Amanda Bynes has recently been hospitalized for a mental health episode. The hospitalization comes after Bynes and her family recently celebrated the dissolution of her conservatorship. Bynes has been diagnosed since early 2013 and has had many ups and downs all with the support of her family. Severe mental illness is very difficult to treat and the brain is powerful and volatile. Medication that works today may not work tomorrow. Hopefully, Bynes receives the care she needs and is able to restabilize.
Regardless of her mental health status at this moment and her difficult long term diagnosis, Bynes is a millennial legend. Bynes’ comedy was so unique and a lot more physical than most women in her field. Her relatively short career was marked with classic teen movies and sketch comedy that was wildly popular and also really good.
Here are Amanda Bynes top movies, characters and more:
8. Penny in Hairspray
The 2007 Hairspray adaptation may not be everyone’s favorite but Amanda Bynes as the unwitting racial justice warrior (of love!) the shining star the movie didn’t deserve. Bynes was not the biggest name in the movie and Penny is not the biggest apart. But she out hit her cast members and leaned on her lifelong comedic training and raw talent to steal the whole thing. I mean, do you even remember that Allison Janey was in that movie? No. But you remember Bynes. The committed Bynes reportedly ate about 40 lollipops a day to film the role.
7. Kaylee in Big Fat Liar
Big Fat Liar was Bynes’s first movie. The film was meant to launch Frankie Muniz into movie stardom but instead, it launched Amanda. The film was not great and not very memorable but Amanda stole every American teen’s heart with her uber millennial wardrobe (feathers and colors everywhere) and her oh so cool girl persona, helping Frankie thwart “the man” the whole way. Amanda Bynes won a Kids Choice Award for her role. No one else won anything.
6. Sydney White in Sydney White
A take on Snow White, Sydney White, follows Amanda Bynes as a college girl who falls in with seven of the campus “dorks” (instead of dwarves) when the Sorority Queen Bee kicks her out of the socially acceptable circle. It’s a classic teen romcom with a fairytale twist. Sydney White is an overall better film than Big Fat Liar but the Sydney White character isn’t quite as iconic as Kaylee. A bit sweeter than Bynes’s normal fair, Sydney gave us a chance to see some leading lady range from Bynes.
5. “Ask Ashley” All That
Amanda Bynes got her start on the child lead sketch comedy series, All That, on Nickelodeon. Amanda as Ashley would read letters asking for advice and then roast the writer for being an idiot. It was her first bit and it is one of her best bits.
4. Marianne in Easy A
In her last role ever, Bynes plays a bad Christian who bullies Emma Stone in Easy A. Her sanctimonious hatred of Stone’s character is as hilarious as it is over-the-top. Marianne straight up tells people they’re going to hell and sings in acoustic prayer circles. She is a manic, headband wearing tyrant. It was a strong final showing for Bynes.
3. Judge Trudy in The Amanda Show
Judge Trudy is Amanda’s best sketch character. The parody of Judge Judy adjudicated hilarious civil disputes as a spot on mimicry. Staying on brand, every episode of Judge Trudy ended, inexplicably, with dancing lobsters. Bynes’s intense physical comedy and characterization was really well highlighted in these bits and showed how well she could command a comedic screen. BRING ON THE DANCING LOBSTERS!
2. Daphne in What a Girl Wants
What a Girl Wants (named for the hit Christina Aguilera song of the same era) is a fish-out-of-water/coming of age about a free spirited American teen who finds out she has a royal dad in England. Amanda is EFFERVESCENT in this film. She looks like a Gap ad the entire time and she is so flawlessly aspirational. She does her “cool girl, tomboy, wild child” thing and she does it so perfectly. No girl didn’t want to be Amanda Bynes after this movie.
- Viola in She’s the Man
Based on the Shakespearean play Twelfth Night, She’s the Man is ranked by the Conservative Critic as one of the best and most iconic movies of all time (AND SHE STANDS BY IT). A comedy of errors which is so unlikely that it can only be written by Shakespear, Bynes plays Viola who impersonates her twin brother at his prep school so she can keep playing soccer after the team at her school get’s cut. Along the way she falls in love with her teammate and her teammate falls in love with another girl who falls in love with Bynes as a boy. It’s zany and delightful and chock full of little Shakespearean easter eggs. It’s Channing Tatum’s first big movie but even the star power of Tatum does not steal the screen from Bynes. This film brought us the weirdest, most hilarious accent of a generation and the line (which I quote daily) “When I close my eyes, I see you for what you truly are. Which is ooglay.” If you haven’t seen this movie: SEE THIS MOVIE.