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20 Years Later: Jennifer Aniston and the Leprechaun

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"There are no regrets in life, just lessons." - Jennifer Aniston

What was your first gig? Is that job still on your resume? Fortunately, for the majority of us, our early career failures often go unnoticed by the public. When you are a movie star, however, those early career choices are saved in the archives forever.

Jennifer Aniston is the darling of my generation, likeable and sweet enough for the girls to admire her and sexy and cute enough for the men to desire her -- a modern-day, real-life Mary Ann Summers. But Aniston is more than just the girl next door -- she is one of the best actresses of her generation, having won an Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actor's Guild Award and worldwide fame for her decade-long portrayal of Rachel on Friends. Aniston has also starred in some of my generation's favorite movies, like Office Space, Along Came Polly, The Break-Up and most recently, Horrible Bosses. Last year, she even awarded her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aniston started her career in a dubious fashion, with bit roles on failing television shows and a starring role in the widely criticized Leprechaun. In fact, movie nerds love to point out that Aniston's first real gig was fighting off a three-foot troll in a b-level slasher movie. I would argue, however, that in Leprechaun, Aniston gave the audience brief flashes of her potential, and that as a horror franchise, Leprechaun is not deserving of the panning it receives.

Leprechaun, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a St. Patrick's Day delight. It not only features a young Aniston, but also removes any mystery surrounding the pot of gold at the end-of the-rainbow and kills any desire to find it. As a kid, my friends and I often considered hopping on our BMX bikes to see if we could find that elusive pot of gold. Fortunately for us, we never took the challenge. Who knew this gold belonged to an actual leprechaun, and a nasty one at that?

I mean, leprechauns are supposed to be tricky, but murderous? They are the subjects of fables. How could a modern human possibly think the fable could be true, especially a greedy modern human who could potentially change their life with a pile of gold? Plus, taking out a three-foot troll should be an easy task, right? Not so much with this evil leprechaun.

Aniston plays the part of the film's heroine, Tory. In the movie, she and her father rent a farmhouse in New Mexico (some reviews state the film takes place in North Dakota, which is incorrect) for the summer and almost immediately she stumbles into the Leprechaun fracas when her father is bitten on the hand by the leprechaun, who had set up a trap in hopes of finding his stolen gold. This is where the leprechaun ramps up his killing spree and the gore doesn't end until one of the film's other heroes, Alex (played by Robert Gorman) expertly shoots a four-leafed clover stuck to a piece of gum into the evil Leprechaun's mouth.

Critics and movie nerds love to poke fun at an actor's early career endeavors and few have held back in pointing out Aniston's role in Leprechaun. It is an easy target. Even Aniston herself had the foresight to recognize the film for what it was. When asked by an Irish-journalist if she had wanted to say anything to his countrymen in regards to Leprechaun, she said, ''I should have apologized? But didn't that [film] punish me enough?''

That being said, Leprechaun was successful enough to inspire a six-film franchise and rumors state that Lionsgate and WWE are in production of a new Leprechaun franchise, this time starring Dylan Postle (aka Hornswoggle) as the modern day version of Warwick Davis's previously creepy version of the Leprechaun.

Certainly cheesy, Leprechaun deserves a watch this St. Patrick's Day, if for anything else the walk down memory lane with Aniston and the film's inherent humor factor. If, after drinking a few green beers, you don't find anything remotely funny about Leprechaun then perhaps you should skip comedy altogether and opt for an action, or adventure flick like The Departed. As for my friends and I, Leprechaun is a traditional laugh-fest filled with crazy sound bites set to a once-yearly rotation.