Owen Wilson's Best Movies, Ranked – Screen Rant

Owen Wilson has worked with some of the best people in film, and his unique brand of comic timing and everyman relatability has made him a star.
Owen Wilson’s best movies run the gamut from children’s animated comedies to adult dramatic fare. Wilson was an early collaborator with Wes Anderson along with his brother Luke, and the trio worked together to create the filmmaker's signature style. Since then, Wilson has become one of the biggest comedy film stars in Hollywood, bringing a wholly different touch to his movies that no other actor has been able to replicate. He can play absurd alongside Ben Stiller, thoughtful and irreverent in a Woody Allen film, or mannered and witty in any of the Anderson movies he's been a part of.
Beyond the Cars series of animated films and his recent entry into the MCU as Mobius M. Mobius on the TV show Loki, Owen Wilson is not a franchise actor, yet his box office earnings put him in the upper echelons of movie stars. Wilson has worked with some of the most highly touted directors, collaborators, and studios in the industry, and even his movies that aren’t critical successes tend to be commercial hits. The actor brings his unique, wide-eyed, slightly air-headed, preoccupied style to give even the most ridiculous of comedies more depth than the plot might imply. Among them all, here are Owen Wilson's very best movies, ranked.
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A remake of the 1970s TV series, Starsky & Hutch stars Owen Wilson as the easy-going Hutch and Ben Stiller as his by-the-book partner, Starsky, and it shows how the two cops became partners. Todd Phillips directed the box office hit, which more than doubled its budget despite a lukewarm response from critics. Wilson's performance and chemistry with Stiller save the movie from becoming another flimsy 2000s comedy without much of a plot. Starsky & Hutch features an all-star comedy cast that also includes the likes of many of the “Frat Pack” members, such as Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, both of whom are regular Wilson collaborators.
Owen Wilson has a handful of action movie roles to his name that show a strong talent for physical comedy. Co-starring Jackie Chan, Shanghai Noon is the first of a two-part film series (Wilson still needs to reunite with Chan to make Shanghai Noon 3). The original combines Western and kung fu tropes to great effect, and Wilson shows how well he can mesh with any actor on-screen. The pair is perfectly mismatched in a way that brings out both of their best qualities. Wilson is one of the few comedic stars with physical acting chops who can also bring a level of empathy that is key to Shanghai Noon.
Marley & Me contains one of the few straight-faced performances in Owen Wilson’s career, which makes the role somewhat bland, but he’s still charismatic enough to make the movie a pleasant watch. Based on the memoirs of columnist John Grogan, Marley & Me follows the life of an unruly dog, Marley, and his family, who learn to put up with and then love him. The movie was a giant box office success, grossing $247.8 million over a budget of $60 million. Wilson and a post-Friends Jennifer Aniston have authentic chemistry, and the heartstring-plucking ending may feel a tad manipulative, but it doesn’t mean it’s not effective.
Owen Wilson lends his distinct voice to the Pixar hit Cars and continued to play the lead, Lighting McQueen, for the two subsequent sequels, plus the video game and television tie-ins. The first Cars received the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score (74%) of any Pixar film at the time of its release. Still, audiences loved the movie. Wilson may not be the immediate choice for a mega-star race car who is a fish out of water in a small run-down town, but he pulls it off, and his soft voice has a touch of snobbery to it that makes it seem like Lighting does think he’s better than everyone else.
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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is Owen Wilson’s fourth collaboration with Wes Anderson. The actor finds himself playing opposite another Wes Anderson mainstay, Bill Murray, as Steve Zissou’s son, Ned Plimpton. The Life Aquatic is quintessentially Anderson, to the point that some critics were frustrated with the direction. It isn’t just the greatest hits version of an Anderson film; it has unique ideas and imagery that make it a love letter to Jacques Cousteau, as well as a send-up. It’s the first of Anderson’s movies that Wilson didn’t help write, and the whimsical nature is not as reigned in for it, but Wilson’s performance helps ground the story.
Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson met in college and worked together to create Bottle Rocket, their first feature. Bottle Rocket is co-written by and stars Wilson as Dignan, a young man from Texas who is set on becoming a professional criminal despite lacking the know-how. As his film debut, it’s a prototype of what was to come and established Wes Anderson’s style for the rest of his filmography. Bottle Rocket is funny, wacky, emotional, and at times surprisingly violent, like all good Anderson movies. Wilson takes center stage and acts with a confidence greater than his age. Every Anderson main character after Dignan has similar characteristics to this original protagonist.
Owen Wilson never plays it completely straight in his comedies, but he's often a bit smarter and a little more knowing than his costars. In Zoolander, Wilson gets to be as hammy as the other actors in the ridiculous and brilliant 2001 comedy about the fashion industry. He plays Hansel, a rising star male model whose neo-hippie style of performing is a threat to the once-great Derek Zoolander, played by Ben Stiller. This is one of the best Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller movie pairings thanks to the combination of the latter's broad comedy and the former's comic delivery and empty-headed philosophical babbling that works better playing off each other.
Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s 2011 fantasy-comedy about a man who goes to Paris with his soon-to-be in-laws, only to discover that his and his fiancée’s desires are quickly diverging. Owen Wilson’s Gil explores the city of Paris alone, and he discovers he can go back in time to speak with the legendary artists and writers who lived in the city in the 1920s. Gil is the movie's Woody Allen stand-in, and Wilson manages to evoke the filmmaker's nuances but still makes the character his own with a wide-eyed wonder and preoccupation that Allen doesn’t often have.
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Wedding Crashers is one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time and is credited with reviving the adult comedy genre back in 2005. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star as two friends who crash weddings to pick up single women. Of course, they end up falling in love with two women and have to woo them while keeping their sleazy history a secret. Wedding Crashers is a classic buddy comedy, and it’s the perfect part for Wilson, who has to play a charming bachelor and a man desperately trying to impress a girl, allowing his funny, sarcastic, and sensitive delivery to be put to good use.
The Royal Tenenbaums is one of Wes Anderson’s best movies and the third feature-length collaboration between Owen Wilson and the filmmaker. Wilson co-wrote the movie, and the pair were nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Wilson also has a supporting role as Eli Cash, the neighbor friend who, though not as talented as the Tenenbaums, seems to be all the happier for it in his older age. Owen Wilson plays Eli perfectly as a spoiled and needy man who generally has done and received what he wants without straying too far into completely unlikeable.
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Zach Moser is a Philadelphia native who loves films, television, books, and any and all media he can get his hands on. Zach has had articles published on satire sites like Points In Case, Slackjaw, and McSweeney’s. Zach particularly enjoys writing ScreenRant Lists about film and television.

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