Top 5 Ben Stiller Films and Performances
He might have made some shockers but we’re not ashamed to say we love Ben Stiller. So to celebrate his 50th birthday, we thought we’d put a list together of some of his best ever films and performances to date. Enjoy!
5) Tropic Thunder (2008)
The first modern classic on our list was apparently inspired by Stiller’s experiences as a bit part in Empire of the Sun. Whatever the reason for making Tropic Thunder, it’s almost impossible not to roll around in fits at Tom Cruise’s profanity in a fat suit or Robert Downey Jr.’s now infamous blackface. The Hollywood satire is about a group of pampered actors, including the likes of Jack Black and Jay Baruchel, whose sense of entitlement leads their fed-up director to try and use a touch of realism on their war movie. Naturally there’s some unintended and often hilarious results.
4) Meet The Parents (2000)
Along with Ricky Gervais, Stiller is probably the 21st century’s king of uncomfortable comedy – especially on the big screen. And nothing he’s made illustrates this more than Jay Roach’s brilliant Meet the Parents in which Stiller plays a man about to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. From the off you know you’re in for a treat – his name is Gaylord ‘Greg’ Focker, for God’s sake. This painfully awkward film is packed full of expert physical comedy, and the chemistry between Stiller and his potential father-in-law (played Robert De Niro) is one for the ages. Just ignore the following Focker sequels!
3) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Tale (2004)
A busy 2004 saw Stiller star in no less than five films, including Meet the Fockers and Starsky & Hutch, not to mention his classic cameo in the news team street fight in Anchorman. But by far his best of the year was alongside Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Tale. Stiller plays beautiful people gym owner and all-round twat, White Goodman; a man who buys out Vaughn’s ‘we’re not alright but that’s alright’ Average Joes Gym before offering him the chance to win it back by playing some dodge. Comedies as broad as Dodgeball don’t usually do too well with critics, but at its heart it’s a just tale of good vs evil with men getting repeatedly hit by balls in the… well, yeah. What’s not to like?! Consequently it resonated with critics more than most of Stiller’s other films with some even calling it a ‘modern classic.’
2) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
We make no secret of our love for Wes Anderson and following the enormous critical success of his debut Rushmore in 1998, the unique director decided to make a gigantic ensemble film about a family of former child prodigies struggling to live normal lives as adults. Stiller plays Chas Tenenbaum, a business genius who is struggling to move on from the tragic death of his wife. While the film is unmistakably Wes Anderson, there’s real substance to Stiller’s performance with quirkiness and neuroticism delivered in equal measure. It may not have been a box office hit but The Royal Tenenbaums only gets better with repeated viewing.
1) There’s Something About Mary (1998)
And last but certainly not least, it’s There’s Something About Mary. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Farrelly Brothers have made some turkeys in their time, but their 1998 gut-bustingly funny flick did take Stiller from, ‘oh yeah, him from…’ to the path to superstardom. Stiller plays Ted Stroehmann, a man who attempts to meet up with his dream girl from high school, played by Cameron Diaz. The film might well be puerile but that doesn’t mean it lacks heart and contain some of the best comic set pieces in recent Hollywood history.