Walter Mitty

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22 Most Inspirational Movies

A new year can represent opportunity for new hopes and resolutions, and movies have the gift to inspire that personal change. If you’re eager to turn the page on 2021, here’s 22 of the most inspirational movies to charge your 2022.

Diet and exercise are always high contenders on new year’s resolutions lists, and movies like Brittany Runs a Marathon or Chariots of Fire will get you in motion. There are movies for getting in touch with inner hope (The Shawshank Redemption) and your roots (Lion), along with picking up new skills (Julie & Julia) and rekindling determination (Remember the Titans, Hidden Figures). And those entering 2021 with open hearts ought to seek out Wild and Groundhog Day. And some movies guide us through trauma and disaster, like Life of Pi, and Soul Surfer.

If it’s a new year, it’s a new you: Here’s 22 movies to inspire your 2022. Alex Vo

#1

A Beautiful Mind (2001)
74%

#1
Adjusted Score: 82781%
Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.
Synopsis: A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 99447%
Critics Consensus: Brittany Runs a Marathon is an earnest and hilarious dramedy that finally gives Jillian Bell a role worthy of her gifts.
Synopsis: A hard-partying woman receives a startling wake-up call when a visit to the doctor reveals how unhealthy she is. Motivated... [More]
Directed By: Paul Downs Colaizzo

#3

The Bucket List (2007)
41%

#3
Adjusted Score: 48372%
Critics Consensus: Not even the earnest performances of the two leads can rescue The Bucket List from its schmaltzy script.
Synopsis: Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers, until fate lands them in... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#4

Chariots of Fire (1981)
83%

#4
Adjusted Score: 91763%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, Chariots of Fire nevertheless makes effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#5

Chef (2014)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94167%
Critics Consensus: Chef's charming cast and sharp, funny script add enough spice to make this feel-good comedy a flavorful -- if familiar -- treat.
Synopsis: After a controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman) pushes him too far, chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his position at a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#6

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#6
Adjusted Score: 76930%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 100057%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#8

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103043%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#9

Hidden Figures (2016)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 117964%
Critics Consensus: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, Hidden Figures celebrates overlooked -- and crucial -- contributions from a pivotal moment in American history.
Synopsis: Three brilliant African American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Melfi

#10

The Intouchables (2011)
76%

#10
Adjusted Score: 79989%
Critics Consensus: It handles its potentially prickly subject matter with kid gloves, but Intouchables gets by thanks to its strong cast and some remarkably sensitive direction.
Synopsis: An unlikely friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker (Omar Sy), just released from prison.... [More]

#11

Julie & Julia (2009)
78%

#11
Adjusted Score: 86813%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
Synopsis: Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#12

Last Holiday (2006)
55%

#12
Adjusted Score: 60002%
Critics Consensus: Although Queen Latifah's bountiful life-affirming spirit permeates the film, director Wayne Wang is unable to revive this remake with any real flair.
Synopsis: The discovery that she has a terminal illness prompts introverted saleswoman Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) to reflect on what she... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#13

Life of Pi (2012)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 97399%
Critics Consensus: A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.
Synopsis: After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#14

Lion (2016)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: Lion's undeniably uplifting story and talented cast make it a moving journey that transcends the typical cliches of its genre.
Synopsis: Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home... [More]
Directed By: Garth Davis

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 74644%
Critics Consensus: Will Smith's heartfelt performance elevates The Pursuit of Happyness above mere melodrama.
Synopsis: Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son... [More]
Directed By: Gabriele Muccino

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 76830%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97502%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#18
Adjusted Score: 59238%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't lack for ambition, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fails to back up its grand designs with enough substance to anchor the spectacle.
Synopsis: Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 96134%
Critics Consensus: The Shawshank Redemption is an uplifting, deeply satisfying prison drama with sensitive direction and fine performances.
Synopsis: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#20

Soul Surfer (2011)
46%

#20
Adjusted Score: 48856%
Critics Consensus: There's an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese.
Synopsis: A natural talent in the sport of surfing, teenager Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) loses an arm in a shark attack.... [More]
Directed By: Sean McNamara

#21

Wild (2014)
88%

#21
Adjusted Score: 99851%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully moving and emotionally resonant, Wild finds director Jean-Marc Vallée and star Reese Witherspoon working at the peak of their respective powers.
Synopsis: Driven to the edge by the loss of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), the dissolution of her marriage and a... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

#22

Yes Man (2008)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 52338%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey's comic convulsions are the only bright spots in this otherwise dim and predictable comedy.
Synopsis: Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is stuck in a rut with his negative ways. Then he goes to a self-help seminar... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

Crazy Heart

(Photo by Fox Searchlight/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Gramercy Pictures.)

All Jeff Bridges Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Jeff Bridges, son of Lloyd, struck it big with his first major role in 1971’s The Last Picture Show, where he was Oscar-nominated for his role as a graduating high school student in a prospectless Texas town. Afterwards, Bridges became a steady, comforting fixture in American cinema, appearing across action-thrillers (Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Cutter’s Way), big-budget remakes (1975’s King Kong, The Vanishing), magnificent bombs (Heaven’s Gate), science-fiction (TRON, Starman), theater adaptations (The Iceman Cometh), and additional fine-tuned dramas (The Fisher King).

Bridges’ eclectic career choices primed him to become a beloved Hollywood statesman, all but confirmed with 1998’s The Big Lebowski. Wearing his personal wardrobe on-screen (including the jelly sandals) and directed by the Coen brothers, Bridges as Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski in a state of perpetual befuddled zen has rooted himself into pop culture with his generation-defining comedy performance. And Lebowski has only paved the way for later milestones and hits, including True Grit, Hell or High Water, and a take-home Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart, his big win out of seven nominations overall.

And now we do believe you shall abide as we take a trip through all Jeff Bridges movies, ranked by Tomatometer. Alex Vo

#62
#62
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Matt Scudder (Jeff Bridges) is a depressed and hard-drinking Los Angeles cop troubled by a shooting that occurred in the... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#61

R.I.P.D. (2013)
12%

#61
Adjusted Score: 15875%
Critics Consensus: It has its moments -- most of them courtesy of Jeff Bridges' rootin' tootin' performance as an undead Wild West sheriff -- but R.I.P.D. is ultimately too dim-witted and formulaic to satisfy.
Synopsis: Veteran lawman Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges) works for the R.I.P.D., a legendary police force charged with finding monstrous spirits who... [More]
Directed By: Robert Schwentke

#60

Seventh Son (2014)
12%

#60
Adjusted Score: 16576%
Critics Consensus: Seventh Son squanders an excellent cast and some strange storyline ingredients, leaving audiences with one disappointingly dull fantasy adventure.
Synopsis: Centuries ago, a supernatural champion named Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) defeated Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), a malevolent witch. Now, she... [More]
Directed By: Sergei Bodrov

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 26449%
Critics Consensus: Unintelligible and self-indulgent Bob Dylan vehicle.
Synopsis: A nation wracked with civil war and social unrest is looking forward to a giant charity concert, organized by deceptive... [More]
Directed By: Larry Charles

#58

Simpatico (1999)
25%

#58
Adjusted Score: 26058%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Simpatico's lengthy plot is too unfocused; the movie becomes confusing and tedious to watch.
Synopsis: Carter receives a collect call from Vinnie, and a dark event from the past threatens to destroy his current success.... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Warchus

#57

The Open Road (2009)
29%

#57
Adjusted Score: 9295%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While playing minor league baseball in Texas, Carlton Garrett (Justin Timberlake) receives word from his grandfather (Harry Dean Stanton) that... [More]
Directed By: Michael Meredith

#56

Tideland (2005)
29%

#56
Adjusted Score: 31879%
Critics Consensus: Tideland is a disturbing, and mostly unwatchable effort from Terry Gilliam.
Synopsis: Little Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland) has a very warped childhood. Her parents (Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly) are both drug addicts, and... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#55

Stick It (2006)
32%

#55
Adjusted Score: 34782%
Critics Consensus: Director Jessica Bendinger is unable to transfer her winning Bring It On formula to the world of gymnastics, despite Missy Peregrym's strong lead performance.
Synopsis: Haley (Missy Peregrym) is a naturally gifted athlete but, with her social behavior, the teen seems intent on squandering her... [More]
Directed By: Jessica Bendinger

#54
Adjusted Score: 38315%
Critics Consensus: Narratively messy and cloying, The Only Living Boy in New York is a romantic trifle that audiences won't want to give a second date.
Synopsis: After graduating from college and moving into an apartment, young Thomas Webb befriends an alcoholic neighbor who dispenses worldly wisdom... [More]
Directed By: Marc Webb

#53

The Giver (2014)
35%

#53
Adjusted Score: 41257%
Critics Consensus: Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas.
Synopsis: Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#52
Adjusted Score: 40315%
Critics Consensus: A decent performance from Pegg in a disappointing film. Neither sharp nor satirical, Weide's adaptation relies too heavily on slapstick, and misses the point of the source material in the process.
Synopsis: Sidney Young is a down-on-his-luck journalist. Thanks to a stint involving a pig and a glitzy awards ceremony, Sidney turns... [More]
Directed By: Robert Weide

#51

Blown Away (1994)
38%

#51
Adjusted Score: 36650%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After staging a particularly gory jailbreak, Irish Republican Army agent Ryan Gaerity (Tommy Lee Jones) makes his way to Boston... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#50

Wild Bill (1995)
44%

#50
Adjusted Score: 44070%
Critics Consensus: Crowded with talent on either side of the camera, Wild Bill shoots itself in the foot with a surprisingly muddled take on the story of the titular folk hero.
Synopsis: Gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok (Jeff Bridges) travels the frontier, gaining fame and enemies in roughly equal measure. He sometimes meets... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#49

K-PAX (2001)
42%

#49
Adjusted Score: 46476%
Critics Consensus: For those who have seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Starman, K-Pax may not hold anything new. The movie works best as a showcase for Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.
Synopsis: Tells the story of a mysterious patient (Kevin Spacey) at a mental hospital who claims to be from a distant... [More]
Directed By: Iain Softley

#48

Nadine (1987)
46%

#48
Adjusted Score: 28939%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hairdresser Nadine Hightower (Kim Basinger) wants to retrieve the risqué photos she once posed for, but when she visits the... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#47

The Vanishing (1993)
49%

#47
Adjusted Score: 50460%
Critics Consensus: The Vanishing copies the form of its pulse-pounding predecessor but loses much of its thrilling function along the way, leaving American audiences with one more rote remake.
Synopsis: Barney (Jeff Bridges) is a disturbed man intent on abducting a woman. After numerous failed attempts, he manages to kidnap... [More]
Directed By: George Sluizer

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 12619%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In need of money for his upcoming wedding, Lenny (Jon Abrahams) agrees to help Rick (Peter Greene) with some work.... [More]
Directed By: Dominique Forma

#45
Adjusted Score: 59339%
Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.
Synopsis: Struggling reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) gets the scoop of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who... [More]
Directed By: Grant Heslov

#44

Tron: Legacy (2010)
51%

#44
Adjusted Score: 60100%
Critics Consensus: Tron Legacy boasts dazzling visuals, but its human characters and story get lost amidst its state-of-the-art production design.
Synopsis: Sam (Garrett Hedlund), the son of famous video-game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), has been haunted for a long time... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski

#43
Adjusted Score: 73834%
Critics Consensus: Kingsman: The Golden Circle offers more of everything that made its predecessor so much fun, but lacks the original's wild creative spark.
Synopsis: With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#42

The Muse (1999)
53%

#42
Adjusted Score: 54910%
Critics Consensus: Despite quirky and original writing, the subject matter feels too removed to produce laughs.
Synopsis: Screenwriter Steven Phillips (Albert Brooks) seemingly has it all, including an Academy Award for his latest script. But he's hit... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 28172%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Manhattan psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges) shuttles from his second wife (Alice Krige) to his ex-wife (Farrah Fawcett), with children in... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#40

Texasville (1990)
57%

#40
Adjusted Score: 56901%
Critics Consensus: An impressive array of talent on either side of the camera helps compensate for Texasville's inability to live up to its classic predecessor, but it isn't quite enough.
Synopsis: 1950s lovers (Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd) meet in the 1980s in this sequel to "The Last Picture Show."... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 55320%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Comic tale about the relationship between a frumpy college lecturer specializing in romantic literature and a fellow professor who wants... [More]
Directed By: Barbra Streisand

#38

King Kong (1976)
52%

#38
Adjusted Score: 56001%
Critics Consensus: King Kong represents a significant visual upgrade over the original, but falls short of its classic predecessor in virtually every other respect.
Synopsis: When a research ship is sent to explore an island thought to be rich in oil, paleontologist Jack Prescott (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: John Guillermin

#37

White Squall (1996)
57%

#37
Adjusted Score: 56855%
Critics Consensus: Though it gets occasionally bogged down by touchy-feely sentiment, White Squall benefits greatly from Jeff Bridges' assured lead performance and Ridley Scott's visceral, exciting direction.
Synopsis: In 1960, a hardy group of prep school students boards an old-fashioned sailing ship. With Capt. Christopher Sheldon (Jeff Bridges)... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#36

Heaven's Gate (1980)
59%

#36
Adjusted Score: 61434%
Critics Consensus: Heaven's Gate contains too many ideas and striking spectacle to be a disaster, but this western buckles under the weight of its own sprawl.
Synopsis: Harvard graduate James Averill (Kris Kristofferson) is the sheriff of prosperous Jackson County, Wyo., when a battle erupts between the... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 64066%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Failed actress Alex Sternbergen (Jane Fonda) wakes up hungover one morning in an apartment she does not recognize, unable to... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#34

Arlington Road (1999)
63%

#34
Adjusted Score: 66612%
Critics Consensus: A suspenseful thriller led by strong cast performances built around a somewhat implausible story.
Synopsis: Widowed when his FBI agent wife is killed by an extremist group, college professor Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) becomes obsessed... [More]
Directed By: Mark Pellington

#33

Against All Odds (1984)
64%

#33
Adjusted Score: 64163%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Having been cut from his professional football team, down-and-out athlete Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) is in desperate need of money.... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#32

Stay Hungry (1976)
67%

#32
Adjusted Score: 66631%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dishonest businessman asks rich layabout Craig Blake (Jeff Bridges) to help him buy a gym, which will be demolished... [More]
Directed By: Bob Rafelson

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 72548%
Critics Consensus: Though uneven in tone, this is one of the better adaptations of John Irving's novels, with Jeff Bridges giving one of his best performances.
Synopsis: The lives of Ted (Jeff Bridges) and Marion Cole (Kim Basinger) are thrown into disarray when their two adolescent sons... [More]
Directed By: Tod Williams

#30

Rancho Deluxe (1975)
70%

#30
Adjusted Score: 65889%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Cattle rustlers Jack McKee (Jeff Bridges) and Cecil Colson (Sam Waterston) steadily steal cows from wealthy rancher John Brown (Clifton... [More]
Directed By: Frank Perry

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 24270%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Junior Jackson (Jeff Bridges) is a Southern boy with a penchant for driving too fast along his native North Carolina... [More]
Directed By: Lamont Johnson

#28

Tron (1982)
72%

#28
Adjusted Score: 77249%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.
Synopsis: When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Lisberger

#27

The Last Unicorn (1982)
73%

#27
Adjusted Score: 73011%
Critics Consensus: The Last Unicorn lacks the fluid animation to truly sparkle as an animated epic, but offbeat characters and an affecting story make it one of a kind for the true believers.
Synopsis: In this animated musical, the villainous King Haggard (Christopher Lee) plots to destroy all the world's unicorns. When a young... [More]

#26
Adjusted Score: 89698%
Critics Consensus: Smart, stylish, and packed with solid performances, Bad Times at the El Royale delivers pure popcorn fun with the salty tang of social subtext.
Synopsis: The El Royale is run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada. It soon becomes a seedy... [More]
Directed By: Drew Goddard

#25

The Contender (2000)
76%

#25
Adjusted Score: 80617%
Critics Consensus: The Contender wears its political heart on its sleeve, but strong performances and a solid screenplay help the end result add up to a gripping drama from either side of the aisle.
Synopsis: When the sitting Vice President dies, Senator Laine Hanson is chosen by the President to be the first woman to... [More]
Directed By: Rod Lurie

#24

Seabiscuit (2003)
78%

#24
Adjusted Score: 84657%
Critics Consensus: A life-affirming, if saccharine, epic treatment of a spirit-lifting figure in sports history.
Synopsis: In the midst of the Great Depression, a businessman (Jeff Bridges) coping with the tragic death of his son, a... [More]
Directed By: Gary Ross

#23

Surf's Up (2007)
79%

#23
Adjusted Score: 84310%
Critics Consensus: Surf's Up is a laid back, visually stunning animated movie that brings a fresh twist to some familiar conventions. Its witty mockumentary format is fun and inventive, and the CGI is breathtakingly realistic.
Synopsis: Surfing means everything to teenage penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf). Followed by a documentary film crew, he leaves his home... [More]
Directed By: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck

#22

American Heart (1992)
80%

#22
Adjusted Score: 80458%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This unflinching drama tells the story of recently released ex-convict Jack Kelson (Jeff Bridges) as he struggles to begin a... [More]
Directed By: Martin Bell

#21

Jagged Edge (1985)
81%

#21
Adjusted Score: 81809%
Critics Consensus: Coolly performed and suspenseful, Jagged Edge is a satisfying enough potboiler that most audiences won't mind if the twists don't quite add up.
Synopsis: Lawyer Teddy Barnes reluctantly takes up the case of publisher Jack Forrester, who is accused of murdering his wife for... [More]
Directed By: Richard Marquand

#20
Adjusted Score: 84649%
Critics Consensus: Though it may not be as comprehensive as some would like, Francis Ford Coppola's cheerful biopic of the failed automotive designer features sparkling direction and a strong central performance from Jeff Bridges.
Synopsis: Obsessed with cars since childhood, inventor Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) has his first successful auto design partnership in the 1930s... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#19

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#19
Adjusted Score: 88640%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#18

The Fisher King (1991)
84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87300%
Critics Consensus: An odd but affecting mixture of drama, comedy and fantasy, The Fisher King manages to balance moving performances from Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges with director Terry Gilliam's typically askew universe.
Synopsis: After shock jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) inadvertently provokes a caller into murdering a group of innocent people in a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#17

Starman (1984)
85%

#17
Adjusted Score: 86823%
Critics Consensus: What initially begins as sci-fi transforms into a surprisingly sweet, offbeat drama, courtesy of John Carpenter's careful direction.
Synopsis: Answering a NASA message intended for aliens, a space being tries to contact mankind, but an American missile grounds his... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#16

Fearless (1993)
85%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87836%
Critics Consensus: This underrated gem from director Peter Weir features an outstanding performance from Jeff Bridges as a man dealing with profound grief.
Synopsis: When Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) survives a plane crash that kills many others, his last-minute epiphanies bring him a sense... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#15

Bad Company (1972)
86%

#15
Adjusted Score: 70743%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and pleasantly gritty, Bad Company is one of the more authentic Westerns of its era -- and an auspicious debut for director Robert Benton.
Synopsis: Out of the frying pan and into the fire: Civil War draft dodger Drew Dixon (Barry Brown) avoids the horrors... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 89486%
Critics Consensus: This likable buddy/road picture deftly mixes action and comedy, and features excellent work from stars Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges and first-time director Michael Cimino.
Synopsis: While stealing a car, free-spirited drifter Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) crosses paths with legendary thief Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) in the midst... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#13

Only the Brave (2017)
87%

#13
Adjusted Score: 99180%
Critics Consensus: Only the Brave's impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that's just as stolidly powerful as the real-life heroes it honors.
Synopsis: Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 33009%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the 1930s, endearingly naïve Lewis Tater (Jeff Bridges) aspires to be the next great American Western writer. But when... [More]
Directed By: Howard Zieff

#11

Winter Kills (1979)
88%

#11
Adjusted Score: 88617%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Inspired by the conspiracy theories surrounding John F. Kennedy's assassination, this comic thriller follows Nick Kegan (Jeff Bridges), the younger... [More]
Directed By: William Richert

#10

Crazy Heart (2009)
90%

#10
Adjusted Score: 97487%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a captivating performance from Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart transcends its overly familiar origins and finds new meaning in an old story.
Synopsis: With too many years of hazy days and boozy nights,former country-music legend Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is reduced to playing... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 90133%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on the play by Eugene O'Neill, this drama begins as the sad-sack patrons of a New York City bar... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#8

Cutter's Way (1981)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 92092%
Critics Consensus: A suitably cynical neo-noir that echoes the disillusionment of its era, Cutter's Way relies on character-driven drama further elevated by the work of an outstanding cast.
Synopsis: Best friends Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) and Alex Cutter (John Heard) are two middle-class guys living in an upper-class town.... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Passer

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 97691%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story.
Synopsis: The Aviator introduces a girl to a world where she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it's human connections that... [More]
Directed By: Mark Osborne

#6

Iron Man (2008)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 105199%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#5

True Grit (2010)
95%

#5
Adjusted Score: 106397%
Critics Consensus: Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 97538%
Critics Consensus: Its story is nothing special, but The Fabulous Baker Boys glows beneath luminous performances from its perfectly cast stars.
Synopsis: Frank (Beau Bridges) and Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) are brothers who have performed together in a small but successful piano... [More]
Directed By: Steve Kloves

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 114597%
Critics Consensus: Hell or High Water offers a solidly crafted, well-acted Western heist thriller that eschews mindless gunplay in favor of confident pacing and full-bodied characters.
Synopsis: Toby is a divorced father who's trying to make a better life for his son. His brother Tanner is an... [More]
Directed By: David Mackenzie

#2

Fat City (1972)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102102%
Critics Consensus: Fat City is a bleak, mordant, slice of life boxing drama that doesn't pull its punches.
Synopsis: Washed-up boxer Tully (Stacy Keach) is inspired to restart his career after seeing potential in a teenager, Ernie (Jeff Bridges),... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106085%
Critics Consensus: Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich's small town coming-of-age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances.
Synopsis: High school seniors and best friends, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges), live in a dying Texas town. The... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

With this weekend’s Sicario: Day of the SoldadoBenicio Del Toro returns to the role of CIA spook Alejandro Gillick for another round of grim and gritty action south of the border — and adds another entry to a filmography that’s gone in any number of exciting directions since he notched his first big-screen credit as Duke, the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-wee 30 years ago. There’s clearly no time like the present to take a fond look back at some of his Oscar-winning thespian’s brightest critical highlights, and you know what that means: it’s time for Total Recall!


1. Sicario (2015) 92%

(Photo by Richard Foreman Jr./Lionsgate)

Some pretty powerful films have been made about the international drug trade — look no further than Traffic, right next door to this entry, for proof — and at this point, if you’re going to throw your cinematic hat in the ring, you’d better be prepared to add a singular statement to the genre. Director Denis Villeneuve managed to pull it off with 2015’s Sicario, starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent who teams up with a pair of CIA operatives (Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) to bring down a Mexican cartel. In terms of plot outline, it’s boilerplate stuff — but in Villeneuve and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s hands, and through the stellar efforts of the well-chosen cast, the end results are elevated considerably. “Far from being just another crime story,” wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Calvin Wilson, “Sicario is cinema at its most ambitious.”


2. Traffic (2000) 92%

(Photo by USA Films courtesy Everett Collection)

One of the more darkly ambitious films to make its way through the studio system over the 20 years, Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic looks at the human cost of the drug trade by following seemingly unconnected stories that slowly converge. In Mexico, a police officer (Benicio Del Toro, who won an Oscar for his work) becomes the unwitting employee of a drug lord; in San Diego, a major dealer (Miguel Ferrer) is targeted by a pair of DEA agents (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman); and in the Midwest, a crusading judge (Michael Douglas) finds his black-and-white views on drugs challenged when his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) develops a cocaine addiction. In condensing the six-part BBC series Traffik, Soderbergh had to trim some of the original’s heft, but Traffic was still a four-time Academy Award winner (including Best Director) as well as one of the best-reviewed films of the year, thanks to critics like Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer, who proclaimed, “The promise of Sex, Lies, and Videotape has been fulfilled.”


3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 91%

(Photo by Jonathan Olley/Walt Disney Studios)

Decades after Randall from Clerks argued that the Star Wars Empire couldn’t have solidified its rule without the work of countless grunts, wage slaves, and dispassionate bureaucrats who were only trying to make a living, the saga got around to echoing that point explicitly — and doing so with an assist from DJ (Benicio Del Toro), the determinedly morally ambiguous hacker who fills in Finn and Rose on the existence of a galactic arms trade fueling both sides of the war between the First Order and the Resistance. Proving he doesn’t see much of a difference between either ideology, DJ ends up stabbing his new friends in the back for a quick buck, paving the way for an epic set piece while adding another layer to a story once told as a simple battle between good and evil. “Nothing in The Last Jedi is allowed to be mundane,” wrote NPR’s Bob Mondello. “Including the places the filmmakers take the story.”


4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 92%

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Over the course of his career, Benicio del Toro has yoinked the spotlight from numerous above-the-title stars in all sorts of ways, from the flashy to the subtle — and although his tenure as the Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t allowed him to (ahem) collect much screentime with appearances in Thor: The Dark WorldAvengers: Infinity War, and, most prominently, Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s definitely one of his more memorably outlandish roles. As his name suggests, he’s known for gathering stuff, including a number of priceless and powerful artifacts — including an Infinity Stone, which puts him in the path of the homicidal Thanos on the Mad Titan’s quest to restore order to the universe by wiping out half of all life. His brief (and apparently illusory) appearance in 2018’s Infinity War might have briefly convinced audiences he was done for, but if it seems unlikely we’ll see the Collector again, Del Toro can at least point to his pivotal role in GotG as a high note. “If you’re old enough to remember when sci-fi and comic books were fun,” wrote Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Guardians of the Galaxy will be your new favorite movie. If you’re not, it will set a standard for everything you see.”


5. The Usual Suspects (1995) 88%

(Photo by Gramercy courtesy Everett Collection)

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, but the greatest one Kevin Spacey might have pulled was scoring the role of Roger “Verbal” Kint, the palsied small-time hood whose post-heist interrogation frames the twisty goings-on of Bryan Singer’s neo-noir ‘90s classic The Usual Suspects. It turned into an Academy Award-winning breakout vehicle for the actor, but he certainly didn’t do it alone: Suspects is a quintessentially ’90s ensemble piece, spinning a number of narrative plates with the aid of an outstanding cast that included Pete Postlethwaite, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, and — as the virtually incomprehensible crook Fred Fenster — Benicio Del Toro, who stole every scene he was in even though no one ever had any idea what he was saying. A master class in character actor chemistry, Suspects provided audiences with 106 minutes of water-cooler entertainment in the bargain — and earned some of the best reviews of the year. “For many true movie fiends, noir is the key American movie type, and the most fun when it’s done right,” observed Newsweek’s Jack Kroll. “The Usual Suspects is done right.”


6. Fearless (1993) 85%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

Cheating death sounds like an incredible gift — but what do you do after you’ve accepted you’re about to die and walked away from the experience? As Peter Weir’s Fearless powerfully argues, that second lease on life can sometimes be harder to come to grips with than we might imagine — especially if you’re like protagonist Max Klein (Jeff Bridges), who survives a plane crash that ends up killing almost everyone on board and embarks on a quest that includes reaching out to a fellow passenger (Rosie Perez) who’s coping with survivor’s guilt without assistance from her boyfriend (Benicio Del Toro). The type of thought-provoking adult drama that seems all but extinct in the modern studio system, Fearless didn’t make much of a dent at the box office after its 1993 release, but many critics rightly applauded it as a refreshing change of pace. Calling it “the rare commercial movie that raises more questions than it answers,” Newsweek’s David Ansen wrote, “You leave it in an altered state yourself — moved, not quite satisfied, but certain you’ve seen something out of the ordinary.”


7. 21 Grams (2003) 81%

(Photo by Focus Features courtesy Everett Collection)

The second installment in writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Trilogy of Death,” 21 Grams wrings some outstanding performances (not to mention plenty of tears) out of an outstanding cast in service of a gripping — albeit harrowing — tale. Using a handful of seemingly disparate plot threads, Iñárritu plunged viewers into the darkness pooling out of a tragedy unintentionally wrought by an ex-con (Benicio Del Toro) whose irrevocable mistake has a profound impact on a dying math professor (Sean Penn) and a woman with a complicated past (Naomi Watts) — all of whom are drawn irrevocably together by the final act. Watts and Del Toro both earned Oscar nominations for their work, and neither could be accused of holding anything back; as Moira MacDonald wrote for the Seattle Times, “Watching it is a wrenching experience; the usual layers of distance between actors and audience are stripped away, and we not only watch their anguish, but become part of it.”


8. Swimming With Sharks (1994) 76%

(Photo by Lionsgate)

One of two critically acclaimed releases that saw Benicio Del Toro sharing screentime with Kevin Spacey in 1995, Swimming with Sharks revolves around Spacey’s Buddy Ackerman, a bottomlessly selfish studio executive haranguing the naive film-school graduate (Frank Whaley) who unwittingly agrees to enter a waking nightmare when he signs on to become Ackerman’s new assistant. Del Toro, playing Whalley’s predecessor, isn’t seen for long — Sharks is dominated by Spacey’s volcanic performance — but he was already well on his way to “that guy” status, and this is another early example of why. Little-seen during its initial release, writer-director George Huang’s black comedy was a hit with critics like MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Filosopher, who deemed it “As fine a ‘revenge on the boss from hell’ movie as the wickedly vindictive 9 to 5 (and as outrageous a satire on Hollywood as The Player).”


9. The Funeral (1996) 79%

(Photo by October Films courtesy Everett Collection)

With Abel Ferrara behind the camera, an ensemble cast led by Christopher Walken and Chris Penn, and a storyline revolving around occasionally grisly gang violence, The Funeral should rank among the quintessential indie dramas of the ’90s. It’s mostly escaped the spotlight since its release, but even in the context of Ferrara’s typically hard-hitting work, it’s dark stuff — the story of a pair of gangsters who set out to avenge their brother’s (Vincent Gallo) murder by retaliating against the competing mobster (Benicio Del Toro) they suspect of the crime. Naturally, not all is as it seems; the brothers’ quest takes some unexpected turns, and what might have been a simple shoot-’em-up has more on its mind. While audiences didn’t turn out, critics were suitably impressed; as Desson Thomson wrote for the Washington Post, “You’re engaged on a moral level rarely found in movies about violence.”


10. The Pledge (2001) 78%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

Few who watched Sean Penn’s timeless turn as the affably bewildered stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High could have guessed he’d grow up to favor dark dramas — or that when he eventually started directing features of his own, they’d include the sort of harrowing descent into the darkest depths of human nature plumbed by 2001’s The Pledge. The story begins with an alcoholic police detective (Jack Nicholson) whose retirement party is interrupted by the news of a young girl’s murder; pledged to solve the case by the victim’s mother, he doggedly persists in hunting down the killer even after it’s officially closed by the confession — and subsequent suicide — of a local man with a learning disability. Del Toro’s relatively brief (and somewhat controversial) appearance as the suspect is just one of several disquieting things about the film, which was destined for the commercial margins even as it drew applause from critics like Sean Burns of the Philadelphia Weekly, who wrote, “Steeped in an almost unbearable sadness, dense with moral ambiguity, it stubbornly withholds comfort at every startling turn.”

What do Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, and Jeff Bridges all have in common? They’ve all been nominated for Oscars — and they’re all set to star in Jon Favreau‘s "Iron Man" adaptation.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Bridges will be playing an old-school colleague / friend of Tony Stark, but that’s all the producers are dishing out so far.

And if right now you’re scratching your head wondering who Jeff Bridges is, shame on you. (You know him from "Tron," "Starman," "Jagged Edge," "The Fisher King, " "Fearless," "Seabiscuit," and (of course) "The Big Lebowski.")


Bridges as a gymnastics coach in "Stick It," (which features this great "Lebowski" nod)

Marvel boss Kevin Feige seems justifiably happy with the casting choice: "He’s excited about doing a movie like this, and we’re excited to have him in this particular role. There are many facets to this character which I can’t discuss, but looking at the spectrum of all of Jeff’s roles, this fits in nicely with the man who played ‘Starman,’ ‘Tucker,’ ‘Big Lebowski’ with a little bit ‘Tron’ thrown in … This rounds out our ensemble, and I think it’s one of the strongest casts ever assembled for one of our films."

No argument here.

Production on "Iron Man" is scheduled to begin next month. The flick is scheduled to hit screens a year from this May — so expect a lot more news. (I’m expecting them to cast Kevin Kline and Jennifer Connelly next.)

Martin Scorsese scored the best opening of his career, and his first number one film in fifteen years, with the star-studded gangster thriller "The Departed," which led the North American box office over the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

Moviegoers also showed interest in the horror prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which debuted in second place, as well as the new comedy Employee of the Month which bowed in fourth with respectable results. The new releases helped to boost attendance at multiplexes as the top ten set a new record for the holiday frame selling just a bit less than $100M worth of tickets.

Starpower ruled the box office this weekend as the ultraviolent pic The Departed starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson opened convincingly at number one grossing an estimated $27M in its first outing. The Warner Bros. release averaged a vicious $8,954 from 3,017 theaters and set a new opening weekend record for acclaimed director Scorsese beating the $10.3M bow of his 1991 Robert De Niro thriller Cape Fear, which also happened to be the filmmaker’s last top spot opener. The 63-year-old director usually sees more narrow releases for his films. His last picture The Aviator took off in limited release before expanding nationally over Christmas weekend in 2004 with 1,796 theaters while his previous pic Gangs of New York bowed in 1,504 locations. Both were set in the past, starred DiCaprio, and released by Miramax. The Departed marked Scorsese’s first film ever to debut in more than 2,000 theaters.

A remake of 2002’s award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, The Departed finds Nicholson as a crime boss who sends a mole (Damon) into the Boston police force. DiCaprio plays an undercover cop infiltrating the crime syndicate. Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg co-star in the R-rated feast. Critics drenched the pic with praise giving it some of the best reviews of the year. Starpower combined with strong reviews and a solid marketing push from Warner Bros. contributed to a powerful turnout from movie fans. Departed brought badly-needed good news to the distributor which is struggling through a year full of costly misfires. It ranks dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in 2006 market share and has only generated two other number one debuts this year – V for Vendetta and Superman Returns.

Produced for a hefty $90M, The Departed does seem to have a promising road ahead of it. Not only have critics been giving it high marks, but so have ticket buyers. The gangster film has earned an encouraging A- grade from over 2,000 users on Yahoo Movies. Plus it has given DiCaprio only the third number one opener of his career and his first since Titanic set sail on its record-shattering voyage in 1997. Damon has enjoyed several top spots debuts in recent years most notably with his Bourne and Ocean’s flicks. Meanwhile, Nicholson proved once again why he remains the biggest box office draw of his generation.

Opening with strength in second place was another violent R-rated film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which bowed to an estimated $19.2M. Scaring audiences in 2,820 theaters, the New Line franchise pic averaged a strong $6,791 per venue. The opening was below the $28.1M debut of the 2003 remake of Chainsaw Massacre which went on to gross a terrific $80.1M. However, Beginning was never expected to reach the same neighborhood and with its relatively low $16M production cost, it should easily be yet another profitable horror film.

The new film benefited from a lack of scary movies in the current marketplace, but the road ahead should be tough with a pair of horror sequels set to attack the box office in the coming weeks. The Grudge 2 launches this Friday the 13th while Saw III will be unleashed on the weekend before Halloween. The new Leatherface frightfest performed just like another of New Line’s horror franchise pics from this year, Final Destination 3, which debuted to $19.2M in February on its way to a $54.1M final. The two scary movies have delivered the best openings for its distributor over the past year.

Sony’s hit toon Open Season fell from first to third place but managed to show good legs easing only 32% to an estimated $16M in its second hunt. Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten, the PG-rated pic has upped its ten-day cume to a solid $44.1M and could continue to post impressive holds in the weeks ahead as there is little competition for its family audience until November. Look for Open Season to reach $80-85M from North America. Though impressive, Sony Pictures Animation’s debut venture still does not seem like it will reach the heights of other non-sequel non-summer digital toons like Ice Age ($176.4M), Shark Tale ($160.8M), Robots ($128.2M), or even 1998’s Antz ($90.7M).

The new Lionsgate comedy Employee of the Month opened in fourth place with an estimated $11.8M from 2,579 theaters. Averaging a respectable $4,575 per venue, the PG-13 film stars Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, and Dax Shephard and tells of a love triangle among workers at a superstore. Reviews, not surprisingly, were mostly negative.

Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner dropped three spots with their Coast Guard actioner The Guardian which collected an estimated $9.6M in its second mission. Down 46%, the Buena Vista release has collected $32.4M in ten days and should find its way to $50-55M domestically.

The fall season’s top-grossing hit Jackass: Number Two dropped 56% in its third weekend to an estimated $6.4M pushing its stellar total to $62.7M in 17 days. Later this week, the Paramount sequel will fly past the $64.3M of its 2002 predecessor. The MGM comedy School for Scoundrels tumbled 60% to an estimated $3.4M in its sophomore frame. With $14M in ten days, the Billy Bob ThorntonJon Heder pic should wind up with around $20M.

The Rock‘s football flick Gridiron Gang followed with an estimated $2.3M, down 50%, for a $36.6M total to date for Sony. Jet Li was close behind in ninth place with Fearless which fell 56% to an estimated $2.2M putting its sum at $21.7M for Focus. Rounding out the top ten was the durable period mystery The Illusionist which slipped only 33% and took in an estimated $1.8M. Yari Film Group has taken in a respectable $34.1M after its eighth weekend, the last six of which were spent in the top ten.

In limited release, ThinkFilm launched its unrated sex romp Shortbus in only six arthouses but grossed an estimated $121,000 for a potent $20,108 average. Playing in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver, the John Cameron Mitchell-directed film will expand to ten more markets next weekend.

New Line premiered its Kate WinsletJennifer Connelly pic Little Children in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $108,400. The suburban drama averaged a sturdy $21,680 and will expand over the weeks ahead.

Among holdovers expanding in limited release, Miramax’s The Queen reigned supreme taking in an estimated $401,000 from eleven theaters for a stunning $36,455 second weekend average. The acclaimed Helen Mirren drama widened from its three-theater debut in New York and has grossed $634,000 to date with a promising road ahead.

Fox Searchlight’s Idi Amin tale The Last King of Scotland expanded from four theaters in two markets to 30 sites in 14 markets and grossed an estimated $300,000. With a solid $10,000 average this weekend, the Forest Whitaker pic will invade 20 new markets on Friday expanding its dictatorship into more of North America. Cume to date is $541,000 after 12 days.

The Michel Gondry flick The Science of Sleep held steady in 221 theaters but dropped 39% to an estimated $680,000 in its third dream. Warner Independent averaged a mild $3,077 and pushed the cume to just $2.7M.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s word-of-mouth hit Little Miss Sunshine grossed an estimated $1.3M in its eleventh weekend, down 36%, and pushed its total to a stellar $55M. Acquired at the Sundance Film Festival in January for a hefty $10.5M, the dysfunctional family comedy has become the second biggest grosser ever for the distributor and looks to end its run close to the $60M mark. That would also make it the second highest grossing R-rated film of the summer after the $63.4M of Miami Vice which cost tons more to produce and market.

MGM’s World War I adventure Flyboys crashed 56% in its third flight and took in an estimated $1M. With only $11.8M in 17 days, the James Franco flop should finish up with under $14M. The Black Dahlia, another of this fall’s historical dramas to be rejected by moviegoers, has collected just over $22M to date. Budgeted at $60M, the Universal release should close its case with a mere $24M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $99.7M which was up 23% from last year when Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit debuted at number one with $16M; and up 5% from 2004 when Shark Tale remained in the top spot for a second time with $31.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This Christmas season’s big-time comedy-adventure family flick tentpole would have to be Shawn Levy‘s "Night at the Museum," which stars Ben Stiller as a night watchman forced to contend with all sorts of re-animated historical figures, wacky animals, and dinosaur bones. And now we get a few pics to pore over.

From IGN FilmForce: "Good-hearted dreamer Larry Daley, despite being perpetually down on his luck, thinks he’s destined for something big. But even he could never have imagined how “big,” when he accepts what appears to be a menial job as a graveyard-shift security guard at a museum of natural history. During Larry’s watch, extraordinary things begin to occur. Amidst the chaos, the only person Larry can turn to for advice is a wax figure of President Teddy Roosevelt."

Click here for the pics.

Opening December 22nd, "Museum" also stars Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Carla Gugino, and Mickey Rooney.

Variety brings news of a cinematic pairing that should thrill most of the hardcore movie geeks out there. How about Peter Weir directing Johnny Depp? Yup, thought that’d get your attention.

"Peter Weir will direct "Shantaram," the Warner Bros. adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that will star Johnny Depp.

Weir will develop the script with Eric Roth. WB hopes to begin production late next year.

Pic is being produced by Initial Entertainment Group’s Graham King along with Depp’s Infinitum Nihil banner and Plan B’s Brad Pitt.

When negotiations are complete, Weir — who last directed Russell Crowe in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" — will take on a tale with the political and wartime tensions reminiscent of his early efforts like "The Year of Living Dangerously" and "Gallipoli."

Protag is an Australian heroin addict who escapes a maximum-security prison and reinvents himself in India as a doctor in the slums of Bombay. His attempt to find medicine for his destitute patients leads him into counterfeiting, gunrunning and smuggling."

One of moviedom’s most consistent directors, Peter Weir also brought you "Picnic at Hanging Rock," "Witness," "The Mosquito Coast," "Dead Poets Society," "Green Card," "Fearless," and "The Truman Show." Mr. Roth’s previous screenplays include "Forrest Gump," "The Insider," and "Ali." And Johnny Depp? Well, if I have to list Johnny Depp’s credits for you, then you’re clearly at the wrong website. (Note: He was in some really great movies before "Pirates"!)

Veteran screenwriters Tom Schulman and Rafael Yglesias have sold their first collaborative effort, "Worst Case," to Universal Pictures following a rather heated bidding frenzy. All we know so far is that "Worst Case" is a crime thriller, but considering the scribes’ respective track records (and Variety‘s report of the bidding war), it should be a title worth keeping an eye on.

For those keeping score at home, Tom Schulman wrote films such as "What About Bob?," "Dead Poets Society" (for which he snagged an Oscar), and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." (On the other side of the coin, Mr. Schulman also penned "Holy Man," "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag," and "Welcome to Mooseport.") Mr. Yglesias is the screenwriter behind movies like "Fearless," "Death and the Maiden," "From Hell," the 1998 version of "Les Miserables," and the upcoming "Dark Water."