Four days left (counting today)! We're getting there. To continue this end-of-year celebration, today, I've got the best and worst performances of the year. If your movie is full of good performances, great! It won't distract from your movie. If there is bad acting in your movie, though, it can be really distracting and take away from the story and characters. It pulls you straight out of that world. And these fifteen performances did that for me. Be sure to check out the best performances of the year by clicking on this sentence.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE FOLLOWING FILMS
Tom & Jerry
Coming 2 America
Zack Snyder's Justice League
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
The Woman in the Window
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle Junson (Coming 2 America): Failed mimic of Eddie Murphy's OG performance.
Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan (Venom: Let There Be Carnage): Bad accent.
Lewis Tan as Cole Young (Mortal Kombat): Incredibly generic performance.
Jim Gaffigan as Lorenzo Paguro (Luca): Unfit voice actor for a weird character.
John Cena as Jakob Toretto (F9): So unbelievably cringy.
Henry Cavill as Superman (Zack Snyder's Justice League): The most boring Superman ever.
Amy Adams as Cynthia Murphy (Dear Evan Hansen): A weird blend of emotions from a great actress.
Amanda Stenberg as Alana Beck (Dear Evan Hansen): Overdone emotional performance.
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Jane Russell (The Woman in the Window): Completely monotone.
Chloe Grace Moretz as Kayla Forrester (Tom & Jerry): As cartoony as Tom and Jerry themselves.
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Without further ado, here are the worst performances of 2021.
Quick Note: LeBron James as Himself (Space Jam: A New Legacy)
I gave LeBron the benefit of the doubt: he's not an actor. That's why I didn't include him on the list. Nobody actually expected him to be a good performer. And he isn't. He's terrible. Every line is this monotonous, boring delivery, until he has to pretend to be emotional. When he has an "emotional" reunion with his son, he overdoes it and it's honestly laughable. I was nice, though, and decided not to include him. I just wanted to mention it.
15. Mike Rianda as Aaron Mitchell (The Mitchells vs. the Machines)
The voice acting in The Mitchells vs. the Machines wasn’t terrible…except for this. Director Mika Rianda decided that he apparently wanted to voice a character in his own movie. And the result is catastrophic. Katie Mitchell’s brother is no older than 9 or 10 years old. Yet he has this crusty, deep voice that does not fit the character at all. Every time there was an emotional scene involving his character, I simply could not take it seriously. His voice was just too strange. I get it. Sometimes directors want involvement in their movies. But when you are an adult man with an odd voice, don’t cast yourself as the 9-year-old that’s obsessed with dinosaurs!
14. Mehcad Brooks as Jax Briggs (Mortal Kombat)
Spoiler alert: this is not the last time that Mortal Kombat will be on this list. As with the person that appears later on this ranking, Mehcad Brooks simply overdoes it as Jax Briggs. Every line is delivered like he's a cartoon. He makes his voice sound like a background announcer for a movie trailer. It's a really cringy performance, and it weighs down on Mortal Kombat as a whole.
13. Amy Adams as Lois Lane (Zack Snyder's Justice League)
This is tough, because I don't think Amy Adams is necessarily terrible herself, but she's utterly miscast as Lois. In both the Superman film series and Smallville, Lois is played as an energetic, outspoken reporter that has a great relationship with Clark. Erica Durance and Margot Kidder both play her in this super fun, campy way. Amy Adams plays her as this extremely serious person, which just isn't how Lois is supposed to be played. Her screen presence alongside a flat Henry Cavill is just atrocious. There isn't anything memorable or exciting about her, even though Lois is supposed to be a lively, exciting character.
12. Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Otto (F9)
Otto was a background character for the first half of the movie...and that was a good thing, because Thue Ersted Rasmussen didn't really have to give us his full acting talent. But as the film goes on, Otto becomes a bigger character, and Rasmussen has to actually act, which he is not good at. This isn't really his fault, but his accent makes it hard to understand some of his lines. However, his facial expressions are pretty much non-existent. His line delivery feels off. And he has no chemistry with the rest of the cast. It makes him feel out of place and just bad overall.
11. Teyana Taylor as Bopoto Izzi (Coming 2 America)
Bopoto is a badly written character, so that immediately gives Taylor a hard time with this performance. But she is so, so strange in this role. Honestly, I blame it more on Craig Brewer's direction, because he told her to act all sexy and weird, but it just doesn't work for me. There was a universe in which this character was done right. But in this universe and in this movie, she was not done write. The writing, directing, and especially the acting just failed miserably for Bopoto and for Teyana Taylor.
10. Patsy Ferran as Joy the Bell Girl (Tom & Jerry)
Joy the bell girl is another character written like a piece of trash, but instead of trying to take this garbage writing and make it funny, Patsy Ferran makes it worse. With this insanely creepy performance and overly-done nasal voice, she just makes this character unsettling in all of the wrong ways. Sure, she's meant to be creepy and weird, but it's meant to be played for laughs. Since it isn't funny, it comes off as out of place and just eerie. That is not something I should be saying about a kid's movie. And she's just bad when she's actually talking. Her line delivery is flat and her facial expressions are overdone.
9. Lia McHugh as Sprite (Eternals)
I give Lia McHugh some slack: it's hard to be the only child actor in a movie that stars Gemma Chan, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington, Richard Madden, and Angelina Jolie. But she just didn't work for me. There are good child actors that you could've found to play this part. Millie Bobby Brown would've been great. But Lia McHugh plays so much into the immaturity of the character that it comes off as silly and over-the-top. Her line delivery is just so overdone. She doesn't know how to actually balance her performance. So it doesn't work for me.
8. Daniel Wu as Saint Joe (Reminiscence)
This guy was in, like, five minutes of Reminiscence. And he managed to climb all the way into the top ten worst performances of the year. He's so, so, so bad. This guy is meant to be the first real threat that Nick Bannister encounters in his journey of science fiction thrills. He's supposed to be intimidating and scary. But Daniel Wu tries so hard to make him scary that his line delivery is laughably bad. If you watch Reminiscence, there's a part where he's tank of eels explodes and he goes "My tank!". The delivery sounds like it was made in slow-motion. It's hilarious. You kind of have to watch the scene to understand what I'm getting at. But trust me, his performance is terrible.
7. Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz (F9)
F9 was terrible. And Michelle Rodriguez contributed to how terrible it was. She put on this incredibly serious, pouty face that just annoyed me throughout the movie. All of her lines were delivered as these epic proclamations alongside her annoying face, and it was almost laughable how bad it was. I haven't seen any of the other Fast & Furious movies, so I don't know if this is how she's always played Letty, but I was just exposed to it for the first time in F9. And I did not like it.
6. Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat)
Jessica McNamee gave the most cringe-inducing performance of the year. She was so over-the-top serious and said her cartoonish lines with the most utter sincerity that it was honestly funny. But every time she would act super serious, I would cringe. I hated the character of Sonya Blade. I think she's just a cringy character. But Jessica McNamee added to her cringe factor. She tried so hard to act, and it showed. And that's never good.
5. Cedric Joe as Dominic James (Space Jam: A New Legacy)
Another really bad child actor, Cedric Joe got the short end of the stick because Dom James is such an awful character. He doesn't manage to make his character worse, but he definitely doesn't make Dom any better. All of his lines and emotional moments feel forced and unnatural. Most of his facial expressions are too expressive. Like Lia McHugh, he just can't balance his performance. And it just adds to how bad Space Jam: A New Legacy is.
4. Naomie Harris as Shriek (Venom: Let There Be Carnage)
I like Naomie Harris. I think she's a good actress. And I do not know what the f**k she was doing in this movie. She changes her voice so that it sounds like a baby. Her line delivery comes off like a witch child. It's the weirdest thing ever. Every time she moves her body, she tries to make it look like she's contorting, but she's not. Shriek was a bad character all around, but Harris was so awful in this role that she made the character even worse. I don't know what to say. It was so shocking and so disappointing.
3. Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto (F9)
Vin Diesel's croaking performance as Dom Toretto had everything you don't want: lines that were barely audible, overdone facial expressions, and a cringe-inducing overall demeanor. He tries to have that determined action-hero look on his face throughout the movie, but it's so stupid. I don't really think Vin Diesel is a great actor. He's just an action star that tries to do the same thing with each of his performances, and, unfortunately, that thing didn't work in F9.
2. Colin Jost as Ben (Tom & Jerry)
If you read my "Worst Characters of 2021" list, you know that Ben from Tom & Jerry came near the top. Part of my hatred for that character was Colin Jost's performance. I hate Colin Jost (as an actor. He seems like a great guy in real life) in everything. He had a cameo in Coming 2 America and I hated it. He makes appearances in a lot of SNL skits and I hate them. He just has this stupid, annoying, boring way that he plays all of his characters. It's a smiley, innocent seeming performance, and it just does not work in Tom & Jerry.
1. Fred Hechinger as Ethan Russell (The Woman in the Window)
Easily the strangest performance of the year as well as the worst, Fred Hechinger's version of Ethan Russell was just disturbing in all the wrong ways. This kid is supposed to be likable and charming so that you feel bad for him until the twist at the end that reveals him as the villain. However, Hechinger made sure you never liked Ethan. He was weird and creepy, and his chemistry with Amy Adams was almost non-existent. He spoke with just an odd manner of speaking, and some of his lines were delivered with this off-key tone. I hated the way that Hechinger portrayed Ethan, and it was easily my least favorite of the year.