Bad Roles from Gere to Eternity

Don’t think that Richard “Sexiest Man Alive” Gere is an iconic figure of American cinema? Perhaps you forgot that this “American Gigolo” found a “Pretty Woman,” only to discover she was a “Runaway Bride,” and ultimately, “Unfaithful.” Yep, this tap-dancing, piano-playing, Tibet-loving actor is the 2006 Hasty Pudding Man of the Year. But before we toast his achievements, we should take a look at some flops that weren’t “All That Jazz.”



1. “The Cotton Club”: Francis Ford Coppola’s abysmal depiction of the infamous Harlem night club was a huge pitfall for Gere. Cheap lines like, “You’ve got about as much style as a bowl of turnips,” solidified his doom. Unfortunately, that quip was also an insult to turnips everywhere.

2. “First Knight”: In this timeless Arthurian legend, Gere proves that he may be an accomplished pianist and tap-dancer, but fencing is not his forte. This cinematic portrayal of the myth makes “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court” seem Shakespearean in comparison.

3. “Autumn in New York”: As a graying playboy, Gere becomes smitten with a doe-eyed cancer patient (Winona Ryder). Nothing tugs at the heart strings more than an ill-fated romance; pity this movie makes you reach for your watch and not the Kleenex. This flick is what must have driven Ryder to temporary kleptomaniac insanity.

Despite these cinematic “crap-tacular” forays, Richard Gere is a worthy recipient of the Pudding Pot. Not since he swept Debra Winger off her feet (literally), has an actor made us realize that love, indeed, lifts us up where we belong.

—Staff writer Jessica C. Coggins can be reached at jcoggin@fas.harvard.edu.