Neil Patrick Harris is an American treasure who has been delighting us on screen ever since he was a child actor. Scratch that – he was a child star, and he’s one of the rare ones whose star shines even brighter with age. Remind yourself why NPH captured our hearts with these classic movie and TV roles.
10. The Smurfs
Character: Patrick Winslow
NPH brought heart to the first two Smurfs movies as an ad executive in modern-day New York City. He leads an all-star cast that includes Alan Cumming, Katy Perry, Fred Armisen, and Hank Azaria through two of the best family-friendly movies of the 2010s. Also there are little blue things that apparently taste good, but I’m more of a red fan than blue flavors.
9. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
This 2009 Sony Pictures Animation cartoon centers around the romance of Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader). But NPH’s Steve (Flint’s pet monkey) easily steals the show with his thought-reading Speak-and-Spell device. This adorable movie (and its sequel and animated series) is well worth watching. Though it should be noted NPH was replaced in the show.
8. Doogie Howser, M.D.
Character: Dr. Doogie Howser
NPH’s breakout came as the titular character in this 1980s/90s ABC medical drama. Doogie aced the SATs at six, graduated from Princeton at 10, and by 14 became the youngest licensed medical doctor in the country. He’s the dream child of every Southeast Asian parent.
7. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
NPH replaced Tobey Maguire as Lou in the standalone 2010 sequel to the popular Cats & Dogs movie. Kitty Galore has much more of a focus on the eternal battle between good (dogs) and evil (cats). I’m a cat guy myself, but the movie is enjoyable nonetheless.
6. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Character: Count Olaf
Jim Carey is a tough act to follow, but NPH pulls if off with ease in this visual Netflix black dramedy based on Lemony Snicket’s series of children’s novels. Count Olaf is a villainous character who’s constantly making life terrible for the Baudelaire Children. It’s a stylized tale with three easy-to-watch seasons from 2017-2019.
5. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Character: Billy/Dr. Horrible
This 2008 superhero musical comedy was created and written by Joss Whedon and his brothers during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike. it’s a brilliant, must-watch miniseries featuring NPH as the titular supervillain vlogging about his experiences with nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) and their mutual love interest Penny (Felicia Day).
4. A Million Ways to Die in the West
NPH nails another villain role in this 2014 musical comedy western from the mind of Seth MacFarlane, who also plays the lead. He’s not as bad a guy as Liam Neeson’s Clinch Leatherwood, but he’s still a massive ass who can’t help but rub in Albert’s face that he’s dating his ex, is richer, more sophisticated, and has amazing singing chops.
3. How I Met Your Mother
Character: Barney Stinson
Every network was trying to capture the magic of Friends after series ended in 2004, and HIMYM pulled audiences in the best and longest. The success can be attributed to the charisma of the ensemble cast and likability of their characters, especially NPH’s Barney, a serial playboy who’s constantly trying to seduce woman to have meaningless sex with them just like Joey used to do. If only Louis C.K. looked like NPH, amirite?
2. Starship Troopers
Character: Carl Jenkins
This 1997 science fiction classic is produced in the style of a propaganda film and NPH stars alongside hot actors of the era, like Casper Van Dien, Jake Busey, and Denise Richards. Somehow it works, and they all fight bugs together, with everyone on the frontlines with teh Roughnecks, except Doogie, who becomes a high-ranking Colonel and only comes out to perform important psychic research on the hive queens.
1. Every Harold and Kumar Movie
Character: Neil Patrick Harris
NPH’s best roles are his cameos as an amped-up version of himself in the Harold and Kumar movie franchise. This stoner comedy has so many zany twists and turns that it’s hard to believe someone can stick head and shoulders above the talented crowd as the best reason to see a movie. NPH does that here because he is a living legend.
Long live NPH…