The five best films of Ryan Reynolds

The release of the comic adaptation “Green Lantern” this Friday has fans and film-goers divided. There are those who support Ryan Reynolds, and then there are detractors.

Yes, he was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Sure, he’s charismatic and funny. But the dissenters have serious questions about his abilities as an actor, arguing the poor choices in his career far outweigh the good.

For the record, I’m Team Ryan.

It remains to be seen whether Reynolds can carry a movie on the scale of “Green Lantern.” There’s a lot riding on this for his career.

But for now, let’s take a look back at some of Ryan Reynolds’ best work.

Here’s my top five:

5. “The Proposal”: It wasn’t Sandra Bullock’s foolish (borderline annoying) antics that made “The Proposal” a serviceable romcom, it was the chemistry that she shared with Reynolds, a fellow Canadian. Willingly handing itself over to the dangerous formula, the film was saved only by the two likable leads.

4. “Adventureland”: A paint-by-numbers coming-of-age indie film, “Adventureland” introduced mass audiences to a new kind of Ryan Reynolds – one that was distinctly not Ryan Reynolds. As Brad, the park’s technician, Reynolds portrayed both mentor and adversary to Jesse Eisenberg’s James. It’s a small but pivotal role that won a lot of critics over.

3.“The Nines”: A movie that’s probably too existential for its own good, John August’s“The Nines” was a strange choice for Reynolds, who in 2007 was on the brink of superstardom. Broken up into three parts, Reynolds plays three characters (or, more accurately, incarnations?) inexplicably bound together. The first is an actor under house arrest after burning down his own house. He’s haunted by the number 9. The second is a TV writer and the third is a video game designer. The movie tested Reynolds’ range, and it’s a trip that is definitely worth exploring. For those who are curious, the run time is 99 minutes. Well played, Mr. August.

2. “Definitely Maybe”: This is how you make a romantic comedy – charming, smart and not the least bit insulting. In 2008, one could argue that “Definitely Maybe” was Reynolds’ most mature role to date. A father going through a divorce recounts his history in love at his daughter’s (Abigail Breslin) request. He introduces three women in his storytelling, changes the names, and plays a guessing game with his daughter as to which one is her mother. The mystery draws audiences in, but the performances are what keeps them engaged.

1.“Buried”: A one-man show featuring Reynolds as a contractor in Iraq stuck in a coffin for ransom, “Buried” is an actor’s dream – if they can pull it off. Reynolds does, of course, and under the direction of Rodrigo Cortez, the two create a one of 2010’s most tense thrillers out of a premise that could otherwise have become a gimmicky waste. More than anything, though, it proves that Reynolds is comfortable under the pressure of having all eyes on him, all the time.

Where will “Green Lantern” fit into Reynolds’ filmography? Check back Friday for a full review.

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