A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
To many, Ben Stiller is seen as a one-trick-pony, pumping out comedy after comedy in which he plays various characters, most of which possessing a similar Stiller-like edge. However, it seems Stiller possesses many talents and commendable qualities, exploring independent productions and directorial roles on the side.
On that note, there are some honourable mentions to make a note of before commencing the top 5, and 2012’s “Submarine” is one of them; a film that Stiller himself produced and briefly featured in. This minute portion of screen time sadly does not qualify for this list. Another fantastic film that features Stiller is “Anchorman”, where he is part of the hysterically barbaric news team fight, but only briefly.
Other fantastic films that star Stiller but didn’t quite make the cut include “Madagascar”, “ here’s Something About Mary”, “Starsky & Hutch”, “Tropic Thunder” and “Happy Gilmore”. All brilliant in their own way, however, the input of Stiller’s is just not quite enough.
1 – Zoolander
The most outstanding of Stiller’s films by a country mile. Stiller’s most famous role and without a doubt his most adventurous and hilarious. Stiller plays the dim-witted, idiotic male model Derek Zoolander; a vulnerable subject for an elaborate ploy involving assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Extremely quotable and timeless, “Zoolander” is one of my favourite films of all time, an absolute classic!
2 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Stiller’s 5th film as a director, and up there with the best films of 2013. Stiller has entered the cinematic world from behind the camera for the fifth time with a wonderful, magical and surreal adventure into the subconscious world of daydreamer Walter Mitty. When his internal world begins to cross the threshold into reality, Walter embarks on a worldwide journey of self discovery which is both exhilarating and amazing.
3 – Dodgeball
Some have said that “Dodgeball” is the exact same story as “Good Burger”, and I tend to agree. Competing with the expansive, modernised gym over the road, “Average Joe’s” gymnasium enters a dodgeball team into a competition to try and win enough money to save their gym from being demolished. Stiller plays White Goodman, an evil, spoiled and strange figure who’s mannerisms, accent and methodology sump the archetypal villain, particularly in an underdog story. Stiller is absolutely hysterical as Goodman, but not quite as entertaining as Derek Zoolander.
4 – Meet The Parents
Arguably Stiller’s most recognisable role. It showcases classic Stiller with his awkwardness and somewhat deadpan humour. Sharing the screen with Robert De Niro is never easy, but Greg “Gaylord” Focker’s passiveness and determination to make a good impression allow Stiller to match it with the best, and at times, even surpass. Chaos, awkwardness and sheer bad luck dominate the “Meet The Parents” franchise, however, like many ongoing film series, nothing beats the original.
5 – The Royal Tenenbaums
Wes Anderson’s 3rd feature “The Royal Tenenbaums” includes a brilliant and memorable Stiller. Not only is it a wonderfully quirky film with a stellar cast and plot, Stiller is fantastic. Focusing on the messed up, dysfunctional Tenenbaum family and the three child prodigies amongst them, this is a brilliant and intriguing comedy that propelled Anderson into the limelight. Keeping with the eccentric and left-of-field narrative structure and editing techniques that Anderson has made his own, “The Royal Tenenbaums” is yet another fun and unique tale that is quirky, original and delightful.