Two lists, for your enjoyment and scrutiny.
List the First: The Top Ten Scream Queens list at The Film Experience, featuring the ten greatest performances by actresses in the horror genre (...and Requiem for a Dream) (...and 3/4 of the Alien quadrology). Did Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls make it, you ask? You'll have to read it to find out!
Next up, yet another AV Club random list of ramdomness, this time running down 16 films featuring what they're calling "Manic Pixie Dream Girls." That character type is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and if I tell you that the first entry is on Kirsten Dunst's character in Elizabethtown, you'll know exactly what they're talking about. Sixteen of the freest of free spirits who ever broadened the horizons of a buttoned-up dude who's lost the joy in life.
Some of the selections are obvious (Charlize Theron in Sweet November! I had forgotten all about that! Blissfully!) and some are more provocative (Diane Keaton in Annie Hall?), but the one I immediately responded to, no surprise, was Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. My favorite movie of ever and the reason I haven't given up on Kate Hudson, no matter how much crapola she makes these days. Anyway, my initial reaction was that Penny Lane was really NOT a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, mostly because she has an agency and motivation of her own. So much of Almost Famous is following Penny's story, albeit from a distance, and crossing your fingers that she's going to stand on her own two feet and twirl her way out of the orbit of those who would take her for granted.
The problem is, Penny's agency and motivation pretty much is...to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She calls herself a muse, but...same thing, really. She does the whole in-flight announcement thing, she calls Russell her "project," she talks about going to Morocco for one year. She plays this role not just for Russell and for William but also for the other groupies (she used to run a school for Band Aids, after all). But since so much of the movie is about her taking on that role, about the burdens of it and the consequences of it and what it does (or doesn't) do for her...brushing her off as a Manic Pixie seems to miss the point, doesn't it?
Anyway, it's a great list, all things considered, and it posted a clip of my very favorite scene from Almost Famous, which I am happily re-posting here, because it always makes me smile, and I could use some smiling today.