In the great Chris debate on who is the best Chris, it’s easy to pick favorites. However, I feel as though there is an overlooked Chris in the bunch that deserves more recognition for his work — Chris Pine. He’s most notably known for his role in the Star Trek saga as a younger James T. Kirk that has spanned over a decade. When Pine first signed on in 2009, Kirk was a wildly bold man that was determined to join Starfleet out of spite. By the time Star Trek: Beyond hit theaters in 2016, we saw Captain Kirk in the middle of a five-year mission. Pine’s depiction of the beloved Captain Kirk shows the spirit of William Shatner’s Kirk is alive and well. However, Pine’s filmography goes far beyond that. This article will highlight some of Pine’s work to bring light to his extensive 17 year career.
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
Long before Team Edward and Team Jacob existed, while watching The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement you were either Team Andrew or Team Nicholas (Team Nicholas for the win). While not lesser-known, this role was the pivotal point in kickstarting Pine’s career.
The Princess Diaries saga was many people’s introduction to iconic Disney films, including my own. Having appeared in several different television shows the year prior as a guest star, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, where Pine plays Lord Nicholas Devereaux, was the footing he needed to make a name for himself. Nicholas is the nephew of Viscount Mabrey who is trying to steal Mia Thermopolis’ title while working tirelessly to make Nicholas the King of Genovia. In the end, Mia and Nicholas fall for each other and Nicholas declines to ascend to the throne.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
Following Horrible Bosses, the second movie in the series, albeit just as hilariously cheesy, follows Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day), three men who are fed up with answering to higher-ups. The men decide to start up their own business to be their own bosses, and in an effort to profit off of said business, the Shower Buddy, by gaining investors, the three men get a call from Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), the son of Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz) who owns Boulder Stream. When Bert pulls the rug from under them, Rex teams up with the guys to create a staged kidnapping to get his father to give up five million dollars — four million for Rex and one million for the trio.
This comedy film proves Pine has many layers to his acting and in his arsenal. While the movie is a sequel, that doesn’t mean it misses the mark whatsoever. While the plot may have been predictable, it’s worth the watch to see Pine go completely AWOL on more than one occasion (though I cringe watching him beat up his beautiful face).
Hell or High Water (2016)
Hell or High Water was nominated for four Oscars, and it’s clear why. It follows two cowboy brothers from West Texas, Toby Howard (Pine) and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster), who are seeking justice for their mother’s death. When Tanner gets out of prison, the duo meets up to go on a series of bank heists and robberies to pay off the loan on their family’s ranch to Texas Midlands Bank so that Toby can leave the home to his sons and ex-wife. What ensues due to this is a stereotypical cops and robbers situation with Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham), who are determined to catch the two by calculating their next move.
If you are going to watch any of the films on this list and haven’t seen this one, I recommend putting it on your must-watch list. Everyone’s performance in the film harmonizes perfectly with their chemistry. The witty humor and painful tragedy engulf viewers for the entirety of the nearly two-hour film.
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
So, you’ve seen Horrible Bosses 2 and cried from laughing so hard. A Wrinkle in Time will do the exact opposite. Pine plays Alex Murry, a physicist that is researching the space and time continuum to learn about time-traveling via a fifth dimension to other planets. With the help of his wife, Kate, and her coordinates, he does just that. When he ends up disappearing for four years, his children go on a search to find him with the help of three celestial beings: Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which.
Pine’s performance in A Wrinkle in Time shines astronomically. The raw emotion that he expresses in his character as well as his interactions with other characters in the movie, specifically his children, is enough for me to grab an entire box of tissues every time.
Outlaw King (2018)
Outlaw King is a historical epic of the life of 14th century king Robert Scotts. The film follows Robert’s life and the eventual First War of Scottish Independence that was waged against England. As far as historical re-enactments go, aside from blending some of the events for dramatic effect, Outlaw King depicted the events of Robert’s struggle to become king pretty accurately (including Pine’s Scottish accent).
Aside from the phenomenal acting by the entire cast, the accuracy of the costume designs in the film is also something to celebrate — together these elements make you feel as though you are experiencing the 14th century with a front-row seat.
People Like Us (2012)
By far one of my favorites, and based on true events, People Like Us follows the story of Sam and Frankie (Elizabeth Banks). Sam is a salesman who learns his father has recently passed from cancer. While in the process of settling his estate, he discovers he has a sister that he never knew about, Frankie. Frankie is a single mother who lives in Los Angeles with her 11-year-old son Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario). When they finally put the pieces together, Sam and Frankie are forced to determine exactly what family values and life choices mean to them.
A criminally underrated film about fractured families and souls, People Like Us gives a new outlook on family dysfunction and love. Pine’s range really shines through in this film. It is definitely a must-see! (Also, maybe have tissues ready for this one, too.)
Into the Woods (2014)
Chris Pine was already the prince charming we wanted him to be before he put his acting and singing chops to the test (I’m looking at you “Spidey-Bells”), but his performance as Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods proved why only he could put all of us in “Agony” with that shirt rip. Into the Woods is the modern take on fairy tales in a musical format that follows the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood, with a tie-in story about a baker and his wife and their journey to start a family, and the witch who cursed them.
No matter what type of film you are looking for, whether you want to bawl your eyes out, laugh until you’re clenching your sides, or belt out the lyrics to “Any Moment,” it is clear Pine has you covered. And maybe, just maybe, if you weren’t a certified member of the Pine Nuts, you will be after this.
Pine also has a number of new projects in various stages of production at the moment, which include Wonder Woman 1984, Violence of Action, and Don’t Worry, Darling. Check out the entire list of Pine’s filmography here.