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Cameron Diaz Is the Most Underappreciated Actress of Our Time

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This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

Living For the Cameron Diaz Moment

The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer.

I go to the edge of the bed in the charming British cottage I did a house swap for and kneel. I grab my rosary and say four Hail Something About Marys. I look up to the Lord in the great Vanilla Sky. He is The Counselor. My cat walks in, and I say, “Good morning, Charlie.” That’s his name.

Then I gather all the orphans I’m raising and go to church, where we take the bread and drink the wine. (Avaline, of course.) Back at home, I look in the mirror and repeat my daily affirmation: “Your penis is a Cadillac.” Then I transform back from an ogre into the princess that I am and start my day.

This is my morning ritual. I have done it habitually for 2,762 days. That is how many days it has been since Cameron Diaz appeared in a movie.

The fact that this exquisite star’s last film was the remake of Annie is something that has haunted me since 2014, when the movie came out. So I rejoiced as though I’d been to heaven and seen God himself when the news broke from the most reputable source in the industry—Jamie Foxx’s Twitter account—that Diaz is “un-retiring” and apparently will start production with him on a Netflix movie later this year.

Listen, the Jamie Foxx of it all is something to deal with—God giveth and He taketh away—if it means that Cameron Diaz, the most underappreciated actress of our time, is returning to acting. You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.

As an icebreaker once when I was on a conference call with a group of entertainment journalists, we were asked to give our “hottest take” about pop culture. Mine was that Cameron Diaz should have at least four Oscar nominations and, probably, one win. They all gasped. The take was scorching! Then I had to defend myself. The facts were indisputable. By the end, they all agreed. I’m an evangelist.

She should have indisputably been nominated for My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, and In Her Shoes. And there’s the two times that I think she came closest to an Oscar nod and didn’t get them: Vanilla Sky and Gangs of New York. I’d support nods for those, too. (And that win? My Best Friend’s Wedding. My apologies to Kim Basinger, but this was a perfect performance.)

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There’s some strange reason why we are selective about which movie stars who do big, sometimes silly (though sometimes great!) films we also respect and give credit to for their acting. Oh, duh, it’s sexism.

Diaz has the kind of silver-screen magnetism that warranted the career and fame she had. It’s an incredible skill to be able to carry action blockbusters, raunchy comedies, tear-jerkers, and my most cherished genre of film: ones that are perfect for watching on airplanes. (Shout out to my The Other Woman hive!) But the way that she can be both brittle and strong, a quirky weirdo and the coolest girl in the room, grotesque and sexy, buttoned-up and crude, and flit so easily between those dichotomies is almost unrivaled.

Time has been good to her reputation; especially in her absence, there’s been a fonder appreciation for her greatest performances. I have no idea if her Netflix movie with Jamie Foxx will be shitty/how shitty it inevitably will be. But I will be pressing play on opening night with the spiritual ecstasy of a Catholic getting to see the Pope perform mass. Welcome to my church. The Church of Diaz.

The Hottest (Literally) Movie You’ll See This Summer

This summer, you can see a dazzling Marvel movie, Thor: Love and Thunder. You can see Nope, the horror-thriller from Jordan Peele with the trailer that I watch twice a day because it’s just that good. You can, like me, have a standing Friday night date at your local cinema to see Top Gun: Maverick again.

But none of those films hold a candle to the most visually stunning, coolest, and frankly badass movie coming out this summer: the National Geographic documentary Fire of Love.

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Courtesy Sundance Institute

Fire of Love is about a couple who fell in love, and then died, on a volcano. In 1991, Katia and Maurice Krafft were killed in an explosion on Japan’s Mount Unzen. But before that, they had a trailblazing, amazingly romantic career as volcanologists, capturing some of the most unbelievable—and, obviously, dangerous—footage of spewing volcanoes and flowing lava that I have ever seen. Their own video documentation provides the crux of Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love, an astonishing achievement considering how many technological advances there have been in the 30 years since their death.

I think it’s a little masturbatory to call out and reference your past work, but I just spent hundreds of words in this newsletter talking about photos of Ryan Gosling, so masturbation is on theme. And so I implore you to read my review of Fire of Love from its premiere at Sundance. It’s a film that deserves everyone’s attention.

The Reality-TV Fix We All Need

We are entering a harrowing, unmooring time as a country. For one week, there will be no Below Deck episode to watch.

I’m stocking up the bomb shelter, buying Costco out of toilet paper, and filling my bathtub with water—all the things my parents taught me to do to weather an emergency. What is one to do at a time (again, one week) when Bravo has left us so abandoned, so alone, so vulnerable? The answer is watch Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club.

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The Peacock series, which has aired four episodes, is giving me everything I need: a panic attack every time Dorinda Medley or Brandi Glanville starts to speak, a laughing fit whenever Phaedra Parks is on screen, a stan crush on queen Eva Marcille, and an appreciation that Jill Zarin is just around.

It’s the perfect kind of reality TV: People who are pros at the genre, endless one-liners, absolutely drunken chaos exactly once a night, and then—and this is important—resolution. It’s exactly the distraction we need to tide us over until we can set sail again. (Below Deck: Med premieres July 11!)

I Need Some Time to Digest This

This news story was sent to me by *seven* different people, which is a truth about myself I expect my four therapy sessions will be devoted to working through.

What to watch this week:

Fire of Love: It really is as good as I said. (Wed. in theaters)

Minions: The Rise of Gru: I’m rebranding myself as a Minions stan. (Fri. in theaters)

What to skip this week:

The Terminal List: Worst Chris! Bad series! (Fri. on Amazon)

The Princess: Sorry but this movie is absolutely bananas. (Fri. on Hulu)

Stranger Things: Why just two episodes? And why are they so long? (Fri. on Netflix)

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.

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