The 7 Best Patricia Arquette Roles
Patricia Arquette is a highly accomplished actor. She has won a myriad of awards, including seven for the single role of Olivia Evans in Boyhood. Most recently, she was lauded at the Golden Globes for her performance in Escape at Dannemora. For a time, she carried her own television series, Medium as Allison DuBois, the eponymous psychic. The show lasted from 2005 to 2011; seven seasons and 130 episodes. She is truly talented performer and any award Arquette has won, listed here or not, is greatly deserved. Here are her seven best roles to date.
Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch’s Lost Highway is truly something to behold. It is a super sensory experience starring Arquette, as well as Bill Pullman, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia and Robert Blake. Lynch’s idiosyncratic story sees Pullman as a jazz musician and Arquette as his wife, who he fears is having an affair. It is a peculiar piece, even for Lynch—it is a time capsule of his particular music tastes during the late 1990s. Arquette gives a strong performance in her mysterious, dual role.
Boyhood was a once-in-a-generation film. Richard Linklater tells the story of growing up in 21st century Texas in real time. The film was shot over more than a decade, from 2001 to 2013. Ellar Coltrane plays Mason Evans Jr., Lorelei Linklater plays his older sister and Arquette and Ethan Hawke play their divorced parents. It feels at the same time a specific story while in many others universal to people of a certain age. Arquette won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and rightfully so—even in a film that frequently tugs at the heartstrings, she stands out.
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Bringing Out the Dead is assuredly not director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader’s most lauded film. The reason why is simple: the duo have made generational films together like Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ. To say Bringing Out the Dead is not as good as Taxi Driver is hardly a knock on the former. In fact, the film is quite good. Nicolas Cage plays a paramedic, haunted by the many lives he has failed to save over the course of his career. Arquette, for her part, plays the daughter of a heart attack victim who befriends the burnt out paramedic.
Ed Wood (1994)
Tim Burton’s critically hailed box office bomb Ed Wood dramatizes the life of Hollywood’s most famous B-movie director. From Plan 9 From Outer Space to Glen or Glenda, Wood was a force of nature. Johnny Depp plays the titular character throughout his budding career as a filmmaker and life as a closeted transvestite. Arquette, for her part, plays Kathy O’Hara, a woman who becomes involved with Wood. With supporting performances including Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi and Vincent D’Onofrio as Orson Welles, the film is well worth its runtime.
True Romance (1993)
True Romance brings together quite an interesting team. The film is directed by the late Tony Scott—the filmmaker behind hits like Top Gun and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3—and written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary—his co-writer on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Arquette plays a call girl named Alabama Whitman who an Elvis Presley devotee named Clarence Worley. After being visited by a vision of Elvis himself, Clarence resolves to kill Alabama’s pimp (Gary Oldman). It features a star-studded supporting cast including Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini and Samuel L. Jackson.
Escape at Dannemora (2018)
Arquette was broadly praised for her performance in the mini-series Escape at Dannemora—even winning the Golden Globe for it. Critics lauded the show at large as well. The seven part series—directed by Ben Stiller—dramatizes two convicted murderers (Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano) who escape the maximum security prison in Dannemora in which they are held. They do so with the help of Tilly Mitchell (Arquette), an employee of the prison. On top of the strong central performances, it also features The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Little Nicky (2000)
It is true that Little Nicky is not some masterpiece. What Little Nicky does offer however is some of that classic dumb comedy audiences expected from Sandler in the year 2000. Its setup is absurd: the Prince of Darkness (Harvey Keitel) sends his youngest son Nicky (Adam Sandler) to Earth to retrieve his two more devious older brothers (Rhys Ifans and Tommy Lister Jr.). While he struggles to bring his sibling home, Nicky also falls in love with a New York City college student named Valerie (Arquette). It is a solid film for someone in the mood to get some nice cheap laughs.