From 1996 until 2010, Amanda Bynes seemed to be everywhere. The comedian and actor had three hit television shows on two different networks, all while starring in films with future Academy Award winners. While it's easy to reflect on groundbreakers like The Amanda Show, a complete ranking of the best Amanda Bynes movies has never really been compiled. Don't worry — I've got you covered.
In the years between Easy A (editor: Susan Littenberg), which was her last studio film in 2010, and now, Bynes experienced a turbulent period of high-profile news appearances. Since then, she's taken a break to work on her mental health, gotten sober, moved to Los Angeles, and enrolled in fashion design classes. Though she hasn't taken part in any official projects since 2010, Bynes has hinted at making an acting comeback in 2018. Fans are eager to see the comedian's comeback happen for real; Bynes' impact on entertainment from 1996-2006 cannot be overstated. She was funny and physical, silly and serious, a sketch comedian and actor that always won the audience's heart. She smart and sarcastic and pretty, as good a comedian-host as Carol Burnett and as lovable as Gilda Radner.
From 2002 to 2010, Bynes' film career was like a masterclass in how to transition from the small screen to to the silver screen. Now, it time for the official ranking of the best Amanda Bynes movies of the decade.
1. She's The Man (2006)
Bynes was never afraid to commit to the most absurd role. Whether it involved fake mustaches, terrible wigs, or scenarios like "a family with a high self-opinion and outrageous accents own and operate a knockoff Blockbuster video franchise," Bynes was all in. For that reason, she was the ideal choice to play Viola in an updated version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. She's The Man had it all: An outrageously funy script, the ridiculous nature of gender norms, Bynes in drag, and Channing Tatum with a tampon in his nose, for starters. She's The Man was hot and hilarious and anxiety-inducing. It was perfect, and Bynes was a revelation in it.
2. Big Fat Liar (2002)
Bynes' first major film role was Big Fat Liar, opposite Frankie Muniz and and Paul Giamatti. Bynes' role as Kaylee would foretell the charisma and unusual brand of reason she'd bring to Viola. Big Fat Liar was a joy, as it pitted preteen superstars against an obnoxious Giamatti in their quest for justice. It also let Bynes take on the role of the smarter, funnier, and more adventurous friend. She was an amazing foil to Muniz, and the scene where she subtly takes over a reception desk was instantly iconic.
3. Easy A (2010)
Easy A was Bynes' last film to date, and also her most ambitious. Bynes is inherently likable, and has mostly stuck to comedy. So taking on the role of the film's chief antagonist, opposite Emma Stone? That was a risk for her. Fortunately, and to the surprise of some, she excelled in the role. Bynes was strangely believable as the charismatic, deeply religious Marianne. It was a watershed moment for Bynes' career. Hopefully, fans will be able to see more of that dynamism from her in the future.
4. What A Girl Wants (2003)
Amanda Bynes! Colin Firth! Culture clash! England! Father-daughter bonding! If this were any other 20-something actor's movie, it would be their best. It would rank #1 for "Aww!" factor alone. But this is a list of Amanda Bynes projects, so the iconicWhat A Girl Wants is way down at #4.
5. Robots (2005)
Robots was really fun to look at. The universe they created for the film was unique, and the visuals were striking. As a movie, though, it felt a little stale. It was cute enough; also, having Amanda Bynes voice a character in a Robin Williams movie for kids was an A-plus choice for 2005.
6. Hairspray (2007)
Hairspray (writer: Leslie Dixon), the film adaptation of the musical based on the John Waters movie, was supposed to be A Thing. It had Zac Efron as a singing, dancing heartthrob and John Travolta in full-on drag. As things go, Hairspray ended up being a fine adaptation of the Broadway musical. Bynes was a surprising choice for the role of Penny Pingleton - she never quite made the transition from actor to pop star, like so many of her peers - but she sold audiences based on her strength as a performer, warmth as an actor, and that ridiculous hairstyle.
7. Lovewrecked (2005)
Amanda Bynes was in a made-for-TV movie called Lovewrecked in 2005. It was on ABC Family. Lovewrecked took itself too seriously, but wasn't good enough to warrant commitment. It would have been better or funnier or stranger if they had gone full camp. Lovewrecked is significantly better (and more worthy of watching) than the final film on this list.
8. Sydney White (2007)
In what was otherwise a banner two years for Bynes' film career, she somehow found time to star in a modern adaptation of the Snow White story. Why? Unclear. Amanda Bynes was a bona fide star, a box office given, and comedic gold, but it is pretty forgettable. It's named Sydney White (producer: Dara Resnik Creasey). Who was this even for?
So, there it is! The official ranking of Amanda Bynes movies. It feels like she's been in more, right? That's just the power of her acting chops. Let's hope the comedian makes a comeback for real in 2018 — fans will be here waiting for more.