Just about everyone has a favorite actor or actress, someone we'll watch in just about any film, no matter the genre. We like their style, their delivery and the indefinable qualities they bring to any role.
But sometimes our patience is tested. Sometimes, friends, our idols take roles for which they are so incredibly unsuited in films so wretchedly bad that we feel almost like we should stage an intervention.
Hopefully such roles are one-time aberrations, a single gross error in judgment that is soon shaken off and followed by a return to thespian glory. Many's the time an actor has followed a wretched role with an Oscar-worthy turn.
Then, of course ... we have Nicolas Cage. But the less said about him the better.
In the spirit of fairness, we have to start this set of five actors in unfortunate roles with one of our personal favorites who should have known her limitations ...
No. 5: Helena Bonham Carter - "Sweeney Todd"
"Sweeney Todd" is one of the great works of musical theater, combining a ripping yarn, a bloodthirsty protagonist and a healthy dose of political satire along with an outstanding score.
However, when Tim Burton took a swing at "Sweeney," he cast his darling Helena Bonham Carter as the meat pie-slinging Mrs. Lovett. She brings a daffy sort of menace to the role ... but also a tin ear on a par with the worst karaoke you've ever heard. She mangles notes, brutalizes scales and tries to do with volume what talent can't handle.
Carter, who imbues "Harry Potter's" Bellatrix Lestrange with a maniacal hatred that's musical in its intensity and perfection, quite honestly can't sing her way out of a paper bag.
Were her own Red Queen to stumble upon her warbling, Carter might find herself soon parted from her head.
Our next (dis)honoree just did his film for the title ...
No. 4: Ben Affleck - "Paycheck"
Ever since "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was adapted into every sci-fi geek's favorite "Blade Runner," which at last count is available in at least 47 different versions, the works of Philip K. Dick have been rich fodder for moviemakers.
And no wonder: Dick specializes in the sort of dystopian, angst-ridden, depressing future visions that keep psychiatrists pushing out happy pills.
Ben Affleck took his turn at Dick with "Paycheck," an execrable piece of sci-fi fluff that also managed to suck in Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman and Paul Giamatti, all of whom should have known better.
Affleck plays a computer genius whose mind gets wiped clean occasionally to keep him from selling secrets he's learned -- and apparently to prevent any meaningful character development as well.
Our next character could have been a little LESS developed ...
No. 3: Halle Berry - "Catwoman"
Halle Berry is a great actress. Really. Even in superhero schlock like the "X-Men" films, where she gets to play weather witch Storm, she brings an undeniable grace and talent to her roles.
Then we come to "Catwoman." The only reason we can come up with for this movie to exist is to give to the male populace the everlasting vision of Halle in the catsuit she wears as the superhero.
In the movie, Berry's character, Patience, is done in by an evil corporation and then brought back to life by a mystical cat. Patience becomes Catwoman, then wreaks vengeance on evildoers by hacking up gigantic hairballs and spitting them at supersonic speed.
That last part's not true, but trust us when we say it would have made for a more interesting movie.