Next up, a great actor's weakest try ...
No. 2: Jeff Goldblum - "Independence Day"
No one's ever going to accuse Roland Emmerich of being an artistic, sensitive or poetic filmmaker. The man behind "2012" and "The Day After Tomorrow" would clearly rather rip up the planet and kill millions than spend time on such pesky things as character development.
Most actors in his movies find themselves reduced to cookie-cutter characters or, worse, comic-book figures (Woody Harrelson in "2012").
Jeff Goldblum, a smart guy who's done some great work, meets the cookie-cutter fate in "Independence Day," playing the sort of science geek who you know from the moment he appears in the film is going to save the day. His every line is predictable, his every grimace forced and his characteristic wry humor muffled.
At times, he almost seems embarrassed to be in the film, which he should be, just like our final entry ...
No. 1: John Wayne - "The Conqueror"
There may have never been a more identifiable actor in Hollywood history than John Wayne.
In any western or military flick, you could count on The Duke to provide the sort of standup guy whose moral fiber is exceeded only by his ability to put the hurt on bad guys.
He had the kind of talent that Hollywood wanted to use everywhere, and this attitude gave use Wayne as Genghis Khan in 1956's "The Conqueror." With an accent that was Wayne's usual drawl mashed up with what sounds like three or four "How to Sound Asian" dialect coach lessons and a makeup job that borders on self-parody, Wayne struts and fumbles through the production.
In today's more politically correct filmmaking environment, this is the sort of casting that will never happen again ... and that's a good thing.