Aaron Stanford’s movie career began in 2001 and in no time, he got his big break with the role of Oscar Grubman in the successful indie movie Tadpole which became a huge success, so much so that he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical. Stanford fell in love with acting right from his high school thanks to his acting teacher. He has since not looked back, in a bid to learn more about the world of arts and show business, he attended Mason Gross School of Arts of Rutgers University from where he graduated in 2000, magna cum laude. Though Stanford’s training in acting could be in part to thank for his immediate impact on Hollywood, one cannot ignore the fact that the Massachusetts native could also owe his success to his genes. Aaron is not the only Stanford in the entertainment industry; his brother David is a musician.
Aaron Stanford’s movie Tadpole did swing the doors open to other roles. It was his performance in the low-budget romantic comedy that attracted the attention of the renowned filmmaker Bryan Singer who cast him in the role of Pyro (the Marvel Comics fictional character) in the 2003 blockbuster film, X2 which ultimately solidified Stanford’s place in the movie scene. Stanford has gone ahead to reprise the role in at least two other X-Men movies. Though Aaron Stanford first gained recognition in movies, he actually began his career with TV shows, beginning with NBC’s Third Watch where he portrayed the role of Sergei. Aaron Stanford’s filmography now includes equally successful gigs in movies as well as TV shows. Out of the lot, which as of this writing stand at 27 appearances, we sieve out the top 10 ones ranked in order of goodness.
10 Greatest Aaron Stanford Movies and TV Show Rated From Best To Worst
1. 12 Monkeys (2015 – 2018)
Though Aaron Stanford would not have a small screen role to thank for bringing him to stardom, his best-rated gig, at the moment is a TV show. It is a science fiction mystery drama that premiered on NBC’s pay-TV channel Syfy in 2015. Based on a 1995 time-traveling movie of the same title, 12 Monkeys. Stanford plays the main character of James Cole – a man from the post-apocalyptic future who uses an untested time-travel method to port his way back from 2043 to the present day. 12 Monkeys debuted to largely favorable reviews which increased as more seasons were added. Despite the exponential increase in the critical reviews, its creators kept the story brief, bringing it to a successful end in 2018. The show was nominated for a total of 7 Awards, winning 3 including a Saturn Award for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series. Critics at Rotten Tomatoes rate the show at 88% while TV.com scores it at 8.6/10.
2. X2: X-Men United (2003)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made a plethora of actors superstars and Aaron Stanford gladly counts among them. As the name already gives away, X2 is a sequel to 2000s X Men. The sequel follows how the X-Men join forces with Magneto (portrayed by Ian McKellen) to combat a common enemy – a villainous former Army commander, Stryker who not only holds the key to Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) past but the future of the X-Men as well. X2 featured a wide ensemble cast from Patrick Stewart to Halle Berry. Stanford’s role as Pyro is a friend to Bobby and Rogue and has the ability to control fire. The movie grossed $407.7 million from a budget of no less than $110 million. Critics reviews were greatly positive – the acting, story-telling and action sequence were all commended. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a sold 85%.
3. Nikita (2010 – 2013)
12 Monkeys might be the better rated among Aaron Stanford’s movies and TV shows but before it, the actor had a lead role in Nikita – a CW TV show that did not perform badly either with a critical rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The show follows Nikita (Maggie Q) a young lady rescued from death row by Division – a secret government agency who lies to her that she was saved so she could start a better life, however, things turned around when Division manipulates her to become a spy and assassin. Nikita later seeks retribution and is determined to expose and destroy Division and their underworld of black ops and corrupted crimes. Stanford who portrays Seymour Birkhoff/Lionel Peller is a former employee of the Division and worked for them as a hacker, however, after meeting with Nikita, he is determined to help with her cause.
4. Tadpole (2002)
Aaron Stanford first turned heads in Hollywood with his role as Oscar Grubman in 2002’s Tadpole – a romantic comedy that tells the story of Oscar – a 15-year old boy who can tell everything he needs about a woman by just looking at her hand. After he returns home from boarding school during a Thanksgiving holiday, he is determined to go after older women. Despite being a low-budget indie movie with a production budget of $150,000 the movie still managed to wow critics. It made over $3.2 million at the box office. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 78%.
5. The Cake Eaters (2007)
Nope! The Cake Eaters is not a movie about people eating cakes… It is a term common in Pennsylvania that is used to describe people who have their lives all sorted out and are most likely going to succeed. The film’s screenwriter grew up hearing it often especially from the lips of his mother and decided to use it as a metaphor to describe the characters in the film. The Cake Eaters tells the tale of a certain Kimbrough family who after the matriarch passes on try to overcome grief by finding love.
Aaron Stanford’s character Dwight is the youngest son of the family who was his mother’s caretaker. After her death, he falls in love with Georgia (Kristen Stewart) – the granddaughter of his father’s new love interest Marg (Elizabeth Ashley). Georgia is critically ill and lives her life fearing that each new day could be her last. The independent movie was critically raved receiving a handful of nods including a People’s Choice Award for Best American Indie Film. It had very little theatrical released and was later released on DVD. The film is rated 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. Winter Solstice (2005)
Winter Solstice is another of Aaron Stanford’s movie that was produced by an independent company yet was still very successful. Aaron’s character Gabe Winters and his brother struggle to deal with the death of their mom who lost her life in a car crash. He constantly pushes away his sympathetic girlfriend and nurtures the thought of living town, on the other hand, his brother Pete who witnessed the car crash struggles with his grades in high school. The kids constantly grow distant from their father Jim Winters (Anthony LaPaglia) but after he lends a helping hand to their new neighbor Molly (Allison Janney) who has just moved in, things seem to look better for the entire family. The film’s limited theatrical release before heading to DVD made over $337,000 at the box office. LaPaglia received the Australian Film Institute Award nod for Best Actor in a Leading Role while the film was rated at 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.
7. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
This is a sequel to X2 and Aaron Stanford’s second movie produced by Marvel. He reprises his role as John Allerdyce/Pyro. In the third installment, the X-Men seem torn after a cure for the mutation that made them develop superhuman abilities is discovered. Made on a budget of $210 million and having its visual effects created by 11 different companies, The Last Stand was the most expensive movie ever made at the time. It made a little over double its budget after grossing $459.4 million at the global box office. Critics at Rotten Tomatoes rated it at 58%.
8. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
The Hills Have Eyes is a remake of a 70s horror movie of the same title. Stanford’s character Doug Bukowski joins his inlaws on their trip to San Diego only to have their camper vans break down in the desert. Doug and his father-in-law Bob Carter (Ted Levine) who are the only men among the traveling family of 7 leave the rest to go get help. Unknown to them, the spot they are stuck is where a nuclear experiment gone wrong in the past gave birth to blood-thirsty mutants. Critical reviews were mixed as it received a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The box office numbers were great as the film grossed almost $70 million against a $15 million budget.
9. Rick (2003)
Rick which is rated at 44% on Rotten Tomatoes is definitely not one of Aaron Stanford’s best movies. The comedy-drama is an adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1851 opera Rigoletto and tells the story of the fall of Rick O’Lette, a mean middle-aged corporate climber. Aaron starred as Duke. The filmed managed to make a meager $12,000 at the box office.
10. Traveler (2007)
Stanford’s character Will Traveler is part of a group of three friends in the short-lived ABC TV show that aired only for 8 episodes. When two of his friends Tyler and Jay are implicated after a bomb blast of one New York’s most famous museums, Will whom they expect to speak of them mysteriously disappears. The show was rated 44% by Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of Stanford’s low-rated gigs.