The Night Before

(Photo by Sarah Shatz/©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

50 Movies With Epic Parties To Stream Right Now

In these days of six-feet-apart distancing, the idea of throwing/attending/completely humiliating yourself at a wild party is out of the question – no matter how much you might currently be fantasizing about doing just that. We here at Rotten Tomatoes have been feeling the itch for company of late too, and with that in mind decided to help bring the party home to you – with the help of some of the most out-of-control gatherings ever committed to screen. Start streaming one of the films below and – voila – you’ll be surrounded by booze, music, and friends. (Bonus: Your friends might include Kirsten Dunst, Seth Rogen, and Dave Chappelle.)

There’s something for everyone here: a ton of house parties for those looking for a Solo cup vibe; decadent bacchanals for those who want to live fancy (Romeo + JulietThe Great GatsbyMarie Antoinette); office parties for those missing their colleagues (The ApartmentOffice Christmas Party); and a sci-fi rave (The Matrix: Reloaded), a period ball (Pride and Prejudice), and some kink (Eyes Wide Shut) for good measure. (Note: We decided to leave some epic parties out, because, well, we didn’t like how the ended – looking at you Carrie and Scream.)

With that said, it’s now time to do our hair, grab something from mom’s liquor cabinet, and call an Uber – er, we mean, plonk ourselves on the couch. Party’s about to start and you don’t want to be unfashionably late.

Let us know your favorite movie party in the comments – and which movie characters you’d have on your party guest list. To see where to stream each movie, click into the title for more details. 

#46

200 Cigarettes (1999)
30%

#46
Adjusted Score: 31010%
Critics Consensus: A clumsy and scattered comedy with a poorly executed script.
Synopsis: This ensemble comedy follows an array of young people in New York City on New Year's Eve. Among the numerous... [More]
Directed By: Risa Bramon Garcia

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 96245%
Critics Consensus: Nostalgic in the best sense, Everybody Wants Some!! finds Richard Linklater ambling through the past with a talented cast, a sweetly meandering story, and a killer classic rock soundtrack.
Synopsis: In 1980 Texas, a college freshman (Blake Jenner) meets his new baseball teammates (Will Brittain, Ryan Guzman), an unruly group... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#14

Superbad (2007)
87%

#14
Adjusted Score: 96296%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High school seniors Seth and Evan have high hopes for a graduation party. The co-dependent teens plan to score booze... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#13

Adventureland (2009)
89%

#13
Adjusted Score: 97339%
Critics Consensus: Full of humor and nostalgia, Adventureland is a sweet, insightful coming-of-age comedy that will resonate with teens and adults alike.
Synopsis: It's the summer of 1987, and recent college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) can't wait to begin his long-anticipated dream... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#12

Almost Famous (2000)
89%

#12
Adjusted Score: 94542%
Critics Consensus: Almost Famous, with its great ensemble performances and story, is a well-crafted, warm-hearted movie that successfully draws you into its era.
Synopsis: Set in 1973, it chronicles the funny and often poignant coming of age of 15-year-old William, an unabashed music fan... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#45
Adjusted Score: 37817%
Critics Consensus: It has an amusing enough premise, but Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead will just leave viewers pining for the madcap hijinks promised by the title.
Synopsis: Sue Ellen Crandell (Christina Applegate) is a teenager eagerly awaiting her mother's (Concetta Tomei) summer-long absence. While the babysitter (Eda... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#44

Beerfest (2006)
40%

#44
Adjusted Score: 44217%
Critics Consensus: Beerfest features some laugh-inducing gags, but is too long and the pacing too uneven to form a coherent, functioning comedy.
Synopsis: Two brothers (Erik Stolhanske, Paul Soter) from America happen upon a secret and centuries-old beer-games competition during a visit to... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 51697%
Critics Consensus: Its cast of gifted comics is good for a handful of laughs, but Office Christmas Party's overstuffed plot ultimately proves roughly as disappointing as its clichéd gags and forced sentimentality.
Synopsis: When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother's (T.J. Miller) branch, he and his chief technical officer... [More]
Directed By: Josh Gordon, Will Speck

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 41847%
Critics Consensus: Occasionally clever and moderately intelligent, Can't Hardly Wait also contains too many cheap laughs, recycled plotting, and flat characters.
Synopsis: School's out, and an entire graduating class -- from football stars and cool girls to complete nerds -- gathers at... [More]

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 47508%
Critics Consensus: A tiresome movie about unsympathetic college kids engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, "Rules" centers around Partrick Bateman's younger brother and his college friends bizarre... [More]
Directed By: Roger Avary

#2
Adjusted Score: 77371%
Critics Consensus: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion has an admittedly slight premise, but it's elevated by ample heart, an infectiously playful spirit, and the buoyant chemistry of Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino.
Synopsis: Ten years after their high school graduation, Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) haven't exactly accomplished everything that they... [More]
Directed By: David Mirkin

#1

Say Anything... (1989)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100352%
Critics Consensus: One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything... is equally funny and heartfelt -- and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.
Synopsis: In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#40

P.C.U. (1994)
44%

#40
Adjusted Score: 43197%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nervous high school senior Tom Lawrence (Chris Young) visits Port Chester University, where he gets a taste of politically correct... [More]
Directed By: Hart Bochner

#39

The Great Gatsby (2013)
48%

#39
Adjusted Score: 60068%
Critics Consensus: While certainly ambitious -- and every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect -- Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source material's vibrant heart.
Synopsis: Midwest native Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) arrives in 1922 New York in search of the American dream. Nick, a would-be... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#30

Spring Breakers (2012)
67%

#30
Adjusted Score: 75144%
Critics Consensus: Spring Breakers blends stinging social commentary with bikini cheesecake and a bravura James Franco performance.
Synopsis: College students Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are short of the cash... [More]
Directed By: Harmony Korine

#29
Adjusted Score: 73010%
Critics Consensus: Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger add strong performances to an unexpectedly clever script, elevating 10 Things (slightly) above typical teen fare.
Synopsis: Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't... [More]
Directed By: Gil Junger

#28

The Night Before (2015)
69%

#28
Adjusted Score: 74409%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 72415%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs.-snobs subgenre.
Synopsis: Geeky college students Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine) are evicted from their dormitory when the Alpha Betas --... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Kanew

#26
Adjusted Score: 76721%
Critics Consensus: Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.
Synopsis: Baz Luhrmann helped adapt this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a post-modern city named... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#25

Neighbors (2014)
73%

#25
Adjusted Score: 81751%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 82296%
Critics Consensus: Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.
Synopsis: Freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine... [More]

#23

Wedding Crashers (2005)
75%

#23
Adjusted Score: 83001%
Critics Consensus: Wedding Crashers is both raunchy and sweet, and features top-notch comic performances from Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Synopsis: Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) are divorce mediators who spend their free time crashing wedding receptions. For the... [More]
Directed By: David Dobkin

#22

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
76%

#22
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work.
Synopsis: After Dr. Bill Hartford's (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she met,... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 32172%
Critics Consensus: It has a charming sweetness about it, but Take Me Home Tonight is neither funny nor original enough to live up to the comedies it evokes.
Synopsis: Recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) should be well on his way to a successful career at a Fortune... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dowse

#47

Project X (2012)
28%

#47
Adjusted Score: 32841%
Critics Consensus: Unoriginal, unfunny, and all-around unattractive, Project X mines the depths of the teen movie and found-footage genres for 87 minutes of predictably mean-spirited debauchery.
Synopsis: Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) are three anonymous high-school seniors who are determined to... [More]
Directed By: Nima Nourizadeh

#33

American Pie (1999)
61%

#33
Adjusted Score: 65417%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#32
Adjusted Score: 76199%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#38

Bachelor Party (1984)
54%

#38
Adjusted Score: 53286%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On the eve of his wedding to his longtime girlfriend, Debbie (Tawny Kitaen), unassuming nice guy Rick (Tom Hanks) is... [More]
Directed By: Neal Israel

#34

Old School (2003)
60%

#34
Adjusted Score: 65016%
Critics Consensus: While not consistently funny, the movie does have its moments.
Synopsis: After discovering his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) has been participating in group sex, attorney Mitch (Luke Wilson) feels his world come... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 71506%
Critics Consensus: Its flagrantly silly script -- and immensely likable cast -- make up for most of its flaws.
Synopsis: Four pals are stuck in a rut in adulthood: Adam (John Cusack) has just been dumped, Lou (Rob Corddry) is... [More]
Directed By: Steve Pink

#6

The Apartment (1960)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 104818%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#5

Boogie Nights (1997)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 97146%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#21

Clueless (1995)
81%

#21
Adjusted Score: 88148%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#20

The Party (1968)
83%

#20
Adjusted Score: 83917%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While trying to tie his shoe, bumbling extra Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) unwittingly triggers explosives that destroy the set... [More]
Directed By: Blake Edwards

#19

This Is the End (2013)
83%

#19
Adjusted Score: 91586%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#4

Risky Business (1983)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 94873%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of Tom Cruise's best early performances, Risky Business is a sharp, funny examination of teen angst that doesn't stop short of exploring dark themes.
Synopsis: Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose... [More]
Directed By: Paul Brickman

#3

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 120207%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

#18

Blockers (2018)
84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 96880%
Critics Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.
Synopsis: Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.... [More]
Directed By: Kay Cannon

#17

Sixteen Candles (1984)
81%

#17
Adjusted Score: 83581%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
Synopsis: With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 93707%
Critics Consensus: Sure, it's another adaptation of cinema's fave Jane Austen novel, but key performances and a modern filmmaking sensibility make this familiar period piece fresh and enjoyable.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel, Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) lives with her mother, father and sisters in... [More]
Directed By: Joe Wright

#50
Adjusted Score: 20880%
Critics Consensus: A derivative gross-out comedy that's short on laughs.
Synopsis: He's the biggest man on campus. He's the boss with the sauce. He's the guy all the girls want and... [More]
Directed By: Walt Becker

#49

21 and Over (2013)
27%

#49
Adjusted Score: 30059%
Critics Consensus: Though it strives to mimic The Hangover, 21 and Over is too predictable, too unabashedly profane, and too inconsistently funny to carry the torch.
Synopsis: Straight-A college student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) has always done what's been expected of him. But when his two best... [More]
Directed By: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

#11
Adjusted Score: 95091%
Critics Consensus: The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.
Synopsis: When they arrive at college, socially inept freshmen Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst) attempt to pledge the snooty... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 95707%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 121993%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Homecoming does whatever a second reboot can, delivering a colorful, fun adventure that fits snugly in the sprawling MCU without getting bogged down in franchise-building.
Synopsis: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#37

Weird Science (1985)
56%

#37
Adjusted Score: 57275%
Critics Consensus: Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances.
Synopsis: Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#36

Marie Antoinette (2006)
57%

#36
Adjusted Score: 66580%
Critics Consensus: Lavish imagery and a daring soundtrack set this film apart from most period dramas; in fact, style completely takes precedence over plot and character development in Coppola's vision of the doomed queen.
Synopsis: An Austrian teenager (Kirsten Dunst) marries the Dauphin (Jason Schwartzman) of France and becomes that country's queen following the death... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#35

Sisters (2015)
60%

#35
Adjusted Score: 66177%
Critics Consensus: Sisters' sharp blend of pathos and vulgarity, along with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's effervescent chemistry, are more than enough to make up for the handful of laughs this coming-of-age comedy leaves on the table.
Synopsis: When their parents decide to sell their home, siblings Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) learn that they have... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#8
Adjusted Score: 97246%
Critics Consensus: Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances.
Synopsis: Actor, writer and comic Dave Chappelle loads up a bus with residents of his Ohio hometown and takes them to... [More]
Starring: Dave Chappelle
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#7

House Party (1990)
93%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94411%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Fans of basketball have known about Blake Griffin since at least 2009, when the University of Oklahoma star was drafted #1 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, then missed his entire first season due to injury. When Griffin finally made his debut during 2010-2011 season, he won Rookie of the Year honors, and he ultimately helped lead the team to six straight playoff appearances. He was the face of the franchise… up until he was unexpectedly traded to the Detroit Pistons a little over a week ago.

For those who don’t normally follow the NBA, though, it was Griffin’s flashy dunk over the hood of a Kia Optima to win the 2010 Slam Dunk contest that really announced him to the world. An official NBA sponsor, Kia then inked an endorsement deal with Griffin that culminated in a series of popular TV ads highlighting his surprising knack for deadpan comedy. Griffin took that further by popping up in cameos on TV, filming sketches with Funny or Die, dabbling in improv and stand-up, and gradually building his reputation as a funny, likable off-court personality.

This week, he makes his feature film acting debut in a comedy called The Female Brain, a tongue-in-cheek look at the differences between men and women in relationships. The film was directed and co-written by Whitney Cummings, who also stars, and Griffin plays a pro basketball player (natch) married to a woman (SNL‘s Cecily Strong) struggling for career independence. RT got the chance to speak with him, and he gave us his Five Favorite Films, then talked about The Female Brain, his love of comedy, and a little bit of basketball.


Superbad (2007) 87%

It’s probably gonna be a very comedy-heavy list, but, one of my favorite movies is Superbad. Big Judd Apatow fan. I kinda always have been, still am, and that movie actually came out, like, my senior year of high school, so it was kinda like the perfect timing for me. It was right before me going to college, and if you remember Superbad, that’s what their whole quest was. Jonah Hill, Judd Apatow, Michael Cera, all those guys, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader — those are all still, to this day, some of my favorite comedians and actors to watch. That’s a big one for me.

Old School (2003) 60%

Next, I would go Old School. Again, I think I was in high school when that came out, early in high school, and it was just one of those movies that I remember… I still very vividly remember the theater I was in and where I was sitting and who I was with, and I remember going back to see it in theaters, like, two more times, and then watching it over and over and over. Just one of those movies that I have memorized from front to back. Obviously being a huge Will Ferrell fan, and have now got a chance to meet him and work with him too, so it’s been pretty awesome.

The Dark Knight (2008) 94%

Probably my favorite role of all time was Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. That’s one of my favorites to this day. Just watching his performance in that is like… It never gets old to me. Sometimes I’ll just watch the movie, and I’ll fast forward, and I know exactly where his scenes are, and I’ll just fast forward to every scene and just watch them. So that’s another one.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) 89%

I was having a hard time between — I’m a Big Quentin Tarantino fan — having a hard time between Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. I really like Django. Inglorious I can watch, like, pretty much all the way through. Just something about the way Quentin Tarantino writes and films his movies that I love, so it’s hard to pick one, but I definitely… I have Inglorious Basterds written down here first so I have to go with that.

Moonlight (2016) 98%

My last one is actually Moonlight. Kinda mix it up. That was one that I was super excited to watch, and I heard such good things about it. A friend of mine had a screener and he gave it to me, and I just… I probably watched it, I would say, like five times within two weeks. I just thought everybody’s performance in that was awesome, and it was shot so beautifully. From top to bottom, I really, really liked it.


Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: You’ve done cameos on TV shows, you’ve done shorts and Funny or Die, and obviously everyone knows about all the hilarious commercials, but this is the first feature film role you’ve tackled. Were you nervous at all, or worried about it? Was it daunting to take on a bigger role like this?

Blake Griffin: Yeah, it was definitely all of those things. I feel like, whenever I do things like this… I’ve done some improv, and I’ve done some stand-up, and especially doing this — not so much commercials or stuff that I’m just cameoing in — with stuff like this, I’m always very nervous, and it’s always very daunting, and I’m always a little insecure in terms of just thinking these people are… This is their professional career, this is their job, they’ve done this their whole life, and I’m kinda just coming in here and trying to keep up.

But every time I’ve been in those situations, I’ve been surrounded with awesome, awesome people, and this movie was really no different. Working with Whitney [Cummings] and Cecily [Strong] and Will Sasso and all these people, they literally just put you at so much ease, like as soon as I got on set, so it all ends up kinda going away. I would even kinda talk to Whitney, like, “I’m not feeling too great about this,” and she’d be like, “Why?” She was a key player in really putting my mind at ease before every scene. I would get a little confident at the end of each scene, after it started to click and I found the rhythm and all that, but then it would almost start all right back over again when I was onto the next scene. But it definitely got easier and easier as it went on.

RT: Your character, Greg, is a professional basketball player, but there aren’t actually any scenes of you playing ball in the movie, so it wasn’t absolutely necessary that your character needed to be a ball player, or that an NBA player had to be cast in the role. Was that part written specifically with you in mind?

Griffin: Yeah, you know, I’m close with [co-writer] Neal Brennan. I’d known Whitney — didn’t know Whitney super well at the time, but I had met her before and got a chance to talk to her, and I believe that they did have me in mind, but like you said, I think that role could’ve been several athletes. It was probably pretty easy to switch up to another sport or anything like that. That was kind of a big reason for me deciding to do this, was that it was a chance for me to not have to play myself, but at the same time I was still kind of playing myself. It was a nice little stepping stone for me, going to maybe that next level of playing somebody completely different.

(Photo by IFC Films)

RT: I don’t know if it was the case for all of the cast, but my understanding is that you were allowed to improvise your scenes quite a bit. How much of that were you actually able to do?

Griffin: Yeah, we were actually able to a lot. I would say pretty much every scene, once we got down what we really needed to get down, we were able to just kinda go and have fun with it, and I think some of the cuts that made it in the film are actually in there. But that’s always one of my favorite parts, is being able to play with a scene and just see where it goes. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s always a lot of fun for me.

RT: Have you had a chance to see the completed movie yet?

Griffin: I actually have not. I haven’t seen it completely. You know, going in for ADR and all that, I’ve seen cut up stuff, but I haven’t had a chance to just because… I was supposed to be at the premiere but, you know, I had to pack up in the middle and move. [laughs]

RT: You’ve said in the past that if you weren’t playing basketball, you might have tried your hand at stand-up comedy. At what point do you think you sort of realized you had this ability to make people laugh?

Griffin: I mean, I don’t really know. I don’t really claim to be a funny guy, I just claim to enjoy funny things. I mean, just as a kid in high school and middle school, trying to make your friends laugh and all that — it’s obviously much different than stand-up comedy. I’ve just been such a huge fan of stand-up comedy for a long time. I’ve always had little jokes here and there. Once I started kinda meeting different comedians — once I met like Neal Brennan, actually; he was the first real person in comedy that I became close with — I just started writing ’em down and started keeping notes, you know, for whatever situation. I don’t know, some of them I’ll probably never use, and they’ll get scrapped, but I know that I always have them, and some have ended up turning into jokes. I don’t know, I’m always very hesitant to just jump on it and do different stuff, just because I know people have spent their lives crafting this skill, and I don’t ever want to use my, I guess platform, for lack of a better word, to just jump ahead and do these things. I always want to try to bring other people with me or do something where I’m hosting and have other people who I’m fans of to come do shows.

RT: I saw that stand-up set that you did in Montreal, and you had a bit in there about being traded, and now, this is the first time you’re playing for a team other than the Clippers. With this trade to the Pistons, does it feel like it’s expected of you to step immediately into a team leadership role there?

Griffin: Yeah, you know, this is a much younger team. Most of my career, I’ve played with guys who’ve had a lot of years in the league, and I was always kinda one of the younger guys, and this year… Even on the Clippers, early on, I was like the third oldest, I think, at one point, and now I think I’m second oldest, so having these younger guys on the team, I think it’s kind of a natural thing, but it’s definitely something that I’ve been prepared for my whole career up until this point. It’s definitely something that I’ve really embraced, and I look to be a leader and to help out some of these younger guys.

(Photo by Chris Schwegler/Getty Images)

RT: You know, the Pistons are this close to a playoff spot right now, and it’s realistic to expect you guys will make it. How tough will it be to make a playoff run while you’re trying to adjust to a new system, new teammates, etc., or do you feel like you will have settled in by the time the postseason comes around?

Griffin: Hopefully I’ll be much more settled in for that last push. It’s been nice to play some games here before the All-Star break, and then get a break and get to come back and have some practices and get going. But, you know, we gotta be healthy. Reggie Jackson is a big part of our team; we need him to come back. Ish Smith has been doing a great job for him, but in order to really make a run, teams have to be healthy, and once we get there, I think, down the stretch, we’ll have enough to do what it takes.

RT: As you mentioned, All-Star Weekend’s coming up. Who do you think has the stronger team, Steph or LeBron? Who’s going to win?

Griffin: Oh, man. After the draft, I thought LeBron had a really, really strong team. I still do. It’s just crazy that he’s had so many of his guys get hurt. I think every single guy on his team’s gotten hurt, right? I mean, not every guy, but all the All-Stars that have gotten hurt were Team LeBron. So I don’t know. I honestly need to sit down and look at the roster again. I remember thinking after the draft, after I saw the list, I thought Team LeBron was really well put together, but… I’ll still go Team LeBron, since Andre’s on that team, so I’ll keep pulling for my guy.

RT: Tell me that LeBron has talked to you about Space Jam.

Griffin: Ah, no… [laughs] We haven’t really had a real conversation about it. I’m not sure what they’re gonna do with that, but it’ll be interesting to see. That’s another one of my favorite movies from my childhood.

RT: Would you do it if he asked you?

Griffin: Yeah, one hundred percent. For sure.


The Female Brain opens in limited release this Friday, February 9. Read reviews for it here.

The Rotten Tomatoes staff, we could’ve been contenders. Could’ve gone to the Olympics. But instead of becoming world-class athletes, we trained and followed our other true calling: aggregating things on the internet.

But with the 2016 Summer Olympics here, we can’t help but think, “What if…?” Let’s say Rotten Tomatoes were a sovereign nation. Here would be the 24 movies and shows we’d send to Brazil to show who’s boss, while the staff sits in office chairs adding mean reviews of Suicide Squad.

 

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, turning in memorable cameoes in films as diverse as Into the Wild, and Anchorman, and sharing screens with everyone from Richard Attenborough to Jennifer Lopez in the process. When HBO’s hit drama True Detective returns next year, Vaughn will take his place as one of the new season’s lead actors, and to celebrate, we decided to revisit his best-reviewed films, Total Recall style!


54%

10. 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.”


59%

9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Take The War of the Roses, inject it with some loud, glossy, big-budget action, add a dash of potent sexy chemistry between your stars, and you’ve got 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith — as well as a pretty fantastic formula for a blockbuster summer flick. Smith could easily have been overshadowed by all the tabloid speculation that dogged Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s relationship; this is, after all, the movie that gave the world Brangelina. But if filmgoers came for glimpses of real-life sparks, they stayed for the snappy one-liners in Simon Kinberg’s script, director Doug Liman’s well-staged (albeit thoroughly ludicrous) action set pieces, a terrific supporting cast that included Vince Vaughn, Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, and character actor extraordinaire Keith David, as well as the sheer spectacle of two very attractive people dispatching bad guys and blowing stuff up while they decide whether they want to stay married or kill each other. It certainly isn’t high art, but the movie has a fizzy charm that Roger Ebert summed up by writing, “What makes the movie work is that Pitt and Jolie have fun together on the screen, and they’re able to find a rhythm that allows them to be understated and amused even during the most alarming developments.”


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.”


61%

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.”


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.”


71%

5. Dodgeball – A True Underdog Story

Vaughn has an admirably varied resume, having done everything from thrillers to dramas to comedies, but if forced to choose, most people would probably say he works most successfully as half of a comic duo. Enter 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, which pits Vaughn against a hilariously over-the-top Ben Stiller in a fight to the finish to be decided by bouncy rubber balls traveling at punishingly high speeds. The idea of a movie about grown men playing professional dodge ball is funny all by itself, and when you have the added benefit of a cast stuffed with funny supporting players (including Jason Bateman, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, and Rip Torn), you’re almost assured of a movie that’ll make at least two-thirds of its audience laugh — and, as it turns out, 70 percent of the world’s top critics. Of course, there were a few curmudgeons turned off by Dodgeball‘s broad humor, but most reviews echoed the sentiments of Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, who wrote, “This masterpiece of modern cinema depends upon a single truism: A guy getting hit in the nuts a hundred times in a row is funny a hundred times.”


70%

4. Return to Paradise

This Joseph Ruben-directed remake of the 1989 French movie Force majeure arrived during a period when American filmmakers were apparently pretty fascinated with the travails of reckless U.S. tourists in Southeast Asian prisons — Brokedown Palace was released a year later, and both films were compared unfavorably with Alan Parker’s Midnight Express. Starring Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and David Conrad as a trio of pot-puffing Malaysian tourists who inadvertently run afoul of the law, Paradise took a familiar plot device — innocent American awaiting death in a foreign prison — and added a new wrinkle: Vaughn and Conrad, safe on U.S. soil, are told they can save Phoenix from being hanged, but only if they return to Malaysia to do hard time. Though the script wasn’t without its fair share of contrivances, Paradise‘s thorny moral dilemma was enough to satisfy most critics, and even those who didn’t give the movie their stamp of approval tended to find positive aspects — like Luisa F. Ribeiro of Boxoffice Magazine, who wrote, “Vaughn labors mightily under the obviousness of the script, while managing to reveal a fragile but profound fear of being an aging frat boy who longs to realize a finer, better self, only to be petrified that quality isn’t within him.”


71%

3. Made

Five years after they gave each other their big break in Swingers, Vaughn and Jon Favreau reunited — this time, with Favreau behind the camera in addition to writing the script — for the mob comedy Made. Starring Vaughn and Favreau as a pair of low-level Mafia knuckleheads, Made took their funny, fast-paced banter, surrounded it with a bigger budget, and added drugs, violence, and Sean “Diddy” Combs. Predictably, critics couldn’t help but compare Made to its surprise hit predecessor — and just as predictably, these comparisons didn’t do Made any favors. Still, even if Made didn’t reach Swingers‘ lofty critical heights (and barely made back its budget), Vaughn and Favreau’s chemistry remained potent enough to impress critics like Hollywood.com’s Stacie Hougland, who wrote, “Vaughn hits the bullseye as a strident, volatile jerk who can’t keep his mouth shut. You never really like him, but you can’t wait to see what he’ll do next — his missteps and offenses are so unbelievable you wince, but you can’t look away.”


75%

2. Wedding Crashers

Part of the R-rated comedy renaissance of the aughts, Wedding Crashers may not have given Vaughn the opportunity to do anything new — here, he appears as Jeremy Grey, a lech with a heart of gold who isn’t terribly dissimilar from the character he played in Swingers — but it played squarely to Vaughn’s comedic gifts, had a solid Steve Faber/Bob Fisher script, and surrounded Vaughn and his co-star, Owen Wilson, 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.”


87%

1. Swingers

Somehow, we doubt many of you are surprised that this list ends where it all began for Vince Vaughn — specifically, with his scene-stealing turn as the appealingly smarmy Trent Walker, best bud to Jon Favreau’s sad sack Mike Peters. Favreau may have written the script, but it was Vaughn who ended up with many of Swingers‘ best lines — and although it’s true that those lines inspired countless wannabe hipsters to pronounce various persons and objects as “so money” for years to come, that’s just an unfortunate byproduct of the movie’s immense likability, and Vaughn’s seemingly effortless cool in the role, which showcased his gifts for comedy and drama. “Four guys hang out, kid one another, get into scuffles and flash their gonadal searchlight for available women,” wrote Time’s Richard Corliss. “Yikes, haven’t there been enough variations on the multiple-buddy movie? Actually, no.”


In case you were wondering, here are Vaughn’s top 10 movies according to RT users’ scores:

1. Swingers — 89%

2. Old School — 86%

3. Dodgeball – A True Underdog Story — 76%

4. Return to Paradise — 76%

5. Wedding Crashers — 70%

6. Made — 68%

7. Clay Pigeons — 67%

8. A Cool, Dry Place — 61%

9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith — 58%

10. The Cell — 57%


Take a look through Vaughn’s complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for The Watch.

 

About a month after Ivan Reitman announced he was in possession of a new draft for an "Old School 2" script, star Luke Wilson got excited. He hasn’t been privy to the screenplay but he’s already committing to it.

"That’s the best news I’ve heard," Wilson said. "I’m always kind of hoping in the back of my mind for Will [Ferrell] and Vince [Vaughn] to kind of bomb so they have to do it because I need it. That would be great."

As long as the original screenwriter and director are in place, Wilson has no concerns for the sequel’s quality. "I always had confidence that if Todd Phillips, who directed it, and Scot Armstrong, the guy that he wrote it with, I just know they wouldn’t want to ruin the goodwill of the first one of the people who seemed to like it. So I just would figure would have to be just as good if not better but that’s pretty cool."

With at least a third of the acting team ready to go, Reitman should really messenger a copy over to Wilson’s office. " I always get people asking and I just never know. It’s the kind of thing where once a year, somebody will call like my agent or something and say, ‘Would you be up for doing Old School 2?’ I always say, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ It’ll probably end up being me and two guys besides Will and Vince."

"Old School 2" has been rumored ever since the first one became the new millennium’s first bona fide quotable movie by college kids. But as the costars became megastars, it kept not happening. Now producer Ivan Reitman has a new script he hopes will entice the gang back together.

"I have in my briefcase a new draft of the screenplay, I got last night," Reitman said over the weekend. "I haven’t read it yet. I’m going to read it on the plane. So yeah, we very much want to do it. We hope we can corral the entire cast because it was written by the same writers, will be directed by Todd Phillips as before."

Now that the boys have established their fraternity, what new trouble could they get into? "Well, it’s the three characters in a different situation," was all Reitman would reveal.

Don’t let the down time discourage you. Reitman has been known to pull famous gangs back together after long absences. "I think it certainly will be hard to get the cast together again because it always is. I remember before ‘Ghostbusters II,’ for much too long, I think seven years, every one of us including myself said, ‘The odds of a Ghostbusters II are nil. There’s no way we’re ever going to get the cast together.’ Bill Murray kept continuously saying he wasn’t going to do it again. But somehow he came out. So who knows?"

One thing is for sure, Reitman would never try to cast new young stars in the same roles. "I wouldn’t want to recast that. I think the strength of a movie like ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Old School’ is the charm of those people together."

In this week’s Ketchup, we just can’t get enough of those tidbits from the upcoming third installments of "Spider-Man" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" and the live-action "Transformers."

Also, Heath Ledger can’t avoid "Dark Knight" questions while trying to promote his little indie film, and some guy’s intial reaction to "Apocalypto" somehow made headlines. Read on for more.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

New Peeks at Spidey 3 and Pirates 3!
It really stinks to have to sit and wait for movies like these ones, but as long as we keep getting a constant string of posters, trailers, set pics and photo galleries, we’re happy. Actually we’re not, but we’ll take what we can get, right?

A Young Captain Jack in "Pirates 3"?
The latest rumor swirling around about the next (and final?) "Pirates of the Caribbean" flick is that we just might get a peek at what Captain Jack Sparrow looked like … as a kid!

(More) New Transformers Pics!
I get the feeling that this is going to be a weekly occurrence until Michael Bay’s "Transformers" is finally released, but here you go: More new pics of the robo-vehicles!

A Few Random "Dark Knight" Nuggets

Poor Heath Ledger is out there on the circuit trying to promote his indie flick "Candy" — and all he’s getting are "The Dark Knight" questions! Ah well, I suppose it’s better than being unemployed, eh Heath?

"Apocalypto" Wow
Yes, "wow" says … a guy who reads AICN. Some dude with a pseudonym caught an early screening of Mel Gibson’s "Apocalypto," and get this: He LIKED IT! Stunning!

Rumors and trailers and pics, oh my!

In Other News:

  • Joe Carnahan is considering directing a remake of "Bunny Lake is Missing," a thriller that could be the next starring vehicle for Reese Witherspoon.
  • Dennis Quaid has joined the cast of "The Express", Universal Pictures’ drama about the late football star Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy.
  • Filippo Bozotti ("Marie Antoinette," "The Sopranos") will play a penniless European playboy in "The Great Pretender," and will also co-produce the film.
  • Director Chris Kentis will re-team with his "Open Water" producer Laura Lau for "Indianapolis," an adaptation of the Douglas Stanton book "In Harm’s Way."
  • Writer/director Jon Avnet is close to completing the script of "I Kill," a serial-killer thriller based on the Italian bestseller of the same name.
  • Nina Jacobson has signed a producing deal with DreamWorks Studios, giving the studio a first look at her projects over a three-year term.
  • Timothy Olyphant has reportedly landed the title role in the video game adaptation "Hitman," Vin Diesel having previously been attached to star in the role.
  • George Clooney and partner Grant Heslov are close to acquiring screen rights to John Grisham‘s non-fiction novel "The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town," about the true case of a wrongly-convicted Oklahoma man.

Perfecting the role of "brat."

There’s been a few rumors flying around lately that Will Ferrell might be doing another "Elf" and will almost definitely being doing another "Old School." Well, the actor roundly denied both rumors, and did so in typically amusing fashion.

From The Guardian: "By 2005, after only 10 years in the business, Forbes magazine had Ferrell down as America’s best-paid actor, with $40m in the bank that year. And he turned down $29m to make Elf 2, a sequel to his brilliant 2003 Christmas hit about a human raised by elves, making his way in Manhattan. Wow, indeed.

Will isn’t at all embarrassed talking about such large sums of money. ‘That’s what was on offer for it,’ he says. ‘But I killed the idea of a sequel. I never liked it – $29m does seem a lot of money for a guy to wear tights, but it’s what the marketplace will bear. It’s insane, but it’s not my call. The studios perpetuate it and they make it hard to say no.’

‘It wasn’t difficult at all,’ he says. ‘I remember asking myself: could I withstand the criticism when it’s bad and they say, "He did the sequel for the money"? I decided I wouldn’t be able to. I didn’t want to wander into an area that could erase all the good work I’ve done – but you watch, I’ll do some sequel in the future that’s crap.’

Will is remarkably clear about the real value of his film work. I mention a rumour about a sequel to Old School, the boorish 2003 Frat comedy he made with Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson and in which he famously runs around town in his Y-fronts. I add that I really hope there isn’t more of this to come. ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do another Old School,’ he says quickly. ‘They put these rumours out there, these studio people, but I would never be behind that one.’"

Click here to read the rest of the article, which is really quite good.

Ashton Kutcher fans get two chances to see (or hear) their favorite star this weekend as the Hollywood prankster takes on reigning box office champ "Jackass: Number Two" by voicing a mule deer in the animated comedy "Open Season" and going up against Kevin Costner in the action drama "The Guardian."

Also opening nationally is the Billy Bob ThorntonJon Heder comedy "School For Scoundrels" while some potential Oscar contenders debut in the arthouses.

Hollywood’s umpteenth computer-animated feature film of the year hits multiplexes on Friday in the form of "Open Season." The PG-rated pic features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Kutcher and finds a domesticated grizzly bear being dropped into the wilderness right before the start of hunting season. Young kids usually eat up these fish-out-of-water comedy toons and this Sony release should play to the same family audience. The target demographic has had an endless line of movies this year featuring talking animals getting into wacky situations, but since the current marketplace is lacking any major offering for children, "Open Season" should score as the first animated hit of the new school year. The studio is saturating the market with screens giving the film the fourth widest bow ever for a non-DreamWorks toon, and the second widest in Sony history for any film after 2004’s webslinger sequel. With no competition and solid funnyman starpower behind the mics, a strong number one bow could result. "Open Season" makes its way into 3,833 theaters and may debut with around $24M this weekend.


Ashton Kutcher, in his other film, "Open Season."

For those who would rather see the "Punk’d" star’s face, Buena Vista sets sail with its Coast Guard thriller "The Guardian" which finds Kutcher playing a young and cocky swimming champ who butts heads with his unorthodox teacher played by Kevin Costner. Directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive," "Collateral Damage"), the PG-13 film has broad appeal with each star pulling in his respective generation. Cross-gender appeal is also present with the military-like storyline doing the job for males and the hunky actors attracting the ladies. Disney offered successful sneak previews two weeks ago to get some word-of-mouth spreading before the official debut. The studio will try to lure in the same audience that spent a solid $22.1M on the John TravoltaJoaquin Phoenix firefighter drama "Ladder 49" two autumns ago. Launching in over 3,000 theaters, "The Guardian" might debut with about $18M.


Kevin Costner to the rescue in "The Guardian."

Following his commercial success with the male-driven comedy hits "Road Trip," "Old School," and "Starsky & Hutch," Todd Phillips returns to theaters with "School for Scoundrels" which finds Billy Bob Thornton squaring off against "Napoleon Dynamite"’s Jon Heder for the affection of a young gal. MGM’s PG-13 film about an awkward young misfit who enlists the help of an expert on getting the ladies should aim for an audience of teens and young adults, plus fans of the "Bad Santa" star’s rogue ways. Starpower is not very high here. Films anchored by the former Mr. Jolie usually don’t explode on opening weekend as evidenced by the recent debuts of "The Bad News Bears" ($11.4M), "The Ice Harvest" ($3.7M), and "The Alamo" ($9.1M). Competition for young males will be tough, but if "School" can connect with teen girls as a funny romantic comedy, then it has a chance of doing some respectable numbers. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "School for Scoundrels" might debut with about $12M.


Thornton, Heder, and that Real World chick again in "School For Scoundrels."

Some high profile indies pop into limited release this weekend. Fox Searchlight launched its Idi Amin pic "The Last King of Scotland" in four theaters on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles and has already been receiving early Oscar buzz for Forest Whitaker‘s portrayal of the Ugandan dictator. Coincidentally, a year ago this same weekend, "Capote" debuted and fueled its own Best Actor buzz which sustained itself throughout awards season leading to a trophy for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reviews for "Scotland" have been good and for Whitaker, have been electric.


Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland."

Miramax gets its Oscar campaign going, but for the Best Actress prize, with its Helen Mirren film "The Queen" which opens in New York City on Saturday after it officially opens the New York Film Festival on Friday evening. Mirren has already taken home the top actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the dark days after the death of Princess Diana. The PG-13 film is directed by Stephen Frears ("Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Dangerous Liaisons") and has ranked number two at the U.K. box office for the last two weeks.

First Look Studios takes audiences back to Queens in 1986 with its coming-of-age drama "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson. The R-rated film won awards for Best Director and Best Ensemble at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and bows in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.

Last weekend, "Jackass: Number Two" flexed its muscles at the box office with a better-than-expected $29M launch. The Paramount film’s predecessor dropped 44% in its second weekend in the fall of 2002, but the sequel may drop harder. A 50% decline would still give the Johnny Knoxville flick about $15M for the weekend and a strong ten-day cume of $51M.

Jet Li‘s "Fearless" also drew upon a built-in audience of young men last weekend setting itself up for a sizable sophomore drop. The Focus title might also lose half of its business and take in roughly $5M. That would give the martial arts saga $18M after ten days. Sony’s "Gridiron Gang" held up well last weekend despite tough competition. Another 35% fall could be in order giving The Rock a $6M frame and a $34M total after 17 days.

LAST YEAR: For the second straight weekend, Jodie Foster‘s airline thriller "Flightplan" topped the box office with $14.8M dropping only 40% from its bow. Opening in second place was the sci-fi actioner "Serenity" which grossed $10.1M on its way to $25.4M for Universal. Warner Bros. followed close behind with $10M for its animated comedy "Corpse Bride." The revenge thriller "A History of Violence" expanded nationally and placed fourth with $8.1M and a solid $6,047 average which was the best in the whole Top 20. Opening in fifth was the Jessica-Alba-in-a-bikini pic "Into the Blue" with only $7.1M leading to a weak $18.5M final for Sony. Disney debuted its historical golf drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to the tune of $3.7M. A $15.3M final gross resulted.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviehole has an interview coming up with popular funnyman Will Ferrell, and the curly-haired kook had a few interesting things to say about a handful of possible sequels…

From Moviehole: "In an interview with Moviehole today, Will Ferrell denounced plans for an "Elf 2" stating that although it was in the works – New Line had tried to talk him into doing a sequel to the family comedy hit – he rejected the idea.

"Elf 2 got killed," says Ferrell. "I killed Elf 2."

New Line’s Toby Emmerich said they would only ever do the sequel – which New Line exec VP of production Kent Alterman was rumoured to be directing – if it were with Will. Since its not, it isn’t happening.

As for "Old School 2," that’s still a possibility. "Old School 2 is apparently being written," he says."

Click here for the report, and check back later in the week for Moviehole’s full-length interview piece.

Writer/director Todd Phillips ("Old School," "Road Trip") has a new movie coming out this weekend called "School for Scoundrels," and he took a few minutes to chit-chat with Gareth over at SKNR.net. Aside from talking about his newest comedy, Phillips also answered a few questions about "Old School 2," which looks to become a reality sooner than later.

From SKNR.net:

GVK: What is the latest on the next "Old School"?

TP: We are writing a sequel which is called "Old School Dos." No actors have been signed yet, and nobody has agreed to be in the film. The plan is that once the script is finished, we will approach the cast and go from there.

GVK: You had mentioned that you would have liked to have added more to "Old School" the main thing I wondered was why Frank’s wife was so afraid of seeing Frank the Tank again, shortly before his infamous streaking event. I had wondered what he had done in the past that had caused her so much concern.

TP: It is funny that you mention that as it is something that will be addressed in "Old School Dos," so stay tuned.

Click here for the full article, although considering how much cash Vaughn and Ferrell are currently getting per flick, I’m betting "Old School Dos" might be one of those "next generation" comedies.