Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Ben Foster

The Mechanic star talks about the movies most personal to him.

by | January 27, 2011 | Comments

Ben Foster

From hard drama to bruising action, Ben Foster’s varied resume declares him an actor willing to go many places for a performance. He all but stole Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dog, more than held his own against Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in 3:10 To Yuma, and earned some deserved acclaim for his turn as an American soldier in 2009’s critical favorite, The Messenger.

This week, Foster stars alongside Jason Statham in the action thriller The Mechanic, a noisy remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle. Statham takes the Bronson role of the professional assassin double-crossed into murdering his boss, with Foster the dead man’s son who becomes an apprentice to dad’s killer. The talented actor brings an unusual level of edge and tension for this kind of film; in return, the movie gave him his share of physical souvenirs.

“I got pretty banged up,” he admits, “but that’s part of the fun. You get the opportunity to scare the **** out of yourself.” Doing so involved performing many of his own stunts — including a spectacular 30-story fall down the side of a skyscraper, attached to a cable. Statham, Foster says, spurred him on. “You wanna step up to his level of athleticism and stone-cold courage,” he explains. “That guy’s got some nuts, you know — he does some scary ****.”

Back in the relative safety of a hotel suite, we sat down with Foster to ask him his five favorite films. And here they are.

The Jerk (1979, 83% Tomatometer)

The Jerk

You couldn’t get away with making that movie today. It’s wild. It’s a wild film, and it’s the great American dream gone wrong. It’s Citizen Kane on its ass. It’s a man who comes from nothing and builds a world and loses an empire and finds love. I mean, it’s a huge movie; and absolutely insane. I watch that several times a year — it’s a go-to on the road.

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, 100% Tomatometer)

Dr. Strangelove

I would be embarrassed to begin to talk about Dr. Strangelove, because there has been so much written about it. It’s so bleak. And Peter Sellers is perfect. He’s just perfect. Terry Southern and Stanley Kubrick built this doomsday political satire, in the fists of the Cold War, and made the end of the world hysterical. We’re bumbling idiots, all of us. We’re all walking through dark rooms of our life, bumping into furniture, and it’s shocking. I think we all enjoy watching people who are in authority positions act like bumbling idiots; it satisfies part of our ego, I’m sure, on some level. Sellers’ commitment to those characters… the scene that stands out is when he’s trying to get change to make the phone call to stop the bomb, and that security guard won’t let him break government property to get the change. The frustration of that is as painful as it is hysterical.

Husbands (1970,
63% Tomatometer)


Male camaraderie, male love, is a difficult subject to show on film. What does it mean to have one of your best friends pass away? When that unit dies, how do you deal with it? I’m not a married man but I’m sure that when I’m married and have kids I’ll see Husbands in a new light. It’s regular guys trying to make sense of this life, having a good time while they’re doing it; running from their own lives and trying to distract themselves with hookers and gambling and drinking, and they all have families to go back to. They just don’t wanna leave the party. It’s male camaraderie at its most loving and brutal: these guys are terrible to each other, but they’d do anything for each other, and that kind of friendship, those values, mean a lot to me. The way they shot the film, the way they lost funding — there’re these wild stories of how to make a movie that you care about. They lost financing. As the story goes, they put the last bit of money — and they’re half way through the film, they’ve been shooting for six months — they put all the money to throw a party. They got dancers and girls and piano players and I think there was like an elephant, and they invited all these studio heads to come to this party sequence that they were filming — and when they studio saw the scene they said, “This movie’s huge, it’s wild, we’ll cover the rest of the film.” They got the rest of the financing. The scene’s not in the movie — it was never planned to be. So that spirit still excites me. The camaraderie feels familiar.

All That Jazz (1979,
87% Tomatometer)

All That Jazz

I think I’ve seen it five times in the past two months. I can’t stop watching that picture. The way they edited that — the dramatic scenes have as much musicality as the dance numbers, but it’s completely naturalistic. A man facing his own death; he’s creating his own end. He’s riffing on Lenny Bruce, riffing on his own material, his need to connect, his love of women, and his own mortality and relationship to family. It’s a staggering film. It’s Bob Fosse’s “See ya, and goodnight.”

The Iron Giant (1999, 97% Tomatometer)

The Iron Giant

A fifth one, that’s tough. What’s a go-to? So many great things out there. The Iron Giant‘s pretty terrific. When you’ve been on the road for a while, and you’re lonely… yeah, that film makes me cry. I love that movie. [laughs]

The Mechanic is in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

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