLC Punk! is a basic stoner movie, but Til Schweiger shows up as Mark, a unhinged wealthy European, and steals his scenes with this weird wild-eyed enthusiasm (as seen here), even though he's not super-loud, like some examples on this list.
Mark (brandishing a laser disc): Dere's a movie in dere! * smiles gleefully*
- Michael Gambon's performance as Lt. General Leland Zevo in Toys. And getting hammier and hammier as the movie approaches its climax.
- About 50% of the ouevre of Christopher Walken is this, especially since The '90s. It is an article of faith in Hollywood that, if you have a real stinker of a movie, just give a supporting role to Walken, and that'll be good for an extra two or three stars on IMDb. And you know what? It's true.
- Alec Baldwin tries his hand at this as the slimy bad guy in The Cat in the Hat. Mike Myers tries as well, but . . . fails.
- Congo was a book by Michael Crichton without much comic relief to speak of. Then, in The Film of the Book, someone got Bruce Campbell to show up for five minutes just so killer gorillas could throw human eyeballs at him and then slaughter him off-camera as he screams. Then they brought Tim Curry in as a "Romanian Philanthropist" who is "Travelink de vorld und doink goot!" - and the gorillas kill him too! Delroy Lindo shows up too, asking for "More" money, calling Tim Curry a "Big Bag of Shit" and telling him to STOP EATING MY SESAME CAKE! He stays home, so he doesn't get killed by gorillas.
- And finally, Ernie Hudson as the "Great White Hunter" of the group though he "happens to be black!"
- Don't forget Joe Don Baker screaming every other line.
- Most of the halfway decent actors in films by Bruno Mattei, Joe D'Amato, or any of their contemporaries do this. A great example being Gabriel Carrera's performance in SS Girls.
- Kenneth McMillan in David Lynch's adaptation of Dune. It's quite impressive to be wearing a ridiculous fatsuit and covered in disgusting oozing boils, and still have your actual performance turn out to be the most memorable thing about your character. Is it any wonder the man drank himself to death a few years later?
- "I want you to squeeeeze this part in the film! Squeeeeze and squeeeze until the role is sucked dry! Give me SPICE!"
- Paul Giamatti is clearly having fun in Shoot 'em Up. Also in the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes (2001) film.
- Hook: Dustin Hoffman was clearly having a ball playing the titular character. To this day, he actually likes having "Hook" as a nickname for himself.
- Did you think Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in (the largely percieved dissapointing) Superman Returns would phone in a subdued performance? WRONG!
- Much of the severely reduced budget for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace apparently went to the actors' salaries to get them to return to the series after the Troubled Production of Superman II, and Gene Hackman was one of the actors in question. But he still has a ball as Lex Luthor, with lots of fun villainous one-liners. He pulls double duty as the voice of all-brawn, no-brains baddie Nuclear Man and his grunts and roars have this trope written all over it. As the Nostalgia Critic/Linkara joint review points out, it's funny to imagine what must have gone on in the recording studio.
- Kate Nauta in The Transporter 2. It's pretty clear from her line delivery and facial expressions that once she read the script (which calls for her character, Lola, to spend half her screentime wearing a soaking-wet negligee, disheveled hair and runny eye makeup while dual-wielding pistols and gunning down all manner of individuals), she decided to take it as far as she could, and she looks to be the only person not to deliver the cornball material in a serious manner.
- Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend and Vincent Perez all seem fully aware of how silly Queen of the Damned is, and they all look like they're having a great time chewing on the scenery. Townsend and Aaliyah in particular really go to town with it, making ridiculous overblown gestures and milking relatively mundane lines to the point where it's damn near hilarious.
- Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons hams it up magnificently. Thora Birch, however, Took the Bad Film Seriously, and their scenes together are a sight to behold.
- Rob Arbogast in The Mailman, a lame thriller that borders on being softcore porn. As one review put it - "Rob Arbogast plays the role of the mailman with a maximum degree of cocky taunting sleaziness that goes way beyond professionalism into a clear relish for the part."
- A rare intentional case, Chris Cooper's villian in The Muppets is written with over the top ham, and you can tell that he's having a ball with it.
- Michael Caine in Oliver Stone's The Hand. This is one of the many reasons why this movie is considered So Bad, It's Good.
- The film adaption of Spawn is considered lackluster at best, with a weak story and special effects that looked old when it was released in the 90's. Among all this however is John Leguizamo, who seemed to realize what he was acting in, and hammed up his scene stealing role as The Clown/The Violator.
- Although most of the cast of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters seems to be invoking this trope, Famke Janssen is playing it to the hilt as the head witch.
- Alien: Resurrection is often considered one of the sillier entries in the Alien franchise, and has Ron Perlman, J.E. Freeman and Brad Dourif invoking this trope.
- Most of the cast of R.I.P.D. seem to get into hamming it up or playing their roles in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
- Bill Nighy loves to do this. While he's capable of turning in a positively sublime and restrained performance, watch out when he gets a role in something like Underworld or I, Frankenstein, because the ham will be flying before you can say "What the hell is that accent?" Critics who otherwise dislike such films often point out that Nighy's scenery-chewing is invariably the most entertaining thing about them, even as everyone else involved takes them far too seriously for their own good.
- Blade: Trinity was unquestionably the low point in the series. It did, however, give us this exchange:
- Drake: Blade...are you ready to die?
Blade: I was born ready, muthafucka!
Drake: ..."Motherfucker". I like that...
- Gordon Currie portrayed The Antichrist like this in the original Left Behind movies.
- Piper Laurie in the 1976 version of Carrie. Upon reading the script, she believed that the film was a Black Comedy due to how over-the-top her character, Carrie's fundamentalist mother Margaret, was, to the point where director Brian De Palma at one point had to pull her aside to remind her that they were, in fact, making a serious horror film. It still didn't stop her from hamming it up and laughing hysterically between takes. It ultimately turned out well for everybody involved, as her performance was the reason why Margaret White became one of the most terrifying villains in horror movie history. The kicker? She still thinks the film is a Black Comedy.
- Dane DeHaan hams it up as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, even before he becomes the Green Goblin.
- In The Name Of The King has Ray Liotta as the villainous Gallian, gloating about declaring himself king of the orcs - er, Krug, and Matthew "Shaggy Rogers" Lillard as the slightly less villainous Duke Fallow, whose drunkenness is overplayed to ridiculous extents. This served as a contrast to Jason Statham, who plays the hero as though his most emotionally affecting experiences cause mild flatulence or a faint headache, and Ron Perlman, who mostly limits his acting to pretending he gives a damn.
- In Jupiter Ascending, Eddie Redmayne clearly enjoys himself as Balem, with his borderline Camp Gay demeanor and his Suddenly Shouting moments.
- No Holds Barred is a Narm-heavy star vehicle for Hulk Hogan, released in 1989. It's basically Hulk being an Ink-Suit Actor and playing the same All American Face he already was, with a plot about a Corrupt Corporate Executive trying to sign him to his fledging network. It failed to make Hogan into a prominent leading man in Hollywood, since Hogan's acting skills were... let's say, limited. But the villain of the movie, Zeus, was played by Tom "Tiny" Lister, who establishes himself as a Wrestling Monster with huge, incoherent screams, chest-beating, lazy, googly eyes and absolutely No Indoor Voice. He's easily the most entertaining performance in the film, simply for how insane he acts nearly every time he's on screen.
- Little more needs to be said about Troll 2 - it's infamous for its insanely poor quality. Amongst the cast, which was made up of no-name actors thinking they were going to be extras, only Deborah Reed stood out as the villain, Creedence Leonore Gielgud. Given little proper direction by the Italian directors, she simply opted to bite huge chunks out of the scenery through her entire performance.
- Vincent Price just loved this. He was a terrific actor with quality material, but never took himself too seriously. He livened up a number of B-grade films, not all of them horror movies. 1955's Son of Sinbad, in which he plays Omar Khayyam, is a case in point.
- Doctor Who:
Forced to do a scene in which the central joke is the use of the "number nine pill"note to create a bomb, he gives up all pretense of playing the Doctor and simply begins trying to clown the script into submission in a desperate attempt to make it even remotely watchable. You can frankly see the will to live just drain out of his eyes.note
- "The Celestial Toymaker" was a script heavily hampered by No Budget conditions and the fact that the plot's central point had been made impossible by copyright disputes, leading to much of the story being basically Padding. On the other hand, Michael Gough chews on scenery hand over fist and is obviously loving the opportunity to be an over-the-top, hammy villain. He even takes the script seriously in some places to deliver some surprisingly intense interactions with the Doctor.
- Professor Zaroff in "The Underwater Menace" is likely this. Most fans (and the cast and crew) find "The Underwater Menace" hokey, nonsensical and generally stupid, but Joseph Fürst played Zaroff so outrageously over-the-top and with so much Chewing the Scenery that he becomes an entertaining and memorable villain (although the interview with Anneke Wills on the reconstruction audio suggests that she thought he Took the Bad Film Seriously, and that she and Troughton would constantly make him repeat his line "NOTHINK IN ZE VORLD CAN SHTOP ME NOW!!" to laugh at him and he never realised they were mocking him).
- Philip Sandifer thought that Patrick Troughton, as the Doctor, was hamming it up out of boredom in the serial The Dominators, a story that most people find excruciatingly boring:
Sycorax Leader: (growling) I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!Tenth Doctor: (bellowing outrageously) RIIIII DOOON'T KNOOOOOOOWWW!!!
- Patrick Troughton spends a lot of "The Space Pirates", a rather convoluted story in which he has virtually nothing to do, hamming it up as much as he can get away with. This involves a lot of Took the Bad Film Seriously, as he plays his scene where he nearly kills everyone perfectly and terrifyingly straight, but also involves him extending his vowels as far as he can while trying to look clever in front of Zoe.
- Tom Baker was, according to the special features on "Robot", specifically cast for this - as the future of the show at that point was uncertain due to the lead actor and entire production team changing (and there had been several attempts to kill the show off), the casting director's brief was to find someone who was 'a very good actor' and 'so charismatic that he is fun to watch even when nothing else is'.
- Before Tom Baker got to the point where he could change lines in the script, he tended to really overact stupid lines of dialogue or unfunny jokes he would have to say - usually delivering them by fixing the camera with his eyes and overacting the line with a contemptuous "can you believe I am saying this shit?!" expression, as if asking the audience to laugh at the show itself. This draws a lot of attention to the clunkers, unfortunately, but pushes at least a few of them into So Unfunny It's Funny.
- Tom Baker and Lis Sladen hated everything they had to say in "The Android Invasion" and so rewrote all of their dialogue together. Both of them are clearly having a lot of fun.
- Both Elisabeth Sladen and Tom Baker (especially) have an absolutely wonderful time overacting their way through the incredibly out-of-characterand cynically recycled audio drama Dr Who and the Pescatons. Tom Baker delivers his bad lines with an audible smirk, comes up with all sorts of fun ways of interpreting a 'generic Doctor'-type script to fit the Fourth Doctor's character and even bursts out into song at one point.
- "Invasion of Time" had No Budget, catastrophic Special Effects Failure, enforced Lighter and Softer tone, truly awful BBC Quarry sets, a mediocre script hinging on an 'event' most people wouldn't care about and a very angry Tom Baker who felt that his show was imploding and was struggling with his personal life. The kicker is that the script required him to act like an insane megalomaniac, which he pretty much was even out-of-character at that point. The result is the biggest, loudest, most swivel-eyed and self-indulgent overacting a Doctor has ever been responsible for, with much of his dialogue openly addressed to the camera. Depending on how funny you find him, it's either making a washout story hilariously watchable or the worst thing in his whole tenure.
- "The Creature From the Pit" features Special Effect Failure, No Budget, a kindly monster that happens to look like a giant cock and balls, and Tom Baker cracking himself up by cramming as many nob jokes and fellatio innuendos into his performance as possible.
- The 1979 story The Horns of Nimon. Despite Graham Crowden's legendary chewing of scenery there was plenty of set left for other actors to dine on. One of the other characters - the co-pilot, played by Malcolm Terris - has the catchphrase "WEAKLING SCUM!" that he delivers in increasingly over-the-top pantomimic ways. Even more delicious is that during his death scene he overacts so spectacularly that his trousers visibly split. According to Doctor Who Magazine, "WEAKLING SCUM!!!" wasn't even in the script, Terris came up with it all by himself. Pop him between two slices of bread and you'd have a ham and cheese sandwich you could use to beat a bear to death.
- Colin Baker: no matter how awful the Sixth Doctor's attitude (and Baker's personal life at the time) got, his truly marvellous overacting always made up for a lot.
- Timelash. Paul Darrow gives a performance that has to be seen to be disbelieved. He later said that this was revenge for Colin Baker's Large Ham tendencies when he appeared on Blake's 7 as Bayban the Butcher.
- Kate O'Mara is clearly having a wonderful time playing the vampy, Campy Mad Scientist villainess the Rani in all three of the godawful stories the character was in. In fact, many people think that easily the worst story out of them - "Dimensions in Time" - had the best Rani.
- Richard Biers openly admitted that he took his role in "Paradise Towers" to have the opportunity to act badly.
- Eric Roberts seemed to be doing this as the Master in the TV movie.
- The Sycorax Leader and David Tennant in his debut role as the Tenth Doctor during The Christmas Invasion. Killer Santas and killer Christmas Trees meet a bellicose alien who wants to sell humanity into slavery. When he meets Ten, it results in Ham-to-Ham Combat. And when the Sycorax Leader is practically frothing at the mouth, Ten decides to mock him and takes the ham through the ceiling.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, one episode's plot forced the main cast to act out the roles in Dr. Bashir's James Bond holosuite program. Avery Brooks, in the role of an intentionally campy Omnicidal Maniac Bond villain, wolfed down the scenery and went back for seconds.
- As does Nana Visitor, who in this interview, said she was in heaven because her Bond girl role called for a comically terrible Russian accent and coming out of a wall on a round bed.
- Over in Star Trek: The Next Generation: You are Patrick Stewart. You have a dodgy script that isn't likely to be filmed very well for an episode called "Masks". You also have a prop with a distinctly phallic shape. What do you do? a) Try manfully to turn in a good performance; b) Sleepwalk through the episode, or c) Hold the prop with its base right in front of your crotch, emphasise the words that make the best euphemisms in that scene, and make Jonathan Frakes crack up ?
- Star Trek: Voyager provides an In-Universe example with the Show Within a Show holoprogram The Adventures of Captain Proton, specifically designed by Tom Paris to be as over-the-top as possible.
- The BBC documentary series Simon Schama's Power of Art focuses less on documentation and more on ridiculously dramatized reenactments of famous artists throughout history. Particularly notable is Andy "Gollum" Serkis as Vincent van Gogh.
- Christien Anholt as Eon in Ben 10: Race Against Time.
- The cast of Canadian Musketeer series Young Blades used to veer madly between narm-tastic attempts to take the bad show seriously, and bouts of outrageous tongue-in-cheek ham. The latter approach was a lot more successful, as it was often damn hilarious to watch and caused the series to tip over into So Bad, It's Good territory. Robert Sheehan (King Louis XIV) was probably the only cast member with Ham and Cheese as his default setting - his camp and outlandish performance was easily the most entertaining part of the show.
- In the later seasons of Law & Order: SVU, B.D. Wong can occasionally be seen doing this with some of Dr. Huang's increasingly silly Mister Exposition/Captain Obvious dialogue.
- Peter Dickson, the famous Voiceover Man of shows such as The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, is well known and loved for his overdramatic voiceovers, most brilliantly amplified in a BBC comedy bit where he does the voice at home to a long-suffering wife.
- While David Caruso is known for being a somewhat pretentious asshole, he is really over the top as CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine. He said that the script forced him to do it initially, as in early episodes of the first season he appears to be more humane. Later on, he's made of ham and cheese, and his performance... *shades on* is damn tasty. YEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
- The entire cast of Gilligan's Island was painfully aware of the show's caliber, and often turned to this trope for solace. Jim Backus still managed to stand out.
- Barbara Goodson (Rita's English voice), Jason Narvy (Skull), Paul Schrier (Bulk), and Robert Axelrod (various monsters, Lord Zedd) clearly get a kick out of their roles in Power Rangers.
- One interesting example from the series is the character of Divatox from the Turbo movie and season and the Space season. In the movie, the latter part of the Turbo season, and all of In Space, she was played by Hilary Shepard Turner in this manner. For many fans, she was all that made any of Turbo watchable. But for the first 60% or so of that season, she was away on maternity leave and replaced by Carol Hoyt. Carol took the role much more seriously, which came across as rather boring and generic. Most fans still prefer Hilary's version and were happy to have her back.
- Everyone in The Cape. EVERYONE.
- Barbara Kellerman is clearly doing this in the BBC TV version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, playing the White Witch as an over-the-top villainess in a performance similar to Faye Dunaway's in Mommie Dearest and Uma Thurman's in Batman & Robin. Her overacting is hysterical, such as her Big "NO!" to Edmund.
- Bronson Pinchot in The Langoliers. Yes, believe it or not, Bronson Pinchot can actually turn the ham up even more.
- Not to mention Dean Stockwell, who appears to be channeling Shatner.
- 24 had its very lackluster seventh season that was part of a multiple-season Dork Age where one of the primary memorable scene stealers was Jon Voight as Jonas Hodges, an over-the-top Corrupt Corporate Executive that had little to no trouble chewing the scenery whenever he showed his face in a scene. Not too shockingly, after Hodges was taken out of the picture the majority of the fans felt that the rest of Season 7 completely nosedived.
- In Smallville, Callum Blue's Ax-Crazy portrayal of Zod is pretty much the only redeeming thing in the atrocious season nine.
- Intentionally embraced by America's Most Haunted as part of its scenery-chewing lowbrow humor.
- While being a Large Ham is in the job description, special mention should go to Dusty Rhodes. Many wrestling observers saw his time in WWE in the 1980s as shameful, as it involved him dancing around the ring in a polka-dot suit and getting his head stuck in toilets. Rhodes, however, has since said that was the most fun he had as a wrestler, since he didn't have to worry about booking duties and backstage politics like he did in WCW.
- The Rock seemed to be trying to top him during his later appearances.
- Chris Jericho has made a career out of trying to out-do them both.
- After Hulk Hogan's star vehicle, No Holds Barred, was released in 1989, Vince McMahon was eager to promote the film on television, so he brought in Tiny Lister, who played the Wrestling Monster Zeus in the film, to continue playing Zeus on WWF TV. If you're thinking that sounds nonsensical, it was. For his part, Lister's appearances as Zeus were filled with the same incoherent screams, chest-beating and googly eyes that he did in the film.
- In the early 90s, after Demolition split up, they needed something new for Smash, aka Barry Darsow, to do. He wound up becoming the Repo Man, a guy in a Lone Ranger mask and a crusty old trench coat who would "repossess" the belongings of ordinary schmucks and wrestlers alike. Silly as the gimmick was, Darsow, for his part, completely sunk his teeth into this gimmick, cackling like a Batman villain, snooping around with exaggerated double-takes, and just playing everything as over the top as possible. The Repo Man gimmick only lasted from late 1991 to early 1993, but it's a longtime favorite of the gang at WrestleCrap.
- In a similar vein, Lanny Poffo as The Genius. A talented, dexterous wrestler who was doing flips and high-flying stuff before it was truly appreciated, he was saddled with a cheesy heel gimmick in the late 80s where he would read condescending poetry before each match, while wearing an academic dress and mortarboard hat. To say Poffo made the most of it would be putting it mildly: he wound up playing the gimmick as campy and flamboyant as he possibly could.
- Shawn Michaels used this to do a Take That to Hulk Hogan, when backstage politics lead to him getting buried in a match. Michaels, rather than try to turn in the normal top-tier performance you're supposed to try for a PPV, spent the whole match flying around the ring◊ in ways that would make a Ragdoll Physics programmer think he was overdoing it.
- You can also count on this whenever Michaels teams up with Triple H (rarely these days, unfortunately) in D-Generation X. WWE is so intrinsically absurd anyway that you tend to get used to all the folderol and usually manage only a mild chuckle - but DX will make you laugh right out loud. Uncontrollably.
- Bad News Barrett. While it isn't enough to redeem the gimmick in some fans eyes, he clearly enjoys it.
- Metal Wolf Chaos is, arguably, an enforced version of this. The plot and writing is so completely ridiculous that anything less than extreme doses of B-movie overdramatics and yelling would've ruined the charm. This is a Japanese game with No Export for You - yet it is entirely in over-the-top English and recorded by people who speak English natively for a game released only in Japan.
- Out of the utter train wreck that is Sonic '06, Dan Green's gloriously over-the-top performance as Mephiles the Dark is easily the most enjoyable part of the game.
- The series in general has Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. While the Adventure-to-Heroes-era and 4Kids voice actors were much criticized, Deem Bristow and Mike Pollock respectively stood out in doses of awesomely cheesy ham and memorable catchphrases. In fact, when Sega finally gave in to fan complaints and replaced the 4Kids actors in 2010, Pollock – by far the most popular and least criticized of the cast – was the only one of the bunch to keep his job.
- Indeed, it has often been said about the series that Robotnik has never had a bad voice actor.note In the cartoon adaptations, Long John Baldry (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog) and Jim Cummings (Sonic Sat AM) both play him ridiculously over-the-top (though in very different ways) and both give the most memorable performances in their respective shows.
- Even with the otherwise terrible voice acting of Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Edwin Neal was actually pretty good as Robotnik.
- Sir Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies) plays the ghost of 16th century knight Sir William Hawksmoor in Ghost Hunter, his only videogame appearance to date. Whether he's threatening the heroine, "I want FLESH", performing William Shakespeare on a high-school stage (yes, seriously), giving orders to the ghost of a killer who died in the electric chair, pleading for his unlife with an unseen Parliament, or negotiating with modern day military, it's pure Ham and Cheese.
- He's not the only one. Rob Paulsen, Joe Morton, Andre Sogliuzzo, Michael Cochrane, and Veronica Hart are all chewing the scenery at one time or another, including a ghostly high school librarian breaking into the school song.
- In Resident Evil 5, it is quite clear that DC Douglas was having a good time as Albert Wesker.
Wesker: Complete. Global. SATURATION.
- Grandia Xtreme isn't particularly well-remembered or well-liked, but it's worth it alone just to hear Mark Hamill ham it up so hard that it makes his work as The Joker seem subdued.
- Christopher Walken again as Detective Magnotta in the early-nineties Full Motion Video adventure game Ripper. His performance could best be described as Walken doing a bad impression of himself. It's un-fucking believable!.
- Leonard Nimoy as Master Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep hams it up SPECTACULARLY. Just so we're clear, he's playing the original incarnation of the first game's villain - y'know, the guy played by Billy Zane who outhammed half the Disney rogues gallery? That's a lot of scenery to chew, but Nimoy manages it.
"I SWORE I would surVIIIIIIIIIVE, and be there to see what awaited beYOOOOOND the Keyblade WAAAAARRR! And it is YOOOUUURR DARKNESS that will be the ARK that susTAAAAAIIINS MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
- His Seiyuu in Japan did just as well, too. Master Xehanort was intended to be a ham of biblical proportions, as evidenced by the wild gesticulations, the god complex, and the fact that just about every Xehanort character takes massive bites out of the scenery in any game they're in.
- The entire point of Red Alert 3 was to get as many good actors as possible in on the project (none of them are A-listers, but Kelly Hu, George Takei, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry, Peter Stormare and J. K. Simmons are all respected character actors with decent, if perhaps not glowing, resumés), and have them competitively chew scenery. The end result is comparable to pizza in it's cheesy, ham-laden glory.
- Spiderman! Spiderman! George Takei should be Spiderman!
- The Jupiter Ascending Nostalgia Critic review depicts a League of Good Actors Who Gave One Bat Shit Crazy Perfromance (LOGAWGOBSCP for short) made of one-time Ham and Cheese actors.