I had a privileged childhood–we had HBO. We may have even had Showtime and Cinemax at one point too, if I’m remembering correctly. I know, I know. It was amazing. I even kept a journal to critique all of the movies I watched. I was obsessed. I wanted to watch them all–good, bad, or the not-so-rare “how in the hell did this get made?” and “what 3-yr-old directed this?”
But, nothing beat the experience of actually going to the movies–getting money out of the ATM for tickets (hah!), stashing drinks and candies in my mom’s purse, waiting for the previews to pop the tabs on our sodas… it was all so exciting!
I still love going to the movies. I love standing in line to purchase tickets and the excitement of talking awkwardly into the ticket window to announce to everyone what you’re about to spend $7 to watch. I love a big bag of buttery popcorn or nachos smothered in ultra-violet cheese sauce and jalapenos–two dietary no-nos which I would never eat outside of the darkness of a theater, when calories don’t count (right?). I love movie theater chairs and standing at the bottom of the steps scanning the theater for the perfect spot to sit. I love when the lights dim and the previews roar. Extra bonus love for the theaters where beer and wine are offered at the refreshment stand…
But, what I really love about movies is the suspension of disbelief that I get to experience for 1-3 hours of time, when nothing else matters and time may as well have stood still. No matter how many movies are made and how great the special effects have become, a movie will always be only as good as the characters on the screen and how believable their role within the story is portrayed, suspending judgment on how unbelievably unbelievable the plot would be otherwise.
My husband and I have an equal love for watching, discussing, and going to the movies–so much so that we had a movie theme tied into our wedding.
Between the two of us, we have a huge collection of DVDs (and shamefully I’m still holding onto my VHS too). In fact, I recently restricted my husband from buying any more movies, because we hardly have time to watch the ones we already own. That, and he recently came home with Olympus Has Fallen, which he put on for us to watch and then promptly fell asleep. Meanwhile, I ended up staying up to watch the whole damn thing and–to my absolute HORROR–realized we now owned. With Christmas just around the corner, it will be re-gifted soon enough…
While I have nothing against Gerard Butler, the fact that he is beautiful and looks like he maaaaaaaybe could physically (and single-handedly) overthrow the takeover of the White House does not a good hero make. I won’t even go into all of the details that made the movie preposterous nor will I recommend that you watch it–if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.
It led me to thinking about all of the garbage “hero movies” that are made year after year featuring beefed up characters who seldom inspire the audience to care about whether they live or get blown up, which honestly may be the point. Throw in a few catch phrases and a hunky grin and we have ourselves a blockbuster. This also got me thinking about the heroines who have kicked some major ass over the years, often times in movie genres that are far from the traditional “action” category. I thought a lot about the different types of leading lady characters that have been adapted for cinema and I was able to narrow it down to five who really stand out (in my opinion). So, yeah, umm, excuse me John Cena, you’ve got nothing on the following:
1. Ellen Ripley has got to be the most ass-kicking heroine of all time. Even if you can’t “get into” Science Fiction, do yourself a favor and at least watch the end of Aliens. Every parent has a little bit of Ripley in there somewhere.
2. As one of my favorite movies, it was hard putting FBI Agent Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs at the number two position. She’s smart, confident, professional, and she goes toe to toe with not only one but TWO serial killers. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
3. Sarah Connor is one badass mother. If you don’t believe me, re-watch the opening scene of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And, let’s face it, she has better muscle definition than most men.
4. A first-class computer hacker, investigator, chameleon, and champion of females who have been abused, Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a fierce and unconventionally genius heroine. No matter which version you go with–she’s one woman you definitely don’t want to cross.
5. When Angelina Jolie’s character is throwing around Mr. Smith (with her perfectly thin arms), I find myself throwing up just a little in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong–it’s entertaining and the dynamic is great–but it’s completely unbelievable. Why does the career of a male actor depend upon the transformation of his body for each and every role–gaining or losing the equivalent of another person’s body weight over the course of one film in some instances–when Angelina doesn’t even have to define her biceps? That is why Demi Moore makes the cut as Lt. Jordan O’Neil in G.I. Jane. And, if you’ve ever seen the movie, then you know that it isn’t going to win any Academy Awards, but it is watchable because she is in fact, well, CUT. She not only packs on a ton of muscle from start to finish, but fully commits to a non-regulation military haircut. Ladies, don’t try this at home. You can only criticize this pick if you can successfully reenact the work-out montage from the movie…