Vince Vaughn's Birthday: His 15 Best Movies & TV Shows Ranked

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Newsweek

American actor Vince Vaughn, who turns 49 today, is perhaps best known for comedies like Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers, though he has also impressed in a number of dramatic roles.

Born on March 28, 1970, in Minneapolis, Vaughn’s first big hit movie was 1996’s Swingers, written by and co-starring Jon Favreau. The film had a tiny budget of about $200,000 but earned over $4.5 million at the domestic box office.

Vaughn received global exposure in 1997 after starring in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The movie was a massive box-office hit—breaking records for an opening weekend—despite a mixed critical reception.

In 2003, Vaughn starred in college fraternity comedy Old School, joining the likes of Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Luke and Owen Wilson, Steve Carell and Will Ferell in Hollywood’s so-called “Frat Pack.”

More comedies in a similar vein followed, including Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers and Starsky & Hutch. But like many of his ”Frat Pack” fraternity, Vaughn has proved to be a more versatile actor than he perhaps first appeared. He has starred in a number of dramatic movies that suggest the direction his career could have gone in had he not become so identified with comedy.

Back in 1998, he turned in a chilling performance as a tourist sentenced to death on drugs charges in Malaysia in Return to Paradise, and in 2007, he impressed in the small but memorable role of a hard-drinking farmer in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild.

His recent roles suggest a move back into heavyweight dramas. His intense performance in season 2 of HBO’s True Detective won him praise, and he generally won over critics who feared he’d been miscast as the drill sergeant in Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge (2016) .

Dragged Across Concrete, due for release next month, teams him up with Gibson again as two rogue cops who descend into the criminal underworld after they are suspended for assaulting a suspect on video.

To celebrate his birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank Vaughn’s 15 best movies.

01 Starsky & Hutch
Universal Pictures

15. Starsky & Hutch (2004). Total score: 57.95%. 
Directed by: Todd Phillips. Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Fred Williamson, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis. 
Plot summary: Two streetwise cops bust criminals in their red and white Ford Gran Torino, with the help of a police snitch called "Huggy Bear".
What the critics said: "Snoop Dogg, as a superfly snitch, and Vince Vaughn, as a drug lord, are wasted in obvious supporting roles. It's harmless fun—and too lazy to be more." David Ansen, Newsweek

02 The Lost World- Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

14. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). Total score: 59.29%. 
Directed by: Steven Spielberg. Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard, Richard Attenborough, Vince Vaughn. 
Plot summary: A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there, while an InGen team approaches with another agenda.
What the critics said: "In short, what you'd expect, and no more." Geoff Andrew, Time Out

03 Old School
DreamWorks Distribution

13. Old School (2003). Total score: 59.45%. 
Directed by: Todd Phillips. Starring: Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Jeremy Piven, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis. 
Plot summary: Three friends attempt to recapture their glory days by opening up a fraternity near their alma mater.
What the critics said: "Sloppily made, frustratingly inconsistent, purposely lowbrow, blatantly derivative and never once enlightening in even the slightest way, Old School is also undeniably howl-out-loud funny at times." Tom Long, Detroit News

04 Mr
Twentieth Century Fox

12. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). Total score: 59.9%. 
Directed by: Doug Liman. Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Adam Brody, Vince Vaughn, Kerry Washington, Keith David. 
Plot summary: A bored married couple is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.
What the critics said: "Who knows what went on behind the screen between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but what's on the screen is extremely entertaining." Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

05 Dodgeball
Twentieth Century Fox

11. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004). Total score: 61.28%. 
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring: Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Vince Vaughn, Rip Torn, Justin Long. 
Plot summary: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.
What the critics said: "Aims low—and happily hits its target." Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News

06 Return to Paradise
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

10. Return to Paradise (1998). Total score: 62.53%. 
Directed by: Joseph Ruben. Starring: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix. 
Plot summary: Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.
What the critics said: "The real discovery is Vince Vaughn, who didn't make as much of a splash in Jurassic Park: The Lost World as he was expected to. Now he does." Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle

07 Made
Artisan Entertainment

9. Made (2001). Total score: 62.88%. 
Directed by: Jon Favreau. Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Famke Janssen, Peter Falk, Sean Combs. 
Plot summary: Two aspiring boxers, lifelong friends, get involved in a money-laundering scheme through a low-level organized crime group.
What the critics said: "Won't take the team of Favreau and Vaughn beyond the audience they won with Swingers, but for the converted, it is equally confirming and rewarding." Susan Stark, Detroit News

08 Wedding Crashers
New Line Cinema

8. Wedding Crashers (2005). Total score: 66.78%. 
Directed by: David Dobkin. Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher. 
Plot summary: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of committed womanizers who sneak into weddings to take advantage of the romantic tinge in the air, find themselves at odds with one another when John meets and falls for Claire Cleary.
What the critics said: "The most exhilarating entertainment to emerge this year ... largely because of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, the best high-low comedy team since the hey-hey days of Paul Newman and Robert Redford." Andrew Sarris, Observer. 

09 True Detective
HBO

7. True Detective Season 2. Total score: 66.93%. 
Created by: Nic Pizzolatto. Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, Kelly Reilly, Vince Vaughn. 
Plot summary: A bizarre murder brings together three law enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California.
What the critics said: "Is it the breakthrough, landmark television of the first season? No. But it is a rock-solid crime drama with film caliber production values, intriguing plotting and great performances." Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com. 

10 Thumbsucker
Sony Pictures Classics

6. Thumbsucker (2005). Total score: 67.65%. 
Directed by: Mike Mills. Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Tilda Swinton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Keanu Reeves, Vince Vaughn. 
Plot summary: Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.
What the critics said: "What at first looks like a standard if well-crafted tour through familiar coming-of-age territory takes some interesting detours." Dennis Harvey, Variety

11 Fighting with My Family 2
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

5. Fighting with My Family (2019). Total score: 72.44%. 
Directed by: Stephen Merchant. Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Florence Pugh, Vince Vaughn. 
Plot summary: A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.
What the critics said: "Fighting With My Family may not be an Oscar contender but it has enough wit, heart, energy and good cheer to make it a fun watch even for non-wrestling fans." Dennis Harvey, Variety