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Ryan Reynolds is quietly having a big week. You may have seen his scene-stealing surprise cameo in a major movie that just opened. If not, no spoilers here. But plenty over here. Ry-guy also recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Deadpool test footage leak, adding a nice "Phase 5" tease as a hint to his Marvel character's future in the MCU.
Ryan Reynolds has more than 80 acting credits to his name -- most from movies, but also a few from TV. (Remember Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place? Good times!) So below are five movie suggestions and one more from TV, because it's his first-ever role and he just looks so adorable. I wish I could suggest a few stronger titles to stream, but we are working with what Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have available, with one cheat because it's such a showcase role.
In 2015, shortly before he made Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds joined this gambling drama directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. They'd go on to make 2019's Captain Marvel with Ben Mendelsohn, who co-stars in this movie with Reynolds. Mississippi Grind actually has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any of Reynolds' movies at 91% from 117 critics. Audiences were nowhere near as effusive, but you can't go wrong with Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, who were praised for their performances.
Stream Mississippi Grind right now on Netflix.
Ryan Reynolds had two superhero roles in 2009. He debuted as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and also played Captain Excellent, the imaginary superhero friend of Jeff Daniels' failed novelist Richard Dunn, in Paper Man. (That was also the year Ryan Reynolds gave us The Proposal, which you can now stream on Starz, and Adventureland, which you can stream via Showtime.) The star-studded drama co-starred Lisa Kudrow, Emma Stone, and Kieran Culkin. Paper Man didn't get the best reviews, but it also kind of became a cult hit. Watch it for the cast alone.
Stream Paper Man right now on Amazon Prime Video.
I'm starting to notice a pattern. Ryan Reynolds always works with the best people. Do you remember this 2005 comedy? It was based on writer/director Rob McKittrick's time working as a waiter. The star-studded cast was led by Justin Long, Ryan Reynolds, and Anna Faris, along with David Koechner, Luis Guzmán, John Francis Daley, Chi McBride, and Emmanuelle Chriqui. Take a second to appreciate Reynolds's Forrest Gump impression in the movie:
Waiting... was not a hit with critics (31%), but fans ate it up -- with a 75% fresh audience score from 233,000 user votes. It made $18.6 million off a $3 million budget. No wonder McKittrick wrote a sequel, Still Waiting..., which came out in 2009 but did not star Ryan Reynolds. He was pretty busy by then.
Stream Waiting right now on Prime Video.
I guess I'm seeing another pattern with this one, when it comes to lackluster reviews. Atom Egoyan directed and wrote the screenplay for The Sweet Hereafter, which was a brilliant, unforgettable movie. The Captive was not exactly a hit with critics or viewers, not that it had many viewers. Maybe that's the upside of the movie being available on Netflix. You can easily check it out for yourself without having to track it down in a limited theatrical release. The nonlinear story is told across several years, following a father whose young daughter vanished off the back of his truck. Ryan Reynolds plays the father Matthew, with Mireille Enos as his wife Tina, and Alexia Fast as their daughter Cassandra. Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Greenwood, and Kevin Durant co-star.
Stream The Captive right now on Netflix.
Before he was even in Two Guys and a Girl, Ryan Reynolds starred as Billy Simpson in 65 episodes of a TV show called Fifteen. It was Ryan's first ever role. He was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia (hence his social media handle @VancityReynolds) and this TV series was produced in Canada as Hillside but aired from 1991 to 1993 in the U.S. on Nickelodeon as Fifteen. Ryan was only about 14 or 15 when this was made, so go ahead and stream his first ever acting role to see much he's grown. The show is just cheesy and cringe-worthy enough that I bet Deadpool is a huge fan.
Stream Fifteen right now on Amazon Prime.
Bonus Movie: Buried
Ryan Reynolds has so many good movies out there, but most aren't available on Netflix or ready to stream on Amazon Prime without paying to rent/buy. I'm not interested in paying even more than I already do for my subscriptions. I don't even have Starz in my subscription. If you do, go ahead and stream Smokin' Aces right now. I do subscribe to HBO, and that's where you can stream Buried. It's a pure acting showcase for Ryan Reynolds. The tense, claustrophobic movie entirely rides on his performance. Blake Lively told EW Buried was one of the reasons why she wanted to do her excellent film The Shallows, because she knew how tough Buried was for her husband to film, but also how rewarding it was for him too.
Buried isn't on Netflix, and you'd have to rent/buy it on Amazon Prime, but you can stream Buried right now if you have HBO, through HBO Go.
If you're looking for more streaming recommendations, check out these past features:
• 5 Excellent Keanu Reeves Roles Worth Streaming On Netflix And Amazon
What Ryan Reynolds movie or TV roles have you been streaming lately, and through which streaming services? When is the last time you paid to rent or stream a title, and is that something you are comfortable doing frequently?