From super heroes and rock-and-roll gods to shifty politicians and the world’s greatest detective, the movies were full of memorable teams in 2018.
With movie awards season in full swing, entertainment expert Bruce Fretts, frequent contributor to the New York Times and editor at Closer magazine, rounds up his four favorite—and his four least favorite—recent examples of cinematic teamwork. So now you can go to the movies, enjoy nuggets of team-building wisdom, and expense your tickets!
They will rock you! Freddie Mercury learns that there’s strength in numbers after he ditches his Queen bandmates and tries to go out on his own in this musical biopic. Nobody remembers his sole solo album, the aptly titled 1985 disco flop Mr. Bad Guy. But once Mercury puts his ego aside and gets the band back together, they prove they truly are the champions of the world at Live Aid.
When Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs, suggests going undercover in the Ku Klux Klan, his colleagues think he’s krazy. But as writer-director Spike Lee depicts in his fact-based ’70s drama, the operation succeeds after he pairs up with a Caucasian colleague. In the end, they come together to do the right thing.
The Incredibles 2
Every member of the superhero family makes a contribution to saving the world in this animated sequel. Mr. Incredible initially bristles at staying home with the kids while his wife, Elastigirl, goes back to work fighting crime. But he ultimately stretches into a new parenting role after baby Jack-Jack starts exhibiting superpowers, such as shooting lasers from his eyes. Now that’s incredible.
Stan & Ollie
The famous Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy work their way through another fine mess in this drama set during their stage tour of England at the end of their careers. Laurel deals with the elephant in the room—his resentment that Hardy co-starred in the pachyderm-themed farce Zenobia without him—but decides not to take on a new partner when Hardy falls ill. A touching coda reveals that Laurel kept writing material for the comedic duo for years after Hardy’s death.
Dick Cheney seems like a team player but ultimately undercuts his boss, President George W. Bush, in pursuit of his own political goals. And suffice it to say you wouldn’t want him coming along on any hunting trips either.
The Front Runner
This depiction of the ill-fated 1988 Democratic presidential campaign of Gary Hart proves political dysfunction crosses party lines. No one on the senator’s staff can convince him it’s not a good idea to invite the media to follow him around when he’s having an extra-marital affair…aboard a yacht named Monkey Business, no less. In short, you can’t have a Hart without a brain.
If only Emma Stone’s and Rachel Weisz’s characters could’ve put aside their differences instead of constantly squabbling, they might have better served Queen Anne. At least—unlike in another tale of royal intrigue, Mary Queen of Scots—nobody loses their head.
Holmes & Watson
A legendary team in an all-time stinker. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s spoof of Sherlock and his trusty sidekick doesn’t pack enough laughs for a Saturday Night Live skit, much less a feature film. It’s elementary, dear friends: Skip this Watson adventure!
Bruce Fretts contributes to the New York Times’ Movies and Television sections and works as Senior Articles Editor at Closer. He previously wrote for TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. You can read more of his movie reviews at FrettsonFilm.com.