I’ve never met any real-life person who doesn’t like Brendan Fraser. Critics, however, don’t often share that opinion. Shame. Like, literally. Some of the recent discourse about him is shaming, which is gross. Fraser is truly a fantastic actor.
In the words of GGA’s own Melody McCune, “He’s a precious gem that must be protected at all costs.” So, umm, we’re fans around these parts. Since the 2010s, Fraser has moved from cinema to television, and season three of his latest series, Doom Patrol, airs next week. In celebration of that — not that we ever need a reason to celebrate the actor and amateur photographer! — let’s take a look at five awesome Brendan Fraser films.
It was such a grueling task rewatching most of Fraser’s filmography over the weekend (/sarcasm). He’s just too amazing. But (there’s a but) … some of his movies have not aged well. Heck, I’m not even sure they were acceptable when released. Take The Mummy for example — the film is blatantly racist and sexist. Even squickier is how watchable it still is.
Same with Bedazzled. Which contains some really odd moments of sexism and homophobia that just grate. So, the films I’ve chosen are neither perfect nor free of problematicness, but they didn’t make me cringe every five minutes. tl;dr: I enjoy Fraser himself in everything he’s in, but do find some of his project choices questionable.
So, counting down to my most beloved, here are my top five fave Brendan Fraser films.
In the Oregon wilderness, a real-estate developer’s new housing subdivision faces a unique group of protestors: local woodland creatures who don’t want their homes disturbed. (official synopsis).
Furry Vengeance (2010) is about just that — animals taking revenge on housing developers who are destroying their habitat. It’s a silly movie with funny jokes and a good message at its center. Unfortunately, this film was universally panned by critics and audiences alike, with a 23 Metacritic score and a 3.8 IMDb score.
High concept work has its place in the world, and Furry Vengeance has a place in mine. The movie lets me shut my brain off in a pretty innocuous way. So often “simple” comedies require us to put our morals aside, you know? Plus, hearing Fraser shout “Miley Cyrus!” will never get old.
Content Warning: smoking, car accident, gross-out humor, slapstick violence.
George of the Jungle
A man raised in the jungle by apes falls in love with a wealthy American heiress. (official synopsis).
Number four on Brendan Fraser’s best movies list is George of the Jungle (1997). Now, straight up, this movie makes zero sense. Why does George (Fraser) speak unevenly broken North American English when he learned to speak from an ape (John Cleese) who speaks perfect British English? Idk.
But, since the movie also constantly breaks the fourth wall, I’ll just go with it. Obviously it’s no chore to watch Fraser parade around in a loincloth, but that’s not why I love this movie. Fraser does awe and wonder at Western modernity like nobody’s business. Also, George of the Jungle is extremely self-aware.
The way that Lyle (Thomas Hayden Church) is the butt of the joke for the way he treats the Burundian tour guides is *chef’s kiss*. So, I’d like to think the fact that Ursula (Leslie Mann) et al. only refer to her vacation in Burundi as her “vacation to Africa” is also part of this send-up. I mean, at least Ursula’s white saviorism is directed toward another white person?
Content warning: Flashing lights, gross-out humor, slapstick violence.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
On a quest to find out what happened to his missing brother, a scientist, his nephew and their mountain guide discover a fantastic and dangerous lost world in the center of the earth. (official synopsis).
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) is the only adventure/not-exactly-comedy that made it to this list. As I said above, Fraser is the king of awe and wonder. He’s also always believable as That Guy Who Doesn’t Quite Have It Together. Journey is one of those movies that puts its protagonists through the wringer; they don’t get one second of rest. It’s delightful.
Though, I can’t say I loved the insta-romance between Fraser’s character and his mountain guide (Anita Briem), especially since he and his nephew (Josh Hutcherson) kept calling “dibs” on her. I did love, however, that there was no “Surprise! My dead brother’s alive!” moment at the end of the flick.
Content warning: familial death (off screen), gross-out humor, fantastical violence.
In a coma, a cartoonist finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone. (official synopsis).
Numero dos on the list of my fave Brendan Fraser movies is Monkeybone (2001). The movie, directed by The Nightmare Before Christmas‘s Henry Selick, is based on Kaja Blackley‘s graphic novel Dark Town. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Graphic novels translate really well on screen.
Monkeybone is quirky and visually appealing, with just enough drama to keep things moving. Fraser is particularly great in this film, as he’s basically playing two characters: a shy cartoonist and the walking penis joke of a monkey that takes over his body. Fraser’s acting chops, coupled with the dreamy setting of the nightmare world, make this a win in my book.
Content warning: ableism, car crash, drugs, torture (in a dream), parental death (referenced), gross-out humor, sexual harassment.
Blast from the Past
A naive man comes out into the world after spending 35 years in a nuclear fallout shelter. (official synopsis).
Is anyone surprised that Blast from the Past (1999) is my favorite Brandon Fraser movie? I jokinglyish told a friend that Fraser awakens in people latent bisexual tendencies they never even had. This movie is kinda that. Thanks to Clueless, Alicia Silverstone was already a favorite, and I maybe had a slight Kids in the Hall obsession (cast member Dave Foley plays a supporting role in Blast).
But this was probably the first film I saw Fraser in, and it will likely always be my favorite. It’s just sweet, bizarre and kind-hearted. It balances the fish-out-of-water story quite well. You’re laughing at the situation and not the people involved. Plus, the whole cast is great! Sissy Spacek! Christopher Walken! Good stuff!
Content warning: drugs, alcohol, substance abuse, plane crash, n-word.
There you have it, folx: What are, in my estimation, five infinitely rewatchable Brendan Fraser movies. Those are my favorites. How ’bout you?