While you probably know Jason Bateman best for his role in Arrested Development, that’s not even the show for which he’s got the most credited appearances. The Hogan Family lasted for 110 episodes. So there’s a fun fact for all of you who didn’t know/remember The Hogan Family was a thing. He’s also been in a lot of movies.
Here are the top 10 movies from the career of Jason Bateman.
Not only did Jason Bateman star in Bad Words, but it also marked his directorial debut. He plays a man who never finished the eighth grade, and through a legal loophole is allowed to participate in a national spelling bee. It’s a funny movie with some pitch-black comedy, and also sees Bateman turn in a solid performance. It takes place primarily over one weekend and follows our protagonist and his interactions with the supporting cast, at least one of them is a child he befriend. It’s a little sweet, but mostly it aims to be offensive.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
The highlights of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, at least for me, came from the commentary team at the dodgeball games. Bateman, alongside Gary cole, provide the commentary, and almost every line they say is hilarious. The rest of the film is pretty good – a sports movie about the owners of competing gyms fighting in a dodgeball tournament – with a lot of funny people in it – but it’s the commentary that remains with you after it’s over.
The Gift is another directorial debut, although this time it’s that of Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and plays a significant role in the movie. He plays a man who stalks Bateman and Rebecca Hall, a married couple. Or, at least that’s what it seems like is happening. It’s a “stalker thriller” for onl a little while; it soon becomes something more, something smarter, and something that’ll subvert your expectations at every turn. It won’t let you figure it out until it wants you to, and it offers plenty of pleasant surprises. It’s a great thriller with a ton of suspense throughout its running time.
Horrible Bosses/Horrible Bosses 2
The Horrible Bosses movies are kind of funny, kind of mediocre comedies that are about the same amount of quality and therefore I decided to lump them in together. The first one has a freshness to it, since we hadn’t seen these people and their problems already, while the sequel throws in a couple of new additions and surprises, which help to maybe make it more enjoyable than its predecessor, overall. The premise, at least for the first one, involves three guys who plan to kill their bosses. Then things go wrong. They’re profane and dumb, but they’re not unenjoyable.
Juno sees a teenager get pregnant and then have to figure out what the next step is over the course of the next several months. She meets with adoptive parents – of whom Bateman is one – she has to deal with the father, who wants nothing to do with it, as well as come clean to her parents. It’s a good movie. I don’t think it’s as funny as many people – its dialogue gets a little irritating, honestly, although I guess it’s how teenagers talk, mostly – but the drama is solid and the characters are strong.
A LEGO Brickumentary
LEGO toys are a lot of fun. They encourage imagination and creativity and are endless amounts of fun. If you ever wanted to know about the LEGO company and its worldwide appeal, A LEGO Brickumentary is the movie for you. Jason Bateman narrates the documentary.
That’s it. It’s a documentary about LEGO. It tells you about LEGO.
I’d be lying if I said I remembered exactly what Jason Bateman’s role in Smokin’ Aces is. It’s an ensemble film with a lot of people trying to kill each other, and he’s one of those people. I remember the action being slick, a dark sense of humor, and several of the characters being interesting – if not terribly deep. It’s a lot of fun, and it allows some of its big-name actors to get killed, which is something that action movies tend not to do. You cast someone famous, they live until at least near the end. Smokin’ Aces allows them to die.
State of Play
State of Play is a journalism thriller. A congressman’s affair has turned up dead, and he doesn’t believe it was the suicide it looks like. He hires a journalist – who winds up teamed with a blogger – to figure out the truth. They uncover a lot. The film is adapted from a 6-hour BBC mini-series, and the filmmakers did wind up including probably too much detail – trim the fat if you’re cutting the running time by 2/3, I’d say – but it’s a suspenseful, constantly engaging thriller.
Up in the Air
Imagine having a job that involved flying to companies and firing a company’s employees for the company. That’s the job of the protagonist in Up in the Air. A young employee makes the suggestion that you could do it remotely, something the protagonist doesn’t like. So he takes her around the country to show the importance of the face-to-face interactions, in hopes of eventually convincing his boss, played by Jason Bateman, that it’s still worthwhile. It’s a smart, funny, and at times, heartbreaking movie. It has a lot to say about people and relationships, and its acting is top-notch.
Zootopia is the best animated movie of 2016. It’s a fun, funny, incredibly entertaining buddy cop movie about a bunny cop and a sly fox trying to solve a mystery. It’s also about prejudice within our society, which is a slick move for Disney to pull. “Oh, you wanted a talking animal movie? Well here’s that … and also a lesson about diversity and prejudice.” The central metaphor might not hold up under close scrutiny, but the message gets through. And even beyond that, you’ve got a gorgeous movie with a highly detailed world that’s hilarious and packed with action. It’s fantastic.