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 talked to spies. Miese was played by an actress who was secretly half-Jewish and deliberately made Miese extremely likable and entertaining.
Most of the voice actors in the French-language dub of the Transformers cartoon are incredibly deadpan, even when the situation would dictate the character be one step short of giving themselves a robo-stroke. By contrast, the voice actor for Megatron plays his part brilliantly, but comes across as chewing the scenery because everyone else is flat as a pancake. This is especially egregious when he's conversing with Soundwave, who's voiced by a francophone version of Ben Stein on sedatives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All the more interesting as Richard E. Grant is a famous method actor, showing very little restraint in the lunacy of the film.
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 skippping around and milking every bit of ham he can out of his lines.
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
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.
Danny De Vito and Michelle Pfieffer both seem to be hamming it up to the max in Batman Returns. Come on, which is the more over the top goofy - Penguin giving a rousing speech to a group of penguins with rockets or Catwoman giving herself a tongue bath in public? Compared to them, in fact, Christopher Walken, who's more often known for being a Large Ham, comes off as one of the few dead-serious things in the movie!
Batman Forever. It 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.
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.
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 terribleMade 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.
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 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.
But Michael Ironside's portrayal of the villain "Katana" is even hammier. He's so incredibly over-the-top he makes the movie So Bad, It's Good.
Another bearable aspect of Highlander II is Michael Ironside and John C. McGinley (who, by his own admittance, was channeling Orson Welles) as the villains. 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.
While we're still on the subject of Highlander, 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.
A recurring joke has been that the Ocean's Trilogy was simply an excuse for George Clooney and Brad Pitt to get together and have some fun with all their friends regardless of whether or not the movies were any good. Surprisingly, they are pretty decent.
This is what the original Ocean's 11 movie was for the Rat Pack as well.
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.
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.
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 wearing a bear suit in it it became impossible to take it seriously, and it shows in the film's much plentiful narm.
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
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.
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."
Liam Neeson comes seriously close to out-hamming him, if not succeeding. Either way, the real clash in this movie is the Ham-to-Ham Combat both actors are clearly enjoying. RELEASE THE KRAKEN LARGE HAM!!!
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.
Consider this - he had Jonathan Harris' incredibly over the top portrayal of Dr. Smith from the TV series to try and live up to.
In Les Miserables 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 Nineties. 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.
Eric Roberts in The Expendables. It appears as if he read a textbook on action movie villainy and then turned it up to eleven. It also fits in with the overall not-taking-itself-too-seriously vibe of the film.
Read? Eric Roberts wrote the book on action movie villainy!
Congo was an excellent book by Michael Crichton. 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!"
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.
Not that it's a bad movie by any means but Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson both seem very out of place in Easy A. A rather witty teen comedy is obviously quite different from their usual roles and both clearly took the opportunity to have as much fun in it as the younger cast, and it shows.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
One internet reviewer thought that Patrick Troughton, as the Doctor, was hamming it up out of boredom in the Doctor Who serial The Dominators, a story that most people find excruciatingly boring.
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. 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.
According to Doctor Who Magazine, "WEAKLING SCUM!!!" wasn't even in the script, Terris came up with it all by himself.
Speaking of Doctor Who, there's 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.
Speaking of 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.
Eric Roberts seemed to be doing this as the Master in the TV movie.
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.
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.
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.
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), 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.
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.
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.
For that matter, his sons. Goldust has won numerous "worst character of the year" awards, but he goes so over the top in his portrayal and voice that it's such a joy to watch. And for "Dashing" Cody Rhodes...well...just hit him in the face. You can clearly see how much fun he has in his responses.
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.
Shawn Michaels used this to do a Take That to Wrestling/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 whenver 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.
A lot of the humor CM Punk provides will come from his intentional overacting or telling an intentionally bad joke.
Indeed, it has often been said about Robotnik that he has never had a bad voice actor. 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.
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 wantFLESH", 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.
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!"