There was one point in the 1990s when there were few bigger names on the Hollywood slate than Cameron Diaz, the star of The Mask, There’s Something About Mary and Being John Malkovich, as well as a figure of teenage yearning across the world. Known for her effortless charm, though Diaz’s popularity waned in the mid-noughties, the actor enjoyed over ten years at the very heights of the dizzying industry.
Starring alongside the acting giant Jim Carrey in 1994, it was the release of The Mask that would help Diaz go on to achieve great commercial acclaim, establishing herself as a ’90s sex symbol whilst securing further roles in The Last Supper and Feeling Minnesota with Keanu Reeves.
In the years that followed, Diaz featured shoulder-to-shoulder beside some of the decade’s most iconic stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts, with the actor helping to establish herself among the Hollywood elite despite having not yet appeared in a lead role. Despite later success with There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky and Shrek, it wasn’t long before Diaz fell out of favour with the industry.
After several failed comedy attempts in Bad Teacher and Sex Tape, Diaz appeared in the 2014 musical Annie before bowing out of the film industry altogether the following year. For the actor, popularity and fame had merely run their course and as the industry rapidly changed in the new millennium, Cameron Diaz, like many similar ’90s icons, simply couldn’t keep up with the new pace.
Speaking to MTV in 2011 during the midst of her decline in popularity, Diaz revealed her favourite films of all time, favouring comedy over any other genre.
“There are two that really stand out for me,” the actor states, adding, “I remember seeing Animal House when I was a kid, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” picking out two iconic American comedies that inspired a generation. The former was directed by John Landis and starred John Belushi, Karen Allen and Kevin Bacon in a college comedy for the age, whilst the latter shared many similarities with Sean Penn at the helm.
Explaining her fondness for such comedies, she added, “I always loved fun, shockingly honest movies that just said it like it was. Those have always been the type of movies that I gravitated towards, and the ones that really left a lasting impression”. Whilst she appreciates the popular college comedies of Landis and the like, she also notes the satirical filmmaker Mel Brooks as one of her all-time favourites, with Diaz commenting that she can’t pick out one single film “because I love them all so much. I love the irreverence of it all”.
Mel Brooks became known as one of the greatest comedy filmmakers of all time in the late 20th century with the release of such films as Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, with each movie still considered to be a masterpiece even by today’s standards.