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The best Randy Quaid movies

Randy Quaid
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Randy Quaid wasn't always ... like this. OK, maybe he was and just didn't have a proper outlet with which to share his eccentricities. Today, we have Twitter to thank for thrusting Quaid back into the limelight, with his hot takes on an election that's long been decided by the folks who voted in it.

In a previous life, he was an Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor who's been in some pretty iconic films, including the likes of Days of Thunder, Independence Day and Brokeback Mountain.

His personal life got a bit more complicated, with outstanding warrants and extradition orders. 

We're here for the art, though. Here's a look at some of our favorite films featuring Quaid. Some forgettable, some not.

Midnight Express (1978)

One of the best international drug capers you'll watch. Quaid plays Jimmy Booth. It's based on the 1977 novel of the same name, with the movie written by one Oliver Stone. 

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

The film that started it all. Chevy Chase just wants to take his family to Wally World. More than a few things happen along the way, though — including Quaid's hillbilly Cousin Eddie.

The Wraith (1986)

This is one of those so-bad-it's-good movies. Charlie Sheen is killed by some bad dudes and comes back to life as a Dodge M4S concept car (Lambo doors and all) to help right some wrongs. Quaid is the sheriff. I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid and thought it was the coolest. It was not.

Caddyshack II (1988)

What do you do when you're forced into making a sequel to a classic but can't get Bill Murray back on board? You load up the cast with the likes of Dan Akroyd, and Quaid as crackpot homicidal lawyer Peter Blunt.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Shitter's full.

Days of Thunder (1990)

A brilliant (if not overly deep) ride through the heyday of NASCAR. Tom Cruise is a hotshot driver, Nicole Kidman is his doctor/girlfriend (before she married him), Robert Duvall is the crew chief — and Quaid is the owner of the racing team that gives Cole Trickle his shot.

The Paper (1994)

One of the best newspaper movies you'll see. Michael Keaton does his thing as only he can. Same goes for Glenn Close. And Robert Duvall. Quaid is a paranoid reporter, which is more realistic than you think. 

Major League II (1994)

One of the best parts of the Major League films? The crazy fans. And of course Randy Quaid makes it into the sequel as a crazy fan.

Independence Day (1996)

You know this film. You love this film. Will Smith is great. Bill Pullman is great. Jeff Goldblum is great. But Randy Quaid is the hungover hero who survived an alien anal probe to get revenge years later in a fighter plane.

Kingpin (1996)

Strangely enough, Kingpin — with Bill Murray, Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid — is a feel-good movie. Harrelson is a former star bowler missing an arm who's seeking redemption through Quaid's Amish bowler Ishmael.

Vegas Vacation (1997)

Honestly, they should have stopped at some point. But we'll take all the Cousin Eddie we can get. Shame art started to imitate life after a while.

Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

This send-up of the stereotypical 1990s teenage gross-out romcom was great. And Quaid was great as the dad in it.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

A brilliant movie with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway — plus Randy Quaid as the boss employing the boys, and who knows what they've been up to.

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.