Bradley Cooper is one of the most talented people working in Hollywood today. Few actors have the dedication to play an alcoholic country singer and a talking spacefaring raccoon in the same year with the same level of commitment and gravitas.
Cooper also proved that his filmmaking talents aren’t just confined to the front of the camera last year with his acclaimed, Oscar-nominated directorial debut, A Star is Born. But not all of his movies are masterpieces: The A-Team reboot was a schlocky action thriller; The Hangover sequels left a lot to be desired; and Burnt seriously missed the mark. So, here are Bradley Cooper’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Wedding Crashers (75%)
Now that Bradley Cooper has gone on to become a leading man who is likable in everything and often comes across as a hero, it can be strange to go back and see his supporting role in Wedding Crashers as the bad guy.
Every romcom has the sweet, goofy, lovable guy that the girl should be with (here, that role is filled by a career-defining Owen Wilson) and the deplorable, deceitful jerk with an ulterior motive that she’s actually with, and Cooper plays the latter. He plays the villainous role well, it’s just odd to see him playing it at all.
9 The Hangover (78%)
When The Hangover hit theaters around a decade ago and quickly became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever made (at the time – it’s since been surpassed by Deadpool’s big-screen outings), Bradley Cooper became an overnight sensation. He went from being that guy you recognized from that Jim Carrey movie to one of the hottest stars in Hollywood almost immediately.
What makes Todd Phillips’ tale of a Vegas-bound bachelor party gone wrong stand out among the slew of R-rated comedies is simply the fact that it’s really funny with a likable, well-matched cast and efficient use of its lucrative premise. Astoundingly few Hollywood comedies actually have these elements.
8 The Place Beyond the Pines (80%)
Ryan Gosling is the true star of The Place Beyond the Pines, but Bradley Cooper joins him in a supporting cast that includes a vast array of acting heavyweights: Eva Mendes, Mahershala Ali, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne. Gosling plays a stuntman with a girlfriend and a newborn baby to provide for who turns to robbing banks to put food on the table.
Cooper plays a rookie cop working under a crooked detective who sees the bank robberies as his chance to get transferred to a better department. It’s a cat-and-mouse thriller that explores the time-tested “Would you steal a loaf of bread in order to feed your family?” ethical debate.
7 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (84%)
Marvel fans who like the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie call it “underrated,” but this Rotten Tomatoes score would suggest otherwise. Just because a niche segment of the Marvel fan base found the sequel to be disappointing because it didn’t live up to their absurdly high expectations, it doesn’t mean Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a bad movie.
It’s less driven by plot and more driven by character than its predecessor. As a result, the sequel is looser in structure and less action-packed, but it still has plenty of merit for its development of the team’s MCU arcs.
6 Avengers: Infinity War (85%)
After Thor: Ragnarok had established that Thor does well with a kooky sidekick (in that case, it was the Hulk), the writers of Avengers: Infinity War teamed up the God of Thunder with Rocket and Groot.
Thor bumps into the Guardians’ ship as they respond to his distress call and, since he’s determined to kill Thanos, he sets off to get a new battle-axe forged on Nidavellir that will be capable of ending the Mad Titan’s life. Since Rocket (or, as Thor calls him, “Rabbit”) is a fan of destructive weaponry, he and Groot (or, “Tree”) go along for the ride and end up on the Wakandan battleground for the jaw-dropping climax.
5 A Star is Born (90%)
Bradley Cooper made waves last year with his directorial debut, the latest in a long line of remakes of one of Hollywood’s oldest love stories, A Star is Born. Cooper plays the male lead, Jackson Maine, a grizzled country pop singer, while Lady Gaga plays the female lead, Ally, a drag bar singer that he discovers and falls in love with.
Most of the success of the movie comes from the on-screen chemistry shared by these two leads (this is actually the factor that has determined the success of every version of A Star is Born), while the episodic script structure, now-iconic original songs, and grounded tone position it as unique from the previous versions and a truly modern take on the story.
4 Guardians of the Galaxy (91%)
Just when the Marvel Cinematic Universe had begun to feel a little stale and repetitive and it didn’t seem like it could surprise audiences anymore, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy burst into theaters with its cosmic band of A-holes, its late-‘70s pop soundtrack, and its unexpectedly comical tone.
Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon might have sounded like a joke when it was first announced, but the movie wastes no time in introducing Rocket as a genuinely complex character with real emotions and a real story arc. Cooper summed this up perfectly himself: “It’s not Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers; it’s a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that’s alone.”
3 Silver Linings Playbook (92%)
This somber, dramatic take on a romantic comedy premise was written and directed by David O. Russell. Bradley Cooper plays a bipolar man who is released from a mental institution and falls in love with a widowed dancer, played by Jennifer Lawrence in a star-making turn.
The dancing gives him some much-needed positivity and creative expression in his life, but it leads to contention with his football-obsessed father, played beautifully by Robert De Niro. All three lead actors were nominated for Oscars, but only Lawrence went on to take the prize (it was when she tripped on the stairs, remember?).
2 American Hustle (93%)
David O. Russell’s darkly comic dramatization of the FBI’s Abscam operation is more notable for its style than its plot. The plot becomes very muddled and convoluted as the film goes on, but Russell never lets his Scorsese-flavored visual style fizzle out, even if he doesn’t have the same sharp focus with the narrative.
Bradley Cooper stars alongside Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Adams, and he arguably gives the funniest performance in the movie. One memorable running joke sees Cooper’s character trying to guess the end of the ice fishing story that Louis C.K. keeps trying to tell him.
1 Avengers: Endgame (94%)
Rocket played an integral role in Avengers: Endgame, which became the highest-grossing movie of all time earlier this year, toppling long-time champ Avatar.
He’s the character who flies the surviving Avengers out to murder Thanos in the opening act; he travels back to Asgard circa 2013 with Thor and advances both of their character arcs with a rousing speech about helping the people you care about; and he rode War Machine into battle in the film’s big finale. Endgame was mostly Iron Man and Captain America’s movie, but it also wouldn’t have been the same without Rocket’s contributions to the plot.