If you are looking for Aniston, you can leave now. There are no “Js” accompanied by “Lo” on this list, and for sure no Lawrence or Garner action. Let’s just call them off-the-currently-beaten-path-Jennifers.
Why Jennifer, you might ask.
Well firstly, duh.
But secondly, THIS:
See that spike? I was born more or less in the middle of it. My life has been riddled with Jennifer on a daily basis since birth, and a lot of that stems from standing in a crowded room, hearing someone say “Jennifer?”, and turning only to notice that twelve other women have turned their heads in response. In a room of twenty people. You get my drift.
And who are any of these Jennifers, anyway? Here are my top five.
1. Jennifer Jason Leigh
Since Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I have been enamored of this Jennifer. And since then, holy mother of Jennifer she has really had some kind of acting career. Her turn in The Hateful Eight showcased a shit-ton of psychotic spunk. But the movies that surface in my brain when I think of Jennifer Jason Leigh are Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, The Anniversary Party, Single White Female, Rush, and above all of these, Georgia.
Georgia is a difficult movie to watch, but that is one of the reasons I love it so much. This movie is king-of-the-awkward-moment, with Leigh’s character Sadie Flood invading any moment of solace by casting her addictions and self-abuse upon those around her.
But Sadie is familiar in some way to me, as is the character of her sister Georgia, played by Mare Winningham. How do you accept family, when you find their behavior unacceptable? If you haven’t seen this mid-90s film, do so meow.
Side note: JJL starred in a made-for-television movie called The Best Little Girl in the World, which rolled out in 1981. This little gem was shown to my 7th grade health class in order to educate on anorexia and eating disorders. It is burned in my brain.
2. Jennifer Coolidge
This lady kills me. And if anybody brings up *2 Broke Girls, this conversation is over. I’m talking about American Pie, Legally Blonde, all of the work she has done with Christopher Guest, not to mention her propensity for surfacing when you least expect it. There was this episode of Friends that I will just never forget, because she was in it.
Jennifer Coolidge plays uncomfortable with so much comic abandon, you simply have to sit back and admire it. It’s the kind of discomfort that makes you cringe, but not look away – because there’s a chance you may piss yourself laughing, and you want to actually see if you do piss yourself laughing. “Yes I am up for the challenge, Ms. Coolidge, please make me wet myself!” Good times.
Side note: I recently listened to an interview with Jennifer Coolidge conducted by Marc Maron. The stories she told about being a member of the Groundlings as she came up on the improv scene, endeared me even more. What a pistol.
(As far as *2 Broke Girls is concerned, I’ve tried. I just can’t.)
3. Jennifer Government
Published in 2003, I must say that this novel set in the dystopia of a future world economy is very timely. Here’s a synopsis from author Max Barry’s blog:
The world is run by American corporations; there are no taxes; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; the Police and the NRA are publicly-traded security firms; the government can only investigate crimes it can bill for.
I picked up this book as a hardback because I am a sucker for packaging. When I saw it, I laughed out loud. I used to be a civil servant, for a brief period of time. I used to be a member of the National Guard, for a little while. When the fact that I was also raised as an Air Force brat comes into play, this title was a laugh. Jennifer Government, indeed!
The joke was on me. This is a great book. I still have my original copy, and I recently decided to crack it open again. It is even more entertaining fifteen years later, in its sheer relevancy. It’s almost hard to believe that Barry wrote this novel prior to the 21st Century Great Depression (insert doomsday music here), and long prior to our current White House situation (insert apocalyptic explosion here).
Side note: I used to keep this in my office just to give anyone the opportunity to ask, “Jennifer Government? What is that?” To which I would reply, “Something you need to learn and put into practice immediately.”
4. Jennifer Connelly
Oh Jennifer Connelly, you are bewitching. Since you stole the show from those muppets in Labyrinth (what? it’s true), you have had my attention. I used to think it was your beguiling halo of dark hair, but then I realized it was your eyes. Then I realized that it was that half smile thing you delivered so coyly to Joaquin Phoenix in Inventing the Abbots.
And then… Requiem for a Dream. Hold the phone, motherfuckers.
That was the moment when I realized I would never be able to look away. Wow, I mean the holy shit kind of wow where you are like, “What did I just see? Should I watch that mess again? Yespleasethankyou.”
If she is in it, I’m watching it. This could be anything from A Beautiful Mind (her Oscar win) to House of Sand and Fog to Little Children to He’s Just Not That Into You (for real) to American Pastoral.
I just found out she is working on a small screen version of Snowpiercer. Of course, because Jennifer Connelly would be amazing on a post-apocalyptic train hurtling around the earth in icy conditions. She just would, because that is how she seems to inhabit the space around her. “I’m here to do this.”
I think I have to take it back to the eyes. It’s all about the eyes.
Side note: Full-on girl crush and not at all ashamed to admit it.
5. Jennifer Jones
My mother told me a story once of the week I was born, and the fact that Jennifer Jones was on the cover of TV Guide. And that is how I got the name Jennifer. I’m not sure about this. Look at that spike in the above chart! Trends from the 70s don’t lie.
Whether or not the TV Guide tale of my namesake is true, I do love me some Jennifer Jones. Part of her charm is that she was born in 1919, loooong before the Jennifer stampede. So, she is like one of the original, legit Jennifers, right? Major street cred.
She performed during Hollywood’s golden era, and chalked up a substantial body of work. But the only movie I really know with Jennifer Jones is the 1946 film, Duel in the Sun. And that is plenty o’ Jennifer Jones, like, all over da place.
The Gregory Peck factor in the film does not hurt at all. Two super attractive, intense characters playing off one another with deep ferocity. Whoa.
The finale of Duel in the Sun is legendary. She chases him down, because she loves him. She shoots him, because she loves him. She continues to both draw fire and shoot back because she loves him. She vows to kill him. BECAUSE SHE LOVES HIM.
I leave you with this Jennifer footage. It’s a good representation of Jennifers in general, or at least the ones that I know. Determined. Passionate. Dedicated. Opinionated. Affectionate. Excellent rifle skills. Good with horses.
You get the drift.
Side Note: Whether or not my mother’s account is accurate, I will continue to tell people I am named after Jennifer Jones, simply due to her hotness factor.