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The Fame of Drew Barrymore
Remaining popular in Hollywood is difficult, and most have a small window of opportunity before they are engulfed by a new wave of younger and equally talented actors. Even more unusual is a child star who becomes a career actor, and is still active in Hollywood well into adulthood. Drew Barrymore is one such individual, and while it can be argued that she is well-connected because of her family's name, she must be special for more than her name, right?
Drew stole everyone's hearts as a cute little blonde girl in the 1982 movie, E.T. Then she had to compete with an alien throughout the entire movie, but her cuteness prevailed and she was soon cast in new roles.
Drew's next appearance on theater screens was in a horror flick based on Stephen King's book, Firestarter. Drew's character Charlie McGee has pyrokinetic powers, and researchers who want to keep her for observation and experiments have underestimated the powers they are responsible for bestowing on her.
Drew had several more childhood movies after Firestarter, but but she was a teenager before her next memorable roles. Drew's personal life may have inspired Hollywood to hire her to play wild characters, like Ivy in the 1992 drama "Poison Ivy" where a teenage Drew Barrymore seduces her friend (Sarah Gilbert)'s father. The same year, Drew played Anita Minteer in the movie, Gun Crazy, which has the same recycled storyline found in other movies like Natural Born Killers. In Gun Crazy, Anita murders her sexually abusive stepfather and joins her prison penpal in a life that can only quickly spiral downward. In 1993, Drew was chosen for another Lolita role in "The Amy Fisher Story", the true story of a teenager who seduces her neighbor and then attempts to murder his wife.
Doppelganger, as the title implies, is a horror movie about a girl being followed by her evil twin. Drew was in several more movies where she plays the wild child everyone apparently perceived her as being, and then suddenly Hollywood broke from the trend to cast her as Sugar in the comic book inspired Batman Forever. Another miss by the Batman franchise, the movie still broke a trend for Drew, and she was soon cast in the immensely popular Scream movie. Unfortunately, Drew dies near the beginning of the movie, after she stands in her kitchen and listens to the creepy voice of a masked man who claims he sees her through the large uncurtained window beside her.
For some reason, Drew was cast in the 80's throwback film, "The Wedding Singer", which tells the tragic, improbable and very corny story of a wedding singer who has been dumped by his golddigger girlfriend. Drew's role as the sweetie pie girl next door type in this predictably happily ever after romantic comedy, propelled her into a stint of similar style movies that may have left her permenately typecast.
Included in the list are several movies that used the recycled romantic comedy template: Ever After, Never Been Kissed, Home Fries, and 50 First Dates. Intermingled with these titles are a few of a completely different style which may have saved Drew from being cast in romantic comedies forever.
One noteable movie is Charlie's Angels, a remake of the 70's tv show about hot detective women and their mysterious boss.
Another is Donnie darko, the cult movie that has received high praise for years since its release. I have not developed an appreciation for it, but the premise obviously holds an appeal for many. Donnie Darko is a teenage boy who experiences gaps in his memory, and therefore has no way to explain where he was during these bouts of amnesia. Donnie also hallucinates a giant ridiculous bunny rabbit who talks to him. In addition, there is a new girl in town who is drawn to him, though he demonstrates no intellectual or sexual appeal at all. Then of course there is Drew, a school teacher who struggles with her unruly class. Bored yet?
Drew is well into her 30's, and she continues to be offered new roles. There is really no surprise if you consider that she's still as youthful and beautiful as she was in her 20's, and she still seems to maintain an enviable and alluring lust for life. Who wouldn't keep asking her back for new roles?