Hayden Panettiere makes her long-awaited, fan-demanded return to the Scream franchise with the upcoming Scream VI. The actress reprises her role as Kirby Reed, a fan-favorite character from Scream 4 who will act as a crucial ally to the four young survivors from the previous film.
Panettiere is no stranger to success, inside and outside the Scream franchise. In a career spanning nearly thirty years, Panettiere has done everything, from film to television and music. Many of her shows and movies attracted highly positive reviews, with many achieving high scores on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
9 ‘Scream 4’ (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
After more than a decade of absence, the Scream franchise roared back to life with Scream 4. The film stars a new generation of young characters who join the legacy trio of Sidney, Gale, and Dewey to battle a new Ghostface killer terrorizing Woodsboro. Panettiere plays Kirby Reed, a sarcastic horror film aficionado who can outsmart Ghostface in movie trivia; the actress stars alongside Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, and Nico Tortorella.
Scream 4 received mixed reviews from critics. Praise went to the cast’s performances, with Roberts and Panettiere attracting significant acclaim for their layered performances. However, the film’s plot and formulaic approach received criticism, as did the lack of scary moments. Panettiere’s Kirby remained a fan-favorite character to the point where her absence from 2022’s Scream sparked debate among fans. However, Panettiere will finally return in 2023’s highly-anticipated sequelScream VI.
8 ‘Custody’ (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
Oscar-winner Viola Davis stars in the 2016 courtroom drama Custody. The plot centers on the judge presiding over the custody case of Sara, a Latina woman whose children get taken from her after an episode of domestic violence, played by Oscar nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno. Panettiere plays Ally Fisher, Sara’s young and inexperienced but committed lawyer determined to win her case.
Reviews for Custody were mixed-to-positive. The by-the-numbers plot attracted considerable criticism, but most reviewers agreed the absurdly prestigious cast, including Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn and Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, made up for the film’s many flaws.
7 ‘Dinosaur’ (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%
Disney’s Dinosaur might be one of the studio’s most underrated offerings. The story centers on a young dinosaur raised by a family of lemurs on an island. On the move to find a new home, the group befriends a herd of dinosaurs while evading a dangerous predator. Panettiere voices Suri, a lemur who acts as the adoptive sister to the dinosaur protagonist.
Earning praise for its animation style and naturalistic approach, Dinosaur also attracted criticism for its lack of narrative originality. The film disappointed at the box office but is now commonly considered among the most overlooked and maligned Disney entries of the new millennium.
6 ‘Tiger Cruise’ (2004)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%
Panettiere stars alongside the ever-underrated Bill Pullman in the 2004 Disney Channel Original Movie Tiger Cruise. The film uses the real-life story of the USS Constellation, a vessel carrying civilians and military personnel, to tell a fictional story about a stern father and his precocious daughter in the days leading to the September 11 attacks.
Tiger Cruise received positive reviews from critics, who praised its willingness to step outside the Disney formula and present a more mature story that strongly reflected reality. Panettiere and Pullman earned positive reviews for their performances, with commentators considering them the film’s main strength. However, others decried the film as military propaganda, even if its production values made it one of the best Disney Channel Original movies.
5 ‘Remember The Titans’ (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%
Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington stars in the 2000 biographical sports Disney movie Remember the Titans. Based on Herman Boone’s real-life story, the plot focuses on the coach’s attempt to integrate T.C. Williams High School’s football team. Panettiere plays a small supporting role as Sheryl Yoast, daughter of Bill Yoast.
Initial reviews for Remember the Titans were highly positive, with many considering it among the best football movies in cinematic history. However, it has also received severe criticism for its many inaccuracies, including from its real-life subjects.
4 ‘Scream VI’ (2023)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%
Panettiere’s latest release sees her returning to her role in the Scream franchise. Scream VI follows the previous movie’s survivors trying to start a new life in New York City. However, things get complicated when a new Ghostface killer begins a new spree. Panettiere reprises her role as Kirby Reed, acting as an ally to the group.
Scream VI has received highly positive reviews and is currently the second-highest-rated Scream film on Rotten Tomatoes, only surpassed by Scream 2. The movie has received praise for its scary nature, innovative kills, and fresh approach to its well-known formula. Panettiere, Courteney Cox, and Jenna Ortega‘s performances have also been significantly praised.
3 ‘Nashville’ (2012-2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Joined by multi-Emmy-nominated actress Connie Britton, Panettiere stars in the ABC-turned-CMT show Nashville. The series follows Britton’s Rayna James, a legendary country music star whose star is declining just as Juliette Barnes, a new and promising singer played by Panettiere, begins to rise the music ranks.
Nashville received positive reviews throughout its run. Most of the acclaim went to Britton’s and Panettiere’s performances. Panettiere received two consecutive Golden Globe nominations for her work in the show’s second and third seasons, while Britton earned an Emmy nod for the show’s first offering.
2 ‘A Bug’s Life’ (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Pixar’s A Bug’s Life is among the studio’s most charming offerings. The film follows the ingenious Flik, a brave but clumsy ant who tries to save his colony from a group of ferocious and dangerous grasshoppers. Panettiere voices Dot, the colony’s young princess, who has mear-blind faith in Flik.
Although it might’ve not been as commercially successful as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life is every bit as clever and original. The film received universal acclaim, with critics praising its animation, humor, screenplay, and voice cast. Now considered a modern classic, A Bug’s Life is ranked highly among Pixar’s best movies.
1 ‘The Cove’ (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
The 2009 documentary The Cove is an insightful look into dolphin hunting practices in Japan. The film is highly critical of dolphin hunting, presenting a scathing takedown of the mass killings of dolphins and offering several explanations for why it has gone on for so long. Panettiere appears as herself in archival footage as part of her efforts with the Whaleman Foundation.
The Cove received universal acclaim from critics, who praised its direct approach. However, many harshly condemned its one-sided view and took issue with its portrayal of Japanese people. Still, The Cove won the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
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