Throughout his long career, Todd Phillips has proved himself to be one of the most prominent filmmakers working. He has a gift for telling outrageous comedic stories that have audiences laughing to this day. He encapsulated the hard-partying lifestyle of college through classic comedies such as Road Trip and Oldschool, and he gave us one of the most iconic comedy trilogies of all time, starting with The Hangover. Most recently, Phillips proved to the world that he is just as capable of taking on dramatic stories with his Academy Award-winning film, Joker. He directed, quite possibly, Joaquin Phoenix’s greatest performance of his career, and Phoenix took home the Oscar for Best Actor. Although there have been some roadbumps with the production recently, fans are very eager for the sequel to Joker.
Phillips was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended New York University Film School before dropping out as he was unable to pay his tuition. While at NYU, Phillips directed his first documentary film Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies. From there, Phillips continued to make documentary films that gained positive attention from audiences and critics alike. Eventually, he caught the eye of acclaimed filmmaker, Ivan Reitman, who hired Phillips to direct Old School and Road Trip, under Reitman’s production company. Since then, Phillips has become a leading director in Hollywood and has even acted in small roles in his films. Let’s dive into all of his best films, ranked.
8 School for Scoundrels
Todd Phillips’ 2006 comedy School for Scoundrels is based on the 1960 British film of the same name. The story follows Roger (Jon Heder) who takes a class to help him build confidence and find romance. His mentor is an unconventional and brass man, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who soon becomes his enemy. Although it is not one of Phillips’ best films, it does offer several slapstick comedic moments and laughs along the way.
7 Road Trip
Road Trip is a raunchy college-comedy that follows four friends who embark on a quest across the country to prevent one of their girlfriends from seeing a relationship-destroying videotape. Each of the four main characters are very dynamic, and they all bring their own comedic moments to the table. The film has drugs, sex, and rock n’roll from beginning to end, making it an epic college film. The cast includes Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, and Amy Smart.
6 Starsky And Hutch
Todd Phillips’ Starsky and Hutch is a hiliariouse and well-done remake of the iconic television series. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson play the iconic duo who take down crime in the 1970s. The film has a great blend of comedy and action, and the chemistry between Wilson and Stiller is fantastic. At the same time, there are several hilarious supporting performances from Juliette Lewis, Vince Vaughn, and Snoop Dogg.
5 Due Date
Due Date is a hilarious buddy-road trip comedy about an unlikely pair on a race to Los Angeles. Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis play the leading roles, and their chemistry is top-notch. Peter (Downey Jr.) is a high-strung architect, and Ethan (Galifianakis) is a pot-smoking actor. The two could not be more different, which makes this film so much fun. Throughout their journey, they meet some interesting characters and get into a whole lot of trouble.
4 Old School
Old School is one of Phillips’ most popular films, and it still holds up to this day. The story follows three 30-something men who decide to start their own college fraternity filled with misfits and outcasts. The film features outrageous party scenes and WIll Ferrell gives one of his funniest performances as Frank The Tank. The cast also includes Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Jeremy Piven.
3 War Dogs
Todd Phillips directed, as well as co-wrote, War Dogs which follows two arms-dealers who break into the deadly business. Although at first they become rich beyond their wildest dreams, they soon find themselves in over their heads. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill work very well together and they both give fantastic performances. It is a fascinating story that was actually based on true events that were recounted in a Rolling stone article that effectively served as the launchpad for Phillips’ script. The cast also includes Ana De Armas and Bradley Cooper.
2 The Hangover Trilogy
The Hangover trilogy introduced the world to the iconic “Wolf Pack” while also skyrocketing Todd Phillips’ career. The first film follows the three men on a quest to find their soon-to-be-married best friend Doug after a night of hard partying in Vegas. None of them can remember a thing, making it all that much funnier. The sequel continues their adventures in Bangkok, Thailand, and the third film brings the story to an epic conclusion. It is a fantastic trilogy that is still enjoyed by audiences to this day.
Todd Phillips went very dark in his origin story following the iconic villain, Joker. Joker gives us one of the greatest performances of Joaquin Phoenix’s career. It dives deep into the mind of a very mentally disturbed individual, while also showcasing the many infrastructural flaws of modern society. The set-design, script, and performances all hit the mark in this brilliant comic book adaptation. The film went on to be nominated for several Academy Awards and won two for Best Actor and Best Original Score.
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