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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

Strong Women Challenge #31 of 200 : The Pom Pom Girls (Jennifer Ashley & Lisa Reeves)

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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. Starting today with The Pom Pom Girls, then Thursday with The Beach Girls.

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The Pom Pom Girls is a strange one. There’s very little plot. No real drama. Hell, there isn’t really much dialogue in it to speak of.

But it remains one of my favourite drive-in movies of all time. Simply because it screams FUN!!! And that’s all the four main characters have for the entire duration of the movie.

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It felt like a losing battle when I thought about how to justify why this movie rules in my world. It is literally an hour an a half of the gang having fun and little else. But that’s exactly why it’s so great.

It has this real relaxing vibe about it as the foursome engage in sun, sea, sand, and every form of "doin’ it for the kicks". They’re causing carnage and living on the very edge. But rather than it screaming how not to live your life, it’s one of the most wonderful celebrations of grabbing it by the horns and living it while you’re here.

I always feel extremely happy and smiley after watching it simply because it’s so alive. So screw dialogue. Screw drama. I want to feel happy and alive. I choose The Pom Pom Girls. 

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Jennifer Ashley (above right) plays the slightly bookish character. Of course she comes into her own and really lets loose and embraces life eventually. And what’s nice about it is, it happens really early on so you don’t get the drama normally associated with this kind of transformation. The movie just wants to stay positive for it’s entirety. And nails it.

She’s a really engaging (and beautiful) actress to watch, and this movie suits the life-loving aura she gives off and brings to the plate.

Her legacy in my world is secured with the part she plays in this.     

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Lisa Reeves (above middle) is no different. She oozes cool throughout and together her and Jennifer make a great team.

Playing more of a strong-minded woman from the get-go, Lisa brings the life and soul to the party from the off.   

Just like Jennifer, her infectious charm and nature make watching this movie a pleasure.  Lesser stars would have gone through the motions in a movie with so little plot. But these girls embrace the life and love this movie is promoting. I love you girls.

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These girls aren’t the only two who make this movie great. Michael Mullins and Robert Carradine make up the remaining two of our awesome foursome.

They’re so effortlessly brilliant in this as the bat-shit-crazy boys out for kicks, that there were parts in the movie where I thought : “man, these guys could have got seriously hurt pulling the shit they do.”

God bless actors who do their own stunts.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love a plot that leaves me pondering. Love a deep character study that pulls you into his or her world. But sometimes I want a movie that embraces the joys of life.

The Pom Pom Girls is that movie

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #30 of 200 : Melissa George in Triangle

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This movie is criminally underrated.

So is Melissa George for that matter.

But Triangle is a thought-provoking work of genius. And Melissa is a one-woman show. 

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This movie came to my attention three-fold.

Melissa was in it. The cover was kickass. And it was made by Christopher Smith.

I love that dude.  

I’d seen and loved Creep. Watched and adored Severance. To say Triangle set him at 3 for 3 is an understatement. 

I found Creep to be a genuinely creepy and unsettling watch with a brilliant backdrop of an underground railway system and an always amazing lead in Franka Potente.

Severance was a work of genius. Brilliantly walking the line of pants-wetting funny and high tension.

It was no surprise to me that Triangle was amazing. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so deliciously clever.

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It was a difficult decision whether to talk for hours about all it’s little intricacies at length or not. But I would hate if I spoilt a single thing to someone about this movies brilliance if they hadn’t already seen it.

So I decided to just celebrate Melissa George because boy does this girl deserve celebration.

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I’ve been a fan of hers since I was a nipper watching her in Home & Away. I loved the crap out of her and Shane. I’ve kind of kept an eye on her career ever since. Wanting nothing but great things for an actress that I’d kinda grown up with.

This should be one of her defining moments because she rocks so hard in this movie. As I said, criminally underrated movie. Criminally underrated actress.

Although the story is an absolute mind-bending peach, Melissa is carrying the entire thing on her shoulders. Playing a multitude of differing personalities while she’s at it. 

Victim! Heroine! Villain! Badass! Nutjob!

Lovable Saviour!

Eternally Cursed!

The fact that it’s all done so effortlessly is a testament to this wonderful ladies range and talent. 

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The other performers in this are great. There’s no denying it. But Melissa frackin’ owns the show.

This isn’t just a 'good girl won' movie. This is the Melissa George Show from opening reel to hugely satisfying Fin. She shows the world how to be granted your own vehicle and just GO!!!

Icon!!!

It shows how far you can go with a genius plot and a solitary badass woman. God I love it.

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It’s killing me not to go into ridiculous detail about why this movie is a work of genius. The looping of scenarios. The changing of the guard. Trying to figure it all out with and for our heroine. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie and spent hours thinking about it. Then showing it to my best friend Chris and doing the same with him.

And ultimately spending 3 times the runtime of the movie looking up other peoples theories. It’s wonderful to see such differing opinions of which I also have my own. There’s no right or wrong answer I feel.

I’d like to think it’s like how Richard Kelly intended his Donnie Darko movie to be interpreted : by how YOU feel. Thus it makes it a joyous exercise to read other peoples feelings about this brilliant exercise in head-fuckery.

This movie led me to a Spanish flick called Timecrimes that is most definitely worth checking out also. They would make a perfect double act.  

 Just like Triangle and Melissa George are.

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #29 of 200 : The Women Of Chungking Express

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Chungking Express is a transportation device. Its warm encasement whisking you off to another world.

A world that is part dangerous, part beauty. But all sorts of wonderful.

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I have never seen any other Wong Kar-wai movies (that will most definitely change) so I have no idea about his batting record. All I know is that Chungking Express is a masterpiece. So his legacy is already sealed in my mind.

There are a number of movies that leave me completely satisfied. Many more that make me sad to leave the beautiful surroundings I’ve been invited into. Some that make me feel absolute love in my heart, right through my warm & cosy body, and down to my toes.

Chungking Express does all of these things and more. God bless you Wong Kar-wai you bloody wonderful creator you. 

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When Brigitte Lin opened up proceedings as the first supposed saving love interests for our lovesick cops (both masterfully played by Takeshi Kaneshiro & Tony Leung), I felt a little uneasy at first.

How could that possibly work? The woman in the blonde wig came across as a somewhat cold, albeit focused, drug smuggling badass. Cop 223 was none of these things.

I’m all for opposites finding a common ground to build love upon. But 9 squillion shitty chick-flicks have sappily tried, and crappily failed, time and time again.

But this aint your mommas romantic comedy ladies and gentlemen. This is Wong Kar-wai and Brigitte Lin. And they have a different story to tell.  

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Brigitte is unbelievable in this. My first viewing of this movie left me so deeply in love with Faye. But The Woman In The Blonde Wig stayed by her side in my thoughts long after.

As much as I would have been happy for a full length Cop 663/Faye love story, you just can’t take the first story out of it. They’re 2 very different stories. But these opposite stories come together wonderfully.

The opposites theory done right if you will. Just not the way expected.

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I’m glad that you never see Brigitte’s eyes in the film. It keeps the mystery intact and Brigitte proves that she can act beautifully through all walls placed up. 

The Woman In The Blonde Wig and Cop 223’s vast differences kept me guessing all the way through the short tale. 223 desperately seeking love. Brigitte’s character with everything BUT on her mind.

I thought the way that this improbable romance was handled was perfect. Because It never went there.

223 going for a sweaty run (to remove the water so there is no place left for tears) at the end is so sad. But the pager message left for him by the blonde closes the story off beautifully. We see a caring heart from the blonde. And Cop 223 has a memory that will love him for life.

I love you Brigitte Lin.

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I don’t know where to start with Faye. How do you do her wonderment justice? You can’t. But let’s put it this way :

California Dreaming is the soundtrack to an adorable aura that radiates from her being. I’ll never hear that song as anything else for as long as I live.

Not only do I feel like a song that I’ve heard throughout my entire life was not appreciated fully before I saw this film…………..To me it’s Fayes song and Fayes song alone.

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As soon as that song hits and Faye proclaims that she listens to it so loud so she "doesn’t have to think", it was instant love.

Faye Wong plays it so perfectly too. Her impulsiveness is a plus. Her loveability so natural. Her sheer embrace of life so addictive to watch.

Characters in other movies with similar traits are labelled as quirky. And quirky has become somewhat of a detriment lately as it’s been overdone in Hollywood. Writers could only wish they’d mastered Faye’s trait in their movie. Casters will very rarely find a Faye Wong. 

I wish I had a fraction of her spirit.

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Unlike the first story, the love oozes from the screen. But they go together so wonderfully because the love is there without a single kiss or shared embrace in sight. If you can create a magical love story without these things, you’re a master of your craft I feel.

I admit to being heavily biased in my love for Faye as she is everything that is nice in the world. But it’s a testament to the other three central characters in this movie that I love them deeply too. Every one of them just brings it.

And I can honestly say that I could have spent the entire runtime here and here alone :

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But I wouldn’t change a single second of any of the movie.

What a masterpiece.

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #28 of 200 : Kelli Maroney in Chopping Mall

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How do you better a premise about killer robots in a mall taking down teens? It writes itself.

Add Kelli Maroney. That’s how.

She boosts everything she’s in. Only she doesn’t just boost Chopping Mall. She owns it. Viva La Kelli.

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My introduction to Chopping Mall was a relatively understated affair. It was in a pile (read sea) of 80s B-movies I’d bought and was watching at a rate of about 2-3 per day (work permitting).

I hadn’t yet seen Night Of The Comet so was unaware of the natural magnetic charm that Kelli brings to her workplace. My first viewing was kickass nonetheless. It was just lost in a sea of other kickassness (it’s a word).  

It wasn’t until Comet where I went : "ahhhhh, that’s that kickass girl from Chopping Mall"

Thus the love did unfold before mine very eyes.

So going back to it after this awakening was like a breath of fresh air. And Kelli is like an Angelic Rambo once she kicks into gear.

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Sure, there are other stars of the show. The robots are a wonderful slice of cheesy goodness. They add to the beautiful concoction that make up the heartbeat of b-movies whose message is : ‘don’t take life so seriously’.

 I mean, come on. This rules :

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Even the legendary Barbara Crampton is in it for god sakes : 

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She’s not Captain in it or anything. But it’s always nice to have her on-board the good ship Awesome.

In fact, everyone plays their part perfectly well in this classic.

The KillBots are unstoppable beasts. The main love interest is cool-nerd. Douche is douche. Macho is macho. Kelli is Queen.

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I only found out yesterday that Kelli did her own stunts on this production. It made going back to it a bit of a nail-biter when she’s hanging from a balcony with a huuuge drop. 

Part of me was like : "SHIT SHIT SHIT"

The other was like : "KELLI!!! KELLI!!! KELLI!!!

What’s really empowering to me is how much she kicks so many levels of ass.

It’s a squealing delight to watch her tossing burning gas canisters, igniting flames with flares, and just generally being all shades of wunderbar when toting a handgun.

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Kelli Maroney is a legend of her craft. I admit to being a little biased. But this doesn’t mean i’m walking around with blinkers on.

She’s amazing at what she does. She’s a wonderful human being with a beautiful spirit. I’m only going on brief conversations on twitter but when you know, you just know.

There’s a nice feeling one gets from knowing that the loveable character on screen is just as adorable in real life.

If I were ruler of your kingdom, people like Kelli would be the go-to gal for the big parts on-screen.

In fact, scratch that. 

The world needs an angel. And I’d happily step down and pass the crown to one.  

Thank you for your time xxx  

Strong Women Movie Challenge #27 of 200 Sam & Reggie in Night Of The Comet (Kelli Maroney & Catherine Mary Stewart)

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These two women are sooooo badass.

They’re the greatest sisters in cinema. The most adorable siblings on film. A better team-up than any buddy-cop duo ever put together.

Celebrating these ladies is a must.

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This has been my favourite b-movie for aeons, and is now one of my favourite movies full stop. Comet is my poster girl for b-flick-perfection. 

It’s a bible of how you can make an absolutely kickass movie on a smallish budget. Money never stopped these types of flicks from being awesome.

I always get the impression after watching countless numbers of them that the makers just wanted us to have nothing but fun. Forget any deep character studies. Forget trying to pull at the heartstrings.

Difference with Comet is, I love the characters so deeply. And they ARE the strings that pull my heart. 

Of course, this is down to the ladies that portray these true true icons. 

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Kelli Maroney is a beautiful human being, inside and out. Of course, she’s adorable and beautiful in everything she’s in. But when I’ve briefly spoke to her on twitter, she just presents herself in a manner where I wasn’t just a fan of her work. I was a human being. It’s so bloody endearing I tell ya. 

That angel you see in the picture above is as relatable and loveable as Sam as she is Kelli Maroney. How many other people in the movie industry could you say that about. What a lady.

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If it wasn’t for her and Catherine Mary Stewart, this movie might not have made it past VHS & DVD, and into my heart. It’s not that it wouldn’t stand up on it’s own. It’s that Catherine and Kelli make it the treasure trove of wonderment that is the resulting masterpiece. 

Kelli rules the god damn roost as Sam. Sassy but loveable. Kickass but adorable. Mouthy but……actually no BUT. Her mouth is brilliant :

"You were born with an asshole Doris, you don’t need Chuck"

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I think the way Kelli takes the roles of teenage suburb girl and really lets it rip, is the highpoint of an already full-of-highpoints movie. I find myself more interested in the gossip of the town and the latest fashions than something as trivial as the end of the world.

The way she delivers her lines is genius too. Dialogue, especially of the comedic kind, can be lost on it’s delivery. But silver turns to gold if delivered by the right actress. Gold medallist in Dialogue Delivery right here ladies and gentlemen. 

"My sister, who swiped every guy I ever had my eye on, has now swiped the last guy in the whole freaked out world." 

This woman is sooooo awesome!!!

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And don’t get me started on the shopping scene. My face aches from the smiling when that Cyndi Lauper tune hits and they’re parading around looking for fashion items in an abandoned store. No movie makes me smile like that scene does. It’s a joyous celebration of life.

The girls look like they’re having the time of their lives in that scene, and its sincerity gets passed on to my stupid, smiling, face. 

Onto the other half of our sassy duo….

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Catherine Mary Stewart is killer in this. Her role as Reggie is so kickass, and makes me so happy, that I want the above image tattooed on my shoulder. (With Kelli and the MAC-10 on the other)

One day.

I have had a major crush on her ever since I saw Comet for the first time. She is everything I love about women in movies when presented right. She’s strong. She’s relatable. She’s just as capable as any man.

And she’s so bloody pretty it’s ridiculous.

I can’t praise Catherine as a woman enough for how she took a hold of this role and lived it up. If the apocalypse ever happens, I’d want nothing more than to survive with Sam and Reggie.  

It may just be a b-movie to some. But Catherines work on this makes me wish I was like her.  She plays it so smooth. But always in a way that you know she’s just a nerd trying to get by. Such idols of mine are these wondrous women.

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Combine the greatness of these two juggernaut-esses of awesome and you can see why it’s one of my most cherished movies ever.

It snowballed in viewings :

1st time : love

2nd : adoration

3rd : favourite b-movie

4th and beyond : one of my favourite ever.

None of this would have happened without Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart. Praise the queens of the new world.

Thank you for your time xxx 

Strong Women Movie Challenge #26 of 200 : Cherry Darling in Planet Terror (Rose McGowan)

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Ahhhh, Grindhouse. My other half.

My go-to collection of awesome when I want a few hours of unapologetic awesome and bevy of kickass women. 

And Rose is one of it’s figureheads.

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I’ve always adored that double-meaning tagline. Does our last hope rest on a high power machine gun? Or does our last hope REST on a high power machine gun? Lovely stuff.

I remember renting this and Death Proof and rushing to my friends to watch it. We only got through Terror because, after seeing that, I was dragging him into town to try and buy them together in a set. How they were meant to be seen.  

I’ve spoken before about how these movies changed me. What was once a B-movie appreciator is now a full-blown, 70s exploitation/80s b-movie/any-era drive-in-movie-collecting nutcase.

Job done Robert. Job done Quentin.

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There are so many brilliant characters in this movie. It feels like a group movie crammed with awesome caricatures. Rose is the standout of course. I can’t stress enough my giddy love for her and the amazing job she does in this.

Every line of dialogue she spews out just ooooooozes cool as a cucumber. Perfectly badass and brutal :

"There’s a difference between being frank. And being dick."   

Or even when our favourite go-go dancer is repeating her letch boss’s line to make a point whilst simultaneously cutting him down :

"Come on Skip. It’s Go Go. Not Cry Cry"

Love is in the air.

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She plays the part of hard-as-nails heroine beautifully too. From the perfect opening credits until the gatling end.

I’ve seen this movie a ridiculous amount of times. It never gets old. And I never stop smiling, wide-eyed, at Cherry being Cherry.

Here are some presents :

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SPINNY RAT-A-TAT-A-TATTA!!!

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GO-GO LEG-ARCING DRRRRRRR!!! 

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USELESS TALENT NUMBER 66!!!

Yeah…..I’m grinning like a buffoon too. ;-)

Onto Marley Shelton :

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I’ve loved her since my first viewing of Planet Terror. Then every subsequent viewing adds another layer of love onto it to the point where I love her as much as Cherry.

I love her "Friends" (needles). Love her mystery. (Why does her father want nothing to do with her? Why does she have no emotion during needle-time?)

They’re questions that don’t need answering because the mystery is her aura.

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Giving her a brilliantly sadistic husband to do battle with only makes her part in this flick all the more tasty :

Dakota : "Tony, if anyone comes up to the car, I want you to shoot them. Just like in your video games: shoot them in the head."

Son : "What if it’s dad?"

Dakota : "Especially if it’s your dad!"

Marley plays Dr. Dakota Block spot-on. I’d happily watch a Dakota spinoff movie. She’s that good. And just like Cherry, she’s an absolute icon.   

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Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #25 of 200 : Leila in Barfuss (Johanna Wokalek)

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It’s very rare for me to be moved to shed a tear at a rom-com.

This movie is no different.

I didn’t shed a tear at any point. I blubbered like a broken, albeit truly fulfilled, mess.

I adore this movie so deeply. 

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The plot is thus : Nick (Til Schweiger) is an unlikeable mess of a man who gets fired from jobs as quickly as he jumps from woman to woman. With little job opportunities available, he finds himself cleaning in a mental institution.

He witnesses and prevents a suicide attempt by one of its patients (Leila) who escapes the institution and follows him. Leila knows nothing of life having been both locked in the house by an overbearing mother until her death. Then locked in the institution ever since then.

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Johanna Wokalek is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. And the way she plays this role, she makes Leila the most beautiful human being inside as well as out.

I truly believed that Leila was heavily broken. And her lack of outside world interaction is so lovingly humorous, but also beautifully naïve. She trusts everyone. She views the world with a sense of wonderment. How I miss those times.

You want nothing but nice things for Leila. The old wanting-it-all-to-come-good-for-the-nice-girl doesn’t apply here as Leila is above just nice. She’s everything that’s lovely about the world. She’s my German Amelie I guess i’m trying to say. Johanna Wokalek is my angel. 

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Sure, this movie has some cliché sappy songs and the odd joke that falls flat. In any other rom-com it’d be enough to destroy what credibility it had.

In Barfuss though, the relationship between the two leads is so deep and warming, that it’s slight shortcomings can easily be overpassed.

It’s still a 10/10 for me if I had to grade it. It’s still a perfect love story.

The bigger picture is absolutely wunderbar.

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I wanted to put Til’s name at the top of the description with Johannas. He has given so much to my life without knowing, that he’s as much of an icon to me as the women I profile.

Here’s my circle of life with Til :

I’m a punk obsessive. About 12 years ago I bought a German movie called What To Do In Case Of Fire. It’s about some idealistic punks from the 80s that have grown up, sold out, and moved on. Apart from Til’s character. A dormant home made bomb from back in the day goes off in a government building, and they must reunite to cover their tracks.

It’s amazing, and it got me into German punk, cinema, and their wonderful actors/actresses. Thus started a love affair with Germany. Slowly I would attempt to learn the language and have visited this beautiful nation for the past 4 years. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to that feels like home as much as my hometown does.

Whilst there I picked up THIS film not understanding a word on the back but I had a hunch about it from the pictures. I went into it with the naivete of Leila you could say.

Seeing him and Daniel Bruhl have big parts in Inglorious Basterds, I felt a sense of deep love for what they had achieved outside their homeland.

So that movie about a group of punks led by Til Schweiger opened me up to many things. Changed my life. Introduced me to Johanna Wokalek. Got me to this point in time where I finish this sentence now. 

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What is so moving about the making of this movie is why Til Schweiger wrote and directed it.

His daughters at the time were very young and he wrote this specifically for them. To teach them from a young age that you should not judge someone because they seem a little different. That you should treat them like you would a friend. I’m welling up typing this its so lovely.

He plays Nick like someone that does the opposite of this. He’s hugely unlikeable for a while, before he realises that his life is more of a mess than someone in an institution. Just in a very different way. This is a part of how he builds and solidifies the love between the two central characters. 

What better way to teach your kids a moral than daddy showing how its NOT done, and then rectifying. Good hand Til Schweiger. Good hand.   

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So yeah, this movie touches me on many deep levels. It may be a very personal movie to me. But I still truly believe that it’s a perfect love story without my bias.

Thank you for your time xxx 

Strong Women Movie Challenge #24 of 200 : E. Johnson in Cherry 2000 (Melanie Griffith)

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A relatively big budget movie with all the sensibilities of a B-movie, starring a strong red-headed goddess.

What’s not to adore about that image.

And disappointed one would not be.

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B-movies make the world go round. Placed alongside the serious side of cinema, they’re the perfect mirror to the world as it should be.

Silly. Full of love. And refusing to take itself at all seriously.

We should all be as self aware and embracing as these flicks are.

And Cherry 2000 nails the love perfectly. 

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Man meets woman. Woman is robot. Robot malfunctions during the act of love. 

Despite its silly beginning, I actually found myself on board with Sam Treadwells (David Andrews) love for Cherry (Pamela Gidley) completely. 

I loved how they made the coupling acceptable and believable by showing the other inhabitants of Sams futuristic cities dating practises : 

Signed agreements for sex. Portfolios of past conquests. Contracts for how far each party will go. 

The corporate seediness makes Sams love for a robot seem not only genuine, but actually quite sweet.   

So when she malfunctions and he enlists our Mel to track another Cherry model down, I was actually completely on board with the road trip and where the movie was going.

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Melanie Griffith is so amazing in this. And E. Johnson always wins my love. Every. Single. Time.

She plays the heroine so brilliantly, that she makes what could have been a failure in someone else’s hands an absolute gem of a movie.

Mel plays each layer of her character absolutely perfectly.

She plays E. with just enough spunk to make her tough. But never too much to drift you away from her loving humanity.

She shows a level of vulnerability that reveals us inside her shell. But never too much to drift away from the fact that she’s a badass.

I found her acting in this really natural too. Like there wasn’t any lines in the movie. It all made E. Johnson seem really human.

And made me wonder what the hell our Sam was trekking after a robot for. The perfect woman’s right there god dang it. Oh how I love you E.

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The second star of the show was E’s Mustang. Road movies and classic muscle cars go hand in hand and make me go weak at the knees when combined.

And the more the car gets banged up, the cooler it gets. The Dodge Challenger in Vanishing Point and Death Proof will always be my favourite movie car of all time.

But E’s Mustang isn’t racing too far behind. And it goes with her beautiful hair just wonderfully. Vrrm Vrrm. 

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Apart from the amazing supporting cast of which I would change none, the 3rd main star for me is the settings.

The way the movie transits from a seedy futurism, to a murky western. The only light seems to emanate from our heroes.

Six finger Jakes lair. Awesomesauce.

The Sky Ranch. Beautiful.

Last Chance Brothel and Gas. Just fantastic.

If you’re in the mood for a road movie, you can do a lot worse with your time than spending it in this movies crazy open world.

I love it so so much.

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Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #23 of 200 : The Women Of American Mary

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American Mary is a rare breed.

A horror flick where the women ARE the movie. It is a story of THEM. And I love it so much. 

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This movie is a triumph for women in horror. From the makers, right across to every female character in it.

The Soska Sisters haven’t shown that there is a place for women filmmakers in Horror if you’d just give them a chance. They’re blazing their own path without anyone’s fucking consent. 

Exploding onto the genre like a pair of masochistic saviours.

The horror genre is a little stale. Jen and Sylvia are here to help.   

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I first came to notice the Soska sisters not from hype, but in a tiny ad in a UK magazine for an upcoming film called Dead Hooker In A Trunk.

Being a bit of a b-movie and grindhouse nut, I was sold on the title alone. I hunted for this movie for months and wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

It has some rough edges that a lot of first-time filmmakers encounter. But being a grindhouse type film, this isn’t really a bad thing in the slightest. If anything, it helps the style. 

The fact that I’ve watched it again and again is testament to the potential these girls already had realised. Then along came Mary.

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I didn’t know what to expect going in, I just knew that these ladies wouldn’t disappoint. And they didn’t.

They have crafted a concoction of body-modding, dismemberment, and descents into insanity, and somehow managed to create something very beautiful.

From the classical music prevalent through all of Marys surgeries. Right through to the bond she creates with people that society on the whole regard as outsiders.

I can’t name many movies that leave this impression of beauty inside a genre that doesn’t normally go that way. Wonderful.

On to Mary :

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Katherine Isabelle nails this part hook, line, and dismembered man-parts.

She’s loveable as Mary Mason from the outset. But every time I watch it, I find myself feeling uneasy rooting for her as she slowly descends into madness. 

I can’t give Katherine a high enough complement for the way she portrays good-girl-gone-victim-gone-anti-hero-gone-villain.

It’s not very often I question my stance on a leading lady. Fucking well played Miss Isabelle. You are a true craftswoman. And Mary Mason is still a heroine to me.

I love the way she calmly and methodically goes about everything she does. She has an aura that’s impossible to look away from. Yes, she’s already a star. She’s just not a big enough one for my liking.

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Tristan Risk is a bombshell. In her creative life outside movies she is almost timeless. Like a living homage to the past that’s simultaneously ahead of her time. Her life comes across as one big art-form. And that’s just freakin’ awesome.

Having her characters body modified to look uncannily like Betty Boop, Tristan steps into the part like she IS Betty. This may not be an official live-action movie of the character, but someone should take note if they ever do it. Tristan is my one and only choice for draft.

Her mannerisms, body language, and speech patterns are off the chart. She may not be the lead-lead, but you won’t ever forget the amazing prints she leaves on this already masterful movie.

What a legend.

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Lastly I wanted to touch upon the body modification community that this movie sheds lots of light on.

I have no piercings or mods of any kind. Just a number of tattoos that would probably (read definitely) make me “vanilla” in Marys eyes ;-)

But I do have nothing but love and respect for the community. And so do the Soskas.

Most movies cast people of this community in freak roles or the roles of villains. It’s a sorry affair, and if you knew people that mod their bodies you’d realise they are anything but. Some of my friends have some crazy mods and also have very successful jobs.

American Mary is many things. And one of those things is a beautiful love letter to the wonderful people of said community. I devil-horned my way through each modification shown in this film.

In fact I devil-horn all the people that played a part in this movie becoming a reality.

Thank you all xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #22 of 200 : Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock)

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This movie is beautiful. I knew I was going to love it when I saw that minimal trailer. I didn’t know what it was about yet, I just knew I needed to see it.

The fact that it was a one-woman show where she rediscovers life (and herself) only made it 100 times more poignant and personal to me.

God bless you Alfonso Cuaron.

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I love the Italian, Spanish, German, (pretty much all of inland Europe) slow-burning character studies. The languid pace allowing the characters to get inside you and take you to another place very few other styles of movie can.

I bring this up because of the silence. Gravity shares this trait.

Like those movies, It’s quiet/silent moments are when it is at its most poignant. At it’s most human. At it’s very best.

Like when Ryan is questioned on what she most likes about being up there in space.

"The Silence"

You and me both Doctor.

I could have honestly watched this movie muted. It may have some beautiful, crazy set-pieces on the surface. But to me, it’s a character study at heart.  

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I thought Sandra Bullock played the tortured soul in the first half perfectly.

Seeming to be permanently damaged by the death of her daughter, I was completely invested in her pain.

Beautifully played.

 

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The movies central premise of Ryan getting home and the loss of her daughter are played alongside each other wonderfully. Stone has merely existed for so long and must learn to live again in order to survive.

It’s so wunderbar in how a space epic could be so much about one individual. And it takes me back again to the European character studies I hold so dear.

Everything from the shot of Sandra in the almost foetal position :

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It screams a Dr. Ryan Stone about to be reborn.

Right up to the end :

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Where she is, in more ways than one, learning to walk on her own again after the shackles of her refusal to live have been removed. 

I don’t jump on hype at all. In fact, I didn’t know this was receiving any until I’d already seen it.

All I know is that I believe in it. And it deserves all the hype it gets.

Thank you for your time x

Strong Women Movie Challenge #21 of 200 : The Legend Of Billie Jean (Helen Slater)

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Billie Jean Davy has done something to me.

I feel like I’ve bore witness to something that describes how the inside of my head feels about all these women I write about.

It’s a visual representation of so many words that don’t even exist. Because sometimes, to describe how deeply my love runs for these women, there are no such words.  

I feel like I’ve unlocked a life achievement by finally having this movie in my life.

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My initial interest in The Legend Of Billie Jean came from my adoration of Helen Slater and little else.

My love of the movie Supergirl is so ridiculous and, as the years have passed from childhood to my 30s, it’s no longer a guilty pleasure. I don’t have time for such trivia anymore. 

This movie took me a while to finally get hold of. But in that time the legend was building as to who Billie Jean was and what she represented.

Speaking to people on twitter who told me how amazing it was, I thought I was going to explode with adoration before i’d even started viewing it.

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Plot : Binx (Christian Slater) is bullied, beaten, and has had his scooter trashed by a local douchenozzle. When his sister (Billie Jean) goes to his father to collect the $608 for repairs, said father attempts to rape her, and in the furore, is shot by Binx. This sets the 4 teens (above) off on the run from the law. 

All Billie wants is the money back. What she gets is so much more epic.

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The fact that no-one in authority is speaking for her and her ordeal, and SHE is seen as the criminal, is where this movie starts to take shape into a beast.

It goes from normal 80s fare (not complaining), and just escalates into a strong female becoming the voice of the voiceless. Billie Jean is not just seen as a victim. But as OUR victim. 

The transition from sweet Texas girl, to her witnessing the rise and fall of Joan Of Arc, to her reinvention as the voice of Fair Is Fair :

It’s just plain impossible for me to not get on board with it.

 

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That she becomes a legend in her own lifetime made it hard for me to watch without being able to stop smiling with just pure, pure love.

I knew what this movie entailed before I watched it. So when It was initially a kind of cheesy 80s drama to begin with, I was happy enough. I love that time capsule and think that sometimes we miss the unapologetic cheese and it’s sole purpose in films. That purpose being to entertain.

The fact that it becomes something else entirely without losing its entertainment value just makes it the ultimate movie for me.

As well as it’s serious message, it’s a ridiculous ball of energetic fun along the way too. The mischief Billie Jean and her little posse get up to in this film makes me feel so god-dang happy I want to eat rich people chicken *wink*

I don’t ask for anything more in my movie watching experience than to see women being portrayed rightfully.

So the fact that the makers of this beauty made Billie Jean to be the voice of the people makes me want to lie down. Cos my head is awash. So heavy from all the iconic-ness contained within.

I absolutely adore the way it builds too. Outcasts on the lam to begin with. A few admirers they meet on the way. Right up to the full scale army of followers she garners that are united in her cause of ‘we don’t have to take this bullshit’

The fact that she inspires so many women to shave their hair not only because they are inspired by her, but also to mask where she is, it’s just…………………..*passes out from overload of awesome*

Oh Billie Jean, one dost love thou so.

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Helen Slater is amazing in it too. Although her character is the victim in this story, she never plays it like she is. Her determination to right wrongs elevates her above it.

Helen is one of those actresses that I scratch my head at. I think she’s absolutely wunderbar at her craft. She’s beautiful as all hell to boot. I scratch my head because she isn’t revered as one of the greats.

As I said, I adore Helen Slater as Supergirl and I don’t care how dumb that makes me look. And now I have Helen Slater as another Supergirl in my life. And that’s just fine with me.

Thank you for your time x

Strong Women Movie Challenge #20 of 200 : Thelma & Louise (Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon)

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This movie stands for so many things to me.

It’s a juggernaut that steamrolled itself into my life the first time I saw it and continues to do so with every viewing with no less of an impact.

Thelma & Louise never fails to take it all out of me.  

But it puts triple back in. 

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These two icons have touched so many people in many different ways.

I can’t possibly describe the cultural impact this movie has had as the way it has impacted everyone is at once a shared love, but also a very personal experience. So I can only speak for myself.

For 2 hours I am placed inside a cocoon. A vessel that makes me forget that outside it is the real world. I’m transported to a place where only the world of Thelma & Louise exists.

It drains me of all my energy and strength during this time, but like I said before, it builds me up three times stronger.

It may sound like i’m talking absolute gibberish. But you’ve all had that one movie that does this i’m sure of it. 

Thelma & Louise is mine. 

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Geena Davis is perfection.

Being born in ‘82, I grew up on a daily diet of hammering a select few VHS’s until they wore out : 

The Goonies. Back to the Future. Burtons Batman. And Beetlejuice.

It was this film where I was introduced to Geenas charm. A charm that’s never left me as a 32 year old adult. To the point where it’s her character I remember over all the others, including the awesome Michael Keaton as the ghost with the most. 

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She just has this infectious way of presenting herself that is so irresistible. I love her so much. So you can imagine how much I ball my eyes out every time that grease-ball has got Thelma in the car park.

One thing I love about this movie is how Louise is trying to instil into Thelma the strength to be alive and not take no crap no more. Yet, and it happens so organically, the roles are not so much straight-up reversed as the movie goes on, but they do overlap, and it soon becomes apparent that Thelma needs to carry Louise for a while.

It’s true love in a friendship. We all get a little lost and need to be carried sometimes.

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I didn’t grow up with Susan Sarandon but she’s no less of a goddess for how much she rules in this movie alone.

Her character goes through so many different emotions in two hours and Susan just owns them all. This woman can span the spectrum of the many emotions that make a human being and you can’t help but be forever captivated.

Say what you will about how award winners are picked. Sarandon is a queen of her craft and worthy of all recognition.

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As I said at the start, this movie stands for many different things to me.

The friendship : It’s there for all to see on the surface. But it runs so deep under the surface of it all that it’s the movies beating heart. We all have that one person in our lives, whether it’s a partner, family member, or friend, that you would walk to the end of the world for. This movie encapsulates that feeling like no other.

The road : Road movies are a beautiful commentary on life. Like this movie, they sum up everything about life in one sentence :

"It’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey" 

So in that sense, there are not a lot of movies that sum life up as beautifully as this one.

The Freedom : Everything from Louise setting Thelma free at the start, right up until the end where the girls pact screams the kind of freedom where they’ll die before they take this shit anymore. It’s absolutely fucking glorious.

Sure, they caused nothing but chaos along the way but hey. You push someone so far for too long and you’re gonna find them humping Brad Pitt and politely robbing stores ;-)

So yeah. This movie gives me that empty feeling in my stomach. Like someone has taken it all out of me.

Then it builds me back up again and makes me want to tell my friends I love them. Makes me want to just get out and hit the two lane blacktop. Makes me feel more alive in that moment than…….well the last time I watched this flick.

I can’t say that about a lot of movies. The impact of Thelma & Louise on me will never fade. It’s a fucking masterpiece. 

Thank you for your time x

Strong Women Movie Challenge #19 of 200 : Deu in Raging Phoenix (Jija Yanin)

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I love to write and write and write about strong women in the movies on a regular basis. The women that kick ass in all sorts of physical and non-physical manors.

But Jija Yanin doesn’t kick ass. That would be like saying a masterpiece is just ‘pretty damn good’

No…. Jija DESTROYS!!! EVERYTHING!!!

It’s impossible to not get excited when it’s all about to go bang off and Jija is at the front of it all.

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I first stumbled across this whilst bored one afternoon looking for trash on Netflix to pass the time.

Little did I know that a relaxing afternoon martial arts flick would have me wrenched from my seat and punching the air in delight. Then screaming the name of Jija Yanin to anyone that might care. (And to many I knew wouldn’t give a flying hoot as well)

Such is Miss Yanins power.

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The setup is thus :

Recently cheated-on Deu is a victim of a kidnapping from the Jaguar Gang. These sum-bitches are kidnapping specific women for reasons I cant possibly reveal as the bonkersness behind it all should be discovered by yourself.

She’s rescued by a group of 3 guys and taught the art of Meyraiyuth.

Meyraiyuth is a fictional form of drunken martial arts that is basically ‘hammered out of your face Muay Thai’. And it’s simultaneously awesome and hilarious.  

Thus begins their quest to take out these bad, bad, men. And woman. But more on her later cos she deserves a paragraph all to herself.

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I was torn the first time I saw this film as the first hour is all kickass fun and drunken shenanigans, but then the second hour goes super-serious.

At first I didn’t like the change in tone. But after watching it again last night knowing what I now know, it’s actually to its advantage.

Now I absolutely adore everything about what the makers set out to do and I believe that the 2 hour stretch wouldn’t have been such a pleasure had it been all silly or all serious. The balance is perfick.

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Jija is an absolute master of the art. And that’s what it is. A beautiful art-form.

She’s so frackin’ awesome at what she does, that she leaves your jaw hanging. Making every movement she does flow like an elegant, albeit brutal dance.   

The fact that she’s a pocket rocket doesn’t mean that you’re asked to suspend your disbelief on this girl kicking ass for 2 hours. She WILL kick your ass. I spent the duration either going "ooooh" at the crunching blows she was inflicting. Or reaching for the rewind button ;-)

This woman rocks so so so so hard.

And the guys she teams up with rule the roost too :

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Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang) is amazing. I’d never seen him before but this guy, like Jija, is not only a master of his art-form, he’s actually a pretty sweet actor too.

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And rounding off the foursome are Pigshit and Dogshit (Gotta love those awesome choices of character naming)

You could easily dismiss them as the humour of the film, but each of the 4 has a very serious reason for wanting to take the Jaguar Gang out.

They’ve all been affected by the kidnappings on a very personal level.

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It’s for this reason that this movie actually made me cry. There I said it. I cried at a martial arts flick.

It’s just that you’re living with these wonderful characters for so long that you’re really feeling each individuals pain. You’re behind them so damn much.

That’s what is most surprising about this movie : it has a great story. I make no apologies for feeling.

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Of course, they’re inevitably going to reach the top of the chain, and this is where the leader comes in :

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HOLY KICKASS VILLAINESS BATMAN!!! Roongtawan Jindasing is the shit.

She’s kind of the anti-Deu. I wouldn’t say she is any less elegant with what she does. She just ups the brutality level through the roof. It makes the final fight between herself and Deu sooooo epic.

Jija is given full reign to really go for it when faced with an adversary that is the best of the best and the brutalist of the brutal. Roongtawan is the best baddie I tells ya.

Ahhhhhhhhh, women.

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This movie has everything if you’re even slightly interested in the genre. Its hilarious in parts, super-dark and serious in others. The characters are amazing. And so is the story. (still not apologising)

Couple that with some amazing fight scenes and Jija Yanin and you’re on for a brain-exploding winner.

Jija Yanin shouldn’t just be known as the face of Eastern women in martial arts. Or the female Tony Jaa (lazy lazy lazy). It somehow doesn’t sound far reaching enough.

Cos someone this talented should be a global phenomenon. Only then will this amazing lady truly get what she deserves.

Thank you for time x

Strong Women Movie Challenge #18 of 200 : Foxy Brown (Pam Grier)

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I’m stumped. I don’t know what I can say about this woman that can possibly do her justice.

Her actions say them all. She’s my queen for that reason alone.

She’s just, well…..nope, no words to justify.

"She’s brown sugar and spice. But if you don’t treat her nice, she’ll put you on ice."

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This flick has one of the best credit sequences I’ve ever seen in a movie and kind of confirms the fact that there isn’t a bad scene in this entire thing.

Seeing Pam dancing in various outfits while the credits come and go lets you know you’re in for something special. She’s all groove and smooth and high kicks and punches. Love it. 

The most difficult decision I’ve had to make since starting this blog was whether to cover THIS masterpiece or Coffy. Unfortunately Foxy Brown gets labelled by many as a remake of Coffy and its such a lazy assumption that it makes me sad to read such bull. The reason I had so much trouble deciding cancels that theory out like a Pam Grier shotgun to the stomach. 

In Coffy, our heroine is an everywoman. As the movie progresses she gets so beaten mentally and sometimes physically that, as the movie goes on, she inevitably gets stronger and stronger. 

Love the development no doubt.

But less than 5 minutes into Foxy Brown and you know that this is a strong woman right from the get-go.

In Coffy she builds the strength. Foxy is power from the off. Strong in both flicks. Very different Pam. This is why I didn’t know which to choose. In the end it was : “hell, I’ll do Coffy another time.” Problem solved. ;-)

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The movie starts with Link, Foxy’s brother, in too deep with the wrong people. You see here what sort of woman she is straight away. Link makes a distress call to her just before he’s about to be taken down. Foxy’s up, in the car, and barrelling these guys over before you can say : “Why doesn’t Hollywood make strong women like this.”

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Every single talking character in this movie has a rightful place in the overall scheme of that thing we call perfection. Cos this movie is just that.

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I adore every character in this film and Miss Catherine and Stephen are no exception. The fact that they run the drugs, prostitution, police and judges really sets up the daunting task Foxy is to take on.

Catherine plays the boss with such quiet menace and Kathryn Loder should be recognised for making me in awe but also hating her and everything she stood for. Brilliant actress.

Stephen is no slouch himself and Peter Brown embodies the role perfectly even if Kathryn wears the trousers for the majority.

Even the two goons who work for them are awesome. I REALLY wanted these 4 taking the hell out and they hadn’t really done anything yet. :-)

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The next scene is my favourite as we meet her fella Michael Anderson for the first time. One can’t help but fall deeply in love with them as a couple.

Having his face remodelled to start a new life away from the criminals he’s been undercover with, its a beautiful scene from start to finish.

Foxy seducing him while he sleeps, pulling the curtain closed for fun-time, getting caught by the nurse. Its incredibly playful and hilarious but its hard to describe its punch if you haven’t witnessed it.

The police arrive and inform Michael that he can only do what he wants if the boss (Foxy) says so. That smile that Foxy gives Michael is one of pure love and I’ve watched a million romantic films that don’t have the power of that one short scene. Magical cinema.

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Meeting the vigilante crew’s leader (above left) in the next scene is just adding on to the list of perfect characters in this gem. Him and his boys taking out a drug dealer is an awesome action sequence and I love these characters that exist out of the law for the better good that the corrupt police won’t bring.

Michael being a straight cop rightfully questions it and Foxy belts out just one of her many amazing pieces of dialogue :

"Vigilante Justice……..it’s as American as apple pie"

Michaels "I guess so" kinda sums it up really.

As the leader explains that Foxys last fella “ran out” on her, it makes me see Foxy as a sequel to Coffy. Its not true but it is in my head. ;-) 

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Enter Foxys alter-ego, Misty Cotton. When Foxy steamrolls into the organisation to get in with them and take them down one phase at a time, you notice something that, in hindsight, you knew was always there :

Pam Grier is the most beautiful woman on the planet.

Seeing Michael drooling and getting Miss Catherine all riled up just makes you so happy at the power Foxy can generate. The boys they drool. The women lose their cool. GO PAM!!!

As she enter the judges house to pleasure him in exchange for one of Catherines clients walking free, it starts my second favourite scene.

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Instead of doing as they’re told, Foxy and her friend Claudia embarrass the Judge in all manors from the size of his penis :

"I’ve heard of a meat shortage but that’s just ridiculous"

 To the schoolboy trip that leaves him naked outside his room to be beaten by angered house wives.

But It’s the dialogue before she slams the door that is officially line of the movie :

"You pink-ass corrupt honky judge. Take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere then send him in because i do need a MAN." Foxy should rule the world.

Its a riot to watch and is up there with the hospital scene I mentioned earlier. Jack Hill strikes gold.

Foxy hides Claudia and we later find that the Judge is no longer helping Catherines organisation out.

Phase 1 Complete. No more pay-offs. Dynamite baby.

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The following scene in the ladies bar where Foxy rescues a wandering Claudia is worth noting. The dialogue from the above shot goes like this :

Lady on left : “I have a black belt in Karate.”

Foxy after smashing her over the head with a stool : "And I have a black belt in barstools."

I couldn’t make this up. But King Jack Hill did. And I love him forever for it.

Foxy is caught and then sent to ‘The Farm’ where the drugs are cut to be beaten, drugged and all the rest. Thankfully its all off-screen.

Foxy grabbing a blade in her teeth, cutting herself free, then shooting and setting fire to her dirty kidnappers is an exhilarating sight to behold.

And it also has some more awesome dialogue in response to her petrol covered adversary :

"Thiiiis….This is gasoline."

"You know it motherfucker."

Oh fucking hell yeah.

Phase 2 Complete. Cutting The Supply. Superbad. Dig It?

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Taking out the buyers and half of Catherines crew with a helicopter and catching Stephen with help from the Vigilante boys, its left up to the leader to remove our Steves manhood with a knife. Take that you evil pimpy pimper.

As Foxy would later say to Catherine :

"Death is too easy for you, Bitch."

Thus begins the final showdown with Catherine. But what of the two guards in Foxy’s way ?

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 SIT DOWN!!!

And thus begins the epic showdown……

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…..that actually ends in a single shot. I loved that. It was way better than a catfight. Both women are better than that.

I’m sorry that this profile is just me talking about plot points and saying how awesome they are. As I said at the beginning, I have no words that can do Pam Grier justice. She’s Pam freakin’ Grier for crying out loud. Words are untouchable to her awesome.

All I know is I love her in Coffy as much as this flick. Jackie Brown and The Arena the same.

If Zoe Bell is my saviour.

And Tura Satana is my Goddess.

Then that makes Pam Grier Queen of my world.

Thank you for your time.

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