“I don’t expect success. I prepare for it.” Wise and self-fulfilling words from our guy, Ryan Reynolds, one of Canada’s sweethearts. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Reynolds dreamed of getting out of there early in his life, not to abandon his family or hometown, but to act. True to his words, he and a fellow Vancouver actor impulsively took to the road one night with one destination: Los Angeles. After taking the first step to following his dreams, his car was stripped and robbed on his first night in L.A. Did that stop our fearless protagonist? Indeed not. After just a few months, Reynolds was landing roles all over town, working whenever he could. Five years later, he finally got a leading role with a recognizable name, a college comedy called Van Wilder: Party Liaison. That movie didn’t make our list today, but it’s only because Reynolds has been busy making an array of better movies ever since.
Most would agree that Ryan Reynolds brings a familiar presence in both appearance and demeanor to most of his films, but when you get a frame that fits just right, you get some great Ryan Reynolds features. That is why we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Ryan Reynolds movies, ranked. It should also be known that these movies were ranked for the movie quality and watchability, not just for the most Ryan of the Reynolds’ performances.
10. Just Friends (2005)
One of Reynolds’ more sincerely funny comedy films, this movie is the silly rom-com follow-up for his crude and ridiculous role in Waiting, which makes Just Friends look like a shining light on his career. A coming-of-age tale, a younger, more plump Ryan Reynolds develops a deep-seated fear of “the friend zone” from a scarring high-school experience that broke his heart and turned him into a stone cold, womanizing, modern-day Ryan Reynolds. Co-starring Anna Faris in her prime, the overtly redundant premise was saved by these characters and their freedom to go wild, resulting in some great moments of slapstick flair and comedic timing.
9. The Nines (2007)
Part documentary, psychological thriller, and comedy, The Nines really pushes the boundary of sci-fi and try-fi, going a bit too far with the plot twists and turns. The plot, while sufficiently intriguing, could be toned down a bit. Think Memento meets The Number 23 if early Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed it. While this movie isn’t all that director/writer John August dreamed it would be, Reynolds really helps to tie the characters together as they twist and turn through puzzling storylines. Overall, this movie is great for a mind-melting double feature kind of night, since you could definitely make up a movie drinking game for it on the fly.
8. Life (2017)
A reasonably frightening sci-fi project, Life takes on the premise of a crew that gets trapped out in space. Ryan Reynolds joins the crew as they discover evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars, but it’s not the friendly greeting they were hoping for. Partnered with a group of formidable actors and a commitment to the genre, Reynolds delivers an unforgettably chilling scene that escalates the film to its fear potential. With some moments of questionable physics and flawed characters, this movie isn’t on any list of best sci-fi movies, but it will definitely get you to look around the dark room you are watching it in.
7. The Voices (2014)
In this surprisingly overlooked black comedy, Reynolds embodies a psychopath with a child-like outlook and demeanor who just wants to live his life free from disruption. Fair warning: If you are uncomfortable with shameless gore and making jokes about it, maybe don’t watch this one. Filled with murderous naivety and moments of extreme discomfort, there are lots of laughs to be had as well, namely the scenes where Ryan Reynolds was able to get creative voice dubbing for his two house pets. With all that this movie has to offer, Reynolds finishes it by smoothly making this character his own by becoming sociopathic Ryan Reynolds.
6. Mississippi Grind (2015)
In this A24 production, Ryan Reynolds is a fast-talking gambler who charms another chronic gambler (Ben Mendelsohn), sparking an instantly toxic friendship and a road trip to escape their ever-worsening problems. Boisterous yet graceful, the story unfolds as the lies and the addiction get worse, making the characters become more transparent to each other. A bit slow-paced for the typical movie-goer, Mississippi Grind is a realist drama to check out if you want to peek into the mind of an addict, where “We can’t lose.”
5. Definitely, Maybe (2008)
Definitely a chick flick, maybe one of the best, Definitely Maybe is a touching story with an all-star cast that serves up a creative slice of the rom-com genre. We explore the love life of an almost-divorced Ryan Reynolds as he explains to his daughter (Abigail Breslin) how he and her mom met, omitting the real names of his past lovers in the story for her to guess. This movie is full of sympathetic moments of intimacy and vulnerability, which all of the characters fit right into. We wouldn’t call this a typical Reynolds role, but it’s still the Ryan we know and love.
4. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019)
Cute, funny, and charming, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is a good time for everyone involved. When a young man is obligated to befriend a Pikachu (Reynolds), he discovers that this little creature can not only talk: it might be the only way to find his missing father. Hilarious and wacky, this re-imagining of the most famous card playing/trading game is a worthy tribute, entertaining young and old with plenty of Pokemon cameos and signature Ryan Reynolds jokes. Carrying the majority of the comedy, our superstar actor successfully shows off his voice acting chops, proving that he can stretch his legs in most any genre.
3. Buried (2010)
Hinging on Ryan Reynolds’ performance alone, Buried is a claustrophobic thriller with an original premise that succeeds in immersing the audience in its anxiety and confusion. Starting with no explanation and in absolute darkness, Ryan Reynolds is a hostage that is buried alive in the desert with very few and random objects at his disposal. Raw and riveting, this film is an excellent example of Reynolds’ ability to bring a wide array of emotion to his role, especially being the only on-screen character.
2. Deadpool (2016)
Full of fourth-wall breaks, brilliant writing, and irreverent violence, this cinematic experience is a splendid portrayal of the off-beat character everyone knows as the Marvel oddball. When an ex-mercenary Ryan Reynolds is diagnosed with cancer, he undergoes an experimental treatment that makes him regenerative and generally invincible, but it comes at a great many costs. After Ryan Reynolds (actual) and friends have vied for the red-suited maniac’s big-screen debut for almost 10 years, Deadpool turned out to be the anti-hero we had no idea we needed.
1. Deadpool 2 (2018)
Back for more, Deadpool 2 is a glorious revival of a unique superhero movie adaptation that leaves no sensitive subject untouched, making every obscure reference you may or may not understand. As if the first one wasn’t enough, this sequel takes the universe to new heights of ridiculousness, with more laugh-out-loud moments and jabs at other Marvel characters than some can count. These movies are probably the greatest achievement of Ryan Reynolds’ screen career as he fought hard for them, and he embodies the comic book character with great ease as if he were made for the role.
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