First off, let me preface this by saying that trying to compile a great buddy flick list is going to be hard enough. There are so many movies that fit this description it’s almost it’s own genre. To widdle it down to 10 was near impossible so at the bottom I have some very deserving entries in the “Honorable Mention” Category. Next, and probably more importantly, let me tell you all that this list is devoted to my favorite movies out there that have impressive, memorable and hysterical “buddy” plot lines. As you will see in the entries below, some films are formulaic “buddy flicks” but others are indeed not classified as such but I’d still like to argue the case for them.
Traditionally a “buddy flick” would be a 2 man team which constitutes the two leads of the film bumping heads (either their own, or someone else’s) but I felt this list needed to break those culturally accepted constraints for some entries on this list to appreciate the “back and forth” that the characters in the list below dish out/endure. Lastly, I’m telling you all right now, this is my list of favorites, not the greatest of all time and just letting you know I won’t be including some generally considered classics such as 48 Hours, Midnight Run and the like or even one of the ones that really started it all, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This list is my tastes, so I hope you agree with the films listed below, or at least enjoy the exercise…
Volunteers – This is the absolute best teaming of Hanks and Candy and is also the first movie I ever saw which I’d consider a “buddy flick”. Also, because of this movie I know the Washington State University fight song better than that of my own college alma mater:P However the real key to this buddy flick is Gedde Watanabe, who in my opinion gave this movie the extra bit of humor it needed adding to the already great Hanks/Candy combo (but not getting the credit he deserved because he was lesser known). Still my number 1 choice by far!
Shanghai Noon – This movie couldn’t have a had a more obscure cast than pairing Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson,but when all was said and done, the pay off was motion picture history…even if I’m the only one who thinks it. Jackie’s straight man “royal guard” played so well off Owen Wilson’s charming “outlaw con man” that the movie could have gone on for 10 hours and I would have enjoyed every minute of it.
“No, you said wet shirt won’t break, not piss shirt bend bars“.
Shaun of the Dead – Destined for a life that’s going nowhere, any hopes Shaun (Simon Pegg) has of overcoming his loser life are smashed by his friend Ed constantly bringing him down…that is until the end of the world happens and this team of losers proves they have the right stuff to save the day. Huge credit goes to Edgar Wright for penning this (especially all the cyclical layered humor that made this movie work so well) but it was the subtle back and forth between Pegg and Frost that sold it all. Looking back they are very reminiscent of the genius that was Hanks and Candy…only these two do it with that classy English style.
“How’s that for a slice of fried gold?“
Beverly Hills Cop – Hoping to get back in the good graces of you 48 Hours fans with this one. While this more of a 1 man show than a buddy flick, the exchanges between John Ashton and Judge Reinhold are very simply, some of the best cinematic Eddie Murphy material ever. The tough yet soft Ashton, the naive Reinhold and Murphy’s “look man I ain’t falling for no banana in my tailpipe” streetwise cop made for one of the very best police buddy flicks in cinema history…yes, even better than Police Academy. You can almost still hear Eddie laughing his famous laugh”Haaa, ha, ha, ha, ha“.
Willow – Now many of you have probably just finished asking, “WTF is this movie doing on a “buddy flick” list?“…well like I said above, this is my buddy flick list. I totally enjoy the back and forth between Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis so much I am probably one of the only people praying for a sequel just so I can those two go at it again.
“OOh I’m really scared, (Shouting) no don’t! don’t! there’s a peck here with an acorn pointed at me!“.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle – Now this is the film that made a “stoner” buddy flick popular (and marketable) again. Sorry Dave Chappelle, Half Baked was great but it didn’t get re-kick start the genre like this one did. Not since Cheech and Chong have the studios been willing to take a chance on a reefer films and so paving the way for Pineapple Express, Surfer Dude and the seemingly endless travels of Harold and Kumar including Escape from Guantanamo Bay and the upcoming third installment A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas …where will it end?
“I left my cell phone in the apartment…Should we go back and get it?…no we’ve already gone too far“.
Ghostbusters – Now this is probably not the first film on people’s mind when the phrase buddy flick is used but why not?? 3 guys kicked out of New York’s most prestigious university for doing (lazily) what they think they were born to do. Soon after, they get their own business up and running, enlist a 4th member to their troupe and set off to combat NYC’s newest paranormal infestation all the while spouting some of the most quotable and referenced lines in cinema history…if this isn’t a buddy flick then I don’t what is.
“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!!“
Ocean’s Eleven…This is more of an “ensemble” buddy flick but still, if you didn’t crack up at the clever one liner shots the actors took at each other and the serious/un-serious tightrope walk of a plot, then you weren’t watching the same movie as the rest of us. This movie is an all aces buddy flick…nuff said!!
“Ten oughta do it, don’t you think? You think we need one more? You think we need one more. All right, we’ll get one more.”…[BLINK]
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Who knew (aside from the fans of Real Genius and Top Secret) that Val Kilmer had a hysterical side to him? Chalk that up to him being a method actor, only when playing “Gay Perry”, who was his method of inspiration? He and Downey made for the resurrection of (already an 80’s screenwriting legend) Shane Black’s career…I just wish someone would tell Hollywood he’s been exhumed. Fans already have the revival of Downey…we want Kilmer and Black to do return-to-form movies too!! The bullet paced witty banter between Downey and Kilmer was like the Marx Brothers vaudeville days of old…and that’s a refreshing take on today’s comedy.
“No, she’s just resting her eyes for a minute. Of course she’s fucking dead, her neck’s broken.“
The Scout – Not The Last Boyscout, this is The Scout. A little more dramatic is this clever pairing of comic legend Albert Brooks and newcomer Brendan Fraser (acting in his 3rd in his series of 6 social isolate roles) that it has enough subtle moments to be a thought provoking dramedy while also carving out new territory for Brooks’ seasoned comic timing.
“It seems Steve may start looking to you as a father”…”You know what, I think it’s already happening”…”Well the kind of father he might want to put a knife through”…”How does he feel about uncles, your tests tell you anything about that??”…”OK Steve, it’s ‘Uncle Al!!‘”.
Well there you have it…what do you all think?? Anyone agree, or agree to disagree?? Did I hit anyone’s favorites or miss them completely?? For those interested, have a look below at the very deserving and commendable Honorable Mention portion of this G-S-T Top 10.
Hi and Welcome back!! This is the place for some films that just don’t (to me anyway) fit the bill of the above 10, but they’re so damn close this was almost a Top 20. Enjoy!!
The Hangover – Not so much of a buddy flick but more of an all out, crazy rehash of the lunacy that ruled the 80’s…if anything can go wrong, it did. Taking cues from movies like Cannonball Run, and The Jerk this rag tag team, loyal to their friend the groom, goes through the ringer to find him, find out what happened last night, and to find out why they “feel” like they went through an actual ringer:P
Superbad – This movie, I believe, re-wrote the rules for a buddy flick to be more relateable to a younger generation. This ludicrous story takes two friends on a one night adventure to show just how much their friendship means to each other. Throw in some goofy cops, a Weird Science type house party and the most unbelievable series of events in an Apatow film, and you get two friends who weathered the storm for a great (Apatow signature) heartfelt and very 80’s era finale.
License to Drive – The best Corey/Corey film in my opinion and when I first saw this I wanted 2 things: a driver’s license, and crazy friends like Les, Dean and Charles. This was a pretty great and funny coming of age and buddy flick even though I was too young to fully appreciate how true to life this film was. This pretty much paralleled my experiences later in getting my license…save for grandpa’s Cadillac, the over bearing father, a crazy night on the town and Heather Graham…so that just leaves the dream sequences…yup, had those!
The Way of the Gun – Not even close to the traditional stigma associated with a buddy flick but Benicio Del Toro (fresh from The Usual Suspects) and a quasi likable (non-douche bag) Ryan Phillippe breathed unexpected life into master scriptwriter Christopher McQuarrie‘s already great material. Del Toro stole the show but, in their on-screen ill fated attempts to strike it rich, he and Phillippe paved the road for non-traditional buddy scenarios with their symbiotic on screen chemistry.
Happy, Texas – I am a huge fan of Steve Zahn, and his pairing with Jeremy Northam was just comic gold and the perfect entry to round off this list. Mostly harmless, these accidentally escaped convicts, lay low in a small town (pretending to be gay pageant directors) and try to rob the local bank. This proves to be too much for the duo as the town’s charm ultimately wins them over, but the rouse they held the entire 90 minutes was as delightful as it was side splitting. Best part of the movie is the Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr (Zahn) attempt at pageant dance choreography! “I’m a tornado!!”