Every year there are so many wonderful movies and performances that hit screens all across the country. Going to see them is so much fun as you are transported, for a short while, to a world that is not your own. We are taken in by the stories and the characters. Every year some of these films get recognition during the Awards Season. The biggest of course is the Academy Awards ceremony. Every year they have their nominees and every year I get pissed that some wonderful film I have viewed through that year has been ignored. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to nominate some movie bad girls that I adore in those movies that got missed. Some of the films are obscure and some are more mainstream. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week and these are 10 ladies that were more than award worthy. I hope you look up some of these movies they appear in. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I now introduce you to the first 5 of those ladies.
*I have listed what I believe is the proper audience for the films listed. Please review the films before sharing them with your kids to determine whether they should watch the movie or not. Thank you.
Best Actress Ignored by Oscar:
Reese Witherspoon in “Freeway” (1996)
Reese Witherspoon stars as Vanessa Lutz. She is illiterate and lives in poverty. Her mother is a prostitute and a meth addict. Her step father is also into drugs and takes sexual advantage of her. Her family ends up getting arrested. When social worker Mrs. Sheets comes to take her to a group home Vanessa tricks and handcuffs her to the bed. She then proceeds to steal her car intending to reach her grandmother’s home in Stockton, California. Along the way the car breaks down and she accepts a ride from a man named Bob Wolverton. He is a high school guidance counselor. Vanessa opens up to this man sharing very private details about her life. She will soon discover that Bob is the man known as the Freeway Killer and he has left a string of young dead girls all along the California freeway system. Before he can kill Vanessa she produces a gun she has in her purse for protection. She shoots Bob several times. Somehow Bob lives and Vanessa is arrested on a car-jacking charge. Bob is now disfigured and looks like a monster, a monster who is not done with Vanessa yet. He has an ax to grind.
This is Reese Witherspoon in an electrifying and explosive performance. The story is based on “Little Red Riding Hood.” It is a modern day retelling and this is Reese like you have never seen her before. This dark comedy will leave you speechless. The film is rated “R” and contains harsh language, sexual situations and graphic violence. (older teens and adults)
Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in “Bound” (1996)
Gina Gershon plays Corky, an ex-con fresh out of jail after a 5 year sentence. She manages to procure a job doing some repair work to a vacant apartment. Next door to the apartment she is working in lives Caesar and his girlfriend Violet. Caesar launders money for the Mafia. Violet takes a liking to Corky and seduces her. Violet tells Corky she is a lesbian and implies she is with Caesar because she likes the lifestyle offered to her. One night Caesar has a man named Shelly brought to the apartment. They believe he is skimming money and they torture him to get the answers. Violet excuses herself and seeks comfort from Corky. She tells Corky that she wants out of her relationship with Caesar and wants a new start. She tells Corky she cannot do it on her own. She also volunteers that Caesar will find the money so there will be nearly 2 million dollars in the apartment the following day. The ladies plan on how to steal the money and pin it on Caesar. What follows is a white-knuckle thrill ride.
The ladies play perfectly off one another. Gina Gershon as Corky brings a lot of strength to her character. She is a tough woman with heart. Jennifer Tilly as Violet plays off Gershon well. Violet is a beautiful woman who is girly girl and never has a hair out of place. Both ladies are as sexy as sexy can be and provide a perfect balance between the two characters. You will find yourself shaking with tension and cheering these ladies on to accomplish what they have set out to do. The movie is a sexy and exciting erotic crime thriller. The film is rated “R” (I believe there is also an “unrated” addition available) The movie contains graphic violence, nudity, graphic sex and harsh language. (adults only)
Reese Witherspoon in “Election” (1999)
Ms. Witherspoon makes my list twice, this time as Tracy Flick. She is an overachiever who is smart, pretty and perky. She is also so annoying you would like slap the shit out of her. Tracy is destined for great things, but in her senior year of high school the goal is Class President. She is running unopposed. This does not sit well with teacher Jim McAllister who is the faculty moderator for student government. He hates Tracy with a passion. His best friend and fellow teacher Dave Novotny had an affair with Tracy. He fell in love and Tracy’s mother, Mrs. Flick, found out what a teacher was doing with her teenage daughter. Needless to say Dave lost his job and his marriage over this indiscretion. Now Jim wants to see Tracy crash and burn. He talks another student, football player Paul Metzler to run against her. He goes as far as rigging the votes to assure himself that Tracy Flick will fail. What ensues is a dark comedy about morals and ethics.
This movie was produced by MTV. The script was written and directed by Alexander Payne (his co-scriptwriter was Jim Taylor) and is based on that satiric dark novel by Tom Perrotta. It is a nearly flawless film and I don’t know how it got missed during awards season. Ms. Witherspoon absolutely shines as Tracy Flick and her performance will have you holding your sides and laughing until you cry. The movie is rated “R” and contains sexual situations and harsh language. (older teens and adults)
Shelly Duvall in Robert Altman’s “3 Women” (1977)
Shelly Duvall stars as Millie Lammoreaux in what is by far the darkest and most unusual of the films on this list. Millie is an attractive young woman who has designed her own world. Her home is decorated like it came out of her interpretation of Better Homes and Gardens. Everything she owns and wears is yellow with little touches of purple. Even that apartment building is called Purple Sage. She loves to cook and constantly mentions recipes (fun note: all the recipes actually were Shelly Duvall’s) and believes she is famous for her dinner parties. She loves chasing men hoping for a romantic encounter. The men treat her as a joke and show no interest in her. She is oblivious to it. She is also a chatterbox always rambling about something. People largely tend to ignore her continuing their own private conversations. She doesn’t seem to notice. She is incredibly happy in her world. She works for a health spa for senior citizens and it is here that she will meet Pinky Rose. (played by Sissy Spacek) Pinky is a quirky and childlike young woman who comes to work at the spa. She is taken by Millie and begins to idolize her. She is so enamored that she begins stalking where Millie is during work hours. She even follows her across the street to the hospital where Millie likes to go eat and flirt with the men during her lunch break. Millie’s roommate moves out and she places an ad for a new roommate. Pinky ends up moving in with Millie. The two ladies are different as night and day. Millie becomes more and more infuriated with Pinky by the day. Pinky on the other hand has a hero worship of Millie that gets stronger by the day. The situation comes to a head and Millie, tired of Pinky, lets her have it. Pinky, distressed by this tries to commit suicide. She ends up in a coma and Millie distraught with guilt begins spending every free moment at the hospital. When Pinky stays in the coma for an extended period Millie reaches out and contacts Pinky’s parents who come from Texas to be with their little girl. Pinky finally does wake up but claims not to recognize her parents and demands that they leave. Pinky is discharged and comes back home with Millie. Suddenly Pinky is exhibiting a very different behavior. She is slowly becoming Millie and the story takes a very dark turn.
Shelly Duvall gives a powerhouse performance as Millie. The character is one of the most well drawn I have ever seen in a film and is so real that it is unnerving. She delivers dialogue with comic precision although there is really nothing funny about this dark story. The tagline for the film was “3 Women…a motion picture that makes you re-examine anyone you’ve ever wanted to be.” The film is effective and sinister on a real level making it an incredible psychological drama. Ms. Duvall has never looked more beautiful or given a performance more powerful. The movie is rated “PG” and contains mild language, sexual situations and a suicide attempt. (adults only despite the PG rating)
Next week we will continue with the other 5 women I have selected. Until then look up some of these movies and see if you agree with me. Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because you don’t want to be ignored at Oscar time.