Actors’ Spotlight #45: Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel May 2014 (cropped).png

Zooey Claire Deschanel (born January 17, 1980) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. In 1999, she made her film debut in Mumford, followed by her role as Anita Miller in Cameron Crowe’s 2000 semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous. Deschanel soon became known for her deadpan comedy roles in films such as The Good Girl (2002), The New Guy (2002), Elf (2003), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Failure to Launch (2006), Yes Man (2008), and (500) Days of Summer (2009). She also did dramatic turns in the films Manic (2001), All the Real Girls (2003), Winter Passing (2005) and Bridge to Terabithia (2007). Since 2011, she has played Jessica Day on the Fox sitcom New Girl, for which she has received an Emmy Award nomination and three Golden Globe Award nominations. USA Today described her performance as “Given a role tailored to launch her from respected indie actor to certified TV star, Deschanel soars, combining well-honed skills with a natural charm.”

For a few years starting in 2001, Deschanel performed in the jazz cabaret act If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies with fellow actress Samantha Shelton. Besides singing, she plays keyboards, percussion, banjo, and ukulele. In 2006, Deschanel teamed up with M. Ward to release a debut album, Volume One, under the name She & Him in March 2008. They released a follow-up album, Volume Two, in the U.S. in March 2010, with their Christmas album A Very She & Him Christmas being released in 2011, Volume 3 in 2013, and Classics in 2014. She also received Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media nomination for her song So Long, which featured in the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack.

Deschanel is also a co-founder of the female-focused website HelloGiggles, which was acquired by Time, Inc. in 2015.

Gifted in both acting and music, Deschanel has always been a delight to watch on screen for many, many years. But she, like most people, does have her fair share of bad movies to her roster and these are her 5 worst:

5. Our Idiot Brother

Our Idiot Brother is a very mixed bag. On one hand, the four main leads do a really great job. But on the other hand, it’s not really funny and lags in the first two acts and doesn’t live up to the title that much.

4. Bridge To Terabithia

Deschanel being wasted in this movie, she’s not really given a whole lot to do here except to be kind of a clichéd role as a teacher Hutcherson has somewhat of the hots for for a film that was not really that great to begin with.

3. Yes Man

Another wasted role for Deschanel, she’s just here to be the main love interest for Jim Carrey in another film that doesn’t work to begin with, they try to apply the magical element of this situation where he can’t say anything but Yes and yet it makes no sense because the movie isn’t specific about it.

2. Your Highness

This is just a lame raunchy retread of The Princess Bride, it’s basically Princess Bride but with poop and fart jokes and only a third of the funny humor from Princess Bride.

and the #1 worst Zooey Deschanel movie is…

The Happening

This is the ultimate waste of Zooey Deschanel’s talents ever, all she does is look at you awkwardly on screen, mumble her lines, and act like a friggin’ deer in headlights all throughout the movie, you never feel for her character at all and she just comes off as annoyed by what she’s involved in.

Now, on to the good stuff, the 5 best Zooey Deschanel movies:

5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

I will say that from the brief bits of reading the actual book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy can be seen as not a really good adaptation of the book it’s based on BUT on its’ own, it’s a fairly enjoyable movie. It does a decent job trying to match the feel of the book itself but it does feel like it only took the minimalist of baby steps to do so but where it does work in the cast, the story, and especially the humor, it makes Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy a good fun time. Not a perfect movie but certainly not the trainwreck that a lot of people say it is.

4. Almost Famous

The movie that introduced us to Kate Hudson and Billy Cruddup and features the second film appearance of Deshcanel and another masterpiece of filmmaking from Cameron Crowe.

3. Surf’s Up

An extremely underrated animated film from Sony Pictures Animation with Shia LaBeouf in probably his strongest performance as an actor and he plays an animated penguin. In addition, you have Jeff Bridges as a penguin as The Dude and it’s brilliant. In addition, you have a pretty good star studded voice cast, a great story, and a lot of really good humor involved.

2. Elf

Elf is one of those Christmas movies that sounds like a bad, bad idea.

However, once you start watching the film, you’re immediately hooked. One of the reasons why the film does this is Will Ferrell. Sure, we look at him now as not being as great as he once used to be, but he’s very solid in this movie and that’s one of the things that helps boost the film.

The rest of the cast does a great job in this film including James Caan, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel, and Mary Steenburgen.

Elf is a fun and hilarious movie and it really highlights how great a director Jon Favreau is and would later lead to movies like Iron Man and Zathura.

Elf rises above the average Christmas movie thanks to its’ lead star and a freshly written script.

and the #1 best Zooey Deschanel movie is…

(500) Days Of Summer

It’s a great romantic comedy that doesn’t end the way you think it would. If you watch the trailer, Gordon-Levitt even tells you he won’t get with Deschanel at the end of the film. The script is also well-written and Marc Webb proves that he can direct more than 3-minute music videos. I want to see this movie have a cult following because it’s such a great movie. 500 Days Of Summer, a romantic comedy unlike any other.

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Posted in Actors' Spotlight

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