Jennifer Lopez’s 9 Best Movies

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  01 Sep 2015 

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Lopez was just another one of the girls getting her swerve on before commercial breaks on Fox’s In Living Color. Things sure have changed: Today, Lopez is a certified multimedia mogul, with a successful acting career, platinum CDs, a clothing line, fragrances, and a production company to her credit. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen La Lopez in theaters, but she’s back with The Boy Next Door; to celebrate her return, we decided to take a look back through her filmography and revisit her best-reviewed starring roles.

actors
9 Maid in Manhattan
imdb
rating

5.0

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Lopez teamed up with Ralph Fiennes and The Joy Luck Club director Wayne Wang for this 2002 romantic comedy, which told the story of a hotel maid (Lopez) who finds herself swept up in a romance with a politician (Fiennes) even though he — gasp! — doesn’t know she cleans up after people for a living. Based on a John Hughes story, Maid in Manhattan is the sort of sunny, charming, perfectly critic-proof movie that tends to do very well at the box office in December — which is just what happened here. Despite largely negative reviews from critics who carped that its predictable plot was beneath its stars’ talents, Maid cleaned up to the tune of over $150 million in worldwide grosses. Not all the press was bad, though: Rich Cline of Film Threat conceded to the film’s charms when he wrote, “When we catch ourselves sighing at the end, we get mad that we’ve fallen for this same old formula all over again. But mad in a nice way.”

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A senatorial candidate falls for a hotel maid, thinking she is a socialite when he sees her trying on a wealthy woman's dress.

actors:
Jennifer Lopez as Marisa Ventura   Ralph Fiennes as Christopher Marshall   Natasha Richardson as Caroline Lane   Stanley Tucci as Jerry Siegel   Tyler Posey as Ty Ventura   Bob Hoskins as Lionel Bloch   Di Quon as Lily Kim   Lisa Roberts Gillan as Cora   Chris Eigeman as John Bextrum   Frances Conroy as Paula Burns  

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8 Parker
imdb
rating

6.2

Parker (2013)

Action, Crime

Give Jason Statham a shotgun and a few quips and he’s capable of wringing movie magic out of even the most hackneyed script, and Jennifer Lopez has proven her way with a good crime thriller before. Putting them together with Oscar-nominated director Taylor Hackford for an adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s Flashfire, the 19th entry in his bestselling series of novels about the master thief known as Parker, looked like great pulpy fun for genre fans — on paper, anyway. In reality, Parker was neither a critical nor a commercial success, trudging its way to less than $20 million at the box office while enduring a hail of withering scorn from scribes (opined Rex Reed for the New York Observer, “Mr. Statham is to acting what Taco Bell is to nutrition”). A big part of the problem, according to many reviews, was that Lopez’s character was shoehorned in — and subjected to a series of insulting and/or misogynistic plot contrivances. Still, for some, Parker proved a sufficiently entertaining diversion during a dreary era for action fans; as Steven Rea quipped for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Take that, Nicholas Sparks.”

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A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.

actors:
Jason Statham as Parker   Jennifer Lopez as Leslie   Nick Nolte as Hurley   Michael Chiklis as Melander   Clifton Collins Jr. as Ross   Sala Baker as Ernesto   Carlos Carrasco as Norte   Wendell Pierce as Carlson   Emma Booth as Claire   Daniel Bernhardt as Kroll   Patti LuPone as Ascension  

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7 Jersey Girl
imdb
rating

6.2

Jersey Girl (2004)

Comedy, Romance

After the complete disaster that was Gigli, nobody was asking for another Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie — which probably goes a long way toward explaining why 2004’s Jersey Girl was dead on arrival before anyone had even seen a frame of film. It’s unfortunate, because writer/director Kevin Smith was branching out here, moving outside the “View Askewniverse” for the first time with a sweet story about a single dad (Affleck) and his struggle to square his career ambitions with his obligations to his daughter (Raquel Castro) while falling in love — maybe — with a foxy video store clerk (Liv Tyler). As for Lopez? She really isn’t in much of the movie, but the shadow of Bennifer loomed large over the production anyway, as well as the stony disbelief of critics who refused to accept Smith’s more sentimental side. But for scribes like Jeffrey Overstreet of Looking Closer, the change from Clerks to Jersey Girl was a welcome one: “Even as the critic in me raged against the clichés, I found a big old lump in my throat and blinked back a few tears.”

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Ollie Trinke is a young, suave music publicist who seems to have it all, with a new wife and a baby on the way. But life deals him a bum hand when he's suddenly faced with single fatherhood, a defunct career and having to move in with his father. To bounce back, it takes a new love and the courage instilled in him by his daughter.

actors:
Ben Affleck as Ollie Trinke   Raquel Castro as Gertie Trinke   Liv Tyler as Maya   Jennifer Lopez as Gertrude Steiney   George Carlin as Bart Trinke   Jennifer Schwalbach Smith as Susan   Will Smith as Himself   Stephen Root as Greenie   Mike Starr as Block   Jason Biggs as Arthur Brickman  

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6 The Cell
imdb
rating

6.3

The Cell (2000)

Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller

She’s chiefly known for romantic comedies, but for awhile around the turn of the century, Lopez made a point of branching out into more diverse fare — like 2000’s The Cell. Nominally speaking, this Tarsem Singh-directed thriller starred Lopez as a groundbreaking child psychologist, but that only scratches at the surface of The Cell‘s bizarre, nightmarish second act, which plunges viewers — and Lopez’s character — into the twisted mind of a comatose serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio). In an effort to locate his next victim before the prison he’s left her in fills with water, Lopez enters D’Onofrio’s fractured psyche, where she encounters a surreal landscape filled with intense (and often intensely disturbing) visuals. According to a sizable number of critics, Singh’s fondness for S&M-inspired eye candy overwhelmed the plot — but for others, The Cell was an absorbingly disquieting experience. Film Blather’s Eugene Novikov was one of the movie’s staunchest defenders, calling it “the year’s first masterpiece, an insanely ambitious movie that miraculously fulfills every one of its ambitions.”

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A psychotherapist journeys inside a comatose serial killer in the hopes of saving his latest victim.

actors:
Jennifer Lopez as Catherine Deane   Vincent D'Onofrio as Carl Rudolph Stargher   Vince Vaughn as Peter Novak   Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Dr. Miriam Kent   Catherine Sutherland as Anne Marie Vicksey   James Gammon as Teddy Lee   Colton James as Edward Baines   Dylan Baker as Henry West   Gerry Becker as Dr. Barry Cooperman   Musetta Vander as Ella Baines   Patrick Bauchau as Lucien Baines   Jake Weber as Gordon Ramsey   Dean Norris as Cole   Tara Subkoff as Julia Hickson   Lauri Johnson as Mrs. Hickson   John Cothran Jr. as Agent Stockwell   Jack Conley as Agent Brock   Kamar de los Reyes as Officer Alexander   Pruitt Taylor Vince as Dr. Reid  

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5 Shall We Dance?
imdb
rating

6.1

Shall We Dance? (2004)

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Lopez got one of her early breaks as a “Fly Girl” dancer on Fox’s In Living Color, but few of her films have taken advantage of her dancing ability. A notable exception: 2004’s Shall We Dance?, which pairs her with Richard Gere in a remake of Mayasaki Suo’s Shall We Dansu? Marketed as a romantic comedy, Dance? is really something more — a portrait of an aimlessly dissatisfied man (Gere) who finds friendship with a dance instructor (Lopez) who helps him rekindle the spark that’s been missing from his personal life and his marriage. There’s a love story here, but it’s really between Gere and Susan Sarandon, who plays his wife. This alone makes Dance? a more thoughtful, mature film than much of what passes through theaters, but for a lot of critics, it couldn’t help but compare unfavorably to the original. Still, for others, Dansu‘s Americanization wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; as Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel wrote, “The central idea — that losing yourself in a small, private world can help you to better engage the larger world — isn’t lost in translation.”

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A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons.

actors:
Richard Gere as John Clark   Jennifer Lopez as Paulina   Susan Sarandon as Beverly Clark   Lisa Ann Walter as Bobbie   Stanley Tucci as Link   Anita Gillette as Miss Mitzi   Bobby Cannavale as Chic   Omar Benson Miller as Vern   Tamara Hope as Jenna Clark   Stark Sands as Evan Clark   Richard Jenkins as Devine   Nick Cannon as Scott   Sarah Lafleur as Carolyn   Onalee Ames as Diane   Diana Salvatore as Tina   Daphne Korol as Daphne   David Sparrow as Louis  

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4 An Unfinished Life
imdb
rating

7.0

An Unfinished Life (2005)

Drama

Mark Spragg’s novel got the Lasse Hallström treatment in this 2005 adaptation, which stars Lopez as a widowed single mother who tries to escape an abusive relationship by fleeing to the Wyoming ranch of her estranged father-in-law (Robert Redford). Co-starring Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas, and one very threatening bear, An Unfinished Life shuffled around Miramax’s release schedule for years, and when it finally reached theaters in September 2005, neither its reviews nor its box office totals reflected the high-priced talent assembled to bring it to the screen. Though filmgoers were indifferent and many critics felt it was too sentimental and predictable, for some scribes, An Unfinished Life was a movie rich with quiet pleasures. Wrote Will Harris of Bullz-Eye, “This is a phenomenal character study of the grief of a father and the guilt of a friend. If you find it’s unfolding too slowly for you, just focus on the wonderful performances by Redford and Freeman, and they’ll pull you through.”

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From the acclaimed director of CASANOVA, CHOCOLAT, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ... Academy Award(R) winners Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman star in this powerful story of risk and redemption. Stoic and heartbroken, Einar Gilkyson (Redford) quietly lives in the rugged Wyoming ranchlands alongside his only trusted friend, Mitch Bradley (Freeman). Then, suddenly, the woman he blames for the death of his only son arrives at his door broke, desperate, and with a granddaughter he's never known. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. Also starring Jennifer Lopez and Josh Lucas

actors:
Robert Redford as Einar Gilkyson   Jennifer Lopez as Jean Gilkyson   Morgan Freeman as Mitch Bradley   Becca Gardner as Griff Gilkyson   Josh Lucas as Crane Curtis   Damian Lewis as Gary Winston   Camryn Manheim as Nina   Lynda Boyd as Kitty   Robin Hayter as Deputy   P. Lynn Johnson as Shelter Supervisor   Byron Lucas as Motorcycle Rider   Trevor Moss as Griffin Gilkyson   R. Nelson Brown as Kent   Dillard Brinson as Gnome Owner   Jason Diablo as Customer #1  

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3 U Turn
imdb
rating

6.8

U Turn (1997)

Thriller

Oliver Stone took a noir detour with this twisty thriller, which embroiled Lopez in a sweaty imbroglio involving her psycho husband (Nick Nolte), an eight-fingered drifter (Sean Penn), a violent maniac (Joaquin Phoenix) and his girlfriend (Claire Danes), an unscrupulous mechanic (Billy Bob Thornton), and the town sheriff (Powers Boothe). As you might guess given all the players, U-Turn is a story cluttered with sex, thievery, and double crosses — and one as luridly violent as Natural Born Killers — and all that plotting left some critics pining for the days when Stone was more interested in the lives and deaths of American presidents. For others, though, it was a straight-ahead treat: In the words of Time Out’s Geoff Andrew, “Penn turns in a crisp, unfussy comic performance, Lopez vamps like a scorpion in heat, Nolte sustains a pretty good John Huston impression, and Thornton is mighty peculiar as the mechanic from hell.”

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When Bobby's car breaks down in the desert while on the run from some of the bookies who have already taken two of his fingers, he becomes trapped in the nearby small town where the people are stranger than anyone he's encountered. After becoming involved with a young married woman, her husband hires Bobby to kill her. Later, she hires Bobby to kill the husband.

actors:
Sean Penn as Bobby Cooper   Nick Nolte as Jake McKenna   Jennifer Lopez as Grace McKenna   Joaquin Phoenix as Toby N. Tucker   Claire Danes as Jenny   Powers Boothe as Sheriff Virgil Potter   Billy Bob Thornton as Darrell   Jon Voight as Blind Man   Abraham Benrubi as Biker #1   Richard Rutowski as Biker #2   Aida Linares as Jamilla   Sean Stone as Boy in Grocery Store   Ilia Volok as Sergi   Valeri Nikolayev as Mr. Arkady   Brent Briscoe as Boyd   Bo Hopkins as Ed   Julie Hagerty as Flo   Annie Tien as Short Order Cook   Sheri Foster as Grace's Mother   Laurie Metcalf as Bus Station Clerk   Liv Tyler as Girl in Bus Station   Jeff Flach as Yes Man (uncredited)  

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2 Selena
imdb
rating

6.6

Selena (1997)

Documentary, Drama

The shocking murder of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez had barely faded from the headlines when this Gregory Nava-directed biopic reached theaters in 1997, and sensationalism aside, it isn’t hard to see what drew Hollywood to the story — during her brief career, Selena showed all the makings of a huge star, and her death only intensified the devotion of her fans. For Lopez, the opportunity to portray Selena was the chance of a lifetime — a bittersweet reunion with Nava, who gave her a small part in 1995’s My Family, for a starring role in the most high-profile production of her career. Though Selena was rightly criticized for taking a reverential approach to its subject, even its harshest critics were quick to praise Lopez for her glowingly confident performance. As Jean Oppenheimer wrote in her review for Boxoffice Magazine, “Jennifer Lopez is sensational. She not only looks remarkably like the real star, but she radiates the same incredible energy, warmth, style and magnetism for which the young pop singer was known.”

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Selena Quintanilla was a major figure in Tejano music, a Grammy-winning recording artist, a beloved star in the American Southwest and Mexico, and seemed poised to cross over into mainstream popularity on the U.S. pop charts when she was murdered on March 31, 1995 by the president of her fan club. Written and directed by Gregory Nava, this biopic concentrates on Selena's relationship with her fami

actors:
Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez   Edward James Olmos as Abraham Quintanilla   Jon Seda as Chris Perez   George Perez as Seff - Dinos 1961   Rebecca Lee Meza as Young Selena   Victoria Elena Flores as Young Suzette   Rafael Tamayo as Young Abie  

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1 Out of Sight
imdb
rating

7.1

Out of Sight (1998)

Comedy, Crime, Romance

When Jennifer Lopez wore a barely-there dress at the Grammy Awards in February 2000, she dropped jaws around the world — but for anyone who’d had the pleasure of seeing her with George Clooney in 1998’s Out of Sight, a skimpy Versace gown and some double-sided tape couldn’t compare to the way Lopez had burned up the screen as U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco. There’s a reason Entertainment Weekly voted this the sexiest movie of all time, and it boils down to the ingredient Roger Ebert identified in his review: “At the center of the film is the repartee between Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, and these two have the kind of unforced fun in their scenes together that reminds you of Bogart and Bacall.” With his adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel, director Steven Soderbergh could have created just another heist flick, but Lopez and Clooney’s chemistry, along with Scott Frank’s razor-sharp screenplay, takes it to another level. As Sisco, Lopez gets to alternate between tough and vulnerable, all while being lovingly lit by Soderbergh and cinematographer Elliot Davis; meanwhile, Clooney’s screen presence had evolved from “moonlighting TV star” to “certified leading man.” As Radheyan Simonpillai noted in his review for AskMen.com, “Soderbergh finds the perfect equilibrium between mainstream entertainment and arty panache, lacing this heist movie/romantic comedy with character-motivated time shifting, prominent freeze-frames, a funky soundtrack and an all-around hip vibe.”

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Meet Jack Foley, a smooth criminal who bends the law and is determined to make one last heist. Karen Sisco is a federal marshal who chooses all the right moves … and all the wrong guys. Now they're willing to risk it all to find out if there's more between them than just the law. Variety hails Out of Sight as "a sly, sexy, vastly entertaining film."

actors:
George Clooney as Jack Foley   Jennifer Lopez as Karen Sisco   Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette   Samuel L. Jackson as Hejira Henry   Dennis Farina as Marshall Sisco   Catherine Keener as Adele   Ving Rhames as Buddy Bragg   Steve Zahn as Glenn Michaels   Keith Loneker as White Boy Bob   Nancy Allen as Midge   Albert Brooks as Richard Ripley   Don Cheadle as Maurice Miller  

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