Battle for the Planet of the Apes: The budget may be smaller than the previous films and the plot may be less original, but all of the major actors (with the possible exceptions of the ones playing Aldo, Kolp, and Alma) put an impressive amount of feeling and nuance into their performances.
Peter Cushing described The Blood Beast Terror (a movie about a were-moth who drinks blood) as the worst film he'd ever appeared in, but he went the Consummate Professional route and gave it his all anyway. This is a consistent trend across Cushing's filmography: even the bad movies are at least worth seeing for Cushing's performances.
According to Nathan Shumate's review of Chatterbox: "Everyone involved gave their all to make a film that they must have thought was wonderful, witty, daring, provocative, and all those other good adjectives. They put the finishing touches on, stepped back, and suddenly realized:
Daylight's End: Most fans single out the amount of depth and believability Lance Henriksen and Louis Mandylor put into their characters, a Wasteland Elder and his son, in a low-budget, by the numbers post-apocalyptic action flick.
A review of Deep Blue Sea said the film works because everyone isn't taking it seriously, making it quite fun. The exception is Saffron Burrows, who "behaves as it was an art film" (and unlike most of the examples here, gives a relatively controversial performance).
Sean Connery in Zardoz. The poor guy is trying his best, though he's clearly embarrassed by the costume. It's been said he did the movie to avoid being Typecast as James Bond. So it's possible he wasn't even considering the role itself so much as what it wasn't. It's also been said that at the time Connery was actually having trouble getting work because the historic paycheck he cashed for Diamonds Are Forever made him too expensive for most filmmakers to want to hire him, so director John Boorman was actually able to get Connery on the cheap for what was a very low-budget film. In fact, the budget was so low that Connery sacrificed most of the comforts an actor of his standing was supposed to get, such as having his own driver, in favor of just rooming with Boorman and hitching a ride to work with Boorman on the condition that they split the cost of gas.
Drive Angry: The most enjoyable character is probably the Accountant, played by a very hammy William Fichtner, though it seems that just about everyone took the film seriously apart from Nicolas Cage.
James Marsters didn't appear to take his role of Piccolo too seriously in practice; however, he did give several long-winded speeches on the character's motivations, referencing William Shakespeare in one of them and treating the role as a Composite Character of Piccolo and Kami (who were technically the same being anyway). Still, he gives a downright subtle and restrained performance compared to most everyone else in the film.
Marsters: He used to be a force of good, but he was imprisoned, making him very angry, and then he escapes... The cool thing is anybody who's seen Dragon Ball knows that Lord Piccolo transforms into THE Piccolo, and that is a whole other ball of wax; heroic wouldn't be the wrong term, but it's a long journey.
Perhaps a better fit for this trope is Justin Chatwin as Goku. Holding back other considerations of how his character's motivation is changed from Anime to Film, his performance of Goku as an insecure teen is pretty good, even adding some character development as he becomes self-confident to the point of gaining Heroic Willpower. It's also been said that he studied the original manga AND the manga's inspiration, Journey to the West, in preparation.
Ed Speleers as the title character is obviously trying to make a good impression in his first major acting role, but his stilted delivery combined with a poor script makes for some unintentionally comical moments.
Jeremy Irons, who is no stranger to hammy acting, gives a genuinely convincing and, by his standards, surprisingly restrained performance as Brom, despite the scriptwriters' best efforts to the contrary. Since he seems to have taken Ed Speleers under his wing, this was likely a deliberate attempt not to overshadow his younger co-star, but sadly, all he really accomplishes is making everyone else look even worse in comparison.
Fear Clinic: Many people think that the actors do what they can with a cliched and relatively muddled script and make their characters easy to care about, particularly Robert Englund and Fiona Dourif as the two leads.
Max von Sydow gives a fairly restrained and subtle performance as Ming the Merciless, a character you'd expect the actor to chew the scenery for, and it works extremely well. Or perhaps Von Sydow just succeeds in the rare art of playing a character over the top (you can hear the sheer enjoyment of what he is doing whenever he speaks) WITHOUT having to pick bits of the scenery out of his teeth.
Anything Ed Wood's ever done. Glen or Glenda, especially, to the point where some audiences even find it unironically kinda good (if very weird). Bela Lugosi, in Wood's Bride of the Monster, despite being, well, an Ed Wood film, plays his role with utter conviction, particularly Dr. Vornoff's lamentation, "Home? I have no home!"
Everyone in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale takes it seriously, even the hammy villain. You have to wonder if the all-star cast noticed that their director was Uwe Boll. Regardless, everyone makes a fine effort... we even get to see John Rhys-Davies as a wizard! And Matthew Lillard trying to be a menacing corrupt royal.
Several of the cast members in Showgirls take their roles seriously, which contributed greatly to its cheesy reputation in the intervening years.
Gina Gershon comes close to salvaging the film. She's clearly trying her hardest to be emotionally sincere during the hospital scene at the end and gives the closest thing the film has to a Tear Jerker.
Elizabeth Berkley could be said to have taken Showgirls too seriously. This is why she received the majority of the backlash from it. At least everyone else gave the impression that they were trying to distance themselves from it.
Kyle MacLachlan was rumored to have stormed out of a screening because he was told by Paul Verhoeven that they were making a serious art film and not... well, Showgirls. MacLachlan himself claims no such event took place.
If you watch the "Making Of" featurette included in the DVD, it seems like EVERYONE involved the film took it way too seriously. It's downright surreal, hearing people go on about "complex emotional bonds" and making serious attempts at character interpretation for a movie that turned out to be... Showgirls. Meanwhile, Robert Davi is camping it up for all he's worth as the sleazy owner of the Alligator Club, clearly aware that the material couldn't rise beyond its narrow aspirations.
Speaking of Kyle MacLachlan, this seems to be true of most of the cast of Dune (1984), which featured convincing performances from him, Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow, Dean Stockwell, and a few others. It's rather telling that in spite of the film's failure, Stockwell's career was revitalized by it and McLachlan, who had never appeared in a movie before, was not instantly banished from Hollywood forever, making enough of an impression that he would star in several later projects for the director. This is a big part of why the movie's cult fandom enjoy Dune for the things it gets right, and not for the things it gets wrong. On the other hand, there's Sting's performance.
If anybody's watched the documentary Best Worst Movie, then they know that Claudio Fragasso of Troll 2 infamy takes his film VERY seriously.
John Carradine in practically anything. The man made a career out of this trope, in fact.
Sienna Guillory tried her damnedest as the role of Jill Valentine in Resident Evil: Apocalypse, even going so far as watching game footage to get her movements right. This hits further when you listen to the movie commentary; Milla Jovovich (Alice) and Oded Fehr (Carlos Olivera) were cracking jokes and being good-spirited throughout, while Guillory was deadpan serious the entire time (admittedly, she recorded her commentary separately, but it aptly demonstrates their differences in attitude toward the film).
For the Fantastic Four Duology, Michael Chiklis wanted to give the most authentic in-person portrayal of The Thing regardless of the films' qualities. As such, he insisted on wearing cumbersome make-up and costume instead of just simply voicing a CGI character for the same pay and less effort. Needless to say, even the most vocal haters of the Fantastic Four movies applauded Chiklis for his dedication.
Reynolds was busy proving that just because you aren't taking the film seriously doesn't mean you can't have a blast taking your character as seriously as he merits.
Michael Fassbender's Magneto stands out for being as good as ever in Dark Phoenix when just about every other major actor involved seemed to have realized that their subseries peaked two films ago. Sophie Turner is also doing her best in the lead role but unfortunately falls well short of the threshold.
Due to its extremely dysfunctional production and many competing explanations for what went wrong, we may never know exactly whyPeter Sellers underplayed the role of Evelyn Tremble in James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), but his work (while funny) certainly clashes with that of the hammy stars brought in to make up for his being fired from it. The Life and Death of Peter Sellers suggests he underplayed it deliberately so he could be taken seriously.
Later Sellers top-lined the 1979 comic version of The Prisoner of Zenda. According to biographer Alexander Walker, it was upon reading the completed script that Sellers desperately tried to get out of it, but couldn't because his only-recently revived career and his plans to finally make his dream project could not withstand the legal morass it would result in. In the finished film, he does a fine (though not hilarious) job with the roles of hero Syd and goofier Prince Rudolf, again in contrast to some hammier supporting actors, but there's an air of defeat hanging about him throughout; one can tell he knew he couldn't save the movie no matter what he did on- or off-screen. (He got to do that dream project next, and thankfully, it worked out much better for everyone involved.)
Despite what you might think, Lea Thompson does not consider her performance in Howard the Duck to be an Old Shame. Watching the movie, you can tell Thompson was actually giving the role her all, without even the vaguest hints that she was aware of just how ridiculous the whole undertaking was.
Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok) is unique among the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier cast in that he's seemingly the only one doing his darnedest to do an earnest acting job. Well, DeForest Kelley, an old-school character actor, carries on as he always did (the scene about deciding to end his dying father's pain is considered a high point for McCoy's character as a whole), and William Shatner also takes it seriously, in his own way. Most of the rest of the cast are clearly enjoying their Ham and Cheese, with the notable exception of Leonard Nimoy, whose groans you can see and eyerolls you can hear.
On that note, Tom Hardy in Star Trek: Nemesis - which goes a long way to making up for some of the film's flaws. He may be playing a villain who's a fifth-rate Khan knockoff at best and a Generic Doomsday Villain at worst, but you can really see the guy who'd go on to star in much better movies in there.
Hounddog has the following critical consensus (by and large): Dakota Fanning's acting - excellent. Other children's acting - very good. Adult acting - good (from most) to average. The script, directing, editing, and post-production - horrible.
Skinwalkers is a now all but forgotten werewolf film notable for only two things. 1) The Gun-Toting Werewolf Granny. 2) The entire cast and crew play the extremely silly plot and spout off the absolutely atrocious lines dead-set-seriously. In the entire film, there's only one intentional joke, but it's nowhere near as funny as the hilarious stuff played absolutely straight elsewhere. (Even the Gun-Toting Werewolf Granny is meant to be taken seriously!)
Also, funnily enough, Raul Julia also counts, in his own way. Yes, he's practically consuming pieces of the set on film with how hard he's going in on the ham, but it's also clear that he thinks this is the best approach for the character (and let's face it, even in the games M. Bison is a total ham). He took the role because his kids dearly wanted to see him do it while he was still well, and by god you can tell he's doing his absolute best to give a performance that will entertain and delight them. He also did research and based his performance on the mannerisms of real-world dictators, so the man really did his homework for this role.
Hilary Swank in The Core, especially in contrast to the screaming Ham and Cheese provided by co-star Stanley Tucci and the visible amusement of Delroy Lindo. Aaron Eckhart is a borderline case in that his performance is fairly straight-faced, but he recounted in a later interview that he and Tucci nearly peed themselves laughing during certain scenes because the movie was SO ridiculous.
Wild Things isn't necessarily a bad movie. While the film seems to be trying to be a Stealth Parody of the erotic thriller genre, the cast doesn't seem to agree on how seriously to take the script. As a result, many see it as unintentionally hilarious.
From a review of the terrible low-budget MockbusterNazis in the Centre of the Earth:
"The star of the movie is Christopher K. Johnson's Dr. Mengele. It's as if he's in some other far more sophisticated, far better film (perhaps with Sir Ian McKellen?) and his scenes have been cut and pasted into this Asylum movie. It's like watching a person who is taking this seriously and has actively made the decision that he's going to pretend he's in Marathon Man no matter how horrible the movie is turning out. This is a professional. This is some Patrick Stewart shit going on right there."
According to Mel Brooks' commentary on Blazing Saddles, this occurred with Frankie Laine when he recorded the title song. He simply didn't realize the film he was singing for was a parody, and Mel didn't have the heart to tell him after he'd recorded the song so passionately and sincerely.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine (Musical). The film was considered by many to be a catastrophe, but the man, who's a notorious method actor, delved into his character just as much as he has in any other character he's ever played. Many critics wondered if it would hurt his mostly unblemished career at all. He's seconded by Marion Cotillard, who director Rob Marshall viewed as the real star of the film. Her powerful, emotional performance of the Movie Bonus Song "Take It All" nearly redeemed the film for some.
Dev Patel as Zuko and Shaun Toub as Iroh have been cited by many reviewers as positive standouts among the film's generally wooden performances, as they are clearly invested in their characters and try to inject some genuine emotion into the often stilted dialogue.
Asif Mandvi as Zhao is a curious example in which taking a role seriously overlaps with Ham and Cheese: while his performance is almost comically over-the-top in its smugness and villainy, it is also perfectly in line with the character's portrayal in the original series.
Director Rob Bowman knew that Reign of Fire was essentially a B-movie but he and most of the people involved in the production decided to play it straight. Only Matthew McConaughey really cut loose in his performance, but his character was supposed to be legitimately deranged.
His role as a split-personality unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Conflicted" put this beyond doubt. Unfortunately, he got the role of Jasper in The Twilight Saga.
The Last Airbender, when he played Sokka as Jasper with a boomerang, was worse in this regard.
Peter Fonda provides a heart-wrenching dramatic performance as the character Burnett Stone in the Thomas & Friends movie, Thomas and the Magic Railroad. His seriousness is actually justified, as the original script gave his character a lot more story and the character had all the reason to be as depressed as Fonda portrayed him to be. According to these production notes, Fonda compared his character to Ulee, a character he previously played in the adult drama Ulees Gold. Peter saw Burnett as a man who lost touch with the world after enduring the revenge of P.T. Boomer, a cut character. Due to major cuts demanded by an uninformed test audience, Burnett’s serious performance ended up seeming out of place in the final film.
In addition to Rathbone, the Twilight series is full of examples of this trope.
Dakota Fanning gives the best performance of anyone in the whole Twilight series. Kristen Stewart, who is critically acclaimed in anything that's not Twilight, tries for a serious performance as well. Her interviews indicate as much, but ultimately she just makes Bella come off as wooden. Much like Tina Louise below, Stewart also seems to the cast member most resentful of her Twilight fame.
Billy Burke consistently gives an emotionally honest performance in the role of Bella's concerned father Charlie. If Fanning's performance isn't the best in the series, then Burke's is without a doubt.
Nikki Reed hardly gets much screen time in the films. But when she does, she manages to deliver shockingly good performances. Her scene in Eclipse where she tells Bella about her life, or in Breaking Dawn when the Cullens discover Bella's pregnant.
Rosalie: Say it — Baby! It's just a little baby!
When Anna Kendrick appeared in Up in the Air, one review said, "Some of you may know her from Twilight, but you know what, that's not her fault."
Michael Sheen as Aro is one of the most convincing portrayals of a human-eating monster in the series. His giddiness and Ham and Cheese performance are completely in character and give off the feel of a serial killer.
Armand Assante in Judge Dredd. He looks like he's actually about to cry when he gets to the "That's your family! I'm your family! I'm the only family you ever HAD!" Careers are built on less sincere performances. Especially notable since he actually manages to combine it with its supposed foil Ham and Cheese — that line comes almost right after ("LAAAAWWWW!") and then sounds like he's about to start crying seconds later.
Everyone in Battlefield Earth plays it straight. Even the Psychlos, who come from a World of Ham, seem to be taking their ham very seriously. Only Forest Whitaker seems to be having fun with his role, and he stated that the only reason he did the role was Money, Dear Boy, and even later came to regret that.
While The Ahnuld spends most of Batman & Robin dishing up Ham and Cheese like pizza is going out of style, he also manages to bring across the Crusading Widow aspect of Mr. Freeze in a way no adaptation before or since has managed, and give poignancy and tenderness to... well, a comic-book villain. It's especially worth noting in light of the fact that the Mister Freeze costume was an absolute nightmareto wear; he had to put electric lights in his mouth, and at one point nearly drank battery acid as a result.
The Expendables is essentially a knowingly-cheesy pastiche of every action film made in the '80s, to the point of exaggerated gunfights, ridiculous contrivances, and Ham and Cheese acting by all the main cast...except Mickey Rourke, who seemed to think he was in a totally different film and gave a nuanced performance as an ex-member of the team who waxes poetic about their past missions. He also gives the best speech in the film (about how he felt dead inside after doing that job for so long). It's totally at odds with the subject matter, but his performance works brilliantly.
The same goes for Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas in The Expendables 3. While most of the new additions to the cast are clearly aware what the franchise was going for (a traditional passing-the-torch tale), Gibson has an odd look of defeat about him - caused by media backlash over the intervening years - and plays everything either ultra-serious or in full-on Riggs mode, while Banderas oscillates from Ham and Cheese to the most sincere and serious moment the film has when he tells Barney (Sylvester Stallone) about the reasons why he couldn't work with a team for a long time.
Christopher Reeve had to have known that the Superman film franchise was on its last legs when he signed up (with stipulations) for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. To note, Reeve would only take the film if several conditions were met, one of them being a strict anti-nuclear message. While other members of the cast understand how bad the script is (Gene Hackman was there for a check and Jon Cryer was camping it up), Reeve gives it his all and delivers the only emotionally honest performance in the film, which is especially evident in the scenes where he prepares to sell the Kent family farm and the sequence where he delivers a stirring speech to the United Nations. It's enough to make the viewer wish that the film wasn't screwed over with (among other things) the most ridiculous villain ever seen in a comic book film, Nuclear Man.
Superman III wasn't exactly a brilliant film either, with villains who were arguably even lamer than Nuclear Man (or even Hackman's Lex), but damn it all Reeve gave a valiant effort in that one too, as did his one time leading lady (and future Ma Kent of Smallville) Annette O'Toole. Even Richard Pryor's goofy antagonist has sincere moments when he isn't being put through slapstick paces (his explaining to his employer that Krypton was destroyed, for instance); in fact, the character could have been even goofier but Pryor, a longtime fan of the superhero, objected.
From the same producers and era, with the exception of John Lithgow as B.Z. (who is a case of Evil Is Hammy as this film's equivalent to Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, which works in context), Santa Claus: The Movie has a wholly sincere cast working to put over a near-Epic Movie about a character whose nature, associates, and setting don't exactly cry out for the gravitas of a Superman spectacular, with a story that gets sillier as it goes along. David Huddleston as Santa Claus is the most obvious example of this working, but Dudley Moore's endearing performance as Patch the elf is a lot less hammy/indulgent than one would expect from a comic actor who was the biggest name in the cast back in the day, and Burgess Meredith is a One-Scene Wonder as the dignified Ancient Elf.
In The Seeker, the only actor who seems to be taking it at all seriously is Alexander Ludwig, who plays the protagonist, Will. He's so earnest and such an awful actor that it's hilarious when it's not cringeworthy. Going by Vikings, he seems to have gotten better, much like Ed Speleers.
In the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker series of film comedies, this is done on purpose. If it weren't, the "stories" (such as they are) simply wouldn't be as funny.
John Williams is known to have taken several bad or even very polarizing films seriously, improving them as a result.
Joan Crawford started to act like this towards the end of her career. After What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Crawford starred in a string of B-horror films that included Strait Jacket (playing a psycho ex-wife), Berserk (as a circus ring-mistress accused of murder), TV anthology shows and her final film Trog, which had Crawford playing a researcher who discovers a man (running around in a ratty ape suit) that's supposed to be the missing link between man and ape — reportedly, she only did this final film as a favor to a director friend. However, she still acts as though she's doing Mildred Pierce or The Women, and indeed, eyewitnesses remember her promoting Trog as a piece exploring humanity towards nature. She would later admit how awful her horror films were.
In the same vein, Faye Dunaway's performance as Crawford in the adaptation of Mommie Dearest. She genuinely believed the script and film would be hard-hitting, provocative, and would win an Academy Award. Unfortunately, most of the unintentional humor is mined from her overwrought, ridiculously serious performance that borders on campiness — the rest of the cast seemed to be in on the joke and hammed up their performances. The production studio turned its back on Dunaway and starting promoting the film in daily papers as a comedy once word got out about her performance.
Honor Blackman in the original Jason and the Argonauts promptly steals the show in a movie that has stop motion skeletons fighting Greek soldiers and mermen holding clashing rocks apart, mainly because she's the only one with well-written lines that don't sound forced or hammed up in the delivery.
Non-actor example: Alan Menken is a celebrated living accolade of Disney, having done the music for over half the movies of Renaissance era, so many people consider the songs and music of Home on the Range to be the only saving grace of the film. In a behind-the-scenes interview, he talks about how 9/11 happened during the film's production, and the song, "Will the Sun Ever Shine Again?" was meant to aid the embalmed and go out to the people who suffered.
Kirsten Storms in Zenon: Girl of the Twenty-First Century and sequels. For that matter, most of the actors; the films wouldn't have worked if the actors had betrayed even a hint of irony or self-awareness. (Though Phillip Rhys going for Ham and Cheese didn't hurt.)
Paul Giamatti in Lady in the Water. Despite the film's general badness, Giamatti is good enough to make his climactic monologue a legitimately emotional moment.
Many people, fans, critics, and regular movie-watchers alike, agree that the only saving grace that the A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake has is Jackie Earle Haley's awesome portrayal as Freddy Krueger. While the movie has a lazily-written story and dull characters and overall is just seen as a cheap attempt of the company to get some extra cash, Haley does his hardest to make his Freddy as menacing, dark, no-nonsense, and evil as he can. This gives us an extremely horrifying and monstrous Freddy (even in spite of the awful CGI burn makeup he was under) that perhaps even surpasses Robert Englund's Freddy in the question of sheer evilness (not in acting though), and so is the only thing that makes the movie tolerable to watch.
TRON: Legacy isn't bad but it is a film Starring Special Effects with less of a story and acting emphasis. However, Olivia Wilde gives a rather touching Skilled, but Naive portrayal of her character Quorra, who could have easily ended up just another Satellite Love Interest. Additionally, Jeff Bridges puts quite a lot of work into making CLU a menacing and interesting villain since the script doesn't give him much help, and he's believably weary but likable as Kevin Flynn. Finally, Bruce Boxleitner doesn't get to replay Alan for long, but he does quite a good job in his brief scenes.
Michael Sheen, by contrast, somehow manages to play a man who's playing a Large Hamin-universe, but lets hints leak through. Especially when he's trying to negotiate with Clu and Clu gives him precisely nothing. No reaction, no words, he just stares. You can see his manic grin become more strained, his pitch gets just a little more desperate...
Some people consider The Matrix (particularly the second and third installments) to be a glitzy B-movie (not to mention a geek's biggest fantasy — you can do anything as long as you have the Internet). Hugo Weaving seems to be one of the few people who recognizes this, as he injects a large amount of development for an ostensibly one-note character in Agent Smith, with a large side of Ham and Cheese.
In the same vein, Keanu Reeves never succumbs to the ridiculousness of the plot, even as the twists get more and more ridiculous, and other characters start cracking jokes (some in the script, some improvised). He somehow manages to pull off intensity and pathos in the scene where (while blind) he talks to a literal Deus ex Machina (it's even called such in the script) who uses the face of a baby to convey anger.
Gloria Foster as The Oracle doesn't do much but spew exposition, but she does it incandescently.
My Soul to Take: While the film itself is generally panned as one of Craven's worst, most viewers acknowledge that the cast try pretty hard to avoid Dull Surprise and make their characters likable, with mixed success. John Magaro (Alex), Zena Grey (Penelope), and Frank Grillo (Detective Paterson) probably get most of this sentiment.
Anna Nicole Smith attempted this trope in To the Limit (her first "serious" film), but she was such a bad actress here that her Faux Action Girl secret agent character edges closer to Ham and Cheese. Actually, every actor in this movie is giving an inappropriately dead earnest performance in a T&A-and-violence-glutted B-grade action thriller that is woefully short of the winking irony that might have made it a pretty good film, but only Anna Nicole is inept enough to make her character truly funny (although slightly tragic when you think about it, since Smith really did aspire to be a worthy actress and even wanted to play her childhood hero, Marilyn Monroe). "Best" line? It's an angry "I don't have to explain myself to yew!" (Yes, pronounced exactly that way, in Anna's lazy Texas hick accent, even though her character is supposed to be a sophisticated woman of the world.)
The Rock turned down an opportunity to guest host Monday Night Raw because he was too busy promoting one of his films. The film in question? The Tooth Fairy. Although with good marketing, even bad films can make money — which means more roles — so this may be more taking 'making nice for the studio/people that employ you' seriously, than taking the film seriously.
The Return of Godzilla is another example where it's not a bad film, but not the kind most actors would go to the mat for. When the film was getting ready to be Americanized as Godzilla 1985, Raymond Burr was brought back to reprise his role from the Americanization of the first Godzilla film. He was told that they were trying to add a lighter tone to the dark, gothic film and that the writers had given him lots of funny lines. He turned them down cold, saying he took Godzilla's Japanese nuclear subtext very seriously, as it was portrayed in both the original and this film, and that he would only perform in a serious role. He likewise refused to help with any of the Dr. Pepper product placement in the film, and in the final product gives a deep, thoughtful performance.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra deliberately evokes this as part of the Affectionate Parody. According to the commentary, the cast was given imaginary backstories for the "actors" portraying their characters. Andrew Parks played the role of Kro-Bar the alien as if it was literally the greatest role the actor ever had, and thus took it much more seriously than anyone else. Parks's performance, therefore, is a parody of the self-important, hammy style of acting you might see in an Ed Wood movie when it thinks it's making a really insightful point.
According to The Room's script supervisor (and possible ghost director) Sandy Schklair, everyone knew full well what kind of movie they were making. Well, everyone except Tommy Wiseau.
And Dan Janjigian as Chris-R, a role he took as a favor to his roommate (Mike Holmes, who plays Mike in the movie). Janjigian, who wasn't even a professional actor (the only one in the cast who wasn't) went as far as to read up on Uta Hagen and Stanislavsky (the latter one of the codifiers of Method Acting) and kept character even off camera (in The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero attributes this to Dan simply "not being the kind of guy to phone anything in"). His performance ended up the most believable in the film.
Also, Claudette's actress, Carolyn Minnott. It was mentioned in The Disaster Artist that she wanted an acting role so badly that she gave the movie her all, and she even managed to nail a scene after going to the hospital for heat stroke. Despite Claudette being wildly unpopular (even by the standards of this movie's characters), the effort Minnott put in can still be appreciated.
The consensus about the 2011 Adam Sandler vehicle Jack and Jill is that Al Pacino actually had a good performance in what was otherwise a trainwreck of a movie. In an interview, Pacino admitted to having a habit of taking roles in films that he know will be terrible to see if he can make them mediocre.
In the Left Behind movies, both Kirk Cameron and Brad Johnson take it seriously in different ways. Johnson takes his role seriously, despite the generally atrocious script, and does his best to make the most of it. Cameron takes the message seriously, since he subscribes to the same theology as the series' authors, and generally looks like he's about break character and rattle out something about calling now to pick up your free information pack. (Gordon Currie, meanwhile, gulps down Ham and Cheese and goes back for seconds as The Antichrist.)
This is a pretty common issue with the movies that WWE Films makes. The WWE Superstars that end up performing in them will frequently be taking them very seriously (since they're aware that wrestlers have a short shelf life and are often trying to prove themselves in case they decide to explore acting after retiring). The actual actors, however, realize they shouldn't expect much from films made by a professional wrestling company, and decide to merely have fun. Take The Marine, where you have John Cena taking it dead seriously, compared to Robert Patrick, who is picking the scenery out of his teeth.
In An American Werewolf in Paris, we have Julie Delpy as the lupine love interest. This review by James Berardinelli adds that her too-good-for-such-a-shlocky-movie performance "isn't necessarily a good thing, since it prevents us from relaxing and enjoying An American Werewolf in Paris as a completely mindless, campy entertainment experience." Delpy's later interviews would reveal that she gave such a good performance despite taking on the film purely for the cash, and disliking the experience so much that she avoided doing any other commercial Hollywood movies.note She eventually wound up in a small role in Avengers: Age of Ultron and admitted to enjoying the experience in part, as other actors have voiced, because Marvel Studios had a proven track record that could assuage their fears based on past experiences on a mainstream commercial project.
The Celebrity Voice Actor cast of the Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio (2002), perhaps owing to the fact that it was a Hong Kong Dub that may have been Christmas Rushed (it opened in North America less than 3 months after the Italian release), has the whole spectrum of approaches to voice acting in a curious movie — a faction of large hams (led up by Breckin Meyer as the title character, who has the excuse of dubbing Benigni himself), a faction of actors who just can't get their tongues and emotions around the alternately floral and flat dialogue (led up by Glenn Close as the Fairy), and a faction of actors who can and fall under this trope instead (led up by, as it happens, two members of Monty Python — John Cleese as the Talking Cricket and Eric Idle as Medoro).
As bad as Michael Bay's films can be, there's no denying Peter Cullen brings his A-game as Optimus Prime. As his most famous one, Cullen is very devoted to the character and puts the most effort into his dialogue.
Leonard Nimoy's performance as Sentinel Prime manages to make him one of the most complex characters in any of the films. Nimoy manages to give a great performance as both the wise mentor of Optimus, as well as the true villain of the story.
There is an absolutely terrible Canadian made-for-TV movie called To Catch a Yeti. The only bright spot in the entire film is that they cast Meat Loaf as the villain, Big Jake, and he's incredibly serious about his performance. Many viewers walk away from the film wishing that the movie had focused on Big Jake instead, as Meat Loaf imbues the character with a palpable sense of menace.
Spider-Man 3 isn't as much a bad movie as it is a very divisive one, but it is a case where the technical achievements of the film overwhelmed the story. Regardless, most of the cast does a good job with the material they were given. Tobey Maguire continues to play Peter Parker with an earnest performance with an occasional side of Ham and Cheese when he plays the Symbiote-poisoned Peter. James Franco probably gives his best performance as Harry Osborn throughout the trilogy in this movie, and Thomas Haden Church was phenomenal as Sandman, lending a surprising amount of pathos to the role. Kirsten Dunst also does her best as Mary Jane Watson, even as the script calls for MJ to cheat on Peter with Harry. Only Topher Grace and J. K. Simmons really take advantage of the story's cheesiness, as they have way too much fun for the most part, and even that is downplayed for the latter, as while Mr. Simmons's primary motivation is money, he will give his all on whatever role he takes.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was thrashed by critics, but their actors were praised for playing their characters with genuine sincerity. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, having previously raised eyebrows for being cast as Batman and Wonder Woman, delivered great performances, and even Henry Cavill got some recognition for his portrayal of Superman, even if he got less dialogue than the other characters. This goes back to Man of Steel, where it was commonly observed by Superman fans that Cavill, especially offstage, seemed to be a near-perfect live-action Superman, with an easy grace and a genuine charm and kindness belied by a slightly aloof attitude, but hobbled by the film's narrative and tone giving him very little to work with.
Everyone in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is well aware they're in a fantasy film Starring Special Effects and play their roles with copious Dull Surprise and Parent Service. Except for Tom Baker as Koura, who goes out of his way to play his generic evil wizard as a Shakespearean Tragic Hero with an inner world, going along with the Fridge Horror (that the character is probably a teenager who merely appears older due to his Cast from Lifespan magic powers) and going against the script in places to make his character come across as noble and fascinating rather than the Card-Carrying Villain he was written as. He's a strong enough character that when he finally accomplishes his evil plan at the end and has to be killed, it's actually upsetting because of how sympathetic he was. He even ramps up the sexuality to upstage all of the pretty people without shirts that he's cast against, moaning magic prayers orgasmically and smoulderingly. Since it was this role that the producers of The BBC saw him in to check he could act before casting him in that role he defined, it is probably for the best.
Jerry Jones in Dolemite Is My Name is depicted as this, firmly believing that he's doing a film about real issues and true-to-life experiences in inner-city communities rather than a low-budget Blaxploitation schlockfest.
Joy (2015) was panned when it came out, being instantly recognised as a tacky piece of Oscar Bait with a cliche script and fountain of Narm. Yet Jennifer Lawrence manages to make the a lead character somewhat watchable, and she actually got an Oscar nomination for her role — the only award the film got nominated for.
Jerry Goldsmith said he tended to write music for the best possible version of the movie rather than the movie he was actually scoring. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who feels he failed more than he succeeded (The Swarm comes to mind).
Ferdinand Marian, star of the notorious Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß, tried very hard to make the titular villain a sympathetic, layered Anti-Villain rather than a simple anti-Semitic caricature. Some glimmers of this peak through, as an early scene where Süß reacts sorrowfully to another character's anti-Semitism. Overall though, Marian's worthy acting is smothered by the movie's hatefulness. It's perhaps the most tragic instance of this trope: Marian felt so guilty about his performance that he committed suicide several years later.
The Spanish flick "Ocho apellidos catalanes" (which got a US release as The Spanish Affair 2) is, at best, an unremarkably mediocre romcom that tried too hard to cash in on its prequel's success, and critics gave it mixed ratings. However, it's clear that Clara Lagos, who plays one of the main characters, is dead serious about her performance, and manages to convey a wide range of emotions. It's a little jarring when you consider it's a comedy, and every other actor on set was clearly having fun while filming.
Most performances in High School Musical range from poor to OK, with a few cartoony Ham and Cheese characters. But Zac Efron plays Troy with a real sincerity, ending up being one of the key things that lifts the film above the mediocre direct-to-TV Disney Channel fare it was intended to be.
Beastly is mostly a forgettable Paranormal Romance designed to replicate the success of Twilight. Vanessa Hudgens however delivers such an honest and heartfelt performance as Lindy.
Another video game adaptation with Johnson, Rampage has him and Naomie Harris as the standouts of a cast that is taking too seriously what is basically a giant monster movie (the exceptions being the Ham and Cheese of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and the two actors playing the human antagonists).
Even though her character doesn't actually do much in the film, Lesleh Donaldson still puts her best effort into her role as the Final Girl in the 1980 slasher flick Funeral Home. She was, in fact, nominated a Genie Awardnote Canada's version of the Oscars, now known as the Canadian Screen Awards for her performance.
Halloween: Resurrection is almost unanimously regarded as the worst film in the Halloween series by a long shot for the utter hash it makes of the franchise and its treatment of various characters... but even its most vocal critics will stop short of criticizing Brad Loree's performance as Michael Myers, often considered to be the sole good thing in the film. To this day, some fans still hope that he gets a second chance to play the character in a much better Halloween film.
Death Note (2017) was generally trashed by critics and audiences alike, but the one thing everyone agreed was well-done was Willem Dafoe's performance as Ryuk, who captured both the low-key sardonic and extremely hammy sides of the character perfectly.
Bite, for the most part, is a rather unremarkable Body Horror flick noteworthy mainly for two things: 1) Reportedly causing several audience members unprepared for its gruesome content to flee the theatre in disgust. 2) The entire cast somehow managing to remain professional about the whole thing despite the hokey script and the rather silly dialogue they're made to recite, with varying degrees of success. This is most prominent in the case of female leads Elma Begovic and Annette Wozniak, with the former making a genuine effort to portray her character Casey as a Tragic Monster rather than a simple archetype and the latter making a similarly genuine effort to portray her character Jill as someone earnestly trying to help her friend deal with her situation despite their past differences as she watches her disintegrate, which makes the later revelation that she set her up all the more shocking.
Dead Silence is riddled with plot holes, dull acting, and bad special effects, and it prompted a Creator Backlash to boot. The only aspect of the film about which everyone seems to agree is that Judith Roberts' performance as Mary Shaw manages to sell the otherwise hard to buy "evil ventriloquist" character. The flashback scene in which she performs some actual ventriloquy is considered by some to be more unnerving than her scenes as a ghost.
Green Lantern (2011) is generally seen as a disappointment that, while not terrible, is a big waste of a story that should've made for an awesome movie. However, even the film's biggest detractors heaped praise on Mark Strong for his fantastic performance as Sinestro. And while many considered Ryan Reynolds a poor fit for the role of Hal Jordan, it's generally agreed that the blame can be laid on the casting directors rather than Reynolds himself, who made a sincere effort and does a fairly good job.
Maleficent is recognized as a very fan-fiction-type story, applying Draco in Leather Pants blatantly to one of Disney's most evil villains. But Angelina Jolie — a huge fan of Maleficent — worked so hard on her role, adopting a flawless English accent and giving an honest performance. Ditto for Elle Fanning as Aurora — whose performance was praised as one of the high points of the movie.
The Hobbit Trilogy is at best controversial, and the White Council/Necromancer plotline is considered one of its most pointless parts (and that's saying quite a lot). But nobody told that to Christopher Lee, who leapt at the opportunity to be a good guy, and did his level best in one of his last roles to instill the pre-corruption Saruman with a genuine heroism and determination while maintaining his pride and regality. It may be only a handful of lines and scenes that could be cut three times over and lose nothing, but watching the extras shows the passion he put into every frame of them.
Ian McDiarmid's Palpatine also deserves some note; much like Raul Julia as M. Bison, he's not so much chewing the scenery as devouring it, but it's also quite evident that he considers this to be exactly the right way to play Palpatine. He also dials it back whenever he's Chancellor Palpatine, rather than Darth Sidious, and ends up being pretty convincing at that persona too, coming across as amiable and charming but still shrewd and occasionally creepy. ("Did you ever hear The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?") It's not until after he outs himself as Darth Sidious and faces Mace Windu in battle that he pulls out a butcher shop's worth of ham. Even people who dislike the prequels as a whole tend to consider him to be one of the biggest bright spots, if only because he stands out so wonderfully in a world where everyone else is stoic, stiff, and miserable.
The Rise of Skywalker was very divisive among if not mostly lambasted by critics and the fanbase for its nonsensical plotting, thematic shallowness, and wasted development and characters. Nonetheless, it's generally held that Adam Driver delivered a very strong showing, managing to keep a sense of intrigue and gravitas about Kylo even as his arc spiraled into incoherence. His Heel–Face Turn is a particular moment: it's a Recycled Script moment that was driven by a plot point that most audiences found confusing and he's given almost no dialogue to work with, but he manages to mostly sell it through expressiveness alone.
Daisy Ridley in the same film is clearly doing her best to make Rey's character work. Even as the film transforms her into a borderline Invincible Hero and lays on increasingly silly retcons, Ridley still keeps up her down-to-earth and self-doubting nature—notably, there were points in production where Ridley didn't know what she was supposed to be reacting to, since the final plot twist had yet to be put in place.
Richard Roxburgh is fed some of the worst lines you can imagine while playing Dracula, and he absolutely sells them.
Elena Anaya went to a lot of effort to study bats and incorporate some of their movements into her character. Her charisma and delightful craziness helped make Aleera into one of the favorite characters of the movie.
Mila Kunis is doing her best to make Jupiter - a Pinball Protagonist and Wish-Fulfillment character - feel like a believable person. One scene where she discovers the liquid she's holding is harvested from humans has a shockingly genuine reaction from her.
Channing Tatum likewise imbues his character with a sincerity that makes him feel less like a Draco in Leather Pants brought to life. A ridiculous exchange where Jupiter responds to Caine comparing himself to a dog with "I love dogs, I've always loved dogs" is almost redeemed with the tragic bitterness with which he says his lines.
Eddie Redmayne very obviously had fun with his character, given the fact it’s one of the few times he’s played a non-Adorkable character. Many reviews said that his performance as the Ham and Cheese villain Balem was the best part of the film.
Wired is harshly criticized for its reductive and inaccurate portrayal of John Belushi, ignoring his comedic talents and famously generous personality in favor of portraying him as a depraved drug addict, its heavyhanded attitude towards his addictions, its moments of tasteless and inappropriate comedy and the poor casting of important supporting players like Dan Aykroyd who was so insulted by its portrayal of his friend he refused to work with people involved in the project. However, many people, including Brad Jones, have given considerable praise to Michael Chiklis, saying that he nails Belushi's manic energy and comedic skill. Many have lamented that he didn't have a better film to work with.
In-universe, Tugg Speedman and Kirk Lazarus are very clearly trying their best with the film in Tropic Thunder, despite the disastrous production and none-too-great script. Lazarus does the better job of the two; similar to Daniel Day-Lewis, he insists on inhabiting his character fully "'til I'm doing a DVD commentary," but Speedman's career is in dire straits and he therefore gives it his all. Speedman also put a lot of work into the commercial and critical bomb Simple Jack, and is still fairly proud of his performance - in fact, Lazarus claims he did too good of a job in that film, and ended up an uncomfortably realistic portrayal of a mentally-disabled person when he should have shot for the more crowd-pleasing Inspirationally Disabled.
Kevin Sandusky is another one (though a very different take), as while Speedman and Lazarus seem to mostly be hamming it up, he's the one who actually read the whole script and even attended boot camp. He's pretty much the only actor to be playing his role fairly straight.
Richard Burton, on many of the lesser films that marked his later career (Cleopatra, Boom!, Exorcist II: The Heretic) somehow managed to combine this with Ham and Cheese; he was obviously taking his role terribly seriously and yet comes off as overacting all on his own rather than in comparison to the rest of the cast.
Following in the footsteps of Star Trek's extensive listing on this page, Galaxy Quest has Sir Alexander Dane, a Classically-Trained Extra who played the token Rubber-Forehead Alien. He had nothing but disdain for the role of Doctor Lazarus and the show as a whole, but still seems to have treated it with the professionalism of a Shakespearian actor, and continually chastises his fellow actors over the course of the film for not having taken their jobs seriously.
Tommy, who played a Wesley Crusher-esque Tagalong Kid, seems to have been even more passionate with his role, coming up with a consistent method for "piloting" the ship (that is, to say, messing with the control pad). He was so good at it across the series that the Thermians were able to turn it into a functional set of controls—despite, you know, being the Tagalong Kid in a cheesy sci-fi show. This was based on actual accounts by many Trek actors whose job was to deliver their Mandatory Line and mess with a fake control pad, developing directions and "languages" for something the majority of viewers would never notice.
Wagons East!, a twelfth-rate Blazing Saddles knockoff with a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, also boasts a surprisingly solid performance by John Candy, who manages to salvage the utterly dreadful material he's handed in the handful of scenes he's in (Candy died during filming). Unfortunately, his presence only serves to make the film's attempts to stretch that handful of scenes through lavish Fake Shemping all the more ghoulish.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom was an inversion. Actress Hélène Surgère said that the mood on the set was actually rather jovial. The presence of teenagers, many of whom had never acted before, resulted in a lighthearted production process, including cast members playing practical jokes on each other. She added that the film was truly made in the editing room and that the filmmakers didn't realize how grim the film really was until it was completed.
While most critics have bashed Hellboy (2019) as a whole, even those who disliked it have admitted that it's not because of David Harbour, who does his damnedest to save the movie from itself despite the immense pressure of having to follow up Ron Perlman's beloved performance.
"They were my sounding board, where I really learned filmmaking. I was working for Roger Corman...and making $500 a day. I was green; I was hungry. These were my first roles so I made them as close to Shakespeare as possible. That's how I approached it and it got me work. The characters stood out. I got recognized."
This is a big part of what makes Night of the Lepus so godawful and hilarious. It’s a grim, serious horror movie about giant killer bunnies, but the cast, including people like DeForest Kelley and Janet Leigh, treat it all with absolute conviction, like they’re talking about nuclear weapons and not the Killer Rabbit Of Caerbannog. This extends to the rest of the film crew; the movie is an adaptation of The Year Of The Angry Rabbit, a parody novel by Russell Braddon, but the studio played it completely seriously, apparently not understanding that it was supposed to be a comedic satire.
The live-action Scooby-Doo movie is more along the lines of being extremely divisive rather than straight-up bad, due to the mixed feelings regarding the questionable characterization of the Mystery Inc. gang, crude jokes, and making fun of many of the franchise's beloved elements. The 2004 sequel is more closer to the cartoon but still garnered mixed reception from fans (while also receiving worse reception from critics). However, even detractors of both films will still argue that Matthew Lillard did an amazing job playing Shaggy, being able to perfectly capture his appearance, personality, and even his voice. So much that, when Shaggy's original voice actor, Casey Kasem, retired, Lillard was chosen as his official replacement.
The Man with the Golden Gun boasts campy plotting, absurd setpieces, and some pretty noxious gender politics even by James Bond standards. But Christopher Lee, making yet another showing on this page, plays the absolute hell out of the film's villain Scaramanga, showing off so much style and charisma that he entirely sells the character as The Most Dangerous Man Alive and steals every scene he's in. It says quite a lot of Lee's performance that while the film itself is considered one of the worst Bond films, its title character tends to be regarded as one of the franchise's best villains.
Olivia Hussey in her autobiography talks about starring in the Ozploitation film Turkey Shoot - and when she met with the cast and crew, she saw the lead actor Steve Railsback had left "meticulous notes" all over the script and after the director talked about how he hoped it would become a Cult Classic she began to wonder if she'd received the same script.
"We found Steve, who had started work the week before, suspended six feet above the ground, locked inside a cage and wearing an ill-fitting yellow jumpsuit. He looked concerned. The first thing he said to me was 'You knew all along what kind of movie this was going to be Olivia, didn't you?' I burst out laughing."
The entire cast of the musical remake of Lost Horizon put so much effort into their song and dance training, not realising that the finished product would be a fountain of Narm and go down as one of the most enjoyably bad movies ever made.
Last Christmas is an example of a film that is undeniably corny being saved from being downright bad because the actors took it seriously. Is the big twist easy to figure out? Yes. Is it goofy? Sometimes. Is it overly-sentimental and cheesy? Unashamedly so. But no one among its All-Star Cast is phoning it in, and all play their characters completely sincerely and earnestly, so the film is mostly viewed as "nice, feel-good holiday entertainment" at best, and "Narm Charm" at worst. The scene where the aforementioned Reveal happens, and Kate finds out Tom has been Dead All Along is a prime example of this. Everyone and their mother guessed this twist — from the marketing alone! — and given the context of the story, it should've been ridiculous. But many people have admitted to getting teary-eyed during that scene, because when Emilia Clarke decides you are going to cry, you are damn well going to cry!
The Phantom of the Opera (2004) is generally seen as a clumsy adaptation at best, and the performances (particularly the hilariously miscast leads) are a big part of that. But one actor who tends to escape these accusations is Patrick Wilson's Raoul, who is both a Broadway-caliber singer (literally — Wilson has played leading roles on Broadway for years) and a suitably charismatic figure to counterbalance (if not even exceed) the Phantom. This one sticks out particularly because Raoul is normally one of the least popular characters, being seen as a generic "dashing leading man" who frequently veers into flat-out unlikable, making the idea of a genuinely well-liked and charismatic Raoul even more of a shocker.
Alan Silvestri is another composer known for making great music no matter how good or bad the movie he's working on is. His work on Mac and Me is so incredible to listen to that it caused Crow T. Robot to exclaim "I wanna see the movie this guy thought he was composing for!".
Black Christmas (2019) was quickly destroyed by critics and audiences alike for its laughably bad and anvilicious writing, more akin to a college lecture than a horror movie. In a cast full of unlikable and insufferable protagonists, Imogen Poots puts in a lot of effort and makes Riley come across as an actual person.
Most critics lambasted Run Hide Fight as a tasteless Exploitation Film cashing in on the school shootings of the 2010s, but even the most negative reviews stopped short of criticizing the cast, with many singling out lead actress Isabel May for making the heroine Zoe a convincing Action Girl. David Ehrlich of Indiewire, who otherwise gave the film one of its most scathing reviews, said that she was worthy of better roles and a better agent.
Despite being bogged down by bad writing, James Marsden is clearly trying his damned hardest in Hop, and is the only actor in the human cast who isn't phoning it in or just trying to make some easy money. He also had to act alongside a CGI rabbit who would only be completed in post-production, and therefore only had Russell Brand's pre-recorded lines to work off of, but still manages to give a convincing performance.
Kurt Thomas really is trying in Gymkata, pulling off a lot of downright-dangerous onscreen stunts that showcased just why he was so grumpy that the US boycott locked him out of Olympic gold. He pulls a Thomas Salto (a move named after him and banned from most competitions for being too dangerous) while chatting up his love interest, and does so casually. Unfortunately, since he's very evidently not a trained actor and he's featuring in Gymkata, the effect is more sad than impressive.
This is a given with any foreign dubbing (and many American ones as well), as the dubbers will give their all even for the lowest-quality productions. This extends to a wide variety of localized media, including reality shows!
While Knight and Day was dismissed by critics as an entertaining yet forgettable So Okay, It's Average summer action movie, they did praise the performances of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, and rightfully so; not only do they have stellar chemistry, they also bring a lot of energy to their roles and make the movie much more enjoyable as a result. In particular, Cruise looks like he's having a lot of fun affectionally lampooningEthan Hunt, while Diaz manages to make June a grounded yet likeable Audience Surrogate and foil to Roy's more insane antics.
While Bradley Cooper's performance doesn't completely nullify Adam's terrible lines and Designated Hero status, he does his best with what he's given. He manages to make a scene where Adam tries to commit suicide by suffocating himself with a sous vide bag—a scene that is ridiculous as it sounds—a genuinely heartwrenching moment that almost makes viewers feel empathy for the character (the scene was improvised by Cooper himself). The movie was also reportedly a passion project for him, so he put a lot of dedication to the role, from shadowing real-life Michelin chefs to actually cooking the dishes that Adam cooks onscreen.
Daniel Brühl seemed to be aware that he wasn't in a great movie, and as such had a bit of fun with his role. Despite this, he also treats Tony with respect and sympathy, tries his best to flesh him out beyond what the script will allow him to, and much like Miller did with Helene, makes him come across as an actual person. The result is Tony becoming the movie's most likeable and sympathetic character.
Morbius (2022) was a very misguided attempt at adapting the comic book's "living vampire", yet the quieter moments have Jared Leto doing his best to sell Morbius's struggles with his emerging dark side, and Matt Smith also toning his Ham and Cheese villainous performance down to give a more sincere turn.
The Princess: Dominic Cooper and Joey King are clearly doing the best they can with the bad dialogue they have to spout and trying to make it sound good. King especially also seems to have put a lot of effort in her fight scenes.
Like the novel on which it's based, the 2007 film The Girl Next Door (not to be confused with the 2004 film of the same name) has been widely criticized for its insensitivity to a historical tragedy, taking a real life child abuse case that ended in the death of said child and using it as the basis for a sleazy Torture Porn flick. Nevertheless, it's generally acknowledged that lead actress Blythe Auffarth genuinely does her best with the material she's given despite the film's exploitative nature. Auffarth later stated in an interview that filming the torture scenes was a very harrowing experience for her, remarking that, "it's scary being helpless and it's humiliating hanging and dangling there, and it's even more petrifying to have your senses taken away from you."
In a case where this trope turned out to be detrimental, in Beverly Hills Cop IIIEddie Murphy wanted to play Axel Foley as less of a "wiseass" and a more serious and mature character, as he wanted to be taken seriously as an straight action star. This is in spite of the movie being very Denser and Wackier, and the director even signing in thinking a weak script could be improved by Murphy's comedic talents (only for, in his words, Murphy try to subvert any possible humor in the film by deliberately not being funny). The result was widely considered a severe downgrade and an overall disappointment.
Blonde wound up highly controversial as a movie that seemed like emotional torture porn overtly focused on the hardships of Marilyn Monroe's life, only elevated by how amazing Ana de Armas was as Marilyn. Tellingly, she wound up a contender in various acting awards, while the movie itself was a frontrunner on the Razzies.