Aaah…Vince Vaughn…the consummate “man’s man” actor. He had us guys hooked with his breakout in Swingers with his regular-guy looks and attitude. Almost every group of guys that watched it came away saying how they know someone just like him. His pull-no-punches humor and straight-forward no-bull characters have produced a number of characters guys can relate to.
This is why when The Movie Mind decided to rank the work of some of the notable actors in his time, Vince Vaughn got the call to the mat. It also doesn’t hurt that some of his performances have been night-and-day in terms of how they were received by audiences. Not everybody cares for his demeanor and acting ability, but for those who do, this list will guide you in the right direction when looking for his top performances.
Without further ado, in the order of Best Performance down to the roles where he would have been better off if the script was written in Swahili, The Movie Mind presents:
The All-Time Vince Vaughn Performance List
WHY: Does it get any better than his role as Trent in Swingers? It’s not only the role that put him on the map, it’s also still his greatest performance on film. Trent was a fast-talking bad-boy who had his way with the ladies and at the same was the friend you couldn’t do without. When he leaves the trailer as he’s making out with the Vegas waitress to go check on his buddy (Favreau), it just proves that he may be a loudmouth punk, but he’ll always have your back.
BEST LINE: There are way too many one-liners to remember, but all through the nineties both women and Vegas casinos had Trent to thank for an infinite number of twenty-something guys slurring “You’re money. You’re so money and you don’t even know it!” over and over and over.
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Trent made us wonder if the scene playing NHL on Sega was even acting, or if it was just Vince being filmed clowning around with his boys. The Movie Mind does not think it is an overstatement to say that it may be one of the most memorable “guy scenes” in movie history.
2) Wedding Crashers
WHY: Jeremy Grey “locked it up” for Vince’s second best performance ever. He is able to sit back and do what he does best alongside Owen Wilson. These two make a perfect pair and play off each other’s strengths the whole ride. I almost want to apologize for putting this role as #2 instead of in the lead. But you know what, “I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Okay? I’m not gonna apologize, I’m a cocksman!”
BEST LINE: Crashers is another long list of one-liners for Vaughn, but a few stand out above all the rest. After the first night staying over the Cleary household, Jeremy tries to explain his lack of sleep to pal John (Owen Wilson) in typical Vince fashion, “Soft mattress? Yeah, it could have been the soft mattress. Or the midnight rape. Or the nude gay art show that took place in my room last night. One of those three probably contributed to the lack of sleep”.
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: This whole movie, in addition to Vince’s role, both were equally responsible for ruining any single guy’s chances who attended a wedding thereafter from making the most of it with any female attendees. Not to mention any movie that can turn balloon-animal creation into something cool is ok in my book.
WHY: If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you are missing out big time. Take Vince’s characters in Swingers and Wedding Crashers, multiply them to the 10th degree in terms of obnoxiousness, and you get Ricky Slade, a wannabe gangster who drops f-bombs and insults that keep you rolling for 90 minutes. Be careful, only the die-hard Vince fans may be able to tolerate this character, I’ve heard some people who “don’t mind” Vince Vaughn say that he was utterly irritating in this film. Even more the reason to appreciate the character.
BEST LINE: He makes the viewer cringe every time he talks. There are a ton of lines that are hilarious and are exactly what we all want to say sometimes but don’t have the nads to say it. This line though, pretty much sums up his character, “Here’s 50 bucks, take this in case I get drunk and call you a bitch later.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: They drop the “F-bomb” 274 times in the 90.5 minutes of the whole film. Vince is responsible for most of those, and I would just venture to guess his usage was slightly above what Favreau called for in the script…gotta love a guy who takes his roles to the next level!
4) Old School
WHY: Beanie gives us a good picture of what Vince would be like as an older family-man. It’s like the future version of Jeremy Gray from Wedding Crashers after he married the psycho chick. He’s older, wiser, and has a lot of pent up one-liners to spew in classic bitter-guy fashion.
BEST LINE: It’s a common-theme in Vince’s characters that there are too many great lines to choose just one. I could even choose two or three from the deleted scenes alone. So in a best effort to narrow them down, take one of my favorites as representative of the lot: “Yeah, that’s it. I got a student alt-rock band coming on next. Mitch, I own six speaker cities. I am worth three a half million dollars-that the government knows about. I got more electronics up there than a damn KISS concert. You think I’m gonna roll out this type of red carpet for a fucking marching band? Just make sure you can see the stage.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Not only does he leave us rolling, he also imparts wisdom (or something like it) upon his buddies. It’s rare when Vince’s character is one of the guys who has it together, or at least more-so then the rest of the bunch. When Mitch (Luke Wilson) explains to Beanie that he wasn’t looking for a girl that was as sexually “enlightened” as his ex, Beanie drops a classic nugget of Vince Vaughn wisdom on him, “Well, Columbus wasn’t looking for America, my man, but that turned out to be pretty okay for everyone.”
5) The Break-Up
WHY: Vince tones down his obnoxious side slightly to show the viewers a little softer side. Albeit only to a small extent though, because the insults, and post-Swingers video game scenes come out in full-force. His role as Gary does go a little deeper than most of his previous ones to this point, but at least he doesn’t completely abandon his persona as so many other comedic actors do when they try to “branch out”. Still a very enjoyable role and makes some audience members (read: guys) see him as the victim for once instead of the jerk. Don’t worry though, he still plays a great jerk.
BEST LINE: After getting demolished by Brooke’s “flamboyant” brother, Gary tries to defend his honor and reminds us why he has some of the best tirades of any actor by saying, “Is that how you want to play it? Cause I’ll play it like that. I’ll play it like Lionel Richie, all night long, lady. Oh yeah. I’ll call some guys from my neck of the woods. And we’re not talking about, Brooke, about a couple of queens who know a few grapples. We’re talking about Polacks that don’t have a goddamn future. That’s right. We can make shit real uncomfortable around here, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Even with all the undertones about relationships, and breaking up, Vince manages to stay true to his persona and finally lets us viewers sympathize for him. Girls will enjoy the conflicts in the movie, while guys just get a kick out of Vince and can’t see why Brooke has any problems with his good intentions…“You asked for lemons. What my baby wants my baby gets.”
6) Four Christmases
WHY: Vince makes a mockery of the Christmas season by pointing out all its absurdities in classic fashion. The film gives a glimpse at Vince’s family and upbringing whoch explains a whole lot about why he is the way he is (his character anyway).
BEST LINE: “You were my friend. You were my best friend, but now you are sleeping with my mom and it’s a little bit weird for me.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: In typical fashion, the pundit critics blasted this movie because they couldn’t see a funny and entertaining movie if it was streaming out of R. Kelly at a high school graduation party. Some of Vince’s one-liners rank among his best, and he is even better when put in uncomfortable situations, which this film thrives on.
7) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
WHY: While Peter La Fleur is by far not one of Vince’s top characters. He still is able to drop a few fast-talking witty replies and one-liners to keep us entertained. Ben Stiller seems to take most of the spotlight in Dodgeball with his over-the-top White Goodman persona. Vince has to play the more “logical and reasonable” character to Still-skie’s nutjob which requires him to tone it down just a bit.
BEST LINE: Most of Vince’s memorable lines come in the way of responses to the other characters in the midst of a conversation, but this little number about a life lesson is quite memorable: “I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya… it feels phenomenal.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Vince gets a chance to be the cool, level-headed guy in a rare departure from his standard over-the-top role. While it is a nice change-of-pace, it does not give us the moments of ridiculous laughter from some of his others. He and Stiller still do a nice job of working off each other.
8) Starsky & Hutch
WHY: If only Vince’s part as uber-criminal Reese Feldman had a bigger presence in the movie. When he did come into a scene, he was in classic Vince form and able to play the angry smart-ass criminal to a ‘T’. This role would have been much higher with a larger part, but with Stiller and Wilson the focus it was hard to get him more action.
BEST LINE: Usually short and sweet, Vince still delivers his fair-share of “scene-stealers” with his lines. As Reese is making out with his hot chick (Juliette Lewis) on his boat, she tells him how she loves when he talks so tough. In natural Vince fashion, he replies with, “Of course you do baby, that’s why you’re my girlfriend on the side.” Pure Vince gold.
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: His character was better than the on-screen time he got. It is understandable though, as Ben and Owen did a good job working off each other (not as good as in Zoolander of course) and the supporting actors and cameos worked out in the end.
9) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
WHY: Anyone that had the privilege (not kidding) of appearing in this movie deserves to have a ‘gold star’ on their filmography next to it. Wes Mantooth is as good performance by Vince as any other, we are just extremely limited to the time he is in there.
BEST LINE: The showdown between Wes’ “crew” and Ron’s “crew” is classic. I am waiting for a sequel where that is built around that one scene. “What, you guys can’t say one thing? Even the guy that can’t think said something. You guys just stand there? Come on.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: While we have not yet seen where Anchorman ranks on the Will Ferrell list (coming soon), we already know it’s going to be up there. Even though all the cameos were forced, it doesn’t take anything away from each and every one of them. In case you plan on taking out anyone for a steak dinner and not calling her back, don’t forget… “Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint!”
WHY: This role gets props just for being tied into one of the funnier movies to come out. Some people hate it, but you have to appreciate the dumb humor and over-the-top writing. Even though Vince’s character doesn’t say anything, he gets to ride the kudos the movie gets as a whole.
BEST LINE: He doesn’t have to have one to make his role memorable. Just playing a coal-miner alongside Jon Voight is enough for me!
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Did you see his hair??!!
WHY: In one of his earlier roles, he was still able to be himself inside the role of a spoiled, underachieving ND player.
BEST LINE: Can’t you see him saying this in Swingers? “Last practice of the season and this asshole thinks it’s the Super Bowl!”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: It’s a role that most people forget about, but it was one of his first ties to Jon Favreau. I guess we have Rudy to thank for the likes of Swingers and Made.
12) Be Cool
WHY: Vince’s persona can translate to many roles effectively. Unfortunately, one of them is not a hip-hop gangster. He still manages to make the role funny because you can tell the character is as much of a fraud as he is making it out to be.
BEST LINE: Raji is still able to let loose some classic Vince advice, “Nice ass won’t get you through your whole life. Once you turn thirty you better have a personality.”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: It is amusing to watch Vince attempt to play something far off his usual spot (aka smart-ass witty wanna-be tough guy, this time with a hip-hop tilt).
13) Domestic Disturbance
WHY: Ok so I just mentioned how there are things Vince should do and things he shouldn’t do…playing a creepy killer is one of the latter.
BEST LINE: I was in too much shock of his preying character putting a dead body in an incinerator to listen to anything he said.
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: If later in life Vince went off the deep-end ala his buddy Owen and stopped taking his meds, this is probably what he would be like. Not sure that it is a good thing.
14) The Lost World: Jurassic Park
WHY: So maybe Vince had a lot of down time after Swingers and decided to be in a dinosaur sequel. It’s understandable.
BEST LINE: “You seem like you have a shred of common sense, what the hell are you doing here?” I think Vince should have listened to himself before accepting this role.
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: His appearance and his alone is the only reason one would venture to watch a sequel to a movie where they reincarnate an extinct species only to make it extinct again.
15) Mr. & Mrs. Smith
WHY: The same way Vince’s roles in Zoolander and Anchorman got boosted because of the merits of the movie, his role gets demoted due to the disgrace of a movie. Should Bra-ngelina even be allowed to be co-stars in a movie?
BEST LINE: “Mom! We are on high alert here. I almost killed you right then! You do not even realize!”
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: It’s not even funny how much he overshadows to two “stars”. I only wish this was another ensemble cast of Owen, Ben, Will, and Favreau. Only then would it have stood a chance.
16) Fred Claus
WHY: So it took Vince this long to sell-out for a blockbuster holiday crap-fest. I am more congratulatory to him than angry. I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.
BEST LINE: [Insert witty Vince Vaughn play on Christmas words here]
UNDERRATED BECAUSE: Still managed to be mildly entertaining even though it ruined what could have been a good storyline if it went the way of Bad Santa, instead of keeping it safe in order to cash in on a commercial Christmas.
*Don’t forget to check back when Vince releases a new movie to see where it ranks on his All-Time Best Performances!