(Photo by Gramercy Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection; Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)
If your movie nights could take a few more hits, check out our guide to the best stoner movies! These are essential and favorite movies to the marijuana experience, ranging from counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider), top-shelf mainstream films (Pineapple Express, Friday), and cult comedies (Grandma’s Boy, Super Troopers), all featuring icons like Jeff Spicoli and The Dude. Then we took all the movies and sorted them by Tomatometer, highest first of course.
(Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)
During the early ’90s, while he was flashing his abs and modeling underwear as Marky Mark, few could have suspected that beneath Mark Wahlberg’s b-boy cap lurked the soul of a thespian. Now, that’s no longer the case — with dozens of roles and a pair of Academy Award nominations to his credit, Wahlberg has compiled an impressive filmography since making his big-screen debut in Danny DeVito’s 1994 comedy Renaissance Man. Since then, he’s branched out quite a bit, showing a flair for drama (Boogie Nights), comedy (Ted), and blockbuster action (Shooter, the Transformers franchise) along the way. It’s never a bad time to look back on Mr. Wahlberg’s career — and with that in mind, we’ve rounded up all of his major roles, sorting the bunch by Tomatometer. Where do your favorites rank? Read on to find out.
During the early 1990s, while he was flashing his abs and modeling underwear as Marky Mark, few could have suspected that beneath Mark Wahlberg‘s b-boy cap lurked the soul of a thespian. Now, of course, that’s no longer the case — with more than 20 roles and an Academy Award nomination to his credit, Wahlberg has compiled an impressive filmography over the last 15-plus years. With Wahlberg leading the human contingent in Transformers: Age of Extinction this weekend, we thought now would be the perfect time to take a look back at Wahlberg’s best-reviewed major roles. It’s time for Total Recall!
First, a sample of Wahlberg’s emotive prowess.
A comedy about a talking teddy bear who grows up to be a foul-mouthed pothead, from the man who gave us Family Guy? It’s got to be a childish waste of time, right? Not so fast, friends: As 2012’s Ted proved, sophomoric and scatological humor can be mighty effective when they’re used by the right cast in service of a sufficiently funny story, and while this may have been yet another variation on the “eternal manchild” comedy we’ve been watching for years — right down to the inexplicably striking, long-suffering girlfriend (Mila Kunis) who waits for our stars to grow up — it still produced its share of laughs, as well as nearly $550 million in worldwide grosses. Of course, now there’s a Ted 2 in development — not that you’ll hear any complaining from critics like the New York Daily News’ Elizabeth Weitzman, who wrote, “Not every joke scores, of course. But the hits are worth the misses, and anyway, the movie’s true genius is in the way its outlandish scenario is played so perfectly straight.”
He isn’t a household name, but Vince Papale is a legend among hardcore football fans — particularly in Philadelphia, where he overcame the odds to earn a spot on the Eagles’ roster and became one of the oldest rookies in the history of the NFL — as well as a living embodiment of the team’s scrappy, blue-collar image. Though Wahlberg is from Boston, he knows a thing or two about seemingly impossible dreams that come true, and his performance helped give Invincible a sweaty leg up on the many inspirational sports dramas in theaters at the time. “It may seem that Invincible takes too long to get to the football,” wrote Gary Dowell of the Baltimore City Paper. “But by the time it does get down to it, we’ve invested enough in Wahlberg and Kinnear to give a damn about the outcome of the all-important Big Game.”
Part of the wave of heist flick remakes that gave us new versions of The Thomas Crown Affair and Ocean’s Eleven, F. Gary Gray’s “homage” to the 1969 Michael Caine caper The Italian Job put Wahlberg in the middle of a double-crossing, gold-thieving band of criminals that included Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Mos Def, and Seth Green. Though critics were quick to point out that the new Job didn’t really add much to the original — and the movie was arguably bettern-known for its heavy use of trendy Mini Coopers than anything that actually transpired in the plot — it offered 111 minutes of agreeably undemanding action thrills. As Jon Niccum of the Lawrence Journal-World wrote, “Filled with easy-to-like characters, innovative action sequences and a story rife with momentum, the movie is as endearingly zippy as the BMW MINIs the heroes use to pull off their scam.”
Having already starred in arguably the definitive Gulf War movie (Three Kings), Wahlberg may have been tempting fate when he signed on for Lone Survivor, writer-director Peter Berg’s adaptation of the nonfiction bestseller from Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson inspired by Luttrell’s experiences in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings. But looking back, it isn’t hard to see what drew Wahlberg to the project; opening wide in early 2014, it managed to escape the dismal commercial fate afforded many modern-day war movies, as well as drawing praise from the majority of critics, who were able to see past Survivor‘s occasionally troublesome subtext and appreciate the film’s genuinely harrowing action sequences and generally persuasive performances. “Lone Survivor‘s lack of suspense never works against it,” argued Dana Stevens for Slate. “If anything, the fact that the outcome is, at least roughly, known in advance only adds to the film’s sickening tension.”
Truly entertaining stories about con men are difficult to come by — and even the best of the bunch tend to focus on the thrill of the grift, leaving the characters themselves in the background. 1997’s Traveller reversed the formula, examining the knotty feuds and traditions of a tight-knit clan of small-time North Carolina con artists, in particular Bokky (Bill Paxton), a Traveller whose life is thrown out of balance when he crosses paths with the son of an exiled member (Mark Wahlberg) and develops an honest emotional attachment to one of his victims (Julianna Margulies). It isn’t one of Wahlberg’s better-known movies, but it was a hit with critics like ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, who wrote, “The script is smart and sneaky — by never telling the audience more than is necessary, it develops a keen sense of suspense that persists until the gritty final reel.”
Sometimes it seems like all Will Ferrell needs in order to be funny is a sufficiently broad premise and a solid foil to help ground his lunatic behavior in something like the real world. With 2010’s The Other Guys, he got both — a screenplay from Chris Henchy and Adam McKay (the latter of whom directed) about a serious-but-unlucky cop (Mark Wahlberg) who’s saddled with a milquetoast desk jockey (Ferrell) for a partner. When the best cops in town (played by Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are incapacitated, the “other guys” step into the breach and blow the lid off a massive conspiracy involving an unscrupulous billionaire (Steve Coogan) and his even more ruthless client (Anne Heche) — firing off belly laughs along the way. Not the most novel setup, perhaps, but it’s all Wahlberg and Ferrell needed to rack up nearly $225 million at the box office, as well as earn the admiration of critics like the Los Angeles Times’ Betsy Sharkey, who chuckled, “The plot doesn’t always hold water and it has a tendency to ramble, but they don’t seem to care. And honestly, neither should you.”
David O. Russell clearly enjoys working with Mark Wahlberg. After striking critical paydirt with Three Kings and getting him to flex his comedic muscle with I Heart Huckabees, Russell again turned to his former leading man for The Fighter, a dramatization of the real-life story of welterweight boxing champ “Irish” Micky Ward, the Massachusetts legend who teamed up with his brother (and trainer) Dicky (Christian Bale) to duke out a triumph of sorts over their difficult upbringing. Wahlberg was one of the few Fighter stars who didn’t earn an Academy Award nomination for his work — Bale took home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar — but given how long and how vigorously he fought to help bring the movie to the big screen, the movie’s warm critical reception and $129 million box office had to serve as a pretty sweet vindication. “The Fighter deftly manages to be equal parts character drama and sports film without giving short shrift to either,” wrote Joshua Starnes for ComingSoon. “Containing a couple of the best performances of the year, it is in turn harrowing and heartwarming.”
A year after terrorizing Reese Witherspoon in Fear, Wahlberg made the leap to Serious Actor territory with the starring role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble opus about life in the porn industry, Boogie Nights. As the genitally gifted Eddie Adams, a.k.a. Dirk Diggler, Wahlberg took a character that could have been a cheesy joke and imbued him with palpable emotion. One of the year’s biggest critical winners, Boogie Nights started Anderson and Wahlberg’s careers in earnest, earned co-star Burt Reynolds some of the best reviews of his career, and enjoyed a thumbs up from Roger Ebert, who wrote, “As a writer and director, Paul Thomas Anderson is a skilled reporter who fills his screen with understated, authentic details.”
We love to hate remakes, but not all of them are created equal; for proof, look no further than The Departed, Martin Scorsese’s expertly cast treatment of the 2002 Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs. On the surface, it might look like just another crime thriller where no one is who or what he seems — but this kind of story is all in the telling, and Scorsese had a tightly wound William Monahan screenplay to work from, as well as a bruising set of leads in Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, and Wahlberg. A four-time Oscar winner, The Departed finally earned Scorsese his long-overdue Best Picture and Best Director honors, and triggered an avalanche of praise from critics like Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press, who applauded, “It’s a thinking fan’s thriller, a movie involving multiple fully dimensional characters, multiple story lines and edge-of-your-seat twists and swerves, stylized to just the edge of believability.”
Anyone who wonders why audiences refuse to see movies about the wars raging in the Middle East would do well to study the example set by David O. Russell, who waited eight years before making the Gulf War picture Three Kings — and even then, the conflict served mainly as grist for a heist storyline involving a trio of U.S. Army Reservists (George Clooney, Ice Cube, and Wahlberg) making plans to steal plundered Kuwaiti gold. Widely recognized as a sharp, stylish satire today, Kings wasn’t a huge commercial success during its initial theatrical run, but it earned instant admiration from critics like Sean Means of Film.com, who called it “Possibly the best wartime comedy since Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H.”
In case you were wondering, here are Wahlberg’s top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:
1. The Departed — 94%
2. Boogie Nights — 89%
3. The Fighter — 89%
4. Lone Survivor — 89%
5. Four Brothers — 81%
6. The Italian Job — 80%
7. Shooter — 80%
8. Three Kings — 77%
9. I Heart Huckabees — 76%
10. Ted — 74%
Finally, here’s Mr. Wahlberg bringin’ some good vibrations to the entire nation:
A new show from Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Stewart? Make it so.
Today, Starz announced that it has given a two-season, two-episode order to the new half-hour comedy, Blunt Talk, created and written by Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death) and starring Patrick Stewart. Seth MacFarlane and his Fuzzy Door Productions, Inc. serve as executive producer, along with Media Rights Capital (MRC), the independent studio behind House of Cards, Ted and Ted 2.
Blunt Talk will be a character-driven comedy featuring Patrick Stewart as British newscaster Walter Blunt, who comes to the U.S. with his alcoholic manservant in tow and dreams of taking American cable news by storm. Through his nightly interview show, Blunt tries to impart his wisdom to Americans on how they should live, think and behave — no matter how misguided.
“In the character of Walter Blunt, Seth, Jonathan and Patrick have found the alchemy that makes a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius-Brit the man you want fighting in America’s corner,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said. “Seth and Jonathan have struck the right balance between biting wit and outright absurdity in building this world, and we cannot wait for Patrick to breathe life into Walter.”
Blunt Talk is not MacFarlane’s first collaboration with Captain Picard. Fans of the animated FOX show American Dad will recognize Stewart’s voice as CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock.
Stewart said, “My career took an abrupt and radical left turn when Seth MacFarlane created CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock on American Dad. This new character, Walter Blunt, is not at all like Avery, thank God, because this is live action and I am a Knight of the Realm. Blunt is, however, much smarter than Avery and has his own TV show, which has to be better than being Deputy Director of the CIA.”
MacFarlane’s familiarity with Stewart has caused some confusion for Blunt Talk‘s showrunner/writer/creator Jonathan Ames. “It’s been a delight to collaborate on Blunt Talk with two such talented and strange men as Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Stewart,” Ames said. “The only problem is that sometimes on conference calls Seth will uncannily recreate Patrick’s voice, and I’m not sure who’s talking, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing.”
Blunt Talk will air on Starz in 2015.
For more TV news, visit the Rotten Tomatoes TV Zone.
He’s the star (well, co-star if you count Mark Wahlberg) of 2012’s highest-grossing comedy (unless you count Breaking Dawn — Part 2), so we felt it only fitting to ask Ted, the titular furball from Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated hit, to give us his all-time five favorite films.
“Besides Flash Gordon,” he says, “which you already know is my number one favorite film of all time.”
Indeed, anyone who’s seen the movie will remember Ted and John’s shared affection for the camp sci-fi classic, and the bear also gave us another insight into his creative process: “Yes, the hotel room fight scene was inspired in part by Road House,” he reveals. So now you know that.
Here now are the rest of Ted’s most treasured works of cinema, many of which, curiously, correspond with Sight & Sound‘s list of the all-time greatest films. Possibly.
You can catch the diminutive beast’s acting debut in Ted, which is out on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
Flash Gordon (Mike Hodges, 1980; 80% Tomatometer)
The best movie ever made. EVER. It has action, adventure, Sam Jones, epic space battles, hot space babes and a kickass theme song. And one day, I will realize my dream of sleeping with Princess Aura of Mongo, even if I have to pay an escort to wear the outfit.
There is only one Patrick Swayze, and this is the ultimate Swayze flick. As a Mercedes-driving bouncer with a degree in philosophy, he is perhaps the second-greatest action hero of all time. It’s almost as if Walker, Texas Ranger and Billy Jack had a smarter, better-looking brother who also knew how to dance. I can watch this movie forever.
This is like Road House in stereo. You get a badass Stallone and a badass Kurt Russell as buddy cops who get framed and sent to prison. John and I used to pretend we were Tango and Cash when we were kids. In fact, we still do whenever we watch it, which was as recently as last week. It just never gets old.
Cheech and Chong were these stoned guys from the 1970s who got famous getting high and then made movies about getting high, which made them more famous. This is their first movie, and also their best. It is, quite possibly, the Citizen Kane of pot movies.
I cannot praise this film enough. It has given me (and John) the gift of laughter even when sober, which is the sign of a truly great movie. It has everything: hot babes, aliens, a refrigerator full of pudding — I really think everything came together in this one, and it shows. If a non-porn film can make you feel as good as this one does, then it truly is movie magic.
Ted is out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
A pair of new R-rated films dominated the North American box office sending ticket sales soaring to a new record for the biggest June weekend in history. The comedy Ted and the drama Magic Mike both overperformed and connected with their target audiences while Tyler Perry’s latest effort Madea’s Witness Protection delivered his usual potent numbers. Overall, it was the third best weekend of 2012 as success came from a handful of original movies and not from one big franchise juggernaut opening. The marketplace is now in great shape entering what will be a gigantic July.
Family Guy fans came out in droves for creator Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut Ted which debuted at number one with an estimated $54.1M from 3,239 theaters for a sizzling $16,705 average. The raunchy buddy comedy about a man and his talking teddy bear scored the third largest opening ever for an R-rated comedy behind two major brand-based hits – The Hangover 2 ($85.9M) and Sex and the City ($56.8M). An original story not based on a well-known brand doing this level of business is incredible and reinforces the starpower of MacFarlane. Actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis also added star wattage and positive reviews helped too.
The Universal release cost $50M to produce and skewed towards men as expected. Studio research showed that males made up 56% of the crowd while 52% were 30 and older. The CinemaScore grade was a good A-. While distributors only retain a portion of the gross, and marketing costs are additional expenses, it is always good news to a studio when its opening weekend gross is higher than its film’s budget. Friday saw a spectacular $20.7M bow, Saturday dipped 14% to $17.9M, and Universal is optimistically projecting a 13% slide on Sunday to $15.5M. Most other studios are estimating 20-30% declines for their films on Sunday. But with the Independence Day holiday falling on Wednesday and many young adults having extra leisure time this week, Ted should find its way to a solid showing in its first full week even though Tuesday sees the debut of the summer tentpole The Amazing Spider-Man which will start damaging competitors on Monday night when it begins its first midnight shows.
Channing Tatum scored his third hit of the year with the much-talked about male stripper movie Magic Mike which opened in second place with an estimated $39.2M from 2,930 locations for a sturdy $13,363 average. Women dominated the audience and business was incredibly front-loaded thanks to girls-night-out crowds that planned opening day outings. Friday premiered to a dazzling $19.4M which eventually accounted for half of all the weekend sales. Saturday tumbled by an alarming 41% to $11.4M while Warner Bros. expects Sunday to dip down 26% to $8.4M.
But the promise of beefcake with the likes of the red hot Tatum and co-star Matthew McConaughey was enough to spark excitement and good reviews didn’t hurt either for the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama loosely based on producer/star Tatum’s real-life stint as an exotic dancer. Studio data showed that 73% of the crowd was female and 57% was under 35. The CinemaScore grade was just a mediocre B. 2008’s Sex and the City also saw a massive opening day rush from its audience of adult women. Its Saturday decline was 34% and its female share was 85%. If Magic Mike can hold up and keep attracting customers, it will become Tatum’s third $100M+ grosser in six months. He’s already seen his February romance hit The Vow reach $125M and his March buddy cop comedy 21 Jump Street make $138.3M.
Ted and Magic Mike offered a one-two punch of raunchy fun which paying audiences found irresistible as the overall box office broke the record for the biggest June weekend in history beating the last frame of June 2009 which saw the massive launch of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Even more impressive was that the top three films this weekend were not sequels and the top five had no action tentpoles. The R-rated newbies proved that young adults will still come out and pay for original stories that truly excite them.
Those looking for clean family-friendly entertainment found it in the Disney/Pixar hit Brave which dropped from first to third place with an estimated $34M. The 49% decline was sizable given how the film is not a sequel and that the new releases provided virtually zero competition. It also pleased crowds on opening weekend earning an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore. Brave has grossed $131.7M in its first ten days and has performed much like Pixar’s 2008 offering WALL?E which debuted in late June to $63.1M, fell 49% in its sophomore session to $32.5M for a ten-day start of $127.2M. Brave had the advantage of some 3D surcharges while the robot pic had the Independence Day holiday help it. With a big holiday week coming up, Brave may find its way to the neighborhood of $235M by the end of its domestic release.
Tyler Perry scored yet another hit film with the Lionsgate comedy Madea’s Witness Protection which debuted in fourth with an estimated $26.4M from 2,161 theaters for a potent $12,193 average. The filmmaker’s fourth movie with Madea in the title played to his loyal fan base which continued to come out. This was Perry’s first summer release as most of his offerings went out in the spring or fall. Witness Protection’s debut was in line with the $25.1M bow of the last Madea pic Big Happy Family.
Holding up well again in its fourth round was Paramount’s animated sequel Madagascar 3 which collected an estimated $11.8M, off just 40%. The DreamWorks Animation hit has now taken in $180M domestically matching the gross of its 2008 predecessor. Europe’s Most Wanted will surpass the $193.2M of 2005’s original Madagascar next weekend and find itself going past $200M too. International markets saw an estimated $16.2M pushing the overseas haul to $244.2M for a global take of $424M.
In its second weekend, the action-horror-history mashup pic Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter suffered a steep 63% tumble to an estimated $6M for $29M in ten days for Fox. Four films rounded out the top ten falling into the $4-5M range. Fox’s sci-fi epic Prometheus took in an estimated $4.9M, down 50%, raising its total to $118.3M. The global haul now stands at $284.8M. Wes Anderson’s indie hit Moonrise Kingdom jumped into the top ten for the first time thanks to an expansion from 395 to 854 theaters with an estimated $4.9M as well. The Focus release averaged $5,706 and has banked an impressive $18.4M to date with much more to come as its cume should double in the coming weeks.
Universal’s effects-heavy fairy tale adventure Snow White and the Huntsman dropped 46% to an estimated $4.4M with $145.6M domestic to date. Disney’s uplifting drama People Like Us was dead on arrival in its debut just barely making the top ten with an estimated $4.3M from 2,055 locations for a pitiful $2,095 average. With mixed reviews, the PG-13 pic starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks failed to excite any demographic and should fade away quickly.
Two big July tentpoles kicked off their global releases this weekend overseas ahead of their U.S. openings. Fox’s animated comedy Ice Age: Continental Drift – the fourth installment in the franchise and second in 3D – debuted to an estimated $78M from 34 markets ranking number one in all of them. In some Latin American markets like Argentina and Columbia it broke the all-time opening weekend box office record. Drift is the latest chapter in a lucrative franchise that has now broken the $2 billion mark this weekend in global box office. Though results in North America have been mostly flat over the years, overseas growth has been mammoth with international grosses soaring from $207M to $461M to a stunning $691M for the last film Dawn of the Dinosaurs which accounted for 78% of its global tally. All signs indicate that interest for the Ice Age franchise – overseas at least – remains quite high. It opens domestically on July 13.
Over in Asia and parts of Europe this weekend, Sony’s reboot The Amazing Spider-Man set off fireworks of its own with a $50.2M debut from 13 territories led by Korea’s $13.4M and Japan’s $11.4M. The results were phenomenal with the 3D webslinger crushing the opening for Avengers in both Korea and India by more than 70%. The Andrew Garfield starrer hits U.S. screens this Tuesday one day before the 4th of July holiday. Sam Raimi’s trio of Spider-Man films – all in 2D – grossed a combined $2.5 billion worldwide from 2002 to 2007.
After eight long weeks in the domestic top ten, the super hero sensation The Avengers finally dropped from the list finishing in eleventh place with $4.2M and a total of $606.3M from North America and $1.45 billion worldwide. Following in the footsteps of other recent franchises, Sony’s newest alien installment Men in Black 3 will end up as the lowest-grossing pic in the series domestically, but will be the top title globally thanks to growth in international markets for action and 3D films. Will Smith’s comeback vehicle stands at $169.6M from North America and will conclude with $175-180M including 3D surcharges and today’s higher ticket prices. The first two MIB flicks did $250.1M in 1997 and $190.4M in 2002. But the overseas tally on MIB3 rose to $429.8M putting the global take at $599.4M with the $600M barrier ready to fall on Monday. The first Agent J pic sold more tickets but its worldwide gross from fifteen years ago was $589M.
Summer moviegoers continued to flock to new independent films as Fox Searchlight’s Sundance award-winner Beasts of the Southern Wild debuted to terrific results in its platform bow in New York and Los Angeles with an estimated $169,000 from four locations for a powerful $42,309 average per theater. Cume since the Wednesday launch was $220,000. It was especially impressive given that it had no stars and was from a first-time director. The critically acclaimed drama adds more markets this week on Wednesday and Friday and then goes much wider on July 13.
Woody Allen’s latest European postcard To Rome with Love fared well in its second weekend expansion grossing an estimated $750,000 from 29 playdates (up from five last week) for a $25,862 average. The Sony Classics title has banked $1.3M to date and is scheduled to widen across the country this Friday. With Moonrise Kingdom heading to $35M+ and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel already above $40M, independent films this summer have carved out solid sales from upscale moviegoers interested in movies with more substance in a sea of mindless popcorn flicks.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $189.9M which was up 2% from last year when Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened at number one with $97.9M; and up 6% from 2010 when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse debuted on top with $64.8M. Both of those frames were helped by the 4th of July holiday.
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Neil Young Journeys, a documentary in which the Godfather of Grunge takes a road trip through Canada and shares memories of his formative years, is at 100 percent.
The Matchmaker, a coming-of-age drama about a teenager who learns about love while working for a Holocaust survivor, is at 100 percent.
Gypsy, a loose retelling of Hamlet set amidst a Roma community in Slovakia, is at 89 percent.
The Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild, a drama about an isolated Louisiana community dealing with the fallout from a catastrophic flood, is at 88 percent.
Unforgivable, a thriller about a crime writer who investigates his new wife’s romantic liaisons, is at 70 percent.