Saturday, January 12, 2008

Best Female Characters

A fellow movie blogger put together an awesome list of the 20 best movie characters of the past 20 years. However, there were not enough female characters to make the list, perhaps because the authors were predominantly male, or because a lot of the best characters have lines best suited to men (just theorizing). So I decided to put together a list of best female characters. I thought of them as characters that can be identified by name and movie and actress, with lines or actions that were immediately brought to mind. I used the same model for describing them as appears on Blog Cabins (thanks Fletch!). So in no particular order here are the top 15 female characters:

Character: Cher

Movie: “Clueless"

Year Released: 1993

Catch Phrases: "Whatever", "She's a full on Monet. From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess."

Significance: Alicia Silverstone was terrific (and never really topped this performance) and the movie put a whole new set of catch phrases into the lexicon.

Character: Juno

Movie: “Juno"

Year Released: 2007

Catch Phrases: "I mean, I'm already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?", "Dream Big"

Significance: I think she'll have significance for years to come. It's a great story and she's a new kind of teenager, both vulnerable and willing to acknowledge her vulnerability at the same time, while working to make her own decisions.

Character: Clementine

Movie: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

Year Released: 2004

Catch Phrases: "I'm Clementine... No jokes about my name."

Significance: Her hair is memorable, but she was an insane character with a lot of heart and cruelty.

Character: Dorrie

Movie: “Finding Nemo"

Year Released: 2003

Catch Phrases: "Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming."

Significance: This is the best performance by an actor in an animated movie, and raised the bar for all future performances. I'm just going with Dorrie being a girl cause Ellen is.

Character:Lisa Rowe

Movie: “Girl, Interrupted”

Year Released: 1999

Catch Phrases: "Take one more step and I'll jam this in my aorta"

Significance: It launched Angelina Jolie's career and won her an Oscar, and gave some suspicious notes to her real life behavior at the time.

Character: Marge Gunderson,

Movie: “Fargo”

Year Released: 1996

Catch Phrases: "And I guess that was your accomplice in the woodchipper", "You betcha."

Significance: She was just terrific and really came to the forefront of movies with "Fargo" and this character. The accent is just so perfect without being overdone.

Character: Miss Daisy,

Movie: “Driving Miss Daisy”

Year Released: 1989

Catch Phrases: "Hoke, you're my best friend"

Significance: This was just a terrific movie that gave an older woman and an older man a great story line that others will always try to emulate.

Taken from Blog Cabins since I totally agree:

Character: Tracy Flick

Movie: "Election"

Year Released: 1999

Catch Phrases:"It's like my mom says, "The weak are always trying to sabotage the strong."

Character: Bridget Jones

Movie: "Bridget Jones’ Diary”, "Bridge Jones: Edge of Reason"

Year released: 2001, 2004

Catch Phrases: "Bridget Jones, wanton sex goddess, with a very bad man between her thighs","Oy,"

Significance: She gave voice to all the crazy thoughts all women have, and her embarrassing moments outweigh any in reality.

Character: Amelie Poulain

Movie: "Amelie”

Year Released: 2001

Catch Phrases: "At least you'll never be a vegetable - even artichokes have hearts."

Significance: She's just awesome, and a totally different archetype than previous existed.

Character: Clarice Starling

Movie: “Silence of the Lambs”,

Year Released: 1991

Catch Phrases: "Your anagrams are showing, Doctor."

Siginficance: A lot of her power came as she reacted and forced reaction from Hannibal, but she is still powerful on her own.

Characters: Thelma & Louise

Movie: "Thelma & Louise”
Year Released: 1991

Catch Phrases: "Thelma: OK, then listen; let's not get caught. Louise: What're you talkin' about? Thelma: Let's keep goin'! Louise: What d'you mean? Thelma:...Go. [Thelma nods ahead of them] Louise: You sure? Thelma: Yeah.

Significance: It was the best female buddy movie ever. Still is actually. Two women who go away for the weekend, become criminals and then drive off into the sunset precluding any sequels, what more could you ask for?

Character: Penny Lane

Movie: “Almost Famous”

Year Released: 2000

Catch Phrases: "You're too sweet for rock and roll"

Significance: She was awesome, almost holding it together to be mysterious and flirtatious and the perfect object for William Miller's affection, but then couldn't keep it going.

Character: Stifler’s Mom

Movie: “American Pie” series

Year Released: 1999, 2001, 2003

Catch Phrases: "I got some scotch. Finch: Single malt? Stifler's Mom: Aged eighteen years. The way I like it. "

Significance: Launched the MILF concept without being cliched.

Character: Elle Woods

Movie: “Legally Blonde” series

Year Released: 2001, 2003

Catch Phrases: "The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known"

Significance: The first movie was awesome, and the second dreadful, but the character stayed strong. In a totally tongue-in-cheek way proved that blondes can be smart.


Fletch said...

Love the list, and thanks for the shouts.

I would have never thought of Dorrie, but she's perfect. The inclusion of Stifler's mom cracked me up. Can't believe I (or any of the people that sent me suggestions) forgot about Cher - she's a great character for all-time.

soundtrackgeek said...

A cool list!

Marge from Fargo! Awesome that you have her on your list.

There's a few female characters I want to add. Ripley from the Alien series, Erin Brockovich and Josey Aimes from North Country.

Jess said...

I really wanted to include Ripley, but Blog Cabins' list started after Aliens was made. I like Erin Brockovich a lot, but I'm not sure Josey Aimes really has the umph yet (history may prove me wrong) to be an iconic figure.

Cat said...

I love this list. So many of my all-time favorite characters are on here. I was just thinking the other day about how luminous Kate Hudson is in Almost Famous and how lame her current characters look by comparison.

Maybe add Annette Bening from the American President as Sydney Ellen Wade? Or Vada Sultenfuss from "My Girl"? I also love Kristin Scott Thomas' character in "Four Weddings and a Funeral." Winona Ryder's character Lydia in Beetlejuice. "My whole life is a dark room. One big dark room."

mikemachacon said...

Cher Horowitz, Amelie Poulain, Elle Woods are among my favorite perky romantic/comedy leading ladies. Clarice Starling was one of a kind. Stifler's Mom is hilarious. i like the list.

...i'm getting ideas for another. hehehe. =o)

jodokast said...

Where's Linda Hamilton for Terminator 2?!?