Kevin Kline's Best Movies

In this week's Total Recall, we count down the best-reviewed work of the Last Vegas star.

Kevin Kline

Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, and Morgan Freeman's names might come first in the posters for this weekend's Last Vegas, but the fourth name on that list boasts a pretty impressive résumé in his own right. In fact, with an Oscar and a pair of Tonys to his credit, Kevin Kline is one of the better-resprected actors of his generation -- which is exactly why we decided to dedicate this week's list to a look at some of the brightest critical highlights from his distinguished career.


73%

10. In & Out

Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) seems to have it made -- he's a well-liked English teacher and coach at his small-town high school, with a wedding to his fiancee (Joan Cusack) on the horizon and a former student (Matt Dillon) up for an Academy Award. But Howard's world comes unglued after his ex-pupil uses the Oscar telecast to tell the world that Howard's gay -- a revelation that proves shocking for everyone, most of all Howard, who thinks of himself as heterosexual. A comedy of errors ensues, ably supported by a cast that also includes Tom Selleck and Bob Newhart, and although it's a premise that probably wouldn't fly today, it was handled so nimbly by director Frank Oz and writer Paul Rudnick that most critics couldn't complain too much. "A man questioning his own sexuality does not seem like the ideal topic for a comedy," admitted Cinematter's Madeleine Williams. "But with a good script, and plenty of humor, In & Out tackles this touchy subject matter with aplomb."


76%

9. Silverado

Once you cast Brian Dennehy as your movie's bad guy, you've won half the battle. Fortunately for Silverado director/co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, he also managed to line up a pretty capable cast of heroes for his stylishly assembled Western. Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover all saddled up and rode against Dennehy's crooked sheriff, and even the supporting cast managed to shine, with memorable turns from Jeff Goldblum, Linda Hunt, and Rosanna Arquette. Westerns weren't exactly in vogue during the mid-'80s -- especially ones as unabashedly retro as this one -- but according to most critics, Silverado made it work; as Roger Ebert wrote, "This is a story, you will agree, that has been told before. What distinguishes Kasdan's telling of it is the style and energy he brings to the project."

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80%

8. The Pirates of Penzance

The next time you find yourself wondering why more big movies don't premiere on-demand at the same time they're in theaters, think about The Pirates of Penzance. A film adaptation of the Broadway hit, starring most of the original stage cast, it bowed to widely positive reviews; problem was, it had a hard time holding on to theatrical engagements due to Universal's decision to simultaneously send the movie to a pay-TV service. Thus did ticked-off theater owners opt to shun our cinematic Pirates, and lo did the audience suffer -- at least in the estimation of most critics, who felt that the cast (including Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Angela Lansbury, and Rex Smith) did a fine job of bringing the stage musical to the screen. In addition to a "well made musical," Michael A. Smith of Nolan's Pop Culture Review deemed it "Proof that Kline can do ANYTHING!"


81%

7. Cry Freedom

The life of legendary anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko got its big-screen due with Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom, starring Denzel Washington as Biko and Kline as Biko's journalist friend Donald Woods, whose books formed the basis for John Briley's screenplay. Although it arrived at a moment when the South African government's racially oppressive policies were under particularly harsh scrutiny on the international stage, Freedom's stark drama proved a tough sell for American filmgoers, who mostly failed to turn out during its theatrical run. Critics found it problematic due to what Roger Ebert termed its "liberal yuppie" focus, although he went on to admit, "Cry Freedom is a sincere and valuable movie, and despite my fundamental reservations about it, I think it probably should be seen."

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81%

6. Sophie's Choice

One of the heaviest Holocaust movies of the 1980s, Sophie's Choice found writer/director Alan J. Pakula adapting William Styron's heartbreaking novel into an equally shattering film, starring Meryl Streep as the titular protagonist, Kline as her emotionally unwell lover, and Peter MacNicol as the young novelist whose arrival at their Brooklyn boarding house coincides with a particularly fraught period in their lives. While its sad story and deliberate pace proved an unappealing blend for some scribes, most critics were won over by the movie's stellar performances, led by Streep's Oscar-winning work. "Though it's far from a flawless movie, Sophie's Choice is a unified and deeply affecting one," wrote Janet Maslin for the New York Times, "thanks in large part to Miss Streep's bravura performance, it's a film that casts a powerful, uninterrupted spell."

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Comments

Thomas Levesque

Thomas Levesque

my 10 favorite kevin kline movies are
1-The Ice storm
2-Dave
3-A Fish Called Wanda
4-A Prarie Home Companion
5-No Strings Attached
6-Chaplin
7-The Big Chill
8-The Pink Panther
9-Wild Wild West
10-Hunchback Of Notre Dumb

Oct 30 - 04:38 PM

Vincent

Dickah Sperman

No Strings Attached?????? Terrible trolling.

Oct 30 - 04:50 PM

Sebastian O.

Sebastian Ochoa

True.

Oct 30 - 05:31 PM

Thomas Levesque

Thomas Levesque

well i liked it, if you don't then move along

Oct 30 - 07:17 PM

RoHiT

Good Looking RoHiT

Yawn.

Oct 30 - 10:03 PM

Dave J

Dave J

You have to take into account that user Thomas had probably seen more Kevin Kline movies than most users on here which also says something! So, even if he includes "Wild, Wild West" and "No Strings Attached" so what, it still doesn't mean that he liked them considering he didn't like "Hunchback of...."!

Oct 31 - 01:22 PM

Richard Bergstrom

Richard Bergstrom

Fierce Creatures...

Nov 1 - 10:19 AM

Vincent

Dickah Sperman

No Strings Attached?????? Terrible trolling.

Oct 30 - 04:50 PM

Sebastian O.

Sebastian Ochoa

True.

Oct 30 - 05:31 PM

Thomas Levesque

Thomas Levesque

well i liked it, if you don't then move along

Oct 30 - 07:17 PM

RoHiT

Good Looking RoHiT

Yawn.

Oct 30 - 10:03 PM

Dave J

Dave J

You have to take into account that user Thomas had probably seen more Kevin Kline movies than most users on here which also says something! So, even if he includes "Wild, Wild West" and "No Strings Attached" so what, it still doesn't mean that he liked them considering he didn't like "Hunchback of...."!

Oct 31 - 01:22 PM

Sebastian O.

Sebastian Ochoa

True.

Oct 30 - 05:31 PM

Al Pi

Al Pi

Wow, really surprised that a couple of those movies don't have higher RT scores. I know they're older, and as such, the reviews for them can get kind of skewed, but I would have assumed Silverado's would have actually gone up because of that.

Oct 30 - 05:39 PM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

Man! I completely forgot he was in A Fish Called Wanda he was amazing in that.In & Out was also hilarious.

Oct 30 - 06:27 PM

Thomas Levesque

Thomas Levesque

well i liked it, if you don't then move along

Oct 30 - 07:17 PM

Davey Salsa

Davey Salsa

I LOVE YOU TO DEATH!?? Blasphemy!

Oct 30 - 08:29 PM

Kate Avery

Kate Avery

I agree. I think the older movies don't get a fair shake because not as many reviews for them are available, but I Love You to Death is hilariously brilliant, one of my favorites.

Oct 31 - 03:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah, I mean, we're not communists here.

Nov 1 - 11:08 AM

RoHiT

Good Looking RoHiT

Yawn.

Oct 30 - 10:03 PM

Eric Cantwell

Eric Cantwell

Soap Dish should be on here. I don't know how it rates on the RT meter but Kline and everyone else was hilarious in that movie.

Oct 31 - 07:01 AM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

Soap Dish was brilliant.

Oct 31 - 10:13 AM

Kate Avery

Kate Avery

ah, soap dish. good times...

Oct 31 - 03:26 PM

Scott Boyle

Scott Boyle

Forgot about that flick but yes, Soapdish was excellent.

Nov 1 - 11:23 AM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

Soap Dish was brilliant.

Oct 31 - 10:13 AM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

No Wild Wild West? Seriously?

Oct 31 - 10:15 AM

David Mullich

David Mullich

You're joking, right? Wild Wild West was a fiasco of epic proportions. Rotten Tomatoes score of 20%, grossing only $113K on a $170K budget.

Oct 31 - 11:08 AM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

Yes, totally joking. It does deserve some recognition for Salma, but a horrible, horrible movie otherwise.

Oct 31 - 12:48 PM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

You expect Wild Wild West to be on there? Seriously?

Oct 31 - 11:17 AM

David Mullich

David Mullich

You're joking, right? Wild Wild West was a fiasco of epic proportions. Rotten Tomatoes score of 20%, grossing only $113K on a $170K budget.

Oct 31 - 11:08 AM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

Yes, totally joking. It does deserve some recognition for Salma, but a horrible, horrible movie otherwise.

Oct 31 - 12:48 PM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

You expect Wild Wild West to be on there? Seriously?

Oct 31 - 11:17 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I've only seen a few Kline movies but quite enjoyed "Silveradoe"!

Oct 31 - 12:09 PM

Brian Frank

Brian Frank

Yes, totally joking. It does deserve some recognition for Salma, but a horrible, horrible movie otherwise.

Oct 31 - 12:48 PM

Andrew Norris

Andrew Norris

I think it would be a nice addition if RT put the year the film was released next to the title, gives a little more perspective.

Oct 31 - 01:16 PM

Dave J

Dave J

You have to take into account that user Thomas had probably seen more Kevin Kline movies than most users on here which also says something! So, even if he includes "Wild, Wild West" and "No Strings Attached" so what, it still doesn't mean that he liked them considering he didn't like "Hunchback of...."!

Oct 31 - 01:22 PM

Kate Avery

Kate Avery

I agree. I think the older movies don't get a fair shake because not as many reviews for them are available, but I Love You to Death is hilariously brilliant, one of my favorites.

Oct 31 - 03:25 PM

Kate Avery

Kate Avery

ah, soap dish. good times...

Oct 31 - 03:26 PM

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