Jon Favreau has influenced Hollywood for the better part of two decades, yet the multi-talented writer, director, actor and producer never seems to command the level of appreciation that he truly deserves. In some way or another, it's a safe bet that Favreau has had his hand in some of your favorite movies since the early 90s. Most recently he returned to the director's chair for the critically adored live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. Therefore, April's movie list of the month addresses the best films that Jon Favreau has been involved with as either a writer, director or actor throughout the course of his career (March's List).
Honorable Mention: Elf (actor/director), The Jungle Book (director), and The Replacements (actor)
#5. The Break-Up (2006)
In a comedy that was ripped by critics, I actually found a large sense of enjoyment with Peyton Reed's The Break-Up. At the pinnacle of leading star Vince Vaughn's career, we're given this wonderful blend of comedy and drama that offers a realistic examination of American relationships. Jon Favreau is merely a supporting character, although he offers a sincere turn during one of the film's most pivotal scenes. And at the end of the day Favreau lends his acting talents to an extremely quotable laugh-fest filled with one liners galore. Some will knock The Break-Up for its many uncomfortable and awkward scenes which feature an immature feuding couple. Yet, its those realistic moments of childish bickering that lend credibility to this pioneering dramedy.
#4. Swingers (1996)
With the mid 90s cult classic comedy, Swingers, Favreau not only delivered a breakout performance, he also opened many eyes in the industry as the film's screenwriter. Along with Vince Vaughn, the film follows a pair of wannabe actors who enjoy a night out on the time in order to get one of the friends over the pain of a recent breakup. Their antics and conversation is unforgettable, all of which help make Swingers a clear cut winner.
#3. Iron Man (2008)
Since Iron Man sparked the origins of the ever-growing Marvel film universe nearly eight years ago, that means its humble beginnings need to be credited to Jon Favreau. While you may simply recognize Favreau as bodyguard and personal friend to Tony Stark, Happy Hogan, you're undervaluing the film icon's significance to the franchise. Favreau began as the director behind both Iron Man and Iron Man 2, earning him a prominent role in the development of Hollywood's most lucrative film universe.
#2. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
One of the most difficult aspects of this movie list is weighing the quality of the overall film with the level of involvement from Jon Favreau. Although Martin Scorcese's The Wolf of Wall Street happens to be my favorite movie on the list (by a small margin over the #1 selection below), Favreau leaves a much tinier imprint on the overall project than the other films featured in my Top 5. Within this Best Picture Nominee Favreau offers his acting talents only in the small role of Manny Riskin, the lawyer for Jordan Belfort (Leonoardo DiCaprio). But still, here's another iconic film in Hollywood's history impacted by the wide-ranging talents of Jon Favreau.
#1. Chef (2014)
If there's a film emblematic of Jon Favreau's all encompassing talents, it's his indie passion-project hit, Chef. Favreau writes, directs and stars in this fantastic father-son tale of a divorced culinary master who walks away from a renowned fine dining restaurant in order to pursue his limitless passion of running a food truck. Yet, at Chef's core is a tender and heartfelt story of a child's desire to connect with his father. And through the many lessons of the kitchen, Carl Casper (Favreau) is able to build an everlasting bond with his son. Chef combines genuine laughs with an emotionally earnest foundation that enables the film to transcend far beyond the typical indie. Through his words, eyes and expressions Favreau manages to deliver an exceptional piece of filmmaking that's as dedicated to its craft as its main character. Chef is a crowd-pleasing film that's availble on Netflix and certainly worth a watch. It will open your eyes to the many talents of an overlooked movie icon such as Jon Favreau.