Your Top Three is a series here at where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Cameron Diaz’s movie career. She made her debut opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask, released July 29, 1994. Since then she has had a very interesting run in Hollywood, and yet she tends to get little respect because she’s a blonde bombshell with maybe more bad rom-coms on her resume than revered classics. But she’s got a Marilyn Monroe thing going on where she’s definitely smarter and more talented than she comes across through the characters she plays. 

Diaz may still be best known for There’s Something About Mary and that iconic “hair gel” moment. This weekend she’s back in another comedy focused on the carnal pleasures: Sex Tape, in which she and Jason Segel record their lovemaking, and the video is leaked to friends and family. It’s the kind of role you expect from the 41-year-old star of What Happens in Vegas, The Sweetest Thing and Bad Teacher

Let’s not forget, though, she’s done nice work with Danny Boyle, Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Terry Gilliam, James Mangold, Ridley Scott, Cameron Crowe and Oliver Stone, is quite memorable as the voice of one of the most famous animated characters of this century (Fiona in Shrek) and shook and kicked butt rather capably in the Charlie’s Angels movies. We may not love everything she does, but everyone should be able to name at least three great movies she’s in. 

My Top Three Cameron Diaz Movies:

1. Being John Malkovich (1999) – The former model really slummed it for this surreal Charlie Kaufman-scripted feature in which she plays the frumpy, animal-loving wife of puppeteer John Cusack. Undoubtedly her greatest performance, as Lotte Schwartz she is funny and dramatic in ways we haven’t seen from her since, and that’s a shame because after 15 years it still stands out as such an anomaly.


2. Knight and Day (2010) – In one of the most overlooked movies and performances in recent years, Diaz is surprisingly sharp as an oblivious woman who gets mixed up in a spy plot led by Tom Cruise (a very different kind of collaboration for the duo from Vanilla Sky). This is an ironic action comedy that is goofy as hell but still smarter than it seems on the surface — basically it’s, in different ways for each, Diaz and Cruise’s Last Action Hero. Definitely worth another shot if you dismissed it when it came out.


3. The Last Supper (1995) – Another underrated movie, this was only Diaz’s second feature, her first of a series of indies she picked instead of continuing with studio fare after The Mask. She plays one of a group of liberal grad students who host conservative guests for dinner and then murder them. It’s a little too obvious and simplistic but it’s still an enjoyable black comedy serving as a reflection of obvious and simplistic mid-’90s political debate.  


Your Top Three Cameron Diaz Movies (the top being Being John Malkovich):















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