The Best Star-Studded Films

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC The Best Star-Studded Films

By Dustin Clendenen.

Mother’s Day,” the latest of Garry Marshall’s holiday-themed romantic comedies (overflowing with A-list celebrity stars and cameos) is coming out on April 29. If there’s one thing that Hollywood knows, it’s that big names make movies (and they usually help them perform well at the box office, whether they’re good or not). Given the track record of Marshall’s other efforts in this franchise, it’s likely that critics will reject the film, while audiences will love it — and buy enough tickets for the studio to make a considerable profit on the movie.

PrettyFamous has created a list of the 30 best celebrity-heavy films that don’t just bank on their star-studded casts — they’re universally regarded by critics and audiences alike as excellent films.

To assemble this list, we first considered a film’s PrettyFamous score, which calculates the collective fame of a film’s star line-up based on the actors’ award wins and nominations, combined box-office gross and their current popularity online. To qualify, each movie had to earn a PrettyFamous score of at least 99 of 100, as well as at least 100,000 ratings on IMDb. Finally, we ranked the films by Smart Rating, which assesses a movie’s overall success and considers ratings on Gracenote, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, Metacritic and the movie’s cumulative, inflation-adjusted U.S. box office gross.

#30. Good Will Hunting

Smart Rating: 94.14

Starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and the late Robin Williams, “Good Will Hunting” launched the careers of Damon and Affleck in this story of an unrealized genius finally being recognized. Damon and Affleck wrote the screenplay, and the film ultimately won two Academy Awards.

#29. Her

Smart Rating: 94.17

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson (as the unseen voice of the computer), “Her” depicts the classic trials and tribulations of love in a future where artificial intelligence is becoming part of everyday life.

#28. The LEGO Movie

Smart Rating: 94.21

“The LEGO Movie” used some of the biggest names in comedy (and Hollywood) to build a surprisingly insightful story about personal destiny in modern society, using everyone’s favorite childhood toys.

#27. Django Unchained

Smart Rating: 94.22

In one of Tarantino’s most successful films, Jamie Foxx plays a runaway slave out for revenge against his oppressors.

#26. The Martian

Smart Rating: 94.29

Based on the self-published (and mega-successful) novel, “The Martian” stars Matt Damon as a brilliant, smart-mouthed and incredibly lovable astronaut who is stranded alone on a mission on Mars, and uses the power of his mind and self-determination to get back home.

#25. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Smart Rating: 94.33

In this 1930s period piece, Ralph Fiennes plays a dedicated concierge who finds himself framed for the murder of his lover (and a guest of the hotel).

#24. Million Dollar Baby

Smart Rating: 94.52

Starring Clint Eastwood as an isolated boxing coach and Hillary Swank as his most promising student, “Million Dollar Baby” explores a complicated relationship between teacher and pupil with one of the biggest plot twists in cinema history.

#23. The Insider

Smart Rating: 94.54

Starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, “The Insider” is a compelling political thriller about the secrets of the tobacco industry and what happens when insiders try to expose them.

#22. Almost Famous

Smart Rating: 94.54

Based on a true story, “Almost Famous” tells the coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old writer for Rolling Stone magazine and his eye-opening experience touring with a new band, Stillwater, over the course of an epic summer.

#21. Argo

Smart Rating: 94.77

Starring and directed by Ben Affleck, this thrilling drama follows a unique operation to rescue American hostages from Iran by having U.S.-government extractors pose as Hollywood producers making a film in the embattled country.

#20. American Beauty

Smart Rating: 94.93

In “American Beauty,” powerhouses Anette Bening and Kevin Spacey star as a suburban married couple whose quiet life is turned upside down when Spacey becomes obsessed with a high school girl.

#19. The Truman Show

Smart Rating: 95.16

Jim Carrey plays Truman, a man whose entire life has been secretly choreographed, filmed and broadcast to the entire world in a massively successful reality show.

#18. Unforgiven

Smart Rating: 95.26

Clint Eastwood and Richard Harris star as two hired assassins fighting to collect a bounty, and clash against the local sheriff (Gene Hackman), who doesn’t allow vigilantes in his town.

#17. Toy Story 2

Smart Rating: 95.35

In the sequel to the internationally famous “Toy Story,” Woody is stolen from Andy by a crooked toy collector, and the other toys embark on a rescue mission to get him back.

#16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Smart Rating: 95.41

In the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Harry and friends prepare for the siege Voldemort’s army is mounting on Hogwarts.

#15. The Departed

Smart Rating: 95.48

Leonardo DiCaprio plays an undercover cop investigating the mob, and Matt Damon plays a mobster who’s infiltrated the police department. When both organizations find out they have a mole, DiCaprio and Damon must uncover each other’s identities in order to save their own lives.

#14. The Lion King

Smart Rating: 95.61

After having his kingdom stolen by the treacherous Scar, a young, exiled lion-prince named Simba must return home to reclaim his pride.

#13. Finding Nemo

Smart Rating: 95.86

An animated film set in the vast world of the ocean, “Finding Nemo” follows a father’s journey to rescue his missing son after he’s carried away from home by a scuba diver.

#12. 12 Years a Slave

Smart Rating: 96.3

Set a few years before the Civil War, “12 Years a Slave” is a brutal look at what happens when a free black man from the north is resold into slavery in the south.

#11. Spotlight

Smart Rating: 96.4

“Spotlight” is an inside look at the true story of how journalists uncovered the pedophilia scandal at the Vatican, one of the most controversial events of the past few decades.

#10. The Dark Knight

Smart Rating: 96.44

In the sequel to the Batman franchise reboot by Christopher Nolan, Bruce Wayne faces off against his arch-nemesis, the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger.

#9. Saving Private Ryan

Smart Rating: 96.47

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Saving Private Ryan” is a bloody, unblinking look at the invasion of Normandy during World War II.

#8. L.A. Confidential

Smart Rating: 96.57

This stunning film-noir movie unravels the corruption surrounding an unsolved murder in downtown Los Angeles in the 1950s.

#7. Toy Story 3

Smart Rating: 96.74

After mistakenly being donated to charity when their owner leaves for college, the toys are forced to embark on an epic journey to get back home.

#6. Apocalypse Now

Smart Rating: 96.76

One of cinema’s greatest masterpieces, “Apocalypse Now” follows a group of U.S. soldiers on an increasingly hallucinatory trek to take out a rogue colonel in the Vietnam War.

#5. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Smart Rating: 96.78

In the final installment of the epic Lord of the Rings franchise, the forces of good prepare for a final battle against the forces of evil, while Frodo and Sam finally reach Mordor to complete their mission.

#4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Smart Rating: 96.94

In the opening of one of the most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, “The Fellowship of the Ring” tells the tale of a Hobbit who is tasked with saving the world from an evil power embedded in a mystical ring.

#3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Smart Rating: 96.98

In the second installment of the Lord of the Rings franchise, Frodo and the Sam’s journey becomes entangled with Gollum, a strange creature who has been completely twisted by the power of The One Ring.

#2. Pulp Fiction

Smart Rating: 97.35

In Quentin Tarantino’s second film, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta star as mobsters in a series of interweaving, complex stories set in the underground crime world of Los Angeles.

#1. The Godfather

Smart Rating: 100

In one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all time, Marlon Brando stars as a mafia crime-boss who must go to horrible ends to maintain control of his empire, while his son, played by Al Pacino, is inducted into the family business.

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