If you were like every other mildly horny or diva-obsessed 15-year-old on earth, then you recognized Christina Applegate as Married... with Children's trashy teen queen, Kelly Bundy, as a complete revelation. Quoting a co-worker, "As a teenage boy, it was physically painful to watch her on that show--she was just too hot." The films listed below are some successful (and not-so-successful) examples of her struggle to shake that Bundy right out her hair and make a name for herself as a "real" actress.
• Nowhere (1997, dir. Gregg Araki)--One of the best homocore directors ever, Araki topped off his trilogy of films chronicling disenfranchised youth in LA with this masterpiece of lust, self-torture, and alien abduction. Christina, almost unrecognizable in short moppy hair and braces, plays the lovably awkward Dingbat. Hopelessly in love with Ducky (Scott Caan), Ms. Applegate paints a deft portrait of teen angst. The film also features great performances by then unknowns, Ryan Phillippe, Mena Suvari, and Heather Graham.
• Vibrations (1995, dir. Michael Paseornek)--When the golden mullet sporting/aspiring rock star T.J. (James Marshall) has his hands severed in a bizarre (and hilarious) run-in with some mean drunks, his life is destroyed, because he will never be the butt-rock superstar he has always dreamed of becoming. T.J. becomes a homeless drunk with freakish plastic hands, but then, by a strange twist of fate, he meets sweet Anamika (our Christina) and her goofy multi-talented friends. They all pull together to create new robotic hands for T.J. (no, I am not kidding), and assist him in becoming the new king of the NYC rave scene under the guise of his new alter ego, Cyberstorm. Wow.
• Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991, dir. Stephen Herek)--Christina stars as Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell, the oldest sibling left under the care of the evil Mrs. Sturak, when the 'rents take off for a three month vacation. Soon old Mrs. S kicks the bucket and the chillins' are left to fend for themselves. Christina's headlining role allows her comedic talents to shine as she learns what it feels like to be head of the household. M. LON FREE