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Ocean's Twelve poster

Written by Matthew Pejkovic


Big name casts do not guarantee a good movie. For proof, check out these All Star Stinkers.



All the King's Men poster

The Cast
Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson

What’s That Smell?
Steve Zaillian’s adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s classic novel (previously adapted in 1949 to universal acclaim), featured a line up of credible big name actors and was marked for awards glory. Yet not even the combined might of Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins could save the bland political melodrama from its underwhelming execution in all facets.

File Under...
Awards Contender Wannabe



Batman & Robin poster

The Cast
George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Elle McPherson

What’s That Smell?
The idea of George Clooney & Arnold Schwarzenegger sharing the screen should make for at least interesting viewing. That it turned out to be embarrassing footnotes in their careers amplifies director Joel Schumacher’s mishandling of the Batman mythos. Throw in a campy Uma Thurman and a bland Alicia Silverstone (whose well documented weight issues eclipsed any sense of performance), and you have an ensemble cast that falls well short of its super status.

File Under...
Not So Super Comic Book Movie


2012 (2009)

2012 poster

The Cast
John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson

What’s That Smell?
“Disaster Movies” have long been a magnet for credible actors in search for that big pay day. Only fitting that the bloated VFX crap fest which was 2012 boast a cast which includes John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejifor & Woody Harrelson. That it featured career lows for all involved speaks volumes.

File Under...
Disaster Movie Paycheque



Oceans Twelve poster

The Cast
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta Jones, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia

What’s That Smell?
The first of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s movies was that rare beast where genre, director, and big talent cast came together to a make a fun, star studded heist movie. Its sequel, however, suffered under the strain of ego and laziness, coming off more like a European holiday for its buddy-buddy stars, with a plot attached for convenience.

File Under...
Stars On Holiday



The Air I Breathe poster

The Cast
Kevin Bacon, Julie Delpy, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emile Hirsch, Forrest Whitaker     

What’s That Smell?
Ever since Crash won the Best Picture Oscar in 2005, a cascade of multi-story ensemble dramas have hit the multiplexes, all baying for Oscar gold. Problem is most of them are not very good. Cue The Air I Breathe, a crime drama which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a pop star under the thumb of mob boss Andy Garcia, whose top enforcer (Brendan Fraser) can see into the future. Not surprisingly, it went straight to DVD in Australia.

File Under...
Pretentious Ensemble Drama



The Invention of Lying poster

The Cast
Ricky Gervias, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman

What’s That Smell?
The cameo has become a stock and trade in modern mainstream cinema. Zombieland, Date Night, and Anchorman used the novelty well. The Invention of Lying did not. Ricky Gervais’ passion project about a lowly man who becomes king after inventing the lie, suffered from poor writing and a lack of imagination. Its celeb cameos by the likes of Tina Fey, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Edward Norton came off as novelty, pandering to an audience who had lost interest by the second act.

File Under...
Cameo Wankery


BE COOL (2005)

Be Cool poster

The Cast
John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Harvey Keitel, Dwayne Johnson, James Woods

What’s That Smell?
Get Shorty was a fun crime caper featuring an in form John Travolta leading a talented ensemble cast. Its 2005 sequel was the exact opposite, Travolta coasting as enforcer turned LA mogul Chilli Palmer, while the usually reliable Vince Vaughn, Uma Thurman, and Harvey Keitel turn in painful performances. Furthermore, its satire of the music industry lakes the bite its predecessor had.  

File Under...
Crappy Sequel



Mars Attacks poster

The Cast
Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Natalie Portman, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker

What’s That Smell?
There is nothing like a good spoof/satire to draw a myriad of top talent, and Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks had a cast to end all casts, ranging from Jack Nicholson to Natalie Portman to Michael J. Fox. Such a shame to see this packed ensemble wasted in Burton’s poorly constructed and lukewarm funny sci-fi satire, where the large brained aliens out acted their human co-stars.  

File Under...
Overstuffed Spoofs


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