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Top 10 Worst Made For TV Celebrity Biopics

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Their stories deserve to be told. Just, not like this. For this list, we’ll be looking some of the absolute worst made-for-TV movies detailing the lives of celebrities. Our list includes Hendrix, Anna Nicole, Madonna: Innocence Lost, Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story, The Brittany Murphy Story and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Made For TV Celebrity Biopics.

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Top 10 Worst Made For TV Celebrity Biopics

Their stories deserve to be told. Just, not like this. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten worst made-for-TV celebrity biopics.

For this list, we’ll be looking some of the absolute worst made-for-TV movies detailing the lives of celebrities.

#10: “Hendrix” (2000)

Jimi Hendrix is undoubtedly one of the most influential musicians in rock history. However, this TV movie did the legend no favors. While the acting is actually quite solid, the movie looks incredibly cheap, and it glosses over many important aspects of Hendrix’s personal life and groundbreaking career. For example, his famous Woodstock performance is over in a matter of two minutes, and even then, it’s interspersed with historic footage from the ‘60s and ‘70s - you know, just to drive home the thematic message and historical relevance in case you missed it. We suppose it’s OK for casual viewers, but it’s likely to disappoint Hendrix fans and upset music historians.

#9: “Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story” (2001)

Terrible title aside, was anyone REALLY asking for an MC Hammer biopic? The movie stars a then-unknown Romany Malco, but even his welcome presence isn’t enough to save this “tepid” piece of work. The cheap costumes and wigs are bad even by made-for-tv standards. Aside from the cheap production, the movie also contains an awful script that presents wild inaccuracies, glances over big moments, and simply cuts others, leading to a convoluted mess of a life story. If you really want to learn about Hammer’s life, just read his Wikipedia page or watch his “Behind the Music” episode.

#8: “Anna Nicole” (2013)

“Anna Nicole” chronicled the life of iconic Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith, who faced widespread scrutiny in the early ‘90s when she was accused of marrying elderly billionaire J. Howard Marshall for his money. Upon his death, she became involved in a legal battle that went to the Supreme Court. It’s a story with a lot of ambiguity and depth, but “Anna Nicole” doesn’t mine it. The rapid 90-minute runtime ensures that the movie never goes deep enough into Anna Nicole’s life or psychology. Add some goofy narration and the abysmal choice to have Anna see different versions of herself throughout the movie, and you have a biopic with a lot of wasted potential.

#7: “Madonna: Innocence Lost” (1994)

Madonna is one of the most popular and controversial pop artists of all time, and her rise to fame lends plenty of thematic and dramatic material for a movie. Unfortunately, Fox’s “Madonna: Innocence Lost” was based on an unauthorized biography written by Christopher Andersen, and it shows. The movie reeks of tabloid nonsense; it’s apparently more interested in creating repellant characters and moral drama than in presenting a relatable and grounded story. The movie also takes Madonna’s no-nonsense, strong personality and turns it into a stubborn, bitter, and wholly unlikable character. She is presented as less strong, feminist icon and more unpleasant, spoiled child.

#6: “The Brittany Murphy Story” (2014)

What happened to Brittany Murphy is tragic, and this movie treated its subject with as little respect or decency as possible. For one thing, Amanda Fuller looked and acted nothing like Brittany, and while we understand the problems with casting actors as real people, this was just egregiously bad casting. It also primarily focuses on her tragic and mysterious death rather than her life, treating the movie more like a mystery thriller than a respectful biopic. It’s also far too melodramatic for its own good, like when Brittany’s mother chastises her for taking antidepressants or the absurd death scene that is ridiculously over-acted and cliché. It’s less a biopic and more an exploitative hatchet job.

#5: “Liz & Dick” (2012)

What a hot mess “Liz & Dick” is. This Lifetime movie chronicles the tumultuous relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, only Elizabeth Taylor is played by a comeback-dependent Lindsay Lohan. Sadly, it wasn’t quite the award-showering return to form she was likely hoping for. Critics pointed out how boring, unsexy, and emotionless she is throughout. Others criticized the script and direction, declaring that it somehow managed to make a headline-grabbing relationship tedious to observe, mostly due to the complete lack of chemistry between Lohan and Grant Bowler. In the end, it did far more harm than good for Lohan’s career.

#4: “Whitney” (2015)

Lifetime’s “Whitney” was actually directed quite competently by Angela Bassett and starred a great Yaya DaCosta in the titular role. Unfortunately, that’s all that can be said about this mess. The movie’s script is shallow and meaningless, and it was criticized for being woefully inaccurate and misleading, especially regarding the characterizations of Whitney and Bobby. Also, it’s fine to cast an actor who can’t sing the parts - this is Whitney Houston that we’re talking about - but why have that actor lip sync to performances by an entirely different singer? This movie could have been so much more with a tighter script and the right music.

#3: “Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story” (2004)

This ridiculous movie does a great disservice to one of the greatest pop musicians of all time. Flex Alexander (and the rest of the cast for that matter) feels woefully miscast. He doesn’t look a thing like Michael, his makeup is high school production-level cheap, and he can’t dance, which is, you know, a major aspect of Jackson’s character. The movie also portrays Michael as some sort of simple, naïve man-child, not a savvy businessman and progenitor of modern pop music. Toss in some overly-obvious, theme-screaming dialogue and a total lack of Michael’s famous music and you have yourself one terrible movie.

#2: “Britney Ever After” (2017)

Oh look, another misfire courtesy of Lifetime! “Britney Ever After” is yet another movie about a musician that doesn’t contain a single piece of original music or actors who look even remotely like their real-life counterparts. Not only does Natasha Bassett look very little like Britney, but she also portrays her like she’s in a “Saturday Night Live” skit, exaggerating her speech and mannerisms to an almost satiric degree. The script was also a total mess that rushed through important career and life moments and presented numerous inaccuracies that Britney’s fans couldn’t forgive. It’s just another cheaply made and researched biopic that does a great disservice to a troubled but beloved celebrity.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“John and Yoko: A Love Story” (1985)

“Ring of Fire” (2013)

“Shania: A Life in Eight Albums” (2005)

#1: “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” (2014)

Now matter how bad the previously-mentioned Lifetime movies may have been, they pale in comparison to “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B.” The movie was attacked on all angles by critics and fans alike. It actually trended on social media on the night of its airing... and not in a good way. Nearly every aspect of the film was panned, including the severe miscasting of various characters, the lack of music, and the wild inaccuracies, particularly the overly-romanticized depiction of Aaliyah and R. Kelly’s controversial relationship. It was a gross mistreatment of the artist’s legacy, and it pissed a lot of people off.


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