Cameron Diaz is one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood. She has been seen in just about every genre of film and has been quite successful in each. Except now, she’s retired. That right, Cameron Diaz is only 48-years-old, but she’s done with Hollywood. More on why you won’t see new Cameron Diaz movies anymore in a minute.
Her three most successful movies, financially speaking, are ones that only use her vocal talents. These would be (in order) Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek. She has also starred in a litany of popular movies such as My Best Friend’s Wedding, Charlie’s Angels, The Last Supper, My Sister’s Keeper, Vanilla Sky, Knight and Day, Any Given Sunday, and The Holiday. But none of these popular movies top our list of Cameron Diaz’s best movies. We could have included her Shrek movies but decided that we wanted to rate only the movies she could actually be seen in.
These are Cameron Diaz’s best movies per the highly technical Giant Freakin Movie Score algorithm.
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.5/10
This Cameron Diaz movie is a strange one. Being John Malkovich is about an unemployed puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) who is unhappily married to his pet-obsessed wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz). He takes a job as a file clerk in a doctor’s office on the seventh-and-a-half floor, the ceiling very low. During his time there, Craig finds a small hidden door. He decides to explore, climbing through the door. He finds himself in a tunnel that ends up, yes you guessed it, in John Malkovich’s mind. That’s only the beginning.
Cameron Diaz gives a wonderful performance as Lotte who finds herself going through the portal and becoming obsessed with being in John Malkovich’s mind. It awakens her transgender identity, and she ends up falling for Craig’s co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener). It only gets stranger as there is an appearance by a chimpanzee, Charlie Sheen, and yes, even John Malkovich. Entering minds, exiting minds, living other identities, and exploring one’s own identity are all part of this crazy adventure from the mind of Charlie Kaufman.
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (1998)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.7/10
There are so many classic scenes in this amazingly crude, hilarious, over-the-top funny Cameron Diaz movie. In There’s Something About Mary Ben Stiller plays Ted, who as a high schooler is smitten with Mary (Diaz). Their prom date goes horribly wrong (“franks and beans”) and Ted never gets his date with Mary. Fast forward thirteen years and Ted is still as smitten now and he was then. He hires a private detective Pat Healy (wonderfully played by Matt Dillon) to find Mary to see what her life is like now. Healy finds her but finds himself falling for Mary, so he makes up a brutal story for Ted, pushing Ted off her trail. But Ted’s friend Dom (Chris Elliott) convinces him to go see her anyway. He does and more gross hilarity ensues.
Cameron Diaz is fun as Mary, playing it straight to all situations around her. She has a crazy neighbor Magda (Lin Shaye) who she goes to for advice, she deals with her mentally disabled brother Warren (W. Earl Brown) while dealing with Healy’s shenanigans and Ted’s ultimate love for her. This is one funny movie.
GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.4/10
Gangs of New York movie was over twenty years in the making. The film is Martin Scorsese’s look at the criminal element in the mid-to-late 19th Century New York. This was also Cameron Diaz’s one and only time she’d get to work with Scorsese.
This Cameron Diaz movie is based on the 1929 non-fiction novel The Gangs of New York. It starts with a gang battle to decide who will run the Five Points. The Nativist Protestants, led by Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis) are squaring off against the Dead Rabbits, led by “Priest” Vallon (Liam Neeson). Bill the Butcher claims victory after killing Vallon, taking over the Five Points. What Butcher doesn’t know is that Vallon’s young son, Amsterdam, has survived and will be back for revenge. Years later he returns, grown-up and played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Cameron Diaz plays a grifter and pickpocket Jenny Everdeane. As Amsterdam slowly infiltrates the Butcher’s lair, he also begins to become attracted to Jenny. Butcher eventually finds out about Amsterdam’s plot for revenge and wounds him. Jenny hides Amsterdam and helps nurse him back to health. Now, with Jenny’s help, Amsterdam’s plan can continue.
THE MASK (1994)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.3/10
Cameron Diaz made her eye-opening feature film debut in the 1994 Jim Carrey classic comedy The Mask. In it, she played Tina Carlyle, the singer girlfriend of gangster Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene). He plans to overthrow his mob boss but needs cash to help do so. Tyrell sends Tina to a bank to case it and there she meets Carrey’s Stanley Ipkiss. He is immediately drawn to her beauty. She invites him to watch her perform at the Coco Bongo nightclub but Ipkiss is unable to get in to see her. When his car breaks down, Ipkiss is overlooking the harbor bridge when he spots what he thinks is a body in the water. When he gets to it, it is a mask. This mask when worn, as Stanley soon finds out, holds the power of Loki, the Norse God of Mischief. Ipkiss uses this mask and its powers to take down Tyrell, all the while trying to avoid the police and still end up with the eventual damsel in distress, Tina.
Cameron Diaz’s movie debut was immediately positive. Her ability to keep up with Carrey’s craziness was heroic and showed early on that she had a penchant for comedy, which would carry throughout her career. The movie is classically fun, mainly for Carrey’s physical humor, but also for its heart when Carrey (sans Mask) and Diaz share the screen.
Now there’s a sequel to The Mask on the way called The Mask 2, but it’s unlikely Cameron Diaz will be in it. Stick with the original.
IN HER SHOES (2005)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 6.95/10
In Her Shoes is a 2005 dramedy that stars Cameron Diaz as Maggie, a party-girl who can’t hold a job, turning to men and alcohol for financial and emotional support. She has an older sister Rose (Toni Collette) who pretty much looks after her. But things quickly go sour when Maggie, in need of emotional support, beds the man Rose was dating. Rose tosses her out and Maggie ends up going to her estranged grandmother Ella, played by Shirley MacLaine. Maggie’s intent is to lay around all day and sponge off of Ella. But Ella is wise. When Maggie asked Ella to finance a possible acting career, Ella says she’ll match her salary if she takes a job at Ella’s retirement community.
When you have Cameron Diaz, Collette, and MacLaine all in one movie, it has to be good. In Her Shoes tells a story of love and loss, forgiveness and redemption and Cameron Diaz is great in it, as are the other ladies.
Why Cameron Diaz Quit Making Movies
The last time fans got to see Cameron Diaz in a new movie was almost seven years ago. Her final film was the 2014 musical bomb, Annie. Cameron Diaz took a break after that movie, but the break went on longer than initially thought, eventually turning into full on retirement. She quit right before turning 40, perhaps so that in the mind of audiences she’ll be 39-years-old forever.
In the time since she stopped acting in movies, Cameron Diaz got married to singer Benji Madden, the pair became parents, and Cameron launched a clean wine brand with fashion CEO Katherine Power called Avaline.
She spoke to Gwyneth Paltrow for Goop via Vanity Fair and told her, “It’s a strange thing to say. I know a lot of people won’t understand it,” she said. “But it’s so intense to work at that level and be that public and put yourself out there. There’s a lot of energy coming at you at all times when you’re really visible as an actor and doing press and putting yourself out there. I’m sensitive to some energies and not others, but I do get the overwhelming energy of the attention being put towards me. I stopped, I really looked at my life, and I saw what I had been [missing].”
Being busy with her wine business has kept Cameron Diaz from getting the itch to return to acting in movies. It doesn’t look like she’ll ever return, at least as long as she’s busy with something else.
Obviously, acting was not and still isn’t something she is missing. So, while Cameron Diaz maintains the life of a retired movie actor, there are plenty of great films she has been a part of. Start with the list above, you’ll be happy you did.
The GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE is calculated using rating averages from Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database.