Had the American actor stuck to his initial path of appearing on stage productions, it would not have been possible to compile a list of some of the best Alan Ruck movies and TV shows. Thankfully, he was bold enough to show his versatility when he decided to foray into television and film in 1983 with the movies Bad Boys and Class.
Since that time, Ruck, who studied drama at the University of Illinois has appeared in a slew of memorable projects. These include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), The Three Fugitives (1989), Twister (1996), and Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007). We have created a round-up of 12 of Alan Ruck’s movies and TV shows from the best to the worst to accurately reflect the ups and downs of his acting portfolio.
Alan Ruck’s Movies
1. Speed (1994)
This action-thriller tells the story of Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) an LAPD police officer tasked with the responsibility of rescuing the passengers on a bus that is rigged with a bomb and moving at high speed. Alan Ruck plays Doug Stephens, a tourist and one of the passengers on the bus. The movie also involved the likes of other A-listers like Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, and Joe Morton.
The movie proved to be a massive commercial and critical success. It grossed more than ten times its $30 million budget at the box office ad critics on Rotten Tomatoes awarded it a 94 percent approval rating.
2. Succession (2018 – present)
Since premiering on June 3, 2018, on HBO, the series has been received well. Our first series on this list of Alan Ruck’s movies and TV shows, Succession follows the story of a successful but dysfunctional business family who owns one of the world’s largest media and hospitality brand. It details their journey as they fight for control of the business owing to the declining health of the family’s patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). On the series, Alan plays Connor Roy, the first son from Logan’s first marriage.
The series was renewed for a third season in August 2019. It has also garnered worthy nominations including a Golden Globe Award, and five Primetime Emmy Awards. Succession currently holds a 91 percent approval rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
3. Bad Boys (1983)
In this Alan Ruck movie, the actor plays the supporting role of Carl Brennan, best friend, and partner to the lead character Mick O’Brien, played by Sean Penn. Bad Boys tells the story of O’Brien, an unrepentant 16-year-old who is sent to a correctional facility for accidentally running over and killing an 8-year-old while trying to evade the police.
While the movie was hailed for maintaining the right amount of tension and energy throughout its 123-minute run time, it did not bring in that much money. Granted, it was not an A-series movie and was made with a budget of $5 million, grossing just over $9 million at the box office. It also has an 89 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
4. Ghost Town (2008)
Ricky Gervais plays the lead role of Bertram Pincus, a dentist and borderline misanthrope, who had a near-death experience that gives him the ability to see ghosts. This puts him in very unlikeable situations with certain ghost characters, mostly Frank (Greg Kinnear) who wants him to break up the relationship between his widow and her new lover. Here, Alan Ruck plays the character of an unnamed ghost of a family man who is competing with Frank for Bertram’s attention.
Produced by Spyglass Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures, and Pariah, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It grossed $27 million on a $20 million production cost. Ghost Town earned itself an approval rating of 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
It’s interesting how this Alan Ruck movie sees the actor excellently portray the role of a teenager while already in his 30s. Here Alan plays Cameron Frye, the best friend of Matthew Broderick’s character, Ferris Bueller. Ferris is an incorrigible merry prankster who has cut class so much, he has gained a reputation for it. In his last week of school, Ferris cuts class again and borrows Cameron’s Ferrari to go on a one-day revelry through the streets of Chicago while his principal works hard to catch him in the act.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off turned out to be one of the most successful movies of the year, grossing above $70 million on a budget just shy of $6 million. The movie received critical acclaim and consequently earned an 80 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomato’s critics.
6. Dreamland (2016)
Next up on our list of Alan Ruck movies is Dreamland. This dramedy tells the story of Monty Fagan (Jerry Simmons), a Los Angeles musician who is down on his luck in terms of life and career. In a bid to get funds to open his own music bar, he starts working as a pianist in a hotel bar where he meets Olivia (Amy Landecker), a wealthy and older seductress who begins to spoil him with her money and promises to fund his dream. However, with his new life circumstances comes the realization that he may not be able to run his dream bar on his own terms. Here, Alan plays the minor role of a character known as Walter.
Dreamland had a limited release after premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. It could only earn a relatively average 67 percent from Rotten Tomato’s critics. Apparently, the audience felt worse, giving it a 42 percent audience approval rating.
7. Carnage Park (2016)
This crime horror thriller was aptly named because of the literal amount of carnage and chaos in its plot. It is also the first of Alan Ruck’s movies in the horror genre. Carnage Park follows the story of two criminals on the run who hold Vivian Fontaine (Ashley Bell) hostage after a bank robbery. The captors and their hostage soon find themselves as the prey of a deranged ex-military sniper when they stumble into his territory. Ruck plays the supporting role of Sherriff Moss.
Another limited release film, Carnage Park premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was also screened at the South by South West (SXSW) later in the same year. Based on 21 critic reviews, the movie stands at an approval rating of 62 percent.
8. Twister (1996)
The likes of Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, and Cary Elwes come together to play major characters in this epic disaster film. Ruck plays the minor role of Robert Nurick in this film. In Twister, Dr. Jo Harding (Hunt), a storm chaser, and Bill Harding, weather and Jo’s ex-husband, race against time as they band together to release their newly designed gizmo, DOROTHY, into a massive twister to gather the information that will provide great insight into the nature of tornados.
The critical and commercial response seems to be at odds where it concerns this film. Twister could only manage a 57 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it grossed a massive $494.5 million on a budget of $90 million.
9. Shanghai Calling (2012)
Sam Chao (Daniel Henney) is an ambitious New York lawyer who is sent on assignment to supervise the Shanghai branch of his law firm for three months. However, he soon finds himself in a serious legal mess and enlists the help of a few immigrant friends to help him get out of it while he discovers love and the true beauty of Shanghai in the process.
In this romantic comedy, Alan Ruck plays the role of billionaire Marcus Groff who runs a tech company in Shanghai. Shanghai Calling won an award each at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival, both in 2012. It received an average approval rating of 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. War Machine (2017)
This Alan Ruck movie is inspired by journalist Michael Hasting’s non-fiction book titled ‘The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.’ This satirical war film tells the story of the experiences of the American military involvement in Afghanistan from the perspective of the soldiers themselves. Ruck plays the role of Pat McKinnon, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Critics hailed War Machine for its solid wit and acting but pointed out that it fell short when it came to conveying its core message to its audience. As a result, it could only garner a below-average approval rating of 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
11. Goats (2012)
Another minor role sees Alan Ruck play the role of a doctor known as Dr. Eldridge in this comedy-drama. Goats is about Ellis Whitman, a 15-year-old kid going off to college. He gains admission into Gates Academy, an East Coast prep school. While here, he reconnects with his father Frank Whitman (Ty Burrell) who left him and his mother (Vera Farmiga) when he was just a baby. At this point, the teenager begins to realize the glaring contrast between his present life in the East and his New Age hippie upbringing.
Although not an A-series movie, Goats performed terribly in the eyes of both critics and the audience. Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it an abysmal 19 percent approval rating while the audience gave it a 39 percent approval rating.
12. Kickin’ It Old School (2007)
By far the worst on Alan Ruck’s movie portfolio, Kickin’ It Old School had a storyline that had the potential to be much more. In the movie, a 12-year-old dancing sensation Justin Schumacher (Jamie Kennedy) suffers a freak accident while dancing that puts him in a coma for 20 years, depleting his parents’ finances in the form of his medical bills. After he awakens, he is forced to deal with a much-changed world, which includes his parents failing business and the fact that his childhood lover is now engaged to be married to his childhood enemy. In a bid to salvage both situations, Justin embarks on a mission to reassemble his former dance troupe and hopefully save his parents business and win back the love of his life.
Kickin’ It Old School performed terribly at the box office. It only made back $4.7 million of a $25.7 million budget and was slapped with an embarrassing 2 percent approval rating. Even the appearance of notable names like Michael Rosenbaum, David Hasselhoff, Vivica Fox and Ruck himself could not save the film.