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Every Joey King Movie Ranked

It's kind of hard to believe that Joey King is only 22, considering how much she's already accomplished with her career. She already has an entire trilogy under her belt ("The Kissing Booth"), played a well-known comic book character ("The Dark Knight Rises"), and has four producer credits (and counting) to her name so far. She's starring alongside Brad Pitt in the star-studded action comedy "Bullet Train," while the Disney Channel's "Hamster and Gretel" animated series features King in its main voice cast.

Although King has been equally busy on both the big and small screen, our focus is her feature-length film endeavors. From her breakout role as Beverly Cleary's iconic book character in "Ramona and Beezus," up through her making the transition into more mature roles in the last few years, King has had an interesting and varied movie career that shows no signs of slowing down or growing stale anytime soon. This list will only discuss movies she played a sizable role in, so her aforementioned appearance as a young Talia al Ghul won't be included. It will also eschew her animated film roles, though her distinctive voice has made her a good fit for those.  

24. Smartass (2017)

Many young actresses, particular those who got their start playing especially cute and squeaky-clean characters, eventually try and break away from being typecast in such parts by taking a particularly dark, edgy role. For Joey King, that dark, edgy role came via 2017's "Smartass," where she plays a 15-year-old runaway who finds herself mixed up in a world of sex, drugs, and other adult misadventures. 

There is a right way to make a movie like this, but "Smartass" never really gets there. Instead, the entire thing feels like it's trying way too hard to be shocking and offensive, at the expense of actually telling a compelling story. King is one of the only good things about the movie, doing her best with very weak material — even if she is a bit miscast. Still, she's the only thing even remotely redeeming about "Smartass," though not to the point that anyone but the most faithful and determined of King completists should even bother. 

23. Slender Man (2018)

Several of the all-time great horror thrillers are at least loosely based on real events, with films like "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "The Amityville Horror," "The Silence of the Lambs," and more all inspired by true stories to varying degrees. But typically, there is some distance between the true story and the release of the movie — or at the very least, a significant amount of the original story is changed. With the 2018 movie "Slender Man," neither of those things happened, leading to significant negative backlash against the film from the moment it was announced.

The movie was released just four years after the real-life stabbing of a teen (via NBC News) by her friends in the woods of Wisconsin, with the defendants claiming to have been inspired by the so-called Slender Man of internet creepypasta infamy. For a studio to then make a movie called "Slender Man," also based on the same source material and revolving around teenage girls who come into contact with the monster and offer him a sacrifice, was in poor taste indeed. To make matters worse, the movie itself was terrible anyway by all accounts, with both critics and audiences panning it. 

It was a rare misstep for King at a point in her career when she had started demonstrating a knack for picking more interesting projects, but it thankfully didn't derail her career at all. 

22. Stonewall (2015)

You definitely can't blame Joey King for wanting to be involved in a movie about the Stonewall riots, one of the most pivotal events in history for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights and mainstream visibility. As will become a recurring theme for this list, she does the best job she could given the material. But in this case, the material is a very generic coming-of-age story that tries to use the Stonewall riots as a backdrop for said generic story — which is offensive enough on its own to such an important and tragic event.

Even worse is that "Stonewall" was heavily criticized for how it handled those parts of history, with one of the most common complaints being that the cast was heavily whitewashed and didn't focus on the members of the community that had it worst. As Maya Stanton of Entertainment Weekly wrote, the movie takes a very complicated event that featured an extremely diverse cast of players and condensed it down to "pretty white kid comes out, struggles." None of this was really King's fault, but it doesn't make the movie any less of a failure regarding its subject matter. 

21. Wish Upon (2017)

One of Joey King's first movies was "Quarantine," and one of her first big roles were she didn't play an adorably precocious child was in "The Conjuring," so she carved herself out a horror niche pretty quickly. Fortunately, she went on to make more good horror movies than bad ones. Less fortunately is that "Wish Upon" isn't one of the good ones. 

The premise is that King's character finds a magical box that will grant her seven wishes, but the monkey's paw twist is that someone (or something) that she knows has to die for every wish she makes. Needless to say, she goes on making wishes anyway, even after the very first one ends up resulting in the death of her dog. It's a decent enough set-up, but "Wish Upon" doesn't do anything especially unique or interesting with it and ends up being one of a million other completely forgettable and skippable teen horror thrillers released in the 2010s. 

20. The Kissing Booth 3 (2021)

It can be hard to figure out what Netflix's criteria is for canceling and renewing series, and which original movies do or don't deserve sequels. It constantly announces that a movie is going to have a sequel or be part of an ongoing series, but that doesn't mean it always happens (or just hasn't happened yet). All that being said, the service's "Kissing Booth" series has already managed to become one of its only completed film trilogies — so the company clearly likes what it sees in terms of the response to the films.

To be fair, these kinds of films aren't terribly difficult to make, and all three "Kissing Booth" movies are pretty similar. None of them have ever won over critics, but they have a decent-sized fan following — obviously, given that Netflix has made three of them so far. The consensus of those fans seems to be that each installment was a little worse than the one before it, but all three are decent enough comfort food and are a fine way to spend a dozy Saturday afternoon. 

19. The Sound and the Fury (2014)

Say what you will about James Franco, but he has always made interesting choices, particularly as a filmmaker. One such project was his 2014 adaptation of the acclaimed William Faulkner novel "The Sound and the Fury." Despite the novel being a popular and groundbreaking work, it was previously adapted as a film only once in the nearly 100 years since its original publication — and that 1959 effort diverged greatly from the source material.

The truth is, it's an extremely difficult book to adapt — which is why only two filmmakers have attempted it. If nothing else, Franco and his cast deserve credit for trying. But ultimately, it just doesn't come together, with Franco focusing too much on trying to replicate the novel's style and tone and not enough time in trying to make sure it had a capable script to match. While the procession of cameos by Franco's many famous friends are distracting, the core cast all does an admirable job — including Joey King as Miss Quentin and Tim Blake Nelson as Jason Compson III. But, yet again, King can only do so much when the script doesn't support her acting talents. 

18. Zeroville (2019)

Five years after "The Sound and the Fury" and its near-universal critical panning, James Franco was undeterred and tried to bring another novel to the big screen. This time, it was Steve Erickson's "Zeroville," about a film fan who seems to exist out of time as he takes a surreal journey into broadening his cinematic horizons. Despite having earned raves for starring in and directing "The Disaster Artist" the previous year, Franco once again found himself at the receiving end of a critical backlash with "Zeroville" — including Razzie nominations for Worst Actor and Worst Director.

Despite the real actresses only being 13 years apart in real life, Joey King playing the daughter of Megan Fox's character is great casting, and it's easy to buy that they would be related. If only it was utilized in a better movie, not one that feels like little more than a misguided vanity project for Franco and his obvious love of the movies of the 1970s — one that it feels like he made for himself and literally no one else. 

17. Family Weekend (2013)

While "Family Weekend" flirts with being a black comedy — with the plot being that a teenager drugs and kidnaps her mom and dad in order to force them to learn to be better parents — it doesn't end up quite as subversive as it could have been. Had it gone a little further in that direction, it might have been a better movie overall. But as it stands, "Family Weekend" ends up being a surprisingly funny and even poignant film about a family learning to appreciate each other and be a more cohesive unit.

Though the parents are played by Matthew Modine and Kristin Chenoweth, it's the kids that steal the show. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times praises both King and her co-star, Olesya Ruin, saying, "What keeps the film afloat is the buoyant young cast, with Rulin especially watchable as the tightly wound lead and Joey King as her younger sister, who's an aspiring actress." In fact, some of the funniest parts of the movie come from King's character, who wears costumes and plays parts from movies she is much too young to be so familiar with — including "A Clockwork Orange," "Reservoir Dogs," and "Taxi Driver" — making the role a great showcase for her wide range. 

16. The Lie (2018)

Coming somewhat in the middle of the spectrum between Joey King's terrible horror movies and her great ones, "The Lie" is a fairly average but still extremely watchable psychological thriller. In it, King plays a teenager who commits a terrible crime, and as her parents try to cover it up, the growing web of lies ends up spinning out of control and leads to further tragedy. 

The characters are largely unlikeable, and while that's part of the point, it does dull the impact of what happens to them. The plot consistently walks the line between smart and absurd, and doesn't always stay on the right side of it. The movie's attempt at an M. Night Shyamalan-caliber twist hurts way more than it helps — not unlike many of Shyamalan's own films. Ultimately, "The Lie" is a decent watch for Amazon Prime subscribers who want a light thriller that entertains without requiring too much thinking. As for actually paying to specifically watch it, maybe don't do that. 

15. The Kissing Booth 2 (2020)

In the second "Kissing Booth" movie, Elle (Joey King's character) and the gang are in their senior year of high school and once again go about putting together the titular event because ... reasons. It doesn't really matter that much. Ultimately, it's another teen comedy-drama that is completely low stakes and that viewers just ride along with for the sake of seeing attractive young actors flirting with and backstabbing each other.

The Rotten Tomatoes consensus of the movie says that "Joey King makes 'The Kissing Booth 2' better than it could have been," which is a common thread among her lesser films. Indeed, King is one of those actors that will brighten up the dullest of movies. While it's always disappointing when she picks a clunker, you can always rest assured that she'll be the best part of that clunker and often one of the only redeeming qualities about it. 

14. Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

In 1996, the visuals that "Independence Day" was pushing were jaw-dropping at the time. During the early days of computer effects, it was easy to have a movie be fairly shallow in terms of story and character development as long as there was stuff blowing up in a really awesome-looking way. But by the 2010s, we were getting movies with amazing computer effects every other week, and that was no longer enough of a hook to hang an entire movie on.

Yet 2016's "Independence Day: Resurgence" still tried to be that — a special effects disaster spectacle with a paper-thin plot that you're supposed to overlook because of all the cool stuff on screen. But that type of thing just doesn't hit in the same way anymore. It's not a bad movie, it's just unremarkable. While the stars of the film are the returning cast members like Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Judd Hirsch, newcomers such as Liam Hemsworth and Joey King were supposed to serve as the obligatory next generation that these types of nostalgia sequels always have. Unfortunately, the movie didn't perform well enough for there to be future sequels that they could take front and center in. 

13. Wish I Was Here (2014)

The mid-2010s saw Joey King begin to take on more creatively diverse films, and even when they weren't amazing, there were very few that weren't at least interesting. What people probably remember most about "Wish I Was Here" was that director and co-writer Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter to help fund the movie, launching a debate (via The Guardian) about whether crowdfunding should strictly be for up-and-coming creatives or if established artists should be entitled to utilizing it as well. 

Ultimately, more than 46,000 people backed the project — including Joey King, doing it strictly as a fan and having no idea she'd eventually end up cast in the film (per The Hollywood Reporter). The general feeling was that it wasn't terribly different from Braff's previous filmmaking efforts and came off as yet another vanity project for the "Scrubs" star, but that it was still a heartfelt and highly watchable tale of a family who come together over a cancer diagnosis. 

12. Going in Style (2017)

This is the point in the list where the movies go from "not bad" to legitimately good, while starting to head in the direction of "great." In "Going in Style," Joey King more than holds her own, despite a cast that is absolutely stacked with cinematic royalty such as Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, and Christopher Lloyd. It's an impressive ensemble of immense talent from multiple generations of Hollywood, and King manages to not get lost in the shuffle, which speaks volumes about her talents and screen presence.

In the film, King plays the granddaughter of Caine's Joe, one of three elderly men who lose their pensions and decide to rob a bank. The premise might smack of one of those "old guys get into wacky shenanigans" comedies, but "Going in Style" mixes the funny with a lot of intelligence and heart, while not wasting the talents of its veteran leads like so many movies of this type do. 

11. White House Down (2013)

"Independence Day: Resurgence" wasn't even Joey King's first movie with director Rolland Emmerich — nor was it her last, as he also directed "Stonewall." Rather, Emmerich first took notice of King as a rising talent with his 2013 action thriller "White House Down." One of the better movies from Emmerich's output during the 2010s, "White House Down" doesn't reinvent the wheel of big action movies with light political undertones, but not all paint-by-numbers art is necessarily boring.

Much of what saves "White House Down" from going too far off the cliché cliff is the chemistry, charm, and screen presence of its cast — primarily leads Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. But young King steals many of her scenes as the daughter of a police officer (Tatum) who is kidnapped along with the president by terrorists who keep them held captive in the White House itself. It's not as easy as it looks to play a frightened child without overacting, and King handles the task beautifully. 

10. The Kissing Booth (2018)

The movie that resulted in a rare Netflix trilogy, "The Kissing Booth" came near the end of 2018, a year which saw King really putting in the work with an impressive six film credits. If you only asked the critics, it would have been much lower on this list — but the movie has a lot of fans, and this isn't exactly the kind of movie that someone reviewing movies for The New York Times is going to fall all over themselves praising. Then again, it's a product aimed at teenage girls, which the world is always unfairly harsh to anyway.

The plot is standard fare: A teenage girl (King) falls for a bad boy (Jacob Elrodi), but the twist — there's always a twist — is that the bad boy is the older brother of her longtime BFF (Joel Courtney). She tries to keep her feelings for the bad boy secret from the BFF, and that's where the hilarious hijinks ensue, before a heartfelt ending that also leaves the door open for a sequel. Which, of course, we got — twice. It's no better or worse than your average teen rom-com, and you'll love it if you love movies like this and won't if you don't. It's really that simple. 

9. Quarantine (2008)

Following some voice work, Joey King's first major live-action film role was in 2008's "Quarantine," when the young actress was just nine years old. It was here that she established what would be a recurring niche throughout her career, which is horror movies. Though her role was fairly small in terms of the cast list, the role she played — a girl named Briana — ended up being the most pivotal and arguably most important in the whole film.

When an extreme version of rabies that turns people violent spreads through an apartment building, it is determined that Briana's dog may have been patient zero. Naturally, Briana becomes infected as well, and she goes on to contribute to its spread. A remake of Spanish horror film called "Rec," "Quarantine" garnered largely positive responses from critics. Bloody Disgusting said that the movie was "a study in claustrophobia, expertly cast, edited and staged with expert meticulousness and precision." However, while "Rec" would go on to be a four-part series, "Quarantine" got only a single sequel that had almost nothing to do with the original. 

8. The Princess (2022)

Joey King began to get involved behind the camera as she headed into the 2020s, with "The Kissing Booth 2" serving as her first executive producer credit. She has since been a producer on every movie she has released up to this point, including her 2022 action flick, "The Princess." While it wouldn't be the first action movie she's ever been in, it is the first in which she herself took on a major action-oriented role as the sword-wielding, vengeance-seeking titular character.

Rotten Tomatoes calls King a "credible action star," and in a review where the movie is compared favorably to "Die Hard," Scott Mendelson of Forbes also specifically calls out her talents in the genre. The movie isn't quite "Kill Bill" and she's not quite Uma Thurman's Bride, but King proves here that she has a bright future ahead of her as someone who can capably headline non-stop action flicks if she so chooses. If you have Hulu, check out this gem as soon as you can.  

7. Borealis (2015)

It's a little on the nose that Joey King plays a character named Aurora in a movie called "Borealis," but don't let that stop you from checking out this overlooked gem of an indie road movie. The story is that Aurora is going to lose her eyesight as a result of a degenerative disease, so her father (Jonas Chernick) decides to take her on a road trip to let her see the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights, while she still can. But that's not all that's going on, as Kevin Pollak shows up as a loan shark who is chasing the two because of a debt that Aurora's father owes him.

It's a remarkable little Canadian indie movie that not many have seen, let alone heard of. But "Borealis" is a poignant and at times powerful film that is a wonderful showcase for King. Unfortunately, it was released the same year as "Stonewall" and the backlash that movie got was a bit deafening, so it's hard to blame anyone for letting this pass them by. But it's worth checking out, not just for King's performance but for the movie itself. 

6. Summer '03 (2018)

Coming-of-age movies may be a dime a dozen, but there wouldn't be so many of them if people didn't enjoy them. Still, the needlessly suggestive poster that features Joey King seductively licking an ice cream cone didn't do "Summer '03" any favors in finding its target audience. That's a shame, because it's an extremely charming movie about a 16-year-old who is trying to figure out love while also navigating a family crisis.

Released in 2018, "Summer '03" is actually something of a nostalgia movie. It might not seem that way for people who were already well into adulthood in the 2000s, but for those who were also experiencing their high school years in the early aughts, they will feel right at home in the movie's world and vibe. But that's not to say that adults won't find plenty to love here as well, as the movie also spends plenty of time on the grown-ups around King's character. If you skipped it because the poster rubbed you the wrong way, hopefully you'll give "Summer '03" a chance to win you over after reading this. Because it will. 

5. The In Between (2022)

Another film produced by and starring Joey King, 2022's "The In Between" sees the actor wading into sci-fi territory. When Tessa (King) and her boyfriend Skylar (Kyle Allen), get into a car accident, only Tessa survives. However, she soon finds out that Skylar is able to communicate with her from the other side, and she goes about finding out what that means and if there is still a future for their love despite his passing.

While the most common complaint about the movie is that it's a bit too long, "The In Between" was largely seen as a pleasant surprise. You don't hear the term "Paramount+ Original Movie" very often, at least not when it comes to something that isn't part of an established franchise. But this film proves that the streaming service is a possible force to be reckoned with if it can keep producing solid, unique offerings like "The In Between," which sits nicely on a service that is also home to most of the "Star Trek" franchise. 

4. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" was largely a star vehicle for Steve Carell in terms of his budding movie career, but it was very much an ensemble piece featuring a number of actors both of the veteran and up-and-coming variety — including Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Bacon, and Marissa Tomei. It centers on a couple going through a divorce and navigating the dating world again, and also follows other relationships both familial and romantic along the way. 

Joey King plays one of the children of Carell's character, and though it's not a huge part, it was meaty enough to get her noticed and to have her stand out in most of the scenes she's in. With her playing something of an exaggerated character in "Ramona and Beezus," this was King's first opportunity to play a more grounded, realistic child character, and she proved more than capable in that endeavor. 

3. Radium Girls (2018)

Taking place in the early 20th century, "Radium Girls" is a look at factory work — particularly for women — during that era. It is thus far Joey King's best-reviewed movie in terms of her grown-up roles, and that acclaim is well-deserved indeed. Other than being an important movie in a historical context in that it tackles labor reform, "Radium Girls" also functions as an extremely effective character drama about these women who are unknowingly being exposed to significant health risks due to having to work with radium.

Ultimately, all of these women are doomed, and we know it as we are watching the film — making all of their personal and professional triumphs feel bittersweet. The powerful performances of King and her co-stars go a long way in making the audience feel for them, even when the movie's somewhat shopworn approach to historical fiction dampens the power of the story a bit. With just a little more polish, this might have put King in award consideration — but as it stands, it is yet another example of the long career she has ahead of her if she keeps doing work this good. 

2. Ramona and Beezus (2010)

Author Beverly Cleary's Ramona character has been beloved by multiple generations of readers, and she presented extremely big shoes to fill for the film adaptation of the book "Beezus and Ramona." Due to the age of the character, it was going to have to be a relative newcomer, meaning that auditions were going to be required to secure the part. While we haven't seen Joey King's Ramona audition, considering how amazing she is in the movie, it's easy to imagine she was offered the part as soon as she tussled her hair and raised her eyebrow.

"Ramona and Beezus" is a ridiculously charming movie featuring King and Selena Gomez as the titular characters, navigating a fairly standard life — though one that Ramona sees through exaggerated eyes that make everything feel a bit more like a fantasy adventure than it actually is. Obviously King was only going to be the right age to play Ramona for a very limited window, but it's too bad that time couldn't be slowed down somehow for her to make several more "Ramona" movies while she was so perfect for the role. 

1. The Conjuring (2013)

"The Conjuring" not only remains Joey King's best horror movie, but it's her best overall movie, period. While the quality of the sequels is debatable, the original remains one of the best horror thrillers of the last decade and King's performance is a big part of the reason why. Though she is arguably more of a secondary character and one of five daughters of the family that the movie is based around, her Christine Perron stands out as both a character and for King's performance. 

Critical consensus was almost universally positive, with most agreeing that the movie doesn't do anything revolutionary — but it does what it does extremely well. Movies about demonic possession may have been a rather crowded genre around this time, but few are as good as "The Conjuring." That includes its sequels and spin-offs, of which — although some are decent — there are far too many, diluting what made the original so good.