Top 10 B-Movies Hollywood Stars Did Before They Became Famous

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Top 10 B-Movies Hollywood Stars Did Before They Became Famous

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Kyle Pura
Everybody's gotta start somewhere. For this list, we'll be looking at the most notable low-budget films that starred well-known actors prior to their meteoric rises to Hollywood stardom. Our countdown includes Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more!
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Top 10 B-Movies A-List Actors Did Before They Were Famous


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 B-Movies A-List Actors Did Before They Were Famous.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most notable low-budget films that starred well-known actors prior to their meteoric rises to Hollywood stardom. Because some plot points will be discussed, a spoiler warning is now in effect!

Which of these B-movies do you feel deserves an A+? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: Matthew McConaughey

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” (1995)
Being a Texan himself, it’s only fitting that McConaughey would appear as a villain in a film from the classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise. Unlike the original, this movie makes plenty of puzzling story choices. One of the most glaringly odd decisions is the inclusion of a remote-controlled, cybernetic leg that McConaughey’s character Vilmer inexplicably sports. Confusing appendages aside, McConaughey chews up all of the scenery he’s in, delivering a manically over-the-top performance that’s worth the price of admission alone. You may also recognize the central character of Jenny in the film as being a young Renée Zellweger, whose major success started shortly after this performance.


#9: Charlize Theron

“Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest” (1995)
Remember when your parents would tell you to eat your vegetables? Well, this slasher sequel recommends you do the opposite. “Children of the Corn III” is about a teen named Eli who uses cursed corn to convince his classmates to become followers of his cult. And it’s as ridiculous as it sounds! Among the followers is Charlize Theron, whose role was so small that she was uncredited in the movie. Theron doesn’t do much of anything in this film, besides staring intensely. She doesn’t even really speak, though she does scream while being attacked by a cornfield-inhabiting tentacle creature. Needless to say, this is by far Theron’s corniest role to date.


#8: Demi Moore

“Parasite” (1982)
Not to be confused with the Oscar-winning South Korean film of the same name, 1982’s “Parasite” isn’t exactly “award” material. But the sci-fi horror film does offer plenty of schlocky effects and gross moments courtesy of the titular parasite. Attempting to destroy the mischievous maggot is Demi Moore. Moore plays Patricia, a self-proclaimed lemon grower, a baffling detail that isn’t really significant to the film’s overall plot. The veteran actress has since revealed she’s not a big fan of “Parasite”, singling out the 3D version as the worst movie she’s ever appeared in. I guess it’s safe to assume that Moore won’t be growing any lemon trees anytime soon.


#7: Brad Pitt

“Cutting Class” (1989)
There are plenty of things to worry about when you’re a high school student. There’s getting good grades, forming meaningful friendships, or, in Brad Pitt’s character’s case, trying to figure out who the murderer on campus is. “Cutting Class” was among Pitt’s first major roles. And his talents were more or less wasted playing a stereotypical “dumb jock” type named Dwight. Still, the movie does deserve a gold star for its interesting whodunit plot, creative showdowns, as well as some incredibly campy and ridiculous dialogue. Plus, it’s just really fun to watch an obviously adult Brad Pitt, who was in his mid-twenties at this point, try to pass as a teenager.

#6: Jack Nicholson

“The Terror” (1963)
Legendary B-movie director Roger Corman could’ve had a classic on his hands with “The Terror.” After all, it paired Jack Nicholson with iconic actor Boris Karloff. Unfortunately, the movie ran into multiple issues during production, namely requiring script rewrites, and because all of Karloff’s scenes were reportedly filmed in only two days! This led to a majorly incoherent plot. It included a weird love story for Nicholson’s character André, who needs to know if the woman he’s infatuated with is a human, ghost, or witch. Despite the film’s negative reception, Nicholson has looked back on his time with Corman fondly, calling him his “lifeblood.” That’s certainly one reason to appreciate this messy movie’s existence.


#5: Leonardo DiCaprio

“Critters 3” (1991)
A teenage DiCaprio turned many heads with his Oscar-nominated performance in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. But did you know that two years before, DiCaprio was basically asking “what’s eating everyone in this apartment building” in “Critters 3”? This horror sequel, much like its predecessors, is essentially a lower quality “Gremlins” rip-off. DiCaprio does an okay job as Josh, a young boy who’s trying to evade becoming Critter chow. But the human cast is arguably one-upped by the alien fur ball antagonists, who provide the film with its most genuinely fun moments. Considering they were the movie’s main strength, it’s easy to pinpoint why it received a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score.

#4: Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Hercules in New York” (1970)
It’s no secret that with his muscular physique, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the perfect candidate to portray a live-action Hercules. Well, you may be surprised to learn he did just that back in 1970. Unfortunately, he played the demigod in a cheaply-made film, before he really refined his acting chops. In fact, Schwarzenegger required a voice double at the time because of his heavy accent, and the dubbing is… well, not great. Despite this, the film has its fair share of memorable moments, including a scene where Hercules engages in a hilarious fist fight with a bear. Here’s hoping Schwarzenegger considers revisiting the character in a bigger-budget film sometime soon.


#3: Angelina Jolie

“Cyborg 2” (1993)
“Cyborg 2” had everything needed to be classified as a “so bad, it’s enjoyable” movie. It has a zany plot involving a power-hungry robotics company and a cyborg assassin spy protagonist. It also has a talented actress in Angelina Jolie, whose performance as Cash completely embraces the film’s cheesiness. It even offers some subpar action scenes that are hysterical to watch. Yet it fails to cement itself as a fully campy action film, relying on a romance subplot that left us feeling “Cy-BORED”! Jolie has even gone on record saying that she “went home and got sick” after watching the film. That’s not the most rousing endorsement an actress can give her own project, is it?

#2: Tom Hanks

“Mazes and Monsters” (1982)
“Mazes and Monsters” was a made-for-tv film created amid the moral panic surrounding “Dungeons and Dragons” in the early ‘80s. The film, in tune with the public’s fears at the time, seemingly suggested that fantasy role-playing games were evil, and corrupting people’s minds. The character that’s at the heart of this controversial stance is Robbie, played by a young Tom Hanks. In the film, Robbie becomes more and more obsessed with the fantasy, to the point where he can’t differentiate real life from the game. Hanks definitely gives the role his all, showing off his vast emotional range throughout. But the story’s contentious themes have aged like milk, so we’d only recommend this film for Tom Hanks superfans.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Eva Mendes, “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror” (1998)
The Actress Accepts Evil in This Horror Sequel About a Rural Cult

Gerard Butler, “Tale of the Mummy” (1998)
He Might Want to Bury This Forgettable Role in a Sealed Tomb

Mark Ruffalo, “The Dentist” (1996)
Let’s Just Say Steve Landers Isn’t Ruffalo’s Most Noteworthy Character

Paul Walker, “Tammy and the T-Rex” (1994)
The Late Star Plays a Boyfriend Turned Robot Dinosaur Who’s Both Fast & Furious

Eugene Levy, “Cannibal Girls” (1973)
The “American Pie” Actor Tries to Avoid Becoming Dessert

#1: Jennifer Aniston

“Leprechaun” (1993)
Just one year before Jennifer Aniston mesmerized us with her career-defining work in the hit sitcom “Friends”, she was becoming enemies with an evil leprechaun. Aniston made her major film debut in this low-budget horror flick about a killer leprechaun searching for his coveted pot of gold. Unlike gold though, Aniston doesn’t exactly shine in the lead role as terrorized teen Tory. But we can see glimpses of the charm that has since made her such a beloved actress. Aniston has recently voiced embarrassment about starring in the cult classic film. But her career ultimately thrived thanks to her obvious talent, and it’s not because she had the luck of the Irish on her side.
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