The UK release of unconventional rom-com (500) Days of Summer has got us thinking. Well, we say thinking, we mean drooling because we’ve again realised that everyone here at MovieVortex is obsessed with Zooey Deschanel. There’s just something about her that’s appealing, maybe it’s those big blue eyes, maybe her winning smile, or perhaps that she dares to be different. And since we talked about it so much, we thought we might as well share some of that chit chat with all of our friend in cyber-space. So in honour of the lovely Miss Deschanel, here’s a list of our top 10 quirky lead actresses.
1. ZOOEY DESCHANEL: Stunningly beautiful, wonderfully unique and part of a wide variety of kooky films, Zooey has won her way into our hearts and to the top of our list. She wowed us with her complexity in Gigantic, she took on murderous trees in The Happening, and she entered a whole new world in lush children’s film Bridge to Terabithia, she’s done comedy, drama, family and even animation (she briefly appeared in an episode of American Dad) but one thing she won’t do is conventional.
2. ELLEN PAIGE: A successful child actress, Ellen first caught our eye in the alarming Hard Candy, a film about a child who hunts paedophiles who prey on girls via the internet; but she is surely best know for being at the centre of a massive shift towards the kooky in teen comedy with her unforgettable role as Juno MacGuff. She’s appeared in a small role in X-Men 3 (not a tip-top job but a points-winner on the geek category) and has landed a plum role in Christopher Nolan’s much anticipated Inception.
3. JENNY AGUTTER: Another child star gone awry, Jenny Agutter became world famous for starring in the children’s classic The Railway Children before going completely off the rails and playing a girl lost in the Australian outback with her little brother in Walkabout. She film emphatically shed her clean-cut-kid image in this film by spending almost the entire time completely naked. Better still, her continued to encompass bizarre horse-fetish film Equus and, possibly her crowning glory, playing a Nurse in An American Werewolf in London. We salute you Jenny Agutter, you saucy seventies pa.
4. ANNA KARINA: If Anna Karina had been around in ancient Greece, she’d have made Helen of Troy look like a salty sea hag and the whole Trojan war thing would’ve blown over. Former wife and muse of Gallic legend Jean-Luc Godard, Karina starred in several of his earliest, and greatest, works. She was a femme fatale in gangster movie Alphaville, a prostitute in Vivre sa Vie and an a naive young girl in the unforgettable Bande a Part, after which Quentin Tarantino’s production company was named. Often overshadowed by the conventional coquettishness of her contemporary Brigitte Bardot, Anna Karina is the thinking man’s alternative and a woman who firmly establishes her position as one of the sexiest kooks of all time by playing an effervescent nanny with gangster connexions in Godard’s cryptic classic Pierrot Le Fou.
5. MOLLY RINGWALD: Another actress who cut her teeth in a film that changed teen movies forever, Molly blasted into our world as raven-haired rebel Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club and went on to do… well, not much. Bizarrely, she has also had an artistic collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard, appearing in his 2002 film version of King Lear. What a strange twist of fate.
6. MYLENE JAMPANOI: We know her best for her role in disturbing French horror Martyrs, but Mylne Jampano has plenty more to offer audiences. Her mixed French/Chinese heritage doesn’t only provide her startling good looks, it allows her to take on a variety of roles, one of our favourites being her starring role as Min Li in The Chinese Botanist’s daughter where she is the centre of a lesbian love story. She may well make the step from quirky to cult soon though, she has just starred as Serge Gainsbourg’s drug-addicted girlfriend Bambou in a biography of the French lethario.
7. JANE FONDA: Is there a man alive who doesn’t have fond memories of Barberella? The psychedelic 60′s sex-a-thon is what made Jane Fonda a sex symbol, and who can question why. Subsequent roles in awesome whodunnit Klute and classic comedy Fun With Dick and Jane cement a deserved place in our list.
8. MILLA JOVOVICH: Is there anything quirkier than playing a cosmic weapon in a futuristic thriller? I think not. Her performance as entrancing mute LeeLoo is one of sci-fi’s greatest, and even if the campy excesses of this world (embodied by a massively over the top performance by Chris Tucker) prove to much then you have to appreciate how unconventionally beautiful the former super-model looks in this. And Ms. Jovovich did well to build on her beautiful badass image with the mediocre adaptations of Resident Evil. But before we pidgeon-hole her too much, let’s not forget her parts in Dazed and Cofused and Zoolander. Another multi-talented quirk-master for sure.
9. ASIA ARGENTO: Like a couple of our entrants, quirky might not seem quite the right word to describe Asia Argento. The delectable lady seems better described as ‘intense’ or ‘fiery’, but when you’ve starred in so many films as a passionate and strange lover (Une Vielle Maitresse, Transylvania, Scartlet Diva etc) but also appear in films like The Phantom of the Opera and xXx you have admit to being a little outside of a normal career arc. So it is with no regrets that we include this beautiful belle of the big screen on our top 10.
10. PATRICIA ARQUETTE: We have to confess that we love her for her depiction of Alabama Whitman in the strange, sexy and exciting Tarantino breakthrough – True Romance. But she’s confirmed her talents in the realms of the bizarre with stranger directors still, not least by taking on a big part in professional dreamer David Lynch’s film Lost Highway. Add to that an inexplicable appearance with Adam Sandler in devilish (sorry) comedy Little Nicky and you’ve got a great record for quirkiness.
Words by Michael Edwards