When Good People Make So-So Films

Assembling a top-grade team doesn’t mean the film will be any kind of great shakes. Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Wrong Man (1956), a moderately interesting but mostly dull and plodding procedural, is but one example. Hitch directing a script co-written by the great Maxwell Anderson. A stellar cast topped by Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle and Harold J. Stone. Shot by the esteemed Robert Burks, edited by George Tomasini and scored by Bernard Herrmann. And audiences went “wait…what?”

Today’s Hollywood Elsewhere assignment is to name other duds or under-performers on which on the very best people worked — the most talented, the highest paid, the most respected. All that potential and swagger and….phfffft.

  • BromanBrolanski

    Benjamin Button

  • budbrigmanbackontheair

    Prometheus.

  • http://twitter.com/jessecrall Jesse Crall

    Bringing Out the Dead. The whole movie felt totally empty to me even though it had the right elements in terms of collaborators and location atmosphere.

    • jedgeco

      BOTD was my first thought as well. Throw Gangs of NY on too for good measure.

  • Jery October

    Wolf

  • LeSamourai

    Shutter Island, but then the source material was just beneath Scorcese et al in the first place.

  • jedgeco

    The Fighter
    The Life Aquatic
    Oceans 12
    True Grit (2010)

    • George Prager

      THE FIGHTER and TRUE GRIT, having made a lot of money and Oscar noms and wins, don’t qualify.

  • hupto

    (aka Cadavra)

    DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. Three and a quarter hours of snow, snot and boredom. I’d almost rather sit through an Adam Sandler picture.

    • George Prager

      Kudos, Sir. I could never understand the love for this movie. I think if 75% of the people who half saw this movie when they were teenagers saw this now they would take it all back.

  • Jery October

    Bonfire of the Vanities

  • York Durden

    DZ wrote:

    Avatar

  • Mark

    Scratching my head at the comments so far, as all those movies at least made an impression, good or bad. My votes, Nine, The Ladykillers, Cradle Will Rock, J Edgar, The Good German, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Solaris, The Men Who Stare at Goats, oh screw it, 90% of whatever George Clooney does.

    • hupto

      Just my two cents, but I adore CRADLE WILL ROCK.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    Last year, Anna Karenina. This year, The Great Gatsby.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    In 1974, The Great Gatsby. In 1949, The Great Gatsby.

    • Aaron

      In 2013, The Great Gatsby. ;-)

  • Aaron

    Just a few:

    Nine
    Rock of Ages
    The Tourist
    Cloud Atlas
    Xanadu
    One From the Heart
    Ishtar
    Bonfire of the Vanities
    Hero
    Heaven’s Gate

  • http://twitter.com/jasctt Jason T.

    SLP

  • George Prager

    Lots of good ones, The first one I thought of was HERO. And then you have MARY REILLY. WOLF is s good one, but Mike Nichols had been running on empty for years.

    VALMONT

    THE MAN IN THE MOON

    MARRIED TO THE MOB

    ALWAYS

    MOON OVER PARADOR

    TO BE OR NOT TO BE

    HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART I

    ALI

    LIONS FOR LAMBS

    CITY HEAT

    • Mark

      Lions For Lambs, nice. Imagine a gorilla jumping into a pool and making zero splash.

    • chien_clean

      What someone with talent played in Ali?

  • George Prager

    LEXG SAYS…
    THE GODFATHER…bunch of guys yelling at each other in a room! BADA BING!

  • George Prager

    RASHAD SAYS…
    Jaws.

  • George Prager

    FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY…they were making bets on how many Oscars this was going to win back in the day.

    HAVANA
    CUBA (Connery, Brooke Adams, Richard Lester)

  • Mechanical Shark

    I dunno, I kind of love The Wrong Man.

  • DuluozGray

    Highlander 2: The Quickening

  • chien_clean

    That’s every Ron Howard-directed movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699265068 Addison Wilhite

    East of Eden

    • Mr Sheldrake

      Really?

  • Mr Sheldrake

    The Missouri Breaks. Brando’s first since Last Tango, Nicholson’s follow up to Cuckoo’s Nest with Penn directing and it cost $8 millions! Lots of lettuce in those days and great expectations. The critics yawned and audiences pretty much stayed away, but I think this movie gets better with age.

    • Edward Klein

      I love Missouri Breaks, one of Brando’s most out there performances. When he takes the ice from the coffin to use on his jaw is classic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luismanuel.cabrera Luis Manuel Cabrera

    Mamma mia!? Mmmh, the only person that seems to respect Phyllida Lloyd as a film director is Meryl Streep…

  • JoeS

    Having recently caught WRONG MAN in HD on Satellite, I wouldn’t pick it as an example for this topic. I had only mediocre memories of it myself, but, this broadcast cast the film in a new light. It’s an offbeat Hitchcock, but a worthy interesting film.