Total Recall: Owen Wilson's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Internship star.

Owen Wilson

Indie classics, animated hits, well-reviewed dramas, and blockbuster comedies: Owen Wilson has done it all. But one thing he's never starred in is his very own Total Recall, so when we noticed that he'd be reuniting with his old Wedding Crashers buddy Vince Vaughn in this weekend's The Internship, we knew we needed to rectify the situation with a fond look back at some of the many critical highlights from Mr. Wilson's varied filmography. It's time to pay tribute to the man who brought Marmaduke to life, Total Recall style!


66%

10. Shanghai Knights

In one way or another, most sequels fall victim to the law of diminishing returns, and 2003's Shanghai Knights is no different: while it performed respectably with critics and emerged as a mid-sized hit after its box office run, this attempt to recapture the unexpected fun of 2000's Shanghai Noon couldn't help but feel a little stale in comparison. Still, most critics felt that reheated Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson was better than none at all, and after viewing their reunion -- which took their 19th-century odd couple to the UK in order to avenge the murder of Chan's father -- Richard Roeper compared the duo to one of the classics, saying, "Like an Abbott & Costello comedy, Shanghai Knights is truly dumb, sometimes inconsistent, but awfully funny."


68%

9. The Darjeeling Limited

Reuniting after the six-year layoff that followed The Royal Tenenbaums, frequent collaborators Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson paired up for 2007's The Darjeeling Limited, a typically quirky dramedy about three eccentric brothers (played by Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) who struggle -- not always entirely successfully -- to reconnect by taking a train ride across India in order to reunite with their mother (Anjelica Huston). While a disconcerting number of critics felt Darjeeling found Anderson settling into a rut, the majority felt that even if he was treading somewhat familiar ground, he managed to do it with style. Calling it "Arguably Wes Anderson's most compassionate, mature film," Nick Rogers of Suite101 credited the film with "[dancing] around disconcerting what-ifs: If they weren't your brothers and sisters, would you voluntarily befriend them, or do you tolerate quirks and annoyances because blood links you?"

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74%

8. Cars

At a comparatively paltry 74 percent on the Tomatometer, 2006's Cars represented something of a critical setback for PIxar -- but while the reviews that greeted this John Lasseter-directed tale of a young racecar (Owen Wilson) and his quest to wrest the Piston Cup from a pair of challengers (Michael Keaton and Richard Petty) weren't up to the usual Pixar standard, audiences didn't mind; it grossed over $460 million on its way to spawning a sequel (and a spinoff), and even if it didn't measure up to Pixar's previous, it was still good enough to earn praise from scribes like Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News, who wrote, "no other outfit can match Pixar's knack for plucking heartstrings without tearing them off the frets."


75%

7. Wedding Crashers

Part of the R-rated comedy renaissance of the aughts, Wedding Crashers may not have given Wilson the opportunity to do anything new -- here, he appears as John Beckwith, a soft-spoken lech with a heart of gold -- but it played squarely to Wilson's comedic gifts, had a solid Steve Faber/Bob Fisher script, and surrounded Wilson and his co-star, Vince Vaughn, with some terrific supporting talent, including Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Isla Fisher (as the crazy nymphomaniac who thrills and torments Vaughn in equal measure). Though some critics had problems with Crashers' uneven tone -- and the scads of gratuitous flesh on display in the movie's opening montage -- most found it too much fun to resist. "The likes of the sneakily subversive Wilson and Vaughn deserve better," wrote MaryAnn Johnson of Flick Filosopher, "but this is darn close to a perfect showcase for what they can do, and how much better they do it together."

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79%

6. Shanghai Noon

Westerns and kung fu movies have enjoyed a close relationship for years, and that rich shared tradition is given a tongue-in-cheek salute with Shanghai Noon, an action-comedy that transcends its goofier elements (Lucy Liu plays the female lead, a character named Princess Pei-Pei) and delivers a well-rounded blend of humor, adventure, and -- of course -- jaw-dropping stunts. Jackie Chan stars as Chon Wang (say it out loud with a drawl), a Chinese imperial guard who is sent to Nevada to rescue the princess, kidnapped by agents of the villainous Lo Fong (Roger Yuan). Of course, no sooner has he arrived in Nevada than he gets tangled up with Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), a rather inept outlaw who starts out hijacking Wang's train and ends up becoming an invaluable ally in his quest. For some fans, Shanghai seemed at first like just another Americanized buddy project for Chan, who had already done this sort of thing with Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. Chan and Wilson proved a duo worth watching, though; on their way to a $99 million gross (and an eventual sequel), they earned praise from critics like the New York Times' A.O. Scott, who wrote, "Shanghai Noon is, in classic western tradition, a celebration of male bonding, unabashedly juvenile, boyishly risqué and disarmingly sweet."

Comments

Moritz Nehlich

Moritz Nehlich

Midnight in Paris was great. Never seen Wilson acting that well or even starring in a movie that good...That shows he has some talent though!

Jun 5 - 04:51 PM

Jared Allyn

Jared Allyn

This is because Wilson's on-screen personality almost mimics Woody Allen's. Wilson was THE perfect casting choice for the role.

Jun 5 - 07:01 PM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

Yeah, in my eyes he was cast as Allen himself in what I like to see as a somewhat autobiographical film. Great performance, great film.

Jun 7 - 08:31 AM

Reza T.

Reza Trikurnia

best: Wedding Crashers
great: Midnight in Paris, The Royal Tenenbaums, and zoolander.
good: Shanghai Noon, Bottle Rocket, and Meet the Parents

Jun 5 - 04:54 PM

This comment has been removed.

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Oh Margene, what happened? You were hilarious, but now your a bot. Urine in your face cause your fake, BIATCH!!!!!!!'

Jun 5 - 07:32 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

I've never seen Owen Wilson in a serious role before. Midnight in Paris might be worth checking out.

Jun 5 - 05:46 PM

Carl Latin

Carl Latin

The minus man was another one that was overlooked, he plays a serial killer and he was very good in it.

Jun 6 - 05:51 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Owen Wilson= The bane of Human Society

Jun 5 - 06:09 PM

Jared Allyn

Jared Allyn

If you consider Owen Wilson to be the bane of human society (which I'm assuming you don't because it's a ludicrous notion) then I envy the world you live in. It must be such more of a benign world.

Jun 5 - 07:04 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

It's only a matter of time until you learn.

Jun 5 - 07:17 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Sadly, something you never will.

Jun 5 - 09:16 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Who was talking to you Bigsister?

Jun 6 - 05:46 AM

Al Pi

Al Pi

Amazingly enough Cutler, when you post on a public board, you're talking to everyone reading it.

Jun 6 - 08:17 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Well, there is a thing called "reply". I was talking to Jared when you two just popped in.

Jun 6 - 12:28 PM

Dana Cavanaugh

Dana Cavanaugh

The bane of humanity? No. A terrible actor and about as funny as a brass toilet in Alaska? Yes.

Jun 8 - 03:58 PM

Ethan Sam

Ethan Sam

With two films at 93%, the tie should go to the live action film over the voice acting role.

Jun 5 - 06:53 PM

Jared Allyn

Jared Allyn

This is because Wilson's on-screen personality almost mimics Woody Allen's. Wilson was THE perfect casting choice for the role.

Jun 5 - 07:01 PM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

Yeah, in my eyes he was cast as Allen himself in what I like to see as a somewhat autobiographical film. Great performance, great film.

Jun 7 - 08:31 AM

Jared Allyn

Jared Allyn

If you consider Owen Wilson to be the bane of human society (which I'm assuming you don't because it's a ludicrous notion) then I envy the world you live in. It must be such more of a benign world.

Jun 5 - 07:04 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

It's only a matter of time until you learn.

Jun 5 - 07:17 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Sadly, something you never will.

Jun 5 - 09:16 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Who was talking to you Bigsister?

Jun 6 - 05:46 AM

Al Pi

Al Pi

Amazingly enough Cutler, when you post on a public board, you're talking to everyone reading it.

Jun 6 - 08:17 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Well, there is a thing called "reply". I was talking to Jared when you two just popped in.

Jun 6 - 12:28 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

It's only a matter of time until you learn.

Jun 5 - 07:17 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Sadly, something you never will.

Jun 5 - 09:16 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Who was talking to you Bigsister?

Jun 6 - 05:46 AM

Al Pi

Al Pi

Amazingly enough Cutler, when you post on a public board, you're talking to everyone reading it.

Jun 6 - 08:17 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Well, there is a thing called "reply". I was talking to Jared when you two just popped in.

Jun 6 - 12:28 PM

Kurt Benjamin

Kurt Benjamin

Life Aquatic is better than any other Wes Anderson movie. It deserves to be on this list. Starsky and Hutch is actually quite good too.

Jun 5 - 07:21 PM

Cody K.

Cody Kerr

YES

Jun 5 - 08:06 PM

Ash Gilmore

Ash J. Gilmore

I thought Life Aquatic sucked. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't measure up to his previous films.

Jun 6 - 06:20 AM

Paul Mazzoni

Paul Mazzoni

Agree that it is better than Darjeeling Limited, but not The Royal Tenenbaums nor Fantastic Mr. Fox. And you even think it beats Rushmore?

Jun 7 - 09:12 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Wow. It boggles the mind how critics gave better notes to "Wedding Crashers" than "Zoolander" or "Life Aquatic". I prefer his collaborations with Wes Anderson, and I think it's a shame Owen doesn't write anymore, as his co-screenwriting on "Rushmore" and "Royal Tenenbaums" are highlight in both of their careers. His Dignan from "Bottle Rocket" is still my favorite, and the role I'll probably always see him as.

Jun 5 - 07:22 PM

Liiam Cruz

Liiam Cruz

"Sometimes the bear eats you" ewwwwwwwww disgusting hahahahahaha

Jun 5 - 07:38 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Look everybody! He thinks he's people!

Jun 5 - 08:27 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Bottle Rocket was ok, the rest of that Wes Andersen crapola is indigestible.

Jun 6 - 10:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Maybe you have laconic-tose intolerance. My gut has no problems with Wes' dry fiber.

Jun 6 - 11:08 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I think Zoolander was really hurt by debuting right after the events of September 11th and People were a little too sensitive to racism or stereotyping at the time. I mean take a look at Roger Ebert's review. He gave the film a 1 out of 4 stars despite admitting the film had some really funny moments simply because he thought it was being racist. In the begining of his review he even said that if America wanted to know why others hated it just use Zoolander as exhibit A. I normally respect his reviews even when I disagree with them, but that was one time I thought he was being highly unfair. I mean the film actually portrayed the prime minister of Malaysia as a pretty progressive guy who was going to be assasinated because he banned child labor. It was the fashion idustry that were the bad guys in that film.

Jun 6 - 11:44 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah, I can't think of anything overtly racist in the film. The fashion industry it's satirizing is pretty racist anyway.

Jun 7 - 01:08 AM

Ana  D.

Ana D

It's common knowledge in Hollywood that Owen didn't write a word of The Royal Tenenbaums because he was doing drugs. Wes still gave him credit, but it got nominated for and Oscar. We should feel bad for him. Wes is a true artist and Owen is great with great directors.

Jun 8 - 07:14 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

For such a Hollywood insider, it's strange you seem to be under the impression that drug use is a legitimate obstacle to screenwriting. That's kinda funny considering how many tweeks are writing for films and TV these days.

I think you're conflating a number of things here. On the "Tenenbaum" commentary, Wes is pretty clear that Wilson wasn't as engaged with the script as he was with their prior two collaborations. This had less to do with drug use, and was more due to the fact that Wilson shot four other films during the time the script was written. Wilson's contribution was more in creative, brainstorming feedback, working on characters and scenes, but, yes, probably never involved in any actual typing. Also, I think you're conflating the character of Eli Cash with Wilson's personal problems that occured some six years (and two Anderson projects) after the fact.

Do I feel bad for him? Why should I? I feel bad for people who open RT accounts solely to spread gossip (oh, sorry, I mean "common knowledge"). I think Owen has a bit more going for him.

Jun 9 - 01:03 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Oh Margene, what happened? You were hilarious, but now your a bot. Urine in your face cause your fake, BIATCH!!!!!!!'

Jun 5 - 07:32 PM

Liiam Cruz

Liiam Cruz

"Sometimes the bear eats you" ewwwwwwwww disgusting hahahahahaha

Jun 5 - 07:38 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Look everybody! He thinks he's people!

Jun 5 - 08:27 PM

Cody K.

Cody Kerr

YES

Jun 5 - 08:06 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Look everybody! He thinks he's people!

Jun 5 - 08:27 PM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

Fantastic Mr. Fox and Midnight in Paris are my favorite of his, but Zoolander is a classic.

Jun 5 - 08:37 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Hansel, he's so hot right now. Hansel.

Jun 5 - 09:07 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Also we cannot forget his greatest piece of work........ HEAT VISION AND JACK! No one has played a shitty Kawasaki motorcycle mo' betta.

Jun 5 - 09:15 PM

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