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Strong Women Movie Challenge #46 of 200 : The Women of Switchblade Sisters

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To some, exploitation cinema is trash. Badly made, thrown together, piles of garbage out for a quick buck that sometimes oversteps the mark called bad taste.

To others they’re a veritable goldmine that involves first swimming through piles of garbage to find a gem that transcends the genre.

It’s all a matter of opinion. Mine being that Switchblade Sisters is that transcendent.  

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It doesn’t take much to get me excited when it comes to girls kicking ass on screen. As long as they’re doing it, I’m easy money. And Jack Hill gave me a whole gangs worth to get behind.

The Dagger Debs as they are known, are all going steady with the guys who run the town, The Silver Daggers. The Silver Daggers are the power and see The Debs as accessories at best. Using them as props.  Gaining money from prostituting one and just generally treating them like dirt.

This isn’t the Silver Daggers story though. This is the rise, fall, and final rise of The Dagger Debs baby. And rooting for them is a joy.

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Lace (bottom, middle) is the leader of the Debs. Played by Robbie Lee, this lady is a phenomenon. Robbie Lee has a real “nice girl” look about her. The fact that she pulls off the brutal, take no shit, badass leader so effortlessly is a proof of how much this lady can run.

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(I want this photo framed)

Lace is an awesome leader. Though her power-hunger and jealousy would inevitably be her downfall. I love how far Robbie takes the character too. She’s intense enough when she’s on top. But she just goes wayyyyyy off the chart when her place at the top of the Debs is in jeopardy.

Having a rotten-to-the-core boyfriend Dominic, who is also the leader of the Silver Daggers, Lace and her girls are always second in command while she continues to take shit from her “love”

Maggie has other ideas.

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Maggie joins the Debs after refusing to take any shit from THEM, the authorities, and, well, just about anyone. Maggie was always going to be the eventual leader.

Caught in a triangle with Lace and Dominic after Dom has his cake and eats it (bleurgh), his rotten ways start the ball rolling on Lace’s jealousy and inevitable downfall. Maggie doesn’t so much rob her place at the top of the Debs. She does what should have been done from the beginning. And that’s to dethrone the Silver Daggers and show that the power lies with the girls.

This internal conflict is going on while they’re all at war with the Crabs Gang. It’s marvellous stuff.

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Joanne Nail is remarkable. Taking Maggie to the top with a performance so full of guts and fury that it’s one of those iconic characters that stays with you forever. Joanne is my kind of actress.

There comes a turning point in this movie that gets me so excited and gleeful that it never gets any less reaction from me no matter how many times I see it.

Maggie gets tired of being the Silver Daggers bitches. Tired of what the name Dagger Debs stands for in this sense. Renaming the girls The Jezebels (evil and scheming), she takes the girls to new heights.

Removing the Silver boys from the picture altogether, she sets out for war with the Crabs Gang armed with her contacts in the underground and The Jezebels. It’s Boys v’s Girls. It’s The Jezebels time to shine. It’s fucking amazing.

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Under the surface of all this fighting and betrayal is Patch (Monica Gayle).

Always in Lace’s ear with paranoia and lies, her quest for her best friend/obsession to remain on top is what is actually tearing the girls apart. As well as Dom and his despicable Dom-ness. (spits)

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I despised Patch on first viewing. Still do. Hats off to Monica Gayle. Because not only does she play it so well that I could feel such a disliking for her. But she is so effing cool and comfortable in her role that you  can replace all the negative words above with “adore” and it would adequately convey how far across the spectrum this woman makes me feel. What a star.

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(I love this photo of Jack Hill and the girls)

Rounding off the front and centre of The Jezebels are Donut (Kitty Bruce, left) and Bunny (Janice Karman, far right).  

Both bring a brilliant game, and I adore each of them as much as the others I’ve mentioned. Both are kind of the whipping girls for Lace when she needs to remind people who’s in charge of the Dagger Debs. In contrast, both are accepted and trusted gang members under Maggie and The Jezebels. Love it. 

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Director Jack Hill would launch Pam Grier off into goddess territory with his movies Coffy & Foxy Brown. Mix that together with his kickass girls in Switchblade Sisters and it’s safe to say that the guy likes to write his women strong.

Jackie Brown would get me interested in who this Pam Grier chick is. Jack Hill would cement her as my Queen. It’s safe to say I love the guy. And Switchblade means as much to me as Pam’s two films do.

I don’t know how to praise the guy any higher.


 

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The solidarity of the ending (SPOILER INBOUND) is mind-blowing to me. Throughout the entire reign of the Dagger Debs, every time the police come a-knocking, the Debs claim they know nothing of the gang that the 5-0 speak of. It’s a form of solidarity that always makes me smile, knowing they will be out of jail in a week or so.

When the final scene unfolds and a murder is involved, the Jezebels realise it may not be such an easy ride.

Rather than rat Maggie out to save ass, the girls band together as one and proclaim themselves to all be a part. All of them a gang. The final shot above of a bile-spewing Maggie telling all in hearing range that the girls will be back and to watch out gives me goosebumps. It could be considered a sombre end that the game is up if not the fact that, under Maggie’s leadership, the game is only just beginning.

I fucking love Switchblade Sisters

Thank you for your time xxx    

Strong Women Movie Challenge #45 of 200 : Su-jeong Lim in I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK

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I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK (IACBTOK) is one of those movies that not only moved me, but left me scratching my head at the bonkers-ness.

It’s one of those movies where, you have to ride a lot of crazy shit to get to the heart-melting beauty within. But if you’re like me and you like the crazy shit, then you’re good to go. 

The crazy is every bit as wonderful as the beauty though. And I wouldn’t change a solitary second of it.

 

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Even the basic premise is crackers before you’ve even switched the movie on :

IMDb : A girl who thinks she is a combat cyborg checks into a mental hospital, where she encounters other psychotics. Eventually, she falls for a man who thinks he can steal people’s souls.

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Young-goon (Su-jeong) is said “cyborg” and she refuses to eat just in case the food messes up her circuits and she breaks down.

Relying on personal radio transmissions and licking batteries for energy, her goal is to eliminate all the white un’s (doctors) who took her granny away and put her in a nuthouse. Only problem being, she hasn’t got the energy. And she’s just too damn lovely to fully remove her sympathy that allows her to pursue her goal.

Su-jeong absolutely throws herself into this role. So convincing and comfortable is she in it in fact, that I genuinely wondered on first viewing if she was actually the combat cyborg she believes herself to be.

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When you watch too many movies you can sometimes start to see the actor/actress playing the part. So perfect is Su-jeong in this beauty, that you can never see it. Fully invested. Fully realised. Fully perfected.

I mean, we’re talking about a character that wears her grandmothers dentures to talk to light bulbs. A character that truly believes there are seven deadly sins for robots. A character that licks batteries and thinks she has rocket feet.

It speaks volumes that she can make you believe through all that, and makes practisers of a craft with a resume full of generic rom-com love-interest parts seem quite bland. Awesome lady. 

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Il-sun is the other half of this beautiful tale. Convinced that he will go so unnoticed that he will eventually fade into a dot, he steals other patients personalities just to keep existing.

Ignored and shown no attention by his parents, Il-sun genuinely believes he can become invisible. His somewhat selfish obsession with being noticed is dragging him down until his true calling in life arises : to keep Young-goon from starving to death and to hand himself over to love. Peace and happiness comes from turning selfish to selfless and Il-sun embodies this ideal wonderfully.

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Played by a gentleman named Rain, I was not aware until after watching IACBTO that said gentleman was a ridiculously huge pop star in the east. This was also his first feature length.

Well cover my face in a rabbit mask and call me K-Pop. This guy deserves to be a star even from this movie alone.

He portrays so many different eccentric personalities as he goes through the first half of this movie and plays each one to loving perfection. But it’s during the second half where Rain really shines.

Casting aside selfishness to help our heroine get back on her feet, he starts the metamorphosis from wonderful madcap to a truly adorable love story (that’s also wonderfully madcap). Of course, it takes two to tango. And this tango is gold. 

"Pop star in the movies" could put many off. Rain is above all that shit. 

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Director Chan-wook Park dreamed up the idea for this movie after completing his Vengeance Trilogy. Describing it as something to “give him a rest” after concocting a taxing set of movies. If this is what his idea of a “rest” movie is, then this guy should be the king of Hollywood.

Tarantino describes Death Proof in much the same way. His description was what he would refer to as a “left-handed” movie. Well Death Proof is my favourite movie and IACBTO is in the list somewhere high up too. So sometimes just doing something from the heart can touch an audience no matter how much the maker may play it down. 

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His use of colour and imaginative sets are a joy to behold. Everything from the way Young-goon has her toes light from pinky to big as she charges her batteries.

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To the brightly covered pipes and padded cells. It’s loving tale and bonkers ideas was enough to more than hold my attention. The sets send it skyward.  

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I could go on and on about how much this movie means to me. And I haven’t even touched upon the amazing support cast. But if you’ve seen it, you know how perfect each and every part is. If you haven’t, it’s like a gem that just keeps shining brighter with every turn.

I wish there was a word for me to describe how i feel about this movie that meant more than ADORE!!! 

Thank you for your time xxx  

Strong Women Movie Challenge #44 of 200 : Candace Hilligoss in Carnival Of Souls

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Well paint my eyes black this movie is a masterpiece.

It’s only taken me my 32 years on this earth for this 52 year old movie to enter my existence. Questions like "what the hell have you been doing with your life dumbass? and "you call yourself a movie fan?" are just two of the things my inquisitive brain would ask. 

Better later than never though I guess huh?

 

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I have no idea how this movie popped up onto my radar after all these years. But when it finally did, the selling point was a no-brainer. Because if a blurb tells me that a movie is the main influence behind Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, it’s safe to say I’m gonna watch the hell out of that shit.

The fact it isn’t anywhere near as well known as the aforementioned made me think it was maybe a weaker movie and hasn’t stood the test of time.

Well Night Of The Living Dead has been one of my favourites since I was a nipper. And Carnival Of Souls is every bit as perfect. The fact I don’t have nostalgia on my side says a lot for how awesome this movie truly is.  

 

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There’s not a single jump scare in this. Not a single drop of blood. It freaks you the proper way.

Haunting organs lacing it’s score. The fact that our protagonist is the church organ player makes it that much more sweeter/eerie. Creating her own soundtrack to the insanity she’s drifting into.

Dark imagery that leaves you feeling ill at ease. Taking on an almost art-film type quality to unsettle even the most die-hard. We’re all a little immune to modern horror movies nowadays. Carnival reminds you why. They’re just not freaking you out right.

Carnival Of Souls takes it’s time and gets under your skin to the point where, I was actually more freaked out as time passed AFTER watching it. Not a great deal of films stay with me like this one has. I’ll cherish it for life for the dark gem it is.

 

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This would be Director Herk Harvey’s only feature length. I wonder what would have become of his career had it been as huge as Night Of The Living Dead. Maybe we would now have a Carnival Trilogy to hold as dearly to our hearts as Romero’s Dead has been to mine since forever.

Editing issues and green cast members can’t stop an idea. And Herk and Co. would rise above it to leave a mark labelled “masterpiece” on this landscape we call cinema. 

Of course, the movie is elevated to even more ridiculous heights thanks to our lead, the great Candace Hilligoss.

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Harvey reportedly never revealed to Candace how she was supposed to feel during scenes. Not only does Candace handle her scenes like a boss anyway, her uneasiness and unsure nature infects out of the screen.

In talentless hands, this genius idea would fall flat on it’s face. But Hilligoss just fucking nails it. Every. Single. Scene.

Like the director, she wouldn’t really go on to have much more of a career herself. But I’m a firm believer that if you can change the landscape of any art-form in one try, you deserve to go down in history as a great. And everything about Hilligoss screams greatness.

Give me a sole masterpiece on a resume over a hundred knocked-out half-arsed movies any day.

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It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a movie that I know I will watch again and again until the day I die. Hilligoss and Harvey have made that movie.

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #43 of 200 : The Women of All Cheerleaders Die

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All! Cheerleaders! Die! Frackin’! Rules!

I usually try to just concentrate on one actress when doing these mini celebrations of all things woman. But there are 5 ladies in this badboy. And they all rule the school.   

Give me an A! an M! an E and then an N!!!

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I went into this movie blind.

A follow by this movies twitter page got me curious. Which then prompted me to check out the trailer. Well, part of it anyway. Because I was already on the hunt for this movie before the preview had even ended. You just KNOW sometimes don’t you?  

Imdb sets the plot as :  A rebel girl signs up a group of cheerleaders to help her take down the captain of their high school football team, but a supernatural turn of events thrusts the girls into a different battle.

This is an understatement. You will absolutely despise said captain. And the ‘different battle’ is so wonderfully original I honestly want to stop typing to go and watch this movie again. And I only saw it last night. 

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The one element I adore about this movie (apart from that it kicks ass) is the sense of unity between the girls. They become a strong unit together and you reeeeeally want them to win in this war they’re embroiled in with the (mostly) dickhead boys.

It’s fist-in-the-air kinds of wonderful watching them get stronger as a team. And part of the genius of this flick is how the unity is both figurative and literal.

Because they literally feel each others pain and pleasure. And it makes for some of the biggest belly laughs I’ve had in ages.  

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"Somebody got fucked! Somebody died! And I’m going to P.E.!"

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Caitlin Stasey is kind of the lead in All Cheerleaders Die. The awesome wave that wants to rock the boat and right some wrongs with the men when nobody else will stand up.

Stasey plays it with this "I don’t give a fuck" attitude that makes you easily get behind her and her girls.

To me they’re all the leads. But Stasey gets them to woman the fuck up and take names. Gotta love that attitude.

And she looks cool as you like riding a motorbike :

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An absolute peach in the writing and the way Caitlin plays it is her sexual preference. She’s a lesbian character who’s not a token lesbian character. She’s also a lesbian character that has love scenes that aren’t put in for male titillation.

It’s played as the norm and it makes you kind of think : “SEE!!! IT’S THAT EASY!!!”  

You’re a legend Caitlin Stasey.

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Sianoa Smit-McPhee plays the goth witch that knows something the others don’t. An outcast that becomes part of the cheerleaders dysfunctional family. 

Her power is in her knowing. They all need each other. And they most definitely need Sianoa’s all-knowing witch.

This woman is awesome and she plays a stalker-weirdo-turned-awesome-group member with ease and brilliance.

I haven’t seen any of these women before. But along with Sianoa, I’ll be keeping track of their careers and hoping they get the recognition they deserve.  

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Reanin Johannink, like Amanda Grace Cooper, plays two parts here.

I had a lot of fun with her character because of it, and it must have been a hoot to play bible basher turned, well, not so bible basherererer.

It’s easy for me to love this gang of femme fatales, and Reanin aint nobodies supporting cast. They all have a talent to bring. And Reanin brings it. Love love love.

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Amanda Grace Cooper is Reanin’s sister in this. And also plays two parts.

Her change is a joy to behold as she, like the others, brings her own brand of justice.

Cooper plays the loveable lady brilliantly. So when it’s time to bring the pain, you’re behind her all the way.

I’m glad I can’t single someone out as outstanding here as Cooper and Co are all this and more. I love this team.

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Rounding off the awesome fivesome is Brooke Butler.

Oh my gosh this girl is hilarious. She went from being the character I disliked most (only because she’s an unlikeable so and so to begin with) to one of my favourites in a bat of an eyelid. She’s one of the first you sympathise with. And one you have no end of fun with watching.

There’s some inspired hilarity played by all the girls. And Brooke is just amazing when it’s time to shine. I wouldn’t say she’s the token funny because that would be an insult. She has just as rounded a character as her teammates. And she’s every bit as talented.    

But when I think back on the movie, I’m grinning from ear to ear at some of the shit she gets up to first. I can’t emphasise enough how perfect all these women are in this. And the fact they are a unit pleases me no end.

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I can’t praise this movie any higher. A lot of peeps are proclaiming this as Heathers meets Jennifer’s Body.

I don’t like when people feel the need to join two movies to describe a newer one. Some Heathers fans will only be disappointed because it’s not Heathers 2. Likewise with Jennifer’s Body.

Just say that All Cheerleaders Die fucking rules. Cos that be the truth.

Give me an A! an M! an E and then an N!  

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #42 of 200 : Amy Steel & Deborah Foreman in April Fools Day

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This was meant to be a celebration of Deborah Foreman and Deborah Foreman alone. I wanted to showcase Amy Steel seperately in Friday the 13th Part 2 at some point. Then I watched this movie again.

And I can’t NOT write about both of these ladies. They rule my world. And having them together in one movie is like an overload of awesome. And the movie is just as great. 

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The only reason I own this movie is because of my insistence on collecting everything 80s slash and trash. However, genre fans can be in agreement that for every classic like Halloween, there were a dozen films like The Last Slumber Party.

I love the hell out of the more serious takes on the genre like The Prowler and The Burning. But it’s safe to say my preferences lie in takes on the slasher formula like The Slumber Party Massacre series and the sequels to Sleepaway Camp and Prom Night. (except 4. 4 doesn’t exist)

Daft and bloody. Ounces of gore with a cheeky wink and a smile. Give me a serious slasher any day. Give me campy schlock all the time.

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I was kind of expecting something in between with this movie. And it nails the balance perfectly.

It throws in all the tomfoolery of assorted April Fools pranks but plays it straight when needed. It’s remarkable really that I regard this movie as one of my favourite slasher flicks, yet it doesn’t really contain any gore.

Granted, it doesn’t contain the gore-less suspense and perfection of the blueprint that is Halloween. But it ticks all the boxes of what I mentioned above for what I adore about the genre.  

I absolutely love April Fools Day.

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Even after seeing this movie many times and knowing what the payoff is, I can still easily reset my brain and take in the whodunit aspect.

It just builds so marvellously. It’s ruddy delicious I tells ye. 

Of course it helps that Amy Steel and Deborah Foreman are on screen together.

I thank the Gods of cinema when they share a scene together. Such is my love for these two ladies talents.

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I regard Deborah Foreman as one of the sweetest ladies to ever grace the screen. 

She has a smile that could heat a planet for aeons. A cheeky persona that makes you want to be her best friend. A loveable demeanor that could make you fall in love at the drop of a hat. (Or head in this case)  

It absolutely amazes me every time that I see this film. I feel this high regard for the talent of this lady. Yet I can’t help but be freaked the fuck out when she goes all crazy-crazy.

When her dress sense goes all Annie Wilkes? And her pale look and distant stares?

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Well colour me creeped. Deborah Foreman is a goddess. 

I was sold on Deborah wayyyyy before April Fools Day. The fact that she can play such a scary looking lady doesn’t surprise me so much. But it doesn’t stop being deliciously creepy no matter how many times I view this wunderbar flick.

If having Amy and Deborah in the same movie wasn’t just a personal present from the celluloid gods, then having TWO Deborah Foremans in the same movie was the kitchen knife that cuts through the cherry and the icing on top of the awesome-cake.

God bless you Deborah Foreman.

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I’ve always had a theory that your favourite Friday the 13th movie has a lot to do with not just the inspired kills, but your favourite lead lady. It’s why I have the utmost amount of love for parts 2 and 6.

Jennifer Cooke rules the roost in Part 6. And Amy Steel is just fucking amazeballs.

Jamie Lee Curtis rightfully became a star after a series of slasher appearances. The fact that Amy isn’t at the exact same level tells me that there is no justice after all.

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Lovers of Friday the 13th Part 2 don’t need telling how epic Amy is in that role. And I love her every bit as much in this.

This movie is cheeky and creepy at the same time. And Amy embraces both sides masterfully. She is able to make you beam from ear to ear at the lighter parts, whilst rooting all out for her when it’s time. And it still holds up when you already know how the movie ends.

There are certain actresses that have a huge presence when on screen. Amy Steel is always that presence. She demands your adoration through her sheer talent alone. The fact that she’s so beautiful only adds to the wonderful beauty within.

I heart Amy Steel.   

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So I may be biased about April Fools Day. This much is obvious. It just has so much about it that makes me so giddy with happiness.

But I’m not biased about Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel. I adore them because they’re just THAT DAMN GOOD!!!

Thank you for your time xxx    

Strong Women Movie Challenge #41 of 200 : Irene Jacob in Three Colours Red

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Sometimes you feel like an actress/actor was born to play a certain role. And this is Irene Jacobs. She doesn’t just own it. She owns your life. As for an hour and 40 minutes, nothing else exists in your own but her.

And she goes hand-in-hand in solidarity with Director Krzysztof Kieslowski. This film is about the French theme of Brotherhood. And it exists in this duo as much as in the fictional story itself.

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You can see from the off that Valentine is one of the good ones. And by this I mean she’s one of those people that just radiate goodness. 

Irene Jacob, like the other ladies from the trilogy, can sweep you away with subtleties in their acting craft that just make you believe in them.

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From the off we’re introduced to her jealous and slightly manipulative boyfriend via a phonecall.

All the while, (and throughout the whole movie) we see the way a handsome strangers life is simultaneously living in close proximity.

Its beautiful to watch Kielowski pan between these two separate but equally endearing personalities. 

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As we find out Valentine is a model, it brings up shot after beautiful shot of Valentines varied emotions.

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As Blue and White did before it, the colour Red surrounds Valentines life. Everything from books and chairs, to cafes, billboards, and cars. It’s a sea of beautiful red and the cinematography is second to none.

Its worth noting how quiet and elegant the whole thing is too. The movie flows in a sea of whisper and beauty. Kieslowski really puts his arm around you and pleasantly invites you into Valentines good nature.

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So you really feel her pain when she leaves the photoshoot and accidently runs over a dog.

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Watching her concern melts my heart. The way she struggles but refuses to do anything else but help the poor thing is like a mini love story in itself.

I love the little things in movies. The parts that are very human. I’m talking about a part where Valentine, after finding the owners address on the dogs collar, is looking for directions on a map. The dog is licking her free hand and Valentine is simultaneously looking for directions whilst smiling with love at the dog. Its silly I know. But it all helps the love.

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As Valentine meets the owner, I have never felt so conflicted about a character in the first half of a movie before him. First he doesn’t give a damn about his dog. As Valentine says :

"If I ran over your daughter, would you be so indifferent?" Go Val.

Then, after Valentine has paid to get the poor thing fixed up at the vets, he overpays her by more than triple for her trouble.

I’d just begun to warm to the guy then we find out he spies on his neighbours phonecalls via radio signal. Sheeeeesh.

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Valentine : “What were you before? A cop?”

Le juge : “Worse……A judge.”

This revelation sets off one of the greatest scenes. Not just of the film, but of the whole trilogy. It’s so tense and back-and-forth. And actually quite thought provoking.

There’s no question who’s right and wrong. But Le juge points out that, as a judge, he didn’t know what was right or wrong. This way is nothing but truth.

I loved that the variation of phonecalls over the radio sparks the dialogue. And seeing Valentine get more and more intrigued as each call passes through the room is astonishing. 

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The lines become increasingly blurred in three phases.

The first call is a man on the phone to his gay lover with a wife and child downstairs. It’s immoral to encroach on someones life like this.

Secondly there’s the drug dealer. This man deserves to be shopped and its a good job the judge WAS spying.

Then the third is a couple very much in love. It happens to be the man we’ve seen simultaneously living his life around Valentine. Its a beautiful section of the scene hearing such a beautiful union and seeing Valentine trying so hard not to listen. SHE deserves that kind of love.

At this point you’re kind of unsure whether the judge is a snooping old man, or a kind of vigilante. Oh Kieslowski, you make me think like no other. How I love thee. 

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And he makes me ache with love with the next scene. Kieslowski manages to pan between the apartment of Valentine and the home of the stranger in a single, no cut, shot. It’s a joy to behold.

Valentine is taking abuse over the phone from her lover. The stranger is on his phone so very much in love.

I love that we get to see a nice love story with the stranger unfolding at this point. I just wished it was Valentines.

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Kieslowski’s choice of shots are making my head explode at his point. The guy just knows how to shoot beauty with intelligence and grace.

So the above scene nearly had my brains up the wall. Hearing the heartwrenching music Valentine is listening to, then Kieslowski panning across to others getting their kicks with their very different musical choices : it’s just movie perfection. And a perfect example of how to use score for tone perfectly.

I also loved that the stranger bought the last copy of the cd Valentine wanted. Nice touch.

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The final third is absolutely breathtaking.

Back at the judges house, the scene is as captivating as the previous meeting there.

My heart melted when the judge tells Valentine he’s turned himself in to the neighbours and the police. And what he says next is just pure poetry :

"The other day, after you left, you cried.

And I turned off my radio.”

Then the next 10 minutes float through your system as they talk family, loved ones, her planned trip to England, and the judges court cases. Seeing Valentine radiate with happiness couldn’t have come sooner. And boy does Irene Jacobs smile just grab your heart.

I have seen this movie 4 times now. I always hate the judge up until this scene even though I know his story. That’s great writing folks. ;-)

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It seems that when Auguste (the stranger) catches his love in bed with another man, his life and Valentines sort of overlap. The score ebbs and flows and you feel the connection in their lives properly for the first time.

As Valentine would later say :

"I feel that something important is happening around me.

And it scares me.”

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The fashion show near the end just personifies the perfection of this film. Its bathed in a beautiful red and the lengthy dialogue scene between Valentine and the invited judge just caps the movie off.

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The judge explains his life from years ago exactly like the strangers life that we’ve been seeing throughout. He tells of the love that cheated and got away. How he never loved again.

After you’ve seen this film a couple of times, it feels like a tender love story between Auguste and Valentine is unfolding in this scene. And Auguste isn’t even in it. Magical.

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I love that the ferry to England that Valentine is on to get away from everything is also the same that Auguste takes for the same reason.

I also love how it ties all 3 movies together.

The ferry crash aftermath live on tv : 

Out come Julie and Olivier from Blue. Together.

Out come Karol and Dominique from White. Together.

And yes………….image

This film is my favourite of the trilogy.

I’ve watched it in an all-in-one marathon, and ive watched them all separately.

In a marathon, to me, the trilogy feels like a rising emotional journey that ends with a feeling of hope and love. I always walk away happy with the world.

On it’s own it has no less of an impact. I adore the other 2 just as much but whereas Blue and White touched my heart, this touched deep into my soul.

Thank you for taking the time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #40 of 200 : Dominique in Three Colours White (Julie Delpy)

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Dominique may not have a large bulk of screen-time in this movie, but Delpy more than makes up for it with the raw emotion she brings to her complex character. And it’s 2 for 2 for team-ups as Kieslowski and Delpy knock it out of the park. Over the French border. And straight through a Polish jail cell. 

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As the film begins proper with the divorce of Dominique and the central character Karol Karol, we can see straight away where Kieslowski’s theme of Equality is heading.

Karol being a Polish immigrant living in Paris pulls you into his plight straight away. The reasoning for the divorce (breakdown in communication/language barrier), and the court not even giving him a chance because he’s not French, stings to the core.

You feel for Karol straight away as he’s left on the street with nothing. And to see Dominique dismiss the thought of being anywhere near still in love with Karol is heartbreaking. And cold as ice.

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Delpy does so much with this role through seemingly doing very little. It’s the subtleties. Which to me is a lot harder to do than is given credit for. She’s mesmerizing.

So is  Zbigniew Zamachowski for that matter. He truly owns the role of beaten lover Karol and I truly loved and felt for him.

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As homeless Karol breaks into Dominiques hair salon, it kicks off a beautifully prolongued scene between the two central characters. Something Kieslowski is best at.

From homeless Karol breaking in, to the failed sex scene, to Dominique sending Karol on the run by setting fire to her salon as a seeming act of revenge on Karols part. It’s perfection in every way, and also opens us up to Dominique slightly.

She may not be as cold as we originally envisaged. It kills her to have been so in love with a man who cannot communicate properly back :

"If I say I love you, you don’t understand.

If I say I hate you, you still don’t understand.

You don’t understand that I want you, that I need you.”

Kieslowski. Delpy. Zamachowski. Together they have created a beautiful, complicated, and very non-Hollywood beauty. Ahhh, how the heart does sing.

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As if that scene wasn’t genius enough, Karol then meets fellow Polish immigrant, Mikolaj.

The interaction between these two in the underground is perfect. Kieslowski stays with them at length as they engage in seemingly mundane things like card tricks, hair-cutting, and getting back home. And I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

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To hear Karol profess his still-deep love for Dominique is heart-wrenching.

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And Seeing Dominique exiting the church bathed in white light……….wow. I love this movie so.

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As Karol heads back home in a suitcase, it’s wonderful to see the contrast between the whites of Paris, and the whites of Warsaw. The cinematography is second to none.

I adore the prominent colours to each of the 3 Colours movies and how they contrast and work perfectly for each story. 

Karols heartache isn’t helped by the fact that he clings onto a Dominique-a-like statue he stole in Paris. Its his only link (apart from 2 francs) to his ex-lover and it tortures him.

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But what I didn’t notice after the first viewing was the tiny 2-second shots that Kieslowski shows us of Dominique back home. Delpy is only shown for this short period but manages to pack so much anguish and sorrow into such a short space of time. And this is the power of cinema, Delpys perfection at her craft, and Kieslowskis way of just punching you in the gut. Ahhhhhhhh.

I love that the movie went in this direction. It’s all about Karols life at this point. But what is great, and again I missed first time out, was that in many ways, the torture Karol feels about this statue, and the sorrow Dominique is feeling back home, has the same vibe to how Julie is haunted by the score from Blue. Remarkable.

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After all this heartache, it’s awesome to see him pick himself up and take charge of his life. Watching him learn French fluently and swindle his way into becoming a very wealthy man is a punch in the air moment after you’ve fallen so hard with Karol for the last hour.

It’s also interesting to see the contrast between resident in Poland and immigrant in France. In Warsaw he’s a highly respected individual. In France, completely the opposite. As he said in his court case at the beginning :

"Where’s the equality?" 

The money made is just part of an amazing master plan that you cannot possibly have a clue about. That’s what is perfect about this movie. You just never know where it’s heading. Or care. Just as long as it doesn’t end.

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Helping his sad friend die as a thank you for getting him home is the second most poignant scene in the entire movie. I still, 4th watch in, say to myself : “please don’t Karol, please don’t Karol.”

And I still well up every time when he reveals its a blank in the gun after shooting him :

"Now…..do you still want to die?"

"No"

I’m welling up just typing it.

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As Kieslowski reveals that the money from Karols ‘death’ was a ruse to get Dominique to Poland, seeing Karol watch his own funeral really puts a smile on my face.

But I was soon brought back down to earth watching Dominique break down alone by his graveside.

Just like Blue, this film takes it out of you if you allow yourself in.

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From the graveside to the end credits, it’s just scene after scene of perfection. Although you could argue that it’s like that from opening to Fin.

Dominiques face when Karol is waiting in her hotel bed alive gets me every time. The thing that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is that Three Colours White is funny as hell despite what it puts you through.

Then its just beauty after beauty. Hearing Karol speak perfect French. The kiss to win over any romance-a-phobe. And Karol satisfying Dominique like she’s never felt before. Its actually incredibly erotic and so bloody romantic at the same time. Go Karol.

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Again, what I didn’t notice the first time was, when Karol leaves before she wakes, and the police arrest her for her part in Karols ‘death’, Dominique just kind of looks on in resignation and takes the fall for him. Its the ultimate act of true love.

It’s far from conventional cinema, but I’ll take this kind of ride over convention any day of the week. :-) 

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Thus to the end. When Karol is looking up to the jail cell and Dominique is using sign to communicate, I didn’t care what it meant. If it elicited this sort of reaction from our beloved Karol :

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Then I’m down with whatever it was. Sometimes you don’t have to know what something is. It just is.

I did look it up in the end though :

"When I get out of prison

You and me

We’ll leave together

OK?

Or we’ll stay here together and get married again.”

Beautiful isn’t it.

Thanks for taking the time.

Strong Women Movie Challenge #39 of 200 : Juliette Binoche in Three Colours Blue

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The combination of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s masterful direction and Juliette’s unbelievable presence makes for an absolute work of art. It’s what would happen if two Gods got together to create perfection. Both creative masterminds. One creative masterpiece.

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As soon as the first cell presents itself to you, you know you’re in for something special. Its art at its finest. The car journey throughout the credits, from beginning to car crash…..magnificent. There are frequent strange angles that seem a little off to what we’re used to in conventional cinema like the one below of the axle of the cars wheel :

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Then, when Julie is recovering in the hospital and is told her husband and child didn’t survive, Kieslowski brings up this shot :

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The reflection of the doctor informing Julie of the news is the first thing you see and focus on.

When the news has hit, you’re completely in the world of the eye and its recipient. Its quite remarkable that you can feel so much for someones pain so early on and after only seeing her eye.

The slow blinking coupled with heavy breathing from the survivor is so in your face and begins to drag you in to Julies world. And when you come out at the end, you feel as if you’ve faced her battles with her. Astonishing. 

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The first time we see Julie up and about is when she’s trying to overdose in the hospital. And it’s the start of our heroines battle. Juliette Binoche can do so much with just a slight physicality in her acting that you could watch her all day.

And the combination of this and Kieslowski’s choice of staying with a prolonged shot of an actor/actress seemingly doing nothing is what sucks you in to his work, and also Julies world.

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We find out that Julies husband was a composer, but it was Julie who actually wrote the music. There’s so many beautiful moments in this movie where the screen is bathed in blue. A sudden crescendo of Julies compositions comes crashing through the speakers as she’s haunted by the death of her family and her desire to let her music go unfinished. 

You feel haunted with her, but cant help but marvel at the beautiful cinematography.

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It becomes apparent as Julie heads back home to hand over her fortune to her workers that she hasn’t cried or had any real outburst of any emotion since the crash. She asks one of the maids :

"Why are you crying?"

to which she replies :

"Because you aren’t".

But you see little things with how she is dying inside in little things like when she opens a blue lollipop. She looks like she’s about to cherish it, then ravishes it madly.

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And then at night when she sleeps with Olivier, a man long in love with her, she says :

"They’ve taken everything. Only the mattress is left."

I ache for this woman.

But the worst is when she leaves the next morning and she’s manically scraping her knuckles along the concrete wall. Ouch :

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After giving everything away, putting the house up for sale, and moving into a small apartment in the city, she completely abandons any ties to her previous life. Apart from her blue hanging lamp.

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I loved this section of the film as, and it may sound funny, Julie just lingers.

The camera stays with her forever and its like you’re allowed to be a part of her life and feel how she does. It’s impossible to describe how powerful this is if you haven’t seen this film, but Kieslowski and Binoche know what they’re trying to achieve with this seemingly nothingness. And they nail it. Every. Single. Time.

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The settings chosen by the crew are perfect too. The café where Julie meets a stranger named Antoine who saw the crash and returns a dropped necklace is great.

This is also where Olivier has managed to find her. The only link to her past life left. And I’m so glad he persevered. I loved Olivier. He truly loves Julie and just wants her to feel again.

And its magical when they’re talking in the café above and the flute player on the street is playing one of her musical pieces.

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Just had to put that picture in. Only Kieslowski could make sugar dipping into an art piece ;-)

When she’s swimming later on and the unfinished score is haunting her again, I can’t express how deep it got me when Julie literally tried to drown it out :

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Going to see her senile mother brings up some opening up to how she feels :

"Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing.

I don’t want any belongings, any memories.

No friends, no love.

Those are all traps.”

Finding out Olivier has gone public about finishing Julies piece of music, her husband was having an affair, and his mistress is now pregnant probably won’t convince you otherwise either.

Olivier was after a reaction. And he got one. And his reasoning makes my heart sing : he just wanted her to feel again. I love where this movie takes me emotionally.

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All this news could destroy anyone. But she uses it to kick into gear. And the last 15 minutes are breath-taking.

I love the way she helps Olivier complete the music. Not just because she knows it’s the right thing, but also because of the way Kieslowski plays out the scene.

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The screen blurs for what feels like forever as they work on it, making you feel how focused they are.  And the suggestions Julie makes of removing trumpets here and there change the score and lift you to new heights emotionally. It takes my breath away.

I got it back and Kieslowski suckers me again and takes me higher when he made me think she was moving back into her old house, only to give it to her late husbands mistress and unborn child.

We’ve seen millions of selfless acts in film, but when you’re in Kieslowski’s world it seems so much more real and beautiful somehow. The man is a God. 

And no one else could have played Julie. I also feel the same about the ladies from White and Red. The team-ups with Kieslowski and the ladies in each of the three can’t be beaten.  

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To see her make love to Oliver while we see all the peoples lives she has touched on the way takes it as high as it can go emotionally without breaking. Until she finally cries that is. Man it takes it out of you. 

And it’s all bathed in blue and finished off with the completed music with lyrics :

"Love is Patient, Love is Kind

It does not Envy, It does not Boast

It is not Proud, It always Protects

Always Trusts

Always Hopes

Always Perseveres

Love never Fails”

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Thank you as ever for taking the time.

Strong Women Movie Challenge #38 of 200 : In The Blood (Gina Carano)

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I have a number of idols that I worship.

I long ago proclaimed Tura Satana as my Queen. Pam Grier as my Angel. Zoe Bell as my Saviour.

A place needs to be set for Gina Carano. Such is the impact she has made on me.

Cos the woman’s an absolute frackin’ Goddess.

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I mentioned in a previous post on Haywire about my introduction to Miss Carano. I had never heard of her and went to see Haywire blind. Just cos it was a movie with a lady running the show. And stuff. 

Little did I know that it would blow my head off so much that I would go to see it again the next day on my lonesome. In an empty cinema.

If a personal showing of a 50 foot Gina Carano kicking ass doesn’t make you excited then I plead for you to re-evaluate that which makes you happy ;-) 

It’s safe to say at this point that I adore this woman.

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I went into this movie with a slight trepidation. Sure, Gina was amazing in Haywire and Fast 6 when she was kicking ass and taking names. My worry was that she would be given roles of typecast in the future.

Not that I wouldn’t watch every movie with her being a badass. I would. And love every one. But I’m sure there are thousands more like me that know Carano has something more. It was In The Blood that showcased that.

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I wasn’t sure what kind of vibe In The Blood was going for to begin with. It wasn’t until Ava’s (Carano) hubby goes AWOL that I got what they were setting out to do.

As Carano searches all over the Caribbean she gets deeper and deeper into the filth of the underworld with each passing lead. And this is where the movie gets grittier and grimier in a absolutely awesome way.

It’s filmed almost documentary style and it reeeeeally suits the tone of the film.

I thought Haywire perfectly married the beautiful art-form that Gina Carano is a master of, with the beautiful art-form that only cinema can master.

So it’s a shock to see a vast change in tone at first. I mean this in the best possible way. I was so invested in this that I couldn’t wait to see where it was going next. I need to applaud the makers for not just giving Gina another awesome vehicle. But also for making a movie I went from trepidation for in the first 15 minutes. To completely hook, line and sinkered by the end.

The best part? Gina can act like a mother fucker.

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I never had any doubt of course. I just hadn’t properly seen it yet. Haywire is a masterpiece to me. But like I said, It’s wonderful grace was in it’s beautiful filming style mixed with Ginas beautiful martial arts style.

Within half an hour of seeing this flick though, my thoughts were only of Gina Carano being an absolutely amazing actress. And I wouldn’t have given a shit if she didn’t throw another punch in it. And I lurrrrrrve to see Gina throw punches.  

The fact that I was jaw-droppd at Ginas acting chops for the duration was not because of surprise. All Carano lovers like me knew she had it. No. It was more like a jaw-drop that said :

"THIS!!! WOMAN!!! HAS!!! EVERYTHING!!!!!" 

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Gina, like Michelle Rodriguez, is a shining star in the industry. Living proof that a woman doesn’t have to be a damsel in distress or mere eye-candy.

One of DC Comics top brass stated that the world “might be ready” for a Wonder Woman movie. Pfft.

Gina Carano is proof that the world has ALWAYS been ready for a strong woman. 

Thank you for your time xxx     

Strong Women Movie Challenge #37 of 200 : Nancy in Attack Of The 50ft. Woman (Daryl Hannah)

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I love me a killer cheesy tagline that makes me raise the devil horns in my mind.

"People always called Nancy the little woman……..They’ll never do that again" 

YESSSSSSS!!!!!

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The very title of this remake and the original movie sparks up thoughts of the iconic posters first and foremost.

The 1958 version, in reality, is 95% woman abusing and 5 minutes tall-lady revenge. So you can imagine that the 1993 version is the one I prefer. If only to see a more significant amount of time watching Nancy stomping around and taking names.

It’s still campy. But now it’s fun.

It still feels like a drive-in movie of old thanks to purposeful sets and sensibilities.

And it’s Daryl frickin’ Hannah.  WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!!

*whistles her Kill Bill tune cos of her ruling and stuff*

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Seeing Daryl Hannah take over the city is an iconic image that delivers on the poster promise. I talk about women being ”awesome” in roles all the time. But Hannah truly is 50 feet worth of awesome in this.

She goes from most of the town abusing her quiet and sweet nature, to massive, take-no-shit goddess, with ease. Basically she IS that woman you see on the poster. She owns it that much. 

And she really embraces the camp side of it when it’s called for.

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When Hannah is stomping around the obviously staged town and desert, it doesn’t require me to suspend my disbelief. I feel it kicks way more ass to love it for what it is even more.

It makes me feel warm inside to see the set move as she walks. It makes me feel content to see hand-painted trees. It doesn’t take away any of Daryl Hannahs iconicity. If anything, it makes me adore her even more.

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To me anyways, this movie is super pro-women. Daryl Hannah is obviously so iconic in this that I forget how awesome all the supporting ladies are.

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Victoria Haas as ‘Charlie’ is brilliant as a loveable albeit goofy, goal-focused Deputy who is out to prove wrong her mothers theory that "Deputy aint work for a woman" as ”It’s un-ladylike.”

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Dr. Cushing is played effortlessly by Frances Fisher as the woman who fights for Nancys human rights and is the only one who believes her from the outset. 

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And Cristi Conaway plays the bad girl Honey so well, that, although she had many horrible traits to her character, you can’t help but admire her strength and refusal to be quiet about a so-called mans world. The film rewards this admiration but never fully makes you love her. Good job.

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A masterstroke of this movie is it’s undercurrent theme. It can be watched from a cheesy, highly enjoyable, b-movie perspective no doubt.

But existing inside it is the very real issue of equality. It’s all handled playfully without ever taking away from the serious issue.

From the ending on the spaceship where the idiot husbands are forced to learn to treat their women correctly.

To the slightly more subtle :

Co-Pilot : “It doesn’t seem right to fire a missile at a woman.”

Pilot : “Don’t think of her as a woman. Think of her as a target. That’s what I always do.”

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So it can be viewed on so many levels that it rewards repeat viewings. Of which I have done many times. If only to see a massive Daryl Hannah stomping around and taking names. 

A b-movie with a message. I like that world.

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #36 of 200 : Ripley in Alien (Sigourney Weaver)

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Alien is a masterpiece. A masterpiece that has been done justice by far more capable writing hands than my amateur own.

I was looking up articles and fan thoughts for hours yesterday and it blows my mind how much deep love and intelligent insight there is regarding this piece of celluloid perfection.

But I have to jot my love for Ripley down. Cos it’s screaming to get out of me like a chestburster ;-)  


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I had about 20 video cassettes as a kid that were played over and over to breaking point. I had the obvious staples like The Goonies and Beetlejuice. But the rest were mostly horror.

The box I had consisted of everything from the super-awesome cheese of Return Of The Living Dead Pt. 2. Right through brilliant oddities like the amazing Prince Of Darkness and The Brood. Up to masterpieces like Rosemarys Baby, Suspiria, Halloween and Alien. Not a bad start in horror life for a nipper.

The latter movies I would play again and again, not knowing why my young mind liked them. But trying to figure out what I liked and why. Age would bring upon exactly what it was that made those movies magnetise me :

Atmosphere. And the leading women inhabiting them.  

I was being taught the feelings only atmospheric horror can bring up. I just didn’t know it at the time. And I wouldn’t click in until years later that the movies I adore were the ones with strong women in. I just watched what I liked. 

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Speaking of atmosphere. This movie has to go down as one of the greatest schools in how to get it done right.

The one thing that magnetises me to it is the quiet. It doesn’t rely on a loud score or heavy fucking metal (I love heavy metal by the way) to jar some feeling into you like : "THIS IS WHERE YOU GET FUCKING SCARED." 

Every slight noise on the ship sounds like an earthquake that could get them noticed. And that’s far more terrifying.  

It slow-burns it’s way into your subconscious quietly and methodically until you genuinely feel like the crew are not just alone, but that all of them together haven’t got a chance.

I’ve seen this movie a ridiculous amount of times, but my mind resets itself once it begins. Every time.

I’m propelled into the unknown like it was my first viewing, such is the power of the pacing. 

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Growing up with these strong women, unknowing that they would become my passion, brings a sense of clarity. Sure, there can always be more, and I genuinely believe that some writers wouldn’t know how to develop the many beautiful intricacies of a woman on screen if it smashed them in the face with a Xenomorphs second mouth. 

But there are still plenty of women on screen done right if you look hard enough. And boy did they get Ripley right. 

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Not for a single second is it questioned whether Ripley can take charge. She’s leading the charge god-dang-it.

Weaver plays Ripley with a fire that rightfully places her on top of many lists entitled : Strong Female Leads.

She’s not just a gun-toting, kickass character. Sigourney embodies the character to play out like you don’t need these plot points to get across that she can handle herself. You just know.

She may not be highest rank on paper. But you know she’s the highest rank in reality. Ripley is the only one who can save us.

So when the other side of the coin lands, and this unstoppable force is taking names……………When Sigourney gets scared, we all get scared.

If Ripley is terrified, what chance would us common folk have. In this sense she’s as much a part of the tension as the atmosphere that’s built around her. Sigourney Weaver is a fucking Goddess.

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So yeah. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley was one of my first introductions as a nipper to what would eventually become a love affair blog.

I’ve seen countless movies over the years with a strong female lead. I have many movies in my collection that I prefer just through personal choice. I’d even say that Alien is not my favourite horror movie.

But there’s a reason Sigourney tops those lists. And that I agree with absolutely with no doubt.

Thank you for your time xxx  

Strong Women Movie Challenge #35 of 200 : Desperately Seeking Susan (Rosanna Arquette & Madonna)

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I love the nice side of the movie community that embraces everything from the sublime to the ‘so bad it’s good’. I find myself gravitating towards a person that admits, without any remorse, that they adore a movie that others own but won’t admit to.

The term Guilty Pleasure shouldn’t really exist for this very reason. Fuck that shit.  Embrace a movie that’s not cool for school.

I love Desperately Seeking Susan!!! There it is!!! Your turn!!! :-)

 

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Being a punk rock lover, I don’t necessarily gravitate towards Madonna or her music. That’s not a bad thing. We love what we love. And I ruddy well love her in this.

She’s all gum-chewing, pot-smoking, hand-dryer-pit-drying, don’t-give-a-fuck, anarchic awesome.

A punk rock lover has found a Madonna to call ones own.  

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What’s so awesome to me about Susan is, she’s not the main character. I mean that in the best possible way. If she had been the lead, I would put my wages on a final script written where Susan becomes domesticated. Boy tames girl if you will.

And the spirit of the movie is anything but that.

It allows Madonna to just go crazy with the character knowing that a calming of the storm isn’t gonna come. Susan’s a tigress. You can’t tame a tigress.

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I thought this was probably a vehicle for Madonna until I read she was cast as a newcomer.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of Madonna. So the fact that I wouldn’t change her being cast for all the Egyptian earrings in the world is a testament to her many levels of awesome in this flick.

I love me a badass Madonna.

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Rosanna Arquette holds the job of lead on her shoulders perfectly. It could be said that she is obviously the loveable and relatable character. But Rosanna plays the part of Roberta with an awesome level of bumbling grace.

The bump on her head that leads her to mistake herself, and also be mistaken for Susan, is actually a work of brilliance.

Without an identity, Roberta is free from the shackles of domineering husband and bored housewife. No longer are her life decisions made for her. This is a chance for redemption. A chance to figure her own path. 

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Rosanna plays Roberta like a mess. She’s spellbinding.

Picking up lots of broken pieces and trying to figure out which she wants to put back to make her own.

Again…..wouldn’t change the casting for a million Jimi Hendrix coats.

This movie could have been so bad. Rosanna and Madonna grab it’s balls and make it the very opposite. 

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I wish I could talk in great length about why Aiden Quinn is a God in this. But being a strong women blog I’ll just say this :

I’m rarely convinced by love interests in a rom-com, male or female. 

Aiden makes me fall in love. Deeply.

The guy is a fucking genius. His style so laid back. Making him the epitome of cool and the complete opposite all at once.

Icon.

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The final icon (I do adore every other cast member though) is the grimy side of New York City.

She’s been used in millions of productions but I love how she looks in this movie.

What initially comes across as dangerous, opens up to a sense of wonderment and community. I think if this movie was shot in the main strips of NYC, we would have had shopping montages, wildly different wardrobes, and the soul stripped out.

Desperately Seeking Susan is fine as she is.

Thank you for your time xxx 

Strong Women Movie Challenge #34 of 200 : 13 Women Of Slasher Movies Close To My Heart

Every great slasher movie has a juicy villain. But sometimes it’s easy to forget the women that took that fucker down. So I wanted to celebrate that side of it. 13 Women. One Love. 

It took a hell of a lot of narrowing down to just get to 13 women I adore in this genre as there are so many TO adore.

These are not necessarily FINAL GIRLS, (there may be other survivors also) but they do make it through the chaos and live to see their name in the  credits.  ;-)

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Regarded by many as the best of the Friday franchise, Amy Steel is amazing in this.

Just before Jason would don the iconic mask in part 3 and launch machete-first into the mainstream, he would have to try to get through Amy first.

She’s nothing but amazing through the entirety. So when the final battle hits, I was screaming for the Steel KO. Legend of the Series. 

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Really underrated Slasher flick that actually has a touch of class to it. Who woulda thunk it. And the eventual mall setting is wonderful to watch.

Bit of a slow-burner this one. But it helps to develop Daphne’s character wonderfully. And she’s wonderful in every aspect.

I bought this through my compulsive collecting of all things 80’s Slash and Trash. Otherwise I wouldn’t have touched it. So glad I did. Its got that something.

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Modern day slasher with Barbara Crampton in? SOLD!!!

I knew i’d love this before I even saw it. Like the Evil Dead trailer, it just rocked my world. Marketed as a throwback to the 80s heyday of the genre like Hatchet, they know what we want, and boy did they deliver.

What I didn’t know was that Sharni Vinson would blaze through this flick, taking no shit, right from the off. Its not often women in slashers are strong from the get go. Vinson didn’t get that memo.

Speaking of Hatchet :

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Much like You’re Next, the throwback was spot on. All the humour and excessive gore from times past was ticked off.

Plus Kane Hodder back where he belongs.

Plus Tamara Feldman as the heroine. And she brings it. Love is in the air.

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Ahhh, Slumber Party Massacre. This movie has a massive place in my heart.

For a start it was one of the first movies I got when I started religiously collecting as much 70’s & 80’s grindhouse, drive-in, b-movies, slashers, and general horror from this time as I could.

I’d only seen the obvious slashers at this point like the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. So this was a kicker.

It’s low-budget fun from the Roger Corman factory. And I love it.

Written, Produced, and Directed by women. And boasting THREE surviving ladies. There’s a lot to be said for the feeling this movie stirs in me watching all 3 women form a pack and gang up on the killer. GO TEAM!!! 

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Don’t know whether some would class this as a slasher. But I could watch this alongside any of the above or below films anytime and it wouldn’t feel out of place.

Jocelyn Jones is a Queen to me. If you’ve seen The Great Texas Dynamite Chase then you’ll know what it is about her. And she’s perfect in this too.

This has a bit more backwoods-trash to it than most slashers. And it’s creepier than most of them too. The ending makes me shudder as I type this. Awesome.

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This movie is perfection. It deserves all the praise it receives and more. Whatever the rightful side is in the argument over what is the original blueprint for what we know and love, I don’t care for such talk.

This set the bar. And that bar hasn’t been reached 35 years later.

Jamie Lee Curtis rightfully earned the title SCREAM QUEEN after starring in this, Prom Night, and Terror Train.

And although my personal thoughts of who the Scream Queens are tends to gravitate more towards Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and the like, I would never dream of arguing against Jamie’s right to the crown.

Halloween may have become successful with Meyers alone. But he wouldn’t have smashed into our psyches without Curtis selling it. Goddess.

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Part Slasher/Serial Killer movie. Part Zombie Flick. All Comedy Horror goodness.

This Spanish beauty starring Macarena Gomez is an unusual entry. Unusual in the fact that the lead is the one doing all the slashing. And you can’t help but root for her. 

Top it off with Gomez constantly breaking the fourth wall with witty musings on weapon of choice, reasons for such carnage, and fashion tips for the “lady murderer in all of us”.

I don’t think I need to sell this anymore really. ;-)

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If it was left to me I’d have just put all the surviving ladies from this franchise on here. I love them all. But along with Amy Steel, Jennifer Cooke is my favourite. And its also one of the best Fridays.

She’s smart, beautiful, and above all,  funny as hell. She brings something to this role that makes her stand out from a lot of the other survivors in this franchise.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore every lady that survives that bloody nutters blade. It’s just how Amy and Jennifer make me feel personally that puts them on here.

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Elaine makes this movie. You know when you watch a film and, no matter what’s going on on-screen, you’re captivated by an actor/actress, leaving all around them redundant? Elaine does that.

And this movie manages to nestle nicely into the genre without really being bloody at all. Don’t get me wrong, i’m a gore-hound too. But this keeps throwing so much at you to keep you entertained that you forgive and forget.

And Elaine fronts the madness wonderfully.

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I originally planned on using this movie as an Amy Steel double whammy as she’s in this as well as Friday the 13th Pt. 2. And just as good in it too. But there was no way in hell I could have a movie with Deborah Foreman in and not put her on a pedestal. I love her too much.

She first came to my attention in a movie called My Chauffeur, and my love has blossomed ever since. And she brings her A-game in this.

Again, this is a pretty bloodless affair. But like Killer Party, it gets by on throwing entertainment at you. And if someone wants to entertain me, then let them. Far too many films forget how to do that nowadays.

Thank you as always for taking the time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #33 of 500 : Angela in Angel-A (Rie Rasmussen)

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I always forget how much Angel-A touches my very soul. I have many movies I regard to as my go-to films when I want to feel something.

But Angel-A always sneaks up on me, works it’s way in, and leaves me with a profound sense of absolute love. Not just for the movie. But outside it too.

The power of cinema.  

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I was instantly drawn to this movie because it had Luc Bessons name atop. I would have gotten round to watching it anyway just from that masterful poster. But it would have probably taken me a while longer without the Besson stamp of class.

The guy is a God to me. For two reasons.

1 : I love most of his movies but I can never decide which is my favourite movie of his between Nikita, Angel-A, and The Fifth Element. All very different. All very Luc.

A personal differing mood can change which one is my preference for numero un. Besson can tell so many varied stories whilst still maintaining his own identity. God.

2 : His portrayal of strong women in his movies.

Nikita, Angela, and Leeloo are powerhouses in that regard. Placed up high on a deserved pedestal of greatness. Each actress elevating the pedestal higher into the sky.

I’d say it was almost Whedon-esque, but Besson’s been doing this for just as long. The fact they’re both existing in my world doing this shit makes me warm in my belly. Gods.

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Rie Rasmussen is just a towering inferno in this masterpiece.

Blazing through it with a lengthy period of little emotion for the first half of the movie, to the most gut-wrenching show of beautiful emotion in the second.

She plays the "6 foot, chain smoking, bitch" to perfection. To say we all need a guardian angel at times is an understatement. But Rie taught me that the guardian angel we need is actually someone not to gently guide us to the light.

She is the angel of light to Andres dark days. Andre is a wonderful soul deep down. He’s just never been told. An empty shell filled with negativity. Low self esteem got him in with the wrong people and the spiral went out of control.

Angela doesn’t pamper to his whining. Instead the approach of beating, slapping, and condescending is the only approach that could work. Reducing Andre back to the empty shell he was so that it may be filled with the light only Angela sees.

On first viewing it seems like a harsh punishment to a man the viewer can see is a nice guy. But as the movie starts to envelope you, you see a beautiful method-flower unfold.

Rie transitions from badass bitch, to vulnerable fallen angel, to the most loveable heroine imaginable. She’s a true icon. Rie Rasmussen is my Angel. 

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Although this is a strong women blog, one can’t help but praise to the high heavens the work of Jamel Debbouze in Angel-A.

Everyone can relate to a loveable loser. Jamel takes Andre to the next step. It’s easy to root for the goofy loser in a movie. It’s why it’s been done time and time again successfully.

But Andre is so damaged, seemingly beyond repair. A lovely man that lost his way many debts ago. Jamels perfect portrayal is a broken shell with a heart that faintly glows. Angela sees the faint glow and reignites the light. Debbouze is effortless perfection in his role of loveable mess. 

What on the surface seems like a very improbable romance, blossoms into a love story that will be forever timeless.  

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On first viewing I adored this movie. And each subsequent viewing has opened up a new layer of profound love that can’t be overpassed.

Everyone takes something different from a movie. It’s why the world can be a beautiful place. Exchanging explanations of how a film touched your life. In my case it was the saving of Andre through a mirror.

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I mean this literally and otherwise. The scene where Angela makes Andre confront his demons and lack of self-love in front of a mirror is one of my favourite cinematic moments of all time.

It’s around this time that we find that the fallen angel is a mirror of Andre. The obvious beauty of Angela that we see in front of us is in fact Andre on the inside. He may be a stinking mess on the outside. But inside he’s a "6 foot hot chick".

 

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Angela sums Andre up best :

"You’re more feminine than masculine.

That’s where you get your sensibilities.

Your humour, your wit, these are feminine traits.

Men are hunters. But you’re not really built for hunting.

From the masculine side you’ve only kept the bad traits.

Lies. Ambition.

Fear of failure. Fear of judgement. Fear of loving”

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Angela may have been the physical representation of Andre from within. But she had no “within” to call her own.

One of the most beautiful things I took from this faultless work of art (I haven’t even touched upon the every-shot-a-painting-worthy cinematography) is that Angela fills Andres shell with love and light.

And Andre manages to breach the rules of heaven by providing Angela with the same. Her own “within” if you will.

And that’s just all kinds of lovely.

Thank you for your time xxx   

Strong Women Movie Challenge #32 of 200 : The Beach Girls (1982)

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I love the ladies of the drive-in. The women that starred in movies that were out to make a quick buck from this sadly missed tradition that is the drive-in movie scene.

A lot of them never went on to star in anything else. Or only appeared in these types of flicks. But they still deserve celebrating.

So in true tradition, I decided to do a double bill worth of these unsung heroines. Today being the second half with The Beach Girls.

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The Beach Girls is very different to Pom Pom but also very similar at the same time.

The Pom Pom Girls has a kind of 70s exploitation feel to it with themes running through it like others of the time.

The Beach Girls however, is an early version of the template we now call sex comedy, that would invade the 80s like the slasher genre. Not that i’m complaining. My heart beats 80s slasher. And I adore The Beach Girls. 

The two movies collide beautifully though when watched together as there’s one thing time can’t change. Fun.

And Beach Girls is wall to wall with it.

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Again, there isn’t a great deal of plot in this glorious Crown International movie. The premise is basically a two day party. And. That’s. It.

I won’t go over old ground from the last post about why this is the opposite of a bad thing. It’s a movie that’s 90 minutes of fun. What’s not to love about fun.

And it surprisingly has an awesomely cheesy 80s soundtrack too.

If you’ve watched any Crown International movies, you’ll know that the music used usually sounds like it was rejected from a bad rip-off, of a bad rip-off, of a better movie of this style.

Not in The Beach Girls though. I get the entire soundtrack stuck in my head for days. It’s 80s cheddar at it’s finest.

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Debra Blee is the first of the three main stars in this. It’s her uncles house that is hosting this raucous two day bender and she plays the uptight nice girl of the three.

Debra is the heart of the movie really. She plays it perfectly too. 

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Of course, she goes through the inevitable "learn-to-love-life" transformation, but she’s lovely throughout.

Miss Blee has the look of a Hollywood star and she was great at her craft. It’s a shame she left the business. But I can’t wait to finally watch Savage Streets after aeons of being in my collection. I bet she’s badass in Linda Blairs gang.

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Ahhhhh, Ducky and Ginger. The kind of chaotic duo that you need at a house party. As long as it’s not your house.

They treat the weekend as an exercise in how much drugs, booze, and boys they can fit into one beach house. And the anarchy is why this movie rules.

They’re only focused on the kicks and I love it.  

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Val Kline never did anything else after this movie. I’m sure that there are many, many other people online that loved her as Ginger and have shown the love for her online. I wonder if she’d have carried on if she knew then what is easily accessible now. Such a shame.  

Jeana Keough plays her sidekick with as much spunk too. Whenever they’re both on screen it’s just ENERGY ENERGY ENERGY. 

Every time I watch this movie, it always makes me smile whenever these two are in a scene. They complement Debra Blees personality perfectly to make it a complete picture.

I love The Beach Girls.

Thank you for your time xxx

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