|Shaq realises he's made a huge mistake|
Films starring people who aren’t actors are a time-honoured tradition. Even as far back as the 1910’s, when the world was in black and white, Harry Houdini was running around escaping from things in film serial The Master Mystery. While not necessarily the best idea for producing the best film possible, sometimes these obvious cash ins on popularity can result in something interesting, such as the cash conveyor belt that is Elvis movies, the heat-induced hallucination that is David Bowie playing Nikola Tesla in The Prestige or the valuable service crime procedurals perform in keeping past-it rappers employed. Much more frequently however, letting non-actors star in your film is like letting a dog drive a train, you can try and tell them what to do but they won’t understand, it’s going to end in a crash and everyone is going to die. Here is a list of bad movies starring people who had no business appearing behind a camera. Keep in mind that this is by no means definitive, as 50 Cent is remarkably stubborn about transitioning into acting.
1. Shaquille O’Neal in Steel
Although I’m impressed that they managed to find a camera to keep Shaq’s gargantuan preportions all in one frame, the basketball star’s ventures into acting have been appropriately giant disasters, with the exception of an amusing guest appearance on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Steel is a DC superhero, a riff on the African-American folk hero John Henry and an honorary member of the Superman family. Unfortunately the character is done no justice in this movie, as Shaq lumbers around in a suit that a) he can barely move in and b) looks like it was made by paying a pre-school arts and crafts class in pennies and sugar packets.
2. Michael Jackson in Moonwalker
It may have escaped your notice but the deceased pop singer Michael Jackson was very popular at one point and also something of an odd duck. Both of these traits resulted in 1988 vehicle, Moonwalker, which plays out like a fevered glimpse into Jackson’s mind (no there’s nothing like that in the movie, take your mind out of the gutter.) Lacking in any real story structure, Moonwalker is more a series of confusing music videos. Well-choreographed music videos for sure, but the only reason they were all released at once in theatres instead of gradually via MTV was to keep squeezing dollars out of people in the 80’s insatiable desire to see more of the King of Pop. Also it has Michael Jackson turn into a Transformer, which gave me nightmares as a child, the true reason it finds itself on this list.
3. Kurt Thomas in Gymkata
Picture the scene. You are All-American gymnastics star Kurt Thomas. You are a tremendous athlete and a shoe-in to win gold at the Olympics, the kind of thing you’ve been dreaming of and training for your entire life. Unfortunately, your career happens to coincide with the 1984 Olympics, which the USA boycotted. What else are you to do but star in a movie that combines the deadly arts of ninjitsu and gymnastics? Gymkata has a low-budget, a lead actor completely out of his depth and a ludicrous premise. An Olympic gymnast is recruited by the “Special Intelligence Agency” to travel to the fictional land of Parmistan to compete in “The Game” a Running Man style competition in which men must face crazed villagers, ninjas and rickety bridges. He is doing this, keep in mind, in order to ask the dictator of Parmistan for permission to set up a satellite monitoring system in the country before the Russians do. In other words, Gymkata is a goddamned masterpiece, and every minute of your life that you’ve spent before watching it has been a completely hollow waste of your time.
4. West Edmonton Mall in Christmas in Wonderland
This might seem like cheating but the risible holiday film Christmas in Wonderland really comes across as a movie intended to make this shopping centre from Alberta, Canada into the star it was always destined to be. 90% of the movie was shot there. Its competition to out-act includes shit-film measuring sticks like Carmen Electra and Chris Kattan. The mall is treated in the movie as a beautiful utopia where you can buy things, which is truly the best kind of utopia. Unfortunately WEM never did hit the big time, as audiences had long since moved on from Home Alone knock-offs like Christmas in Wonderland and casting agents continually passed over the shopping centre in favour of actors who were people and who were alive, a damning indication of the ongoing prejudice in Hollywood against large buildings. Christmas in Wonderland only managed to run in the cinema inside the actual mall it was about for one week, before the mall, no doubt ashamed at how its head was turned by some hot shot “casting agent”, tried to forget about it forever. The mall was at least probably comforted by co-star Patrick Swayze, who very narrowly avoided going out on this depressing note, this being his second-last film.
5. Paris Hilton in The Hottie and the Nottie
The second inanimate actor on the list, Paris Hilton, has made numerous attempts at making movies. Though obviously more motivated by staying in the public eye by any means necessary rather than actual succeeding as a thespian in any way, any one of Hilton’s output could be mentioned here, but the thoroughly unpleasant The Hottie and the Nottie takes the cake that it won’t be eating because cake makes you fat. The premise of the film is that Paris Hilton refuses to enter into a relationship until her best friend is also in one. The problem is that her friend is ugly and therefore worthless. That guy from Dodgeball and Avatar persues Hilton, but eventually realises that actually he loves the “nottie”. After she gets plastic surgery. For its crimes of having a twisted moral, a name you must be embarrassed to say out loud and Charisma Dyson Paris Hilton as the leading lady, The Hottie and the Nottie is easily the worst movie on the list. Everyone involved in making it should be locked in a large metal box and sent to the bottom of the ocean, where they can never trouble us again.