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Stage Fright: Celebrating the worst performances by musicians in recent films

 

Countless lists are made every day of the best movie roles filled by musicians, and lord knows we could fill up several lists of our favorite performances (here’s a deep cut and a hot take: we actually loved Norah Jones in Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights). But very few talk about the worst performances made by musicians in modern film.

With Sir Paul McCartney making an appearance in this Friday’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, we thought we’d gather up what we think are some pretty horrific film appearances made by famous musicians in the past 10 years or so.

From a dressed-down diva and an aged rock legend to “the king” and a CGI abomination, there’s proof that not everybody can make the transition to the silver screen.

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Bono, Across the Universe

We’ve alway wondered what our friends and exes saw in this miserable Beatles musical, as we’ve never been able to stomach any of it. Case in point: Bono, as “Doctor Robert” (oh, a Beatles reference!) singing “I Am The Walrus” with an excessive literalization of the druggie vibes that the song gives off! Excellent! Bono here looks like Lemmy if Lemmy were an asshole, and he gives a bizarrely stupid and winking performance to the camera. This initial collaboration between the U2 frontman and director Julie Taymor would also help to give the world the Broadway disaster Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which was memorable in the sense that it nearly killed many of the Spider-Men hired to perform the stunts. God help us, we’d much rather watch the Peter Frampton Sgt. Pepper than this dogshit ever again, but that wouldn’t have played well in the dorm rooms.

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