Elijah Wooden has been performing for 3 many years, however how do his movies rank from worst to finest? With a vivid, boyish smile and large blue eyes, Wooden has stolen his method into the hearts of moviegoers in innumerable roles. From his baby performing days, to his penchant for gory midnight flicks, to his iconic flip as Frodo Baggins within the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wooden has confirmed himself as an actor able to taking over many numerous and intriguing initiatives.
Wooden made his movie debut in a walk-on function in 1989’s Back to the Future: Part II. From there, he grew to become a celebrated baby actor, showing in movies resembling Avalon, Paradise, Radio Flyer, and The Adventures of Huck Finn. His critically acclaimed performances transitioned seamlessly into extra mature teenage roles, which in flip segued into touchdown the function of a lifetime because the hobbit Frodo in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. Such iconic standing might need restricted actors, however Wooden has discovered a strategy to embrace his expertise in Center-earth whereas parlaying it into a variety of thrilling initiatives post-Rings.
He is voiced Mumble, the penguin in Pleased Toes, featured in critically acclaimed movies like All the pieces is Illuminated and Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts, and located himself in style oddities like Cooties, Maniac, and Grand Piano. By way of all of it, Wooden has remained a real and enthusiastic presence, his forever-young spirit remaining delightfully in tact. Listed here are his most main movies, ranked from worst to finest.
40. North (1994)
Director Rob Reiner had considered one of cinema’s most golden miracle runs from 1984 to 1994, directing such landmark movies as That is Spinal Faucet, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and A Few Good Males. That every one got here crashing to a halt with this critically derided stinker a few boy who divorces his dad and mom and goes around the globe looking for their replacements. None of Reiner’s signature skills are current right here. The movie is neither humorous nor heartwarming, settling for a form of crass twee-ness that elicited a assessment from Roger Ebert which was removed from Ebert’s complimentary “two thumbs up,” containing the immortal phrases, “I hated this film. Hated hated hated hated hated this film.”
39. The Romantics (2011)
Seven school buddies reunite for the marriage of two of their very own, and the ensuing movie largely comes off as a couple-swapping little bit of fluff from writer-director Galt Niederhoffer. Katie Holmes is hardly the compelling main woman, and many of the romance comes off flaccid and undercooked, with not one of the ardour that may necessitate intense viewer curiosity in this kind of movie. Nonetheless, the MVP of the entire affair is undoubtedly Elijah Wooden, whose efficiency because the bride’s alcoholic youthful brother radiates with a refreshingly odd watchability.
38. Radio Flyer (1992)
Elijah Wooden performs the son of Lorraine Bracco and brother of Jurassic Park‘s Joseph Mazzello on this pretty reprehensible “household” film about two younger boys dealing with abuse by the hands of their mother’s new boyfriend. In a woefully dangerous selection of a screenwriting machine, the youngsters use saccharine flights of fancy as a strategy to escape this abuse, leading to a ridiculous climax the place Wooden flies off in a radio flyer to security. It is cringe-worthy, cloying, and simply downright irresponsible from starting to finish.
37. The Oxford Murders (2008)
The pairing of Elijah Wooden and John Harm in a Da Vinci Code-esque whodunit ought to elicit a form of goofy appeal. Nonetheless, Alex de la Iglesia’s convoluted movie about homicide and arithmetic neither surrenders to the inherent silliness of its plot nor creates a fascinating sufficient thriller to hook viewers. Wooden is likable as ever, however he is wasted on this corny caper, which devolves into an embarrassing, Scooby Doo–esque ending.
36. The Final Witch Hunter (2015)
Vin Diesel has at all times been a film star with a singular form of gravitas to him, so it is no small marvel he discovered himself on the heart of a gargantuan fantasy movie impressed by Dungeons and Dragons. He is a good quantity of enjoyable, shelling out baddies and firing off motion film quips as solely he can, and it is satisfying to see his large stature paired with the small-framed Wooden. Sadly, The Final Witch Hunter is admittedly just for Vin completists or style aficionados, with some followers clamoring for a Last Witch Hunter 2, even because it shortly devolves right into a headache-inducing CGI fest that swallows its forged alive.
35. Day Zero (2007)
Wooden co-stars with Chris Klein and Jon Bernthal on this futuristic depiction of a world so ravaged by world terrorism that America should reinstate the draft. Whereas bearing on anxieties felt by residents within the wake of the September 11 assaults, Robert Malkani’s screenplay by no means rises above baseline “penalties of battle” fare, nor does he handle to create flesh-and-blood characters. The result’s a sluggish and uninteresting movie that squanders three exceptionally proficient actors.
34. The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (1999)
Elijah Wooden is his ordinary great, heat self on this achingly honest however in the end confused drama from director Martin Huffy. He performs a younger man named Barney Snow, who wakes up in a hospital with no reminiscence of why he is there. Inevitably, he befriends a number of different younger individuals with terminal sicknesses, which might be maudlin sufficient had been it not for the movie’s eleventh hour sci-fi twist.
33. Cooties (2014)
This 2014 comedy-horror movie, which also stars Jack McBrayer, has an incredible premise: elementary college academics should defend themselves towards a bunch of youngsters who flip into monsters after consuming contaminated rooster nuggets. Alas, whereas Wooden’s clean-cut look and love for all issues grindhouse are match for the movie, it by no means transcends its one-joke premise. There was loads of room for midnight film inventiveness right here, however with no wit readily available Cooties simply winds up settling for uber-violent ugliness.
32. Inexperienced Avenue Hooligans (2005)
Wooden is serviceable and Charlie Hunnam sinks on this completely pointless drama about an American journalism scholar who falls through which a bunch of soccer hooligans in London. Even wanting previous Hunnam’s cringeworthy Cockney accent, this can be a Combat Membership knockoff with not a satirical bone in its physique.
31. Bobby (2006)
Wooden is however one cog within the sprawling ensemble of this Emilio Estevez movie about numerous interconnected lives within the wake of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Estevez goals for an Altman-esque epic, however regardless of some strong performances (a post–Hannibal Anthony Hopkins, William H. Macy, and Sharon Stone are all readily available), these characters by no means transcend their thinly drawn trappings, and the depiction of Bobby Kennedy as an uncomplicated messianic determine solely serves to make the movie duller.
30. Endlessly Younger (1992)
Wooden performs a younger boy who unintentionally frees a cryogenically frozen Mel Gibson from 53 years of slumber on this damp weeper from director Steve Miner. Wooden is a lot endearing, however that is The Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis Present all the best way. With out their strong performances, the movie would simply be a sappy little bit of fluff.
29. Set Fireplace to the Stars (2014)
This staid biopic about poet John Brinnin’s makes an attempt to detoxify Dylan Thomas in Nineteen Fifties New York and Connecticut is a largely glum affair. Wooden is strong as Brinnin, however he cedes the highlight to his costar, Celyn Jones, whose peformance as Thomas is the movie’s fundamental asset.
28. The Struggle (1994)
Critics weren’t eager to reward The Struggle, and for honest cause. Its most attention-grabbing aspect is the connection between Yellowstone‘s Kevin Costner and Elijah Wooden, because the father-son duo on the coronary heart of its story. Alas, director Jon Avnet and author Kathy McWorter pile on the subplots and schmaltz, burying a probably attention-grabbing human story in a great deal of overwrought cliché. There is no denying Wooden’s efficiency, nevertheless, which cemented him as probably the most soulful younger actors of his technology.
27. The Good Son (1993)
Maybe no different movie topped Wooden as a toddler star to observe than The Good Son, which pairs him and Macauley Culkin in a creepy gender-bent replace on The Dangerous Seed. Culkin, coming off the success of Dwelling Alone, will get the juicier function, because the sociopathic child Wooden has to hang around with following the dying of his dad and mom. As unbelievable as Elijah is, the movie would arguably be infinitely higher if he and Culkin switched components. Whereas he is perfect on American Horror Story, at this age Macauley was unable to subvert his film star appeal into one thing really horrifying, and thus the movie suffers.
26. Paradise (1991)
It is a operating theme that, in his baby star days, Wooden was typically the most effective a part of some really unmemorable movies. That is definitely the case with this treacly, cloying drama a few married couple torn aside by grief. Right here, he performs a younger boy despatched to reside with the couple who in the end helps them reconnect. Nonetheless, Paradise would’ve been an eminently extra watchable movie had it targeted totally on his character, as his chemistry with Thora Birch provides the movie its solely true sparks.
25. Open Home windows (2014)
A thriller that unfolds virtually totally by way of the voyeuristic lens of laptop screens, telephones, and safety cameras, Open Home windows predated Looking out and had each proper to be a twenty first century Rear Window. Elijah Wooden is well-cast as a “good man” stalker who achieves limitless entry to his favourite actress by way of his laptop display screen. Director Nacho Vigalondo is endlessly creative together with his visible storytelling, however one needs that his script matched the movie’s technical experience. The ending spins wildly off the rails, in the end rendering the movie a failure, however an attention-grabbing one nonetheless.
24. The Belief (2016)
Earlier than Elijah Wooden would produce Nicolas Cage in gonzo choices like Mandy and Coloration Out of Area, the 2 shared the display screen on this rote however satisfying heist flick. Wooden will not be probably the most plausible as a womanizer with a drug habit, however his chemistry with Cage is loads of enjoyable. Cage himself is the true star right here, together with his outrageous depth and singular line readings reminding audiences why there really is not anybody else like him.
23. Pleased Toes Two (2011)
This bomb of a sequel from Mad Max helmer George Miller did not precisely recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon of its predecessor, which was in and of itself fairly a weird success story. Pleased Toes Two adjustments the main target from Mumble (Elijah Wooden), now dubbed The Grasp of Faucet, to his son Erik. There’s the predictable quantity of cute penguins, however much less stellar manufacturing numbers and extra basic weirdness. Coming from Miller, who gave audiences demented masterpieces like Mad Max: Fury Road and Babe: Pig within the Metropolis, the oddness should not come as a shock.
22. Come to Daddy (2019)
This Elijah-led little bit of midnight insanity begins intriguingly with Wooden’s privileged man-child Norval Greenwood arriving on the coastal house of his estranged father. There’s pressure, thriller, and a macabre humorousness to their first exchanges. Nonetheless, as questions change into answered the movie loses its enjoyable and devolves into a very violent piece of nastiness that not even Wooden’s centered main efficiency can rescue.
21. The Hobbit: An Sudden Journey (2012)
One of many first issues audiences realized upon seeing the primary of Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films is how Elijah Wooden hasn’t modified a bit. His everlasting youth is on show for each second of his transient function right here, and his pointless however welcome look serves as a pleasant bridge between the tales of Frodo and Bilbo . The Hobbit motion pictures devolved into nonsense as they continued, however there’s little of that on show on this first entry. Whereas by no means reaching the heights of Jackson’s authentic trilogy, An Sudden Journey comes the closest to marrying the whimsical appeal of the supply materials with the director’s intent to create a correct prequel to The Lord of the Rings.
20. Celeste and Jesse Endlessly (2012)
Rashida Jones absolutely arrived as a display screen star with this heat and lovable romantic comedy, enjoying the lead and in addition co-writing the movie’s screenplay. Wooden is strong as her work associate, Scott, however that is largely a showcase for the pure likability of Jones and Brooklyn 99′s Andy Samberg. Their chemistry brings to thoughts rom-com greats and strikes an ideal stability of heat fuzzy appeal and keenly noticed realism.
19. The School (1998)
A kitschy late ’90s style providing from Robert Rodriguez, The School mashes up the highschool film with a loving throwback to movies like The Factor and Invasion of the Physique Snatchers. Eminently watchable in its personal kitschy method, the movie largely cruises on Rodriguez’s zesty camerawork and the charms of its ensemble, which other than Wooden additionally options Josh Hartnett, Clea Duvall, and Quick and the Livid’ Jordana Brewster. Not even a lackluster finale can spoil the enjoyable.
18. 9 (2009)
Elijah Wooden lends his vocal skills to the titular function of 9, a rag doll creature who awakens in a dystopian world devoid of people and prowling with malevolent machines. The story could also be by-product, largely of Coraline and The Matrix. It is also much less textured than one may hope, however the animation, character, and world design are endlessly imaginative, making 9 a worthwhile look ahead to animation aficionados.
17. Flipper (1996)
This agreeably cute household movie is strictly the sort of fare ’90s children had been raised on. Wooden performs a younger man who strikes up a robust friendship with a dolphin when he spends the summer time together with his uncle in a seaside city. It isn’t precisely Free Willy, nevertheless it’s bought loads of buoyant appeal, largely as a consequence of Wooden’s successful efficiency.
16. Chain of Fools (2000)
This completely foolish indie black comedy is elevated from a discount bin oddity to a movie price watching by Wooden’s efficiency as a 17-year-old hitman. Completely charming, wickedly humorous, and in addition (in a uncommon flip) horrifying, he singlehandedly elevates each second he is onscreen. For Wooden completists, this can be a must-see.
15. The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)
Elijah Wooden was probably the most beloved baby stars of the ’90s, so it was solely a matter of time earlier than he performed that staple of younger boy literature, Huckleberry Finn himself. That is an unavoidable, but almost pitch-perfect Disney retelling, directed by future Mummy and Van Helsing helmer Stephen Sommers. Wooden holds the movie collectively remarkably nicely, by no means straying into cutesy territory and charting younger Huck’s change of coronary heart like an previous professional.
14. Pleased Toes (2006)
George Miller’s faucet dancing penguin film is definitely a complete lot odder than its mainstream success and subsequent Oscar win for Finest Animated Function may counsel. It is a weird jumble of animated Nationwide Geographic particular, Chosen One mythology, local weather change treatise, and Glee episode. Fortunately, not one of the chaos diminishes the sweeping likability of Pleased Toes, notably every time Wooden’s Mumble busts out the strikes throughout a few of the finest manufacturing numbers in a film of the twenty first century.
13. Maniac (2012)
There has arguably by no means been a extra horrifying subversion of Elijah Wooden’s forever-young appeal than in his efficiency as serial killer Frank Zito. Franck Khalfoun’s movie, itself a remake of the controversial 1980 movie of the identical title, is generally shot from the attitude of the killer, with Wooden’s face solely seen in reflections. The result’s a grimier tackle one thing like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It is definitely not for everybody, however Khalfoun’s idea makes certain the movie by no means settles for affordable brutality. Quite the opposite, Maniac‘s capability to implicate the viewer in Zito’s gory murders makes for a troubling movie about misogyny and and voyeurism.
12. Deep Impression (1998)
On the time of its launch, Deep Impression was in contrast unfavorably to the phenomenon of Armageddon. The comparability is not essentially honest; this catastrophe film concerning the impending doom of a comet heading to Earth is infinitely extra targeted on the micro than the macro, threading collectively a big swath of intimate, private tales. One of the vital efficient is Wooden’s, through which he and his highschool girlfriend (Leelee Sobieski) determine to go away their dad and mom for useless and retreat to an underground bunker. Surprisingly fatalistic for a giant blockbuster from the ’90s, Deep Impact may have lost to Armageddon, however it is an infinitely extra intriguing and human catastrophe flick than critics gave it credit score for on the time.
11. Sin Metropolis (2005)
Robert Rodriguez’s remarkably trustworthy adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel stormed onto the scene pre-300 and actually modified the sport when it comes to how comedian books might be translated to the display screen. The overwhelming type of the movie, which tosses the novel almost panel by panel up on the display screen, dousing it with a neo-noir glow, is the chief enchantment right here. The actors are having loads of enjoyable, most notably Wooden as mute serial killer Kevin, however this can be a movie which values aesthetics over character. Nonetheless, it is a pulpy good time and an attention-grabbing development within the journey of comedian books to the large display screen.
10. All the pieces Is Illuminated (2005)
Wooden’s massive, blue eyes have by no means been put to raised use than because the eyes of Jonathan on this Liev Schreiber-directed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s hilarious and shattering debut novel. Spotlight actor Schreiber considerably disappointingly excises loads of the magical realism flashbacks that give the novel a extra elevated sense of scope and whimsy, selecting to focus wholeheartedly on Jonathan’s journey into the Ukraine to find secrets and techniques about what occurred to his grandfather throughout World Struggle II. That is in the end the suitable selection, as Jonathan’s companions, a rap-obsessed tour information named Alex (hysterically performed by Eugene Hutz), his surly grandfather (Boris Leskin), and a canine named Sammy Davis Jr. give the movie greater than sufficient levity. Schreiber then delicately shifts gears to a reflective ultimate act which is overwhelming in its emotional energy.
9. Grand Piano (2013)
Earlier than he stormed onto the scene with 2014’s Whiplash and won Best Director for La La Land, Damien Chazelle penned this darkly satisfying thriller a few pianist returning for a comeback efficiency, solely to be focused by a sniper who will kill him if he performs one flawed word. Director Eugenio Mira brings simply the correct amount of operatic swagger to the proceedings, reworking the movie right into a gleefully sick marriage of pulp and excessive artwork. Wooden is dedicated at each flip to the movie’s probably goofy plot, and along with co-stars John Cusack (because the sniper) and Invoice and Ted‘s Alex Winter (as his assistant), they elevate schlock right into a tense dance between predator and would-be prey.
8. Avalon (1990)
Wooden primarily performs a younger Barry Levinson within the third (and most emotionally affecting) of the writer-director’s odes to his Baltimore youth. The plot primarily considerations Levinson’s Russian immigrant household within the Forties and ’50s, and the tradition conflict between the older and youthful generations. There are career-best performances right here from Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, and Aidan Quinn. Nonetheless, the true beating coronary heart of Avalon rests within the relationship between Wooden’s Michael and Armin Mueller-Stahl as his grandfather Sam.
7. I Do not Really feel at Dwelling In This World Anymore (2016)
Jeremy Saulnier’s (Blue Break, Green Room) muse Macon Blair made his directorial debut with this backwoods indie comedy a few lady (Melanie Lynskey) who turns into so disillusioned with the egocentric cruelty of humanity that she turns into her personal anti-a**gap vigilante. Her team-up with Wooden’s Tony, who sports activities a rat-tail hairdo and loves martial arts and heavy steel, provides the movie most of its enjoyable. Wooden is splendidly bizarre, and although the movie stumbles a bit within the homestretch, his chemistry with Lynskey grounds a film that, at its finest, combines parts of a darkish thriller with some amusing social commentary.
6. No Man of God (2021)
Elijah Wooden’s newest is among the finest performances of his profession. Based mostly on actual life transcripts from conversations between FBI analyst Invoice Hagmaier and serial killer Ted Bundy, No Man of God is among the most chillingly disturbing ventures into the thoughts of a assassin since The Silence of the Lambs. Director Amber Sealey retains issues extremely spare, however Package Lesser’s razor-sharp screenplay, mixed with Wooden’s efficiency as Hagmaier and Luke Kirby’s awards-worthy flip as Bundy, does not want a lot further aptitude to make an impression. The true horror of the movie is the transformation of Hagmaier’s and Bundy’s conversations into one thing resembling a standard friendship, a change that turns into sickeningly reversed when, in probably the most visceral scenes of the 12 months, Bundy provides Hagmaier a window into his insanity.
5. The Ice Storm (1997)
This refreshingly gripping grownup drama movie from Ang Lee chronicles the dysfunctions of a seemingly healthful household and the way they arrive to a head throughout one dramatic Thanksgiving break within the Seventies. Kevin Kline performs Ben, a disillusioned man who cheats on his spouse (Joan Allen) together with his neighbor Janey (Sigourney Weaver, in considered one of her most underrated performances). This exploration quickly trickles right down to Ben’s daughter, Wendy (Christina Ricci), who begins to experiment with Janey’s son Mikey (Wooden). The scenes between Ricci and Wooden, Nixon masks and all, rank as a few of the most true-to-life depictions of the awkwardness of teenage sexuality and discovery.
4. Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts (2004)
Elijah Wooden performs a small however vital function in Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts, merely put among the finest movies of the twenty first century. Its Oscar-winning screenplay from Charlie Kaufman considerations a pair (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who enlist the assistance of an experimental process to wipe one another from their respective reminiscences within the wake of an unsightly breakup. Director Michel Gondry dives headfirst into the quirkiness of the fabric with a sequence of elaborate set items brimming with sensible results and admirably difficult digicam setups, however he additionally proves an ideal match for what’s in the end Kaufman’s most emotionally devastating and affecting work. Bolstered by career-best performances from Carrey and Winslet, with a elegant under-celebrated flip from Kirsten Dunst, that is at the start a deeply true exploration of the ache of romance, a rare paean to the truism that it’s higher to have beloved and misplaced than to have by no means beloved in any respect.
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Selecting between the Lord of the Rings movies is an all however unimaginable job. Suffice it to say, all of them rank as a few of the most extraordinary achievements in cinematic historical past, trendy masterpieces which have staked their place alongside traditional Hollywood epics like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia. The Two Towers has the least Frodo and Sam, which may be a reduction to some but additionally dulls the movie’s emotional backbone for a lot of its operating time. With the Fellowship severed, all of our heroes off on their very own adventures, and with no correct starting or ending, Peter Jackson and his co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens had their work reduce out for them with the intention to style this center chapter into its personal satisfying movie. Correctly, they targeted their efforts on converging all paths to Helm’s Deep, the location of not solely the most effective battle in The Lord of the Rings, however arguably of all of cinema. It is a fantastically executed set piece with a Biblical finale that may be the proper cap to a stellar sequel had been it not instantly transcended by an emotional gut-punch of a ultimate speech by Sean Astin’s Sam. As second installments of trilogies go, The Two Towers is tough to beat.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
There’s arguably not been as red-blooded a Hollywood epic since The Return of the King noticed the Lord of the Rings trilogy safely house in 2003, and made Oscar history within the course of. From starting to finish, Peter Jackson’s final swing for the fences is gargantuan, with a sweeping scope seldom seen earlier than or since. At instances, this grand finale can really feel just like the goofiest of the three movies, with its ghost military and Mumakil stunts. Nonetheless, all that’s swept underneath the rug by a ultimate hour and a half which ranks as probably the most fantastically executed climaxes ever filmed. Frodo and Sam’s ultimate climb to the height of Mount Doom and Aragorn’s defiant final stand on the Black Gate symbolize a end result of not solely this masterful trilogy, but additionally of the sheer technical virtuosity of the movies’ parts of craft. As Frodo stares down into the Crack of Doom, results, sound, rating, and enhancing coalesce into that rarest of issues: a climax that delivers. Haters of the movie’s “a number of” endings needn’t complain; it is there that Elijah Wooden does a few of the finest work of his profession. For as a lot visible extra as Return of the King possesses, there’s nonetheless nothing as emotional as Frodo’s loving final take a look at his buddies earlier than crusing off into the west.
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Twenty years on from its launch, The Fellowship of the Ring feels as everlasting a fixture because the tattoos each of its actors got to commemorate the taking pictures expertise. It is nonetheless the gold customary for epic cinematic storytelling. An instantaneous traditional that has held its floor simply as absolutely as Gandalf did towards the dreaded Balrog, Peter Jackson’s entry into the world of Center-earth is as instantly transporting because it was upon first viewing. Completely casted, fantastically designed, and tailored with love, financial system, and supreme emotion by Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens, Fellowship is a master-class within the introduction of a world, characters, and story. Almost each second of it has change into iconic, from Gandalf’s long-awaited return to the Shire underscored by Howard Shore’s Celtic Hobbit theme, to Aragorn’s standoff with the Ringwraiths on Weathertop, to the much-memed line “You shall not cross.” Fellowship has lengthy since claimed standing as among the finest movies ever made, however none of it could’ve labored with no completely forged Frodo. Elijah Wooden‘s unwavering purity and goodness give the viewers one thing to care about, and the Fellowship one thing to guard. At solely 18 years previous upon the start of manufacturing, the younger actor will need to have felt a burden akin to carrying the Ring itself. Fortunately, nobody might have dealt with it like Wooden.
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