Hollywood love stories that flopped onscreen

Brad and Angelina's By The Sea is the latest in a line of turkeys from acting couples.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in By The Sea
Oh boy Well this is awkward Image Picture courtesy Universal Pictures

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s latest film By The Sea is proof, as if we needed more, that couples should never make movies together. 

The romantic drama has already been given a critical battering in the States, with its harshest reviewers firing off barbs like “stupefyingly dull”, “self-indulgent slog” and “unabashed vanity project”.

Audiences didn’t seem too bothered about seeing it either. Piddling box office returns against a £7 million budget make if one of 2015’s costliest big screen flops. All the warning signs were there for writer-director-star Jolie, as these eight movies of dubious quality that feature real-life couples prove.


 

1

Gigli (Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez)

At the height of “Bennifer”, Ben and Jen teamed up for for this crime caper about a hit man and his criminal lesbian lover. Things didn’t end well for the the film, which ‘won’ nine Razzies. The couple didn’t fare much better – splitting soon after Gigli was released. JLo’s “it’s turkey time, gobble gobble” line probably goes down as one of the worst committed to cinema.

2

Shanghai Surprise (Madonna & Sean Penn)

Madonna’s love life has caused severe collateral damage to cinema over the years (more on that later). Her first big screen flop came with then-husband Sean Penn in ‘80s adventure Shanghai Surprise. The film tanked hard, despite the best efforts of George Harrison, who executive produced and contributed five songs to the soundtrack. The normally calm and restrained Beatle later snapped, calling Penn “a pain in the ass” to work with and accusing Madonna of lacking humility. Stating the obvious there, was George.

3

Eyes Wide Shut (Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman)

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise worked together on entertaining throwaways Days of Thunder and Far And Away, but it’s their final film together, Eyes Wide Shut, that left the most ghastly taste in our mouths. Chewing gum for the eyes this one. Stanley Kubrick’s slow, ponderous drama about a marriage falling apart was so mentally taxing, it soon led to Hollywood’s then-biggest power couple to call it quits. Although Tom probably had more to do with that than anything else.

4

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton)

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra
An Egyptian affair Liz and Dick's Cleopatra nearly sent 20th Century Fox into bankruptcy. Image Picture courtesy 20th Century Fox

This bloated historical epic pioneered the couples-making-crap-movies trend thanks to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s headline-hitting affair. Post-Cleopatra, both stars split from their respective spouses to get hitched in 1964 before divorcing and then re-marrying in 1975. Cleopatra may have been a turkey, but at least the Taylor/Burton union eventually produced multi-Oscar winner Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

5

The Getaway (Alec Baldwin & Kim Basinger)

Steve McQueen and wife Ali MacGraw oozed sexy-cool in ‘70s crime thriller The Getaway. The same can’t be said for Alec Baldwin and wife Kim Basinger in the remake some 20 years later. Their take on Jim Thompson’s hard-boiled crime novel was described as “just plan vile” by legendary critic Roger Ebert – and Basinger even managed to pick up a Worst Actress Razzie nomination for her part in it all.

6

Swept Away (Guy Ritchie & Madonna)

Ritchie had just hit it big with Lock, Stock and Snatch. Madonna was fresh off Ray Of Light and Music. Mystifyingly, they then chose to start married life by remaking this obscure Italian film. It sank without trace at the US box office before experiencing straight-to-DVD ignominy in the UK. Madonna hasn’t acted in a movie since, thankfully.

7

Three (Billy Zane & Kelly Brook)

Kelly Brook made a bid to kick-start her movie career with shiny-headed other half Billy Zane in erotic thriller Three. Bearing a tagline that ruined the ending – “Three arrive. Only two survive.”- this managed a paltry one week in cinemas before being consigned to supermarket bargain bins forever. Post-release Zane and Brook took Three’s producers to court in an unsuccessful bid to get Brook’s nude scenes removed. 

8

Alfie (Jude Law & Sienna Miller)

Sparks flew between Jude Law and Sienna Miller on the set of Alfie, but that didn’t result in a film that was any good. Remaking a Michael Caine classic isn’t a great idea at the best of times (remember when Mark Wahlberg did The Italian Job?), so it was hardly a surprise to see punters give this one a wide berth.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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