Christian Bale Counts A Critically-Panned Chris Farley Comedy Among His All-Time Favorite Films

While film as a medium is, by design, very focused on appealing to large audiences, the respect of other filmmakers and actors can mean a lot to those in the industry. Imagine the thrill for a young Wes Anderson when he heard that one of his earliest films was considered a favorite by the legendary Martin Scorsese. The validation of one's peers is something almost everybody seeks, and to receive it is a great sign of respect.

Director Dennis Dugan probably isn't super accustomed to receiving praise from his fellow Hollywood types. The director of many of Adam Sandler's feature films, including "Happy Gilmore," "Grown Ups," and the inimitable "Jack and Jill" is probably satisfied enough with the money he's made to accept that he's never going to produce a critical darling. So it may have come as a surprise for Dugan when one of his earliest and least successful films received some public praise from none other than Christian Bale in a 2010 Esquire interview.

That's right, the Christian Bale you're thinking of, star of "American Psycho" and "The Dark Knight," a serious actor by all accounts. His favorite movie, which he's stated on multiple occasions, is the late Chris Farley's consensus worst cinematic outing, "Beverly Hills Ninja."

A strange pick

Christian Bale has said some weird stuff about movies before, including saying one of his main inspirations as an actor was Mr. Bean. But such an out-of-left-field choice for his favorite film is both confounding and hilarious.

"Beverly Hills Ninja," the last film Chris Farley starred in before his tragic death in 1997, is the classic tale of an orphan raised by a gang of ninjas who solves a murder mystery. Yeah, just one of the basic types of conflict in literature; Man vs. Man, Man vs. Society, and Orphan Raised by a Gang of Ninjas vs. Murder Mystery. Bale stated this controversial(?) opinion most recently in a Yahoo! Entertainment interview in 2016. When asked about his favorite film, he took a second to think, and then remembered the best film he'd ever seen.

"Oh! I always choose ... the default answer for me is 'Beverly Hills Ninja.' It's an easy one to give because most people go, 'What? Oh, okay.' But Chris Farley's fantastic. Clearly I've got other films, but I just watched that two nights in a row and was crying with laughter both times, so I just went, 'Yeah I'll give that as my answer.'"

Take issue with his opinion if you want, but he's correct that Chris Farley is fantastic. Fantastic enough that Bale watched the movie two nights in a row, something I find myself unable to do with good films. But hey, if "Beverly Hills Ninja" is what makes Bale happy, who are we to yuck his yum? Due to his tragic death, we didn't get nearly enough Chris Farley starring roles in films, so if we can be a little happier with the few we got, I'm happy about that.