The late 1980s and early 90s-born girls and the parents who raised them would testify that Mark-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies dominated almost everything that their children were interested in watching. The twin girls who began acting at the age of nine months old, appeared in a boatload of projects during that time either sharing the same role or appearing as sisters.
Thanks to the guidance of the people around them, the sisters, who were born in 1986, were able to launch a production company in 1993 called Dualstar Entertainment Group which produced all the TV movies and direct-to-video releases that featured the girls as they also appeared in a few big studio projects.
While much of their projects did not receive critical acclaim, the pair were a huge hit among the above listed demographic. This lasted until the mid-2000s when everyone seemed to have outgrown what they offered and the girls found themselves unable to carry along their careers with their age. This prompted them to take a back step from their acting careers and focus mainly on producing, with Ashley Olsen only appearing in the films The Jerk Theory (2009) and I’m Still Here (2010) before she and her sister indicated in 2012 that they were retiring as actresses in order to focus on their fashion careers.
Their decision to stay in retirement was put to test in 2015 when John Stamos signed on with Netflix to produce and co-star in Fuller House, a spin-off Full House, the first-ever show the girls appeared in. The girls originally indicated an interest in returning to the show, but later declined the offer with Ashley herself saying she would not feel comfortable in front of the camera after a 12-year absence.
This has left us with only the actress’s works from her earlier days in ranking her movies and TV shows from the best to the worst.
Ashley Olsen Movies and TV Shows
1. Full House (1987–1995)
Full House, a sitcom about a widowed father who enlists the services of his brother-in-law and best friend to help raise his three daughters, comes in at number one on the list of the best to worst Ashley Olsen Movies and TV shows for a couple of reasons.
First, it was the first-ever show the young actress appeared in, as both she and her twin sister began sharing the role of Michelle Tanner just one year after their birth. Secondly, Full House consistently ranked in the Nielsen Top 30 and was very popular even after the show came to an end; thanks to its syndicated re-runs and tie-in merchandise that was marketed along with the show. The third and final reason is that a greater percentage of the awards Ashley has won as an actress has come from her performance on the show.
2. It Takes Two (1995)
It Takes Two is a great family-friendly film about two unrelated young girls who look identical and meet by chance. Their lives are however very different, prompting them to swap places with their families in a quest to have a taste of a life they have never experienced.
The film proved to be a huge hit among children, cementing Ashley’s status as a budding actress. It further earned her a Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress and a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress Under Ten.
3. Our Lips Are Sealed (2000)
After twin sisters Maddie and Abby Parker witness a robbery at a local museum where a precious diamond was stolen, their family is placed in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the family is moved around often because the girls have a hard time keeping their mouths shut about what they witnessed. This keeps putting the robbers on their tale and leaves the FBI with no option than to send the Parker family to Australia.
As is the case with all the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies, this film was a huge hit among children, however, it was another critical failure for the twin girls.
4. To Grandmother’s House We Go (1992)
Made for the viewing pleasure of a family during the Christmas season, To Grandmother’s House We Go is about twin sisters Sarah and Julie who are naughty but sweet children. They one day overhear their divorced mother speaking about her need for a vacation which is as a result of handling her daughters. This prompts the little girls to take matters into their hands as they do not inform their mother before they packed their bags and head off to their grandmother’s house.
Being one of the earlier efforts of Ashley and Mary-Kate, the film enjoyed an unexpected success that was bolstered by their growing popularity.
5. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble is a story about two adventurous little girls who discover that their great aunt is trapped and cursed by her evil twin sister. Together, the girls work to break the curse which they discover can only be broken by the magical spell of twins.
This Halloween children’s film proved to be one of the better works on this list of Ashley Olsen movies. It was not just one of the earlier roles, it also went a long way in paving the way for the girls to go ahead and have an outstanding child acting career. A further nod to Ashley’s performance in the film is that she received a Young Artist Award for Best Youth Actress in a TV Mini-Series, M.O.W. or Special in 1994 for the role.
6. Two of a Kind (1998-1999)
Two of a Kind was the first television series both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen appeared in after Full House was canceled. Similar to the aforementioned sitcom, Two of a Kind was about a college professor and widowed father who believed science could solve any problem until he could not find a solution to control his identical but completely opposite daughters.
The show aired from September 1998 to July 1999 when it was canceled. After this, however, it gained a huge following thanks to its reruns both in the US and the United Kingdom.
7. The Little Rascals (1994)
The Little Rascals is a family comedy film adapted from the series of short films by Hal Roach from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s called Our Gang. The film centers around the adventures of a group of neighborhood children who all belong to the “He-Man Woman Haters Club”.
Unlike most other films that appear on this Ashley Olsen movies list, the actress has a relatively small role as she and her sister play twin girls that appear at one of the main character’s sleepover. The film was further negatively received by critics, however, it enjoyed some commercial success as it grossed over $67 million worldwide.
8. New York Minute (2004)
New York Minute is the last of the many projects Ashley starred in alongside her sister. In the film, the two play teenage twins who have opposing personalities that clash as they embark on a series of adventures around New York City.
While the film brought about some nostalgia as it reunited the girls with their Full House co-star, Bob Saget, it was both a critical and commercial failure. Most movie reviewers described it as being very poor, a fact that was reflected in its commercial failure as it only managed to rake in $23.4 million at the box office after having had a budget of $30 million.
9. Getting There (2002)
At a time when viewers were beginning to get tired of seeing another stereotypical twin role for Ashley Olsen and her sister, the pair appeared in Getting There, a film about sisters Taylor and Kylie Hunter who head out on a road trip in celebration of their 16th birthday. Due to the fact that the pair had just gotten their driver’s license, they embarked on a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah with their friends for the 2002 Winter Olympics. They are however unable to complete their journey as their car is stolen before they arrive at the destination. Determined to make it, they decide to enter a plane, unfortunately, they board a wrong one that heads to San Diego, kicking off a series of events that ruin their celebrations.
10. Holiday in the Sun (2001)
Exploring the teen years of the actresses, this Ashley Olsen movie is one of the first films in which the young girls take on the theme of love. They appear as twin sisters Madison and Alex whose parents whisk away on a vacation to Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas for the winter break. While the girls are at first not happy that they did not get to follow their friends to Hawaii, they end up making the most out of the trip, especially when Ashley’s character Alex falls in love with a worker at the resort named Jordan, and her sister is also being wooed by another person.
A series of unexpected events, such as Alex facing stiff competition for Jordan from another vacationer who happens to be a spoiled heiress, almost ruin the vacation but the sisters are able to pull through, displaying the true meaning of sisterhood.