For the last twenty plus years, there has been a name that has constantly popped up in some of my favorite films and TV shows, from the early parts of my childhood to some films and TV that I watch regularly now, and that name is Jon Favreau.
Whether it’s helping to start the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or creating The Mandalorian Season 3, Favreau is usually the person responsible for creating, writing, directing, or even acting in some of my preferred pieces of media to watch when I want to smile. Here’s how you can watch some of the best Jon Favreau movies and shows streaming, from the best movies on Amazon Prime to the best movies on Netflix.
The Mandalorian (2019 - Present)
In The Mandalorian, starting five years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, we follow Din Djarin, a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter who tasks himself with delivering a child (that looks an awful lot like a baby Yoda) safely away from danger when he finds him abandoned.
In my eyes, Jon Favreau is the reason why Star Wars is so good now, in my opinion. Favreau created The Mandalorian, and it’s one of the best shows on Disney+. Not only will there be a third season that Favreau will be heading as a producer, but he is also acting as a director for the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett, so there’s no stopping this man in the Star Wars universe. If you’re a fan of galactic super battles, Jedi knights, and a cute baby Yoda, check out The Mandalorian.
Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (2008, 2010)
In both Iron Man films, the viewers get to follow the origin story of Iron Man, arguably the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and what happens to him when he decides to share his identity with the world, and the technology he used to create his alter ego, creating several problems and fears that his tech might end up in the wrong hands.
If you wanted to start watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s no better way to do so than watching the first two Iron Man films. Robert Downey Jr. is, of course, iconic as the titular superhero. Favreau not only directs both films, but actually has a role in them as well, playing Happy Hogan - a role he would repeat in several MCU films.
In the classic Christmas comedy, Elf, we follow Buddy the Elf, a human who was adopted as a baby by Santa’s elves when they found him in Santa’s big red bag. He learns about his true origins as an adult, and travels to NYC to finally meet his father, while also spreading Christmas cheer in the process.
Elf is hands-down one of my favorite Christmas movies ever. There’s just something about this amazing film that Jon Favreau directed that makes me so happy. From Will Ferrell’s impeccable comedy to the love story between Buddy and Jovie, to the pure Christmas spirit in New York City - I love all of it. Every year when I decorate my Christmas tree, I put this movie on in the background. It’s just so joyful.
Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)
In Zathura: A Space Adventure, we witness two young brothers, along with their sister, who are suddenly drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their home is hurled into space by a magical board game they are playing.
This film, directed by Favreau, feels like a space version of Jumanji. It has a magical board game, a crazy family, and everything else in-between that you could want. Plus, you get to see so many young stars in this when they were younger, such as Josh Hutcherson and Kristen Stewart - even Dax Shepard appeared in this fun fantasy film. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a shot.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
In this sci-fi flick, Cowboys & Aliens, we follow an outlaw, a cattleman, and a mysterious traveler who must all come together to somehow help a group of townspeople who have been abducted by aliens.
In another Favreau-directed film, Cowboys & Aliens is just what the doctor ordered if you want a good sci-fi movie, but also want something a bit more creative - this time, mixed in with a Western. Plus, you also have a star-studded cast, with actors like Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and many more making appearances as the main characters. The action in this film is also great, as well, with plenty of shoot-out scenes and twists that will make you excited to keep watching.
The comedy-drama, Chef follows the story of a head chef who quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck so that he can somehow recapture the creativity that he’s lost after such a long time cooking, while also trying to piece his life back together.
I adore Chef. Not only did Jon Favreau direct, write, and star in it, there’s a great cast beside him, with big stars like Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, and many others. The story is heartwarming and full of scenes that will make you smile, centered on the relationship between Favreau’s character and his son. Also, don’t go into this film hungry - because trust me, you will come out craving a Cuban sandwich. And beignets. And chocolate lava cakes. Ay, now I have to go cook!
The Chef Show (2019 - 2020)
The Chef Show, created by Jon Favreau, is a spinoff of the film, Chef, where he and famous chef, Roy Choi, travel around the United States, testing out new foods and new recipes to try out and teach the viewers.
This is basically my answer for you if you get hungry during Chef. Watch this show and learn how to make amazing food. Favreau and Choi have great chemistry together, you get to learn some awesome recipes from all over, and there are so many guest stars who appear constantly, such as Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Seth Rogen, and so many others.
The Jungle Book (2016)
In this live-action remake of the animated film of the same name, The Jungle Book follows Mowgli, a feral child who is raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, who is friends with several jungle animals, such as Baloo the bear.
Favreau directed The Jungle Book, and it was a brilliant adaptation of the animated film that we all know and love. Not only is the new version filled with stars we all already enjoy, like Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and so many others, but the visuals are absolutely stunning. I can’t think of another live-action remake since Disney began doing them that has quite matched the beautiful scenery of The Jungle Book. Favreau deserves all the praise in the world for this wonderful version of the film.
The Lion King (2019)
In this live-action adaptation of the original, The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion cub who runs away after his father dies, thinking it was his fault. Now, years later, he has to return to Pride Rock, and take back his throne from enemies.
While I don’t love this adaptation as much as The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau still did a good job with bringing this live-action tale to life - well, CGI life, that is. If you haven’t ever seen the original, do yourself a favor and watch that first, and then you can see them in all their realistic CGI-goodness.
However, even if this is basically just a carbon copy of the original, I have to admit I love the cast. I mean, Donald Glover as Simba? Seth Rogen as Pumbaa? The queen bee herself, Beyonce, as Nala? It’s a casting unlike any other.
In one of Favreau’s first film appearances, after Rudy and PCU, we have Swingers. This comedy, written by the prolific creator, tells the story of single, unemployed actors who live on the ‘eastside’ of Hollywood during the 1990s swing revival, which means a renewed interest in swing music.
This is hands down one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve watched a lot of comedies. Favreau and Vince Vaughn have such amazing chemistry together and their comedic timing is perfect, and I think since the Swingers cast is smaller than many of Jon Favreau’s other films, you really get to see each of them shine.
Jon Favreau’s directorial debut, Made, is a crime comedy that follows two aspiring boxers who are life-long friends, who end up getting involved in a money-laundering scheme through a low-level organized crime group, and now it’s up to them to somehow find a way out of it.
I’m going to say it again - Favreau and Vaughn have amazing chemistry and really do rock their roles. While I do feel that it’s not as hysterical as Swingers, there are still moments in this film that make you laugh and keep you entertained. Plus, who doesn’t love a good crime drama? Favreau brought that energy to the screen, but mixed in some great comical moments.
Honorable Mention: Pete Becker On Friends (1996)
While this isn’t something he created, wrote, or directed, Friends was one of the first places we ever saw Jon Favreau. Friends was a huge hit, with the story following a group of friends in their twenties as they navigated their life in New York City.
In Season 3, Monica, one of the main six characters of the Friends cast, began to date Pete Becker, a rich young man who has a taste for danger. While Favreau was only in the show for six episodes, his character has become cemented in Friends history as one of Monica’s many love interests, and it’s always fun to look back and see Favreau when he was starting out.
With a career that has spanned nearly three decades, it’s not a surprise that Jon Favreau has done so much in the film industry, with plenty of options to pick from if you’re craving something good. It makes me want to see if he’s working on any of the upcoming 2021 movies, but I think for now I’ll just wait patiently for The Book of Boba Fett.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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