From prehistoric caveman to Mummy-hunting hero, EW counts down the Oscar winner’s most memorable performances.
By Andrew Walsh March 14, 2023 at 06:57 PM EDT
The Brenaissance is formally upon us.
Whereas DC comics followers own been disappointed to study his role as Firefly in the canceled Batgirl movie may perhaps maybe no longer ever peek the gentle of day, Fraser calm has quite a lot of high-profile initiatives in the pipeline to please audiences desirous to peek more of the actor. The Academy Award-winning huge title will rapidly grace each the huge and runt cowl in Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, the upcoming comedy Brothers, and the fourth and closing season of the HBO Max superhero series Doom Patrol.
With Tinseltown rolling out the purple carpet for his return to A-checklist train, it be basically the most attention-grabbing time to peek how he obtained right here. Beneath, EW appears to be like merit at Fraser’s 15 finest roles.
15. Encino Man (1992)
Highschool outcasts Dave Morgan (Sean Astin) and Stoney Brown (Pauly Shore) rep a caveman (Fraser) trapped in ice while digging a pool in Dave’s backyard. The Valley boy duo names him Link (as in “Missing Link”) and rob their discovery below their hover, remodeling him from a prehistoric Neanderthal to… smartly, a recent-day Neanderthal. An early showcase for the comedic physicality Fraser would carry to later roles, Encino Man is a stress-free, silly, early ’90s throwback.
14. Blast From the Previous (1999)
In 1962, Dr. Calvin Weber (Christopher Walken) and his pregnant fundamental other, Helen (Sissy Spacek), retreat trusty into a fallout refuge in the backyard of their Los Angeles home when they mistake a plane rupture for a nuclear attack. Thirty-5 years later, their (actually) sheltered son Adam (Fraser) emerges from the bunker looking out offers, and learns the sphere is intact. Raised on a popular culture diet of I Fancy Lucy and Perry Como, the socially awkward Adam is one other man out of time on the Encino Man‘s resumé — this time with bigger than a monosyllabic vocabulary. When he meets Alicia Silverstone‘s worldly Eve, the sparks open to cruise on this charming fish-out-of-water comedy that proves he is ethical as adept at taking half in romantic leads as he is at mowing down mummies.
13. Bedazzled (2000)
This devilishly savory comedy costarring Elizabeth Hurley because the “Princess of Darkness” is an underrated gem from Fraser’s early aughts heyday. Because the awkward, nerdy Elliot Richards, he pines for the love of his coworker Alison (Frances O’Connor), who barely is conscious of he’s alive — no longer to order that they work together. After an extraordinarily humiliating try to quiz her out, he publicizes he’d give one thing else to own her in his lifestyles. Cue Beelzebub herself, who arrives with a contract granting him seven needs in alternate for his soul.
On this Harold Ramis-directed remake of the 1967 Dudley Moore normal, Fraser gets to blow their own horns a differ of characters. As EW wrote in 2000, “It be no longer each actor who can pull off taking half in a laptop geek, a rock huge title, a genius, a drug lord, and a 7’9” basketball skilled — all in the an identical movie. But that is exactly what Fraser manages to enact in ‘Bedazzled.”
12. No Sudden Movement (2021)
In Steven Soderbergh‘s ensemble crime caper, three runt-time crooks (Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, and Kieran Culkin) are hired by underworld facilitator Doug Jones (Fraser) to rob a suite of documents from the office of an auto govt (David Harbour). After all, things walk sideways, and the simple job turns trusty into a advanced series of double crosses because the nature of the documents are slowly printed. Space against the backdrop of racial segregation in Fifties Detroit, with a orderly, twisty script from Ed Solomon (Males in Shadowy, Now You Peep Me), No Sudden Movement is an racy contemporary-day noir.
11. Believe (2018)
The short-lived FX drama Believe is a Succession-esque period piece that tells the fable behind the highs and lows of the tainted, smartly to keep Getty family. Created by writer Simon Beaufoy with Danny Boyle‘s route — the duo behind the award-winning hit Slumdog Millionaire — Believe focuses on the 1973 kidnapping and ransom of John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson). Fraser is James Fletcher Tear, the chief of security for family patriarch J. Paul Getty (Donald Sutherland), who’s sent to Italy to trace down the kidnapped heir. A Southern fried, fourth-wall-breaking ex-CIA agent, whose genial persona masks the shrewd investigator underneath, he offers what EW critic Kristin Stanley 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley called “a controlled, magnetic efficiency.”
10. Airheads (1994)
L.A. rock band the Lone Rangers is so desperate for his or her huge damage that they hijack a native radio station to rep airplay for his or her demo. But when the dimwitted trio’s tape is by likelihood destroyed, they rapid rep themselves on the heart of an escalating crisis as they at closing rep the admire they craved — ethical no longer in the style they hoped. Starring alongside Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, and Chris Farley, Fraser’s frustrated lead singer Chazz is crammed with comedian outrage, and he skillfully holds his own amongst Airheads comedy heavyweights in a role Sandler alleges he fought to cast the actor in.
9. With Honors (1994)
When ambitious Harvard senior Monty Kessler (Fraser) drops the handiest reproduction of his thesis paper down a grate, it falls into the hands of an eccentric unhoused man named Simon Wilder (Joe Pesci) who lives in the boiler room below. Simon makes utilize of this opportunity to blackmail Monty into performing a series of favors for him, and in alternate for every one, he’ll return one web page. With out the paper, Monty may perhaps maybe no longer graduate “with honors,” so he is of the same opinion to the deal. As he earns merit his thesis, Monty’s opposed relationship with Simon blossoms trusty into a real friendship, and he learns treasured lessons about lifestyles and fancy. Whereas the aspirational message leans a chunk on the schmaltzy side, Fraser offers an earnest, grounded efficiency that retains this mid-’90s dramedy from going the complete manner over the threshold.
8. George of the Jungle (1997)
A stay-action remake of the 1960s though-provoking Tarzan spoof, George of the Jungle redefines the term physical comedy. Ripped and slapstick ready, Fraser’s George swings by the titular jungle, slamming into bushes while falling — actually and figuratively — for plucky San Francisco heiress Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann). In EW’s 1997 overview of the Disney hit, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote “that Fraser, previously veteran in Encino Man, is so appealingly sport — and therefore humorous — in his Nicolas Cage-in-Con Air hair, as he tries to make sense of his very human attract Ursula, that he charms the butt flaps off you.”
7. The Mute American (2002)
Directed by Phillip Noyce and costarring Michael Caine, this adaptation of Graham Greene’s 1955 novel is one of basically the most attention-grabbing-reviewed movies of his occupation. Space in Saigon in 1952, Fraser plays Alden Pyle, an American succor worker whose aw-shucks persona hides a more wrong reason: He’s been sent by the CIA to additional The USA’s pursuits in the situation. He rapidly finds himself entangled in a romantic triangle with British journalist Thomas Fowler (Caine) and Fowler’s Vietnamese lover Phuong (Discontinue Thi Hai Yen), as he attempts to push forward his violent imperialist agenda.
Worn EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the movie an A- upon release, pointing out “[a] beautiful downhearted hovers over the tragic gamers on this beautifully controlled, passionate adaptation… Michael Caine offers a towering efficiency as a tired British journalist; Brendan Fraser matches him as a recent-confronted American on a mission.”
6. Doom Patrol (2019-unusual)
Following a deadly rupture, immoral boy ride car driver Cliff Steele’s (Fraser) brain is implanted trusty into a clunky robotic physique by the morally ambiguous scientist Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton). Presumed tedious by the sphere and unable to skills any physical sensation, Cliff rages in difference second likelihood at lifestyles and the penal advanced of his metallic physique. He yearns to reconnect with the now grown-up daughter he left behind as he gets roped into all manner of abnormal world-ending scenarios.
Other than some flashbacks, Fraser’s presence on the HBO Max series Doom Patrol is largely relegated to divulge-over. The role enables the huge title to point he is bigger than ethical a recognizable face, as he delivers a pitch-ideal efficiency, imbuing the comically stiff Robot Man with a beating human heart.
5. Gods and Monsters (1998)
Gods and Monsters is a semi-fictional myth of the closing days of openly homosexual Frankenstein director James Whale (Ian McKellen). After the filmmaker suffers a series of strokes, he begins to relive recollections of his time in a World War I POW camp, his turbulent childhood, and his previous Hollywood glories. Lonely and sorrowful, he turns into infatuated alongside with his hunky heterosexual gardener Clayton Boone (Fraser), whom he convinces to pose as a mannequin for his sketches. On this Oscar winner for Perfect Adapted Screenplay, Fraser offers one of his most inclined performances, prompting ancient EW scribe Steve Daly to call him “a revelation.”
4. College Ties (1992)
In a single of his earliest movie roles, Fraser plays David Greene, a Jewish student awarded a football scholarship to a prestigious Catholic prep faculty. Fearing the bias he’ll face, David hides his religion, ignoring the anti-Semitic remarks he hears commonly. But when a trainer by likelihood exposes the real fact to a rival classmate, the campus turns on him, and he turns into the target of bigotry and counterfeit accusations.
Thousands of actors auditioned for the lead role —including Noah Wyle, Kyle Chandler, and Matthew Perry. But director Robert Mandel talked about in EW’s 2017 College Ties oral ancient previous, “You save Brendan in a team of 10 different guys, he clearly used to be David.” Giving a standout, multi-layered efficiency amongst a who’s who of ’90s stars esteem Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, Fraser anchors this movie relating to the insidious nature of intolerance.
2. The Mummy (1999) and 3. The Mummy Returns (2001)
As swashbuckling adventurer Rick O’Connell in the Mummy franchise, Fraser is on the peak of his leading man powers. Along with his killer jawline and six-pack abs, he’s Indiana Jones by manner of Crossfit, an action figure in human make. His impish appeal and romantic chemistry with costar Rachel Weisz became this remake of the 1932 Boris Karloff monster movie traditional trusty into a recent-day blockbuster. Nonetheless, the huge title reveals off bigger than his muscle tissues in his fight with Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) for the destiny of the sphere.
As EW’s critic talked about in 1999, “Shapely in a humorous manner, swaggering in a goofy manner, Fraser gooses the movie alongside with his deft comedian timing… It be a apt thing the Mummy did no longer walk buying for a humorous bone, because if he did, Fraser may perhaps well be a tedious duck.”
1. The Whale (2022)
Director Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play is a depressed, psychological drama about a reclusive English trainer with a compulsive overeating dysfunction who attempts to reconnect alongside with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) while combating the distress of shedding his accomplice. Charlie (Fraser) teaches his programs on-line behind the safety of a black cowl. His handiest abnormal interactions are with a pizza offer boy, with whom he avoids contact, a missionary searching for to rework him, and his finest buddy and caretaker, Liz (fellow Oscar nominee Hong Chau). After eight years of warding off her father, Charlie convinces Ellie to use time with him in alternate for the complete money in his bank myth, and the two embark on an emotionally fraught reunion as his health all straight away deteriorates.
To inhabit Charlie’s 600-pound physique, Fraser — in a decision that has attracted controversy — dons heavy prosthetics, however underneath the added layers, the actor offers a hauntingly nuanced flip, imbuing Charlie’s battle with complexity and a deep empathy. In her overview, EW critic Leah Greenblatt called Fraser’s work “lovely” and “unshowy,” and deserving of its many award wins. Despite the purpose of interest on the 54-One year-veteran’s metamorphosis, the Oscar winner succeeds in “finding the gentle in a depressed web page” and delivers one of the important splendid performances of his occupation.