As a new wave of hot, unproblematic white boys enter the zeitgeist – Harry and Timothée we're looking at you – we'll admit that it's been some time since we thought about the stars who got us through the 90s and early 2000s. It's unfair, we know. So, when Brendan Fraser won Best Actor for The Whale at the 2023 Oscars, we thought it was time to shine light on some of his most memorable films to date.
In the spirit of throwing it back, we took a trip down memory lane to be reminded of some of Fraser's best movies. And boy, it did not disappoint. From mummy-fighting explorer, to high school football star and everything in between, we present to you the 10 best movies where Brendan Fraser stole the show. In no particular order, of course.
1. The Mummy (1999)
Seeing The Mummy on the list of Fraser's best movies is no surprise. This man carried the storyline over three whole films, and that alone deserves praise. The one we are focussing on, of course, is the first film. Based loosely on the 1932 feature of the same name, this action-horror follows explorer Rick O'Connell (Fraser), Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), and Evelyn's brother Jonathan (John Hannah), on their search for treasure. In the process, they very inconveniently wake up a revenge-fuelled mummified priest, which throws a spanner in the works. Even if you hate mummy's, Fraser's charisma and charm will get you through.
2. Airheads (1994)
Is Airheads the definition of chaos? Yes. Is it also one of Fraser's most iconic films for exactly that reason? Also yes. The 1994 film is almost so comical, it feels perfectly placed as a potential SNL skit. Starring Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi, the trio portray a no-hope band with hopes of making it big. When their plans of stardom don't come to fruition, they go to extreme lengths to have their music heard; ultimately finding themselves as wanted criminals for masterminding a hostage situation. So bad it's good – and who doesn't love seeing Fraser with longer locks?
3. Blast From The Past (1999)
Like we already mentioned, Fraser can do it all. You want 90s rom-com? He's got you. Blast From The Past with Alicia Silverstone always hits the spot. After living in a bunker with his parents all his life, with no knowledge of the outside world, Fraser's character Adam, emerges 35 years later. Completely underrated and sees Fraser at his goofiest. We love to see it.
4. Crash (2004)
There's a reason why Crash took out Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, and Fraser is one of those reasons. The film follows a series of people living in Los Angeles – an attorney and his wife, a set of detectives in a relationship, a wealthy couple, a store owner, and a police officer. Fraser plays a slightly-racist Los Angeles District Attorney, Rick Cabot; and Sandra Bullock plays his wife (a majorly racist white woman). Necessary watching, always.
5. Gods And Monsters (1998)
Ian McKellen and Fraser form an unlikely pair in the 1998 drama, Gods And Monsters. The period film is based on the later days of director James Whale's (McKellen) life. The director was known for bringing Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein to the screen, but his life otherwise was filled with depression and health complications. In the process, he befriends his gardener Clayton Boone (Fraser), but the duo find themselves at a crossroads with different ideas of where they see their friendship going.
6. School Ties (1992)
Even though not everyone was on board with School Ties, it is undoubtedly one of the best Brendan Fraser movies in my book. We see a young Fraser, playing David Greene – a high school football star who is the talk of the town until his preppy, wealthy friends uncover his 'real' identity. Fraser's character struggles with his cultural identity in the face of anti-Semitism and prejudice from the people he once considered his friends. Starring alongside Matt Damon and several other big names, School Ties is certainly worth talking about.
7. The Quiet American (2002)
Murder, mystery, a love triangle and Brendan Fraser – can it get any better than that? Michael Caine also stars in The Quiet American, so I guess it can. Based on Graham Greene's novel of the same name, the film focuses on an English journalist (Caine) and a young American (Fraser), who find themselves falling for the same Vietnamese woman. Set against the backdrop of the French Indochina War in Vietnam, this film ticks all the boxes.
8. The Air I Breathe (2007)
In the shadow of some of his other films, The Air I Breathe doesn't get nearly as much attention. The film is based on a Chinese proverb about life being broken into four emotions – happiness, pleasure, sorrow, and love. The crime drama follows a set of different characters who each represent the four emotions. Fraser, portrays Pleasure, a character who is able to foresee the futures of those around him.
9. With Honors (1994)
Even though we love seeing Fraser take on more serious roles, comedy does suit the man well. With Honors follows the story of a graduate student whose thesis ends up in the possession of a homeless man – played by Joe Pesci. What initially begins as a means to having his thesis returned in one piece, the unlikely pair slowly form a bond that teaches them both a lot about life on the other side. Yes, it's riddled with clichés, but that's exactly why we love it.
10. Still Breathing (1997)
Rounding out the list is Still Breathing. The film follows a con artist (Joanna Going) and a puppeteer (Fraser) who end up meeting together in California after being linked by a similar dream. Sure, it wasn't a conventional blockbuster, but it paints Fraser in his best light – charming, romantic and hot. Yes, we said it.
11. The Whale (2022)
An obese and reclusive English teacher played by Brendan Fraser tries to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. Based on a play, this Darren Aronofsky film certainly brings this adaptation to new horizons.