Total Recall: Vince Vaughn's Best Movies

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

Vince Vaughn

Vegas, martinis, and the words "baby" and "money" helped launch Vince Vaughn's film career -- and helped established him as an extraordinarily compelling cinematic scoundrel, a role he's played repeatedly over the last decade and change. But that isn't all Vaughn can do, as he's proven while assembling an admirably eclectic filmography, moving from comedy to horror to action thrillers and back again, and sharing screens with everyone from Richard Attenborough to Jennifer Lopez in the process. This weekend, however, Vaughn's back in his comedically caddish wheelhouse with The Watch, and to celebrate, we decided to revisit his best-reviewed films, Total Recall style!

As always, we let the Tomatometer do the sorting for us, and although it did the easy work, tossing out the obvious rotten flicks (bye bye, Couples Retreat), we still had to make a few judgment calls on roles that, though memorable, still amounted to cameos (adieu, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Into the Wild, and Anchorman). What we were finally left with was a list that we think captures the breadth of Vaughn's filmography while limiting it to the movies that gave him a healthy amount of screentime. And with that, let's dispense with the formalities and get down to the films, shall we? Ladies and gents, the best of Vince Vaughn!


52%

10. The Lost World - Jurassic Park

Vaughn's first major role came in Swingers, a film with a budget of $250,000. His next movie was a bit of a step up: 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park boasted a $73 million bankroll, not to mention Steven Spielberg in the director's chair and a cast including such famous names as Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, and Lord Richard Attenborough. Of course, Lost World wasn't greeted with quite the same critical reception enjoyed by Swingers, but on the other hand, it did make over $600 million at the box office -- and it featured dozens of awesome-looking CGI dinosaurs, which makes up for any critical brickbats, or the fact that Vaughn's character is a knuckleheaded environmentalist who's more concerned about saving giant carnivores than his own traveling companions. Looking Closers' Jeffrey Overstreet summed it all up succinctly when he wrote, "If you liked Jurassic Park, you'll probably like this one a little less. What the first film did poorly, this film does worse."

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54%

9. A Cool, Dry Place

Based on Michael Grant Jaffe's novel Dance Real Slow, 1998's A Cool, Dry Place broke Vaughn's string of rapscallions and ne'er-do-wells and gave him the first thoroughly sympathetic role of his career: Russell Durrell, a young lawyer struggling through single fatherhood after his wife (Monica Potter) abandons him and their five-year-old son (Bobby Moat). Despite a cast that also included Joey Lauren Adams, Place barely squeaked its way into theaters, grossing a few thousand dollars during a one-week run -- and though many critics rolled their eyes at the film's leisurely pace and heavy melodrama (Filmcritic's Christopher Null accused the plot of "just [sitting] there like a stuffed monkey"), they were matched by scribes such as Sandra Contreras of TV Guide, who wrote, "Its heart is in the right place, but this sweet drama just doesn't build enough true drama from its slender premise. That said, it's not bad enough to merit the kind of stealth release its studio has imposed on it."

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60%

8. Old School

After 2000's The Cell, Vaughn was relatively quiet for a few years; although he appeared in a pair of major releases (Domestic Disturbance and Made, both released in 2001), he spent much of his time in films whose appeal was more, uh, selective (The Prime Gig, I Love Your Work). It took another testosterone-heavy ensemble comedy to remind audiences what made the Swingers star famous -- and okay, so Old School ended up being stolen by Will Ferrell, but Vaughn got his share of laughs, too, and it foreshadowed his funny roles in Anchorman and Starsky & Hutch. A not inconsiderable number of critics dismissed Old School's raunchy lowbrow humor, but the majority agreed with Cinerina's Karina Montgomery, who gasped, "I can't believe it, but I want to see it again."

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63%

7. Clay Pigeons

After making a splash with Swingers, Vaughn hit the ground running, booking roles in several years' worth of big-budget productions, including 1997's Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World, and the costly Jennifer Lopez flop The Cell. Between the tentpoles, however, Vaughn hadn't lost his taste for the odd lower-profile project -- like Clay Pigeons, a Ridley Scott-produced black comedy about a drifter (Vaughn) who uses his imagined friendship with a casual acquaintance (Joaquin Phoenix) as the impetus for a homicidal, Throw Momma from the Train-style "favor." Playing a charming, murderous lunatic helped prep Vaughn for the starring role in Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake -- and while Pigeons didn't make much of an impression at the box office, it earned the admiration of critics like the Palo Alto Weekly's Jeanne Aufmuth, who wrote, "This is not your classic whodunit. It's blacker, funnier, and edgier."

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63%

6. Starsky & Hutch

The overlap on the Venn diagram between Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers, 2004's Starsky & Hutch stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the titular detectives -- and Vaughn as Reese Feldman, the bar mitzvah-throwing drug kingpin who's responsible for pushing a new, untraceable form of cocaine. While a number of critics were turned off by the way the movie enthusiastically embraced its cheesy television roots, for most, it was too goofily good-natured to resist -- right down to Snoop Dogg's appearance as the streetwise police informant known as Huggy Bear. It is, wrote Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, "A really good not-great movie, the kind that would be classified as a guilty pleasure were it not executed with guilt-free honesty and good nature."

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Comments

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Vince Vaughn has best movies?

Jul 25 - 04:31 PM

Sir Phobos

Sir Phobos

He may not be a great actor, but he is in some very funny movies.

Jul 25 - 06:43 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I didn't find any of his movies very funny.

Jul 25 - 07:56 PM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

Critics say otherwise.

Jul 25 - 11:59 PM

Mercx

Curtis Bernard

Critics say that Val Mordas found one of Vince Vaughn's movies funny?

Jul 26 - 07:18 AM

Jeff Buzzelli

Jeff Buzzelli

I wish I could like that last comment...

Jul 27 - 12:20 AM

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Dodgeball is so funny it nearly kills me -- and I'm so not the type of guy that usually goes for that kind of humor.

Jul 27 - 02:26 PM

joriof

Franck Jorio

Best comment ever!

Jul 25 - 07:29 PM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

That's awesome, love it! I'm not really a fan of Vaughn, but he has been funny before in some that were funny, others not so much. Guess he's just not my taste.

Jul 25 - 09:43 PM

Adam Secler

Adam Secler

Exactly....LOL

Jul 26 - 03:12 AM

Charl Villiers

Charl Villiers

I really liked Into the Wild, weird that it is not on here.

Jul 26 - 04:16 AM

King  S.

King Simba

I thought Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball were pretty funny. Immature yes, but funny. Also, despite him barely being in it, I thought he gave a pretty good performance in Into the Wild, though personally I'm not a fan of that movie (I liked it the first time I saw it, and yet the more I watched it the more the main character really got on my nerves. He didn't come off as a bold adventurer, he came off as someone who couldn't face his problems and was just running away from them. So you have a messed up family? Wow, that's unheard of).

Jul 26 - 01:17 PM

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

King Simba -- that's how the main character in Into the Wild was supposed to come off. He wasn't just an adventurer, he had serious psychological issues that led him, unfortunately, to his untimely death.

Jul 27 - 02:17 PM

Shae Smart

Shae Smart

yes

Jul 27 - 09:37 AM

Justin Buell

Justin Buell

The only reason I like Vaughn is his support of Ron Paul.

Otherwise he's a "meh" actor.

Jul 25 - 04:57 PM

David Hurlburt

David Hurlburt

He's a Ron Paul supporter? That's unfortunate. At least he's funny sometimes.

Jul 25 - 09:33 PM

Lee Broxson

Lee Broxson

Yikes! He supports a crazy, eccentric bigot who believes black people should be returned to slavery and women should be relieved of voting rights and fundamental freedoms?

Bummer to hear that. Might have to reconsider seeing any of his movies.

Jul 26 - 09:54 PM

CoreyG

Corey Gallagher

May have to reconsider where you get your information from as well...

Jul 27 - 04:41 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Ron Paul has well established financial ties with two former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizards, David Duke and Don Black, the latter also being a member of the American Nazi Party.

Jul 27 - 11:18 AM

Scott Reams

Scott Reams

Prove it. Anybody who has influence will be smeared by his/her opponents. This is no different.

Jul 28 - 12:44 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Use Google Image. Type "Ron Paul, Don Black" and you'll see a couple smiling honkeys. Don Black is a former GW of the KKK, member of the American Nazi Party, and current Stormfront blogger. Plus, you have all of those Ron Paul newsletters from the 90s that he didn't know about, but his friends were still the ones writing the abject racism and anti-Semitism in those pages. Prove what, again?

Jul 28 - 01:36 PM

Ep Davis

Ep Davis

Pretty sure you used 'honky' in an anti-racism post on RT. Kettle, I'd like to introduce you to Pot. Pot, this is Kettle. Go be hypocritical somewhere else.

Jul 30 - 12:23 PM

Kieran F.

Kieran Fraser

Were's Anchor Man???

Jul 25 - 05:00 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Agreed, Dorothy Mantooth's little boy deserves a mention.

Jul 25 - 05:14 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

t says in the introduction that they "still had to make a few judgment calls on roles that, though memorable, still amounted to cameos (adieu, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Into the Wild, and Anchorman)."

Jul 25 - 07:27 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Agreed, Dorothy Mantooth's little boy deserves a mention.

Jul 25 - 05:14 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Rudy, Swingers, Old School, and Anchorman. Those are the good Vaughns. Psycho, Domestic Disturbance, Four Christmases, and I'm sure I'm forgetting more, those are the intolerable, annoying Vaughns. Oh wait! The Cell! That one is pretty bad too.

Jul 25 - 05:28 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Don't forget Fred Claus...oh wait a minute, DO!!!

Jul 25 - 08:02 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How dare you. And Giamatti....

Jul 25 - 11:48 PM

Jack Hoffman

Jack Hoffman

into the wild?

Jul 25 - 06:15 PM

rle4lunch

Chad W

Considering he's in Rudy for a total of about 4 minutes, I'm guessing that this isn't really considered a 'Vaughn' flick. If this were a list of Sean Astin's best movies, then you'd see Rudy.

Jul 26 - 12:08 PM

Steve America

Steve America

where thefuck is Rudy? based on its rating it should be #2!

Jul 25 - 06:38 PM

mv1334

Michael Vazquez

Into The Wild & Anchorman are missing. I know not a lot liked this movie and of course it isn't well received but his best performance is in Be Cool. Better than Wedding Crashers, Swingers, Made, Old School & Four Christmases. Seriously, he made me laugh very hard in Be Cool. The Rock & him were the best things about that movie. As for Vince Vaughn as an actor, I love him. He's hilarious and he's one of the few comedic actors that can play the same character all day and i'll just roll with laughter with whatever comes out his mouth.

Jul 25 - 06:40 PM

Sir Phobos

Sir Phobos

He may not be a great actor, but he is in some very funny movies.

Jul 25 - 06:43 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I didn't find any of his movies very funny.

Jul 25 - 07:56 PM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

Critics say otherwise.

Jul 25 - 11:59 PM

Mercx

Curtis Bernard

Critics say that Val Mordas found one of Vince Vaughn's movies funny?

Jul 26 - 07:18 AM

Jeff Buzzelli

Jeff Buzzelli

I wish I could like that last comment...

Jul 27 - 12:20 AM

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Dodgeball is so funny it nearly kills me -- and I'm so not the type of guy that usually goes for that kind of humor.

Jul 27 - 02:26 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

t says in the introduction that they "still had to make a few judgment calls on roles that, though memorable, still amounted to cameos (adieu, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Into the Wild, and Anchorman)."

Jul 25 - 07:27 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

Does no one read the introductions to these things? It explains that they "had to make a few judgment calls on roles that, though memorable, still amounted to cameos (adieu, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Into the Wild, and Anchorman)."

Jul 25 - 07:28 PM

Timothy Kerridge

Timothy Kerridge

His perf in 'Into the Wild' is so not a 'cameo' ! he should have had an oscar nomination for best supporting actor for that film !

Jul 26 - 12:03 AM

Nick McKergow

Nick McKergow

What?

Jul 26 - 04:42 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Quiet Vince!!! You're fooling no one!!!

Jul 26 - 04:16 PM

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Well, I agree they shouldn't use cameo performances... but Into the Wild was no cameo. The movie nominated Hal Holbrook for a Best Supporting Actor when he had little more time in the film than Vaughn's character (and Holbrook deserved it).

IMO Vaughn's role in that film -- which was both touching and showed some legitimate depth -- was underrated because of Holbrook's performance, but it was still an important part and certainly more than a cameo.

Sean Penn, who wrote the screenplay and directed the movie, certainly thought Vaughn's performance was important enough to the film that he included Vaughn in the top billing of the movie.

It should have been included.

Jul 27 - 02:25 PM

joriof

Franck Jorio

Best comment ever!

Jul 25 - 07:29 PM

Matthew Robinson

Matthew Robinson

I like Vaughn surprised he hasn't been in higher rated films other than Swingers which is very funny indeed

Jul 25 - 07:54 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I didn't find any of his movies very funny.

Jul 25 - 07:56 PM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

Critics say otherwise.

Jul 25 - 11:59 PM

Mercx

Curtis Bernard

Critics say that Val Mordas found one of Vince Vaughn's movies funny?

Jul 26 - 07:18 AM

Jeff Buzzelli

Jeff Buzzelli

I wish I could like that last comment...

Jul 27 - 12:20 AM

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Dodgeball is so funny it nearly kills me -- and I'm so not the type of guy that usually goes for that kind of humor.

Jul 27 - 02:26 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Don't forget Fred Claus...oh wait a minute, DO!!!

Jul 25 - 08:02 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How dare you. And Giamatti....

Jul 25 - 11:48 PM

David Hurlburt

David Hurlburt

He's a Ron Paul supporter? That's unfortunate. At least he's funny sometimes.

Jul 25 - 09:33 PM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

That's awesome, love it! I'm not really a fan of Vaughn, but he has been funny before in some that were funny, others not so much. Guess he's just not my taste.

Jul 25 - 09:43 PM

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