I’m Just Saying, You Can Do Better: 10 Talented/Classic Actors And The Ratchet Movies They Shouldn’t Have Messed With

January 30, 2013  |  
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I know that times are hard and everybody, including the big wigs and legends in Hollywood, need to go to work. But there are just some movies that I never thought these 10 very talented and even legendary actors and actresses would take part in. From films about video girls to black superheroes and random snakes on planes, as the anti-drug organization D.A.R.E. used to say, “Just say no.” That’s what these folks should have done when the scripts to these movies came across their desks.

Ruby Dee – Video Girl

Anytime a cast includes names like Lisa Raye, Bun B, Melyssa Ford, Meagan Good, Angela Lola Luv and Yung Joc, the legendary Ruby Dee’s name shouldn’t be attached to it. But sadly, Ruby Dee surprised the hell out of me when she appeared in the movie, Video Girl, starring Meagan Good, playing in a lead role as her grandmother. The film was about a failed dancer who becomes a popular star in hip-hop music videos, but sadly becomes addicted to drugs.The small-budget film is already a BET Thursday night classic. Coming just a few years after she picked up an Academy Award nomination for her role in American Gangster, I definitely wasn’t expecting to find one of the legendary stars of A Raisin in the Sun acting alongside the star of The Players Club in the same movie.

Angela Bassett – Meet The Browns

Over the last few years, Angela Bassett has appeared in a few movies I’ve really loved and some that were a bit more questionable. The questionable joints? Jumping The Broom, Notorious, and most questionable, Meet The Browns. Playing the single mother of a down-on-their-luck family, Bassett’s character Brenda has to make a trek to Atlanta to take part in the funeral of her father. While there, she meets her very eccentric relatives, and a whole lot of ratchet-ness begins. As someone who I still say “Get your s**t, get your s**t and get out!!!” because of, I was very disappointed to see Bassett’s talents go to waste as Mr. Brown danced around in kaleidoscope-inspired pants next to her.

Halle Berry – Catwoman

Let’s keep it real. The Academy Award Halle Berry won for Monster’s Ball has not really improved her career like that. It’s provided her with different types of movies to try her hand at, but homegirl is choosing the wrong ones. Case in point: Catwoman. She should have known that if it wasn’t being pushed by Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan, it was going to be a flop. And no alluring black leather ensemble with her fabulous body in it could help this train wreck of a movie. The acting was bad, the storyline was worse, and it’s probably one of the only Batman-inspired films most people passed on.

Samuel Jackson – Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a Plane? The title itself should have been enough to make Samuel Jackson want to run for the hills, but I guess you don’t become one of the wealthiest actors out there by passing up on checks. But I can’t go for this movie about a box full of venomous crazy a** snakes being released on a plane in the hopes of killing a witness to the crime of a gangster. Even Samuel Jackson’s eloquent dialogue (“Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing plane!”) or his big name couldn’t save it.

Thandie Newton – Norbit

Good ‘ol Norbit…A great example of a film that any truly talented actor or actress shouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole. The line to promote the movie was, “Have you ever made a really big mistake?” and for Thandie Newton and Eddie Murphy, when they signed on for this mess, the answer was yes. There was nothing remotely funny about a movie about a painfully submissive man and his overbearing, possessive and obese girlfriend. And not only was it not funny, it was MAD stereotypical. How Newton got stuck in the middle of the ratchet-ness playing an old friend of Norbit’s that he falls in love with, I don’t know, but I hope she learned her lesson: don’t mess with post-2000 Eddie Murphy.

Rue McClanahan – The Fighting Temptations

What do you get when you pair a late Golden Girl with Beyoncé and post-peak Cuba Gooding Jr? Fighting Temptations, a movie about a guy who returns to his hometown to take over a church choir and bring them back to greatness. The always funny Rue McClanahan, aka Blanche Devereaux, didn’t really get very much screen time to display her classic sense of humor, but instead she played one of the odd and out of place singers in the choir (which included everyone from Lil Zane to Montell Jordan) who just so happened to be able to sing. So much talent that could have been better used elsewhere.

Anthony Mackie – Notorious

What was meant to be an homage to BIG fell pretty short when it came to the movie Notorious. Some of the acting was a bit lackluster and a lot of the nudity we had to watch (some from Naturi Naughton playing Lil Kim), wasn’t necessary, and didn’t add to the movie. Angela Bassett was another one who probably should have left this movie alone, but Anthony Mackie as 2Pac was also a guy whose talents were a bit too big for this film. He only appeared for a short while, but his attempts to play the always wildin’ but misunderstood Tupac Shakur were a bit lame. Just saying.

Cicely Tyson – In Most Tyler Perry Movies…

While I might love me some Cicely Tyson, even when people have joked about her playing the same role in every movie, I need her to stay out of Tyler Perry films. She went from playing the knowledgeable elder in Madea’s Family Reunion (who did a very comical example of gyrating for the young boys and girls acting a fool during the reunion), and wound up playing Ola, one half of a VERY in love awkward elderly couple in the all-over-the-place two hours that was Why Did I Get Married Too? I think she’s been put in his movies to add a bit more weight and credibility to them (she’s like the clutch star player you use at last minute of a basketball game), but I think she should hold out for some more meatier roles, because she definitely deserves them.

James Earl Jones – Meteor Man

As deep and serious as his voice is, James Earl Jones doesn’t require every one of his roles to be a heart-wrenching drama or some deep social commentary (HELLO, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins anyone?). Maybe that’s why he had no problem busting out his best dance moves and angular fade toupee for Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man. A very lighthearted film with a good message, Jones played neighborhood resident Earnest Moses, and his character his the definition of tomfoolery (the fun, innocent kind though). The folks at i09.com put it best when describing the talent the movie wasted (including that of Don Cheadle, Marla Gibbs, Robert Guillaume and more):

James Earl Jones stars as Earnest Moses, and is dressed in an oversized baseball jersey for the whole movie, and check out his high fade haircut. It’s pretty embarrassing to watch the voice of Darth Vader try and imitate Radio Raheem from Do The Right Thing.

Zoe Saldana, Ed Asner, Wood Harris And Basically The Whole Cast Of The Heart Specialist

You probably haven’t even heard of this movie, and it’s best things stay that way. Not too long after finishing up her work on Avatar, Zoe Saldana must have wanted to exercise her acting chops just for fun when she took on this movie about a chief resident at a hospital who teaches trainees while hiding a secret about his health and trying to make love connections. And when Brian White is in a movie, you might want to just not even give it eye contact at all. The lovable Ed Asner? The fine Wood Harris? The very talented Zoe Saldana? All just wasted in this movie that I was randomly introduced to while traveling overseas. I want my money back for it…

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