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The unfortunate star: Meryl Streep

You can't blame multiple Academy Award winner Meryl Streep for thinking that Lions for Lambs was a wise career movie. On paper, it appears to be foolproof Oscar bait. Directed by Robert Redford, it's a straight-faced drama about our country's dealings in both Afghanistan and in governmental offices, and was set to co-star Tom Cruise in a role that would pit him one-on-one against Streep. All you'd need was for someone to go "full retard" and Lions for Lambs could have swept the awards without even trying.

Well, if only Redford had sought a few script revisions before shooting. Instead, he went with Matthew Michael Carnahan's plodding, preachy, and unsubtle take on the material, and gifted actors like Streep, Derek Luke, and a young Andrew Garfield, all of whom give fine performances, were left helpless. In terms of "worst movies on otherwise stellar résumés," Streep could, of course, do a lot worse than a film as prestigious as Lions for Lambs. Not much worse, mind you, but still.