best film:  Patricia Arquette’s two best films could not be more different. Lost Highway (1997) is trip through the twisted mind of David Lynch – and Boyhood (2014) is maybe the coming-of-age film to end all coming-of-age films – a rewarding, elaborate project from Richard Linklater.


before Naomi Watts did it in Mullholland Drive in 2001 – Patricia Arquette gets the David Lynch doppelgänger treatment in 1997’s Lost Highway


best performance:   Patricia Arquette is a fearless actor – and that muscle is on display in both of her best performances.  The two selections here are the same two films as the category above with her work in Linklater’s film Boyhood edging its way to the top by the slimmest of margins. In Boyhood, Arquette plays Olivia – Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane) mother. Arquette is a constant in the film and Mason’s world as he grows up – she is solid throughout the film, and then in her final scene, she gets a jaw-on-the-floor powerhouse emotional scene to send her off into the sunset (and to her Oscar win). Arquette’s work in Lost Highway is a close second. The role and performance is not quite on the level of Naomi Watts just a few years later in Mulholland Drive (2001) – another Lynchian nightmare – but regardless – Arquette gives a brave performance, and similar to Watts’ work, Arquette gets to play a double – one of Lynch’s doppelgängers.  She plays both the Renee Madison and Alice Wakefield characters.


Arquette plays a mother for over a decade’s worth of time – simulating real life – in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Arquette plays Olivia like every supporting actor should – she plays Olivia as is Olivia if the main character and this has been her life going on this entire time, too. 



stylistic innovations/traits:  Patricia Arquette can surely play strength and resilience. She is perfectly edgy/jittery in Lost Highway and a damn trooper and divorcee in Boyhood. One film is pure surrealism – the other an important work in the history of realism in cinema. In True Romance, Arquette’s character Alabama can take a beating in True Romance (the third most important film to her case/resume) and Arquette gives Alabama a believable grit. Her fourth best film is the female lead in what is essentially a very fine romantic comedy (Flirting with Disaster) – so there is real acting range here. Her best work definitely comes from the 1990s with six (6) archiveable films out of a total seven (7) landing in the decade.


1993’s True Romance is loaded with a talented cast – and Arquette (playing Alabama) holds her own – walking away with many of the film’s best scenes



directors worked with:   Tim Burton (1), David O. Russell (1), David Lynch (1), Martin Scorsese (1), Richard Linklater (1)



top five performances:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Lost Highway
  3. True Romance
  4. Flirting with Disaster
  5. Ed Wood



archiveable films

1991- The Indian Runner
1993- True Romance
1994- Ed Wood
1996- Flirting with Disaster
1997- Lost Highway
1999- Bringing Out the Dead
2014- Boyhood