Five Favorite Films

Ben Schwartz's Five Favorite Films

The star of Sonic and Disney+'s new adventure-comedy Flora & Ulysses dishes on the crowd-pleasing flicks he can't stop re-watching.

by | February 17, 2021 | Comments

Ben Schwartz

(Photo by Vincent Sandoval/Getty Image)

From his bombastic turn as Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation to his modern take as the titular Sonic the Hedgehog opposite Jim Carrey — not to mention plum roles in Showtime’s House of Lies and Netflix’s Space ForceBen Schwartz has been slowly amassing an enviable career mining overconfidence for laughter. But with a new role in Flora & Ulysses, the Bronx-born comedian is showing a softer side to his comedy.

In the Disney+ film, Schwartz plays George Buckman, a comic book creator who hasn’t quite found a way to break into the business. His 10-year-old daughter Flora (Matilda Lawler) may love his superhero, Incandesto, but George has not yet found as much success as his wife Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan), a celebrated romance novelist. Having all but given up on his dreams, working at an office supplies store and living in a bachelor pad while he and Phyllis figure out their next steps, George finds a new purpose when Flora introduces him to Ulysses. Oh, did we mention Ulysses is a superpowered squirrel who loves to type out poetry and is currently being hunted by the town’s animal control office? What follows is a warm-hearted family adventure film with plenty of slapstick comedy that captures the hope all caped comic book heroes inspire in their readers.

Ahead of the movie’s release, Schwartz spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about his Five Favorite Films, which, by his own admission, are undisputed crowd-pleasers (“like, get your M&Ms, put them in your popcorn and enjoy your day!”). But the fact that they’re beloved by millions doesn’t take away from what drew Schwartz to them in the first place.


Back to the Future (1985)

96%

I think for a lot of people my age that’s probably a similar choice. For me it was the movie that when I saw it, it was like, “Oh, this is a movie!” I understood what movies were because of that. And if you look at it it’s so perfectly written. It’s so perfectly acted – Michael J. Fox is incredible, Christopher Lloyd is incredible. And it had all those fantastical elements that, as a kid, I loved. Like, oh my goodness, the DeLorean! I have a hoverboard up here; I have a whole bunch of props and stuff, just because it’s what I like. And so I have a fake hoverboard and a Lego DeLorean up there too, and I also have old Burger King toys that I had as a kid. So yeah, that’s number one.

The first drama as a kid that I really, really loved and went crazy for was Shawshank Redemption. I remember my dad and I loved that movie. I cried during it. And I was so quick to realize and understand how good the acting was, how good the writing was, and how good the directing was. So Shawshank, in terms of dramas; I’ve probably seen that drama more than any other drama. That’s a movie that, if you have a television, that movie’s on every minute on TBS or something. All the time.

Up (2009)

98%

I love animated movies. I love a Pixar film. I remember I was in the third row in a 3-D screening of this film, and I was sitting next to a grown man. Like, we were both grown men with 3-D glasses, and we were way too close to the screen because those were the only seats left. And after the first eight minutes of this film, I look to my right, and there were so many tears in my friend’s glasses that it was like a cartoon, where goldfish are swimming through. And he looks at me and I’m overflowing and crying so much. And the movie is Up. I think the score is perfect by Michael Giacchino. I just think Pete Docter’s a genius. So Up for me was a beautiful and perfect movie.

Dumb & Dumber (1994)

68%

In terms of comedy, Jim Carrey is my hero (and the fact that I got to play with him in Sonic is incredible). But Dumb and Dumber is, I think, one of the funniest comedies of all time. And as a kid, I remember, my sister Marnie, who’s three years older than me, when she went to college, she got one of those TV sets that had a VHS in it. And then she moved in with other people and she had no need for that anymore. So I secretly – this is kind of embarrassing, but maybe this is the place to do it – I took it, and I put it in my bathroom closet. And so, whenever I was going to the bathroom for more than like 10 minutes or whatever I could watch a VHS tape. And one of those tapes I had was Dumb and Dumber. It was great. So I’ve watched that movie so many times. And as a kid who loves comedy, Jim tickled me. Him and Jeff Daniels just, they have my number on that movie. That movie was so so funny to me.

Jurassic Park (1993)

92%

So I’m thinking about the movies that I’ve been watching in quarantine. There’s a lot of old-school movies that I loved. Like, I saw The Taking of Pelham One Two Three with [Walter] Matthau and I was like, “Oh my god this movie’s incredible.” And there are movies like, I think When Harry Met Sally… is a perfect movie; Princess Bride is an incredible movie. And then I re-watched one and I realized that it’s the movie I’ve seen more than any other movie in theaters, so I was like “Maybe I’ll put this on my list.” And it’s Jurassic Park. We re-watched it recently and I was like, “This is amazing!” And it’s so good! The score is so good! Everybody’s so good in it! I remember when I watched it in theaters, I watched it so much because it felt like a roller coaster. I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I couldn’t believe it – it felt like a ride. So I watched it over and over and over again. I love it.


Flora & Ulysses is available on Disney+ from February 19, 2021.

Thumbnail image: Vincent Sandoval/Getty Image, © Columbia Pictures, © New Line, © Walt Disney Co., © MCA/Universal Pictures, © Universal


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

high school remakes award winner franchise First Reviews Dark Horse Comics Black Mirror Tumblr Calendar TV facebook Cosplay game show space sequel gangster stoner Fox Searchlight ID animated robots Country target ABC 2021 Star Trek stop motion jamie lee curtis 45 Sundance sports anime a nightmare on elm street golden globes GIFs rt labs CW Seed The Purge comic books GLAAD transformers superman travel VICE twilight DirecTV Song of Ice and Fire LGBTQ Travel Channel WarnerMedia kids reboot Alien Animation AMC Anna Paquin adaptation Video Games women science fiction CBS All Access Baby Yoda kong Amazon Shudder Binge Guide blockbusters festivals indiana jones true crime dark royal family See It Skip It TV Land italian Pride Month king kong diversity Nominations Reality Competition Fall TV strong female leads posters Reality Martial Arts reviews hist Peacock Rocketman movies Biopics CNN dramedy medical drama Shondaland dogs Epix TLC Film RT21 worst movies Image Comics Family Pixar Tomatazos young adult halloween tv Cartoon Network YouTube nature Apple TV+ asian-american child's play Musicals Holidays boxoffice doctor who Comedy Central Brie Larson Awards Tour Election Watching Series Sneak Peek Pacific Islander BET TBS Classic Film Masterpiece The CW boxing PlayStation prank marvel comics comics james bond Apple TV Plus based on movie 2016 Freeform 2019 Sci-Fi Food Network FX Columbia Pictures 90s know your critic TCA Awards Disney+ Disney Plus 4/20 Hallmark Christmas movies Certified Fresh Marathons TV renewals jurassic park anthology new york hidden camera IFC Pet Sematary parents HBO Go renewed TV shows ABC Family joker Nat Geo debate psychological thriller disaster Red Carpet MTV Film Festival Disney streaming service Pop TV popular Superheroes Emmy Nominations Paramount Network Mindy Kaling Rocky lord of the rings saw X-Men Mystery spain VH1 Wes Anderson Music Fantasy Year in Review scene in color GoT Amazon Prime Video toy story HBO Max 2015 Academy Awards Quiz rotten aliens casting Sundance TV Crackle action-comedy Spectrum Originals BBC One Rom-Com slasher Comedy fresh Ghostbusters Amazon Prime Character Guide First Look Comic Book Turner Classic Movies Countdown screenings Fox News news technology period drama cancelled television dexter 72 Emmy Awards movie Interview police drama rom-coms canceled venice Box Office japanese crime thriller harry potter Britbox BBC docudrama latino emmy awards Television Academy Sundance Now comic Stephen King spinoff Comics on TV Netflix Christmas movies 007 sag awards 99% Television Critics Association discovery Creative Arts Emmys President monster movies Black History Month SDCC Holiday FXX thriller hispanic biography Marvel Studios obituary godzilla E3 Mary Poppins Returns Marvel cartoon Spike sitcom slashers The Walking Dead Bravo Crunchyroll miniseries Musical blaxploitation Ovation Winter TV political drama cancelled TV shows San Diego Comic-Con Photos video on demand SundanceTV south america crossover Funimation marvel cinematic universe cars kaiju Vudu Logo Endgame The Academy Extras biopic universal monsters Comic-Con@Home 2021 LGBT fast and furious olympics foreign independent supernatural Walt Disney Pictures Hulu 20th Century Fox zero dark thirty free movies nbcuniversal Discovery Channel DC Comics Drama talk show streaming cats quibi Broadway natural history mockumentary football ghosts new zealand PBS elevated horror green book Esquire TV One romantic comedy 73rd Emmy Awards comic book movie adventure Nickelodeon El Rey blockbuster YA A&E television festival best NYCC politics NBC laika Mary poppins game of thrones mutant OneApp Rock binge superhero TCM war mcc romance Thanksgiving ABC Signature comic book movies series BAFTA finale classics New York Comic Con Lionsgate Starz documentary Disney TruTV 93rd Oscars justice league rotten movies we love USA Tubi breaking bad scorecard Netflix psycho documentaries Podcast basketball social media spider-man critics international spanish comiccon Summer Mudbound australia Captain marvel indie heist movie Mary Tyler Moore halloween worst Valentine's Day batman die hard Winners Elton John SXSW archives Polls and Games Set visit Lucasfilm IFC Films trailers OWN HBO japan Women's History Month satire Lifetime Christmas movies Ellie Kemper crime ratings Hallmark Pirates YouTube Premium Star Wars ViacomCBS telelvision cancelled zombies Horror CMT Christmas TCA Winter 2020 Trailer wonder woman legend directors rt labs critics edition Best and Worst christmas movies The Walt Disney Company 24 frames DC Universe serial killer Turner hollywood WGN Spring TV children's TV DC streaming service 2020 Chernobyl A24 National Geographic Disney Channel cinemax teaser Legendary History composers criterion Grammys The Arrangement Exclusive Video YouTube Red APB BET Awards Syfy Toys TV movies Premiere Dates unscripted Writers Guild of America Adult Swim Avengers VOD Oscars witnail versus Warner Bros. cults 21st Century Fox films spy thriller rt archives Opinion Disney Plus pirates of the caribbean what to watch Kids & Family Showtime sequels BBC America critic resources dceu Cannes CBS MSNBC Tokyo Olympics razzies American Society of Cinematographers TCA Schedule 2017 tv talk cancelled TV series Heroines Western live action revenge historical drama video dragons 71st Emmy Awards TIFF nfl crime drama werewolf feel good Paramount vampires Trivia cops Infographic The Witch spanish language concert Amazon Studios richard e. Grant TCA 2017 Arrowverse streaming movies Awards scary movies Superheroe Marvel Television chucky hispanic heritage month 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards E! toronto ITV Pop Paramount Plus singing competition stand-up comedy book screen actors guild FX on Hulu zombie DGA canceled TV shows Universal USA Network suspense mission: impossible aapi dc Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trophy Talk PaleyFest FOX MCU name the review black cooking docuseries theme song Action book adaptation deadpool Lifetime Teen 2018 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt king arthur Super Bowl Sony Pictures Hear Us Out Apple 1990s ESPN new star wars movies comedies golden globe awards adenture Emmys all-time RT History french NBA Tarantino Acorn TV TNT