I love how we have seen a new generation of Catherine O’Hara fans emerge since her days in the Schitt’s Creek cast as Moira Rosa. Her brilliant performance as the - to borrow from the character’s own colorful vocabulary - “vociferous” and “juvenescent” former soap opera actress would also earn the Canadian comedian her second Emmy Award and first in an acting category.
I hope that, like it has for me, her newfound popularity inspires audiences to take a look at the titles on her resume that they had never seen or revisit ones they had either forgotten or never even realized she was in before. If you are one of those viewers, allow us to point you in the direction of our picks for the best Catherine O’Hara movies and TV shows available on streaming, for digital rental, and/or purchase on physical media, starting with her aforementioned induction into sitcom royalty.
Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)
After their business manager leaves them financially ruined, a once-wealthy video store chain tycoon (Eugene Levy), his former soap opera star wife (Catherine O’Hara), and spoiled adult son (Daniel Levy) and daughter (Annie Murphy), have no choice but to live in a small town that also happens to be their only remaining asset.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara TV shows: If you are reading this, you have likely already seen all 80 episodes of Schitt’s Creek, but of all the sound reasons to binge it all over again, Catherine O’Hara’s transformative, consistently hilarious, and endlessly quotable performance as Moira Rose tops the list as far as I am concerned.
Home Alone And Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1990-1992)
A precocious 8-year-old boy (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally separated from his family during the Holiday season twice (first at his own house in Chicago and then in New York City after an airport mixup) and must defend himself from the same pair of bumbling thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) with his own knack for setting clever and painful traps.
Why they are some of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Speaking of endlessly quotable performances, Catherine O’Hara famously shouted the name of her onscreen son, “KEVIN!,” as Kate McCallister in both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - some of the funniest Christmas movies ever, which were both penned by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus.
Stream The Home Alone Movies On Disney (opens in new tab).
Buy/rent Home Alone digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy/rent Home Alone 2: Lost In New York digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Waiting For Guffman (1996)
A former theatre professional (Christopher Guest) organizes a stage musical inspired by an eccentric small town in Missouri that somehow attracts the attention of a renowned New York City art critic, convincing the amateur cast and crew of local citizens that this may be their ticket to Broadway.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Catherine O’Hara’s relationship with Schitt’s Creek actor and co-creator Eugene Levy as small screen co-stars actually dates back to their days on SCTV in the ‘70s, but their relationship as big screen co-stars began with Waiting for Guffman - a partially improvised mockumentary that brilliantly satirizes Midwestern culture, which Levy actually co-wrote with star and director Christopher Guest.
Best In Show (2000)
An affable salesman (Eugene Levy) and his high-spirited wife (Catherine O’Hara), a lone shop keeper (Christopher Guest), a bubbly gay couple (Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins), and others eagerly and anxiously prepare their beloved pets to win at a prestigious annual dog show as a camera crew captures everything that goes on prior to and during the event.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Years before doing so in Schitt’s Creek, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy played a married couple who enter their Norwich Terrier into the cutthroat competition at the center of Best in Show, which is considered by many to be the best of several acclaimed mockumentaries from star and director Christopher Guest, who also co-wrote this title with Levy.
A Mighty Wind (2003)
A successful trio of folk musicians known as The Folksmen (Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest) reunite, along with some of their most esteemed (and eccentric) contemporary artists to perform at a concert in honor of their former, legendary concert promoter’s recent passing.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Once again, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy played a couple - this time one that is bound in a passion for folk music - in yet another mockumentary co-written by Levy and director Christopher Guest called A Mighty Wind, which pokes fun at the music industry yet was actually nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
For Your Consideration (2006)
The obscure cast and crew of a low-budget, independent period drama are thrown up in arms by the news that the film has started to generate buzz in the entertainment media as a potential Oscar nominee.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: In their most recent collaboration with co-writer and director Christopher Guest, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy do not play a romantically linked couple, but are still as funny as ever in For Your Consideration - a mockumentary which, this time, pokes fun at the film industry, particularly the fervently competitive nature that it becomes consumed by around awards season.
Unhappy with the family that now inhabits their dream home, the lingering spirits of a recently deceased married couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) try calling upon the help of a repulsive, self-proclaimed bio-exorcist (Michael Keaton) to help scare them out of the house, which turns out to be a costly mistake.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: One of the Catherine O’Hara’s most uproariously funny and iconically quotable performances (which also reminds me a great deal of Moira Rose) is Delia Deetz in Beetlejuice, which is, arguably, the most definitive of director Tim Burton’s movies for its cartoonishly morbid sense of humor and inventively surreal visual design, all anchored by Michael Keaton’s brief, but boisterous performance in the title role.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Bored by the same gloomy and ghoulish celebrations from every other year, the unofficial leader of a town obsessed with Halloween (Chris Sarandon) accidentally comes across another town that is obsessed with Christmas and conspires to teach his peers all about the traditions akin to this new holiday.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Even though Tim Burton merely wrote the story and directorial duties were handled by underrated stop-motion artist Henry Selick, you could also make an argument that the ultimate Burton movie is the Oscar-nominated The Nightmare Before Christmas - a classic perfect for two different holiday seasons and for which Catherine O’Hara leant her voice to both the role of the romantic lead Sally and of Oogie Boogie’s young henchperson, Shock.
Stream The Nightmare Before Christmas on Disney+ (opens in new tab).
Buy/rent The Nightmare Before Christmas digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy The Nightmare Before Christmas on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Wanting to escape from his stressful, disillusioned reality, a young, angsty, adventurous boy (Max Records) runs away from home and into a distant land of fantasy inhabited by large, furry beasts and convinces them to make him their king.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: Catherine O’Hara leant her voice to the far less meek role of Judith in director Spike Jonze’s surprisingly dark adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s iconic story, Where the Wild Things Are, which is easily one of the most inventive and visually stunning movies based on a children’s book ever made.
Stream Where The Wild Things Are on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Buy/rent Where The Wild Things Are digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy Where The Wild Things Are on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Glenn Martin, DDS (2009-2011)
After their house suffers a devastating fire, a dentist (Kevin Nealon) decides to take his wife (Catherine O’Hara) and two children (Jackie Clarke and Peter Oldring) on a vacation across the country in an old recreational vehicle.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara TV shows: One of Catherine O’Hara’s more underrated voice acting roles was as Jackie, the wife of Kevin Nealon’s title character on Glenn Martin, DDS - a fun stop-motion animated family sitcom that aired as an original for Nickelodeon’s Nick@Nite block and, if you think about it, bears a few similarities to the plot of Schitt’s Creek.
Wyatt Earp (1994)
The story of a highly skilled gunslinger (Yellowstone cast member Kevin Costner) who becomes a legend of the Old West over the course of his tragedy-ridden life.
Why it’s one of the best Catherine O’Hara movies: One of Catherine O’Hara’s more unusually dramatic roles was as Allie Earp, the wife of Virgil Earp, in Wyatt Earp - co-writer and director Lawrence Kasdan’s Oscar-nominated, epic historical western inspired by the titular lawman made famous by the fateful events that took place at the O.K. Corral.
Catherine O’Hara is prepping to make another supposedly dramatic departure from her more common comedic roles by joining the ensemble cast of director Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming adaptation of Elly Conway’s espionage novel, Argylle.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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